The 48 Most Anticipated Games of Essen Spiel 2019

Join the Meeple Mountain writing team as we take a look at the most anticipated games of Essen Spiel 2019, the largest board game convention in the world.

Essen Spiel: the world’s largest board game convention. A 4 day controlled free fall of fun, friends, and lots and lots of board games. At last count there were more than 1,200 new titles releasing at this year’s event, with more being added every day. An estimated 200,000+ people will wend their ways through the halls of the Messe convention center from October 24 – October 27, visiting publishers, buying the hot new releases from vendors, and playing games on every possible space. If you’re lucky enough to attend this event, or import the games on your own, you might get to play some of the titles on this list early…but the rest of us will just have to wait until they show up on the shores of North America later this year, or sometime in 2020.

The Meeple Mountain team has worked for the past month to sift through the list of over 1,200 hot new games and cherry-pick our most anticipated titles of Essen Spiel 2019. With this many new games on display there’s sure to be something for everyone. Peruse our picks, or take a look at the BoardGameGeek Spiel ‘19 game list and select your own, then make sure to let us know in the comments what titles you’re most looking forward to.

And now on to the games!

David McMillan

Masters of Renaissance: Lorenzo Il Magnifico – The Card Game

Publisher: Cranio Creations
Designer: Simone Luciani, Nestore Mangone
Availability: For Sale

I love Lorenzo il Magnifico, so the chance to explore the game in a new way excites me. In Masters of Renaissance, you are shifting marbles around in a fixed display in order to gain the resources that you need to spend in order to gain points. The interesting thing about it is that you’re not only shifting marbles to obtain things for yourself, but you’re also setting up the display for your opponents on their turns. I’m looking forward to seeing how this clever mechanic plays out in person.

Read our review of Lorenzo Il Magnifico – The Card Game.

Terra Mystica: Merchants of the Seas

Publisher: Z-Man Games
Designer: Eduardo Andrade, James Ataei, Jens Drögemüller, Helge Ostertag
Availability: For Sale

Terra Mystica’s been a mainstay of my gaming collection for awhile now and it is one of those games that I am always glad to play in any format whether it be analog or digital. This expansion introduces maritime trade into the game and it’s definitely got my curiosity piqued.

Find out why we love Terra Mystica.

Key Market 2nd Edition

Publisher: R&D Games
Designer: Richard Breese
Availability: For Sale

I am a Richard Breese fanatic and I was very excited when Richard Breese announced this reprint of one of the earlier “Key” titles that I’d missed out on. Even though the Kickstarter will have fulfilled before Essen, this will be the first time that the game will be commercially available to people that didn’t back the campaign. I have yet to play a game in the “Key” series that didn’t delight me and I’m excited to finally have a chance to play this one as well.

Robin von Locksley

Publisher: Wyrmgold GmbH
Designer: Uwe Rosenberg
Availability: For Sale

This two player game takes place in the Robin Hood universe. The players are trying to race around the edge of the board by completing different missions. These missions are fulfilled by acquiring certain types of loot that can be picked up from the grid of loot cards in the middle of the game area. The players pick up loot by moving their pawns around on a grid.

The video that was recently put up on Youtube for this game looks really interesting and I am an avid Uwe Rosenberg junkie. So, it goes without saying that I am very excited for this one!

Read our review of Robin von Locksley.

Andy Matthews

Ecos: First Continent

Publisher: AEG
Designer: John C. Clair
Availability: For sale

In Ecos: First Continent 1-6 players are forces of nature given the opportunity to mold and shape a brand new world to their liking. Raise up continents and habitats, reform the seas, and bring life to your new world. Ecos: First Continent is a simultaneous play, engine building game with a clever twist; your engine is constantly changing. Gather energy, plan ahead and you might master the elements needed to win you the game, and the entire world.

