Father in the Messe Day 1

Today we wake up early to be able to be in the Spiele at opening time, 9:00 for press-tickets owners. First all we make a quick tour in the press room to take our press kit: the usual book and some press information including a list of personalities attending the fair.

Trivitia – Trivitar

We started with Trivitia by Trivitar. A game mixing dexterity and trivia. You have some wooden piece to place on a wooden basement (different basement’s shapes for different games). During your turn you just roll a die. On 1-4 you have to answer a question from a card. (Every card has 4 questions and the number you roll indicate the question). If you get the green face is like you got the right answer and if you got the red face is like giving the wrong answer. This make you place one of your pieces or have to place someone else piece, building a sort of tower/pile. When the pile collapse the player with less piece still in front of him is the winner. A nice variation of trivia but, still a trivia: I think could be nice for people liking trivia games but I’m not in this group.

Caterina says “Nice game a too much trivia”. Caterina rate 5.

Slavika – Rebel

The next game was Slavika from Rebel.pl, a really nice polish fantasy card game. Players have a company of 6 heroes fighting monsters and looking for treasures. You display 4 terrain cards (with different monsters and heroes values) and give each player a hand with his 6 heroes and some monsters cards. During your turn you have to play 3 cards: if possible 2 heroes and 1 monster otherwise 1 hero and 2 monsters. Heroes and monsters are played on different side of the terrain cards and when a card reaches the listed number of monsters (varying from 3 to 5) there is a fight. Monsters and heroes have fighting values and to beat the monsters the sun of the values of all the heroes at the terrain must beat the total of the monsters. The player with most valued heroes score much more points and get the treasure card than monsters are discarded and heroes came back in hands.
What make this game really nice is the different power of heroes and monsters: every player has 2 fighters (6 and 5), an archer (4), a ranger and a thief (3) and a wizard (1). Heroes have special power like wizard giving a plus two to all the fighters in that fight. Monsters range from 1 to 7 with few of theme with special abilities.
The game is nice and I think it really play much better with 3 or more players.

Caterina says “Really nice illustrations and graphics. Apart from few situations (with two players it could happens a player could be left alone on a terrain and that means he need several turns to be ready to fight), the game flows fluently and challenging.” Caterina rate it 8 minus.

Desperados – Argentum Verlag

The next game was the first “real” boardgame: Despeados from Argentum Verlag. A hidden movement game about western: poker, diligence and a bank and the eternal fight between the sheriff and her/his militants and the brigands. The sheriff plays alone against the other players.
During your turn just play a (not reveled) destination card. After 5 rounds the cards are revealed and looks, step by step, if the sheriff was in the same town and in the same time with an outlaw.

I’m not a fan of both the theme and “hidden movement” mechanics but Caterina says “Fantastic! Really fluent and challenging but I suggest to play it with people speaking your language because there is a lot of interaction” and scored it 9.5

Escape – Queen Games

We than moved to Queen Games booth playing Escape, a real time, collaborative dice game. Nice to play and fun with the support of the official sound track. Caterina valued it 9.5 saying “It is the perfect game when you need to dissolve stress and tension”

Okiya – Jactalea

We than go to arrange a table for trying Ark & Noah from Placentia Games. Waiting our turn we stop play Okiya and another game from Jactalea. Okiya a particular version of four in a line. During your turn you have to place a Geisha on the table in one of the tiles of a 4×4 grid. What is particular is that every tile has 2 different pictures and the other player has to play on a tile that has one of the two pictures on it. To win you need four of a kind in a row (orthogonally or diagonally) or in a square or make impossible to the opponent to play. I really enjoyed this quick and funny game and Caterina told “Finally a version of tris that really works. It is really a nice game and since it is quick it can be used has a tie sparrow!” Caterina rating is 7+.

Ark & Noah – Placentia Games

Before lunch still time to place Ark & Noah, the new games from Placentia Games. You are involved in building the Ark and load it with animals. Every player choose a different action from a pool of seven ranging from taking woods or animals to building fences or loading animals and food. In a Puerto Rico’s style the player choosing an action get some more benefits but other players perform a similar action anyway.
What is really innovative is how the loading system works: you have two bags of animals (male and female) where you can draw tiles from and when a couple is in play (not nedd to be in the same player area) it can be loaded. Every animal has a value in victory points and also a loading cost (in loading points). You score for building fences, placing food on the Ark and loading animals (the main part of a players score in the end). Loading animals cause also players to score for each fences they have delimiting the loading areas. Of course you need a 2 space fence to load a value 2 animal and so on …
The games really plays fluently and it takes no more than one hour to be played. The dimension of the Ark and the animals used can vary according to the number of players so I think it will scale well.

I find this is a really good game and also Caterina assign a 8.5 and explain “Nice and funny. A good candidate for Spiele des Jahres. Always the impression to need more actions for doing all the things desired.“

Construction Zone – Brain Games

We than move to retire the games offered by Brain Games so we are able to play Construction Zone, a really simple card game. Every turn there are 3 buildings to build. Every build require resources to be built. There are common resources (materials and bureaucracy) and also special materials including workers and crane. The game is really easy: draw a card from the 4 available, if you want you discard two cards to take one of the special cards. Then, if you like, complete one building playing all the needed materials!

