21 Games We’re Excited About in 2021

Even if 2020 wasn’t a very good year overall for many people, it was still a pretty great year for game releases (though playing them is a different story). We wanted to start off 2021 by sharing some of the titles that we’re most excited for this year. The 21 games below are scheduled to be released in this calendar year, and we’ll share why we’re pumped for each of them.

Gorinto

Publisher: Grand Gamers Guild
Release Window: Q2 2021
Excitement Level:
Nominated by: Ryan

Gorinto

This abstract game from Grand Gamers Guild was very impressive when we took a look at this Kickstarter project in 2020. The differentiated setup each game leads to lots of variety. The game feels like an excellent puzzle that continues to change as players take their turns. Gorinto will sit nicely beside abstract games like Azul, Photosynthesis and Dragon Castle.

Necromolds: Monster Battles

Publisher: Necromolds
Release Window: Q2 2021
Excitement Level:
Nominated by: Ryan

Necromolds

Gaming in the 80’s and 90’s meant lots of plastic, rubber bands and sometimes Play-doh. Necromolds is tapping into that nostalgia and creating a fighting game using molds for creature creation. If you ever played the 90’s game SPLAT!, you’ll immediately know what to expect. Necromolds looks like a crazy heavy metal miniatures game where all the minis are being destroyed. This year we’ll see if the gameplay is solid enough to go beyond the nostalgia of my childhood.

Danger Park

Publisher: Story Machine Games
Release Window: Q1 2021
Excitement Level:
Nominated by: Ric & Ryan

Danger Park

When I previewed Danger Park back in February 2020, I was excited about its potential. Since that time, it seems as if Story Machine Games has made some adjustments to address a few of the issues I had. I think that many people will enjoy this somewhat twisted take on building their own amusement parks.

Rallyman Dirt

Publisher: Holy Grail Games
Release Window: Q3 2021
Excitement Level:
Nominated by: Ryan

Rallyman Dirt

Rallyman GT was a huge surprise for us in 2020 and was one of our top games of the year. After a successful Kickstarter campaign, Rallyman Dirt is coming to retail in 2021. This re-release of the 2009 game includes all new artwork, along with updated mechanics that will have your cars drifting around corners as you outrace your opponents. Rallyman GT was so impressive last year that we can’t wait to jump into this release later this year.

Agropolis

Publisher: Button Shy
Release Window: Q2 2021
Excitement Level:
Nominated by: Ric

Agropolis

Sprawlopolis from Steven Aramini, Danny Devine, and Paul Kluka was a sleeper hit when it was released in 2018. People were surprised at the strategy and variability that could be found in just 18 cards. The designers are back with Agropolis, a standalone expansion featuring many of the core mechanics from the first game. It sounds like the designers have worked to provide a little more balance in the scoring mechanisms, which should address one of the few issues that people had with the game. In addition, the game can be combined with the original to make Combopolis – so if you already own that title, it’s kinda like getting two games in one!

Unmatched Marvel sets

Publisher: Restoration Games / Mondo
Release Window: Q2 – Q4 2021
Excitement Level:
Nominated by: Ryan & Erin

Unmatched Marvel sets

The news in December announcing four new Marvel themed 3-packs for Unmatched was huge! Everything about these 4 sets has me excited to see what the publishers come up with. There is so much to pull from in the Marvel license and it’s not focused on the most well-known characters, which I think makes these sets even cooler. I’m not the biggest Marvel fan, but our teenage son is, and so I think these sets will go a long way to getting him to the table more often.

Tutankhamun

Publisher: 25th Century Games
Release Window: Q2 2021
Excitement Level:
Nominated by: Ryan & Erin

Tutankhamun boats

25th Century Games has resurrected a Reiner Knizia game from the early 90’s. Tutankhamun was a big hit for our family when we spent time with the prototype during the Kickstarter campaign. The upgraded components, fresh artwork, and new mechanics make this a family game that should be on your radar. With the game fulfilling in the spring, I can see Tutankhamun being a game night staple for our family.

Coffee Traders

Publisher: Capstone Games
Release Window: Q2 2021
Excitement Level:
Nominated by: Ryan

Coffee Traders

Coffee Traders is a heavy euro game about the families behind the coffee trade industry. The components look incredible, the boards look complex and the theme is really intriguing.Capstone Games has published some great games over the past couple years, so we’ll keep our eye on Coffee Traders as it hits retail just before summer.

Crash Octopus

Publisher: itten Games
Release Window: Q2 2021
Excitement Level:
Nominated by: Ryan

Crash Octopus

Dexterity games don’t get a ton of play around our home in a normal week. But when I saw the components for Crash Octopus from itten Games (Tokyo Highway), I was immediately sucked in. Players flick treasure skillfully toward their boat as a giant octopus moves around the table based on a die roll. Big chunky wooden pieces and colorful components will easily draw in families. Crash Octopus is a game I could see hitting the table often in our home.

ArchRavels

Publisher: XYZ Game Labs
Release Window: Q1 2021
Excitement Level:
Nominated by: Ric

ArchRavels

I was a huge fan of ArchRavels back when we checked out XYZ Game Labs at Origins 2019. The theme is one that I think would work very well with my crafty wife, and I thought that the team was very creative with the component designs. The game was delayed a bit (like many things in 2020), but it looks like it will finally be available early this year. For those looking for a collision of craftiness and board games, this may be a perfect fit.

