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10 Best Board Games By CMON – Which One Should You Pick?

Zombicide, Arcadia, Blood Rage, Rising Sun, Massive Darkness, Rum & Bones, Cthulhu: Death May Die, A Song of Ice & Fire, Marvel United, Teburu

CMON is without doubt the biggest Kickstarter board game publisher and it won’t change anytime soon. Most board game fans know their history at least a bit.

A group of passionate miniature painters have created a website where players could show off their painted minis. The thing got so big, that it ended up evolving into a board game publishing company focused on miniature-based games. These games were supposed to attract people, who played lots of wargames when they were younger, but had less free time nowadays. Initial projects on KS were huge successes – especially the neverending Zombicide series. 

Over the years CMON has evolved a lot, and yet we still get excited each time they launch something new. Today we’ll show you our favourite titles made by this company (in no particular order). Some are classics, some are newer and some are coming as soon, as this year. If you’re new to CMON’s games or just want to try something new: enjoy!

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1. Zombicide Series

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Zombicide. Trademarks and visuals belong to their rightful owners.

CMON’s legendary co-op title has aged well and keeps getting new installments every year (often more than one). The gameplay is easy to learn, easy to explain and is tons of fun. You don’t have to be a fan of zombie flicks/shows to enjoy it. And if you really dislike classic zombie settings, there’s a number of alternative versions waiting for you.

As for the game itself: each player chooses one survivor who cooperates with other humans. First you need to collect weapons that will help you live a little bit longer. Then, together with others you’ll have to face the zombie horde or fulfill an objective specified in the scenario. Combat is based on dice, but good equipment improves your chances. Everything sounds simple, but the amount of different situations you can get into is insane.

Right now there are 3 seasons of Zombicide and each can be used as a core game. You can also mix them all in whichever way you want. Newest “2nd Edition” is also compatible and introduces lots of QoL improvements. If you prefer fantasy settings – there’s Zombicide: Black Plague, Zombicide: Green Horde for you. SF fans should enjoy Zombicide: Invader. There’s also a smaller version set in the world of “The Night of the Living Dead”.

Get this if you like:

  • zombies!
  • co-op games with no negative interaction
  • games that are easy to learn and fun with friends/family
  • lots of content and never ending expanions + free online scenarios

2. Arcadia Series

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Arcadia Quest. Trademarks and visuals belong to their rightful owners.

Like rolling lots of dice? We have a game for you! The Arcadia series by CMON, unlike Zombicide, isn’t always cooperative and various products have much more different rules and goals. All Arcadia titles take place around the titular city and share a similar world and character design – cartoony and quite charming. Many components can be used in other games from the series, even when their core mechanics are completely opposite. What Arcadia games are out there?

Arcadia Quest has players pick 3 characters each and compete for completing the main objective. Apart from fighting monsters, heroes will often attack each other to fulfill the scenario goal and win. The whole game has a scenario based structure and outcomes of each of them can lead to different storylines. 

There’s also an alternative core version called Arcadia Quest: Inferno. It doesn’t need the base game to be playable and is themed after the battle of heaven vs hell. Finally: Starcadia Quest is also available, and it is set in a SF universe.

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Masmorra: Dungeons of Arcadia. Trademarks and visuals belong to their rightful owners.

Masmorra: Dungeons of Arcadia is a completely different game, still set in the Arcadia world. This time we’re dealing with a full fledged co-op dungeon crawler. Players control 1 character each and explore dungeons filled with riches. Dungeons are created as we uncover new tiles during our journey. Comparing to titles like Zombicide, this one is even more family friendly, while remaining deep enough to engage older gamers.

Get this if you like:

  • lighter atmosphere with cartoony designs
  • reusing your minis in different games and campaigns
  • fast paced miniature games

3. Blood Rage

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Blood Rage. Trademarks and visuals belong to their rightful owners.

One of the most beloved games by CMON tells a story of warring Viking tribes. The creation of Eric M.Lang has players fight against each other during the long propesized time of Ragnarok.

Direct combat is important, but there are plenty of other ways to become victorious and end up with the most glory. You can for example claim and control new land, work on quests or attack villages to reap goods. Dying a honorable death can actually work as a strategy as it awards the player with plenty of glory points.

