Essen Preview #18 Coming down the homestretch

OK, less than a week to go before I leave for Europe – but the deluge of game news is dying down right now… which is to be expected — it’s not like there should be a lot of breaking news at this point because I think we’re too close to the fair for any new games to emerge.  In fact, the only real news at this point would be the sad news about games that won’t make it  to the show on time.  I do have some fear that the spectre of the Scheer 2010 failure will still have ripple effects on the games available in 2011 as I’m guessing that the Ludofakt plant will be even busier than normal trying to print up all the extra orders… And given the natural history of game companies trying to wait until the last minute to get stuff printed, I’m expecting there to be a few games that won’t be done in time — or brought in on Saturday to try to salvage part of the show…

But, lets get to the games that I’m interested in this week:

First, a few notes from the nice guys at CGE:

“Rio Grande will distrubute Last Will and Galaxy Trucker expansion.
Dungeon Petz will be distributed by ZMan (same as Dungeon Lords).
For Pictomania we don’t have final contract for distribution.”

Petr Murmak notes that the rules for their releases should be ready in the next few days and posted online.  Woo hoo!

And now – now that the art is final… a few pictures of the upcoming CGE games courtesy of Petr Murmak…

One of the cards from Last Will

Another card from Last Will

Sample card from Dungeon Petz

One of the "petz"

Drum Roll (Artipia Games)

Drum Roll is one of the new games arriving from Greece – which is vying with Finland for the role of “Best Newcomer Country to SPIEL”…  There are a number of Greek game companies new to me that will be exhibiting at SPIEL 2011.

Rules have been available online now for a bit, and Drum Roll looks to be an interesting economic game where you are trying to come up with the best circus performance possible.  To do this, you must hire performers that suit the production, though you can also try to improve your circus overall with better trailers and other improvements.  I’m always looking for a good economic game, and this fits the bill. This is definitely one that I’m bringing home from Essen as it currently does not have US distribution set up – though it does have a deal with Giochix for Italy.


To top it all off, I find the graphic presentation of the game to be excellent.  I think the artwork is impressive as seen in the example cards and box art.



Ab in die Tonne

I’m always hit or miss with the Cwali games as I tend to either love them or hate them.  However, with the aggressive pricing scheme offered by Corne as well as the fact that I usually love at least one Cwali game each year — I find myself again preordering the entire set to give them all a try.  The one that has really captured my imagination this year is Ab in die Tonne – which looks like an interesting take on FITS – the theme here is that you are trying to fit garbage in the can with the goal being to make as tall a stack as you can.  The higher your stack is, the better your score!


I’m not entirely sure how this will work, but I am sold on the game (for now) based on the description and art alone.  What remains to be seen is how fiddly the game is with the actual placement of pieces – as well as how well the pieces slide down into the can.

The preorder pricing on Cwali this year is quite nice – 29EUR for the three big games individually – but you can get all three for 65EUR.


Fortuna (The Game Master)


I’ve been excited about this one since Hans let me peek at it last year at his booth.  I’m looking forward for this for a couple of reasons.  1) I love Roman culture and history — and the theme here is right up my alley.  2) The Vohwinkel are looks fantastic.  3) After reading through the rules, it looks like a tight game – and I do think the additional luck added from the die roll – which will determine which favor cards can be played in a round will help keep this one interesting.  In general, I’m a fan of dice luck, and I’m enjoying the current renaissance of dice usage in Euros!

MIL (1049) – Homoludicus


This new release will hopefully be printed in time for Essen – and if it is done, I’m definitely going to give this one a long look (and likely take one home).  The story in this game follows the fortunes of your family in medieval Europe.  During the game, you are trying to expand the land holdings of your family. You are also trying to establish relationships through marriage to strengthen the position of your family.  This game is played over generations – so you will hopefully have male children to serve as heirs and female children that can be married off into other families.  Oh, and like most games on the list for this week – I love the art.  Man, is it appealing to my eye.


Space Bastards (Jira’s Games)


OK, so maybe the cover art isn’t entirely my style here – but this game does have a lot of interesting possibilities.  I’ve just finished an initial read through the rules, and I’m liking what I see.  Each player has a bunch of alien creatures that he can place on the different planets, and the aliens on each planet interact with each other based on “relationships” – which are 8 different rules that determine how particular aliens interact with others.  The designer claims that Space Bastards “is probably the first game with a relationship management system. Relationships – that is, defined relations between two races of aliens – are connected to the game actions of the players. Players use these relationships to occupy planets and have a majority there.”

