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To submit news, a designer diary, outrageous rumors, or other material, please contact BGG News editor W. Eric Martin via email – wericmartin AT gmail.com

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Origins Game Fair 2016 Preview — Now Live!

W. Eric Martin
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Given that BGG.CON Spring 2016 is wrapping up — and I plan to post a wrap-up of that experience in the near future — it's time to publish our Origins Game Fair 2016 Preview. Right now the preview is fairly small with only 35 items listed, but the Origins 2015 Preview grew to more than 150 titles before that convention opened, and I expect similar growth on the 2016 Preview in the two weeks prior to the opening of Origins 2016 on June 15.

In case you missed my note from mid-May 2016, BGG will be at Origins for all five days of Origins, and the current plan is to livestream game demonstrations from 10:00 to 16:00 each day. We've scheduled time with some of the publishers who will be there, and I'm reaching out to others this coming week. I plan to publish our broadcast schedule on Monday, June 13 in order to give us enough time to finalize everything, although at this point we might just be playing games on camera during the final day.

With that in mind, if you're a publisher or designer who will be selling or showing off new designs at Origins 2016, please contact me via the email address in the BGG News header and drop the info on these designs!
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Mon May 30, 2016 1:00 pm
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Tokyo Game Market • May 2016 III — Game Overviews of Gaijin Dash!, Trick of Spy, Rummy 17, Mushroom Mania, Same One!, Genie's Banquet & Matadoon!

W. Eric Martin
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Filming at the Tokyo Game Market is tough. The event lasts only seven hours, tables are small, few people speak English (and I can only count a bit in Japanese), and most JP designer/publishers don't want to appear on camera anyway. Add all that together, and you can understand why I didn't film any game overviews during TGM itself.

Instead my guide/translator Ken Shoda met me at the Tokyo game café Dear Spiele on the Saturday following TGM, where we spent four hours reading rules (Ken), asking questions (me), and filming these videos (my wife Linda). As you might be able to tell from the walls around us, Dear Spiele has a great selection of games and I'll post lots of pics from the café in another TGM picture round-up. Many thanks to Ken for volunteering to do this, especially since he seemed to be coming down with a cold at the time!

• We'll start with an overview of the non-Japanese game Gaijin Dash!, self-published by designers Antoine Bauza and Corentin Lebrat and released in a 500-copy edition at TGM.





• Reiner Knizia seems to have had a handful of games released or re-released at each TGM that I've attended. In May 2016, Oink Games released a snazzy version of Twins, New Games Order had an in-joke-filled version of Escalation!, and Ten Days Games released the seemingly new Rummy 17. I say "seemingly new" as (1) it's hard to track everything that Knizia has released over the years and (2) the game is mostly standard rummy aside from a few twists — but naturally the twists are what's going to make this game something different.





• A couple of titles from designer Susumu Kawasaki (Traders of Carthage/Osaka, R-Eco) have made their way into markets around the world, but he produces at least one new title each year through his own Kawasaki Factory and those never seem to leave Japan. At TGM in May 2016, Kawasaki debuted Trick of Spy, a trick-taking/deduction combination for 3-4 players.





• I wasn't sure what to expect from looking at the Mushroom Mania box, but BGG owner Scott Alden asked me to buy a copy for him, so I did. Then I discovered that it contained rules only in Japanese, which isn't uncommon, but thankfully Ken was able to explain all, so we can now all consume the 'shrooms (so to speak) at BGG.CON Spring. Here's an overview of this design from Peke and Takamagahara:





• Before TGM opened, I didn't know all the details of Genie's Banquet — a title from Naoki Eifuku and Yu Takada — but I did know that (1) it's a co-op game with (2) a solo mode and (3) players laying down numbered and suited cards in order to clear goals, and that reminded me enough of house favorite The Game to transport money out my wallet and into the hands of publisher Kotatsu Party.





• I wrote an overview of Yoshihisa Itsubaki's MountTen in November 2015, and now he and One Draw have released Same One!, an evolved version of that hand-voiding design that allows you to scale the difficult up or down depending on the age (or experience) of the players.





• Most of the games released at TGM consist solely of cards since those games take up less space on shelves, cost less to create and buy, and take less time to produce — but sometimes you'll find board games among the TGM offerings, as with Ejin Laboratory's Matadoon!, which contains a tiny handmade board that folds up to fit in the equally tiny box, along with four player screens, four meeples, a bunch of paper tiles, and a bag.

