SPIEL 2022 One-Line (Reviews)

In years past, we have compiled some quick takes on SPIEL games.  This year, we’ve asked our writers to give a very small summation of their thoughts after playing games.  It takes awhile to write up reviews, and by making this list of quick takes, hopefully you can get a feel for what we’re thinking of the new games in a quicker time frame.


Reviews for almost all these games are coming soon, but for now, you can read these. They are in alphabetical order.  A second set to hopefully come out in the week following BGG.con!

  • 13 Words – a clever little party game where you try to match two words together.  The judge rotates around the board, and each round you eliminate one card.  Quick 15 minute game, lots of fun.
  • 3000 Scoundrels – a game that wants to be about card crafting, where you hire created scoundrels from the saloon and then bluff your way to the treasure.  Unfortunately for me, you don’t craft the cards yourself, it just happens in setup.  It means every game is different in the scoundrel population, but it wasn’t what I was hoping for
  • Applejack – a great hex tile laying game from Uwe Rosenberg.  The sort of game that rewards all sorts of different strategies.  Definitely deserves more exploration
  • Applejack – Just when I thought I’d tired of “everyone has their own board” puzzles, Applejack was nice. I’m a sucker for games where the currency of the economy is your VPs. Knowing where on the board your next turn would come was a brilliant graphic design touch. I don’t love it, but pleasant enough.
  • Aves – A colorful game about birds.  Very light.
  • Black Friday – Ab in Die Tonne, the consumerist version. Race around a store buying things and try to fit them into your cart to fill your shopping lists. Great fun!
  • Caldera Park – this excellent follow-up to Savannah Park, also by Kramer and Kiesling, reuses the idea of simultaneously having to play a tile chosen by another player onto your board BUT now there is a lot more flexibility in which tile you can choose, and a bit more predictability. I really liked Savannah Park but this feels significantly better. The artwork, box design and components are up to the same standards and the the game plays through is a satisfying hour or less. Highly recommended. 
  • Cat in the Box – Fun trick taking game that will cause at least one player at the table to ask, “So, how do I know which suit my cards are?”. Not sure it’ll be played much more than it already has been, but it’s a solid game.
  • Cat in the Box – Honestly, just glad this excellent trick taker is more available. It was impossible to find after the first print run in Japan and is one of my favorite games in recent years.
  • Cat in the Box – I’ve only played this mind-bending trick-taker once.  It’s clever and feels completely unique.  It may have a touch less control than I usually like, but it’s a game I’d like to explore some more.
  • Cat in the Box – I’ve really enjoyed my half dozen two player games of this. I’m sure it will be even better with 3 or 4. Original and interesting. 
  • Cat in the Box – the new edition is pretty sweet, and the recessed board is nice to hold the tokens.  Essentially, this is a trick taking game where you designate the color when you play a rank card. A real mind-twister.
  • Challengers! – combine traditional 2-player card battle game “War” with deckbuilding. Add 1-2 cards to your deck and discard any before each battle, but the battle is “autopilot”: draw cards until one of you wins. You win if you outlast your opponent (they can no longer beat your last card) or your opponent has too many types of cards on their bench. Round robin tournament if more than 2 players.
  • Challengers – 4 plays in and still loving this game. So much fun. It really feels like with the few decisions you have can significantly impact your deck, and there are many possible routes to victory. Great with 2-8 players and fast, you can play through in under an hour with 8. Excellent player mats and value for money. Love it. 
  • Deal with the Devil – Very innovative and highly interactive game from CGE that is almost certainly different from anything else you’ve ever played.  Very much not for everyone, but definitely worth checking out for those who crave something other than the same old, same old.
  • Decorum – a cooperative game where you aren’t allowed to talk about what you want to do, your actions speak for themselves.  For many, this is an ideal thing.  For me, a hard pass
  • Die Wandelnden Turme – A K&K roll&move-ish game.  It was fine. I expected to adore it from the rules, but I found the memory and take that mechanics to be more than I enjoy.  The card draws could be a bit capricious as well.  I think with one set or the other I’d be ok, but the combination was not for me.
  • Die Wandelnen turme – at the basic level, this could easy be a spiel des jahres short list game. kramer and kiesling have mixed a bit of hand management, a bit of memory and a bit of tactical spell playing into a tight 30 minute game. 
