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Boardgaming Finland

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Will 2011 be the break through for Finnish board game designs?

Antti Koskinen
Finland
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This is a question which boggles my mind not just because there has been interesting news on upcoming games from Finnish designers but also because I've played four unpublished prototypes during the last week. Finland is a small country and domestic market for board games is relative to the size of the nation.Therefore we don't have too many companies producing games in Finland and we have even smaller amount of games from Finnish designers which have caught general attention in Finland. Historically Finns have been active to export goods and services and it seems that this is what's happening also in board game design at the moment.

Nürnberg Toy Fair began an interesting year for Finnish board game design with announcements from eggertspiele and Queen Games of new releases designed by Finnish designers. Principato by Touko Tahkokallio is actually one of the first games from Finnish designer which has been published directly in a foreign board game company. Hopefully this opens doors for other Finnish designers as well and it teaches the other Finnish designers a lesson to be learned - you have to be active outside Finland in order to get your games published.

Kairo by Kimmo Sorsamo continues the success of The Club and Hornet which were published in Finland but distributed world wide. This is a solid way for the few Finnish board game companies to produce games also for the domestic market. Risks of the new game decrease when you are able to sell the rights of a game to other markets and while the domestic market is limited in size I think this will be a continuous model to get the games out in the future.

I was very glad to hear that Lautapelit.fi plans to publish Eclipse in 2011 because I am really fond of the game. Eclipse is also interesting because the focus of the game is solely in foreign markets (game is published in English). It's not the first game which has been designed an an export product - Tuonela Productions has done it with their products before and while their games have not been big hits they've done it multiple times. Tuonela is bringing out The Capture of Sampo in 2011 which continues the line of thought they've had in their business.

Finally, there's also the private entrepreneurs who surprise everybody with their games. Last year is was Mindwarrior Games and Hyptic who published games nobody had heard of but were glad to do so. BGG Geek of the Week Timo Multamäki also published new game with his Dragon Dawn Productions Ltd and The Phantom League has even had smallish hype here in the Geekland. I'm pretty sure there's going to be surprises also in 2011 but that's something we have to wait and see.

I've continued my rant for far too long but have not talked about the prototypes which lead to the chain of thoughts. All four prototypes were promising but in different stages. One of them probably comes out in 2011 from a foreign publisher and hopefully the other three will reach the final stage of the design process and find their ways to the gamers' tables.
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Thu Feb 17, 2011 7:58 am
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My most anticipated game for 2011 goes for Eclipse

Antti Koskinen
Finland
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To be quite honest Eclipse would have definitely been in my top 3 games I played during 2010 but as the 2 games I played were done with an unpublished version of the game it really doesn't count.But it was very delightful to hear that Lautapelit.fi will publish the game and presumably the date for the release is Spiel Fair (at Essen) in late October. For all of you wondering whether Eclipse is going to be seen outside the Scandinavia I have good news - game is going to be published in English. I'm also pretty sure that there's going to be distributors involved both in the Europe and in the US.



Why do I anticipate Eclipse so much? Well, I'm a sucker for thematic, epic games which have solid mechanics, civilization feel, huge amount of gorgeous bits and pieces and they bring enjoyment even if the game lasts for a couple of hours. There's a few games you know you'll going to enjoy greatly for a long time after the first play and Eclipse did it for me (last game in a similar category was probably Twilight Struggle). All the ingredients of the game form an interesting mix which just clicks for me and I'm not alone with my feelings since everybody who've playtested the game have enjoyed it (average rating with 21 responders is 8.38).



If the marketing of the game is done well and there's even a slight hype for the game, Eclipse is probably going to be one of the international hits of 2011. Hopefully we are going to get updates from Touko Tahkokallio and Sampo Sikiö of the present and future state of the game!
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Mon Feb 14, 2011 7:12 am
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Very brief look at Kairo by Queen Games

Antti Koskinen
Finland
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This post is very brief because information on Kairo is very limited. It's one of the games which came out in Nürnberg and what I heard was that the copy which Queen Games had at the fair was actually a prototype of the coming game.



Why am I interested in this game? Well, Kairo it actually a remake of an Finnish game Tori designed by Kimmo Sorsamo which was published last year in the Nordic Countries.I was pretty heavily involved in the designing process of the game and therefore it's interesting to see what Queen Games comes up with when they get Kairo published.

Probably there's not going to be huge changes at least in the core mechanics of the game. The most innovative mechanic in Tori (a game about trading in a market square) is the satisfying customer needs mechanic(which also was the starting point for the game itself). In the game customers are meeples in different colors and colors represent the customer needs in certain type of goods. Players act as entrepreneurs and try to lure customers to their counters (same colors as the one's of the customers'). Once a customer buys the goods he needs, the meeple chances to another one in different color (staying at a designated place off board) and voilà, the customer thus wants to consume some other type of goods like he would in real life.

Other mechanics of the game are more like in a average euro style board game and obviously the purpose of the game is score more points than fellow players. Tori is more of a gamers game and I presume that Kairo is going to be developed more into a family game. Maybe they come up with a similar approach they've used in Fresco where the basic game is quite basic but you get extras with the main game which deepen the gaming experience.

We have to wait and see.
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Wed Feb 9, 2011 9:02 am
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Short look at Principato by eggertspiele

Antti Koskinen
Finland
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2011 is definitely going to be an interesting year for Finnish geeks since there's quite a few interesting releases coming for the year and increasingly these games come out from well known international publishers. Principato is the first one to hit the market and also the first with published rules which means it's also the first one I can take a loot at.



Principato is designed by Touko Tahkokallio whom I know personally and who's games I typically play as prototypes before they actually come out of the tube. Surprisingly though I have not played prototype of Principato which actually is very cool - one can feel the thrill of a new hot game. Touko is a solid designer with Politix, Arvuutin and Aether already on the market and loads of prototypes on the table to be released some time in the future.

Principato is based in Renaissance Italy; a theme we have seen in so many other games before. I'm typically fond of more thematic games and Renaissance Italy is not one of my favorites but in this case the mechanics of the game could actually fit rather well in the framework of it.



Principato looks like a simple game with only three possible actions on player's turn. You can execute an actions card, you can change an actions card or you can take one joker resource. Scoring is also pretty straight forward but versatile enough to sustain the interest (and undoubtedly scoring is well balanced). The hard part of the game is to plan your game so that you have the right actions at the right time and that you'll be able to maximize your score with the limitations yo face.

I think I'm going to like Principato which is not a huge surprise. There's not too much going on in the game but enough for you to like it. Luck plays a role in the game but probably not too big of a role and skill and experience are needed to score high points (and win the games).

Thumbs up for Principato and thumbs down for the wait to get it played!
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Tue Feb 8, 2011 12:52 pm
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