Aside from the game, I've amazed by the "Matadoon!" name given the explanation presented in this video. Lots of layers in a single word!





• In addition to recording these game overview videos at Dear Spiele, Ken and I interviewed café owner Masashi Kawaguchi about his experience running the store and dealing with competition from those setting up game cafés in the wake of his success.

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Thu May 26, 2016 6:47 pm
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Tokyo Game Market • May 2016 II — 88 Lines About 44 Images

W. Eric Martin
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I noted in my first report on the May 2016 Tokyo Game Market that my wife, son and I took more than four hundred images at the show — then I posted only a dozen pics in that report, and at that rate I could post once a day about TGM for the next month and still not get through all of the images. Unacceptable! Let's see whether I can pare down my paragraph-long descriptions to highlight the games at a faster clip.


The highlight(?) of Tokyo Game Market might have been トイレを汚したのは誰だ?, which translates roughly to Who Soiled the Toilet? No fewer than three U.S. publishers took home a copy of this hidden-role game from 北野克哉 (Katsuya Kitano), a crap-filled Resistance in which players either try to soil the bathroom or keep it clean without anyone guessing which side they're on.


Part of the gameplay in トイレを汚したのは誰だ? involves players trying to flip poo chips into the round box, which represents the toilet. Do you have poor aim, or were you actually trying to drop your load on the floor? That's what everyone wants to find out!


Here are some of the role cards in トイレを汚したのは誰だ?, which probably wouldn't fly on the U.S. market. (Timebomb is not from the same designer/publisher, but was simply being sold at the same table. Many hidden-role games show up at TGM since they tend to require few components to work.)


The Japon Brand stand highlighted some of the licensed versions of game designs that originally appeared at Game Market and at the Japon Brand booth at the annual Spiel convention in Essen, Germany. JB's Nobuaki Takerube told me after the show that Japon Brand has now registered with the government and become a more official organization instead of being the loose network of designers it has been in years past. He also noted that it's only after this May TGM show that he and others start deciding which games will comprise the Japon Brand offerings at Spiel in October, so at this point it's impossible to say which games will make the cut.


マジョマジョ -迷いの森と4人のウィッチ, which I think translates to MajoMajo: Lost in the Forest with Four Witches, has players running through a card forest in which the landscape disappears in order to trap a little boy with their witch. At least I think that's what the game is about. Only a Japanese speaker would know for sure...


I mentioned in my first report that cute cats could be found in many places at TGM. One of those places was in Maigo-Neko, a deduction game from 有泉誠浩 (Shigehiro Ariizumi) in which players are lost cats wandering around town, trying to remember the characteristics of their house so that they can find their way home. Take note of the adorable puffball cat pieces!


Another stand, another cat game, this time from 有限浪漫 (BoardGameCircle), publisher of the delightfully odd Donburiko, which I covered in 2013. I know bupkis about these three titles, alas, so I'll just say "Kitty!" and move on.


Take The "A" Chord is a jazz-themed trick-taking game from Saashi & Saashi. I need to get this (and many other trick-takers) to the table soon. It's been far too long since I've turned tricks...


Saashi & Saashi's other title at TGM is Coffee Roaster, a solitaire game in which you roast and "taste" coffee beans, trying to bring out the optimal flavor (while avoiding smoke and a burnt taste) in three of the game's 22 varieties of beans.


I know the name of the designer/publisher — 安東和之 (Kazuyuki Ando) — but beyond that nothing.


The May 2016 Game Market was my third time attending the show, and by this point I recognize most of the offerings from Tagami Games. Have I played any of them? No, but one of the steps that you take toward knowing a subject is knowing what you know and knowing what you don't know. You need to have a base from which to explore, and while I'm still building the base at this point, I'm getting there.


Admittedly the language barrier at TGM is an issue. You can already see that from some of my meager descriptions above, but the barrier goes both ways, with JP designers having a hard time getting information about their games to an audience outside of Japan. A few years ago, I think this wasn't a concern for most of those at Game Market; they created their games, sold them, then moved on. They had a small audience of enthusiasts, and they catered to that crowd.

