El Crosso a Board game Life blog

A weekly update on board games shenanigans. All about the life we live with those games and our impressions about the boardgame world. We love photography and will try and tell our stories through pictures, but also expect some banter. Love Your Board Game Life!

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Board games on the move and 9 tasty game suggestions excluding pizza * Photo heavy

Marlon Kruis
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Hi all! Welcome and have a fun read.






We are moving...



And as we all know, moving stuff, is a b*tch. Especially when the games need to go and our current house gets emptied out. About 120 games of our collection went already up north for some longer storage at a safe space, but we kept our Essen haul games for the moments we can find to play a game. Which, we expect for the coming four weeks, will sadly be few up until the moment we are finished moving after Christmas.

At this moment, don't expect too much games actual games being played, but we will try to show of some of the Essen games we got and share our images with you all. We naturally do plan to play and try to review some games, if the table won't get moved or sold in the meantime that is, but consistency will be something to work on for 2018!

We will be staying at our temporary shelter (read, at the in-laws) for most of 2018, so let's see how that will play out. We do expect to have more play time there and also more available players outside our couples game nights. That sounds pleasant.



Planned to play

Carthago, Santa Maria, The Expanse, Import/Export, Dragon Castle, Democracy Under Siege and Wir Sind Das Volk are at the top of the pile at the moment. Maybe added with some smaller games like Claim and Tybor the Builder.



Rule books

With the huge pile of new games, there is also the mandatory rule book reading and looking for clear and telling playthroughs on them. As we are very visual and process minded, maybe we can give you our view on the quality of the rule books from our perspective and add a few suggestions on what we think are worthwhile options? Will set some criteria and will report back next week and would love to hear suggestions from you!



New snags, backed kickstarters and some on the contemplation


GLOOMHAVEN arrived! Finally we can join the experience which brought this game to the number 3 position on the Boardgamegeek ranks. We are ecstatic to get this to the table, but also scared what it will eat up on time.
Space Race: Interkosmos expansion. As huge fans of the base game, we jumped in instantly on the new expanse of the possibilities Interkosmos will bring. We wish Jan and his team a great run and hope they can add a lot of extra content! Check out Richard Ham's (Rahdo) talk through for some looks.
ROOT: A game of Woodland Might & Right The new game from the hand of Cole Wehrle and published by the people who brought us Vast: The Crystal caverns, Leder Games. The very fanciful artwork, which disguises a COIN like war game, and the very asynchronous way of play pulled us towards backing this. We are still on the fence though. While we do like the ideas this will bring, the contradiction is that due to the asynchronous we think it will take more plays to get used to every different creatures. And with our recent steps towards a more historic grounded game preferences, we may want to go for a full COIN experience instead. Still something to chew on and we must be hasty, with only some days left for the campaign.



Last week's photo doodles and some family games


Import / Export by Dark Flight Games
















Inspired by one of the most wanted grail games out there, Glory to Rome, Jordan Draper had an idea and brought us this fabulous multi use role selection card game themed around the shipments of a huge variety of goods. The game includes a bonkers amount of different unique power on the cards and will give you a new goal to achieve every game you play. It's a heavily player interaction style of game, where every round players can follow the leader (=active player) his or her actions to influence the economy in you favor. Or at least, don't give your competitors a too easy run for some big bucks floating out there on the open seas. Boost your company, make better contract deals and be the one grossing the most credits at the end. If you like smart games and ones that will take a little to get really good at, give this one a try.

Booo! by Blackrock Games


Booo! 


No pity for those humans, scare them away as quick as possible.


A clever kids games, where you need to find the route to the targets as soon as possible with only using just one colour wall. If you figured that out, you will need to be the first to yell, BOOO! You can change the colour by entering one of the rooms including a "change chit" or make use of a secret door to cross the board.


Collect 5 wall colours or the most chits at the end of the game and be the best ghost there have ever been.


Rhino Hero by Haba


Always fun and always extra tension with the fun game for every age, Rhino Hero by Haba


Going higher and higher, he or she who controls Rhino, controls the game. (or well, drop the tower) Don't do it mom!


Going to the top and getting even higher, is always so much fun for Rhino and the kids. The inevitable will happen, but when.....


Gloomhaven by Cephalofair Games


So it begins...


But first let's sort that chit and put it in baggies. A handy insert is something which is almost mandatory for it. But the Broken Token one isn't very kind to the wallet. So 


Pit crew by Stronghold Games










 
Quote:
While the driver gets all the attention, the pit crew are the unsung heroes of racing…

Pit Crew is a lightning-fast game where up to three teams of players must work together to get their race car back onto the track as quickly as possible. There are no turns in Pit Crew, as cards can be played at any time, but teams need to work together to make sure that their tires are properly replaced, fuel tank filled up, and engine repaired without making any costly mistakes. And will your team just go as fast as they can to get back out on the track? Or will you play smart and earn the Turbo Bonuses that can mean the difference between the checkered flag and last place?

Pit Crew challenges players to balance speed and skill in a fast-paced game of teamwork and communication.


We could have tried to word it better, but above description from the publisher on Boardgamegeek is exactly what Pit Crew sets out to achieve, an experience at the hands of the brave man and woman doing those 2.1 second pit stops and keeping the drivers safe. 

Democracy under Siege by 4Dados


One of those games which tickles a fancy we like and that is, historic evocative themes in games and not only bringing a simulation experience, but also a lot of game into that same package of goodness.


The political regimes Tracker is the main part which seems so smart about this game. Include the Twilight Struggle kind of card use, but with a much better looking board, which is subjective, and we cannot wait to get this played. But the rules are quite opaque, better than expected, but still needs some getting through to. Maybe we need a Heavycardboard teach & play for this!


Chits galore and look who ended up top together. Coincidence? Is there ever in war or peace? Maybe...
We may have been talking more about this title, but we then also really are looking forward to dig deeper in to this interesting title. A more in-depth look at this game will be featured soon on the blog and hopefully also already some initial thoughts about our first games.



