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The 18 Games We Can’t Wait to Play in 2018 – Part One

The 18 Games We Can’t Wait to Play in 2018 – Part One

2017 is nearly over, and we’re already we’re looking forward to what comes next. While there’s still plenty of fun to extract from the games we’ve loved this year, there’s nothing wrong with indulging in a little bit of anticipatory hype. The tabletop editorial team put together a list of 18 tabletop titles, and we’ll be covering them in no particular order throughout the three parts of this series. Without further ado, here are the first six on our list that we can’t wait to get our hands on. 

1. Star Wars: Legion

When gamers arrived to Gen Con’s vendor hall on the Friday of the convention they were greeted with Stormtroopers and Imperial Officers guarding covered tables near Fantasy Flight Games’ floor area. Rumors flew faster than bolter fire as everyone wondered what the big news would be. We didn’t have to wait long; a few hours later FFG revealed Star Wars: Legion during their annual In-Flight report and I’ve been looking forward to it ever since I got to spend a few minutes playing a demo at Gen Con.

While FFG typically packs their games with high-quality miniatures and X-Wing has been a smashing success, Legion will be their first traditional sci-fi tabletop miniatures game. Players will literally assemble and paint their miniatures — I will have orange Stormtroopers and there’s nothing you can do about it — before bringing them to the table for interstellar battles in a galaxy far, far, away. Legion boasts a new type of activation system that adds just a touch of uncertainty to activations, while rewarding clever list building. Based on the demo, Legion felt like a great step up from games like X-Wing in terms of complexity while remaining approachable to players who have never felt the joy of clippers cutting through a plastic sprue. They’ve already announced an expansion, including the classic AT-ST and T-47 Airspeeder. I have no doubt that this game is going to grace the tables of your local FLGS, and I’ll probably be there rolling dice and struggling to see through my homemade Poe Dameron helmet.


2. The Legend of Korra: Pro-bending Arena

Another game available for demo at Gen Con is landing on this list, and that’s IDW Games’ The Legend of Korra: Pro-bending Arena. It aims to capture the excitement of the game-within-a-TV-show by allowing players to take control of the various teams from The Legend of Korra in a tactical miniatures board game. A game of Pro-bending Arena is a game of escalating power. Round by round players can add powerful cards to their decks, crafting their deck as they play in response to the choices and tactics of their opponent. The goal is simple – push your opponent back and move into their territory. Actually doing that, however, is much harder.

A team is made up of 3 elemental benders who sling fire, earth, and water as they move tactically around the board’s limited spaces. Initial turns of the demo felt slow as my opponent and I spent most of our time simply canceling each other’s attacks. However, our strategies quickly diverged as we purchased different upgrades and fine-tuned our strategies. These purchases come from a couple of decks that players can customize outside of the game, broadening your options and allowing you to really tune your team to play the way you want to.


3. Legend of the 5 Rings LCG Expansions

FFG brought Legend of the 5 Rings back in 2017 with a massive tournament – called a Kotei – and then surprised the community by announcing that the first 6 expansions would be released one per week instead of one per month as they usually are. While this announcement was met with surprise, it was welcomed by the Legend of the 5 Rings community. The L5R core set is packed with 7 different factions, all hungry for more cards and characters to flesh out their decks and they’ve been arriving the past few weeks ready to broaden options for deck design.

So why are they sitting on a 2018 anticipation list? Well, Legend of the 5 Rings is a dramatically deep game with a lot of high-level strategy and nuance. I’ve played most of FFG’s recent LCGs and this one feels like it was built from the ground up for tournament players. Incorporating all these expansions is going to take time. For starters, there are 7 clans to explore and try out, let alone master. Even if you’ve got a favorite clan — Phoenix for life, come at me — these 6 small expansions plus a deluxe have brought a lot of deck building options to mess around with. I’m the kind of person who prefers to make 1 or 2 small changes to a deck so I expect to be tinkering with this cycle’s cards long into 2018.


4. Fireball Island

One of the biggest announcements this year was Restoration Games’ announcement that they are going to bring back the long out of print classic Fireball Island. This game still commands high prices on eBay because of it’s massive game board and the massive amount of fun that comes from firing marbles out of a volcano and watching them crash into your helpless opponents. The design team behind Restoration Games’ current suite of updated classics is strong, and they seemed excited to begin work on this one.

Details are currently light, but designer Rob Daviau is hoping to capture the “toyetic quality” of the original while packing a little more strategy and player agency into the game. The challenge comes in capturing what made the original fun while updating it for a modern audience. Nostalgia is a powerful force, and Fireball Island is going to have a lot to live up to. Given how good Downforce is, I have a lot of faith in this team and I can’t wait to revisit the island and face Vul-Kar on a vacu-formed battlefield again.


5. Detective: City of Angels

Hardboiled noir films were a Hollywood mainstay for years, though we haven’t seen much of the genre in our cardboard hobby. Detective: City of Angels is going to change that by bringing smoke-filled speakeasies and seedy wharf murders to the table. Detective is a game of crime solving and intrigue. It puts a few players up against The Chisel who is responsible for managing the mystery. This player will control all of NPCs and direct the story. As detective players make their way around L.A. questioning suspects and discovering clues, The Chisel player will have to determine when to tell the truth and when to lie.

This aspect is what has really captured our attention. The Chisel has perfect information about the case. He knows the suspects, the crime, and know how each suspect would like. They have to decide when to tell the truth and when to risk giving the detective players leverage over their NPCs as they guide the story along. Detectives have to listen closely and decide which leads to spend their precious actions on. Detectives get info via clever sleeves that hide information from the rest of the players, giving Detective the tense energy that comes from knowing your opponents are learning things you aren’t as you race to solve the case first.


6. 7th Sea: Khitai

7th Sea‘s Second Edition Kickstarter shattered records for RPG projects. It’s a game of high-adventure and daring-do. Players don’t begin as lowly adventures sniffing around kobold dens for copper pieces and iron weapons. They are already heroes embarking on grand piratey-adventures in a romanticized Europe that is full of intrigue and mystery. Khitai turns our spyglasses Eastward towards the Pacific Rim and brings with it some fundamental changes to character’s motivations.

Khitai is a standalone game that doesn’t require any of the other 7th Sea books to play and brings with it some new character dimensions to explore. Characters in the core game of 7th Sea are rugged individuals, off exploring and adventuring for personal gain or glory. In Khitai these motivations are supernatural and your mystics or monks are pulled by the energy of the world to serve it. There is a supernatural element woven through the setting and players will explore numerous continents on their adventures. Join a Clan War, fight monsters on the open ocean, or save a Kingdom from supernatural threats; all that and more will be available in the lands of Khitai.


Part 2 of this series featuring six more of hotly-anticipated titles will be going live tomorrow. Be sure to follow Geek & Sundry on Facebook and Twitter to get notified when it goes live. What are you most looking forward to in 2018? Tell us in the comments!

Featured Image Credits: Teri Litorco

Image Credits: Fantasy Flight Games, IDW Games, Van Ryder Games,  John Wick Presents, Restoration Games

In addition to Geek & Sundry, Raf Cordero writes for Miniature Market’s The Review Corner and co-hosts the gaming podcast Ding & Dent. Chat with him on Twitter @captainraffi.


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