OG Previews the 2013 2F Releases
So, I’ll have to admit it. I don’t really like the color green. Vegetables are made of that color! And it’s Luke’s favorite color to play, so it’s got that against it too… But each October, I make an exception to this rule because dealing with Green is the only way to get to the 2F booth and see the new games! (Actually, I’m kidding. It’s not that I dislike Green. It’s just not as cool as Yellow!)
Friedemann Friese is never short of game ideas, and every year when I hear about his new games, I’m always amazed at the different ideas that he is able to put together into a game. Over the years, I’ve been able to become friends with Herr Friese (we see each other at the Gathering most years and we stay at the same hotel in Essen). Anytime that I talk to him, he’s always got two or three game ideas that he’s working on, and he’s always seems to be excited to talk about them and get your ideas on them.
This year, the output from 2F is higher than normal as there are (at least) 5 releases coming from the small company! I’ve had the chance to see some of them as prototypes or in their previous incarnation, and it definitely looks like my gaming shelves will definitely have a green section this year – maybe I should arrange them by box color!
The first game for the year is a reprint, Friese’s Landlord. This is a nearly 20-year old game which was, in fact, one of my first German games that I ever purchased! Shockingly, it came in a yellow box – though Abacus released it, not 2F… Landlord is a card game where the players are landlords trying to make the most money from attracting and keeping the best tenants in their apartment building.
Friese’s Landlord appears to be a pretty straightforward re-release with some new art and possibly some new tenant cards (I cannot tell from my look at the rules how different the cards will be…) Landlord is definitely an old school game, and it can be a very competitive game with direct play against your opponents, but it’s a good little game that still remains in my game collection after almost 20 years, so that’s got to say something about it.
The second game on the list is Futterneid – the English name will be Candy Crave. I honestly can’t think of very many candy-themed words that begin with F, so at least the alliteration stays in place with the translated title…
I have talked about this game in the past in my Gathering of Friends report from this year – it was called Fight for Food at that time. Here’s what I said then:
The last game I’ll talk about today is the newest game in the Friday project, Fight for Food. Per the rules of the Friday project, I’d like to talk about it now (since it’s Friday). It’s called Fight for Food because the pieces in the game right now are miniature candy bars – the sorts of things you give out at Halloween! 5 different types of candies are placed in the center of the table, and each is given a random base value. Then, each player takes their identical set of 5 value chits (+3, +2, +1, -1, -2) and designates one chit facedown to each candy. Those chits are shuffled and one is revealed to give some partial idea to the end value. On your turn, you can either draw candies from the table or you can steal candies from another player.
The first player really can only draw candies, and that player may only draw one. The drawn candy is put in front of him (it is not yet locked in and is vulnerable to be stolen). The next player can draw candies in a quantity either one more or one less than the previous player took. If you choose to steal candies, you first state which player you are stealing from. The player being stolen from first gets to choose any one candy to keep permanently. It is put to the side and will be scored at game end. Any remaining candies are then taken by the stealing player and put in front of him.
The player going next can either steal candies or take a number of candies from the center either one more or one less than the number of candies successfully stolen in the previous turn. The game continues until all the candy is taken from the center of the table. Once all the candies are gone, each player in turn gets to lock in any ONE candy that is in front of him. If he has no more candies in front, he could choose to take one which is vulnerable in front of another player. Once all the candies are chosen, the rest of the value tiles are revealed and a final value for each candy is determined. Players then calculate their score and the highest total wins.
If you go to the original post, you can see some of the pictures there as well of the prototype… I’m definitely looking forward to the real version of the game – it was interesting already in its unfinished state this April, and I want to see how it turns out!
Futterneid/Candy Crave is part of the Friday Project – a crazy idea that only FF could come up with where he has only been working on these games on Fridays for the past five years (most likely only for periods of time that start with Fs as well, such as 5 hours, fifteen minutes, etc…) As such, the official release of this game will not happen until high noon on Thursday…. And, I know, you’re asking yourself – why Thursday? That doesn’t start with an F! Well, noon on Thursday is the same time as midnight Friday morning in Fakaofo, one of the first islands to see the sun each day…
The next game on the 2F hit parade is a game that I had never heard of before – a re-theming of a traditional Scandinavian card game, Agurk. Five Cucumbers (Funf Gurken) is a trick taking game that’s all about not taking the last trick. The gist of the game is that you have two choices on your turn: Take over a trick by playing a high card or discard your lowest card. It is not enough to keep a low card in your hand for the last trick as you will also need some high cards for taking over key tricks.
The catch is that whoever takes the seventh and final trick of a round will end up taking cucumbers. Once you have 5 cucumbers, you’re out of the game. I don’t have many trick taking games that involve player elimination, so this one could fit a niche in the collection…
Next on the list is the de rigeur Power Grid expansion. Surprisingly, it’s only the 9th set of expansion maps that have been produced for the game. This year, the game moves to the other side of the globe (from me)… From the press release:
• The Indian Subcontinent is always in danger of suffering huge power outages if the players increase their networks too quickly. Additionally, the players must buy their resources on a limited resource market, which does not always guarantee enough resources for all players.
I like the annual innovation with Power Grid because it has never been overwhelming. Unlike one of my other top 5 all time games, Age of Steam, the expansion maps have always been in-house, and the rate of release has never overwhelmed me. I can’t remember which year it was, but there was one trip to Essen where I came home with over 15 new AoS maps, and when I couldn’t get them all to the table, that kind took the wind out my sails for that game for a few years… The PG maps come at a slower pace and though I haven’t played the Quebec nor UK/Ireland maps completely out yet, I’m ready for some new boards now too.
The fifth entry for the year is the annual promo card for a good cause…
Power Grid: Taxes (Funkenschlag: Steuern) is a promotional card for Power Grid that will be first available in October 2013 for a donation at the 2F-Spiele booth during Spiel 2013. The donation is for the children’s group Knaddeldaddel, a small playgroup for 1-3 year old children in Bremen. For more infos (in German) please go to Kindergruppe Knaddeldaddel e.V..
The Power Grid: Taxes card is shuffled into the power plant deck. If drawn in Step 1, place it below the power plant deck. If drawn in Step 2 or Step 3, all players must pay 20% of their money as taxes at the start of phase 5 “Bureaucracy”, then remove the card from the game. After paying taxes, players receive their usual income for supplying electricity to cities.
I’m not sure how much I’d like this particular card because I’m always cutting it superfine at the end of the game, but I’m a completist when it comes to Power Grid, so I’m sure that I will get one and try it at least once. Who knows, maybe it’ll be good for me to figure out how to deal with the 20% tax!
You would think that 5 new things would be enough, right? Well there might be one more… I have not yet heard officially that this totally awesome thing will be coming out at Essen, but if it is, I promise you that I’ll be in line to buy at least 5 copies. More details on this as soon as Friedemann or Henning tells me that they are coming out at this year’s Essen and that we can talk about them.
Until your next appointment,
The Gaming Doctor