I’ve already played Ecos: First Continent several times and it’s a meaty puzzle. Players must constantly balance this turn’s moves with next turns victory point conditions. Because the board is constantly in flux the decisions you make this turn won’t necessarily come to fulfilment next turn, but clever players can wrangle victory from just a few clever decisions. Don’t miss this one!

Read our review of Ecos: First Continent.

Cooper Island

Publisher: Capstone Games
Designer: John C. Clair
Availability: Preorder

Cooper Island is a nautical themed exploration game set in what appears to be The Bahamas. In Cooper Island players will explore a chain of 5 small islands, attempting to settle, discover resources, gather supplies.

In typical Capstone fashion Cooper Island looks amazing, with rich lush artwork and great looking components. While I haven’t played this one, I know the care that Capstone has for their games and I’m sure Cooper Island will be no exception.

Florenza Dice Game

Publisher: Post Scriptum
Designers: Danilo Festa, Stefano Groppi
Availability: Preorder

Florenza Dice Game is a heavyweight roll and write version of the eurogame Florenza in which players compete to become Captain of the People. Florenza Dice Game features resource management, building construction and recruitment.

It’s no secret that I love roll and write games, especially when they’ve got some real decisions to be made. Florenza Dice Game seems to have a similar feel to Fleet: Dice Game, Welcome to Dino World, or Welcome To… which means that I’m sure to love it.

Dominations: Road to Civilization

Publisher: Holy Grail Games
Designers: Eric Dubus, Olivier Melison
Availability: For Sale

Dominations: Road to Civilization is a civ-building game which uses triomino shaped tiles that allow player to collect different types of knowledge. Players can then spend this knowledge to add to their tech tree, build cities, or even construct monuments.

Civ building games have a tendency to take some time to play, btu the listed play time on Dominations: Road to Civilization is 1-2 hours which puts it solidly in my wheelhouse. After watching some coverage of this game I literally smiled to myself because I was so excited to try it out. Dominations was a big Kickstarter hit last summer and is currently finishing production. Look for this one to hit your shelves by the end of the year.

Paris: New Eden

Publisher: Matagot
Designers: Florian Grenier, Ludovic Maublanc
Availability: For Sale

In Paris: New Eden players are working to recover from an apocalyptic event and building a new future. Set in the ruins of France, players will draft dice to recruit survivors to their camp, build shelters, reconstruct crucial services, and complete secret missions to earn the most victory points and win the game.

I’m a sucker for dice drafting games; the built in randomness of the dice often force you to pick the best of a set of bad choices. I find that games like this encourage outside the box thinking and tactical decisions. Plus the artwork looks really great, and how can you not love a game set in post-apocalyptic Paris? Definitely looking forward to this one!

Project L

Publisher: Boardcubator
Designers: Michal Mikeš, Jan Soukal, Adam Spanel
Availability: For Sale

Project L is a clever and unique tile matching and puzzle game doing double duty as an engine builder. Each turn players use polyomino tiles from their play area in an attempt to build cards from a shared tableau. Once a card is completed players receive their original tiles back, and also earn new tiles as shown on the completed card, allowing them to build even more complex cards.

The cards have an inset cutout, the tiles are colorful, and the gameplay looks manic and challenging. Project L is certainly a game to keep your eye on!

Watch our video review of Project L.

Copenhagen: Roll & Write

Publisher: Queen Games
Designers: Asger Harding Granerud, Daniel Skjold Pedersen
Availability: For Sale

In Copenhagen: Roll & Write, the little brother of the big box polyomino game, players roll colored dice in order to collect enough of each color to earn shapes on a central board. By marking those shapes onto their personal boards players will be able to complete the famous colored facades of the houses of Copenhagen.

Another roll and write? Shocking I know, but I can’t help it. Sadly I missed out on the Kickstarter for the original Copenhagen, but at least I can console myself with a roll and write version of the game.

Marcus Cathey


Publisher: Libellud
Designer: L’Atelier
Availability: Pending October 2019

From the publishers of Mysterium and Dixit comes another game of picture clues. While these aren’t my favorite types of games, there’s a different element in this one that is one of my favorite elements, a traitor! Can this be the tipping point for me?