Another year, a little wiser...and maybe some pizza in the end

Another page turned, another year has passed, but what a year it has been. We won't go to personal, but you also have been a big part of my life the past 365 days and I would love to thank you all for that! Hope we can grow the hobby together and show people what board games can do to people their lives.


We took the closest family for a nice Italian dinner and had an amazing evening. Thanks my loves for being there!

Love your board game life!







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Mon Nov 20, 2017 7:31 pm
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Our board game week in retrospect * Playing the Spiel 2017 games * Photo heavy!

Marlon Kruis
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Hi all! Welcome and have a fun read.


What did we play this week?



We played a couple of the new games we brought from Essen. So this are all first impressions and for some we will be doing a more in-depth review soon.




A new small card game set in the Longsdale setting which Alexander Pfister has created over the last few years in cooperation with the Österreichisches Spiele Museum. With this new addition, you will be building up the city which plays a major part in it predecessor, Oh My Goods. Through the different chapters you can play in chronological order (but don't have too) and you will be experiencing the build up of that through Tybor's lifespan.



The game is quite simple and doesn't innovate anything in specific, but it does do some interesting things we like in our games. Card drafting, multi use cards and engine building are well implemented. You can use your cards in three different ways, for its strength value (worker), for the citizens type (soldier, merchant, priest, etc.) which gives you special powers and access to other buildings and of course as builder. If you discard the card that way, you can build one of the buildings available with your build up worker strength.



The use of chapters and scenario's sound good, but with the current trend in board games with those added narrative experiences, this game may be overselling this a little in our humble opinion. Yes it does give a little story arc to the game, but don't expect too much out of it in a more emerging game play. The new expansion for Oh My Goods sounds much better in that regard, so we hope to play that soon I guess.



The art is as always very recognizable and very good from one of the most famous artist in the industry, Klemens Franz. It does work well to tie in the different games in this series to belong in the same universe. We do look forward to where they will take this in the coming years, but we do hope it grows a little more teeth.



Overall we liked the game and we will play it again, but for now it doesn't supersede Port Royal or what we have seen for OMG and all its expansions. But that may very well be our expectations being to high for this and this small little game was never intended to be more than it is, a fun little card game which is highly portable.






A reprint from one of the nicest publishers storming the industry lately, Capstone Games. Their line of games is scary good and Clay is doing an amazing job signing some solid mid to heavyweight games to his portfolio. It was fabulous meeting him at Essen and seeing him doing so well there, after an initial rough start with the booth.



The Climbers is one of those titles which will appeal to a very broad audience and is surely a game almost every gamer should have in his collection. You will try to outshine your opponents to get to the highest spot on the mountain. The game is very tactical and shines with more people at the table.



You can move your climber, you can move one of the blocks and you need to maximise the use of your tools and blocking stone. The way it works is, that you only can move on your own colour surface or on a neutral colour.



We played a two player game of it and it works, and maybe it was because it was our first play, but it quickly became a little obvious that there are (too) much choices to keep climbing up blocking your opponents moves become very difficult. May also depend on the way the structure is initial build, so for sure we will play it soon again, but preferable with more people.






Another small card game and this time a two player trick taking game. Yes, a trick taking game for two. As there aren't many good two player options around, we were very curious what Scott Almes and White Goblin Games would do with this. Another title we are eyeballing is Fox in the Forest by Renegade Games Studios, but sadly we missed out on that title at Essen. But let's see if someone can help us out with that.

Claim is played over two phases of 13 card plays each, in the first you are competing for the card which is on the table and build your deck for the second. In the second phase you will fight with those cards head to head to make the final push for majority in a given faction. But where are you fighting over you may ask and why? Well, let us tell you.

The king is dead, nobody knows how, but he died and now the realm needs a new one. It is the story of old, but never boring. Will you become the new king by luring the most factions to your side? There are five different factions in the game, which all have a different effect on the game and on the way you can manipulate the game in you favor.

We must say, we really liked this game and we may be influenced by The Mico his wonderful and alluring artwork at first, but the gameplay was also just pure fun. Again, it won't rock your socks, but it does give for a fun fifteen minutes and you can take it anywhere. So yeah, we can recommend this game already after one go.










 
Carthago: Merchants & Guilds



This was one of our most anticipated games from Spiel 2017. And I can already spoil the beans, we really liked the game after only a few rounds.



Being set in the 800 BCE setting of Carthage and putting you in the shoes of influential merchants at that time, you had us at that already. But Bernd Eisenstein and Ralph Bienert, which we met at Spiel and that guy is so kind, went further and made the game even more appealing for us.





As you all may know by now, we love multi use cards as much as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, so no surprise we were digging that. But they also took another witty thing we like a lot, getting things of your own player board and put them out onto the main area to expand your capabilities. Through trading your wares to ships (or just fight them for it) and buying influence on the Guild, you unlock more possibilities and also gain higher end gaming scoring in the process. To continue our praise, the variable end game scoring you need to unlock and the clever timing aspect also work delightful. It is a well-balanced game and you really feel like a mighty Phoenician when you have a full hand of awesomeness.



Are there no negatives? Well, maybe just a few. While we love the art and the overall look of the game, black border cards are always subject to quicker wear. Also the cardstock could be a little better, but for the reasonable price of this game, that would have been a little too much maybe. The clever puzzle pieces to scale the game to the given player count is already a positive note, so well you may know what is coming now.


Market cards



Shipyard

The game is a very solid medium weight euro style game and has us wanting to play it more and if possible, very soon!








One of the games we preordered first for our Spiel 2017 list of games we must pick up and we were glad we did. Santa Maria from Aporta games sold like crazy. And we can say, rightfully so. Eilif Svensson and Kristian Amundsen Østby did a stellar job on creating another hit after for example the Escape series, Avenue and Mangrovia.










 
Santa Maria will take you to the time of conquistadors and shaping the future of the New World by building your colony as profitable as possible. Aporta included a nice historic background to the game which is called, Swords and Gods of Santa Maria. Do read it, it will give some context to the period and some of the reasons why things went as they went. The game itself will not have such emerging.





