Wednesday is the usual setup day here in Essen, and it was quite busy today. Unlike in years past, many of the booths were not quite ready this morning when we walked in. In fact when we walked out of the halls around 6 p.m., many more boots than usual seem to still be in states of construction.
As with most years, the start of the fair for me is the press conference in the morning followed by the new releases exhibition room. This room offers a great chance to see many of the new games of the fair in a room dedicated for the display of these new games. During the first few hours, there is someone from most of the companies there to explain the games to you. However, this room can also be a resource later in the fair, as the games are left out for quiet observation and picture taking.
This year, one of the bigger displays was for the new version of Scotland Yard which has a new Sherlock Holmes theme. While the board looks the same, there appear to be new characters would have special abilities to change the game around a little bit.
Other games which I have had the chance to see earlier but we’re receiving large amounts of attention today were Plan B from Hans im Gluck and Heat from Days of wonder.
I was fairly excited to see that there is a new winter based Andor box coming. It is unclear whether this box will be translated to English or not, as my German representative from the company was unable to tell me. However as Thames & Kosmos has done all of the other Andor boxes, I suspect this will be arriving to our shores in the next few months.
There was also an extension to the Robin Hood Cooperative game which appeared to be a soft board and new movers.
Hamlet looks amazing, and I have a meeting later in the week to get a better explanation of the game. According to the representative from Mighty Boards, the Kickstarter has just fulfilled, and they brought the rest of the kickstarter Edition here for sale. There is a different retail version which went the market soon, but if you want a version of the game now, you will have to Pony up for the special Kickstarter Edition.
One other game that caught my eye was Terra Nova, on display here from Kosmos, but I also saw this available at the Capstone booth. This is a streamlined version of Terra Mystica, and a game I look forward to trying soon
Unlike other years, I also managed to have a few meetings on Wednesday. With Matt ago, I learned that there is a new board game version of slay the Spire coming. The rules explanation that we got pretty much was ”do you know how to play the video game? If so you know the rules to the board game.”
We also got a chance to play Orion M42, which was an interesting two player abstract game. I got my butt kicked, but this is no surprise as I am traditionally pretty bad at these abstract games.
I also had a nice meeting with the folks at Sit Down! they showed me their new deduction gameTiwanaku, which uses an interesting solution sheet hidden in a disc with multiple sliding doors. As you go through the game you will need certain answers, and to find this you will need to spend the dials on the desk and then open the appropriate door. It is supposed to make the logic part somewhat dummy proof.
I also got to have a demo of Redwood, a game which is coming to Kickstarter this week. It looks pretty neat and you use plastic templates to move your pieces around and then take pictures. Based on the things which your templates overlay, you add certain elements to your photos, and the best photos will score you the most points.
Another game I am pretty excited 4foris Eleven from Portal Games. While the theme is a soccer management game, it is really an economic game which could be played by people who do not even have an interest in the sport. Of course, it will definitely appeal to those who watched the beautiful game. They are selling the full range of expansion boxes here.
When we got back to the hotel, I had a chance to play a copy of Dorfromantik which was picked up by my roommate. The rules explanation for this game is “ if you have played the computer game, then you know how to play this game”. Essentially, you always have three demands on the board , and the group plays cooperatively to meet these demands. You score points for each demand which is fulfilled, as well as some other points for specific board layouts and things like the longest Railroad and the longest river. The cool thing about this is that there is also a Campaign of sorts where you can unlock up to five different boxes of goodies – each game scores you a few meta points and you cross off spaces on a branching tree of options to get to the different bonuses and unlocks.
We also had a chance to play 13 Words, a game from Captain Games. This is a fun and light party game where you start with 13 word cards in a circle, one of these cards is placed in the center and players try to associate this Central word with one of the words around the outside. Anyone who matches the Captain’s Choice for the turn scores a point. The card on the outside which was chosen then is flipped over and moved to the center to become the next Central word. Keep doing this until all the words are gone. The group is scored based on their sum total of points.
Here is a quick view of the game haul was able to pick up today.
I am already having some luggage issues, as you can see one of my Ikea bags bit the dust today because it was too full!
Finally, I am happy to report that Germany still has weird snack food.
Until your next appointment,
The Gaming Doctor
Waiting for the review of those chips!