In Obscurio, you play a group of wizards trapped in a library maze. One player will operate the grimoire trying to help you escape with clues as to which door to take, but one of you is secretly the Sorcerer putting illusions and stumbling blocks in your way.

Jesse Fletcher

Clank Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated

Publisher: Direwolf Digital / Renegade Game Studios
Designer: Andy Clautice, Paul Dennen
Availability: For Sale, Available for Pre-order

Clank! is my favorite deck-building game that deserves all the acclaim it has gotten; I’ve been a huge fan of legacy games since first playing Pandemic: Legacy. Adding a legacy campaign and compelling narrative to a game that I already love? It’s a no-brainer for me.

Through the Ages: New Leaders and Wonders

Publisher: Czech Games Edition
Designer: Vlaada Chvatil
Availability: For Sale

Through the Ages is a fantastic card-driven civilization game that really gives me the feel of taking my civilization from its earliest origins up to the modern age. Keeping the balancing act of managing food, resources, technology, military, and culture is a delightful puzzle that is as strategic as it is thematic. New Leaders and Wonders is an expansion to the base game that adds loads of content, allowing you to play with either just the expansion content, the base game with some updated cards, or a random mix of the two. The expansion is already available on the excellent digital adaptation of the game. I’ve played through a couple games with the expansion content, which was enough to convince me to snag this expansion for my real-life copy.

Suburbia: Collector’s Edition

Publisher: Bezier Games
Designer: Ted Alspach
Availability: For Sale

Suburbia is the quintessential city-building game and a wonderful example of how to make tile-laying thematic. In Suburbia, players buy buildings to put in their city, managing their reputation and income in order to have the best city possible. If there’s been one gripe historically, it’s been that the art and graphic design is somewhat drab. The Suburbia: Collector’s Edition features brand new vibrant artwork and includes both all existing expansions plus one new one, not to mention  custom components from GameTrayz. While the price point is higher than your traditional game, the incredible components and expansion content certainly make up the difference.

We have many thoughts about Suburbia..

Iron Forest

Publisher: Brain Games
Designer: Brian Gomez
Availability: For Demo

Ice Cool is a delightful family-level dexterity game that won the 2017 Children’s Game of the Year (Kinderspiel des Jahres) that involves flicking weighted penguins around the board to collect fish. Iron Forest is its grown-up cousin that literally takes it to the next level. With a two-story board and a nifty series of pipes that connect the two levels, you’ll be flicking your mechs, each with unique powers, through multiple scenarios in a campaign-style game. Dexterity campaign with variable player powers? Color me interested.

Kurt Refling


Publisher: Lifestyle Boardgames Ltd
Designer: Yaniv Kahana, Oren Shainin
Availability: For Sale

Kauchuk is a game from first-time designer Yaniv Kahana. The theme is somewhat unremarkable: treasure hunting in fantasy-themed temples and ruins. What is remarkable is the way Kauchuk asks players to interact with the board… rubber bands. Like the scissors of ClipCut Parks or the origami of Fold-it, Kauchuk is innovating new ways to play. With several boards for different games, Kauchuk — “rubber” in Russian — looks like a fun twist on area control.


Publisher: 2F-Spiele
Designer: Friedemann Friese
Availability: For Sale

Fire! is a new entry in Friedemann Friese’s “fable” series: a twist on the legacy-style campaign games played with a deck of cards (and no component destruction). The fun theme of a classic arcade game appeals to me right away, and the idea of a game that quietly but quickly builds in complexity is a great step in accessibility.

Gemblo Trio

Publisher: Gemblo, Inc.
Designer: Justin Oh
Availability: For Sale

From the mind behind the adorably strange Click Clack Lumberjack comes Gemblo Trio: an abstract strategy game for three players reminiscent of Blokus. Players compete to place their playing pieces, each made up of a series of connected hexagons (aka polyhexes, one of my favourite board game words). The simple “gotcha!” is that every piece you play must not touch any other piece of your colour, making for a fun puzzle with approachable rules.

