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5 New Games to Get You Back Out There

This is it people. It’s finally happening. We’re opening the vault, breaking the seal, heading through the breach. In other words, we’re going to start seeing actual, real life people face-to-vaccinated-face again. And 2021 is here for it! Start combing your friends list because Kickstarter has quite a few upcoming party games. Light on rules and group-friendly, these games will help you forget your new isolation-induced crowd anxiety and focus on rebuilding friendships!

Battle Pufs – Kickstarter

Trademarks and visuals belong to their rightful owners.
  • 2 – 5 players
  • Ages 8+
  • Mechanics
    • Hand management
    • PvP Battle

This is one everyone can get into, even the kids. It’s basically all of the cuteness of Pokemon but with a leaner, faster set of rules. Each player begins the game with 3 adorable pufs, cute squishy little creatures with various abilities and levels of popularity. Attack your oponnent’s pufs with “Attack” cards and try to run them out of “Defense” cards. If you do, destroy their puf. This can get trickier when “Power” cards come into play which, as you’ve probably guessed, give pufs extra powers.

Trademarks and visuals belong to their rightful owners.

To keep things interesting, there are 2 game modes: Battle Royale and Timed Royale. In Battle Royale, the winner is the last puf standing. In Timed Royale, the popularity value of your pufs becomes much more important. Players must engage in a flurry of adorable combat if they are going to have the pufs with the highest popularity score when the timer runs out and win the game. Cute, fast, and simple definitely makes this a soft-pitch for reconnecting post-lockdown.

Hot Potatoz – Kickstarter

Trademarks and visuals belong to their rightful owners.
  • 2 – 5 players
  • Ages 14+
  • Mechanics
    • Hand-management
    • Take That
    • Card play conflict resolution

This one’s for people who like their games more salty than sweet. In Hot Potatoz, gather the hottest potatoz to bring to the potato party! The goal of this game is simple: first player to 5 “hotness points” wins. Players have to plan ahead by placing action and potato cards face down and letting them bake for at least 1 turn.

When a player thinks their accumulated potatoes are probably hotter than those of their rivals, they can call a potato party which creates a head-to-head show down with every other player’s potatoz. Roll a die to determine how many hotness points the potato party is worth. Reveal your potatoz and total hotness score. Then play cards like “Glo Up”, “Catfish”, and “Nuh Uh” to raise or lower the score. Hottest potatoz win. First to 5 hotness points is the winner.

Travelus – Kickstarter

Trademarks and visuals belong to their rightful owners.
  • 2 – 8 Players
  • Ages 8+
  • Mechanics
    • All of the mechanics?

Ok, hear me out on this one. I’ll be the first to admit that my first reaction to the box art underwhelming. But the more I learned about this game, the more I love it. Mostly because the possibilities with Travelus are insane. It is 8 games in one and each uses the same components in different and interesting ways.

Trademarks and visuals belong to their rightful owners.

Everything is modular. There are 8 boards used in each game which can be arranged however you like. There are also 8 different games, each with their own unique play style. In every game you are a traveler of some kind (oh travel, how I’ve missed you), but the motivations behind your travels, and the accompanying gameplay, are quite different depending on the game. Are you a spy trying to control the boards and interrogating other spies for intel? An art collector trying to outbid opponents to collect the most valuable set of art pieces? Or just a simple traveler trying to make the most connections with fellow travelers? Even your player tokens are modular. They are made from definitely-not-Lego pieces that are constructed and used differently in every game. Not only is this game also kid friendly, but it captures the magic of kids making games out of whatever they can find around the house. And it’s that lack of pretentiousness that makes this a stand-out.

Burn the Witch – Kickstarter

Trademarks and visuals belong to their rightful owners.
  • 5 – 15 players
  • Ages 14+
  • Mechanics
    • Social deduction
    • Voting
    • Bluffing

While not normally known for having a festive atmosphere, witch burnings make a surprisingly great party game! Though unless you want to teach your eight-year-old some valuable but possibly terrifying lessons, then maybe have them skip this next one.

Each player represents a house of 2 – 4 villagers from one of two factions: zealots and witches. Witches are much fewer in number but know the identity of the other witches. Since zealots gonna zealot, they think that anyone could be a witch, and each turn an accuser chooses a trait from one of the villager identity cards that they think might mark a witch. Villagers then vote to either burn a villager with that trait or save that villager…by burning a villager that doesn’t have that trait. Gotta love that witch hunting logic.

The zealots’ goal is to burn all of the witches while the witches just have to hold out until the zealots burn enough innocent villagers that they decide to just call the whole thing off. But since each player has multiple villagers, getting one of your villagers burned doesn’t mean you’re automatically out as in many social deduction games. And if you have a witch who is discovered, she will put a hex on her house, punishing players who execute more innocents.

There’s also a really creepy soundtrack which you’ll be able to download on Spotify.

BGShield – Kickstarter

So here we are, coming to the end of game night and your reinvigorated social life. But lurking around the corner is a tragedy which could end friendships and send you scuttling back into your anti-social hobbit hole. And this time it’s not even a virus.

It happens sometimes at game night that someone is a little over exuberant or maybe has a little too much to drink (Looking at you, Derek!) and spills a beer on your favorite game. Maybe it’s your wife’s brand-new copy of Jurassic Park: Danger from Ravensburger and you never live it down. Hypothetically.

Trademarks and visuals belong to their rightful owners.

That’s where BGShield comes in. BGShield is a board game treatment that creates a waterproof layer which repels pretty much any liquid. And one bottle has enough liquid to coat about 20 boards. It even works on smaller cardboard bits like puzzle pieces, player mats, and cardboard tiles. But avoid thinner components such as cards and paper. It’s like a vaccine for your board games. After all, in big social gatherings you’ve got to keep them safe too!

by Zane Messina

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