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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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Unpacking from SPIEL: How to Double Your Games in Minutes!

W. Eric Martin
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After SPIEL 2015, I posted a video that showed how I had nested boxes inside one another to save space when shipping them back to the U.S. I had shipped games home that year since I was traveling in Europe after the convention, but following SPIEL 2016 I brought (almost) everything home with me, which meant that I needed to nest and nest again in order to make them fit. I did ship a few games to Dallas for pick-up at BGG.CON 2016 as I still couldn't fit everything into two suitcases and one backpack, but I did a decent job of it, so I thought I'd share a few pics in case you want advice for your future convention trips.

To start, here's the initial stack of games that I took out of my suitcases and backpack:




Some publishers make it easy for you to pack because they're also making it easy for themselves. What I mean by that is that larger publishers typically use standard box sizes for their game titles: all card games come in this box, all €10 games come in this box, all €20 games in this box, and so on. They standardize their packaging for multiple reasons, such as making it easier for retailers to display certain games together.

One benefit of this, as shown here, is that the small rectangular Pegasus Spiele box fills exactly half the space of a medium rectangular Pegasus Spiele box. Once I punched the components of Chariot Race — thereby lightening that game's weight — I had plenty of space to fit those two smaller Pegasus games inside.




Dicetree Games' new version of Winner's Circle features a perfectly organized insert (as shown at right) that holds every item in a separate space to keep stuff locked into place during shipping and later travel.

Naturally I threw it out. When I can either pay €100 to ship an extra bag home or throw out an insert, the insert is finding a new home in the plastic-recycling bins that are ever-present in Germany. I'll manage just fine with baggies later, thank you very much.




You have a few basic tenets when Tetrising games following a convention:

• Punch out and baggie all components. You might not save much weight with each individual game, but when you have several dozen games, you'll reduce the weight by a non-negligible amount — and should you be bringing home something like A Feast for Odin, you might knock a kilogram out of your bag via that box alone!

Aside from the weight, you also regain volume; four punchboards might be reduced to a couple of bags that will fit on the side of other games in the available space, as seen here with the bits from Pecunia non olet nestled up against at least three other games.




• Large square boxes, a.k.a. your typical KOSMOS box, can be a bane or blessing. Zoch Verlag's Kilt Castle requires a large box due to the game board, components, and retail price, but once you punch the tokens and ditch the insert you have a lot of space in which to nest other games. The only problem is that sometimes you'll find yourself with a half-dozen large square boxes, and you can't do anything about fitting them inside one another.




• Organize your games by size, then start with the smallest games: punch bits, pitch catalogs, throw out rules in languages that you don't need. Yes, that might make it more difficult to resell your games in 2021 to that Finnish guy who's desperately seeking an out-of-print and quite pricey Honshu, but so be it. I'm not thinking of resale value when I bring games home; I'm thinking of how they'll play, not to mention not spending more money now to get those games home!

Once you've prepared the smallest games, start with the next smallest ones, tucking the small ones inside where possible. As you fill these medium-ish boxes, set them aside in a "full" pile; place any other medium-ish boxes in an "empty" pile. Maybe you'll pick up a tiny filler tomorrow that will fit perfectly inside that Justice League: Hero Dice – Flash box.

Keep working from small to large until each box is as dense as possible. In my experience, volume is typically more of a problem than weight (although you do want to be mindful of weight at the same time), so maximizing the density of a game will allow you to pack more games in the same space.




Oh, hey, here's another larger square box. What's inside this time?




A Korean game, another Japanese game, and the ship/bowl goodie for The Oracle of Delphi. (Are those bowls even useful? I've played Delphi twice, and I'm not sure why I would need them or how I would use them. I typically just pile stuff on the table and don't worry about sorting everything out. At right, for example, is how the contents of Delphi currently look in my box.)

But wait — there's more!




Yes, another Justice League: Hero Dice game awaits inside Animal Auction, with MathTornado inside that. Gameception!




And once everything was unboxed, I had twice the volume of the earlier stacks. Yes, you can rail against publishers being wasteful and using boxes that are too big, and I won't fault you for doing so, but most publishers do so for specific reasons and aren't likely to change in the future. At best, you can rebox games in your own containers or stack expansions inside the base game or cut down boxes to the size that works for you or, you know, get fewer games.