One the most popular mechanisms from the last few years is dice drafting and using those dice in a variety of ways. In this game your dice are your workers and you have two options of them. The blue ones are your personal workers and will trigger your rows in the colony and the white dice are the common pool of workers which let you fire your column. You will build your colony on your own personal colony board in a tetris like why. Depending on which scoring and power tiles are out, you will try to put them in such a way where you can build your engine, align them with the end game scoring where possible, fulfil shipping contracts, and manipulate your capabilities as much as possible. There are a lot of paths you can take and it can imbued AP if you will consider all those options.



The game looks very clean and it depends on your preferences if that appeals. We would have liked a little more of a serious style to it, but on the other hand, it does help in the fact all information is found around the board and keeping the theme not to involved. The happiness points are, well cute, but those we find a little odd to our taste and just influence points would have fitted better.



Our first impressions are very good and this game has a lot of legs. This may end up high on our top 20 games of 2017 and maybe with repeated plays, a top 10 contender in general.



So what did YOU play this week?

Any games we need to keep our eyes on? Or do you have any wishes of games we should give a go from our Essen Haul you find here?

Love your board game life!








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Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:08 pm
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The Last Part * Spiel 2017 blog and photo extravaganza avalanche part 3 *

Marlon Kruis
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Hi all! Welcome and have a fun read.






And so we meet again my dear friends

Let's see if we can get through even more Spiel 2017 experiences? Are you ready do another day of board games, meeting people and maybe some new hotness coming for 2018? We are almost done and day 4 and some other last experiences are left to share with you all. We promise this post won't be as big as the first and second parts. Hopefully you enjoyed those though and all those other we shared with the world. The last few days were more about talking to people, play games and just enjoying Spiel.



Kolossal Games

A new publisher joined the scene and not just any kind of new publisher. Kolossal games has some interesting games coming for 2018 and they bring some great ideas where they want to go with their company. Travis talked about their upcoming titles and Kira shared us their vision on what Kolossal stands for. Inclusive, passion, accessible and having a direct relationship to their customers (and reviewers) are some of the key values they treasure. We must admit, we really like the way they are approaching this and are very gratified they asked us for a meet-up.

Because, how can their mission not be just sublime and something which should be key a general rule of thumb for every one within the industry (or hobby so you will)

Quote:
To create memorable experiences for families and friends to
connect and to give designers and artists the means for their creations toshine in a welcoming and collaborative environment.

Western Legends

Hitting Kickstarter this january, this sandbox style game, will emerge you into the setting at the dawn of the Wild West. You will travel the world as one of the known characters (or were some of them just villains and romanticized into heroes?) from these days (think Billy the Kid, Calamity Jane) or maybe you will pick the lesser known figures (Stagecoach Mary Fields or Crazy Horse)? We love the inclusion of the historic background on all of those different characters. And it shows the passion from the designer (Herve Lemaitre) and the publisher. They really want you to become emerged deeply into the experience. Through different locations and possibilities on the board you will acquire (or just steal) kettle or gold. You can rob banks and become wanted or you can hunt on those who choose a bandit life as a real bounty hunters. Through balancing this fine line of being lawless and sometimes being lawful, you will try to gather points and  try to become the most famous legend of the Old West. With the different tracks on the board (Marshall & Wanted) you can balance this open world game and try to put the world to your hand. In an extend, it remind us of Merchants & Marauders, which in our book, is a very appealing perspective!


Be aware, it's all still prototype. But this does give a great idea of where they are going with this game board.


The sheriff, which can be used in a very smart tactical way. There is a timing aspect to it when you can move him or her to push your enemies in the direction you may want to push him.


The big four legends...


You can upgrade and buy stuff to boost your power, possibilities or just gain pure cash.


Event cards are included and give some nice narrative to this world and the way the game pushes you to go.


More characters is more fun! We like the art direction this is going.

Kami-Sama

In this game every player takes the role of a Kami, a Japanese spirit. Gong Studios is doing the art on this game and from the very prototype stuff we can share, that was already very well done. Through a clever spinning board, you will try to manipulate your board presence and for example try to make the correct (secret) figures in the different villages to score more points. Every season the board turns a quarter and you can work on another village. The final goal of the game is becoming kami-sama, the leader of the kami. The balance with the scoring track is also standing out, you will score the lowest one. The players can make use of highly variable player powers with all the different Kami coming with the game. The villages all differ in their given resources possibilities and different cards you can take during the game will give more powers, end game scoring or one time bonuses. The idea is to bring this to kickstarter somewhere Q1 2018 after Western Legends. It's a clever fight te place your shrines onto the board.


Again, very, very prototype, but it really does give an idea where this is heading and how the different villages will play out. One of your goals will to create lines or patterns in a given village and one creat majority and two meet the given form for goal scoring. The different building in the villages, also provide different resources, so that's another factor to take into account.


The art is already gorgeous and can only go up from here.


Build a nice hand of power and points! Who doesn't like that?


A lot of spirits to pick from


How adorable, if not she is the Kami of Fear and will torment your soul. and frighten the *** out of you.



Board & Dice

Filip, oh Filip. You are such an awesome dude and we loved your jacket sir. With a lot of passion he took us through the stunning line of games which Board & Dice are shooting into the inBetween Martian harvest seasons. Well, that was a sad word joke, but does capture how much different flavors they are putting out there with this funky publishing house.

InBetween


Will you be the creature or do you stay on the light side? Don't stay in the InBetween.


Just a pack of cards, some wooden components and chits. The decks are very asynchronized and the game experience is rather different for both sides. While the main concept is still the same, lure people to your side.


We lost another soul, which depends on the side you are playing if that's a bad thing.


Stay in school people...


Or maybe not......


One of the ways to win the game is to get your awareness up to 6. You know your enemy so well, they cannot escape your grasp anymore.

Pocket Mars & Harvest Dice


Pocket Mars is a very smart little Martian themed card game. Try to outshine your opponent and steal some of their reserved actions and gain majority control on the different Mars facilities.


Forgot to take a photo of the game we played with Filip, but this more fun then I expected it to be. Harvest Dice. It won't rock your socks, but is does do something different with a roll & write game we really liked. You can manipulate the worth of the given veggie and has a little stock manipulation going.

