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…
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.
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.
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