Dale Yu and Lucas Hedgren: Essen ’14 initial thoughts

OK – let’s talk about games again!

I have just started to read up on Essen ’14 – thus far, I have downloaded over 60 rulesets, and I have read about 20.  I’d like to increase my rules consumption, but this non-gaming IRL work stuff sucks sometimes.  Additionally, I’ve been working hard at getting up reviews/previews of the new Gencon/Essen stuff that I have already played.

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DMCA request to drunken-dwarf.com

Since the content is going to be copied soon, I figured they can host my DMCA request to them — Continue reading

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Drunken-dwarf.com is stealing our content

This is to formally request that Drunken-dwarf.com stop stealing our content. Continue reading

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Dale Yu: Review of Abyss (Bombyx/Asmodee)


  • Designers: Bruno Cathala and Charles Chevallier
  • Publisher: Bombyx/Asmodee
  • Ages: 14+
  • Players: 2-4
  • Time: 45 minutes
  • Times played: 3 with review copy provided by Asmodee
the blue box

the blue box


Abyss is one of the new releases distributed by Asmodee at GenCon 2014.  It highlights one of the growing trends in gaming – namely that many companies are now looking at US releases in August at GenCon and then giving them a European release at Essen in October.  Abyss is also part of Mr. Cathala’s personal campaign to dominate GenCon releases (Abyss, Five Tribes and Madame Ching all debuted at the show).

The version that I received was the blue cover.  Interestingly enough, the game was produced with FIVE different boxes, one for each of the five races that  you play with in this aquatic fantasy game.  In this game, players are vying to be the next King of Abyss by exerting their influence over the five races of creatures that inhabit the Abyss: the blue Squids, green Shellfish, red Crabs, yellow Seahorses and purple Jellyfish.

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Dale Yu: Review of Lords of Xidit (Libellud)


Lords of Xidit

  • Designer: Regis Bonnessee
  • Publisher: Libellud/Asmodee
  • Players: 3-5
  • Ages: 14+
  • Time: 90-120 minutes
  • Times played: 3, with review copy provided by Asmodee


Lords of Xidit is another game that looks awfully familiar to another game already in my game collection – Himalaya.  I still remember my first game of Himalaya – being blown away by the novel-to-me scoring system.  That system remains in place with a few small changes to help the game flow better.

At its heart, Lords of Xidit (LOX) is a pick up and deliver game that uses action programming.  The board is made up of 20 locations.  These locations are inhabited by either a supply of people OR by mean ugly monsters that are defeated by the right combination of the aforementioned people.  Once you defeat a monster, you can take victory points in any of three different “currencies”.  That’s about it… sounds simple, right?  Not so fast, my friend!

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Russian Railroads Wins 2014 DSP Award!

The winner of the 2014 Deutscher Spielepreis (DSP), the heavier of the two major German Game of the Year awards, is Russian Railroads.  The game was designed by Helmut Ohley and Lonny Orgler and was published by Hans im Gluck.  This is HiG’s eighth DSP award, far more than any other publisher (the only other publishers with multiple awards are Alea, with 3, and Kosmos and Ravensburger, with 2 apiece).  However, this is HiG’s first DSP win since Dominion in 2009 and the first win for a title where they were the lead publisher in 10 years (St. Petersburg won in 2004).  So this is a welcome end to what might be viewed as a bit of a slump by Hans im Gluck.

Here are the top 10 games in the voting:

1. Russian Railroads
2. Istanbul
3. Concordia
4. Love Letter
5. Camel Up
6. Caverna
7. Lewis & Clark
8. Rococo
9. Glass Road
10. Splendor

The prize for Best Children’s Game went to Feuerdrachen and the prize for Best Rules went to Abluxxen.

The 2014 DSP’s mark the end of a quirky, but nevertheless remarkable achievement by Stefan Feld.  Amerigo was Feld’s 12th big box design in his career.  The first eleven of those games all finished in the DSP top 10 in the years they were eligible!  Amerigo didn’t make this year’s top 10, so that streak is broken.  Despite this amazing consistency, Feld has never won a DSP award (although three of his games have finished second).