Thanks to all of these weight- and space-saving efforts, I had plenty of room to bring home from Germany the most important things available there...


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Sat Dec 3, 2016 1:00 pm
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Game Previews at BGG.CON 2016: Room 25 Ultimate, Fugitive, Moa, One Card Wonder, Munchkin Collectible Card Game, Batman: The Animated Series Dice Game, and Much More

W. Eric Martin
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• Let's continue a run-through of some of the forthcoming games available for a look-see at BGG.CON 2016, starting with one looked at and seen only by the press, this being Steve Jackson Games' Munchkin Collectible Card Game from Eric M. Lang and Kevin Wilson.

Lang presented the game in the BGG booth during the 2016 GAMA Trade Show, but here's my take for those who want it in writing: The Munchkin CCG is a 2-4 player battle that leans heavily on bluffing. The game will be sold in three starter packs — each with two pre-set decks of cards that feature a different hero, such as warrior vs. bard or thief vs. cleric — with booster packs of randomized cards being sold separately.

Each hero has a health value and a special ability; the warrior, for example, can zap a hero or monster for 1 damage. A la Hearthstone, players start at level 1 and advance one level a turn to a maximum of ten, although a SJG rep assures me that few games last that long.



Preparing for my turn at BGG.CON 2016


At the start of a turn, you get money from the bank up to whatever your current level is, untap everything, draw a card, place any cards in your stash into your hand, then start doing stuff.

On a turn, you can have at most one location in play, with any new one played replacing your existing one; you can have loot in play with star power up to your current level; you can play hirelings for defense; and you can play monsters to attack the opposing hero, but when you play a monster, you play it face down, placing zero or more coins on it. If the opponent wants to run away, which they can do once per turn, you get the coins back and place the monster face down in your stash. If they want to face the monster, you flip it over; if you didn't pay enough, you take one damage and lose the monster; if you did, the opponent can use hirelings, loot, or both to defend themselves against the monster; the opponent can also play mischief cards from hand to surprise you. If the monster lives, it goes to your stash, while any opposing hirelings and loot are tapped and unavailable for use later in the turn.

And this is where all the bluffing comes in, as with morphing creatures in Magic: The Gathering. Which monster do you want to play in which order? Once an opponent sees you have something, they get to guess whether you're attacking with that or something else. Can you psych them out to waste loot on Blandy McBlanderson so that you can punch through with something else? Can you do it again?



Sample cards from the bard deck; art not finished



If the opponent puts up no defense or you hit with more damage than the loot absorbs, you damage the hero, with the damage points piling up over time until one of you is dead.

Due to the constantly increasing levels, everything in the game scales up over time, but because of the nature of combat — one creature at a time, please — the board doesn't bog down with creature standoffs. The game is all about the solitary face-off and trying to prepare for it so that you don't get hurt too badly if you guess wrong. (You do get a mulligan at the start of play, allowing you to ditch high-cost cards to redraw so that you're not a punching bag for the first few rounds.)

The bard's power — tap to return a card from the stash to your hand — seemed odd given the nature of the game. If the bard bluffs and I run away, the bard gets the money back and can simply return the card to hand to play it out once again, which makes my running seem pointless, but I've played the game only once and don't know everything in the decks, so I could be talking through my hat here.



Sample cards from the thief deck; art not finished


• I also tried Batman: The Animated Series Dice Game, which debuted at BGG.CON 2016. This game is a reimplementation of Steve Jackson's Zombie Dice, with the players representing villains who are trying to swipe as much loot as possible without getting caught by Batman.

On a turn, a player takes three dice from the cup and rolls them. Set aside dice showing loot and Batman, then decide whether to reroll alarms. If you do reroll, first draw dice from the cup so that you again have three dice. Keep playing until you either have three or more Batman symbols — which means you were caught and score nothing — or you decide to stop; if you stop, score one point for each loot.

The villain powers provide some variety and push players in different directions during the game. Poison Ivy can ignore one blue Batman, Catwoman doubles blue bills, Joker scores extra for each set of dice on the table, and Riddler rolls four dice on the first turn, then decides what to keep and what to return to the cup. No heavy decisions here, with this being a press-your-luck affair in a race to collect thirty loot first.