So, it’s a little bit of area control.  There is tactical card play to manage your aliens based on the relationships of the aliens.  And there is tetris-like physical space constraints as the aliens on each planet have to fit into the grid printed on it.  Sounds like an interesting combination of mechanics – though I will await a demo at Essen to make up my mind on this one.  I was pleasantly surprised by Jira’s soccer game last year, Goal!, which is another reason why I’m wanting to try this one out.



One of the alien races you can control!

Souvlaki Wars – Kaissa Games


Souvlaki Wars is another one of the new games from Greece that I’m looking forward to trying.  This one has had a successful development process, outlined by the designer himself on BGG.  In this game, players try to run a souvlaki restaurant the best by serving as many customers as possible.  They collect cards which depict differing amounts of dishes on them, and then try to use these cards to serve the customers that stand in line at their restaurants.  There is a bit of uncertaintly in the customer demand due to “unforseen events” that arise as well as telephone orders.

This looks to be a nice light card game with the variety of the telephone orders keeping this from feeling processional.  The art is cartoonish, but looks good.


Exposaurus – Muecke Games

One other release from Muecke Games (I had previously commented on Urknall) that looks good – this one is a tile-laying game where you try to come up with the best museum display.  You try to make contiguous areas of the different types of tiles (skeletons, skulls, etc).  The size of these area is multiplied with the number of gems you are able to collect – gems are created from matching halves on the edges of the tiles that you place.

Admittedly, there’s nothing groundbreaking in the rules here – but I do love me tile-laying games, and this one is worth at least a look-see at SPIEL.

Example of the tiles. You can see the different types of tiles here as well as the gems formed on by the edges.

German Railways –Queen Games

news direct from John Bohrer on the Winsome Games mailing list – “I am told by Queen Games’ CEO, Rajive Gupta, that German Railways, the licensed Preußische Ostbahn, will be available at Essen, and available in North America in November.”  Woo hoo!

OK, time to get back to packing – trying to figure out how to pack the minimum amount of clothing necessary for the 9 days in Europe to maximize the weight of games that I can bring back.  Also, time to make a second pass through all of the rule sets I’ve been able to download from the 2011 Essen class – so far my iPad has 82 rulesets downloaded onto it so far!

With some luck, I’ll be able to make a few more posts between now and Essen… and I still have a preview or two I’d like to get posted also!

Until your next appointment,

The Gaming Doctor

About Dale Yu

Dale Yu is the Editor of the Opinionated Gamers. He can occasionally be found working as a volunteer administrator for BoardGameGeek, and he previously wrote for BoardGame News.
This entry was posted in Convention Report, Essen 2011. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Essen Preview #18 Coming down the homestretch

  1. David Reed says:


    Thanks again for getting the information on the CGE titles. Now I can pack my limited box space with other games – assuming I can be patient enough to wait for the domestic editions to be released here!

  2. huzonfirst says:

    Wow, some great art here! The cover to Dungeon Petz is fantastic and the other two CGE covers (and associated artwork) are excellent too. We’ve already seen the outstanding art in Drum Roll. And I agree, the board in MIL looks luscious. Seems that the smaller indy companies (particularly the ones outside of Germany) are not only coming up with more innovative game ideas, they’re also capable of breaking out from the always attractive, but sometimes staid standards of artwork that the big German publishers have been using for a while. Good stuff!

  3. jeffinberlin says:

    Thanks, Dale. I feel like it’s been 30 days of drum rolls already–can’t wait to finally hear that symbol crash when I walk into the convention center.

    BTW, I think the points on Ab in die Tonne are negative points, meaning that you want to have everything fit as compact as possible in the trash bin.

  4. Brian Bailey says:

    I really would like to see a list of those 82 rulesets on your iPad. I feel we have the same tastes in games. If you can, please send me the list to my xxbriguyxx BGG account… (this sure would beat perusing through everything on BGG) Pretty please?

  5. Dale Yu says:

    Brian — here it is… You should be able to make out the names of the games. If not, just ask.