Superhot The Card game 


This is such a smart game. The way the cards cycle through your deck and of the grid is just like playing the video game all over again. The timing element is key. With so many new objectives, smart little tweaks and a lot of different possible play styles (solo, competitive, team vs. team or coöp) you will get a lot of play out of such a tiny footprint game.


Manuel Correia was such a wonderful guy and showed of his slick-looking card game. This style is just so clean, so fresh, we love that! He did such a fabulous job on turning the video game into a card game and added more to it also! Some small little easter eggs, extra possibilities and not just a simple port.



Game's Up

Carthago

Can I say this? Not sure, but Ralph Bienert is maybe the sweetest guy we have met at Essen and we had such a wonderful chat with him. A lot of good stuff coming from them and a collaboration with a great company which we are not sure if we can talk about yet. And include it being a game with one of the hottest designers from the last few years and we are very happy we are partnering up with them! Keep us posted Ralph, because what you are bringing may be the Essen 2018 top spot game!


This game was up there for our most anticipated games of Spiel 2017, Carthago. It just sounded so good. Increase your wealth and influence. Card driven and a lot of tactical choices, something we really can appreciate. Timing is important, so time your plays well.


Clean art, but still very well representing the time period. The black borders may be something not every player will appreciate (due to wear down) but it does look good.


A rondel is always a pleasure to have in a game





We are done, well almost...a few last shout outs

We are at the end of the coverage and we think next year we still need to make more time for more photo's of the spectacle. There is just so much to do, so much games going, so many captivating people and just not enough time.


A real VIB at the table. Brandon from Brawling Brothers. Such a kind guy and a unique character we really can relate too a lot. Was fantastic meeting him. A genuine nice guy, just humbled by all the attention he got for just being, himself. Well sir, that is just an astounding human being. They are playing Summit, a very cool survival game done by Conor McGoey


To close down, I will share a picture with one of my favorite (board game) people in the world, Steph from the amazing blog on bgg! and now also social media coordinator at Renegade Studios! But she's just such a sweetheart and with her Ron, it's always an intense pleasure to spent time with them. Thanks for the fun and laughter again this year y'all and who knows, maybe we'll see each other in the US soon ;-)


Playing some rounds of A tale of Pirates.


Not sure yet how this game will end up I guess. I do have some designer pedigree here, because Asger Granerud  is just such an awesome guy. Not sure why I have that serious face going...


Keyper "talkthrough" was just an hilarious experience, what a funny guy. He was doing his own standup comedian style demoing. Just before fair closing time, so Richard Breese didn't kick us out of his booth ;-)





Thanks all for reading, sharing or just even skipping along ;-) Love your board game life!





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Sat Nov 4, 2017 4:59 pm
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Spiel 2017 blog and photo extravaganza avalanche part 2

Marlon Kruis
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Hi all! Welcome and have a fun read.






And we are back for more. Embrace yourself and let's continue our journey through Essen together...

We arrive at day 3 of the fair in our story and after a late night at the Heavy Cardboard meetup, the fatigue starts to kick in, but who can be tired at Essen right? Let's do this. Long days, short nights, but we must persevere and to be fairly honest, we love this feeling! Who doesn't get an adrenaline rush from all those awesome board games and all those people at Spiel?

Saturday the herds will arrive

But we must admit, this year the crowds and the control on the visitor flow was much better than last years craziness on saturday. Our compliments to the host of the fair, Friedhelm Merz Verlag, which made some changes in parking spaces, entrances and of course added some extra halls. Now how about those extra halls for dedicated playing area's next year...?



Portal

We had an early morning meet-up with Rindert from Portal Games, to have a chat about all the hotness at Essen en maybe some new stuff coming for 2018 from them. Especially Alien Artifacts is getting some solid attention and seems to really do well on what it sets out to achieve. A 4x experience in just a card game, which may or may not be the first to try, but in our humble opinion they made it stick! But also the new Cry Havoc expansion Aftermath and First Martians have that Portal energy going. We loved the new booth setup this year from them, much more inviting and the demo team was just rocking those tables. Solid job y'all!


The new open game area at the Portal Games booth


A lot of Alien Artifacts games were played


The game looks fantastic, the app is getting better every update and if you get the hang of the game flow, it is a unique game experience you need to try if you can. It may not be for everybody, true, but still the game is just a work of art.


An oldy, but still a goody! Tides of Time



Some random stuff from hall 3


The tables were jam-packed at Queen Games for the solid four days with some great games on the tables. (Immortals, Merlin, Templar's Journey, Pioneers.)


Working two demo tables of Merlin, good job miss!


Don't know nothing about this game, but that table looks awesome!


Another game which went out of stock very quick, Hunt for the Ring by Ares Games.


The mini's on this game are so cute. Divinity Derby also by Ares Games. A fast paces betting and racing game, set in the Greek mythology. Must admit, we did not know the game, but our friend Steph spoke highly of it


Iquazú looks so aesthetically pleasing and these fine people are looking to have a blast card watching. HABA don't only have those yellow boxed kids games, but brings along some fine gamer games too.


Try to hide your precious gemstones from the evil Rhujas, which roam the land, behind the rock wall behind the Iquazú waterfall. It seems to be a great game to introduce people to area control and majority and the use of the waterfall tiles is just so smart.



Hall 1


One of the games with the best box cover art this Spiel 2017, The Sanctuary: Endangered Species


The tablecloth does make it very messy, but it does match the busy savannah look. The game components aren't as good-looking as the box cover may suggest, but in this case we would say gameplay first and looks second?


Those clean and white card backs are just phenomenal


Pandemic: Rising Tide, or better know as, Pandemic The Dutch Edition. Obviously one game which will join our collection as soon as possible. The fight against the rising tides is something which is very prevalent and something we are always aware of being on the horizon due to being below sea level for more than 50% with our country. Add in that Jeroen Doumen co-designed this game and we are all-in.



SPOILER FREE (promised by the zman demo dude), but skip below 3 pictures if you don't want to see ANY stuff from Pandemic Legacy 2

Spoiler (click to reveal)



SPOILER FREE




One of the amazing things around Essen are the families playing games together. Here the twins are playing Majesty from Hans-Im-Glück with their parents. A very accessible game and one which we will pick up at one of our Dutch retail shops.