Then Love Letter happened. Now a greater number of publishers at each TGM that I attend seem to offer English rules, whether in the box or (as it says on the sign above) "registered on the BGG". Most designers still don't include English rules, but more do as they've realized that their audience isn't limited by the waters around Japan. Their creation could potentially appeal to anyone anywhere, so they're making the effort to meet that audience halfway, to move beyond the enthusiasts who are so crazed for variety that they'll struggle through Google translate for hours to determine 85% of how a game might work. I certainly appreciate the effort, and I bought a few games that I wasn't sure about simply because they did include English rules. If it turns out they won't work for me, at least I'll be able to pass them along more easily.


Cute dogs also show up in force at TGM, as in this game by フジモトが作ります (made by fgmt), but my guide Ken Shoda told me that cats are now the favored pet over dogs in Japan.


This booth presents the TGM newcomer, of which I still consider myself one given my lack of Japanese, with a typical problem: You approach the stand to discover the name of the publisher — TDS — that you've never heard of and three titles about which you know nothing. Solution? Sigh, take a picture, and move on.


A first look at ドラフト戦国大名 ("Draft Sengoku Daimyo"?) from 遊志堂 reveals an area control wargame (possibly), with each player having a bank and personal action sheet — then you see all the cards with text on them, sigh, snap a pic, and move on.


A1 Casino is from first-timer 岸田 ひとり. That is all I know.


Hey, Suburbia 5★ is no longer the only game with a "★" in its title thanks to チップ★ ("Chip ★"), a longer-playing game (90-120 minutes) from なまはむ (Namahamu) with a setting that European and U.S. players will feel right at home playing: You each represent a princess and need to determine which princess will be crowned queen at the end of the game.

The other game in the upper right — まっぴ~! ("Mappings!") — seems typical of what happens at TGM as the publisher offered fifty copies for reserve, met that limit within ten days, then carried an additional ninety copies to TGM for sale to walk-ups. Will more than 140 copies of this game ever exist in the wild? Who knows?


And here's another familiar TGM sight: Eight tiny card games in the space of six cubic feet. I covered ButaBabel from こっち屋 (Kocchiya) after I bought a copy from someone at Kobe Game Market, and I bought Tarot Storia in Nov. 2015 but still haven't played it, and I added Schrödinger Hero to the database but avoided it since hidden roles aren't my thing. The other five games? Mysteries.


The short description of this game from パイライト (Pyrite) is that this is a simple 1-4 minute game for players ages 5 and up that can help prevent dementia in grandmother. Since I don't know the rules, however, Nana's out of luck.


Dessin from 風呂まりもレコーズ (Bath Merimo Records) is of the "simultaneously play, then reveal" school of design, with players starting with the same cards and facing off against each neighbor at the same time to claim point cards.


I see only now, alas, while researching this game for this post, that Gem Duel from カロチンミート (Carotene Meat?) includes English rules and text on the cards as well as Japanese. Oh, well — maybe next time!


Hey! Here's a game in the BGG database: Honnoji from zhatgames, a title that first appeared in 2014 with players moving samurai through a burning temple in order to grab whatever treasure they can. While I often think of TGM as being flooded with new games each show that vanish forever, you also have the phenomenon of a designer/publisher returning to Game Market with the same title over and over again. Heck, Spiel is no different in this regard, as with (for example) the Dutch designer who shows up annually with his two-player racing game that plays on a balance beam.


Another newcomer at TGM in May 2016 was ぐるあゲームズ (Gluer Games) with 新聞記者奔走記, which bears the following name in English in tiny type: Sagazaki Regional Newspaper Boardgame.


I'd like to call out Jon Power for his assistance in getting more JP games listed in the BGG database, including Eat or Eaten from Analog(ic+y), in which bunny players struggle to take out four opposing hares or occupy the opposing burrow. This design originated from a game design challenge in which you were supposed to create a game that used only two types of cards.


NINJAWORKS' Beast Master Tale had a surprise showing (at least in my eyes) at Spiel 2015. At that show I had approached the publisher, asked for a flyer, then promptly lost the flyer amongst lots of other things I picked up at Spiel. At least at TGM I took a picture of the game.


Three games from ひとじゃらし about which I know nothing.


Here's a (relatively) large stack of 爆弾宝箱 (Treasure Chest Bomb) from publisher Comet. Note that when I use the term "publisher" for those at TGM, that typically refers to both the ones designing the games and publishing them. Comet is one of many examples of a "doujin circle", a group of enthusiasts who have decided to try their hand at self-publication.


Publisher 聖書コレクション (Bible Collection) features the games Bible League (a Bible-based baseball game), Bible Hunter: Trinity, and other Bible-inspired creations.