Caterina rate it 7 and says “Simple and nice”

Before closing time still time to play other 3 light cards games.

(I don’t remember the name) – (I don’t remember the publisher)

The first one is an easy and quick bluffing game. During your turn you draw a card and play a single card under one of the three roost. You have just three Roosters in your hand and 5 cards from the deck that can be hens, foxes, farmers or few other special cards. Every turn you play just one card that could be an hen a fox or a roosters covered under one of the 3 roost. If you play a farmer you can look under one roost and move a card from that roost to another one. The goal of the game is to be able, at the end of the deck, to have most roosters than any other players under a roost: the player with the most will win scoring 1 point for each hen in minus one point for each fox.

The game is not trivia and there is, of course, a lot of interaction between players. You need to think were other people are going to play their roosters and play wisely (you have just three for all the game). In the top of the cake there are special card.

I found it quite nice but Caterina assigned a 5.5 and I’m not in agreement with her!

Potions-Making Practice – Stolitsa Design Groups

The next one: Potions Making Practicea simple card game were you have to collect ingredients to make potions and then combine potions to get some more complex elixir and, collect elixirs to prepare the Talisman. Caterina really liked it a lot and assigned a 9.5 with s positive comment: it was fun and I enjoyed playing it!

The game is really simple: every turn you get 1 card and play a card. Every card can be played as ingredient (and stay on the table) or as formula (and you score it taking the needed ingredients from the table). Some formulas are more complex and need other formulas to be completed.

Out of Gears – Red Glove

The last game in the Spiele was Out of Gears, a card and board party game about robots looking for gears to repair themselves. During your turn you have to decide an action and a target: the action could be “pick up gears”, “prepare a trap” and, attack another robot. (Or defend myself). After that the actions are resolved and if you have 3 or more gears you can store in a special place (your personal board) and are safe. In the end you score 2 points for each gears of your color and 1 point for any other gears. It is a fresh, simultaneous, game with a nice graphics and arts that I’m sure you will like. I think it will be better with many players: we play a 3 players game.

Before going to the hotel just the time to go to press office and look what we have bought … impressive.

After dinner we went in the Jung playing arena and start to play: Tea Time, Courtier and finally Love Letters.

Courtier – AEG

Courtier was the game we liked more today: simple, interactive, with an excellent art and graphics. You need to influence the right courtiers to vote petition and get victory point. During your turn you just play a card (an influence or a power) eventually adding one of more of your markers (cubes) one a courtier’s influence boxes and then looks if you are been able to resolve a petition. Each petition has written on it which characters you need to control. Power offers many different options. In the end of the turn you need to refill to 5 cards taking from Influence or Petition deck.

Having the majority of a single group you will confers you a special ability. There always visible 4 petitions and also you have your secret petition so is not difficult to find a strategy, Caterina says “10 cum laude! A fantastic game that make you really feel in the intricate world Tempest universe”.

Love Letters – AEG

Love Letters share the same theme but it a real clever little card games. 16 cards numbered from 1 to 8 with different characters with special powers. You start the turn with a card and then draw another one. Than you have to discard a card. Discarding characters activate their special powers ranging from a simple “look other player’s hands” to something like “nominated a characters and if the other player has in hands he/she is out of the game.
The last players in the field when the deck is over, or the one of the highest valued character, is the winner of the round.

“Quick but not trivia with many things to think about and also a small random effect” says Caterina, rating it 9.

Tea Time – Gigamic

The last game played before going bed was Tea Time, a real funny and easy tiles collecting game with a simple but really nice mechanic. You place 12 tiles on the board: 6 on the normal side and 6 on the mirror side. Than a player can take from 1 to 3 tiles as long as they are adjacent (in a row or in a column). If you have the same character on mirror side and normal side you have to discard both. In the end of the game you score point according to the number of each character you are been able to collect with a typical Ornella’s point system (1, 3, 6 10, 15)
Also Caterina enjoyed this small but really nice title and give it a 7.

See you tomorrow at the Messe!
Andrea and Caterina

About Andrea "Liga" Ligabue

Andrea "Liga" Ligabue is a game expert contributing to many games related international projects including Gamers Alliance Report, WIN, ILSA Magazine and Boardgamenews. Member of the International Gamers Awards Committee is coordinator of Play - The Games Festival and founder of the project Ludoteca Ideale.
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4 Responses to Father in the Messe Day 1

  1. leonardo78 says:

    Very Very nice report.
    Thanks!

  2. Bruce Miller says:

    Very entertaining report, but where is the obligatory lunch photo?

  3. This old grognard is really looking forward to Love Letters, of all things. Had a fellow Canuck BGGer who is lucky enough to be at this year’s Spiel buy me a copy. Can’t wait till he flies home. Awesome reporting.

  4. Thank you! Has been 3 days of nice gaming. I hope tommorow to write a recap article with mine and Caterina Essen top 10

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