Moon Base

Publisher: itten
Designer: Naotaka Shimamoto
Availability: For Sale

A stunningly beautiful abstract strategy game from publisher itten, Moon Base is a two-player game of area control. Players spend the game placing rings of silver and gold on the moon, stacking their pieces in a growing 3D puzzle. It is no surprise that Moon Base is as gorgeous as it is, given that Shimamoto’s resume includes games like Stonehenge and the Sun (in which a ball hangs from a string attached to the ceiling). Moon Base is premiering in both English and Japanese.

Sensor Ghosts

Publisher: Wren Games
Designer: Janice Turner, Stu Turner
Availability: For Sale

Sensor Ghosts is my favourite kind of cooperative game: approachable rules but punishing gameplay. A standalone sequel to the Turners’ previous game Assembly, Sensor Ghosts follows the plight of astronauts in a meteor storm after the loss of their space station. Layered in cool blues and purples, Sensor Ghosts’ minimal aesthetic and modular board will be an eye-catching attraction on the Essen floor.

Brody Sheard

Crystal Palace

Publisher: Feuerland Spiele
Designer: Carsten Lauber
Availability: For Sale

It’s the first World Fair in London (1851), and players are trying to create excitement with new inventions and gain support from famous people. Crystal Palace is a dice placement game where players will determine the stats of the dice at the beginning of each round. The higher the number, the better, although higher dice come with a price.  You will choose to place dice in one of eight different sections to ultimately become the best at gaining resources, patents, and having the most brains with all the new spectacular inventions. This game looks like it isn’t too complicated yet contains enough strategy for me to really enjoy it.

Read our review of Crystal Palace.


Publisher: Portal Games
Designer: Piotr Haraszczak, Ignacy Trzewiczek
Availability: For Sale

I never had the chance to play the original version of Pret-a-Porter. But since I really enjoy economic strategy games, and the game is set in the world of fashion, it caught my attention. Players run competing clothing companies and battle each other during fashion shows. In running your business you will be opening locations, hiring workers, and trying to gain new capabilities to get ahead of everyone else. Everything is important: your designs, your brand, the accountants tracking your money, your models, and all of your contracts. Winning stars will give you more money to hire new stuff and you get better while your opponents don’t.

Alubari: A Nice Cup of Tea

Publisher: Studio H, Surprised Stare Games Ltd
Designer: Tony Boydell
Availability: For Sale

Alubari, from the same designer as Snowdonia,  is all about the tea industry. Players will need to cultivate and harvest their own teas while also helping to build the railroad used for transporting your goods. You will be using worker placement mechanics to decide what areas you want to focus on. You are competing to help with the railroad the most, build in the towns along the way, and have the best tea garden. This is another economic game, as I mentioned above, I enjoy those types of games and I’m excited for Alubari: A Nice Cup of Tea.

Find out more games about tea.


Publisher: BLAM!
Designer: Luka Krieza
Availability: For Sale

I have a hippie side and because of my profession (nurse practitioner) I’m familiar with the theme of the game, chakras. In the game you will need to fill in your seven different chakras with gems that represent different energies in your body. To gain the most points, you will need to harmonize these energies, by taking one of three different actions. When a player aligns five of their chakras, the last turn is triggered and final scoring is performed. This looks like a family level game that I think my wife would really enjoy.

Fuji Koro

Publisher: Game Brewer
Designer: Jerome Demeyere
Availability: For Sale

I did a video review of Fuji Koro earlier in the year and I am super excited about it. In fact it might be my number one game of the year. In Fuji Koro you move around collecting resources to make better weapons, explore a volcano, and fight dragons. You will need to achieve some goals to gain better weapons to gain more dice to roll to fight off harder and harder dragons. At a point in the game, you will need to hurry back to the center of the board to escape the volcano before it erupts. After escaping each round you will place achievements on goals to gain points, such that the first person who claims it will get more points than those that claim it at a later point in the game. The game is a great hybrid of euro and miniatures with a twist of a Clank! ending as you need to get out of the volcano before lava covers your escape route.

