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New games to be looking for!

Game awards are something that happens all through the year. I have already spoken of Spiel des Jahres in the last few weeks. Now, the Mensa Select winners for 2018 have been announced.

The Mensa Select is the highest game award awarded at the annual Mensa Mind Games competition. Mind Games is something that sounds both fun and terrifying to me. About 300 Mensa members play up to 30 pre-selected new release games for 40 hours and judge them. It’s like a board game boot camp!

While this kind of recognition is terrific for the publishers and designers, it’s also great for us as players. Like the Spiel des Jahres nominees, it’s hard to go wrong with any Mensa Select game. This year, I only have two new games to track down that I don’t already own!

So without further delay, let me introduce you to this year’s Mensa Select winners.  There is no order to the prizes, so I have listed from least plays to most plays!

Constellations: The Game of Stargazing and the Night Sky

I know nothing of this one. It completely passed me by, and that’s what I love about awards like this.

According to the Kickstarter video, this is a continuation of a series, so I might have a couple of points to look at!

On the surface, it looks like a set collection/hand management type of card game where you have to create actual constellations. It’s a game I would have looked at as a maybe, I love the idea, but now I will put effort into tracking down a copy!

The Kickstarter video will give you a better feel than I can summarise here, and there is also the Board Game Geek page.

Raiders of the North Sea

I have already been trying to grab this one for a few reasons. It’s a Renegade Games release, and I love their games. It’s also a 2017 Kennerspiel des Jahres nominee.

Raiders of the North Sea is a Viking themed worker placement game with multiple victory conditions. It is definitely a competitive game, but from what I can see has elements of semi-cooperative and risk/reward as well. Players wouldn’t work together as such, but what helps you now may help your opponent more.

Check out the Board Game Geek page for more information.

Raiders of the North Sea 3D Board Render
Raiders of the North Sea

Azul

Ahhh Azul. Last years darling convention darling in sales, and deservedly so.

Azul is a great abstract tile laying game that works well with two to four people. It is an incredibly simple game as well. Players take turns drafting tiles to place on their board, where specific patterns score higher points.

It is a game you can very much play your way. You can play offensively to try and thwart other players plans. You can almost play multiplayer solitaire, with everyone just doing their own thing. And while not strictly competitive, you can all play together helping each other see patterns on each other’s boards.

Check out the Board Game Geek page for more information.

Azul Board Game
Tiles and Patterns of Azul

Photosynthesis

Probably the most complex game in this group, but still simple enough to teach to anyone as you play.

I want to describe the game in a paragraph, but I always fail. I just love talking about it! So I have linked to the overview video from the Blue Orange website.

What I will say is Photosynthesis is always fun to play. The scoring is a little tricky and may take a game or two to really get a handle on, but you will enjoy even a low scoring game!

Check out the Board Game Geek page for more information.

Ex Libris

And finally, the game that made organising books fun again! When I first heard of Ex Libris, I thought the premise was cute. You organise books on shelves, keeping the order tidy and trying to have a well-balanced selection. Ok, I like logic puzzles.

Then I started seeing the actual rules and some of the worker placement powers. What I thought was just a simple logic puzzle turned into a risk/reward worker placement game that is a blast to play!

I talked about it on the third Blatherings episode as well, and a full review is coming shortly.

Until then, check out the Board Game Geek page for more information.

Ex Libris Bookshelf
My first ever Ex Libris collection

Renegade Game Studios have cleaned up this year with two of the five winners – Ex Libris and Raiders of the North Sea. As one of my favourite publishers, I am glad they are getting this kind of recognition.

While I haven’t been chasing every Renegade game that has come out, I have yet to grab a Renegade game I haven’t liked!

Hopefully, this will give you some ideas of some great games to play or gift.  Let me know if you grab some, or if you have played any of these games I haven’t!

Until then,

JohnHQLD
Author JohnHQLD
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Categories Bits of Interest
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