Times played: 4, with review copy provided by AMIGO
6 nimmt! is one of my most favorite and least favorite cardgames. What?! Yeah, it all depends on my mood. 6 nimmt! sometimes gives you the illusion that you really have control of your path through the game, while other times, it’s a rollicking randomly capricious game where you just play a card and see what happens. Heck, at one Gathering of Friends, I once won a game of 6 nimmt! by never looking at my cards and simply playing one at random each round… Regardless of that, it is a game that always elicits laughs, groans and all other sorts of emotions as the cards play themselves out in the rows on the table.
Times played: 2, with review copy provided by Cucafera Games
Barcelona is a fantastic city which I’ve had the pleasure to visit a few times during my travels. I have many fond memories of walking along La Rambla and seeing the wonderful sights. When I saw that there was a game coming at SPIEL 2019 themed around taking pictures of the wonderful sights in the city, I had to give it a try. In Zoom in Barcelona, players are competing in a photo contest where they are trying to take the best pictures – but they’ll have to travel around the city to get to the best pictures of city landmarks as well as views of the city skyline.
Ticket to Ride is doubtlessly the most famous of the train games. Fifteen years after Alan Moon’s creation won the Spiel des Jahres, it is as popular as ever. A new map — this time featuring London, baby! — was released at Gen Con. The trains are gone, with buses taking center stage, and as with Ticket to Ride New York, the playtime is shortened.
Designer: Yusuke Matsumoto Artist: 別府さい (Sai Beppu) Publisher: engames Players: 3-4 Ages: 10+ Playing Time: 30-45 minutes Times Played: 5 with a review copy
Nokosu Dice was one of many trick-taking games released at Tokyo Game Market this fall. Rather, I should say, re-released. It was originally a 2016 release from Quoth Games, and one I wasn’t aware of until now.
The game has a number of interesting twists, each of which center around a pool of dice. Each player will have a few dice in front of them which act as an extension of their hand: a red die showing a 4 is the same as a red 4 card in your hand.
We’ll discuss it further below, but the key feature here, I think, is that you will bid for how many tricks you’ll win _after_ you play your hand of cards: you will play all of your cards, and all but one of your dice, with the face of the last die determining your bid.
“If you can’t say something nice, just don’t say anything at all”
-Probably my mother
Before we get too far, I love Gold West. It’s a favorite of mine, and recently survived “The Culling”. I love the thematic setting, I love the game play, and I love the look of it. I also love roll and writes. In fact, roll and writes have probably occupied the largest chunk of my gametime over the last year, just based on number of plays. So when I found out that TMG was publishing a roll and write based on Gold West, I was really excited and couldn’t wait to give it a play. What could go wrong?
Game played on review copy provided by Rio Grande Games
Butterfly is the newest release from one of my oldest friends in gaming, Stephen Glenn. Right when I was coming into the hobby, 1999 or so, I was playing Acquire games by Email – and one of the guys in that group was none other than Stephen Glenn. He may be best known for his debut game, Balloon Cup, which was recommended for the Spiel des Jahres in 2003 – but he has had a number of designs published since then.
We’re now a month past Spiel ’19, and on a recent visit to a local game store, I realized that many of the hottest games from the event have hit US shores. To help those who are holiday shopping (or shopping for their collections), I thought I’d offer thoughts on a few more games.
Earlier this month, I posted quick thoughts on 5 Essen 2019 games, including Babylonia, Maracaibo, Paranormal Detectives, Ticket to Ride Map Collection #7, and Vivaldi. This is a sequel article to that one, with 5 new Essen titles.
Before you do anything else, start the music file below. And then, let it be known that you have exactly 4 1/2 minutes to finish reading this review. Which might be hard, because you’ll be dancing along in your chair the whole time…
4 1/2 Minuten
Designer: Joachim Reif
Publisher: moses. verlag
Time: 4.5 minutes
Times played: game: 8, with review copy provided by moses. music: >70 and counting (it’s now my alarm music on my phone!)
4 1/2 Minuten was a game that I knew nothing about prior to Spiel 2019. As you may have read in my No Return review; I usually don’t pay much attention to the games from moses as they are often literary based and almost always in German only. For many of their new releases, EN rules are available online, and the game components themselves are language independent.
No Return: Es gibt kein Zurück! (There’s No Turning Back!)
Designer: Marco Teubner
Time: 20-30 minutes
Times played: 3, with review copy provided by moses
moses is one of the game companies that I have often walked by at SPIEL, but have rarely stopped at because most of their games tend to be word or story based and generally entirely in German. This year, No Return was the popular game on their stand, and this one is really a language independent abstract, so there aren’t any language issues. I was actually surprised to find out that they are making a move towards more multi-lingual releases, and in fact, many of their 2019 games have EN rules on the website!
This summer, I was given the opportunity to play a few of the new strategy games being sold by Mindware. From their website – “MindWare is the award-winning creator, manufacturer and distributor of Brainy Toys for Kids of All Ages. Founded in 1990, the company started out with a small retail store in Minneapolis, evolving into a direct-to-consumer catalog and website business, as well as a wholesale business. Our diverse product line includes educational toys, games, brainteasers, creative play activities, building sets, coloring books and more. “ While this sort of game is maybe a little out of the Opinionated Gamers wheelhouse, I wanted to see what their new line of strategy games was all about; in part to see how the games played as well as to help build my internal database of possible suggestions when people ask me the inevitable question: “What game should I buy XXX for their birthday/Christmas present?” Both of these games were played with my regular gaming group, and they went over fine – though they would definitely be better suited for a more casual gaming group or family activity. Both are available from