You can see more of my Essen picks in my “Most Anticipated Games of Essen” video over on YouTube.

Leslie Ewing


Publisher: Final Frontier Games
Designer: Jonny Pac Cantin
Availability: For Sale

When I saw the art from Mihajlo Dimitrievski (aka The Mico: Raiders of the North Sea, Architects of the West Kingdom), I knew I had to know more. Coloma is set during the Gold Rush of the 1840s and each player is trying to strike it rich. It has some basic game mechanics like simultaneous action selection, worker placement, etc but with new twists on those actions. For example, if a large majority of the players select the same action then the extra bonus for that action will not be available. The art was the first thing that intrigued me, but after reading more about the game play and the new take on basic mechanics I’m even more excited to try it!

Dungeonology: The Expedition

Publisher: Ludus Magnus Studios
Designer: Diego Fonseca, Danilo Guidi
Availability: For Sale

I love the premise of this game – each player is an explorer who is trying to finish their thesis on Dungeonology. Instead of your typical fight ‘em dungeon crawl, players study different monster’s habits, take notes, and try to not be found. Wish I could have had that opportunity when I went to school… I may have been more inclined to get my doctorate 😀

50 Clues: The Fate of Leopold

Publisher: Norsker Games
Designer: Jeppe Norsker
Availability: For Sale

Puzzles along with an engaging story – just a few of my favorite things. The story of  50 Clues: The Fate of Leopold centers around a lady named Maria who is trapped in a psychiatric ward trying to escape so she can save her son. There are 3 games in the line and the story of Maria continues through all of them. It doesn’t seem to bring anything new that other puzzle, story-driven games have done in the past, but the story has me interested.

Rachel LeCompte

Orléans Stories

Publisher: dlp games
Designer: Reiner Stockhausen
Availability: Preorder

Orléans Stories is a 2-4 player game which uses the bag-building mechanism seen in the original Orléans, but adds a storytelling component, allowing players to dive deeper into the game’s time and place. Orléans Stories has players striving for prosperity through farming, building, and settling in the Loire Valley, playing out their successes and failures by following either “The First Kingdom” or “King’s Favor” stories. “The First Kingdom” plays over eight eras while “The King’s Favor” spans over five, providing a more preliminary experience of the game. These stories bring a fresh look to each session, requiring players to modify their strategies. If you enjoy bag building games, check out Altiplano also designed by Reiner Stockhausen, or Automobiles.

Tiffany Leigh

Fast Sloths

Publisher: 2F Spiele & Stronghold Games
Designer: Friedemann Friese
Availability: For Sale

The paradoxically-titled Fast Sloths is a cutely-themed, tactical race that looks and feels like a hybrid of Dominant Species and The Quest for El Dorado. Players are the titular sloths and must travel the modular hex board to eat leaves by piggybacking onto other faster creatures. There are twelve possible factions with their own unique movement cards – including Humans and Unicorns! – and players must draft and manage these helper cards as efficiently as possible to finish the race. Fast Sloths is the first pickup-and-deliver game where the subjects themselves are picked up and delivered! With oodles of replay value, low luck, and high strategy, the fun factor looks inexhaustible for even the laziest sloth.

Expedition to Newdale

Publisher: Lookout Games
Designer: Alexander Pfister
Availability: For Sale

Alexander Pfister has THE hotly-anticipated game at Essen this year with Maracaibo but his other title should generate some buzz – a board game version set in his Oh My Goods! card game universe. Expedition to Newdale is the same core resource engine builder as its predecessor but adds worker placement in the form of press-your-luck blind bag draws, and variable maps that change the game state to unspool an ongoing, campaign-based narrative of the region as players develop it. This game may be worth a look for fans of Rise of Queensdale or fellow 2019 Essen release Orleans Stories.