Sea of Clouds designer Théo Rivière (middle) represented Repos Production at TGM; here he is checking out 魔人のごちそう (Genie's Banquet) from Kotatsu Party. I recorded an overview of this co-op game and will post it in the near future.


Multiple games of mystery from 兄者 (Brother's?), by which I mean I know nothing about them.


Four sets of cars that comprise the fighting TCG Spiria Material Card Game, which despite the English title and subtitles has no English text on the heavily Japanese-texted cards. Pity.


Some of the offerings from まどりや (Floor Ya), which was still setting up when I snapped this pic; note that Lost Gemma, despite the similarity of the logo, is not a Lost Legacy variant, but a maze-based puzzle game.


Toy-like games and puzzles from ヒラメキ工房 (Inspiration Workshop), who understandably likes to highlight his press in the mainstream media.


The gloriously colorful and unfortunately (for me) Japanese-filled くるくるジュエル (Round and Round Jewel) from カンブリアゲーム (Cambria Game).


Idol PhotoGrapher (on the left) from ごらくぶ (Entertainment Section) is listed on the TGM website; the two games about critters in the sewer and sheep of varied colors are not. So many mysteries...


Snow Mansion, a design in which players secretly try to kill one another in an old house, is the work of ぎゅんぶく屋 (Gyunbukuya), another first-timer at TGM in May 2016.


Stand for ガーデンゲームズ (The Garden Games), which apparently had only one of its previously released titles, the 2015 release The Labyrinth of Cards — which I only now see has English rules for download on BGG. More preparation needed next time!


"No Mahjong No Life!" is a pretty bold claim, but perhaps Mahjong contains essential nutrients that I've heretofore been missing. しのうじょう (Shinojo) has released two Mahjong-based card games — All Green and Yaochu! — since 2014.


I appreciate the folks from Team.U.C. posing for this pic, but then I didn't return the favor as I know nothing about Turn and Build and Crush. Sorry, guys!


I typically included the booth number in my shots or paired a close-up with a longshot that included the booth number so that I could track down info later, but this bunny-based game has eluded my search efforts. Just wanted to let you know that bunnies get some JP design love, too.


Three-fifths of the titles available from CRIMAGE...


...and the remaining two-fifths.


Multiple games from ゆるあ~と, including one played on an A4 sheet of paper in which the victim of a murder tries to leave clues about the killer by eating certain foods in the vicinity. At least I think that's what is going on.


Okay, I still have dozens more images to post from Tokyo Game Market, but perhaps not in another giant post like this one as I'm not sure how easy it will be to download and view all of these pics at once.

In any case, I thought I'd close with a fun pic. The day after TGM, my family and I took a taiko drumming lesson in east Tokyo from Yukihiro, who has been playing the drums for nearly three decades. (Sign up here!) He was hosting a more experienced set of players at the same time, so we'd switch off frequently during the class, with them playing something awesome, then us learning some of the basic rhythm patterns, then them jumping on again. These students would also jump in during our lessons, possibly to help us grab the rhythm more easily and possibly just because they were all having a ball. Hard to find in the city, but highly recommended!
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Fri May 20, 2016 3:31 pm
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Tokyo Game Market • May 2016 I — Going Small to Get Bigger

W. Eric Martin
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Attending Tokyo Game Market is like taking a trip through the looking glass. For the most part, I feel like I have a handle on the U.S. and European game markets — not that I know everything about every game released by every publisher in those markets because that's unpossible, but I have a sense of how they work, which publishers to cover for the BGG readership, and who to contact for information on upcoming games.

When it comes to Game Market, though, I follow the work of a couple of dozen designer/publishers, but the total number of independent designer/publishers at TGM keeps increasing, with many of these people producing multiple games for every single show. For May 2016, the TGM Preview I created listed only 38 games, barely 15% of the 251 new games available at the show from the 480 exhibitors(!) on hand. (I listed a larger percentage of games in my two previous TGM previews, but I had less time to prepare for this show due to GTS. Sorry! Numbers courtesy a TGM summary on Table Games in the World.)

Thus, once I arrived at TGM, I felt like I was exploring a mysterious wonderland of colorful goods, most of which had rules only in Japanese, which meant that I was left to puzzle out what the games might involve based on all of the other games that I've seen over the years: This one is probably a word-based party game (and it was); that one looks like a connect-the-opposite-sides-of-the-board abstract strategy game (which it was, although I missed learning the details that distinguished it from all the others); there's a Werewolf-style, hidden-role game, and there's another one and there's still another one; here's a card-based, music-themed set-collecting game of some sort in which you try to anticipate what others will do so that you can mooch off them.