The Rival Networks

Publisher: Formal Ferret Games
Release Window: Q2 2021
Excitement Level:
Nominated by: Ryan and Erin

The Rival Networks

Our love for The Networks has been crushed by our current pandemic and not having game nights at the house. This past summer, we played The Rival Networks on Tabletop Simulator, and we were super impressed by this 2-player version of the game. It captures the fun and wit of the original but keeps the gameplay tight for only 2 players. This is one that people need to check out when it hits retail!

Three Sisters

Publisher: Motor City Gameworks
Release Window: Q4 2021
Excitement Level:
Nominated by: Ryan

Three Sisters

This new roll-and-write from the creators of Fleet: the Dice Game has us so excited. Three Sisters is a farming game that has been in development for a while and we can’t wait to play it. Matt Riddle and Ben Pinchback make some excellent games, and the theme of running a backyard garden based on an age-old gardening technique is right up my alley.

The Night Cage

Publisher: Smirk & Dagger
Release Window: Q1 2021
Excitement Level:
Nominated by: Ryan

The Night Cage on Tabletop Simulator

We played The Night Cage on Tabletop Simulator while the Kickstarter campaign was live in 2020. This is the first time I’ve had a game experience that was genuinely eerie and unsettling. I’m really excited to see the final version of this game when Smirk & Dagger brings this game to tables in 2021.

Roar and Write!

Publisher: Galactic Raptor Games
Release Window: Q1 2021
Excitement Level:
Nominated by: Ric

Roar and Write dice

What do you do after you create a solid title featuring awesome artwork of animals? You create a roll-and-write version of your game, of course! And that’s just what Galactic Raptor has done with Roar and Write! Building off of the incredibly underrated Animal Kingdoms, the title features easy-to-learn rules based around solid mechanics, with lots of variation and replayability to ensure that you’ll want to keep bringing it to the table. I backed it on Kickstarter, and I’m looking forward to its delivery around the start of the year.

Draftosaurus expansions

Publisher: Ankama / Luma Imports
Release Window: Q1 – Q2 2021
Excitement Level:
Nominated by: Ryan

Draftosaurus expansions

This year, we’re getting not one, but two expansions to Draftosaurus! This means more dino meeples, new mechanics, and more fun for families. The Aerial Show expansion added a double-sided mountain board and Pterodactyls into the mix. The Marina expansion brings Plesiosaurus meeples along with a double-sided river extension that has dams that have to be unlocked. Both of these expansions have us excited for more dinosaur drafting.

Maglev Metro

Publisher: Bézier Games
Release Window: Q1 2021
Excitement Level:
Nominated by: Ryan

Maglev Metro

This tile-laying, engine building, pick-up and deliver game uses hexagon-shaped tiles to rebuild the old rail system. Maglev Metro uses transparent tiles to complete lines as you deliver passengers to their destination. The game seems to have well-crafted components, and I’m excited to see how all these mechanics work together.

Architects of the West Kingdom: Works of Wonder

Publisher: Garphill Games
Release Window: Q2 – Q3 2021
Excitement Level:
Nominated by: Ryan

Architects of the West Kingdom: Works of Wonder

We’re big fans of the West Kingdom series, and it’s great seeing another expansion coming for the 2018 Architects of the West Kingdom. In this expansion, players with enough influence and charitable reputation will be able to construct the 5 Wonders (not sure what happened to the other two). With a new extension to the main board, a new Princess/Profiteer and solo mode, this seems to be a pretty meaty expansion.

Darwin’s Journey

Publisher: ThunderGryph Games
Release Window: Q4 2021
Excitement Level:
Nominated by: Ric

Darwin's Journey

This was the first Kickstarter to catch my attention in 2021, and I’m not alone in that. This worker placement game uses a unique advancement mechanism that allows your workers to “level up” as the game goes on, giving you more powerful options in later rounds. There are several different paths to victory, so you’ll have a chance to be creative on each turn. Ryan, Bob, and I have played the game on Tabletop Simulator, and we’re already huge fans. If you and your friends are willing to take an hour to learn it, and if you can fight the analysis paralysis, this is one you should strongly consider.

Macaron

Publisher: Sunrise Tornado Game Studio
Release Window: Q2 – Q3 2021
Excitement Level:
Nominated by: Ric

Macaron

Okay, you may think that I picked this simply because I developed one of the expansions. And you’d be mostly right. But don’t let my egotism keep you away from this solid trick-taking game. The “allergen” mechanic, which works like an “anti-trump” suit (no, not the President…), adds an extra wrinkle to the whole process. It also has so many variants that I believe it can keep you and your family entertained for years to come. Oh, and did I mention that I designed one of the expansions?

Power Rangers: Deck-Building Game

Publisher: Renegade Games Studio
Release Window: Q2 2021
Excitement Level:
Nominated by: Ric

Power Rangers: A Deck-Building Game

I’m mostly in it for the theme. I was a huge fan of Power Rangers growing up, and I’m glad to see that the IP is getting a little attention in the board gaming sector. I haven’t had the chance to check out Heroes of the Grid yet, but I think that this may actually work better for me. The game is competitive, with 1-2 players joining each of the two sides – the Rangers and the Villains. It looks like there are some interesting mechanics here that allow you to power up your cards, which suggests that Renegade is doing more than just slapping a Power Ranger coat of paint on another game.

Cubitos

Publisher: AEG
Release Window: Q1 2021
Excitement Level:
Nominated by: Ryan

Cubito's

This game seems like a mash-up of a lot of mechanics that we really like as a family. Players race their cubes to the finish line as they build a supply of dice that have various powers. The game looks silly, fun and perfect for families. After seeing Tantrum House share their hype for this one, we knew Cubitos was a game we need to look for in 2021.

What game are you most excited for this year? Share your excitement in the comments below.