• In one of the exhibitor halls, Matagot showed off Room 25 Ultimate, which takes the Room 25 base game and Room 25: Season 2 expansion and shoves them in a single box.

Some small changes were made to details of the game, but the gameplay remains the same, with everyone trapped and looking for a way out through Room 25 — assuming they can find it in time.



Couldn't avoid glare with this shiny box and multiple spot lights!


Tim Fowers ran a Kickstarter for his two-player cat-and-mouse chase game Fugitive in mid-2016 — collecting more than $200K in the process — but I was oblivious to this design until I ran across the final product on display at BGG.CON 2016. So many games to see!

In the game, one player is the fugitive and is trying to play cards to reach #42 and escape, while the other player hunts for the first, revealing cards along the way, which then provides clues toward which other cards might be in play.



Some of the cards in the game, showing the final art


One Card Wonder is a Nathaniel Levan design that existed only as a box and a framed piece of art in the APE Games booth as the components were currently residing somewhere else, but APE's Kevin Brusky conveyed an overview of the game to me, and now I share one with you:

Quote:
In One Card Wonder, each player receives a card that shows a wonder of the ancient world and a set of support buildings. The multiple stages of the wonder must be built from the ground up, while the buildings may be built in any order. Players have four worker meeples and a personal supply of resources, and a general supply of resources also exists. The resource supply bag moves from player to player to indicate who is the active player.

On a turn, you take one of four actions. You may draw three cubes from the cloth supply bag, then add one to your personal supply, placing the other two in the general supply. You may take all resources of one type from the general supply. (You may hold only eight resources at a time in your supply, so if after drawing or taking you have more than eight resources, you must return some to the general supply.) You may build a level of the wonder or a building by paying its resource cost from your supply; your workers mark individual buildings as you build them, unlocking abilities. Finally, you may sell pairs of matching goods to the supply in exchange for coins. Coins can be used as a wild resource, but they also appear in the cost of some wonders. Resources sold or used to build are returned to the supply bag.

In games of four or more players, players may also trade. Trading occurs off-turn, that is, it can involve anyone except the active player. You may negotiate and trade freely with other players, but you must stop negotiating once you receive the supply bag and become the active player. The longer you spend on your turn, the more opportunity your opponents have to make deals.

The first player to complete their wonder wins!




• Other upcoming games on display or available for demo at BGG.CON included:



Moa reimplements Martin Wallace's Liberté to retell the conflict between birds and mammals in New Zealand;
due out from APE Games at SPIEL 2017 in October



Dark is the Night from APE Games pits hunter in firelight against monster in the dark on a board much smaller than their convention demo



Issue double-sided commands Major General: Duel of Time, with one command affecting each player as long as they're visible



Tiny Epic Quest was being played on the Gamelyn Games table every day



Artwork from Days of Wonders' Yamataï, due out in May 2017



3 to 4 Headed Monster, released by Tasty Minstrel Games after first being announced in 2014



Other TMG offerings newly available at BGG.CON 2016: The Oracle of Delphi, Orléans: Invasion,
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Wed Nov 23, 2016 1:00 pm
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Game Preview from BGG.CON 2016: Alien Artifacts

W. Eric Martin
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I played a number of forthcoming games at BGG.CON 2016, some of which cannot yet be revealed and others of which have been announced loud and proud by the publishers in question, with one of the latter being Alien Artifacts from Portal Games.

The pitch for Alien Artifacts is crystal clear — a 4X-style gaming experience in sixty minutes or less — and the trick to making that short playing time possible is that everything you do in the game is on cards: planets you explore, technology you exploit, resources you expend, and spaceships you use for attacking. (Extermination is too strong a word for what happens in this game, at least in its current iteration, but Portal Games is still developing this Marcin Senior Ropka and Viola Kijowska design ahead of a planned Gen Con 2017 release, so note that the final game might differ from what's described and depicted below.)

At the start of the game, you can produce (draw) two cards each turn, store two cards, and assemble (use) one. Cards have a number from 1-4 on them as well as 1-3 colored squares on each end. The squares represent currencies, with blue building technology, green exploring planets, red fueling military growth, and yellow (seemingly always a single square) being a joker than can apply toward anything.


