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Steph's Awesome Pre-SPIEL Rundown 2018

Steph Hodge
United States
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Well, it's no Ginkgopolis...
Today I am sharing my most anticipated SPIEL 2018 releases, broken down into Must Haves and Games of Interest! I listed the expansions as well at the end. There are SO MANY games listed on the SPIEL '18 Preview that my list is extra long!

Steph's Must Haves

Architects of the West Kingdom - Oh boy, this looks brilliant. I have heard only amazing things about it so it is high on the list of games to get. I am always up for a good worker placement game.

Architectura - To be fair I don't know much about this game other than its beauty. Tile placement and hand management are both great mechanisms, soooo yeah, I gotta try it!

Arraial - Got to play this one recently and yeah, it is a game made for me. I love the puzzley aspect and Tetris feel. Vivid colors which are really fun and exciting.

Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra - Well, I really have to see where they took Azul with this. Oh my, isn't it just amazingly beautiful? surprise

Blackout: Hong Kong - Campaign game from designer Alexander Pfister. Pfister always has new and interesting mechanisms and ideas. This is one to play for sure!

Brettspiel Adventskalender 2018 - Looks like I could use about ten of the promos this time around... I guess I need it! Oh yes!

Brikks - Wolfgang Warsch, polyominoes and roll-and-write, count me in. Highly anticipated game for me. All my favorite things, insta-buy.

Carpe Diem - Yeah, I need more Feld games in the collection. Just try to talk me out of it... You can't.

Carson City: The Card Game - Got this at Gen Con 2018 but deserves a hot mention here since it is awesome! Seriously in love with this game and clever play. Better with more players even. Love card laying and bidding mechanisms like this.

Cerebria: The Inside World - I have been anxiously awaiting my KS for over a year! Loved this game when I got to try it in 2017. Psyched for the final copy with those amazing minis!

Forbidden City - Never even heard of Mise: Kolonizace by Reiner Knizia that it is reimplementing but has caught my attention now. This is the year of polyominoes and I am in heaven. Psyched to play this.

Fuji - Another Wolfgang Warsch game. Man, he is just on a roll this year. I need to play it! Co-op dice rolling. I shall see!

Gingerbread House - Super cute theme and tile laying. I am always interested in what Lookout games have to offer. This is from the designer of Gizmos and Bärenpark, so I am interested.

Gùgōng - This has gotten nothing but praise from players I know. My interest is HIGH. Yeah, I need more worker placement games...

Hokkaido - Well, Honshu was a wonderful surprise and this would be the next in line. I am interested in seeing how this changes it up. Still so beautiful.

Key Flow - A game I have played a few times now and simply love. Drafting at its finest! A wonderful addition to the Key series of games and gives you the feel of Keyflower, but without the mean bidding mechanism. This game deserves the hype!

Realm of Sand - Played at GAMA 2018 and was hooked. Possibly this game was made for me! Mash-up between Patchwork and Splendor and you have perfection. Seriously excited for this one!

The River - Oh boy, the new Days of Wonder game!! I saw at Gen Con 2018 and didn't have time to try it out and I was kicking myself. Gotta have it!

Rolling Ranch - Another roll-and-write game, so another I must check out. The artwork is amazing and pulls me in wanting more.

Shadows: Amsterdam - Ohhh! I got to play this a few times at Gen Con 2018, including on camera in the BGG booth. It is so much fun playing on teams and trying to piece pictures together to give clues much like Mysterium, but it is a race against the other team! Awesome.

Skylands - Reimplements The King of Frontier and it is a game I cherish and love. I got to play this at Gen Con 2018 and had an amazing time! Very beautiful game and one that I can't wait for more people to enjoy! Love it!

Solenia - I am always on the lookout for the next Pearl Games game and Sébastien Dujardin hasn't let me down yet. Super excited for this one!

Spirits of the Forest - A beautiful game that I saw at Gen Con 2018 and I have been fascinated ever since. It looks like it is a light filler abstract game. This is one that I am really wanting to play!

Tag City - More Roll n Write goodness that I have to have. Maybe I should just call myself the queen of roll-and-writes — I want them all now!

Teotihuacan: City of Gods - Perhaps my most anticipated game of the year. Played a few times and it is just amazing. It will be the hottest game of the year. I will be surprised if it is not.

Walking in Burano - This is so beautiful. I have played Burano, but this looks to be more my speed. Card drafting and set collection. I am super interested as I love EmperorS4!