In short, for those who haven't done their homework — by which I mean studying the Game Market website in detail for weeks beforehand as designers blog about their creations — TGM is a real-time, meta-deduction game, with you trying to deduce what the games might actually be and whether they're to your taste before they're sold out and disappear from the market, possibly forever.

That said, a larger number of non-JP publishers was on hand at TGM in May 2016, including first-timers Crash Games and Zoch Verlag. Alderac Entertainment Group even had its own booth at the show, and given the sellthrough rate of what AEG brought, I'm sure that other publishers will bring their own selection of tiny games to TGM in the future.

My wife, son and I shot more than four hundred images during TGM, and we recorded more than a dozen game overview videos a couple of days after the show since it's not easy to find designers during the show who are (1) willing to demo their games on camera and (2) able to speak English. I'll start with a dozen pics in this report and follow with more over the next few days, ideally wrapping up everything before BGG.CON Spring starts on Friday, May 27. Deadlines — I need 'em!


Each time I attend Tokyo Game Market, it's held in a different, larger part of Tokyo Big Sight, which is the largest convention venue in Japan. What's more, at least three other events were taking place in Big Sight as well, probably more.

This shot shows those waiting at the front of the line at 9:58 a.m., a couple of minutes before the show opened. They had arrived at 1:00 a.m. to reserve their spot and had been waiting ever since. TGIW notes that 2,400 people were in line when TGM opened, and approximately 11,000 people participated over the entire day — which is kind of amazing given that Origins Game Fair lasts five days and in 2015 it had ~16,000 attendees, a mere 50% more than TGM.


One of the faces at TGM that would be most recognizable by gamers belongs to Hisashi Hayashi, who was selling the worker-placement word game Word Porters and the heavy strategy game YOKOHAMA — and by "heavy" I mean "weighty". While a large percentage of titles at TGM are tiny card games designed not to take up too much space in tiny Japanese apartments, Hayashi has gone big with his 2015 release Minerva and now YOKOHAMA, which Tasty Minstrel Games has already announced that it will release in a deluxe edition similar to what it did for Orléans. This is one of many games that I plan to bring to BGG.CON Spring so that I can get a couple of plays under my belt. Not much time to prepare...


One thing that you can be assured of seeing at TGM are cute cats, whether on the games themselves or on accessories such as these acrylic dice towers sold by the Fuji Game Factory for approx. $27.


Designers Corentin Lebrat and Antoine Bauza were smitten by the self-publication efforts that many designers make for TGM, so they produced five hundred copies of the real-time slapping game Gaijin Dash!! for May 2016 and included rules only in Japanese to frustrate any non-JP fans who managed to get their hands on a copy. Thankfully, I had a translator who helped me record an overview video later, so now I'm all set with the rules and soon you will be, too.


I encountered many games like this at TGM, word games or party games or conversation games of some sort that reduced me to taking a photograph and moving on. For the record, this title by アナログゲーム倶楽部 (Analog Game Club) is titled 対決!空論バトル, which translates to something like "Showdown! Doctrinaire Battle". My loss for not knowing Japanese and getting more out of this...


Here's what fits in a typical booth at TGM: a dozen copies of three games, a small display of how to play one of the games, and a sampling of meeple-bearing accessories. BGG owner Scott Alden had asked me to pick up Peke's Mushroom Mania for him, so I did. I then recorded an overview video later so that he'd be able to play it, and in the process I discovered that the translated name is nothing like Mushroom Mania, which is the title that had been submitted with the listing.


Here's a closer shot of the meeple accessories at this booth. Think those bolo ties should find their way to the Geek Store? I don't know whether the crossover between bolo tie-wearers and gamers is an empty set, but I can't imagine the number being too large. Am I wrong?


LOGS from 彩彩工房 (Sai2Workshop) is the "connect-the-opposite-sides-of-the-board abstract strategy game" that I mentioned above, and the publisher brought a grand total of twenty copies of this item — which features rules for two games, neither of which I know — to TGM. I look at these types of game listings on the TGM website and think that I should investigate this title more so that it can be included in the BGG database, then I realize that I just don't have time and move on. Sorry, LOGS; maybe I'll catch you next time!


