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Bardsung tops our list of the best new board games to buy and support this month

Avatar the Last Airbender: Fire Nation Rising, Décorum, and more finally start shipping

Image: Thomas Lishman/Steamforged Games

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Spring is here, and that means it’s time to clean off your shelf for a fresh new batch of tabletop games. We’ve rounded up the best new board games on sale right now, and narrowed in on some of the most interesting new crowdfunding campaigns launching in April.

Taking our top spot this month is Bardsung: Legend of the Ancient Forge, a massive dungeon crawler with a lot of buzz. The game gives you, and up to four friends, the chance to become legends by fighting monsters, solving puzzles, and collecting treasure as your party wanders deeper into the dungeon’s depths. Choose your own paths to glory to inspire the bard’s songs and turn into a fabled hero.

What sets this fantasy fighter apart is the freedom to build dynamic characters. You aren’t tied down by classes like paladin or rogue; follow the set-out hero paths, or add traits and attacks from other paths to craft your own unique hero type. Another great game feature is the random board generation. This ensures no two games have the same dungeon, enemies, or items. Finally, you determine campaign length. Play a single game, or string several together for a narrative that evolves with your choices. With excellent replay value and great character building, Bardsung is a must-play title.

It’s currently in stock at the manufacturer’s website, and Steamforged tells Polygon that copies are also available at many retail stores.

Décorum

Ready for the ultimate challenge? In Décorum, you and a partner have to decorate a home that you both love. They can never tell you what they need — only respond with “love it,” “hate it,” or “fine with it,” (truly a relatable scenario). You’ll both need to compromise and rework your rooms until you solve your unique decor scenario.

Décorum may seem like a straightforward logic puzzle, but it’s really a game of communication and compromise. Your partner may ruin the strategy you’ve perfected to decorate your room, and you might ruin theirs. Unless both of you can let go of your own strategies and work together, the conflict will lead to failure. All in all, gameplay offers a fun, refreshing take on deduction and communication limit mechanics. Pick up a copy to challenge your roommate or significant other now.

Cryptid: Urban Legends

Will you be the Moth Man, or the brave human leading him to the flame? Go head-to-head in a tense battle of abstract deduction. The stakes? An entire city. Avoid capture and cause chaos as a cryptid, or capture and expose them as a scientist in Cryptid: Urban Legends.

Gameplay is high stakes, with deduction, foresight, and ingenuity as your only tools. These key mechanics keep every game fresh as players develop new strategies with limited time and resources. Plus, who doesn’t love a good cryptid hunt? Snag your copy of Cryptid: Urban Legends from Osprey Games starting April 28.

The Dark Quarter

Unravel the ultimate murder mystery in The Dark Quarter. Work together as Beaumont agents to solve the worst crimes in a dark, fantastical 1980’s New Orleans. See how your story unfolds in a narrative that changes with every decision.

Not only are the rich and dynamic story and characters great additions to the narrative genre, but the setting is also a fresh take. Elements like crime and vibrant nightlife ground the story in reality. In contrast, the widespread use of voodoo and magic add a fantastical tone. Together, they create a blend of fantasy and reality, building on the culture of a real city to create intrigue. No doubt the range of enemies and chaos around every corner will make the campaign a fast favorite. Back this Kickstarter before May 5 to see The Dark Quarter come to life. Delivery is estimated for October 2023.

Paradox Initiative

Everything is in your grasp with Paradox Initiative. This title reimagines the 2016 game Paradox in a simple to learn (but challenging to master) pattern builder. You’ll play as a mad scientist attempting to claim strands of spacetime. Create matches in your paradox engine to jump into alternate worlds, then collect sets of their timelines for your research. The scientist with the most worlds wins the renown and respect of the galaxy.

A blend of mechanics keeps gameplay fresh and interesting. Some are familiar, like card drafting and resource management. Others, like the Bejeweled-style pattern matching, are unique to the Paradox series. The game may seem simple at first glance, but there is plenty of room to develop and hone strategies. Back this puzzle game on Kickstarter by April 29 to experience the enigma for yourself. Delivery is estimated for February 2023.

Iconoclash

Platformer fans rejoice! Iconoclash puts you in the middle of intense tabletop platform fighting action. Choose your character and map for the showdown, then get to fighting. Each turn you’ll get to attack, move across the stage, dodge hazards, collect items, and avoid attacks. Spend power tokens to deal extra damage, and time attacks right for a chance to knock your opponent off the map. The first player to zero hit points loses.

The range of characters, each with 500-plus unique attack combos, makes gameplay a blast. Another nod to classic platformers (and a fun feature) are the multiplayer modes. These support up to four players and include a classic mode, battle royale, and 2v2. With so much variety in the gameplay, replay value is through the roof with this creative title. Platform lovers need to back the crowdfunding campaign before May 6. Delivery is estimated for June 2023.

Escape from Stalingrad Z

Combine tactical combat, zombies, and World War II: You’ve discovered Escape from Stalingrad Z. Fight as surviving veteran soldiers to stave off zombie hordes and escape the city. Play solo or cooperatively to find the best path forward in linked scenarios; each will give you options on which way to go next, and only your choices determine your fate.

The ongoing story elements help this campaign feel cohesive scenario after scenario. If you enjoy strategy and war tactics with a touch of the undead, this is the game for you. Back the Kickstarter by May 2 to bring the post-war apocalypse to your table. Delivery is estimated for November 2022.

We hope you enjoyed our latest curated list. We’ll keep scouring crowdfunding forums and game developer pages to keep you up to date on the latest and greatest tabletop games. Check back soon for another batch of fresh new finds.

Update (April 20): Following the original publication of this story, The Op Games reached out to Polygon to say that logistical delays have pushed the release date for Avatar the Last Airbender: Rise of the Fire Nation until September. You can find out more at the game’s official website.

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