  • Dorfromantik – a sweet conversion of a videogame (that was based on a boardgame concept) that has been translated back into a boardgame.  A great implementation of the main ideas, with some expandable / unlockable content.  I like what I have seen so far.  Supposed to have EN version by 1Q 2023
  • Dracula – This game felt unlike anything I’ve played before. Some hints of Bloody Inn maybe? The titles coming from this circle of Spanish designers are truly interesting. Looking forward to more plays.
  • Evergreen – this feels like the natural successor to Photosynthesis, though the game flow is a bit different.  You still use the sunlight idea on the trees, but the scoring here is a bit more complex.  I also really like the little wood minis for the trees…
  • Fasanerie/Fancy Feathers – What if Verflixxt was a card game? You get Fasanerie. At least with Fasanerie there are no dice and the combos of cards can be swapped out.
  • Findorff – This is very much a Friese efficiency game, in which you repeatedly upgrade your basic actions throughout the game.  My one game was enjoyable; my biggest question is if it has long-term replayability (which has been a definite concern for some of Friedemann’s recent designs).  Based on the reactions of those who have played this a lot (including our own Joe Huber), I suspect the answer is yes.
  • Flick Maze – a fun activity.  It is not a game.
  • FORK – An interesting trick taking game with chain reaction resolution at the end of a trick. Looking forward to playing this one more.
  • Formosa Flowers – a boardgamer version of Hanafuda.  From my games, not much skill here, it’s a lot of luck of the draw.  A relaxing 15 minute game with excellent art.
  • FYFE – an interesting puzzle game where you fill in a 5×5 grid, and as you do this, you also choose which scoring tiles to place on each row, column and diagonal.  A bit of AP risk as you near the end of the game, but this is the sort of puzzle I like
  • Gang of Dice – A gang is certainly not two people, right? The two player count should not be written on this box, though I would like to play with more.
  • Gang of Dice – a push your luck dice game from Knizia.  Enjoyable, though there is possibly a weird first player imbalance.  My second favorite Knizia push your luck game this SPIEL (see No Mercy)
  • Gang Star – Slow moving deduction game. A Go Fish variant that I cannot recommend.
  • Hamlet – a beautiful village building game where no one owns the resources or buildings, so everyone can do just about anything.  I played quite poorly in my first game, but i’m looking forward to another chance.
  • Hamlet – It’s held back for me by the graphic design and the components. The icons for the actions on the tile spaces are too small to read sitting at a natural distance from the board, partially because the tiles lean heavily into the art.  Unfortunately, the art is also not overly clear and it was again difficult to distinguish – this time the forest and rock borders. The irregular shaped pieces were….fine. For the first x% of the game, it just made things difficult to play and didn’t seem to add anything other than mental processing time; however, I’ll admit that in the end, it may have helped with some of the un-connectedness of the board, which led to some of the only logistical decisions that arose.
  • Hans im Gluck – Happy to see this booth adamant about contactless payment and providing hand sanitizer at the cashier. The trend away from cash is welcome.
  • Here Be Dragons – Sat down for a demo and the exploration and battle system was fun. I got out of my chair quickly when they told me a half game would be two hours, though.
  • KuZOOka – fun, feels a little like cooperative Liar’s Dice. 
  • KuZOOka – Not a big fan of coops in general, but the communication style should be familiar for a lot of card game fans. And I think I’d only play with 5-6 players to maximize the potential for communication foibles.
  • Lucktails – A surprisingly good deduction and/or deal-making game from the designer of Pechvogel. Though “surprising” has more to do with Pechvogel than other games I would likely play instead.
  • Marvel:Remix – this is in the Fantasy Realms family, with the addition of a few extra rules.  I still prefer the original, but of the FR 2.0 games, this is prob the best for me.  Much better than the Star Trek one.
  • Marvel Dice Throne – Well, some call it Gamer Yahtzee.  But Yahtzee never took 4 to 5 minutes per turn.  I love the idea here, but man, there is a lot to process each turn.  I think I’d actually like it better if it were more simplified/streamlined.  Lots of potential here to attract different players as the different IP licenses can be swapped in easily, and it’s a nice system that any of the characters can play against any other.
  • Mosaic – Middleweight Civ Lite game from Glenn Drover.  It’s Action Selection, with 8 separate actions, most of which are chosen by choosing one of several exposed cards from its area.  You can earn area majority VPs through placing cities, towns, and military in the seven, but there’s lots of other ways of gaining points.  I liked my one play, as it’s a nicely balanced Civ-themed game in which the military doesn’t come close to dominating things.  My one concern is that it might run a bit long.
