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Memory tokens in Vivid Memories are diamond shaped, with etching. Image: Floodgate Games

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Ascension Tactics leads our list of the best new board games of March

Plus the crowdfunding campaigns that should be on your radar

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Late winter is good for one thing: spending time inside, warm and dry, playing new board games. We’ve rounded up the best new titles on sale right now, and narrowed in on some of the most interesting new crowdfunding campaigns launching in March.

Topping our list is a new treat for deck-building fans: Stoneblade Entertainment is back with a version of Ascension that we’ve never seen before. Ascension Tactics builds on the characters and cards created over the game’s decadelong evolution, adding detailed miniatures to modernize the look and giving hobbyists something to tinker with.

Building off concepts like strategic deck-building and deck management, Tactics brings more combat elements to the board. Players can explore competitive play, solo, cooperative, and campaign modes for a new blend of strategy and battle tactics. The epic battles waged really come alive in miniature. The range of game modes and added strategic elements make this title the most replayable yet. Buy Ascension Tactics now for a fresh new take on this well-loved series.

Remember as always that you can find many of these titles for sale or pre-order at your friendly local game store.

Vivid Memories

A sideboard in Vivid Memories, where players connect diamond-shaped tokens to connect core memories. Image: Floodgate Games

Looking for a more abstract strategy game? Try Vivid Memories. This heartfelt take on tile placement and route building is a great new hit from Floodgate Games. Players collect fragments and form connections in their brains, which takes the shape of a personal sideboard, in order to unlock core memories. Over time, new abilities and opportunities to score will unlock. Early reviews call out its well-paced gameplay.

The real magic for me, though, is how it illustrates the hope and imagination of young minds. It brings players back to a time when they could be anything they wanted. I think we could all use some of that inspiration this year. Pick up a copy now to make your own great memories.

Familiar Tales

A full setup for Familiar Tales perched on a stump. Photo: Plaid Hat Games

Running with that theme of childhood splendor, check out Familiar Tales. This co-op deck-builder takes players on a fantastical adventure. Working as wizards’ familiars, players must save and raise a wayward princess as she goes off to reclaim her legacy. The world is enormous, and every choice made and monster fought has an impact.

The most unique element of gameplay is the companion app, which serves as a storyteller. Polygon co-founder Justin McElroy, SungWon “ProZD” Cho, and Christopher Sabat are just a few of the voice actors that help these characters come to life through the app. The quality of voice acting, breadth of the story, and range of mechanics make this adventure a must. Grab your copy from Plaid Hat Games to get started.

Tales From the Loop - The Board Game

Tales From The Loop - The Board Game set out for play. The bright primary colors go well with the island map and robot miniatures. Image: Free League

Missing that Stranger Things thrill? No need to wait until May. Gather a group of friends for Tales From the Loop - The Board Game. Play as local kids trying to investigate and stop unknown horrors. Explore epic landscapes in eight narrative campaigns that respond to player choices. The game presents a whole new world, based on the retrofuturistic science fiction work of Simon Stålenhag.

If you experience co-op fatigue, this title is a great choice. The integrated player actions help keep turns dynamic for all players — no more of that dreaded downtime. These mechanics also allow real-time reactions to threats and challenges. Ready to dive in? Order a copy now to unravel the mysteries.

Libertalia: Winds of Galecrest

A player places a token on the board in Libertalia. Image: Stonemaier Games

Haven’t seen anything on sale this year that floats your boat? Plunk down a pledge for Libertalia: Winds of Galecrest. The new release expands and revises the original base game released a decade ago. Stonemaier Games went above and beyond with all-new art, characters, reputation systems, and more.

This new edition has us falling in love with our cheeky pirate-animal crews all over again. The revisions resolve hiccups from the original game while adding depth and replay value to the new edition. For fans of set collection and hand management, we highly recommend you pre-order a copy. Copies are expected to ship later this month.

Earth

Looking for a natural winner? Earth lets you take the balance of ecosystems and habitats into your own hands. Manage resources to gain victory points and create a natural, self-supporting engine.

Over the past four years, the tabletop community has seen a surge of nature-centric games. Earth continues this trend by mapping traditional resource-management concepts to real-world ecological issues. The game keeps players engaged by offering benefits based on their opponent’s turns. Plus, the wide variety of cards (over 360) adds great replay value and also makes the title ideal for backing.

Support the game’s Kickstarter before March 8 to pre-order your copy.

Iron Forest

If you’re looking for a genre-defining game, you need to check out Iron Forest. This dexterity (physical skill) title by Brain Games follows its award-winning Icecool from 2016. On top of using their perfected flicking mechanic, the developers have taken boards and movement to a whole new level.

Iron Forest includes a two-level 3D board and a catapult to fling mech minis across the map. The game also employs more tactical strategy and variability in play than past titles. All in all, this fantastical battle for control of the forest is well worth supporting. Check out the Kickstarter before March 5 to back this next-level experience.

Jurassic World: The Legacy of Isla Nublar

The time is finally upon us: The long-awaited Jurassic World: The Legacy of Isla Nublar hits Kickstarter on March 22. Fans are abuzz for Prospero Hall’s adaptation of the science fiction franchise. What we know of gameplay seems to be recreating the story of the ill-fated island across its multiple theatrical incarnations. You can read more in Polygon’s exclusive preview. Best of all, this one’s expected to ship before the year is through.

Each of the 12 different missions comes sealed in its own envelope, making each session more mysterious than the last. Choices made along the way have lasting effects on characters and the island itself. And there’s a replayable endgame, too.

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