Paupers’ Ladder

Publisher: Bedsit Games
Designer: Paul Stapleton
Availability: For Sale

Paul Stapleton is an artist and designer from England whose first self-published game, (A Board Game All About Brighton) was a modest hit considered “The Little Board Game That Could.” His follow-up, Paupers’ Ladder, is a beautifully-illustrated adventure crawl and also an “underdog” game in that players start as lowly paupers racing to change their destinies. Paupers traverse the world of Brighthelm battling creatures, completing quests, crafting magical recipes, and acquiring the virtues needed to become the next benevolent ruler of the land. The Feudum-esque artwork by Mr. Stapleton is absolutely stunning and lovingly rendered, conjuring the whimsical best of J.R.R. Tolkien and even Alice in Wonderland while creating a wholly new and wondrous mythology all its own.

Bruxelles 1897

Publisher: GDM Games
Designer: Etienne Espreman
Availability: For Sale

In 2013 designer Etienee Espreman made his Eurogame debut with Bruxelles 1893, an Art Nouveau-era heavyweight with a fine clockwork of interlocking mechanics including worker placement, area control, auction, and card drafting. The game was critically acclaimed but has been largely forgotten. Six years later (a veritable epoch in the boardgame industry), Mr. Espreman returns with his spiritual, streamlined sequel. In Bruxelles 1897 players are still Belgian architects in the late 19th Century, but the baroque gameplay has been reworked into a card game. Following in the footsteps of San Juan and Lorenzo il Magnifico: The Card Game, Bruxelles 1897 is a more accessible distillation of the original game’s exquisite depth, elegance, and charms.

Read our review of Bruxelles 1897.

Orchard Ocean

Publisher: analog lunchbox
Designer: Masaki Suga
Availability: For Sale

Masaki Suga made an international splash with the tile-laying route puzzle Passtally – and at Spiel will make another “splash” with Orchard Ocean. Like Passtally the game is tile-centric – but that’s where the similarities end. Players plant and farm fruit orchards atop islands in the sea to build a lasting “fruitful” enterprise. Each round players choose a set of tiles from a communal board. Island Tiles represent resources, production, victory points, and more. Compass Tiles dictate where one can place their acquired tiles. Player Order Tiles are also on offer. After tiles are selected they are then placed on player mats (with workers) to build optimal and efficient scoring engines. The game has an Azul meets Tiny Towns aesthetic with revved up production engines baked into the tile puzzle. One can only hope that a United States publisher brings Orchard Ocean across the Atlantic; after Essen, the game will only be available in Japan.

Honorable Mention

The games in this list might not have made the cut, but we think they’re still worth a look.


Dadaocheng, from Mini Park publisher Soso Studio, is a resource management and trading game set in the financial district of Taiwan in the 18th century. By making clever strategic decisions you could become the preeminent trade in all of Taiwan.

Andy – This one looks really cool. I like the low key artwork and the gameplay sounds really interesting.

Azul: Summer Pavilion

Would this list be complete without a mention of the next game in the Azul series, Azul: Summer Pavilion? Players return to Portugal to help construct a summer pavilion for King Manuel and the royal family. With diamond shaped tiles, clever gameplay mechanisms, and the same detailed artwork, Azul: Summer Pavilion is a perfect addition to the family.

Previously Covered

We’ve already reviewed a number of titles releasing in Germany at Essen Spiel 2019. Many of these titles are being released for the first time anywhere, and some of them have already been published in North America and are only now making their way to Germany!

Board Game Cafe Frenzy

If you’ve ever wanted to open your own board game cafe but just don’t have the business acumen, then this clever card game from The Wood Games might be a great place to get your feet wet. Build up the best board game cafe in your town over 20 rounds. Party of three, your table is ready. Read our Board Game Cafe Frenzy review for the details.


