Welcome to game day 2016! For the inaugural games blog of the year, I’m starting with a look back over 2015 for my favourite games company, Fantasy Flight Games, and all of the awesomeness they brought us – including my top, er, six games from the year! These were incredibly difficult to rank, so I’ve basically not even tried – instead, they’re presented roughly chronologically, along with a look at the new editions and other great stuff out of Roseville. Enjoy!
Elder Sign – Gates of Arkham
The second expansion for Elder Sign, Gates of Arkham totally changed how the game plays, with double-sided location cards and the new gates mechanic. With the recent announcement of Omens of Ice, it seems to have set the tone for the future of the game, also. While it’s true that this expansion is vastly different from the base game, and lovers of the game may be turned off by such a drastic change to the system, it’s nevertheless a wonderful Arkham-lite experience, and definitely needs to be tried!
Star Wars – Force and Destiny
When FFG’s Star Wars roleplaying system was announced back in 2012, we all knew Jedi and other Force-users would be the third tranche of the game. Well, that has finally come to pass with Force and Destiny, which debuted in the summer. Starting with the beginner game, we’ve also had the core book and two supplemental books before the year’s end, providing yet more adventure for Jedi players out there! While I haven’t yet gotten to try this game, it is a beautiful product, and everything I’ve heard about it has been extremely positive. Hopefully next year I’ll get to try this out at last!
Lord of the Rings – The Lost Realm
The fourth deluxe expansion (not counting saga expansions) for the card game, The Lost Realm takes us to yet more uncharted territory as we investigate Angmar, to the north of Middle Earth. This is an expansion/cycle that I was particularly looking forward to seeing, having play-tested the cards last year. As usual, the artwork is amazing, the new rules are interesting, and the scenarios are all pretty compelling, adding up to a really exciting addition to the game! We also get the long-awaited Arwen hero card – I’m not the biggest fan of the character, I have to admit, but I know she’s a fan favourite…
A really interesting game, a bit like Warhammer 40k in space rather than the usual ground-based battles. Forbidden Stars is a game I’ve only tried once, and is the usual FFG affair of lavish boardgaming that I can never say no to. It’s certainly one I’d like to get round to playing more often, as I feel there are layers upon layers of strategy here that need to be explored!
Another Games Workshop tie-in, Warhammer Quest is an interesting amalgamation of card game types, perhaps most strongly of Lord of the Rings LCG. The game certainly has everything fans of the Old World will enjoy, with FFG’s trademark high quality production, and proves to be a really immersive experience. Replayability is perhaps a concern during this early release period, however the success it appears to have been so far should warrant expansions soon enough, so I’ve high hopes we will be enjoying some dungeon-delving fun for a long time to come!
Under the Pyramids
Ending the year with another Lovecraftian game, the second big-box expansion for Eldritch Horror takes us to Egypt with a new sideboard, new investigators and ancient ones, and new adventures! I really enjoyed this expansion, perhaps not as much as Mountains of Madness, but all the same, it gives us fans of Eldritch Horror a lot to enjoy – so much so that a few games will only scratch the surface. I really like the tradition of having a new big box for Christmas, so hope we’ll see this continue for the next few years, at least.
Re-releases and new editions
2015 seemed to have a lot of these. Drakon, Cave Troll, Tigris and Euphrates… Biggest on my list, however, were Fury of Dracula and Runebound. I’d only actually played the earlier edition of Fury of Dracula once, and it wasn’t the best outing due to being merely a two player experience. However, the game seemed interesting enough, so it’s been on my radar somewhat following the re-release. It’s definitely one that I feel would do best in the multiplayer environment, however.
Runebound will forever be one of my all-time favourites in its second-edition incarnation, but the new third edition looked far too interesting to pass up when it came out. Again, one that I haven’t had a chance to try yet, expect an exhaustive review once I have brought it to the table. Let’s see how well Terrinoth is re-implemented!
A Game of Thrones LCG also got itself a new edition, barely with the first edition ending back in May. I love the first edition, and consider it to be one of my all-time favourites, even if I do struggle to get any games in anymore, so I haven’t jumped on this particular one, however it is good to see some continued games in Westeros.
Other notable news
After what felt like an age, the Imperial Raider was released for X-Wing. First promised around February, and eventually arriving in August, I’d actually dipped out from the game by the time is came along, so have yet to pick up a copy. It’ll no doubt happen eventually, of course! We also got a second huge ship for the Empire, the Imperial Assault Carrier, which looked too hilarious for me to pass up on. Coming with a slew of new TIE-fighter pilots, however, it’s actually worth getting if you have no interest in epic play.
Speaking of X-Wing, a new core set was released to tie-in with the new movie, with a new damage deck and some slight amendments to the order of actions etc. Perhaps crucially, though, it also helped to steer the game closer to the new canon, rather than continuing to explore the now-legends expanded universe. Expect more as the new books and movies roll out!
With the end to Call of Cthulhu LCG, Fantasy Flight are now down to five living card games. However, they’ll be back up to six next August with the release of Legend of the Five Rings, the long-running CCG, re-envisioned as a LCG. While I’ve seen some criticism, it could be a fine step for the game, so we’ll have to see how this one plays out.
On the subject of LCGs, we also had the fourth deluxe expansion for Android Netrunner, Data and Destiny. I feel this one is worth a mention because of the neutral runners it has introduced to the game, something that is a particularly interesting development. I’ve not had much chance to try any of them out yet, though have been tinkering at one deck, so hopefully I can get to try that soon enough!
So there you have it, my retrospective of Fantasy Flight’s 2015 releases. What did you think of the year? Have I missed out anything you thought was amazing? Let me know in the comments!