Another aspect of TGM is you thinking that you want to get a game, saying you'll get back to the booth later, then either forgetting that you wanted to get the game or discovering that all of the copies have sold out. That was the case with this booth from Ayatsurare Ningyoukan as my trick-taking-loving self had noted at least a year ago that I wanted to get Tricks & Deserts, but I didn't recognize the orange box when I snapped this pic — only the next day when I started reviewing and tweeting the images. Oops.


As I mentioned before, many TGM titles are tiny card games, and as a result much of the gameplay takes place not with the components themselves, but between the players, with the components merely being prods that spur players to action. With that thought in mind, perhaps it's not surprising the Werewolf-style, hidden role games are so popular at TGM. I can't tell at first glance whether Wolf in the Village from Kanzaki Hisahito and Dirty Labor offers any new spins on the genre, but it features graphics that top all of the other versions I've seen, so that's one big plus.


While most of the booths at TGM are tiny, the perimeter of the convention space houses larger stands by more established publishers, who naturally pay more to occupy that square footage. Oink Games is one such publisher, and it has a crowd of assistants on hand to both set up prior to TGM opening and...


...sell games to visitors once things start hopping. Oink has a beautiful consistency to its offerings, with every game of the past few years coming in a box with the same footprint and bearing the same (discounted) convention price of ¥2,000 (~$18). You know you're getting a clever little game with sharp, minimalist graphics, so you step up, hand over your bills, and take a little blue bag home with you.
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Thu May 19, 2016 1:00 pm
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Preview of the 2016 Previews: Origins, Gen Con, Dice Con and Spiel

W. Eric Martin
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With May more than halfway over, here's a look ahead at the summer and autumn convention schedule to let you know when to expect convention previews that highlight the new games that will be shown, sold or demoed at each of these shows. In chronological order:

BGG.CON Spring, May 27-30, 2016: Surprise! I'm not posting a preview for this con, partly because I don't know what to expect (having missed the first such convention in 2015) and partly because I'm planning to hang out and actually play games instead of doing news stuff, although inevitably I'll still spend some time talking with publishers about upcoming titles. After all, we have just over a month before...

Origins Game Fair, June 15-19, 2016: I've already contacted several dozen game publishers about this convention to both assemble an Origins 2016 Preview — which will go live Monday, May 30 — and schedule livestream game demos. Yes, BGG will be at Origins for all five days of Origins, and the current plan is to livestream from 10:00 to 16:00 each day. This will be an interesting experiment since at Gen Con and Spiel we have no time to spare and typically rush through a new game on camera every few minutes. Given the smaller number of new releases at Origins, I expect we'll include more prototypes than usual and have time to engage in designer and publisher chit-chat. Different!

Gen Con, August 4-7, 2016: As we've done the past couple of years, BGG will livestream game demonstrations from Indianapolis over the four days of Gen Con, and the Gen Con 2016 Preview goes live Monday, June 20 — the day after Origins ends. I just hope that the Gen Con organizers turn on the air conditioning on Wednesday. Set-up was brutal in 2015!

Dice Con, August 27-28, 2016: Most of you have probably not heard of Dice Con, but this event launched in Beijing in 2015 to bring media attention to board and card game publishers in China, while also welcoming other publishers to China and encouraging designers to present new works to publishers for licensing. I met with the Dice Con organizers in Beijing in May 2016, and since I'm largely unaware of the Chinese game market and want to learn more, I offered to pull together a Dice Con 2016 Preview to both educate myself and encourage Chinese producers to put their information on BGG. I plan to publish this convention preview on Monday, July 25, 2016.

Spiel, October 13-16, 2016: BGG will livestream game demos from Essen, Germany once again, and the monstrous Spiel 2016 Preview — which I started before Spiel 2015 opened — goes live Monday, August 8, the day after Gen Con ends. That preview boasted nearly eight hundred titles in 2015, and I'm sure that it'll surpass that total in 2016 given the ever-increasing number of publishers who show up at Spiel from around the world.

•••

If you're a designer or publisher who plans to present new games at one or more of these shows, feel free to email me the information now to ensure that you're included in the convention previews later. My email address is in the BGG News header at the top of this page, and you can learn how to submit game listings to the BGG database here. Please send a separate email for each convention and include the name of the con — e.g., "New titles for Gen Con 2016" — in the header. I'll also poke publishers with info requests, but feel free to act now! Avoid the rush!
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Wed May 18, 2016 1:00 pm
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On the Road Again...