Approx. seven turns in; storage should be one higher since I explored a planet


Each turn, you take one action. You might store two cards to be used as money to buy something later, or work toward discovering a planet (with each additional planet requiring more effort than earlier ones), or use a special, single-use action acquired on a planet previously discovered, or buy a technology card (with these cards being color-coded for expand, explore, exterminate, and exploit categories), or complete a technology previously purchased. If you spend money from storage or take a planet action, then you keep your cards in hand for use next turn; otherwise you assemble what you can, then throw away the rest.

As you increase your holdings, your abilities increase. More military leads to more production, giving you more cards in hand each turn. More technology allows you to assemble more, letting you tuck more cards each turn to find planets and complete technology faster. More planets gives you more storage, letting you bank more money toward future purchases, such as a dreadnought or a mothership, which will then allow further military growth, which gets you more cards, which lets you buy more technology, etc.


Details on the possible actions and their costs


Alternatively, you can use money to buy more production, storage, and assembly, but ideally you want to build tech, military, and planetary holdings since those things will help with everything else you're doing.

You play twice through the giant money stack with two players and three times through with three or four players. (Shades of Bohnanza here, to pull out an unlikely comparison, since the stack shrinks due to cards being in storage or assembly, causing the second and third passes through the deck to go more quickly than the first.) Once the game ends, players tally points for each type of technology, each set of all four tech cards, each planet explored, each maximum reached in production, storage and assembly, and possibly other things as well.


Almost through round one, w/ one planet used up, three techs in place, and zero military


Greg from Portal Games gave me a quick overview, then we dove in, with us completing more than half of a two-player game in fifteen minutes. (I had an appointment to get to, so I didn't experience the humiliation of point-counting.) I kept initially thinking, "I'm not doing very much", but at some point I realized that we were flying through the deck and I had explored three planets and completed one of each technology and was powering up a mothership for future Greg-threatening and was grabbing four cards each turn, which was jetting me through everything else that I was trying to do.

Mind you I'm not saying that I played well, but I felt like I did a lot. Alien Artifacts is one of those designs that I approach with blinders, initially seeing only my own board and not even all of that. I completed multiple technology items, but I don't think I used one of them. I used one planet power without knowing what I was trying to do with it; I ignored another planet power that I should have used. I knew that Greg was doing stuff, but I never once considered what his cards might be or why I might want to take a planet that would help him (if they would have). I bought a mothership before him, without realizing that he had been storing money to buy it.

No, I was just doing stuff to do things, with that first play being all about feeling out the system and seeing how things work — and the short take is that they work amazingly well, with the game having a Splendor-like feel in how the micro actions each turn pile up into exponential growth, but with many more choices for what to do and lots of details that I didn't even begin to examine.

Next time, I can play for real and actually try to think about what I'm doing!


Thanks to Grzegorz Polewka for teaching the game at BGG.CON 2016!
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Mon Nov 21, 2016 1:00 pm
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Game Preview from BGG.CON 2016: Yamataï

W. Eric Martin
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BGG.CON 2016 is over — or at least it is for me as I'm no longer in Dallas surrounded by hundreds of games and gamers. No matter as I can reminisce over the many games that I played during the fair. Most of those titles were already familiar to me as I frequently played with my son and our family's exchange student — which meant going with the flow of what they want to play — but I did put on my reporter's hat for a few upcoming titles, and I'll post about them here and in a few posts later this week.

We'll start with Yamataï, a design from Bruno Cathala and Marc Paquien due out in May 2017 that presents players with a lush, somewhat fantastical world that is a hallmark of Days of Wonder releases.

In the game, 2-4 players compete to build palaces, torii, and their own buildings in the land of Yamataï. The game includes ten numbered action tiles, each showing one or more colored ships and with most showing a special action. You shuffle these tiles, place them in a row, then reveal one more than the number of players.


First turn of the game


On a turn, each player chooses a tile, collects the depicted ships from the reserve, optionally buys or sells one ship, then places the ships on the board. The land has five entryways, and you must start from these points or place adjacent to ships already on the board. You can't branch the ships being placed, and if you place your first ship adjacent to another, then that first ship must be the same color as the adjacent one; otherwise you can place ships without regard to color.

After placing ships, you can either claim colored resources from land that you've touched with new ships this turn or build on one vacant space. To build, the space must have colored ships around it that match the ships depicted on one of the available building tiles. If you build a personal building that's connected to others you own, you receive money equal to the number of buildings.