As you can see, Blood Rage is often praised for giving players a colossal number of options and strategies. Card drafting mechanic works as a core part of the game and often determines which ways of gaining glory will you be going for. Blood Rage has tons of thematic flavor like gods affecting your action outcomes or famous monsters from norse mythology actually joining your ranks. And let’s not forget about production values as minis of various clan warriors are really a sight to behold.

Get this one of you like:

  • vikings
  • area control games
  • card drafting games
  • having plenty of options every turn
  • great looking minis

4. Rising Sun

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Rising Sun. Trademarks and visuals belong to their rightful owners.

If Blood Rage’s theme is not up your alley, why not try Rising Sun? The game was made by a similar team, again led by Eric M. Lang. Both games share some similarities, but are vastly different. And not only when it comes to their themes.

Rising Sun takes place in feudal Japan – half realistic, half mythological with creatures and Japanese gods (kami) looking over humans and granting their most ardent followers powerful gifts. Rising Sun is playable with 3-5 players and focuses on area control (you compete for Japanese provinces).

Rising Sun is a slower game, but leaves you satisfied after you manage to execute your long term strategy. Variable player powers spice the game up a lot, and can change some basic rules. There are also tons of things you can choose to do in your turn. Your warriors can commit seppuku, poets can write poetry and shinto priests can gain favor of the gods, summon spirits and creatures.

Players can also attack each other, and it rewards them with many points. The game however, puts an equally huge focus on politics. To advance you’ll have to make alliances with other players and there are many mechanics for player betrayals. This leads to a great feeling of tension when you’re never sure your friend is actually not a foe in disguise. And one more thing: the game looks incredible, especially if you’re lucky enough to snag the elusive (and sadly: expensive) Daimyo Box with component upgrades.

Get this one of you like:

  • Japanese themes
  • slower strategy games
  • lots of bluffing and diplomacy
  • games that shine at higher player counts

5. Cthulhu: Death May Die

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Cthulhu: Death May Die. Trademarks and visuals belong to their rightful owners.

One of the newest games by CMON, and it was recently shipped to backers. So far the initial response seems great. As you probably expect, the game is set in the disturbing world known from the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Players take on the roles of special investigators who want to summon the Old Gods and rid the world of them once and for all. 

Like many other CMON co-op games, Cthulhu: Death May Die consists of a number of scenarios where players need to complete specific goals. These always require summoning a lovecraftian monstrosity and killing it. Turns usually have you move around the terrain and fight enemies. Later on, the mythos cards get drawn and make the situation more dangerous by powering up the monsters and increasing their numbers. Like in most Cthulhu related games, you need to keep track of your insanity meter. In Cthulhu: Death May Die: the higher it gets, the more powerful you become. 

The most famous part of the game is easily it’s Cthulhu “miniature” which is quite likely the biggest board game component we’ve ever seen. And it’s not just a decoration. The Old One is an important part of the gameplay and has special areas on his body that you can place cultist enemies on.

Get this one of you like:

  • Cthulhu and H.P. Lovecraft
  • co-op games
  • varied scenarios
  • unique game components (that will haunt you at night)

6. Massive Darkness

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Massive Darkness. Trademarks and visuals belong to their rightful owners.

Dungeon crawlers are one of the most beloved and best selling board games on the market. While CMON had tons of titles where you explore corridors filled with hungry and angry foes, there was no classic dungeon crawler game in their portfolio. Until Massive Darkness that is.

Massive Darkness makes players pick heroes and go off on a journey for loot, glory and of course: experience points. You can either delve into quest dungeons designed by the authors or make your own randomized ones and get surprised each time you reach a new area. You can play it solo or with up to 6 players.

The mechanics aren’t too complicated, so like many CMON games, you can play it with younger players, while still enjoying it quite a lot. The majority of combat depends on rolling dice. Meanwhile you keep on collecting insane amounts of loot. Interestingly: enemies can spawn with lootable armor that powers them up too! Defeat them to get it for yourself. 

Learning all the strong points of your character gives the feeling of getting better with each session with the game. Massive Darkness has a campaign mode but most people recommend playing single quests.

Get this one of you like:

  • dungeon crawlers
  • lighter games
  • games to play with your kids
  • games with lots of loot and dice rolling

7. Rum & Bones

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Rum & Bones: Second Tide. Trademarks and visuals belong to their rightful owners.

