Ten Games To Watch Out For At Essen SPIEL ’18

October 16, 2018 by brennon

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With Essen SPIEL '18 just around the corner, I've sat down to scout out ten different games and expansions that I'm interested in checking out when we pop up at the show.

Ten Games To Watch Out For At Essen SPIEL '18

Bear in mind that all of the choices here are ones that I have personally selected. I may have missed out something big (or something small) that you've spied out there on the internet and if I have, make sure to drop your suggestions into the comments below.

The Great City Of Rome by Z-Man Games

The Great City Of Rome

The first of these games is The Great City Of Rome. This has popped up in the news recently and looks like it is going to be a great release for 2019. However, Z-Man games should be previewing it this year at the show.

The focus of the game is around the mix of mechanics which include placement of your piece to gain either a higher point on the initiative track or access to more resources. This then develops into drafting and tile placement where you have to solve a puzzle looking to work out the optimal plays.

Founders Of Gloomhaven by Cephalofair Games

Founders Of Gloomhaven

Another of the big games from the show comes from Cephalofair Games which created the amazing Gloomhaven. This new game walks away from the dungeon delving and instead focuses on tile-placement, action-selection, and city-building.

You will have to work with the other players to help you build the city of Gloomhaven, working on the foundations of what eventually became the city that you wander through in the immense dungeon delving experience that rocked the board gaming world.

Trapwords by Czech Game Edition


Czech Games Edition has been working away on a neat game packed with word puzzles. Yep, it doesn't sound exciting right now but Trapwords does look like it'll be a great game to sink your teeth into.

Your two teams are going to be trying to guess a number of different words as you delve deeper into a dungeon but your opponent can come up with trapwords which will end up putting you in hot water.

For example, if the word was axe, the opponent might make Dwarf a trap word so you'd have to try and come up with a very roundabout way of getting your team to guess your word!

Terraforming Mars: Colonies by FryxGames/Stronghold Games

Terraforming Mars Colonies

I have recently really been loving Terraforming Mars and the newest expansion to come out is Colonies. This takes things beyond the Red Planet and has you looking further afield as you bring in more resources and people from/to other worlds, making the choices you make even more varied.

The game already features a plethora of corporations and mechanics to explore and this just makes the sandbox even more appealing. I love space and so having them reach out beyond boundaries of Mars to settle off-world colonies helps to develop our story as starfaring adventurers and explorers...oh, and megacorporations.

Railroad Ink (Blue, Obviously) by Horrible Games

Railroad Ink

Railroad Ink is one of a growing amount of roll-n-write games where you are going to be trying to create the most interesting and developed network of rails based on the dice rolled each turn. As with all roll-n-write games, each time you play it's going to be different because of the core mechanics.

There are two different versions of this game. Both of them are essentially the same but feature either wonderful lakes or pools of lava and volcanos. Just choose whether you like blue or red!

Fog Of Love Expansions by Hush Hush Projects

Fog Of Love

Hush Hush Project is expanding on their wonderful two-player game, Fog of Love, with some expansions including It Will Never Last, Paranormal Romance and Trouble With The In-laws plus more we hope!

Fog Of Love is great because not only is it a wonderful game which allows you to explore relationships but also raises a whole bunch of laughs at the same time. Having more options for players is always a good thing and being able to do a funny job with something akin to Twilight might make for a great gaming session.

Reichbusters: Projekt Vril by Mythic Games

Reichbusters Project Vril Box

It will be great to get a proper look at what Mythic Games has been working on. Reichbusters looks like it takes a lot of what people have liked from properties like Wolfenstein and Tannhauser and brings it back to the tabletop with the typical Mythic Games style to it.

The miniatures are looking awesome and hopefully, the gameplay lives up to that!

Hellboy: The Board Game by Mantic Games

Hellboy The Board Game

Hellboy from Mantic Games blew up on Kickstarter earlier in the year. So, once again, it's going to be awesome seeing what changes have been made to the game and where things have developed and changed with the project.

The Kickstarter ended with a whole lot getting added to the project but the core gameplay is the thing that really drew me in, to begin with. The way the characters work alongside each other and the ramping up of the danger as the plot continues is key to enjoying this investigative AND combat focused board game.

Reef by Next Move Games


Reef comes from the minds who created the wonderful Azul. One of the great things about this game was the focus on the puzzle as you chose how to build your beautiful tile floors and walls.

In Reef things go under the sea and instead you're acting as the reef itself, picking cards and developing your reef in order to create the most beautiful reef. It comes with wonderful looking pieces too which are great. I loved the Starbur...I mean, tiles, in Azul.

Men At Work by Pretzel Games

Men At Work

I suck at dexterity and balance games but that doesn't mean that I don't love them. Men At Work looks like it is going to be another great addition to an already expansive line-up which doesn't just have to include Jenga!

You are trying to build the biggest projects whilst also balancing your workers atop these rickety structures. There are also a number of different methods of play included within the set meaning that it can be tweaked and changed for your group each time you sit down to play.

Honourable Mentions

As well as these games above there were a few others that I thought might be worth keeping an eye out for.

So, that's my list of games that I'm looking forward to seeing at the event but we would love to hear what YOU have on your watchlist.

Drop your thoughts below and let us know what caught your eye!

"Drop your thoughts below and let us know what caught your eye!"

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