You can bank one ship before the end of your turn, then you can use any three resources or a pair of matching resources to purchase a specialist, each of whom has a unique power.


Mid-game; one action lets you place a dragon to make an area off-limits


After all players go, you shuffle the action tiles, place them face down in the row, then reveal enough tiles at the front of the line to set up for the next turn, with the turn order being determined by the numbers on the tiles that players chose the previous turn. Once you trigger one of the game-ending conditions — e.g., no ships of one color or no more specialists — you finish the round, then count points for buildings built, specialists hired, fans collected, and money on hand.

Yamataï feels like a spiritual successor to Five Tribes in two ways. First, players constantly jockey for turn order, with you ideally being able to go last in one round, then first in the next in order to set up particular moves — especially since you can't build on a land bearing resources, and clearing the land potentially opens it to building by others before you can put a stake in the ground. As you might expect, the tiles with more powerful actions have higher numbers to push you back further in turn order on the subsequent turn, but this isn't necessarily bad since the less powerful (and lower-numbered) tiles might still be available when you finally get to go.

Second, players own their personal buildings, but everything else on the board is shared, with the ship trails being built collectively. Actions let you swap, move or remove ships, letting you build where you otherwise couldn't or blocking someone else from building because they lack the ships (or funds for a ship) that will let them expand into a new territory. Thus, you're constantly trying to judge who can (or might) build what on their turns, then choosing actions of your own to minimize what others can do.


Final board; building on hills & next to special buildings earns you fans


I've played Yamataï twice with four players — once at BGG.CON 2016 and once at Gen Con 2015 on a somewhat different version — and those two games have played out quite differently, with the latter being a drawn-out building fest that occupied nearly everything on the board and the former being a quick dash to the finish line as Cathala took advantage of our resource clearing to erect six personal buildings (and trigger the end) before we could do much on our own.

Note that the pics here include some final artwork, with the graphic design, components, and other elements still being works in progress.


Co-designer Bruno Cathala played Yamataï constantly at BGG.CON 2016
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Sun Nov 20, 2016 9:12 pm
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SPIEL 2016 XVII: Mythic Battle: Pantheon, Unlock!, Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective, Tokyo Ghoul, and B-Movie Showdown

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• We're nearing the end of game preview videos at SPIEL 2016, with this one being one of the longest we shot, but given all of the material in Mythic Battles: Pantheon — not to mention the seemingly endless supply of expansions that draw in every character from Greek mythology — the length is not really a surprise. This game is a re-creation of Benoit Vogt's Mythic Battles, with everything being upsized and vividly produced by co-publishers Mythic Games and Monolith.





• Escape rooms were a big thing at SPIEL 2016, with three different companies presenting their own play-at-home versions of this trend, and even more are coming, with Cyril Demaegd from Space Cowboys here presenting his take on the concept: Unlock!. This item, due out in Q1 2017, will include three different escape room adventures as well as two tutorials that allow players to learn all the rules by playing rather than reading the rules. A companion app is required for, in Demaegd's words, roughly 10% of the game, with the app providing clues (if needed), ambiance, and verification of a successful escape.





• Demaegd also explained what's happening with the Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective line, which was rebooted by Ystari Games in 2011 and is now moving to Space Cowboys, with the partly new, partly reprint Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: Jack the Ripper & West End Adventures arriving at stores in Q1 2017, followed by a revamped SHCD in Q2 2017, and a collection of the individual expansions released by Ystari coming at a yet-to-be-determined date.

Ludonova's Watson & Holmes from 2015 is also being released as part of Space Cowboys' Sherlock Holmes line of games, with the French version hitting shelves on December 2, 2016 and the English version coming later.





• The little that I know of Tokyo Ghoul, a hidden role board game coming from Don't Panic Games, is contained in this brief video shot during SPIEL 2016. When time is running short on a Sunday at a convention, you take the teaser, then move on to what's next.





• Don't Panic Games, in cooperation with co-publisher Volumique, was also previewing B-Movie Showdown, with co-designer Farid Ben Salem running through the basics of gameplay and presenting some of the factions that will face off in this two-player game.