Steph's Games of Interest

Athens - Twist on deck building that I am interested in. I like dice rolling. I am curious how it plays and want to find out more.

Atlandice - More dice games. I saw this at Gen Con 2018 and didn't get the chance to try it out. Looked pretty cool, so I definitely need to find out more!

Atlantis: Island of Gods - Wow the pieces in this game are a knock out! Really cool looking and draws me right in.

Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig - So yeah, I thought this was like an April Fool's joke when I heard about it. Joke's on me and this looks amazing! I really enjoy the crossover of the games and can't wait to see what was created!

Blocky Mountains - I had the pleasure of playing the original. It provided a lot of laughs. I have to see how this looks. Might be too heavy to bring home though.

Blossoms - Beautiful two-player card game? Color me intrigued. Always looking at cute card games!

Brothers - I have been playing this a whole bunch since Gen Con 2018 and I can't speak more highly of it. Really been enjoying this quick abstract partnership game. Very cute and clever.

Carcassonne: Safari - Got to try the prototype of this and had a great time. It adds some new mechanisms and feels much different than the others. Can't wait to see the final production.

Ceylon - Certainly looks impressive. For that alone, I want to know more. It might end up being too much area control for me. But, I would love to try if I can.

Chronicles of Crime - VR experience... Wat?! Stereoscopic mechanism, yah, that sounds awesome. Can't wait to play this one. It seems like the co-op story-driven games maybe like T.I.M.E Stories? Looks wicked cool.

City of Gears - Got the sneak peek during Gen Con 2018, and it looked really cool! Obviously, I love the theme so I am really interested in trying this one out.

City of Rome - City building and pattern building... what more could you ask for? Yeah - I am in.

Claim 2 & Claim Kingdoms - Both look really cool and totally different from one another. I really liked the first two-player Claim game, so I am auto interested in the second one. Love the art for both games so it keeps me interested. Kingdoms looks cool for the tile laying aspect. Seems pretty simple but I am sure there are cool combos and powers that keep it interesting.

CO₂: Second Chance - Didn't love the first one but liked it enough to be tempted by this updated version. Maybe some rules have altered the play to my liking. Definitely interested in checking it out.

Cosmic Factory - Has been a huge hit in my house since acquiring it at Gen Con 2018. Just have to mention how much I have been enjoying this one. Clever tile placement game.

Cupcake Empire - I mean, the theme is super cute. Little cupcakes and dice worker placement? She has PINK HAIR on the front. Yeah, I am interested.

Cuzco - Never actually played Java, but it was on the radar for a while. Definitely interested to see how they improved it in this super cool looking new edition. Always up for Michael Kiesling and Wolfgang Kramer titles.

Dice Settlers - Already had the pleasure of playing this game, and I am psyched that I backed it on KS, so it is coming. Love this dice bag building game. Light civ type game too. Very cool.

Duelosaur Island - Definitely needs some love since it is awesome. Backed this on KS with expansion but had the pleasure of playing it in prototype form and it is awesome. Really fantastic 2p take on Dinosaur Island!

Eco-Links - Tile laying game to try and connect paths. Seems like a game I would enjoy and is super cute.

Escape Tales: The Awakening - More escape room type games? Yeah, I am interested. I always like a good puzzle to solve. Might be on the longer side for me though, so unclear.

The Estates - So cool this game is now available for everyone! I have had Neue Heimat for a long time now, and it is such a cool game. Had to add to this list to help bring awareness for this awesome game. Oh, I suppose I should mention it is a vicious game with some luck involved.

Farben - Not gonna lie, I am in for the colors. Storytelling game involving colors? I definitely need to learn more.

Fertility - Saw folks playing on Instagram (that's how you get me, really) and boom, I needed this game. Don't know anything about it other than I am interested. Gotta try it! Looks like tile placement, so yeah, totally.

Fool! - "New version of Foppen." Hmmm, maybe I will like this one. I was not a fan of Foppen but perhaps this has updated it to be awesome. Definitely want to check it out.

Forum Trajanum - Got to play this in April and enjoyed it. I am interested to see how it was developed further. Very cool Feld game.

Franchise - Wicked cool theme. The artwork is eye catching and fun. Definitely looking into this one further. Seems really cool.

Horticulture Master - Attracted to the beauty of the game but then found out it is puzzle and city building. Yeah!

Imhotep: Das Duell - Really interested to see how this will play for two players. I bet it is pretty cool. Really enjoy the board game, so that is exciting.

