Two reprints, one sequel and one abstract puzzle: this sums up next week's releases, let's take a look at what they are.
51st State was originally published by Portal Games back in 2010 as a 2-4 player game, was released again in 2016 with an added solo mode, and now returns with an Ultimate Edition that includes all expansions and promos plus some new content. This is a post-apocalyptic card game in which humans, mutants and robots vie for power and resources.
It is intended primarily as a multiplayer experience, with the solo mode pitting you against a bot in the base game, or against the Moloch robot faction if you play with that expansion. The upcoming edition will add new solo variants, and it will launch on Gamefound on February 21. You may check the preview page.
Personal opinion: I distinctly remember people from the 1PG saying they didn't enjoy 51st State as a solo game. I'm not sure if they had tried the Moloch expansion, though. As for me, it's already known I don't like bots, so it's a pass.
The second reprint campaign of interest is Unsettled: a cooperative space exploration game which had a successful first launch back in 2019. The game comes with several planets to explore, each of them with a different ecosystem and hazards.
You will be spending time and 'focus' to move and investigate areas, trying to build facilities and complete various objectives, all the while surviving the weird and harsh environments. The Kickstarter on February 22 will also bring a new batch of planet expansions.
Personal opinion: Even though the game seems right up my alley, I had skipped the first Kickstarter because it was expensive and I was worried I would only play it once, or only as many times as I would need to beat each planet. I saw in the discussions on BGG that the price is expected to rise even more. My replayability concerns still stand. I'll think about it.
The mental asylum-themed game Lobotomy is getting a sequel in Manhunt: a cooperative adventure which can be played either sandbox-style or as a campaign. You are playing as a patient in a psychiatric facility where the staff are demons in disguise. To defeat them, you will have to take advantage of your skills and even your medical condition. Launching on February 23, here's the Gamefound preview.
Personal opinion: I saw an unboxing of this, and I gotta say it has some nice minis. I'm tempted a little because I've been itching to get some light monster-fighting fun.
Last game on the list is Circuitry: a 1-6 player abstract puzzle about moving along a circuit of coloured nodes and then returning to the master node. As you move, other players will rotate, swap and generally mess with the circuit cards, thus forcing you to constantly adjust your strategy. There isn't any info on the solo mode yet. It is launching on Kickstarter on February 22.
Personal opinion: I'm not a big fan of abstracts, and this seems best played with other people so as not to miss the 'take that' element.