10 Board Games to check out in early 2021 for your collection

10 Board Games to check out in early 2021 for your collection

The year has just started and with Covid stumping more than one game publisher and delaying releases. That does not mean that there are no games that are coming or are out already that wont fill a good spot in a collection.  

To that end, here are 10 games for your consideration if you are looking to get the perfect game for the many perfect people in your lives and yes that includes you too. 

Infinity Gauntlet: A Love Letter Game 

A love letter game that is a cut above the rest and a first true deviation from the core mechanics of Love letter. Infinity Gauntlet is instead a one versus many game that pits Thanos versus the Avengers.

Each turn heroes will draw a card and choose to play one of the two cards in their hand, having to do its ability, trying to defeat Thanos in the process to win. Thanos on the other hand will be trying to collect the Infinity stones or defeat the avengers to win the game. A quick easy game that gives the theme of the Avengers fighting Thanos, all in 15minutes!

Pandemic: Hot  Zone - North America

A perfect starting game for a family who are looking to get into boardgames. Based on the award winning game Pandemic, Hot Zone reduces the length of the game and its table footprint.

On your turn, you will travel around the world to reduce diseases, build research centres and when you have enough cards, find a cure for the diseases. All the while trying not to lose in more than one way. In the busy world of Singapore where time and space is at a premium. Hot Zone ticks all the boxes to allow a family to dip their toes into this great hobby without breaking the wallet or time investment. 

Calico

From the plethora of videos involving cute cats on the internet, it is not hard to say that the feline theme is a safe bet. Add to that the beautiful art design involving quilt patterns and you have what can only be said as an eye catching game. 

That being said, the game, Calico is an abstract one. On your turn you choose a quilt tile to place on your personal quilt board. Then if it matches scoring patterns, you will score points and cats that will come to rest on your quilt if their favourite patterns are matched. The person with the most points at the end wins. 

Small World of Warcraft

Small World, the family game that has stood the test of time with countless expansions has now finally with the popularity of tabletop games gotten the likes of Blizzard to allow their Warcraft IP onto it.

In Small World of Warcraft you play as one of the races of Azeroth and have randomly chosen traits. Which gives you a set amount of soldier tiles and unique race and trait abilities. Which you will use to expand your area of influence and gain money. But it is a small world and thus very soon other races will fight you for the same territory. At some point you might even retire a race so you can choose another one to conquer the board. The player with the most money at the end wins, and gets to tell their own history of Azeroth in under an hour. 

Also Read: 11 Unique Board Games from 2019

Tang Garden

The golden age of China, the Tang Dynasty and the Emperor Xuanzhong has chosen you and your fellow architects to build the Imperial Gardens. Taking into account the whims of the many wealthy patrons and the Emperor's court. 

In Tang Garden, you will choose one of the face-up tiles and then place it on the board, collecting element points or choose to place a decoration onto the board for end game points. Also as you gain element points, you can more importantly gain characters that you can place onto the board for more end game points. The person with the most points wins and is known as the best architect of the famed Tang Garden. 

Pandemic Legacy: Season 0

A prequel to the most popular Legacy game in the world, Pandemic Legacy. Legacy being a system that changes the game permanently after almost every game with its story and has you and your group stick stickers, tear up cards, etc. from the game. In Pandemic Legacy: Season 0, you are CIA operatives looking to stop the Soviets during the Cold War from achieving their goal of Operation Medusa. 

Now importantly, although the gameplay is still at its core from the original game of Pandemic. This one adds a lot of new features beyond the surprises of the Legacy element, such as combatting Soviet agents on top of pathogens. And customisation wise, you get even more than any of the other games in the series. With the ability to stick new haircuts, accessories and such on your character passport to make not only a unique game by the end but unique characters too. Do note that Season 0 is a standalone game and there is no need to have played Season 1 or 2 before you play Season 0. 

Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion

A starter introduction set to the massively popular game and the number one board game in the world according to the massive user base (I am one) of the most popular board game website in the world Boardgamegeek.com, Gloomhaven. Jaws of the Lion is a prequel to the original game and so if you not played it before, the story flows perfectly by playing this first before Gloomhaven. 

Gloomhaven is a dungeon crawler board game that uses a system of cards instead of dice to reduce luck for combat and is known for its good story. This of course applies to Jaws of the Lion too and it has the big plus of teaching you the Gloomhaven system step by step in scenarios with an easy setup game to game. A criticism of the original game even though it was so popular. And if Jaws of the Lion scratches all the boxes, you can then invest in the way more expensive Gloomhaven experience.

Marvel Villainous: Infinite Power

The asymmetrical Villainous system now spreads its wings into the Marvel Universe. Play as the villains for once and fight the Avengers and the other villains too. 

In Villainous, you choose a villain to play and each of them has a themed deck of cards with personal goals that if reached wins them the game. The interaction comes in the form of playing hero cards at each other during play,  forcing them to deal with it as they pursue their goals too. What is even more unique in this version of Marvel Villainous: Infinite Power, is that if you use Thanos in the game, the game becomes even more interactive and thematic as Thanos wants to claim the Infinity stones from the other players by force. 

Tekhenu: Obelisk of the Sun

Honour the Gods of Egypt, build the complex of Karnak, compete to the be the purest soul.

Tekhenu is a strategic euro game for those who are looking to spend 2 to 3hours pondering strategy and tactics. As you draft dice that are on the light or dark side of action spaces, the number of the dice gives different actions or resources to score points. Then you have to balance your soul with the number on your dice faces on the light and dark side of your personal board. Imbalance loses you points or makes you go later in turn order. Tekhenu is a game you and your friends will probably play in mostly silence as you all are actively thinking. If that sounds like your kind of game, honour the Gods in Tekhenu.

Dune: Imperium 

Based on the new movie of the famed Sci-Fi novel by Frank Herbert. Dune Imperium sees you fight for power over Arrakis or it is more widely known as Dune. Influence the Fremen, Mentats, Guilds, Bene Gesserit and more, all the while collecting resources to fund your ventures.

Dune Imperium is a unique deck building worker placement. On your turn you play a card which has symbols on where you can send workers on Dune. You will keep doing so until you choose to pass and then reveal your hand for persuasion resources to buy cards to fill your deck or conflict cards to help fight others on Dune. A simple yet strategic system that is filled with theme. Help the spice flow, spice it up with Dune Imperium. 

Winter Kingdom

A reworking of Kingdom Builder from the game designer of the widely popular Dominion. You play a lord in the game. All the while trying to influence widely known nobles to get the most influence.

On your turn, you get to place 3 houses on a terrain showed on the terrain card. Rules are they all have to touch an existing area of the board of the terrain shown and if possible touch an existing building connected to that terrain, if not you can start in a new area of that terrain type. Thus you can see this game can be very strategic for both families and hardcore gamers. 

Email: huibin@toytag.com

Zhou Huibin is a smith of words who majored in Philosophy & History from the University of Western Australia and whose life has followed the flow of his hobbies. He seeks continual contentment in his ponders, reading, writing, painting and board games which fills almost all of his time.
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