Games joining the collection in December 2023

Games joining the collection in December 2023

Post-Essen, there was no shortage of great new games to playtest. Here are the highlights of the games that joined the collection in December...

Playing Zhanguo

Zhanguo: The First Empire, was an unexpected addition - a reimplementation of a 2014 classic that sees vastly improved graphical design and additional mechanics. This is a heavy euro with multiple point scoring areas to keep track of from area majority to set collection, a delightful card-tucking engine builder built upon dual-use cards, and just enough player interaction to matter. It took me a couple of games to really feel I had a handle on what was happening. By the third game I was hooked.



Playing Apiary

Apiary was a game I was looking forward to since worker placement is one of my favourite mechanics, and the space bees theme has a lot of potential! I've also enjoyed the worker levelling mechanic from other games such as Teotihuacan - here it plays a more central role gating access to some powerful actions and acting as a game timer as your bees mature and go into hibernation. Apiary turned out to be more tactical than I expected - reacting to the tiles in the market to find those powerful combinations that work with your faction powers and direct you to particular end game scoring tiles. I have to admit I've lost every game I've played so far, but it's accessibility (a quick teach), and the excitement of snagging the seemingly overpowered rule-breaking tiles that somehow don't unbalance the game, makes this a worthy addition to the collection.


Playing Lacuna

I'm not usually a fan of abstract games as noted by their absence from the collection, but Lacuna won me over with its simple design and elegant gameplay. It's one of those games with multiple phases where you have to think ahead to the problems and opportunities future-you is going to be cursing you for. After the first game you'll get what you should have done and be diving right back in for another play. If you haven't seen the Shut up and Sit Down review, it's a great place to start.


Kutna Hora cardboard computers

Kutna Hora was another game I was eager to get my hands on given CGE's reputation. It's a classic euro with opportunities for point scoring by building out the city of Kutna Hora, digging in the mines, and pleasing the nobles. So far, so average - there's nothing particularly new in these mechanisms although they are well done. What sets Kutna Hora apart is the little 'cardboard computers' that come with the game which control the market price of the goods. As supply increases the price drops, as the population grows demand increases, but unlike most games where the market price is shifted by the players and is fairly transparent, Kutna Hora's algorithmic approach means you're never totally sure how your actions will affect the markets. Check out their design diary for more detail on how this works in practice. I'm still not sure whether the initial novelty will see Kutna Hora staying long-term in the collection, but for now it's certainly racking up the plays.


Playing Run

Run is a quick but challenging hidden movement game for two that my son and I just couldn't put down over xmas. One player is the runner trying to collect three gadgets and get to the safe house while burning through their limited set of moves. The other player is dispatch trying to narrow down the runners location with scans and some public information to deal two hits and stop the runner in their tracks. It's fast to play and hard to win, with a nice inbuilt levelling system to ensure that the game is balanced between the asymmetric sides. Run takes a well-earned place as our first hidden movement game in the collection.


Playing General Orders

General Orders: World War II is another two player addition to the collection from the designers of the Undaunted series. It's a neat and quick worker placement wargame in a beautiful little box that reminded me of the 20 minute series from PSC games. By careful placing of your commanders, you work to hold the valuable territory in the middle of the board at game end, but you can't take your eye off your base as a successful attack there is an instant win. Alex at boardgameco has a great review that's worth watching.


Dune Imperium: Uprising sandworm minis

Finally, I was very excited to see one of my favourite games get an refresh - Dune Imperium: Uprising is more a second edition than an expansion. Adding some new mechanisms and tuning the balance of the original worker-placement come deck-builder. Plus you get little sandworm minis! This refresh ensures that Dune Imperium will continue to be in the collection for a long time to come. 

Back to blog

Leave a comment