• I’ve already covered several late 2021 releases from Gamewright in two posts: a June 2021 preview of Phil Walker-Harding‘s roll-and-write game Super Mega Lucky Box, and a July 2021 round-up of Happy City, Chicken Chicken, Hedgehog Roll, Secret Squad, and Qwixx Mixx.
I had mentioned in that July 2021 post that Qwixx Mixx is, as far as I know, the first expansion Gamewright has ever released to retail, so I asked Nora Meiners, Gamewright’s consumer marketing manager, about this during Gen Con 2021. Meiners stated that the number one seller on Gamewright’s website has consistently been Qwixx replacement scoring pads (link), so it made sense to expand the Qwixx line with an additional title that could be an add-on for such orders.
Two other new titles present at Gamewright’s Gen Con 2021 booth were Yōkai, a co-operative card game from Julien Griffon due out in September 2021 in which you try to group like spirits together, and Word Heist, a design for 2-6 players from Nyles Breecher, Patrick Lindsay, and Jordan Sorenson due out in October 2021 in which you use revealed letters to create a word that you hope others won’t guess. You must give some hints as to which letters you used, and the more hints you give, the more you can score…as long as an opponent doesn’t guess the word. If they do, then they score for all the letters used in the word, whether those letters were hinted or not.
When talking about sales and business life during the pandemic, Meiners mentioned that not having NY Toy Fair in early 2021 has been rough on Gamewright’s publicity efforts since the company focuses on mainstream-friendly games and NY Toy Fair is all about introducing those games to retailers. “You have a small build-up for these new games in lots of places that collectively add up”, she said, but without that show, you lose the most effective marketers of your titles.
• Publisher Pops & Bejou Games had hoped to debut CULTivate from designers Austin Foss, Jake Sells, and Jenna Radtke at Gen Con 2021, but the shipment was stuck somewhere in the Los Angeles-Long Beach port mess that I wrote about in this overview post, so they had only two demo copies on hand to show off how each player takes the role of a cult leader, then tries to gain followers and place them in particular patterns on their player board while simultaneously keeping others from doing this.
• Publisher Games by Bicycle had a trio of new releases that hit the U.S. market in August 2021 available for demo or purchase, with Crystallized being a 2-4 player game from Frederica Scott Vollrath in which each turn you play one of three cards in hand. For the colors that you match, you place crystals from your reserve onto the shared storage board — but not all the crystals in play will fit on this board. If you need to place crystals but no room remains, then you can give them to another player who still has this color in their reserve, which means you want to void yourself of colors as quickly as you can so that others can’t stick you with unplayable crystals. Whoever holds the fewest crystals when the storage board is full wins.
Charlie Hoopes‘ Emergency Broadcast is a pattern-building game for 2-4 players in which you take turns placing domino-style tiles on a shared game board to try to score objective cards in your card, whether immediately (in case you think opponents will wreck the layout) or at the end of a round for bonus points. In the first round, you draw six tiles and place five, then in the second round you draw five and place four, but only on top of whatever was placed in the first round. Tiles in the third round are then placed on top of second-level tiles, with new objective cards dealt out at the start of that round.
Game board and sample objective cards
Designer Charlie Hoopes
Sideshow Swap, which was originally self-published by designers Phillip James and Adam Stevenson in 2019, is a 2-8 player game in which you’re trying to end up with the most valuable performer in play. Performers are numbered 0-15, with each player getting one face down at the start of play and five others being placed in a pool. Each turn, you take your salary, optionally purchase a ticket, then either play a ticket (and take the special action printed on it) or swap your performer with one from the pool. You can always peek at your own performer, but everything else you’ve seen needs to stick in memory. When the deck of tickets runs out _ or someone plays the unique game-ending ticket — the game ends, and whoever holds the highest performer wins.
• Publisher Greenbrier Games had advance copies of BarBEARian Battlegrounds: Tales of BarBEARia and the Candy Horde expansion, both of which will hit retail outlets in the U.S. on October 20, 2021. Co-designer Julie Ahern let loose with many bear puns while giving an overview of this 2-6 player game in which you assign dice each round over three seasons to various actions that include attacking your neighbors, gathering resources, gaining specialist powers, placing flags on locations on the adventure board — all in a quest for glory.
In November 2021, Greenbrier Games will launch a crowdfunding campaign for a reboot of Yashima: Legend of the Kami Masters, a 2015 title from designers Tony Gullotti and Joshua Sprung, with Ahern saying that the game will feature redesigned cards for a cleaner game.
Gordon Alford‘s map-exploration and storybook-driven game Lost Ones, which was Kickstarted in November 2020, was available for demo at Gen Con 2021 thanks to copies that had been airshipped ahead of the main shipment, which will ideally have a retail release in Q1 2022.
• I’ve already posted a detailed overview of Azul: Queen’s Garden from designer Michael Kiesling, which Next Move Games will debut at SPIEL ’21, then release in various countries before the end of 2021, but I’m trying to make sure that I check off everything in my notebook, so here’s another pic from my demo game at Gen Con 2021. Go check out that overview if you want to know what’s going on with all the bits…