Kero - Well, the trucks are sand timers and they are wicked cool. Don't know much about this game but I gotta try it. I love the press your luck mechanism and dice could be cool, too!

Kingdom Defenders - Has a bunch of hype, so I am unsure on this one. Always looking for more Euro-type games with a fantasy theme. Would want to give this a play first!

Layers - Got to play this real-time puzzle a few times and have really enjoyed it. You have to try and put layers down to create the matching picture. Pretty fun challenge and one that I could play anytime. Great filler.

Lift Off - Don't know much about this one but I am always anticipating games from Hans im Glück. This has set collection with drafting... I need to find out more!

Magnastorm - Basically it looks cool... Gotta love exploration games.

Magnificent Flying Machines - I am not even a big fan of pick up and deliver games, but this one looks pretty cool and I enjoy the theme. I want a demo!

Manitoba - I don't know much about this one, but a big box game from dlp games has my interest. Gotta learn more and hopefully get a demo. The quality of the game looks really cool!

Mesozooic - Looks like a super cute card placement game. I heard from multiple sources this was one to watch! Gotta try it!

Minerals - I have no idea what is going on in this game but man, it is beautiful. Those pieces!! Yeah, I gotta find this at SPIEL.

Monster Lands - Dice worker placement, so yeah, I am interested. Looks to be a bit overhyped, but the look of the game seems really cool and interesting. Will want to know more.

NEOM - I don't need to know much more than player boards and tile placement to know I want to play and probably own this game.

Newton - Got a bunch of plays at Gen Con 2018. I quite enjoyed it and yeah, there are a lot of paths to take. I don't feel like I got the full scope of the game in one play. Need to play again!

Off the Rails - Okay, not gonna lie, little dice in carts is just too cute. I have to play and photograph this game. I gotta!

Okavango - Not really sure what to expect with this one, but Michael Kiesling and Wolfgang Kramer have my attention. Looks to be a pretty easy and light game. Curious!

Once Upon a Castle - Ummm, I get to draw a castle with the dice being rolled. So, it is a roll-and-write castle-building game. Chya!!

Orbis - Saw it being played a bunch at Gen Con 2018 and have been curious. Look like a cool tile placement game. I think there is a drafting mechanism too which would be fun!

Orbital - Looks like an interesting abstract game. I am always up for a puzzley type game.

Outback - This was the talk of the town back in April and I didn't get to play! It has been on my radar ever since and I have to see how it plays! Looks super cute and is by designer Michael Kiesling! Should be cool.

Oziland - Well, awesome theme and artwork. Looks to be easy tile placement. Will want to try and demo this one!

Paleolithic - A game I have had the privilege of playing. It is such a delight! Amazing production quality and would be a great entry-level strategy game for kids. Really well done.

Pandoria - This box is so attractive! I hope the worker placement and tile placement makes it an amazing game for me. Can't wait to find out!

Passing Through Petra - I am a big fan of designer J. Alex Kevern! I can't wait to learn about this one and give it a whirl!

Patchwork Express - Well, I love Patchwork, and if this plays in half the time I am interested in that. More Uwe is always great IMO.

Penny Papers Adventures: Skull Island - Shout out for the Penny Papers series! Love this roll-and-write series and they are so great for all the different ages. Can't recommend them enough!

Pepper & Carrot: The Potion Contest - So cute! Pattern building and tile placement. Looks like a larger tile sliding game with a mechanism like Ulm has. Want to try!

Planet - Magnets and tile placement? Totally interested in seeing how this one plays.

A Pleasant Journey to Neko - All I really know is that you get "penguin points" in order to win the game. I have to get all the penguin points! It looks so super cute! Can't wait to try it.

Polar Party - Another penguin game! Yes, I want more penguin games! This looks so cute and I am always interested in cute kid games.

Prehistory - Seems to has a lot of hype, so I am curious how this worker placement game stands out among the rest. Gotta check it out.

Raiatea - New Quined Games game! Always looking for the next one in the lineup! They never seem to fail me and are always excellent quality. I like bidding as a mechanism, so we will see how it goes.

Reykholt - More Uwe goodness! It is a worker placement game and you are trying to get the most veggies planted first. Interested to try this one out for sure.

Robin Hood and the Merry Men - Robin Hood theme is pretty cool. Everything about it looks great so I want to try it for sure!

Shikoku - Wow, this is gorgeous! If only just to photograph this game I want to play it. Looks like an interesting card game.

Silk - Looks a bit simple, but could be interesting. A bit of area control and worker placement so we will see!