W. Eric Martin
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I'm headed to the Tokyo Game Market once again, with this show taking place on May 5, 2016. I've created a GeekList preview to highlight some of the titles that will debut at that show or be available there (while being generally unavailable anywhere else), but I regret to say that this preview isn't up to the standard set by past TGM Previews. Travel — both for work and family — has eaten into available time, so in the time that I have had, I've focused more on posting on BGG News about games that will be available to a wider audience.

I'm taking the video camera and have already contacted some individuals about recording game overviews for titles at TGM. I'll also be posting pictures from the show, but probably not while the show is underway since TGM lasts only seven hours, and you need every minute available to photograph games, talk with people, and spot all of the stuff that you never would have imagined spotting earlier.

Following TGM, I'll be on the road for an additional nine days, taking an honest-to-goodness vacation for once — mostly because (1) I'm unlikely to have Internet access and (2) my boss has promised that I'm not on assignment during this trip. Yes, I had to get that statement in writing. I'll still be scouting for games during this trip, but just for fun — not for work.

To keep things going on BGG News since I'll have limited Internet access or none at all while traveling, I've scheduled designer diaries, game overview videos, round-ups of older (yet previously uncovered) games, and a links round-up or two. If possible, I'll jump online to post about newly announced games or round up pictures from TGM, but if not, I'll see you back in this space in mid-May. Be good in the meantime, and treat your fellow players better than they treat you!
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Mon May 2, 2016 1:00 pm
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Game Previews from GAMA Trade Show 2016: Movie Edition — The Godfather x2, Ghostbusters, Speechless, and Fast & Furious: Full Throttle

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• Both Cool Mini Or Not and designer Eric M. Lang announced many upcoming games at the GAMA Trade Show in mid-March 2016, and one place where those Venn diagrams of game announcements overlapped was The Godfather: The Board Game, which Lang describes as "thugs on a map", with players also having to manage the contents of their hand as anything extra they acquire will end up being handed over to the Godfather as tribute.





• As noted earlier in March 2016, multiple games based on The Godfather films have been announced. The Godfather: An Offer You Can't Refuse from Nate Murray of IDW Games and Nathan McNair of Pandasaurus Games is a Mafia-style hidden role game that sets the Corleone crime family against undercover policemen.





Cryptozoic Entertainment raised more than $1.5 million for Ghostbusters: The Board Game on Kickstarter, so it's not strange at all that they're bringing Ghostbusters: The Board Game II to the neighborhood. At GTS 2016, Cryptozoic's Sara Miguel showed off some of the new gameplay elements to be found in this standalone game.





Fast & Furious: Full Throttle from Jeff and Carla Horger and Game Salute presents players with a street-racing challenge that brings in characters from the movies to provide optional unique powers.





• Okay, I'm cheating here since Speechless the game from Mike Elliott and Arcane Wonders has nothing to do with Speechless the movie, but I posted the overview of the Back to the Future game the other day before realizing that I could pull together this themed post. Oh well.

In any case, Speechless is charades with a twist, with one player performing in silence while everyone else guesses in silence, possibly scoring from others' guesses along the way.

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Wed Mar 30, 2016 1:00 pm
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Game Previews from GAMA Trade Show 2016: Islebound, City of Iron, Aura, Victory or Death, and Quartermaster General: Alternate Histories

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• Designer Ian Brody has won great acclaim for his self-pulbished Quartermaster General, and now he's taking players into battle in a whole new era in Victory or Death: The Peloponnesian War from The Plastic Soldier Company.





• Speaking of which, France and China join the action in Quartermaster General: Alternate Histories from Brody's Griggling Games. I thought that with the 1980s long behind us, I'd seen the end of misused "Я"s as "R"s, but apparently that graphic element will never go out of style. (I'm not bugged by the graphics in Elysium, but I studied Russian in college, not Greek; sometimes ignorance protects you from outrage.)





• Designer/illustrator/publisher Ryan Laukat of Red Raven Games wanted to paint ships, so he designed a game that would give him that opportunity, with the added bonus that characters in Islebound can also be used as characters in his previous game, Above and Below.





• Laukat also talked about the second edition of City of Iron, which includes some elements of a previously separate expansion, thereby messing with our clean and ordered database listings.





• This overview of Michael Orion's Aura from Breaking Games was the one that most had me going from "I know nothing about this game" to "I really want to try this". I'm a sucker for card games, after all...