  • No Mercy – a stupidly simple push your luck card game from Knizia (done by Mandoo from Korea).  So much fun.  Has never failed to provoke laughter.  One of the hits of the show so far for me.
  • Ready Set Bet – a frenetic game about betting at a horsetrack.  The only down side for me is that one player has to be the track announcer and doesn’t get to bet.  This will be fixed once the app is released and then you can have your phone or ipad be the announcer.
  • Revive – 2 plays in on this meaty thinky game. Satisfying options and optimisation challenges without being AP or boring. There are many ways to build up your engine (with cards and slot bonuses) and many ways to turn your choices into VPs. Love it. 
  • Revive – I’ve played a 2 player game and a 3 player game. I didn’t notice much difference in the game with player count. For some of you, Revive may be JASE. Drafting cards and modules then using them to get resources in an optimized manner. Some exploration on the board and building things trying to create paths to end game scoring tiles. Your player board is kind of cool, advancing on various tracks to open up more options. Would play again. Just barely makes the I love it rating for now.
  • Run Animals Run – the subtitle is “Zoo of Depression”.  By zoo they might mean “game”
  • Run Animals Run – Unsure how this was greenlit as a reprint. The first version left me wondering what the authors were trying to do. 
  • Sauscharf – a fun little card game where you try to collect pepper cards in order to make bottles of hot sauce.  There is a constant refinement of your deck to get to the win condition. 
  • Sauscharf – Climbing + deck building + set collection in a wonderful combination. One of my favorite plays from SPIEL ‘22 so far.
  • Spaceship Unity – a completely novel idea that turns your house/gameroom into a spaceship.  You use normal household items to stand in for different systems of your ship.  It was a fun activity, but for me, this is more of an activity than a game.
  • Split It – very light card game from Piatnik where one play divides cards up and everyone chooses one of three sections. A bit of mind reading required. Can bring about a few laughs.Neutral. 
  • Starship Captains – This does a great job of conjuring up a Star Trek vibe without it in any way aping the different series or movies.  It’s just a lot of fun and CGE did their usual excellent job of making the theme funny and immersive.  Your different crew members each have different specialties and you have to balance that with acquiring tech and accomplishing missions.  It’s a nice puzzly challenge, but it doesn’t feel overwhelming.  The central concepts are innovative, but not staggeringly so, which fits the tone of the game well.  There’s also a little bit of player interaction.  So a good game with solid mechanics, but it’s the way the theme is implemented that really sells it for me.
  • Twilight Inscription – a two hour long roll and write based in the Twilight Imperium universe.  If you are looking for an epic RAW, look no further.  If TI is too long for you, you might get the same feel from this in half the time.
  • Twilight Inscription – For me, this is a big ol’ galactic meh.  I didn’t really think it would be a great fit for me and that’s how it turned out, even though everyone else in my game seemed to enjoy it.  There’s a limit for how involved a Roll & Write can be in order for it to work for me and this exceeds it.  The result in my one game was a 2 hour, heads down MPS with obscure iconography and four disparate subsystems and that’s just not something I’m looking for in a game.
  • Vegetable Stock – a quick market manipulation where you draft vegetable cards in each of 6 rounds from a market.  The catch is that whichever card isn’t chosen each round – the vegetables shown on that card increase in price.  If you hit the top of the price chart, then the price craters, and you go back to 1 for that vegetable.  Surprisingly interesting for a 10 minute game.
  • Venturesome – Palastgeflüster sped up and made for the Uncharted/Indiana Jones crowd.
  • World Exchangers – an economic game where you buy and sell city cards, with the goal to manipulate the direction of your bankroll line on your chart.  As your line touches certain icons on the chart, you’ll gain those things.  A hidden gem for sure.

About Dale Yu

Dale Yu is the Editor of the Opinionated Gamers. He can occasionally be found working as a volunteer administrator for BoardGameGeek, and he previously wrote for BoardGame News.
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1 Response to SPIEL 2022 One-Line (Reviews)

  1. Jacob Lee says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I like the quick takes covering a lot of games, but the problem is if you say something interesting about a particular game I have to then go elsewhere to find more info on it. The thrill is in the hunt, though, right?

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