What games were we playing in 2019?
It's that time of the year where we start to reflect on what we managed to play this year and, this time, it's not just the original crew. That's right folks. Vault Games has gone through some monumental changes this year, most notable of which is the addition of not one, not two, but four new team members! And we've opened the floor for everyone to give you the downlow on what's we've been playing this year, and why you need to give it a shot!
Dylan: Blood bowl has been a bit of a sleeper hit around the minis world lately. A lot of people know of it. Many have played or still play the great digital versions you can pick up on Steam during one of their copious number of sales. But no one really jumps into the physical game unless they see someone else playing it. And my god, do a lot of people play Blood Bowl.
For me, the highlight was how well the idea of "Fantasy Football" works when you have a team of halflings getting thrown about the pitch by Tree Ents, dodging past burly brutal orks, and slipping away from the claws of the undead. Did I win a lot this year? No. I think I'm the only player at Vault who had to concede a match due to all but 2 players being knocked out or injured by the opposing team. But boy did I have fun. And that's the key. Blood Bowl is fun.
Cassie: Blood Bowl! The most excellent combination of sports and fantasy in one! I played two different teams this year, and had a lot of fun doing it! League play adds another level, and after each match I was obsessed with finding the best strategy to upgrade my team members. There’s so much creativity to be had as well from your paint scheme to what you name your players. Look out for Teal’c the undead mummy guardian!
Josh: Blood bowl is just so damn good.
Ash: Bunny Kingdom is the best combination of card-drafting and territory control game I have ever played. Add on the fact that it has the cutest little bun bun figurines and the most adorable carrot castles it’s no wonder I have played hours and hours of this game. The different combinations of cards and the power plays between characters gets the blood pumping every time. Add in the new even more adorable, magical expansion and you have a combination of cute and ruthless that I just adore and can’t wait to play again. This game is perfect with 3 or 4 and up to 5 with the expansion and is perfect for heavy gamers and lighter gamers alike. Please go try this game!
Cassie: With nuanced gameplay that both the heavy euro-gamers and casual players can enjoy, I found that each time I played I discovered new strategies and interactions with each turn. I’m not sure I’ve found the right one yet, as every time I make a plan it turns into something else, but it still keeps me coming back for more.
Pippin: A new creation from the makers of Mysterium that uses the same elements such as abstract pictures for clues. However Obscurio shakes everything up a bit by introducing a hidden role element. A really enjoyable game to play that isn't too intense in regards to the hidden role aspect. It encourages conversation and cooperation between players and is great with a large group of friends!
Ishtar: Gardens of Babylon
Jennah: Ishtar has surprisingly quick gameplay that still requires strategic thinking and preplanning. The aim is to create gardens with multiple flowerbeds to maximize points as well as collect gems to give you access to bonus abilities and trees.
Due to the modular board setup and randomness of the garden beds, it will provide a lot of replay ability. Even though it was a late release this year from Iello it’s still the game of the year for me and I’ve had a lot of fun playing it. The quality of the components and artwork of the game is fantastic as well
Josh: Bosk was a pleasant surprise of colour and strategy. It boasts easy to learn mechanics with an underlying depth of strategy between placing the trees and scattering the leaves with the changing wind.
Dylan: This game is definitely one that should not be overlooked... kinda like I did right up until I made Gabe, the Intern write an article about it. What was I thinking not playing this?! Bosk combines some great (and frankly, quite cutthroat) competitive gameplay with the beautiful aesthetics of a national park. What Gabe said is pretty spot on. Why aren't you playing it?
Flesh and Blood
Trent: A refreshing twist on the usual 'army versus army' style of competitive card games, Flesh and Blood pits 2 Heroes against each other in a duel to the death utilising weapons, attacks and armour to either overpower, outlast or outplay your opponent. The unique design of each type of Hero (Either Brute, Warrior, Ninja or Guardian) really brings a dynamic to repeat play that keeps you on your toes.
The rules, though unique and engaging, stem from many other very popular card games (as an example, the game uses both a graveyard and a banished zone a-la Yu-Gi-Oh and pitches cards as mana a-la Duel Masters) and the game is very fresh on the market so the card pool is fairly small, making Flesh and Blood exceptionally easy to pick up, and definitely worth it.
Flesh and Blood is coming soon to Vault Games. Keep an eye out on our Facebook page in the new year.
Dylan: Now this is a game that shouldn't have sat on our shelf for so long! I'm sensing a theme in the games I considered 'great' this year, it's that they surprised me at how fun they actually were. Res Arcana was crafted by the same hand that brought us Race for the Galaxy, and it certainly feels like it.
The underlying engine-building aspect of the game permeates every action you take, but there's added elements of using your actions to take down your opponents, as well as chaining your resource engine together for maximum efficiency that makes this game addictive. I wish I played more of it this year.