I’ll start this by saying I didn’t get to play nearly as many new games as I wanted; and I didn’t play many of the ones that folks are raving about on the rest of the interwebs. But of the ones I did play, here are my top NEW 2016 games (in no real order)
Dastardly Dirigibles– I love this set collecting game with a twist… your set is the parts of a dirigible you are building on a mat in front of the other players. The fun challenge/twist is that anytime a player lays down a piece EVERYONE has to laydown that same part, whether it matches their set or not.
Quadropolis– We just got this one and I’ve only played the classic side once, but I think this could easily join the ranks of Splendor and the above game as my favorite “go to” for fun. Each player is “buying” town parts from a grid on the venter of hte table, when one player takes a part the next player can not take one from the same row or column. Your goal is to meet certain scoring criteria in your own mini-city. there are a few other elements that add to this challenge- the spaces are marked by grid numbers and you can only build in a grid number that matches the spot you just pulled a tile from. And each piece has a meeple or energy reward, and a cost to “activate” it with only activated squares counting in VP totals.
Fabled Fruit- another card set collecting game, but this one with a new game mechanic, were the card grid changes and gets harder each time you play. You are going around collecting fruits to make smoothies (sound like a kids game, but it’s not just for littler gamers). The cards you land on have special abilities (like give a banana to another player and he/she has to give you some of their cards). Each time you play the game you pull the cards you played with before, bag them and pull the next 6 off the top (the card sets are numbers 1-53). Most games we play stay at the store, but I think this one we’ll have to get for ourselves to keep playing along.
Inis- This is one of the ones lots of folks are raving about. It’s a fun area control game where the board grows each round. You play each round with the same basic cards that represent the moves you can make. You start the round by drafting the cards, so you know if you don’t have a certain move, you know someone else does! Your ultimate goal is to control 6 lands and/or have control over 6 or more of your opponents clans.
Mystic Vale- A new type of card BUILDING game. Each card is sleeved and you add in nearly clear element to make the card stronger. The theme is that you are a druid trying to keep the land alive and fertile. Some cards include elements where the land dries up, so you need to build strong enough cards to counter balance that effect. The game has 1 planned expansion that can only make it better.
Burger Up- Goal: build the ultimate burger before your opponent builds the same order at the burger stand. You start with a bottom bun, and a row of “orders” which are the top buns. You draw cheeses, meats, veggies, condiments until to can create a masterpiece of a burger. This is a good gateway game for new players and easy for kids.
Some “honorable mentions”
Codename Pictures– A new version of last year’s HOT game, this time with pictures rather than words. In concept it’s good, but I’m just not as thrilled with it as the original one.
Monarch- This is technically a 2015 game from Kickstarter, but in 2016 is was sold in stores. I LOVE this game. You are competing with your sister princesses to build a royal court and take control of the crown. You do so by taxing the commoners or farming the lands for currency to buy goods and courtiers.