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Tue Nov 15, 2016 4:00 pm
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SPIEL 2016 XVI: Previews of Justice League: The Boardgame, VIRAL, Wibbell++, Lanterns: The Emperor's Gifts, and The Blood of an Englishman

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• I've finally finished posting the game demo videos shot in the BGG booth at SPIEL 2016, so now it's time to roll through preview videos shot elsewhere during the convention, such as this overview of Justice League: The Boardgame from designers Buster Lehn and Francisco Ruiz and Spanish publisher ABBA Games. This title pits one player against everyone else, with that solo player in charge of the villains of whatever scenario you choose. Interesting to see this license in the hands of ABBA Games, which also landed an Adventure Time license for a game released in Spain in 2015 and not yet released anywhere else.





Gil d'Orey of MESAboardgames and Antonio Sousa Lara have chosen an interesting battleground for the area control game VIRAL: a human body, with players each being a different virus that is trying to spread from organ to organ, mutating as you go to keep ahead of the antibodies that will keep you in check should you score.





• The Mensa-winning tile-laying game Lanterns: The Harvest Festival receives an expansion in January 2017 from designer Jason D. Kingsley and publisher Renegade Game Studios, with Lanterns: The Emperor's Gifts consisting of five modules, of which two are used in each game.





• Dan Cassar's The Blood of an Englishman from Renegade is a two-player asymmetric battle between Jack and the giant, with the former trying to snatch three treasures at the top of beanstalks before the latter can cry Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum to send Jack crashing back to Earth.





Wibbell++ is not only a game, but also a game system — consisting of cards with funky borders that feature two letters on them — created by Behrooz Shahriari, who publishes designs under a Stuff By Bez label. Bez and I sample three of the games, giving you a taste of what's coming ahead of the next Bez Day on August 1, 2017!

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Mon Nov 14, 2016 1:00 pm
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SPIEL 2016 XV: Inis, Millions of Dollars, The Perfumer, Round House, and Rory's Story Cubes

W. Eric Martin
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• I posted an overview of Christian Martinez' Inis from Matagot a few days before SPIEL 2016 opened, but should you not care for the sound of my voice or want to compare presentations of the game, here's an overview of this big box game — one in which players try to expand their presence, oversee sanctuaries, dominate others, or all three — from Matagot's Fabien Conus.





• Hey, time to start posting the videos that John and I recorded at various publisher booths at SPIEL 2016 since I can follow the title above with designer Jeremie Kletzkine's presentation of his own Millions of Dollars, a sort of hidden role game from Matagot.





• While many people enjoy that "new box smell" when opening a game for the first time, few anticipate smelling their games over and over again, but that's the proposition presented by Chu-Lan Kao's The Perfumer from Big Fun Games, a strategy game with scratch-and-sniff cards that are integral to gameplay as you try to fill client orders and assemble the ingredients needed for your secret formula.





Burano from EmperorS4 Games was a hit at SPIEL 2015, and for 2016 Burano co-designer Eros Lin has paired with Zong-Hua Yang to create Round House, a worker-placement-ish rondel game in which you move family members through the round house you all share, conducting business and bringing as many people as possible home to worship your ancestors as they'll reward you for your attention.





• Every year at SPIEL, Beth checks in with Rory O'Connor of the giant Story Cubes "game" line to see what he's been working on, so here's the take from Rory at SPIEL 2016:

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Sun Nov 13, 2016 1:00 pm
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SPIEL 2016 XIV: A Feast for Odin, The Colonists, Papà Paolo, Lisboa, and Nautilion

W. Eric Martin
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• One of the most anticipated titles of SPIEL 2016 was Uwe Rosenberg's A Feast for Odin, which Feuerland Spiele had showed at SPIEL 2015. U.S. publisher partner Z-Man Games had initially thought it would be able to debut the game at the 2016 Origins Game Fair, then at Gen Con 2016, but both times production issues thwarted those plans. Having now seen the size of the box and all that's inside, I can understand how production might have caused trouble!





• Speaking of Rosenberg, when you hear that Lookout Games has a beefy title in the offing, you expect to see his name on the box, but The Colonists is the work of first-time designer Tim Puls, who has created a widely variable design that accommodates 1-4 players who play 1-4 ages, giving a huge playing time range of 30-240 minutes. As for what the game is about, players are each mayor of a village, and you want to attract new farmers to your land, educate people, and provide full employment for everyone under your responsibility.





