The followup to the award-winning Challengers has rebranded itself as Challengers! Beach Cup and will release as the first standalone sequel in a proposed series of expansions to the competitive deckbuilder.
An Instangram post from publisher Z-Man Games states that “after listening to some excellent feedback” the previous title ‘Challengers 2’ had dropped the numerical designation in favour of something denoting its surf ‘n’ sun aesthetics. Their reason: discoverability. Given that both the Challengers core box and Beach Cup can be played on their own, both serve as equally valid entry points for new players.
Designed by Johannes Krenner and Markus Slawitscheck, Challengers initially released in 2022 and exemplified itself with easy-to-learn deckbuilding rules that pit two players against each other in tournament-style brackets. While the art style can feel a little generic at times, the whimsical factions (clowns, Hollywood extras, dinosaurs and more) and clever strategies that evolve over time have vaulted Challengers high in many estimations.
Challengers! first picked up an As D’or win earlier in 2023 before also clinching this year’s Kennerspiel des Jahres - the ‘expert’ award amongst the trio of prestigious board game honours meted out at the annual Essen Spiel trade show. Challengers! Beach Cup will reportedly premiere at the 2023 Essen and give players their first taste of sandy expansion.
Both the base box and Beach Cup can be combined and played together, allowing a whopping 18 players to take part in a mega tournament bracket that the publisher claims only takes a little under two hours to play to completion. Seven additional decks provide new strategies and an expanded Trainer roster - this opening faction is how everyone begins the game before recruiting the more eclectic volunteers from the game’s marketplace.
A retail release date for Challengers! Beach Day is still forthcoming, but this next box will be handled by Pretzel Games, the company responsible for Dicebreaker favourite Camel Up and Junk Art, both colourful and surprisingly deep games despite their lighthearted aesthetics - this new addition will feel right at home.