Essen 2019, Day 3: What’s Hot, and What I Played (Chris Wray)

I wasn’t especially productive today, instead spending considerable time wandering around the used game stands. So today’s post just has quick coverage of the Geekbuzz and Fairplay lists, then some thoughts on Die Crew, which we did get some plays in of.

Last night, I had initial impressions of Lost Cities: Auf Schatzsuche and Tricks and the Phantom. On Thursday, I had initial impressions of Evidence and Luna Nova. On Wednesday, I had them for Anubixx, Azul Summer Pavilion, and Chartae.

What’s Hot

Like always, let’s discuss the Fairplay and Geekbuzz lists.  Up first is the Fairplay list: to get on the afternoon list required 20 votes from scouts with ratings of 3.5 or more:

  • Barrage – 4.0
  • Crystal Palace – 4.0
  • Die Crew – 4.0
  • Marco Polo II – 4.0
  • Res Arcana – 4.0
  • TEAM3 vielfarbig – 4.0
  • Terramara – 4.0
  • Azul Summer Pavilion – 3.9
  • Kitchen Rush – 3.9
  • Carnival of Monsters – 3.8
  • Cartographers – 3.7

So a few new names, but largely the same.

The following games had good ratings but not enough ratings to get on the list: Barrage, Glen More II, The King’s Dilemma, Sprawlopolis, Terramara (which did make the later list), Freshwater Fly, and Alubari: A Nice Cup of Tea.

And now the top 20 on the Geekbuzz list:

  • The Magnificent
  • Aquatica
  • Terramara
  • Bruxelles 1897
  • Maracaibo
  • Trismegistus
  • Cooper Island
  • Azul: Summer Pavilion
  • Ecos
  • Black Angel
  • Barrage
  • It’s a Wonderful World
  • Glen More II Chronicles
  • Fast Sloths
  • Last Bastion
  • Sanctum
  • Underwater Cities: New Discoveries
  • Food Chain Magnate: The Ketchup Mechanism & Other Ideas
  • Pharaon
  • Imperial Settlers: Empires of the North

As a wise man pointed out to me tonight, we’re starting to see how different these two audiences are. I kind of trust the BGG list more than the Fairplay list at this point for gauging sales. That’s the second year in a row I’ve said that, but that’s historically not been the case.

One statistic I find fascinating but generally never write about: the Geekbuzz list has votes on 533 different titles. That’s a lot of enthusiasm for a lot of games. And it shows just how many games appealing to different crowds are being released at Spiel this year.

What I Played

I played a few games today, but the ones I’m most excited to write about is Die Crew, and I’m running short on time tonight, so I’m just going to add some thoughts on that. If you want the rules, check out last night’s post, which had a detailed preview.

We played the first several missions — 8 or 9, I think — and had no trouble zooming through them. (We did lose one because I played a card at the wrong moment.) They’re very basic, almost designed for people with little trick-taking experience. I enjoyed a couple of those (especially Mission 5), but they were a bit too easy.

So we jumped ahead, to Mission 35. And that showed some promise. We lost. And it was a tense and fun little puzzle.

I really admire the innovation in this game. Cooperative trick taking games are pretty rare — as I explained last night, I’ve only played one other one — so this is something novel. And I’m really eager to try working through all of the missions. For experienced trick takers, it might be worth starting at Mission 10 or 20. But given that a game can last 2-3 minutes, it is harmless fun.

The two downsides that I see are (1) that some missions will literally be impossible based on how the cards come out, and (2) Kosmos needed to use higher quality material on the cards, because these things will be pretty worn if you do work our way through all 50 missions.

Otherwise, I’m very excited to try this out with my trick taking fans back home.

Initial OG Rating: I like it. (But this will probably end up being an “I love it!” game.)

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3 Responses to Essen 2019, Day 3: What’s Hot, and What I Played (Chris Wray)

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  3. Shrey says:

    Thanks for keeping us up to date on what is garnering the most buzz. Die Crew looks like something I absolutely need to try. I enjoy Familiars Trouble for what it does. Do you know if there are official English rules available?

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