    Directory of C:\Users\Dale\Documents\My Dropbox\Essen2011 Rules\transferred to ipad

    10/09/2011 08:29 AM .
    10/09/2011 08:29 AM ..
    09/15/2011 12:50 PM 2,566,014 011.pdf
    09/15/2011 01:16 PM 472,806 AGUA-UK.pdf
    09/15/2011 12:53 PM 1,154,062 AlbaLonga_ENG_ShortRules.pdf
    09/15/2011 12:51 PM 5,032,785 AlbaLonga_ENG_WEB.pdf
    10/03/2011 10:07 PM 279,729 artefakt_beiblatt_RZ_EN.pdf
    10/03/2011 10:06 PM 157,168 artefakt_rules_RZ_EN.pdf
    09/15/2011 01:00 PM 4,259,653 Atlantis_Rising_rules.pdf
    09/28/2011 11:27 AM 2,538,405 blancnoir.pdf
    10/03/2011 09:54 PM 5,612,990 BullfrogGoldfield_rules_small_English.pdf
    09/30/2011 08:30 PM 2,279,570 Burdigala_english_rules.pdf
    09/15/2011 12:54 PM 5,037,147 Carnival.pdf
    10/04/2011 03:57 PM 1,272,159 champions2020uk1.pdf
    09/15/2011 01:01 PM 1,082,186 chemix_spielanleitung.pdf
    09/30/2011 11:15 PM 15,914,356 Cite ENGLISH VERSION.pdf
    10/05/2011 11:32 AM 1,094,399 Convocados_regras.pdf
    10/03/2011 10:08 PM 2,020,559 darkminions-Final-lo.pdf
    09/15/2011 01:45 PM 7,689,992 das dorf_anl_eng_v3.pdf
    10/07/2011 02:20 PM 1,884,791 DIRT_US_rules.pdf
    10/05/2011 11:29 AM 942,151 Draco_ENG.pdf
    09/15/2011 12:53 PM 1,461,482 DragonsGold_English_WhiteGoblinGames.pdf
    09/15/2011 12:23 PM 2,810,191 DrumrollRuleBook_ENG_internet.pdf
    09/15/2011 01:31 PM 20,735,662 DungeonRun-Rulebook.pdf
    10/07/2011 12:07 PM 132,542 dungeon_fighter_eng_1-1.pdf
    10/04/2011 12:56 AM 987,384 dynanurse_cardspaste.pdf
    10/04/2011 12:56 AM 5,547,934 dynanurse_engv1.0.pdf
    09/30/2011 04:02 PM 117,807 Deluges_Rules_GB-Revised.pdf
    09/30/2011 08:30 PM 3,013,439 Eclipse_rules_final_light.pdf
    10/07/2011 12:12 PM 2,877,404 EN-Ora-Main-Rules.pdf
    10/03/2011 09:20 PM 909,312 endbreakerSCG.doc
    10/06/2011 02:25 PM 4,159,938 EN_Ora-Short-Rules.pdf
    10/03/2011 09:53 PM 1,173,861 Exposaurus_Rules_ENG_v1.pdf
    09/15/2011 12:41 PM 1,242,290 F3_GameRules_v1.pdf
    10/04/2011 09:03 AM 88,013 fief2r.pdf
    09/05/2011 04:24 PM 107,559 First sparks_Rules V03_08_2011.pdf
    09/15/2011 12:32 PM 436,746 forgotten_planet_ENG.pdf
    09/15/2011 12:27 PM 6,494,500 Fortuna.pdf
    09/15/2011 01:44 PM 14,576,161 GSBlack Secret_RULES_EN.pdf
    08/17/2011 02:51 PM 141,091 Helvetia_English_Rules.pdf
    10/07/2011 09:36 AM 1,686,048 HR AQUILEIA Rules EN.pdf
    09/28/2011 11:27 AM 4,831,307 idolproject.pdf
    09/15/2011 03:18 PM 2,464,273 Kingdom_Builder_Rules_US.pdf
    09/28/2011 11:27 AM 6,453,719 kunitori-kessen.pdf
    09/20/2011 02:19 PM 4,242,847 LostTemple_rulesbook_EN_DE_FR_NL.pdf
    09/30/2011 07:13 PM 3,239,537 Lupin eng .pdf
    09/30/2011 08:32 PM 7,612,609 Mage Knight_walkthrough_EN.pdf
    09/30/2011 08:32 PM 1,992,892 Mammut_Regel_EN.pdf
    09/15/2011 12:24 PM 2,483,209 MareBalticum_rules_EN.pdf
    09/29/2011 08:33 PM 206,324 mastermerchant.pdf
    10/04/2011 03:57 PM 886,242 meltdown2020uk.pdf
    09/15/2011 01:59 PM 1,708,515 mundus novus.pdf
    10/05/2011 11:34 AM 4,027,093 My_stolen_cake.pdf
