Early Thoughts on Spiel’18 Games

For the second time in my life I attended the Internationale Spieltage in Essen this year.  But, having learned from my previous experience the first time – I headed back home early, and just spent the day playing a bunch of new releases.  I’ll write up more about my experience later, for now – the games…

I don’t tend to be quick to try new 18xx games – most of them prove to be disappointments for me – but 18Lilliput caught my eye, and I was happy to give it a try.  And it’s not a bad game, but – too dry for me.

Most games “about” music are fairly far removed from the theme; Concerto is not.  Unfortunately, there’s not quite enough to the game for this to be a recommendation; still, I’m very glad to have tried it.

As we started, I had high hopes for Cupcake Empire, a very nicely presented game with an approachable theme.  But as the game continued, I found it to be more frustrating than fun.  The game all works, but the issue I have with die rolls limiting choices kept the game from really striking home with me.

I played a lot of games of Fast Forward: Fortune as a prototype back in April (or, if you prefer, two full times through the deck – though that’s not how I think of a play), so I already knew it was my favorite of the series.  And for me, it’s holding up; a third time through the deck was every bit as enjoyable as the previous two.

I actually played Futboard at the fair – but on Wednesday, before the crowds appeared.  It’s a clever soccer game – a little more complex than Street Soccer, but equally balanced towards offense so that there’s always action in the game.  If I didn’t already have more two player games than I know what to do with, it would have been an easy purchase.

I already knew I enjoyed Key Flow, and there wasn’t really any surprise to the game – just fun to get more opportunity to play it.  I can picture this game moving up to me now that I will have more opportunities to play it.

Magnificent Flying Machines caught my attention before the fair, but also held it through an explanation of the game and through a play of the game under non-ideal circumstances.  Six players – probably even five – is too many for the game.  But it’s still fun even with too many, and I’m really looking forward to playing it with a better number.

The biggest box I brought home – easily – was that for Marble Bobsleigh.  And – it was well worth it; the game was quite fun, in practice.  And, having missed out on Rampage / Terror in Meeple City, the first game I can recall playing where blowing on pieces is necessary – or at least advantageous.  Sometimes.

The press preview at Spiel is not really intended for playing games; at most, they’re briefly demoed.  But Quick!Quick!Quick! is so – well, quick – that there was time for us to play a full game.  Players are trying to get all the necessary equipment for their earthquake victims, with just two minutes plus time to notice the timer to complete this.  Cleverly, noticing the timer also earns a bonus, so that it’s unlikely to be missed for long.

I managed to play Underwater Cities before I left Essen.  It’s a very Vladimír Suchý game, and takes strong advantage of worker placement.  And the rule, while apparently sometimes repetitive, were very clear.  I’m not enough of a worker placement fan for the game to be ideal for me, but it went over very well with my fellow players.

I still have ten games I brought home with me which I’ve never previously tried to look forward to.  But combined with some of the games I played earlier such as Carpe Diem, I’m confident this crop will live up to my expectations.

This entry was posted in Essen 2018, First Impressions. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Early Thoughts on Spiel’18 Games

  1. Dale Yu says:

    Brian and I tried a demo of Quick!^3. Not quite enough there for me to take it home.

  2. Oliver Kinne says:

    Thank you for the Essen update. The games you got to play sound cool. Some I had heard of, others I didn’t. I want to go to Spiel next year, maybe volunteer for one of the exhibitors to save money. We’ll see.

  3. Pingback: Essen for Agoraphobes | The Opinionated Gamers

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