Box art from two of Days of Wonder's earliest titles.
You may know Days of Wonder as the publisher of the million-copy-selling Ticket to Ride, which is hard to avoid these days given its status as one of the most popular modern board games and its successful video game ports, but that's not where the company got its start. In a return to its roots, Days of Wonder has decided to publish new editions of some of its oldest titles: Mystery of the Abbey and Pirate's Cove.
Now I understand, odds are you haven't heard of either of these games. But that doesn't mean you should turn away. If you take a look at the 10-year-old publisher's track record, you'll see that they have shown surprising restraint in which games to publish. To put it bluntly, Days of Wonder chooses quality over quantity. It's a company strategy that VP Mark Kaufmann shared with me during a chat at PAX Prime 2011, and it shows, making Days of Wonder games worth a second look. If you're looking to bring something a little bit different to your next game night, read on to see that made Mystery of the Abbey and Pirate's Cove worth bringing back onto store shelves.
Mystery of the Abbey
Originally released in 2003 as Days of Wonder's first full-size board game, Mystery of the Abbey will be getting a 100% reprint with no changes made to the original edition. As for the game itself, the plot may seem reminiscent of Clue once you realize that play is centered around the deduction of a murder mystery: who killed Brother Adelmo in the medieval monastery? The play goes a bit deeper though, merging the deduction of Clue and Guess Who? while at the same time forcing players to juggle the need to gather information with their duties of attending mass as monks in the monastery. It all makes for a bit of classic gameplay that is worth keeping around for future generations and newcomers to the hobby to enjoy.
A bit of a surprise given the quick turnaround, Pirates Cove was announced in the days leading up to Gen Con but it already expected to hit stores by September 19th. Appropriately enough, this is just in time for International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Just like Mystery of the Abbey, this will be a 100% faithful reprint with no changes made to the prior edition.
Pirate's Cove is a 3-5 player game that runs about 90 minutes and uses a variety of game mechanics. Primarily, the game uses simultaneous action selection, where players secretly decide which island they want to steer their pirate ship to, and then reveal their choices together. The different islands each have their own benefits in treasure and upgrades (ship abilities or strategy cards), but if you wind up choosing the same island as an opponent, you'll be locked into dice-rolling combat.