Most Anticipated Games of 2021 Part 3

With hundreds of new board games scheduled to be released this year, it's practically impossible to identify which will be among the best. In this series, I will be briefly detailing games that I am personally looking forward to. 

These entries will be in no particular order.

Townsfolk Tussle

Panic Roll Games

Can you imagine a certain celluloid swine popping out between the title? I can!

One of my gaming highlights of 2020 was playing through the massive campaign of Tainted Grail with two of my friends. Each week we sat down to the table, discussed what our goal for the session should be, and hashed out a plan of attack. Seldom did things actually go our way, but our disappointments were met with unexpected bits of story, new mysteries, and sometimes valuable experience.

However, my favorite element of Tainted Grail, the part I most looked forward to, was fighting monsters and guardians met along the treacherous paths we were made to trek. On the flip-side, my least favorite part of the experience was waiting for others to fight monsters on their own as the puzzle of combat could be a time-consuming one. There were very few times the three of us fought together in one massive battle, but those moments were glorious! Those battles created a desire in me to play a game that was specifically focused on cooperatively battling baddies. If it could be done in one session eliminating the need for getting the same group together week after week- even better!

Cue the classic cartoon music!

The first thing I noticed about Townsfolk Tussle was the artistic direction the fine people at Panic Roll have taken. I am not the first to say this, but my mind definitely went to the video game Cuphead when I initially saw an advertisement for the then upcoming Kickstarter campaign. The classic, 1930s cartoon-inspired artwork with a gritty theme to match. 

I wonder if the characters played as themselves?

There might have been a sensation of friction inside you with my last statement- classic cartoons and gritty might not seem to be a particularly perfect pairing, but I'd be remiss if I didn't defend it. When I think of cartoons I've watched from that era, the images that populate my mind are ones with floppy, noodle-like arms, sharp teeth, dark, shadowy figures, and the like. There was a cartoon I watched where Jack Frost came in like a demonic denizen of nightmares- creepy and disturbing. It is an image I have carried with me into my adult life, and the first images I saw of Townsfolk Tussle immediately brought back those faces and feelings to the forefront of my consciousness (particularly the image of Qing and Kween).

But this game is much more than stark, stunning, and unsettling artwork. The function of this game is more than deserving of its fashion.

I mentioned in my introduction how much I enjoyed the combat elements of Tainted Grail. My thoughts immediately went to another game that will show up on my most anticipated list at another time, but I still wondered if I could get the element of obliterating opposition in a single setting. Townsfolk Tussle seems to have heard my wonderings.

In Townsfolk Tussle, the sheriff of Eureka Springs has been murdered and it's now up to the regular old townsfolk to put a stop to ruffians attempting to take advantage of the situation. Two-to-five players will choose one of seven characters and then prepare for battle.

Player board and boss order

Whom are you battling? Tokens for the twelve ruffians will be placed in a bag. Players will select four different ruffians at random, placing their token in the numbered spots based on the order they were drawn. These numbers are important. Each of the ruffians have different abilities depending upon when they are fought. The first fight should be easier than the second. By the time players arrive at the fourth of these ruffians, they will have survived quite an ordeal.

Can the final boss be defeated and a townsfolk rise up to be declared the new sheriff of Eureka Springs?

The ruffian Lawman Dozy will not be overtaken this day!

Between battles, players will have an opportunity to buy items from a shop. The game boasts a massive amount of item cards that can improve your character's abilities. These cards also contain wonderful illustrations that are indicative of the artwork of the era. These items can prove vital as players will not only be attacking a much bigger and more powerful foe, but they must also navigate and interact with different terrain. Oh, and there are secret goals to be the best candidate for the sheriff job. Maybe one of your "friends" has to hurt you in order to secure the best spot. So watch your back! There may soon be a knife in it.

The market board for Townsfolk Tussle

There is so much I love about this game (or at least its concept). The artwork is striking and compelling. The story, while there isn't much to it, is fun and sticks closely to the cartoony nature. I look forward to playing a game that can be completed in two hours or less and offers the challenge and entertainment of simply fighting tough villains. Taking my favorite part of a game I liked- fighting nightmarish creatures and making that the focal point, is like watching a cartoon but never having to see commercials. It's like Netflix for board games! Sort of.

If this game lives up to the hype I have for it, I look forward to whatever Panic rolls out next! Hard to believe that this is their first published board game. 

Prototype board and minis

To learn more about Panic Roll and Townsfolk Tussle, visit them by clicking here.

All images belong to Panic Roll Games. Used with permission.


  1. Definitely one of my most expected games of this year! On board with you my brother!


Post a Comment

Popular Posts