Bezier Games was bringing the new game, The Palace of Mad King Ludwig. It brings a shared building part to the game, which we may like better than the first game where you build your own crazy castle. Ted Alspach is a great guy and I mean, he is a large fellow!




I wasn't kidding, Ted is large guy, but also genuinely a nice one.


The always charming Sarah Erickson from Renegade Games Studio. Little bumped we didn't have the chance to talk to her, but rest assured, we will be back next year and schedule some time with her.


Kepler-3042 is one of the many new releases ticking the same boxes: space, exploration, tech trees and a lot of memorable experiences of becoming the greatest explorers in the galaxy. This is the new version from Renegade Games Studios with art by Kwanchai Moriya.


Pie town, dice placement and hidden movement. Try to become the best pie shop in town and try to steal the recipes from the other players.




Designer and master of disaster, Jan Soukal, from the Boardcubator. We helped them a little in the base game (Space Race: The Card Game) with some playtesting for the solo variant and screening the rulebook. It was great meeting them in real life finally. They brought along the new expansion, which is packed to the brim with cool new stuff, Interkosmos. New faction for a 5 player experience, new space race cards, some extra possibilities to achieve other strategy choices through new mechanisms and more power to achieving breakthroughs.




Not yet available on Boardgamegeek ( add it Alfie ) Evil Corp is a highly interactive game about billionaires being  billionaires. Be a bastard, try to make more money, make your opponents lose some and when you go bankrupt? Just start a new corp and join the elite again.


The art is very contemporary


Spiel isn't big with cosplay, but this guy looked so cool


The best board game pieces we saw at the Messe. (No, they are not included...) Tsukuyumi is a highly strategic and greatly a sync faction board game, based around an amazing story from the mind of Felix Mertikat. Had a great chat and a nice drink with him (thanks again sir, your taste is outstanding!) and he told some great background about this board game and it's backstory. The different factions fighting for world dominance just sounds so amazing and there is no luck involved at all. Include his artwork, which may be the best we saw around at Essen this year, and we think you check out the running Kickstarter campaign!






Calimala designer, Fabio Lopiano, is demoing his game at the ADC Blackfire booth. We had the honour to play a game of this elegant game with Edward & Amanda from Heavy Cardboard. The game is very smooth, the rules density is low, but the strategy and tactical choices are still very interesting. I can see why it's done by ADC and not by Spielworxx, being more a medium heavy game instead of let's say Gentes or Arkwright.


Clay Ross from Capstone games is looking up some rules for his Essen hit, Wildcatters. Was great meeting this fine fellow. So much passion and so much positive energy. I wish you all the best with your next projects.


The beautiful new board for Wildcatters.


A must have game for every gamer, the thinky filler, The Climbers.


These tiny games from Perplext are just becoming something legendary. A lot of game in those miniscule packages. (Gym, Rum, Dig)


Rum


Fly is exciting dexterity game. You need to hit at least 3 of the same colour flies to make it count.



Blackrock Games

Next meet-up was with the wonderful Caroline Deliens from Blackrock Games. She was kind enough to give us a lot of time to explore the huge line of games from their portfolio. They have a wide variety of games & publishers, from complex beasts to fun little party style games. If you are looking for a solid publisher, one which can suit a lot of gamer needs? Go check them out.


One of the big hits from Kickstarter, Outlive. Published by La Boite de Jeu. It's a worker placement game with a cool theme. Try to manage your survival within the wastelands and try to outlive your opponents. Looks marvelous and if you like workerplacement, go check this one out.


Last years Spiel game from Rebel, Bubblee Pop.


This game was just out of our personal top 6 most anticipated games for Spiel 2017, Ilôs. It has a lot going we really like in a game. Speculation, hand management, tile exploration, some stocks and a little bit of take that. Thanks to Punching Cardboard, we did put it on our list and we can't wait to give this a go and let you all know what we think!


Contemplating what to do and where you can get the most out of your goods. This guys were having a lot of fun at the Blackrock booth


Time Arena, a real-time 2 player battle game by Blam!. The cooldown which the hourglass represent per charachter is a straight port from a video game and is such a smart design choice. It plays lightning fast, looks funny and can be played on a simple mode or getting more involved with more rules added. It has a chess like feel to it, due to the punch timer used (there's an app!), but it's far from just a chess like clone.




Red is attack and green is defense. The bumps on the head says how much spaces the given character can move.


Booo!


It looks so cute, but these fishes are eating each other by the masses and well, those will give you points to win the game. Another abstract with a nicely integrated theme. Little Big Fish. by Flying Games.




The doggies just look sooooo sweet. But are they? Are they? Well, not really, but it's all Fagin's fault! He want's his dogs to bring him the loot (bones) and he is just not a nice guy right? Try to steal, bluff and talk your way around the players and avoid Fagin's wrath and you can have a nice supper nonetheless! Doggy Bag by Blam!






Last game just before Messe closing was Keyper by Richard Breese. It was more like a talk through, really Richard our demo friend only TALKED about the game, but this fellow was just so much fun. It was a hilarious demo and another thing why we love Spiel so much. These little experiences with make me smile for months too some.


It is a real Key style game with a lot of intertwining actions and a lot of smart ways to use your workers. Use the action, tag along other players actions to boost the outcome or lay them down to do even more. But be mindful about your neutral worker (white) and where you use those to not lose them to the other players. The central folding boards look amazing and give so much possibilities to play this game.



Well another day is in the books, well almost...

At night we went for a dinner with old and new friends. Jess, Derek, his lovely wife, Steph & of course THE Ron. They took me to a local falafel place which was crowded, but had some great food. I took a Turkish pizza and that was mouth-watering delicious.

Afterwards we planned to play all games at the Atlantic, but well, Jess had a meltdown on how much games she bought and how they would get back to the US. It was hilariously and one of the most fun experiences I ever had at Spiel. The hotel room was crowded with people, all punching and bagging games and trying to convince Jess "it would all be fine"...well, it helped a little. Derek was the storyteller of the evening and I won't go into too much detail, but I once thought these things only happened in Hollywood movies, I guess they ain't :-D


Well.....punching parties are a real thing people!