Small Islands - Very much looks like Carcassonne, a game which I love, so just for that I want to see how it plays out. Very cool.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: A Gemstone Mining Game - Never played Quartz, but this is a clever re-theme. Very interested to see how it plays and yeah I love the theme! I am always down for betting and pressing my luck.

Solar City - Will likely be promoted to a must have upon looking at it. Totally my type of game and reminds me of Quadropolis. Very very interested in this one. Personal player boards and city building — sign me up!

Spell Smashers - I am always looking for great word games. This has a whole lot more and looks awesome. Can't wait to try it!

Staka - I have been really enjoying Helvetiq Games recently and I am always in the need for more dexterity games! Looks great!

Taiwan - Cool push your luck dice game with tableau building. Colorful and fun game and variable set-up. I had a good time playing it recently.

Takla - Yeah, I mean, not a logical game to take back to the States, but the dexterity part of this game looks amazing. I want to play it so bad!

Tales of Glory - Beautiful tile placement game. Looks like something I should play, so I am interested!

Tales of the Northlands: The Sagas of Noggin the Nog - Looks beautiful and another worker placement game. Sounds like a co-op but not listed as such, so I am not sure. Looks to have a rondel too. I just need to learn more.

A Thief's Fortune - The artwork is awesome and I am into card drafting so this popped on my radar! Will have to look into this one.

TOKYO METRO - Got to play this in 2017 and was just totally drawn to it. Interesting mechanisms and so colorful! Tight money and decisions. Very clever! Happy to see it become available!

Trapwords - Interesting description comparing it to Taboo. I love word games like this — I always have, so this is definitely on the radar.

Treasure Island - Got to play this and it is super cool! Kinda like the hidden movement games you might know like Whitechapel, but all of the players are competitive and are looking for Long John Silver's treasure. Lots of fun!

Trellis - I wish there were pictures for this game. The cover looks beautiful though! I love pattern building and puzzley type games, so it popped for me. Gotta learn more.

Tudor - I saw this in prototype at Origins 2018 and it looked super cool! Definitely interested in seeing this one come to life. Want to demo!

Underwater Cities - Looks like a big game that I want to play. Lots of moving parts and seems really cool. City and civ building, all while being underwater. Super interested. Oh, also by designer Vladimir Suchý who designed Shipyards, Last Will, and the recent Pulsar. Probably will end up buying this one!

Walls of York - Individual player boards always has me taking another look. Realllllllllllllllly want to play this one! Little walls you will be constructing. Yeah, nice-looking game.

Wangdo - Super cute bears in this game! Awesome production and artwork. Set collection game that is simple enough to teach strategy concepts to new gamers.

Wonderland Xiii - Awesome theme, awesome artwork, awesome metal keys. Looks really cool, I can't wait to play! #awesome

WonderZoo - Super cute polyominoes game with personal player boards. Yah, totally.

Steph's Must Have Expansions

7 Wonders: Armada - I have played this several times now and simply love it. Perhaps my favorite of all of the 7 Wonders expansions. Hard to say since this is one of my all-time favorite games.

Caverna: The Forgotten Folk - Well, I can't say no to more Caverna. My #3 game of all time. YES!

A Feast for Odin: The Norwegians - Please please please let this be available in English, too. #NEEDIT

Isle of Skye: Druids - Well, the first expansion was BOSS, so perhaps I have high hopes for this one, too. I doubt I will be let down. I bet it will be awesome.

The Mind: Level 13 - Maybe it is not really needed, but I NEED THIS CARD! #MoreMIND

Santa Maria: American Kingdoms - Loved the base game last year and would love to see how this expansion improves it! Can't wait to play!

Steph's Expansions of Interest

Dinosaur Island: Totally Liquid - Favorite game from last year gets an expansion. Sign me up! Can't for for the KS to deliver!

Factory Funner: Expansion 2 - No pic available... but still, the more promos for Factory Funner, the better! Love this game!

Meeple Circus: The Wild Animal & Aerial Show - More goodness for Meeple Circus! I can't wait!

Merlin: Arthur Expansion - I think this will be a pretty cool addition to the game, and one that you can bring new players in with because it looks like it just changes the spaces on the board for a different feel and play. Very cool.

Nusfjord: Plaice Deck - More Nusfjord, why not? Gimme the cahds.

Welcome To...: Scoring Pad & Goodies - Curious to see what this expansion adds. Very excited!

I hope you enjoyed my rundown of the most interesting titles coming out this SPIEL 2018! Let me know what you think below!

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