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Sun Mar 27, 2016 1:00 pm
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Game Previews from GAMA Trade Show 2016: Back to the Future, Star Trek: Frontiers, TMNT Dice Masters, Chronicles 1: Origins, and Tesla vs. Edison: Powering Up!

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• We're not quite living in the future these days given that our hoverboards don't actually hover, so designers Matt Riddle and Ben Pinchback and publisher IDW Games are taking us Back to the Future with a card game that has you jumping back and forth across the decades to complete missions with certain well-known characters.





• Designer Dirk Knemeyer from Artana showed off Tesla vs. Edison: Powering Up!, an expansion for Tesla vs. Edison: War of Currents that draws more figures from history onto the playing table.





• Knemeyer also talked about the continuing development efforts on Chronicles 1: Origins that Artana plans to release...at some point. As he mentions in the video, despite making release date promises in the past, the development team is in a "It'll be done when it's done" frame of mind right now and just wants to focus on making it as good as they can.





• Yesterday I posted an overview of Star Trek Panic; now we feature another of the fiftieth anniversary games coming out in 2016 — Star Trek: Frontiers from designers Vlaada Chvátil and Andrew Parks and publisher WizKids Games, with this game similarly being a mash-up of the Trek IP with a pre-existing game, in this case Mage Knight Board Game.





• At GTS 2016, WizKids Games also showed off Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Dice Masters, the latest iteration in the Dice Masters series from Eric M. Lang and Mike Elliott, with this being a single big box item that includes everything in one go. WizKids' Scot D'Agostino also gives an intro to the TMNT HeroClix Mouser Mayhem! Starter Set. So many turtles! I like turtles!

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Fri Mar 25, 2016 5:49 pm
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Game Previews from GAMA Trade Show 2016: Star Trek Panic, Munchkin Marvel, Mystic Vale, Guildhall Fantasy, and Love Letter Premium

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USAopoly announced Star Trek Panic in Feb. 2016 to much excitement, and one aspect of the announcement that I found interesting was the realization of how many companies have a license to produce Star Trek-related games. In addition to this one, Gale Force Nine plans to release Star Trek: Ascendancy (covering fifty years of ST series) and WizKids Games has Star Trek: Frontiers, in addition to its ongoing Star Trek: Attack Wing series. I keep thinking that one company receives a license and has a lock on the market, but clearly that's not the case, as also evidenced by competing Godfather games.





• Just as Star Trek Panic mashes Castle Panic with USAopoly's game license for Star Trek, Munchkin Marvel mashes Munchkin with that publisher's game license for the Marvel Comics universe. However ubiquitous Munchkin already is in game stores, a license like this will introduce the game to tens of thousands of people who never would have heard of the game otherwise.





• Deck-building games might seem old hat at this point, even though the genre is less than ten years old, but Alderac Entertainment Group is introducing a new iteration of the genre in June 2016 thanks to the card-crafting system at the heart of John D. Clair's Mystic Vale. Instead of building a deck (as your MV deck never grows or shrinks from twenty cards), players now build the cards themselves within their deck.

The video below presents an overview of the game, and while setting up for another game demo, AEG's Todd Rowland mentioned that Clair first brought the publisher a sprawling game design that included card-crafting as one element within a much larger whole. Not wanting to bury the lede, they worked together to extract that element and create a game that featured card-crafting front and center. Thus, Mystic Vale.





• Alderac has a history of taking its own games and reinventing them (Doomtown: Reloaded, Thunderstone, L5R — although that was constant reinvention within the same line), and it's doing this once again with Hope S. Hwang's Guildhall, which debuted in 2012 and had one standalone sequel in 2013. Now that first game is being rejiggered as Guildhall Fantasy: Fellowship in June 2016, with two other standalone games — Guildhall Fantasy: Alliance and Guildhall Fantasy: Coalition — to follow in July and August.





Love Letter Premium is not a reinvention of Seiji Kanai's Love Letter, but an expansion of it — in two ways. First, the components are bigger and fancier. Second, the game includes more cards, allowing for up to eight players to compete at the same time. As AEG's Rowland notes on the video, the components that allow for play with up to eight will also be released for the normal-sized Love Letter. What's more, Kanai will be on hand at Gen Con 2016, where AEG will hold a Kanai-centered Big Game Night event.

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Thu Mar 24, 2016 11:18 pm
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