We are finally arrived at the Friday. Just after a single day of games we really want to try something good. Mauro di Marco (editor in chief of ILSA Magazine , the best Italian boardgame magazine, and, like me, committee member in the International Gamer Award) got a good analysis of the number of titles published in the last 10 years: thanks to BGG first and Kickstarter than the number of title is really increased in something close to 5000 entries in the last year. It is not possible to look and try just only the interesting ones so we decided to go and play whatever inspire us without looking what’s hot or the top rated games: Heaven & Ale looks like the kind of game we all three we can really like.
A German player joined us. That’s one of the things I really like most of the Essen Spiele: everyone is here for trying new games and everyone is always welcome at the table! Heaven & Ale is really the kind of game I like. A quite straight and simple core mechanic with many different way to score. You move your pawn going clockwise in a track with 4 different kind of boxes: resources, monks, scoring boxes and award boxes. You can move as far as you want trying to get what really you want: on the other side going slowly will let you take more actions. The mechanic is weel balanced and it is often useful to skip one or more boxes to get what you really need before other players get it! When you take monks and resources you play them on your personal board. Placing in the “shaded” is cheaper and could give you money; in the “sunny” part is more expensive and could increase your production. Money are worthless in the end: are just the fuel you need to make things during the game. Around your board there there is a track for your brew-master and 5 different resources; in the end you will score the production value of the lower one with a multiplier related to the position of your brew-master. Moving up brew-master and the resources is the key of victory. You can also score points gaining special achievement during the game. Without going in details the game really works well and it is fun. We played it again in the evening in the hotel. Francesco won beating both Caterina and me, We all rate it high. Francesco 9.5 and Caterina 8.5
Than for me it was the opportunity to participate to the International Gamers Awards ceremony. Some of the best boardgame’s reviewers from all-around the world are keeping rating and voting every year the best multi-player and best 2-player game. In a world dominated by young youtuber (sometimes still in the kindergarden when Settletrs was first published) it is really incredible how almost 20 member from all around the world (Japan, South Africa, US, Australia, Germany, Denmark, Italy, Uk and so on …) are still keeping this great award alive. This year we awarded Great Western Trail and Arkham Horror LCG with Melissa making a great speech!
Francesco and Caterina got a free afternoon of game. They told me played a lot of quick titles and finally stopped at Hurrican booth for the usual Essen Mr. Jack game.
We played Torres together (sometimes is good to find time to play some old classics) and than me and Francesco tryied Fleet Commander a 1vs1 space battle game with a really nice engine. In yout turn you choose 3 from 9 dice to roll. Blue dice are used to move your ships, red dice to attack and green dice to defend. You can use it immediately or store (no more than 4) for later turns. There are 3 different kind of ships with special abilities. The game is good with the right mix of strategy and dice rolling, something I really like in games with battles: we bought the basic game and all the expansions!
On the other side we stopped to dV Giochi to try the new Minute Realms, a really nice 15 minutes experience. Every turn you get a card and you have to decide to which card (among the 3-6 available) to build. You can build the one in front of you (just paying the cost) or take one from your opponents or from the center of table activating also special power. Some cards will rise the force of the invading barbarians that will clash your realms in the end of the 4th and 8th turn. Which card to build, how balance points and defenses looking the strength of barbarians is the core of the game. Really nice. We played it 3 times in a row. I liked it. Francesco rate it 7.5
Francesco and Caterina also played Origami at dV Giochi booth but I wasn’t there so I really don’t know how the game works.
It was really a great friday in Essen and also the dinner was great. We played some more games before going bed, ready for our last day!
Dragon Castle from Horrible Games is really a great surprise. For me something that can really hit gamers! Much more interesting than Potions Explosion. The idea is really simple: every turn you take a tile from the top level and than you can:
- take another one from elsewhere (but must me exactly equal)
- take a roof
To take a tile it must be free: have on of his long sides on the edge. You place the tiles on your board trying to combine 4 or more of the same kind. Combining 6 or more give you a lot more points. After a combination you turn-off the scored tiles and than you can build on top. Making a combinationn allow you to place a roof that will score in the and according to his level.
Simple rules, clear mechanic but really a lor of strategy.
Tomorrow will be out last day in Essen but we are ready to play as much as possible!
Andrea, Caterina and Francesco!