We are out, thanks for reading again, you people are amazing!

Love your board game life!








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Spiel 2017 blog and photo extravaganza avalanche part 1 *

Marlon Kruis
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Hi all! Welcome and have a fun read.




Gone quicker than you could say french fries with bratwurst und sauerkraut.


Ladies and gentleman, another Spiel is in the books and another year went by as fast as lighting. What an absolute blast it was and there were so many great people I have met again and I had the honour of talking with. I am afraid it were just too many names to call them all out, but know that each and every one made my Spiel 2017 one I will remember for ever! Already missing the buzz surrounding this amazing event.

So let's see what happened on days two, three and four and maybe we can share some nice scoops we have got from the publishers we spoke too. But as is custom with our blog, we will overload you with a lot of photos, to emerge you into the moment hopefully.

But first, the mandatory Spiel 2017 haul picture right...




Publishers and their games.

Queen Games

We had a wonderful meet up with Travis from Queen Games, who introduced us to the new games coming out from them this year. The amount of solid titles this year from them is astounding and we cannot wait to get some of them to the table for a more in-depth look at them.


Pioneersis a lightweight route building game, but don't be fooled, it still has some (golden) teeth to it for gamers. With a set of actions which are triggered by different workers you must manage your trip West and try to out think all those other pioneers. (Emanuele Ornella)


Your state coaches which brings you workers, so actions to do, and when you empty them, they also give you points.


The variability on the board, while still travelling West only, is big with the variable chits which come out randomly


Meeples go West!


A modern version of games like Wallenstein and Shogun. In this game there are a lot of similarities, but also a lot of new twist and turns which makes this a very fresh take on area control and action programming powers. The eternal fight between the light & the dark side put into this game we must admit is really cool! Immortals by Dirk HennMike Elliot


Two sides of the world. Don't fight on one place, but mind the possibilities on the other one as well. Dying here isn't always a bad thing.


Beautiful artwork at the dark side


Or do you prefer the light side?


The random setup of you player boards gives again a lot of replayability


Who doesn't want to play this game and fight for a nice sun spot on one of these relaxing beach chairs? High Tide is a fun push your luck game by Derek Henn.


The battles of the perfect beach spot. What a unique themed game and it looks like plain fun to get to the table.


A push your luck dice game, where you try to get as close to the water as possible. But don't get your feet wet!


Designer Dirk Henn


Merlin by Stefan Feld and Michael Rieneck


The player boards with your dice, pawns, flags and traitors.


Build your castle at the right place at the right time and make a lot of points


I present you your point salad! But in all honesty, the board looks great and the game is not a 100% pure Feld, due to Michael his influence it is a different kind of game. But, yes, with of course all kind of ways to grab points which most Felds have the last couple of years, it does feel like a Feld for sure.


He or she who controls Merlin, controls the game. Maybe...


Templar's Journey, a game which don't get the buzz due to being next to the other big Queen game, but this game sounds really interesting and deserves more attention. By order of the Pop himself you travel Europe to recruit your knights to go on a crusade to Jerusalem.


Use your knights and Templars wisely and try to out smart your opponent to time your moves accordingly. Don't be too greedy, because you may end with empty hands.


The main board has a classic look to it, which suits the theme very well and is also very functional.


Target the cities which are going to be scored or change the scored city if you cannot get there to screw over your opponents.


Do you take a weaker action or do you dare to take the big action? A skill to read your opponents mind isn't included, but does help you win the game!


Captain Silver, a smart kids game which is nominated for kinderspiel Des jahres 2017. Those pirate ships looks awesome and the gameplay is already a real game for those youngsters.


Set collection, push your luck and action selection. This game will appeal to youngsters, but for moms & dads there is also a lot of game still left to enjoy. From what we have seen, one of the best kids games out there at the moment.



Fantasmagoria


As we almost love the whole spectrum which we have in the board games, we couldn't resist the call of this appealing miniatures game with a lot of mechanisms going which may also appeal to the euro gamers. It isn't a tabletop war game, but much, much more.

BATTALIA: The Creation is a competitive, fast-paced, strategic deck-builder that combines map construction, hero and area control and unique calendar mechanisms.
Alexander is a passionate guy, who was more than willing to spend a few minutes with us telling about this concept and all good things coming for this title. The Kickstarter had been a great success and the game looks the part also.




These creatures look amazing


Mira interviewing Alexander


The detail and passion behind this concept is represented well in this game


A demo game going on


The board, which has quite the grid feel to it, but really looks very clear in use




Massive amount of stuff already out for this game


As most games have nowadays, the artwork does help to immerse you into the game



Game Brewer

Doing all the talks and blogging in English is fine, but once in a while having a good old Dutch chat at Essen can be refreshing. As was the case at the Game Brewers. A very cool Belgian based publishers, which has some games which surely appeal to a broad audience. So, the ambassador of Buzz (awesome title) Kevin took us through some of the hot games from their line and especially the one set in the Netherlands caught out attention, Castellum.

This game will be released soon, so keep your eye out on that one. It's a fast playing take that game with a little bit of Lords of Waterdeep to it. Now that's mostly the look of the board and the action you can take on the given location through workerplacement, but the way the characters work, isn't anything like that.The game is based on the struggles the city of Maastricht had in the 15th and 16th century with the Spanish, French and the Dutch conquistadors. The art has some similarities to the classic Dutch paintings and for us a Dutchies that really stood out. A must buy for us when it hits the friendly local game stores.

Other games which they brought were Pixie Queen and Chimera station. Both are very solid workerplacement games, but as is a trademark for games which the Game Brewer puts out, they bring something extra to the experience. May it be upgradable workers with Chimera Station or the way you start in a negative position with Pixie Queen.