Congratulations to Ohley and Orgler, as well as to Hans im Gluck.  Next on the awards bracket:  the last of the three major awards, the International Gaming Awards (IGA’s), which should be announced in the next two or three weeks.

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Dale Yu: Essen Preview of Ca$h ‘n Guns, second edition (REPOS)


Ca$h ‘n Guns, second edition

  • Designer: Ludovic Maublanc
  • Publisher: REPOS (distributed by Asmodee)
  • Players: 4-8
  • Ages: 8+
  • Time: about 20 minutes
  • Times played: 4 with review copy provided by Asmodee

Ca$h ‘n Guns has been re-released this year – who would have thought that the game would be 10 years old already! I can still remember this as one of my first games I played at my first trip to Essen, oh-so-many years ago… The sombrero-wearing gentlemen from Belgium have always been a joy to see and be with, and this game with its laughter and free-for-all silliness epitomizes these fun loving gamers.

The new version of Ca$h ‘n Guns remains a hoot though there are a few changes from the original version.  Let me first describe how this new version of the game works.  There are a bunch of loot cards. Some simply have money, some have diamonds on them, some are paintings, and some give you more bullets.  At the beginning of the game, they are shuffled and split into groups of 8 tiles.


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Dale Yu: Review of Mad City (Mayfair)


Mad City

  • Designer: Kane Klenko
  • Publisher: Mayfair Games
  • Players: 1-6
  • Time: 30-45 minutes
  • Ages: 8+
  • Times played: 4 with review copy provided by Mayfair

Mad City is the “manic game of parks and re-creation” where players try to construct the highest scoring city areas they can each turn.  The game provides you 54 different city tiles, and on each turn, you randomly draw 9 of these tiles face down.  A 60-second sand timer is flipped over, and players have this time to try to arrange their 9 tiles as best they can in a 3×3 grid.

You will score points based on the number of building icons in each sector of a particular color (red, yellow, blue) that you build.  It is acceptable to have multiple sectors of a color, but you should note that you will likely score more points for a single region with more icons than two smaller ones with fewer in each.


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Dale Yu – Essen Preview 2014 – Deus (Pearl Games)

Dale Yu: Preview of Deus (Pearl Games)



  • Designer: Sebastian Dujardin
  • Publisher: Pearl Games
  • Ages: 14+
  • Players: 2-4
  • Time: 60-90 mins


Deus is the newest release from Pearl Games, this one designed by the principal behind the company, Sebastian Dujardin.  I have been a fan of the previous designs of Sebastian, namely: Troyes, Tournay and La Venise du Nord.  As such, I have been waiting with much anticipation to learn about this newest release.  As he has in years past, Sebastian has been kind enough to let me look at a final proof of the rules to write up a preview for the blog in advance of the SPIEL fair.


In Deus, players  take on the role of a civilization leader – placing their pieces on the board to control the land as well as to attack barbarian villages.  The board itself is a modular affair – there are neat looking “rounded hex tiles” that are constructed out of seven teardrop-ish colored areas.  Each tile has 2 sea regions, 1 barbarian village and one each of the four different land terrains.  While I can’t confirm this until I see the actual bits – looking at the examples in the rules, it appears that each tile has a different arrangement of these seven areas.  The board is built by randomly placing the tiles together – the number of tiles used is determined by the number of players. The only restriction is that barbarian village areas may not be adjacent to each other.

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Essen Preview: Fresh Fish

Fresh Fish

Designed by Friedemann Friese; new edition to be published by 2F Spiele


Once upon a time, the biggest source for German games in the United States was Adam Spielt, a German online store that was happy to ship internationally – and packaged games well enough to withstand that travel.  And the first game I acquired through Adam Spielt – albeit via another gamer’s order – was Frisch Fisch.  The game was incredibly clever, and quickly grew to be a favorite of mine; the simple rules belied a complex and difficult to visualize reality.  This was long before 2F published in large quantities, however, and only 300 copies were produced.

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