• The Quined Games booth at SPIEL 2016 was filled with pizza boxes! Not because they were noshing throughout the fair, no, but rather to celebrate the release of Fabrice Vandenbogaerde's Papà Paolo, which challenges players to build their own little section of Naples to which they can deliver pizza.





• Designer Shadi Torbey was at SPIEL 2016 to present the newest title in his Oniverse series — Nautilion from Z-Man Games — and as he explained in his designer diary about the game, he intentionally started with the idea of using a roll-and-move mechanism for this design. Here, he explains how it works.





• This is not a game overview so much as a Kickstarter teaser, which is a bit of a shame, but we booked a spot for Vital Lacerda's Lisboa from Eagle-Gryphon Games in our schedule because we knew folks would want to see it if given the chance, so here's what we have to show...

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Sat Nov 12, 2016 4:31 pm
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SPIEL 2016 XIII: Barcelona: The Rose of Fire, Crisis, Pax Renaissance, Bios: Genesis, Russian Railroads: American Railroads, and First Class: Unterwegs im Orient Express

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• This overview video of Barcelona: The Rose of Fire that BGG recorded at SPIEL 2016 is under eight minutes long, but co-designer Francesco Nepitello runs through a lot of information and detail in that time, such as Devir's commissioning of the game from him and Marco Maggi, the huge amount of time spent on the game's graphic design, and the inherent gameability of Barcelona itself.





• A country in Crisis — can you use your workers to rebuild businesses and get the economy moving again? LudiCreations Kickstarted this design by Pantelis Bouboulis and Sotirios Tsantilas, and it ran out of copies before SPIEL 2016 ended.





Phil and Matt Eklund invite you to take the role of an influential European banker who will finance kings, sponsor travel, and otherwise try to influence the future of Europe in Pax Renaissance from Sierra Madre Games.





• A second new title from SMG at SPIEL 2016 was Phil Eklund's Bios: Genesis, a game that attempts to recreate the dawn of organic life in its most basic forms, with players representing proteins and worrying about how to absorb and store energy.





• Helmut Ohley, co-designer of Russian Railroads, and Hans im Glück, publisher of same, have combined once again to release a new train-based game: First Class: Unterwegs im Orient Express, a card game in which players use the base cards and two of the five modules included in order to build a rail network on a quest for fame points.





• Speaking of Russian Railroads, new player boards await in Russian Railroads: American Railroads to provide new strategies for a familiar game.

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Fri Nov 11, 2016 1:00 pm
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SPIEL 2016 XII: IELLO Yarns — Kanagawa, The Mysterious Forest, Around the World in 80 Days, Welcome Back to the Dungeon, and Tales & Games: Aladdin & the Magic Lamp

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Kanagawa from Bruno Cathala and Charles Chevallier highlights French publisher IELLO's strength as a publisher: Doing whatever it takes to make a game as beautiful as possible. The game board isn't really needed for play assuming you can memorize which cards to lay out face down based on the number of players, but the use of bamboo in the creation of this board — which rolls up to fit in the box — makes it something that you want to have on the table and adds to the thematic nature of this game, which asks you to be an artist and create something beautiful yourself.





• Carlo A. Rossi's The Mysterious Forest transforms Daniel Lieske's Wormworld Saga into a cooperative game in which young explorers need to collect the right equipment so that they can make their way through said forest.





Welcome Back to the Dungeon sees Antoine Bauza recreating Masato Uesugi's Welcome to the Dungeon, keeping the gameplay the same while introducing four new adventurers with new equipment to test players' bravery in a new way.





• Tiago Damey's Aladdin & the Magic Lamp is the newest title in Purple Brain Creations' Tales & Games series, with IELLO distributing the title in Europe and the U.S. Each round, players decide how much risk they want to take when searching for treasure in the cave that holds the lamp, with players racing to rub the lamp when they conflict on what they want to do.





• In addition to its Tales & Games line for players of all ages, Purple Brain Creations is launching a literature line for slightly older players, with the first title being Around the World in 80 Days, which takes David Parlett's Hare & Tortoise and adapts it to Phileas Fogg's journey from and to London, with players now needing to manage a supply of pounds instead of carrots.

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Wed Nov 9, 2016 1:00 pm
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