Castellum by the Game Brewer


The different cards from the different nations who give you power over the city


The game board, which has a little LoW look to it, but also captures the essence of Maastricht very well


The Pixie queen at work, just being beautiful is not for the faint of heart



The Taiwanese Boardgame Design group

These guys & girls, are there any other so passionate and doing their thing with so much fun as them? I highly doubt that and I am so honoured to call them my friends for the last few years. Again hooked up with Smoox and his family and finally met Eron from EmperorS4. They bring better games every year and the growth they are going through is absolutely well deserved and pays of all the hard work they put into the industry.


Smooxand his lovely family, that's what passion is all about in our humble opinion.


A game with a heart and a game about a serious problem. Rescue Polar Bear by TwoPlus Games and designed by Jog Kung and Huang Yi Ming




The game of life is a popular theme and rightfully so. My Story is an elegant and fast playing deckbuilder card game which gives you the experience of living a beautiful life you may have always imagined living (or maybe you are doing it even right now!). Designed by Smoox Chen and published by Homosapiens Lab. It plays very fast and afterwards you have build something, where even if you don't win the game, still had a great time and a story to talk about.




Another game where the game engine is driven by its story. The Raid on Taihoku is based on the real experiences and dedicated to the people of Taiwan during the second world ward. In this coöp game you and your fellow citizens will try to survive these horrors. Publisher Mizo


EmperorS4 brought a lot of small box games this year and like almost all of them this one also made a solid impression. Mystery of the Temples is a smart design of set collection and pattern recognition. The way they always find ways to put a lot of game into such a tiny box amazes me every time.


Sorcerer & Stones is a the race for immortality. Taoist will try to race to become the first one to be Xian. Another great game in a very tiny box.




The craziness behind the booth at the Taiwanese Boardgame Design Group.


Shadows in Kyoto is a modern version of Stratego, with a little Onitama card play and the special powers you find in a lot of other games. It's a beautiful follow-up to the smash hit Hanamikoji and keeps that spirit much alive in this tactical battle of wits. And yes, the artwork is again gorgeous



Moaideas

One of those publishers you may have never heard of (or maybe it is just us not noticing them before), but their games were just selling like cookies and hot coco on a cold winter's day. The man behind this company, David Liu, is such a gentleman and also a very intelligent guys who knows how to bring not just good games, they are great games!


At the Moaideas booth with in the corner David Liu.


Tulip Bubble is a smart auction game designed around a blown up part of the Dutch history. The time where tulips were more valuable than other goods and people speculated on those flowers until the bubble popped. The game looks like a light game, but don't get trapped in those fields of flowers. This is a brutal game, where you need to think ahead to stay ahead in the race for money. The little swing the events bring are a nice way introducing a little randomness to the table. Set collection, speculation and drafting makes this one of the most fun games we have seen at Spiel 2017


Liberatores, the game where you try to kill Julius Caesar or fail and still win if you made the right team choice. It's a quirky set of different games styles with deduction, negotiation and secret information. Does sound intriguing though and can't wait to play this one.



And now some random gaming


Halloween by Quined Games was another great title which was of course available at a very opportune moment at the end of October.


Steph (@punkin312) and her men Ron doing their spooky things


There is more to the game then just a theme of horror. It is a medium heavy game with a nice engine building mechanic and with a smart way they implemented with the variable powers and action spaces.


The componenets are amazing, but we don't expect less with Quined right.


One of the games which peaked our interest after Rahdo put it on his top 10 games for Essen 2017. Now that should not have surprised us, because one of the designers is Asger Granerud (13 Days, Flamme Rouge) and we love his games! (and yes....Steph photobombed...) A Tale of Pirates






Yes Ron......


Welcome to a married life my friend :-)


The only person at Spiel 2017 who got to sleep at the Messe...


The new upcoming new tile from Fantasy Flight GamesSid Meier's Civilization: A New Dawn




Fallout the boardgame, one game I sadly haven't tried, but am looking forward to try hopefully soon.


One of those games which has such a big following behind it and it already is at its 4th Edition, Twilight Imperium




Whoosh: Bounty Hunters a real time game where you need to put the icons on the cards to the available monsters as quickly as possible. A fun little party game by Artipia Games.








Good times at the Messe Essen at Spiel 2017. Wizkids


A Dutch and Belgian publisher booth (Mountain Men) was something we of course needed to visit for a short game of Sign.





Heavycardboard meetup at Fitzpatrick's

While we don't have much pictures from the evening, because of being much to invested in talking to some wonderful souls and having a Guinness or two, we enjoyed our time at Fitzpatrick's very much. Edward & Amanda have grown their niche in to a very special place and are such genuine awesome people. I can wholeheartedly say I love those two for what they represent and how they go around on this quest.
The people attending ranged from designers, publishers to regular listeners, strangers and everything in between. The connection was amazing!Need to thank Alexander Huemer(designer of Lignum!) for the Guinness! Proost!

Have a listen at their podblast on Spiel 2017









Too much is never enough right?

While this only covers the first 3 days we were at the Messe, including Wednesday press day, we have a lot more ground to cover in the next blogs. We hope you like what you have seen and see you back for the next part of the Spiel 2017 adventures. (Press day) (Day 1)

Love your board game life!






We hope you liked it, we did! We would love to hear your 2 cents below in the comments!




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Spiel 2017 Day 1 * Meets, peeps and games! *

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Hi all! Welcome and have a fun read.




Meet & Greet with some of the amazing people behind all the new hotness

What a day one this was, we met so many intriguing and fascinating people, I don't even know where to begin with. As you may understand, these blogs will all be in a blitz kind of way. Trying to squeeze them in between the slower hours. And those are just very rare, which is a great thing!

So we will keep it short and sweet and won't bore you with too much details and let the pictures speak for themself. There was tons more, but we will keep it at bite size.



But first, show some goodies



Kept it quite civil and still need to pick up some more games that are still on the wish list. We do wait for some Dutch releases, so if you are missing some of the big hotness, that may explain their absence.



The meets and greets

We did several short talks to a lot of people and the positive vibe which is surrounding the board game hobby is just something very special. We will display just a few which stood out for us, and we took pictures of instead of too much talking. And of course, they gave us some content to great games to share with you and you should go check out at Spiel.  If else, why would we be talking about these right?