    10/03/2011 09:32 PM 3,083,434 NassaurulesEngver1.pdf
    09/15/2011 01:05 PM 1,532,338 Palenque_rules.pdf
    09/30/2011 08:33 PM 1,623,566 Pamplona.booklet.ENG.pdf
    09/15/2011 12:24 PM 1,892,481 paperclip railways.pdf
    09/15/2011 01:40 PM 1,430,951 pax_rules_english.pdf
    09/15/2011 01:42 PM 4,610,946 pergamemnon_rules_english.pdf
    09/20/2011 02:21 PM 3,309,958 PoseidonK Rules_English_Final.pdf
    09/30/2011 07:53 PM 5,392,986 pret-a-porter.pdf
    09/15/2011 01:35 PM 4,597,931 principato_rules.pdf
    09/15/2011 01:06 PM 5,616,789 quebec_rules_en.pdf
    10/05/2011 11:29 AM 1,058,159 REBEL_BroadPeakENG.pdf
    10/03/2011 09:25 PM 4,885,435 recycle_ENG_galapagos.pdf
    09/15/2011 01:27 PM 1,112,829 regents_GB.pdf
    09/15/2011 01:33 PM 1,715,842 REVOLVER_Rulebook_ENG_web.pdf
    08/16/2011 01:55 PM 1,780,785 Rio-d-oro EN.pdf
    09/29/2011 08:33 PM 2,805,788 ristoranteitalia.pdf
    10/05/2011 11:38 AM 5,545,438 RulesSmall-MIL1049.pdf
    09/15/2011 01:10 PM 657,933 rumble in the house.pdf
    09/15/2011 12:24 PM 1,018,544 saltyocean.pdf
    09/15/2011 12:55 PM 2,771,585 Santiago_de_Cuba_rules_US.pdf
    10/05/2011 11:33 AM 3,780,518 Sheepgame_OSS_Regeln_English.pdf
    09/15/2011 01:35 PM 1,619,952 SINGAPORE-RULES-ENG.pdf
    09/15/2011 01:26 PM 8,123,288 Souvakli Wars Manual_English_v1.0.pdf
    10/03/2011 09:45 PM 1,216,275 Souvlaki_Wars_Manual_EN.pdf
    09/30/2011 11:15 PM 1,574,576 space maze Rulebook final.pdf
    10/02/2011 08:10 AM 3,028,076 Space Station.pdf
    10/05/2011 11:30 AM 2,584,586 Space_Bastards_-_ENG_na_web.pdf
    09/15/2011 01:10 PM 10,524,906 Strain-Instructions-v3.2.pdf
    09/15/2011 01:22 PM 5,667,824 Takenoko-rules-EN.pdf
    09/30/2011 11:09 PM 23,366,556 Terra_Evolution_EN.pdf
    10/07/2011 02:26 PM 193,024 TF22-rules_eng_05.pdf
    09/15/2011 12:24 PM 2,179,798 TOURNAY_RULES_ENG.pdf
    09/20/2011 01:05 PM 5,336,846 Trajan_English-rules-opt.pdf
    09/30/2011 11:07 PM 3,208,716 Undermining_Rules_V.1.0.pdf
    09/15/2011 03:59 PM 4,642,411 Urban Sprawl_Rules_FINAL.pdf
    09/30/2011 11:08 PM 4,559,731 urknall.pdf
    09/15/2011 12:25 PM 3,488,663 vanuatu_EN.pdf
    10/05/2011 03:27 PM 106,448 Vintage_Card_Summary_(English).pdf
    10/05/2011 03:26 PM 115,341 Vintage_Rules_Summary_(English).pdf
    09/15/2011 01:44 PM 6,310,705 Walnut_EN_v0.pdf
    10/02/2011 08:11 AM 5,635,541 Wilderness.pdf
    09/30/2011 11:09 PM 5,175,286 wiraqocha_rules_en.pdf
    95 File(s) 329,060,550 bytes

  6. Brian Bailey says:

    Thank you, Dr. Yu! This will help a lot!

  7. Dear Dale,
    Thank you for your great reviews! I wanted to let you know that after three years of research and test marketing, my brother Rick (game inventor) has just released the premier limited first edition of Outside the Box. If you would like to take a look, here is thewebsite:


    We would love to hear what you think about it, as I understand that
    you are quite the game aficionado!

    Best regards,

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