In Curios, from Alderac Entertainment Group, players will use logic, deduction, and a bit of good old guesswork to unearth important and valuable artifacts in four different dig sites. Will you stake your reputation on a hunch or will you do the legwork to send your team to the most important locations? Read our review of Curios and put your sleuthing to good skills.

Point Salad

Point Salad from Alderac Entertainment Group takes a handful of different veggies, 2-6 players, and a whole lot of fun. Point Salad isn’t meant to be the main course, but it’s certainly a great filler game; and a strong appetizer. Point Salad is proof that veggies ARE good for you! Read our review of Point Salad for more info.

Jetpack Joyride

The Jetpack Joyride mobile app was a mega hit for Halfbrick Studios, but now you can experience the on your tabletop in Jetpack Joyride the board game from Lucky Duck Studios. Help Barry Steakfries escape the lab in this real time dexterity game. Strap on your suit and read our review of Jetpack Joyride.


Bus is by no means a new game; and the first print runs were by no means attractive. But this Essen, Capstone Games will be releasing a new edition with updated artwork and improved components, while still maintaining the same interactive, tense gameplay. If you have never played a Splotter game, Bus is the perfect entry point. Bus is one of the first worker placement games ever and it still holds a special place in my collection, and my heart. Read my review of Bus.

Letter Jam

Letter Jam is clever blend of Hanabi and Scrabble, where players must work together to help each other figure out their secret words before time runs out. This game is awesome fun at any player count. Read our review of Letter Jam.

Glen More II: Chronicles

In Glen More, the players take turns drafting tiles from a rondel and using those tiles to create a village, produce resources, and score points. Matthias Cramer’s game has become a cult classic. Glen More II: Chronicles is more than just a reprint of a classic game. While it retains the look and feel of its predecessor, it adds some new features and also introduces the Chronicles, a group of modules that can be added to the game to add even more complexity and fun! Read our review of Glen More II: Chronicles.

Irish Gauge

Irish Gauge is a stock-holding cube rails game originally released by Winsome Games back in 2014. It’s now getting a facelift and re-release thanks to Capstone Games. In Irish Gauge 3-5 players invest in 5 different rail lines, running them for profit while trying to get the most dividend payouts before the game comes to an end. Short term partnerships and riding each others’ coattails to victory comes standard, all within a 45 minute-ish playtime. Read our review of Irish Gauge.

Dale of Merchants Collection

The latest entry to the Dale of Merchants series, DoM Collection is more deck dismantling than deck building, pitting 2-4 players in a race to build piles of cards of increasing value. Fully compatible with the earlier games in the series, Dale of Merchants Collection combines charming art, fast and addictive gameplay, and a huge deck of character cards with some of the most exciting and inventive individual player powers since Cosmic Encounter. Read our review of Dale of Merchants Collection.

Nine Tiles Panic

Oink Games packs a fast, fun, real-time, tile-placing puzzle race for 2-5 players in their signature small box. The theme is kawaii-cute overload: hamburger-loving aliens land on Earth with black-suited agents in pursuit. Players simultaneously build 3-by-3 square “cities” from identical sets of double-sided tiles, adhering to three random scoring cards each round. The first player to finish flips the sand timer to jumpstart the remaining players – putting the “panic” into Nine Tiles Panic. Think of it as “Galaxy Trucker: First Contact.” Read our review of Nine Tiles Panic.


Capstone Games continues to release unique designs with Fabio Lopiano’s Ragusa, a city builder with a twist – each action you take can potentially trigger other player actions. Build the walls of the city, amass resources, and fulfill lucrative contracts before the last action is taken. The game is a race for premium positions where every player scrambles to have the most victory points by game end. Read our review of Ragusa.

About the author

Andy Matthews

Founder of Meeple Mountain, editor in chief of, and software engineer. Father of 4, husband to 1, lover of games, books, and movies, and all around nice guy. I run Nashville Game Night, and Nashville Tabletop Day.

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