New Board Games for February

In the tide of hobby board games that washes in constantly, there'll always be a few that catch our eye. This January and February, there's some new ones that look particularly cool, and we're super excited to carry. Here's some new board games for February that we've got our collective eye on:

The Initiative

What is it?

The elevator pitch for The Initiative is that it blends two recent trends in board games: legacy games and escape room games. Since these styles really elevate storytelling in board gaming, they seem like natural complements. As an added twist, it’s a very postmodern “meta” story - the characters in the game are themselves playing a board game as well. This fictional board game is The Key that unlocks an adventure of mystery and intrigue that players experience over the course of several sessions.

Why should I care?

Well, the high-concept theme and story are enough to pique the interest of a lot of board game fans. But what’s really exciting about The Initiative is its designer. This is the first outing for Corey Konieczka’s new venture Unexpected Games. Konieczka has been a long-time designer for one of the board game scene’s juggernauts, Fantasy Flight Games, and has developed several large-scale licensed games that have developed devoted fan followings: Battlestar Galactica, StarCraft, and several Star Wars games. With Unexpected Games, Konieczka is free to direct his talent and experience on any project, not just licensed games with overbearing licensors providing notes. The Initiative will show just how well Konieczka benefits from his new creative freedom.

Check out the BoardGameGeek page for The Initiative here.

Overboss: A Boss Monster Adventure

What is it?

A light strategy game that’s great for anyone. It’s a straightforward tile-placement game, with just enough complication to make the strategy interesting. Additionally, Overboss carries over the 16-bit pixel graphic style from its predecessor Boss Monster. All the graphics are wonderfully illustrated, evoking the amazing 16-bit graphics from A Link to the Past, Secret of Mana, and Chrono Trigger.

What’s so special about it?

As implied, Overboss extends the video-game-villain theme from the publisher’s first game, Boss Monster. This works in Overboss’ favor; Boss Monster is widely loved by hobbyists, video game fans, and casual board gamers. The publisher Brotherwise Games has proven to design excellent games, too. Call to Adventure is a fun and inspiring character-creation game, that generates both statistics as well as an epic backstory for an RPG character. Overboss looks to benefit from the light, accessible, but fun style of Brotherwise games.

Check out the BoardGameGeek page for Overboss here.

Vampire: The Masquerade - Rivals

What is it?

A distant descendant of Magic: The Gathering, V:TM Rivals is a variation on the 2-player customizable-deck dueling game. Each player has a different deck of cards, which include characters, that they use to attack their opponent. Rivals is a reimplementation of the 90s CCG Vampire: The Eternal Struggle, a more political version of Magic, allowing up to 4 players to play in the same match.

What’s so special about it?

This new version has many of the same concepts and mechanics as V:TES, but it’s streamlined and rebalanced for speed and ease of play. Many diehard V:TES fans have taken notice of how Rivals provides a much more fun 2-player experience, while still making big, political 4-player games as fun as ever. Rivals also takes the form of an Expandable Card Game, meaning that players have equal access to all published cards. Instead of randomized booster packs and a pricey aftermarket, Rivals is published in core sets and expansions, making all cards and strategies accessible.

Check out the BoardGameGeek page for Vampire: The Masquerade - Rivals here.

 

Mind MGMT: The Psychic Espionage “Game”

What is it?

Mind MGMT is most succinctly described as a “hidden movement” game. The board is a map of locations, and one player has to visit certain locations, and remains hidden from the other players. The other players are a team trying to track down and capture the hidden player. Sort of like Fox and Geese, but in tabletop form. Similar to board games like Scotland Yard from the 80s, and more recently Fury of Dracula, Mind MGMT introduces some twists and turns that make it much more thinky - but also more exciting, tense, and surprising.

What’s so special about it?

The team that brings Mind MGMT to life are proven talents. The setting of Mind MGMT comes from a series of graphic novels by one Matt Kindt. Kindt spins a unique story of conspiracy, psychic spies, and a shadow rebellion, told with a distinct watercolor art style. The rules for Mind MGMT come from Jay Cormier and Sen-Foong Lin, a duo who together have designed some fan-favorite hobby games like Belfort and Akrotiri, as well as cool licensed games based on The Godfather, The Shining, and Orphan Black. Mind MGMT looks like a solid game for people who like intrigue, bluffing, and deduction, wrapped up in a stylish package.

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