And now something completely different. A highly competitive game about pirate crews fighting each other to death. The game is heavily inspired by MOBAs (video games like League of Legends, DOTA etc). Many games trying to recreate that genre in the board game format lack something, but Rum & Bones manages to succeed. In fact: it got popular enough to have another KS campaign with a whole new edition/expansion called “Second Tide”

Rum & Bones comes dressed in a great looking pirate theme. Instead of fighting for towers and capturing bases MOBA style –  you’ll be wrecking cannons and other ship elements. The more you destroy, the closer you get to victory

Players control few characters each, so figuring out your attacking formation is key here. Just as powering them up and equipping with proper items. Second Tide edition expands the character development mechanic and lets you upgrade abilities for gold pieces. The gameplay is fast paced and rewarding, especially when you finally crush the ship of your opponent.

Get this one of you like:

  • MOBAs
  • pirate themes
  • fast paced games
  • leveling your characters fast

8. A Song of Ice & Fire

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A Song of Ice & Fire. Trademarks and visuals belong to their rightful owners.

The Game of Thrones is easily one of the main pop culture phenomenons of the past decade. There are a few games related to the TV show, but CMON’s version is based on the original novels by George R.R. Martin and is one of their biggest and longest running projects. The game was originally funded through Kickstarter but CMON keeps releasing expansions that add more armies to the original two (Stark and Lannister). The models are fantastic and according to marketing materials their looks were consulted with Martin himself.

A Song of Ice & Fire by CMON is a wargame where you build your own army and clash against another player. The core of the game might feel like a classic wargame utilizing trays and rulers that help moving units. It wouldn’t be a Westeros game though, if it didn’t have powerful people working behind the scenes. That’s what the Non-Combat Units are for. Characters like Tyrion or Lady Catelyn wage wars through politics, diplomacy and scheming. There are 5 game modes – all with different objectives that add plenty of replayability and variety to the game.

Get this one of you like:

  • wargames
  • A Song of Ice And Fire novels / The Game of Thrones TV show
  • games that keep on expanding
  • games where you can adjust the scale of battles to your taste (or time)

COMING SOON

9. Marvel United

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Marvel United. Trademarks and visuals belong to their rightful owners.

Another huge license that CMON managed to get their hands on, and they’re actually going to use it on a Kickstarter project (unlike Godfather or God of War). The campaign is launching on February 11th

The game features chibi versions of most major Marvel universe characters. We’ve already seen Iron Man, Black Widow and Captain America but dozens of more are bound to be in the game as well. Despite small characters with big heads, the game is not going to be anything like the Arcadia series. 

Marvel United was designed for 2-4 players (no word on solo mode so far). Each player controls one hero of his choice and together they embark on a quest to rid the world of a dangerous villain. Characters differ a lot so every player will be able to find some that suit his or her playstyle. Each hero sports his or her own deck of cards that determine the set of abilities and powers available. Same with villains – Red Skull and Ultron for example will have access to completely different activities and pose an unique type of danger for players and civilians.

An unique mechanic offers performing actions listed on the bottoms of cards played previously by preceding players. This increases the number of options at your disposal. You also have to think about a player that has his turn after yours, as certain cards that you play will give him new, normally unavailable, options.

Get this one of you like:

  • Marvel universe and superheroes
  • co-op games
  • variable powers
  • clever mechanics that encourage creative cooperation

10. Teburu and Zombicide Evolution

The final position on out list is not only a game, but a technology that may change gaming a lot. I mean, we’ll always be advocates of classic board games, but implementing modern tech into them can often bring awesome results. Just take a look at Chronicles of Crime or recently kickstarted Dark Tower.

Teburu by CMON is aspiring to become a “board game console”. The minis contain special ID Tags that keep being tracked by the sensor filled board and a paired mobile app. Same with other components: from tokens to dice. The latter include sensors that transmit your rolls directly to the app, making players skip some of the mathematics and speeding up the game. 

The first game to use Teburu will be Zombicide Evolution. We don’t know much about the gameplay (apart from the fact that minis will be compatible with the 2nd edition), but it will certainly breathe some innovation into the board game market. CMON is planning the campaign for 2020.

Get this one of you like:

  • games that use apps and hardware
  • Zombicide
  • innovative takes on classic board gaming
  • games that count score and damage for you

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