Alejandro  is a charming fellow and someone who talks with passion about Horrible games


The current game getting a lot of buzz, and rightfully so, Dragon Castle.


If you like good-looking abstracts? Don't look any further, it's here.


This is what board games do. We love this.


Their first abstract, but Horrible games can't do anything wrong when they go for it right? Table presence +10


This lovely lady is setting up some cups with some poison...want to play Raise you Goblets




One where talking was more evident and also needed. The new game by Gil Hove, Wordsy. A nice twist on word games and the short demo was a fun one.



And now something where, if we are upfront and very honest, we are very looking forward too. Tokyo Metro by Jordan Draper. Coming to Kickstarter this January and this is our favorite game up until now this Spiel 2017! It's a complex economic strategy game, but is flows very well and is very accessible after only a few rounds. The ramping up it does with the passing rounds, gives some major final rounds and makes it a compelling game right until the end. There is much more to tell about the game, but wait for the Kickstarter, it will be AMAZING! We played almost a full game and ended within such a close endgame, 2000 difference, talk about a well-balanced game. Again, this is going to be a publisher and designer, which is going to be high on our list of must have games.


Tokyo Metro


Still in prototype form, but already looks clean, sharp and the colours pop.


The times where metro maps become games. We like that!


The cycling of the action spaces is such a smart and refreshing take on work placement.


Stations and your pawn


As most economic games, money is king and here still in prototype form, already shiny


Player aid


Designer, publisher and just an awesome person. Jordan Draper from Dark Flight doe sit all.


The map in prototype form


The obvious selfie. Sir, we came for a demo, we played almost a full game and we will be all over the Kickstarter upcoming January.




Rob'n Run, a coöp game with a hanabi style teamwork element. The Boss cannot tell his crew exactly what to get and he will have to guide them with hints to the right loot. Try to manage that between you given restrictions and stay away from the policy!


Game board and the possible locations you can rob. A lot of setup variability possible in the different loot tiles, the different scenarios you can play or the way the cubes come out.


Michael Luu, designer and Boss. One of these statements isn't true, bit for us Michael is a very awesome guy.  (No, we didn't get any extra loot for this)


components are bad@ss. Just because...we are cool robbers


The 6 possible hints you may give. There are different hints possible for increasing the difficulty.





And then we met "this mister". The one and only Mac Gerdts. He told about his new title, Transatlantic and we even found out he speaks a little Dutch. Well, it was more flat german as they would call it, but that was an awesome thing that happened. Thanks for your time Mac! We also touched base on his roots being from Hamburg and the relationship to the theme of his latest title. 






When you pick up your pre-order games  (Maria, Wir Sind das Volk and 2+2) and one of the designers is there, what do you do? Of course we asked for a signature from Richard Shako.



We've met a bunch more people and have a lot more great future news to share (and sometimes we cannot, yet...), but for now we will have to make it to bed and prepare for another day at the Messe.

But, we have some more great pictures from Essen before we leave you be.



I could have sworn I have seen this guy somewhere before.....think he did some card game or something with also some Vikings in it?


Secret Weapons of the Third Reich


It's a A semi coöp game where you want to become the best German arms manufacture.


Democracy under Siege


4 Dados are bring some heavy world war / political themed games to  this Spiel



Have a great day or night, depends on when you are reading this of course. If you are going to Spiel, have a fantastic time and enjoy all the fun which Essen brings. May you see me running around, play a game or having a chat with somebody, please say hi. Would love to meet you!

Love your board game life!




Original post on our blog!

Did you like what you see? Would you want to see others on it? Do you have suggestions we should check out? We would love to hear your 2 cents below in the comments!




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Spiel 2017 Press day blitz blog * A lot of photos

Marlon Kruis
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Hi all! Welcome and have a fun read.



The press meet and the new hotness displayed


So we have had our first day at Essen and it was amazing to finally be back again. And now even a day before the big day 1.

And let me tell you, there are so many good games and so much energy already going around the Messe. The publishers, designers, demoing boys & girls and media folks are all pumped for the crowds to arrive tomorrow.

So the title gives it away, it's going to be a blitz post, so short and sweet and with loads of pictures.


The new hotness room


The big press event and the traditional soup as I understood


It was written, Catan got a Game of Thrones theme


Uwe is back and this time it's stock market and fish


The long-awaited Terra Mystica 2.0, The Gaia Project 






Juma the man behind the one of the hottest games this year, Clans of Caledonia






He is back with another card game and another one which may run the con, Tybor the Baumeister done by Alexander Pfister.


A scary cave, but it looks so extremely well done. 




Always wanted to join the circus? It's your time! Meeple Circus


Crazy meeples...


Oh this looks cute? Well, it's an all out war game between bunnies...go figure.





Did I say Pfister? Did you say naritive strorytelling




A beauty displayed by White Goblin Games, Montana. A race game with a nice return of the spinner.






Moaideas is on a roll and are starting at a very high level with their games. Liberators is no exception.


Well, did I tell you these tulips and this bubble is a well known dutch story. A deceptive 




Just 2 actions, but this is such a devil in disguise. Mini Rails has something we love in games, a lot of player interactions and deeper layers of strategy to a seemingly simple game.




An abstract, but one with a original theme.




One of our most anticipated games for Spiel 2017. Calimala by ADC Blackfire


Markus and Inka Brand, need I say more? This couple is crazy smart and brings so much fun to the hobby. Streamlined gameplay in a at first glans busy game board. It's "the other" Indian game, but it may have been "the" Indian game also. Sounds very, very cool.




The Mico art, need to Claim that. By White Goblin Games


The beast, the beauty, the colourful, but also the one with a lot of good buzz. The rules are something to dive in to, but it may reward you with maybe the best complex strategy game from 2017? We will have to wait and see. Quined is always a must check for us.


Ali Baba


A lovely game of life themed game. Looks adorable and you can get it at the TBD booth. 


Mac is back baby! May have heard that somewhere? But men this one is high on the MUST have list. Mac Gerdts, the hero behind the acclaimed Concordia.






A great hybrid between being all what is a euro game, but also brings various player powers and end game objectives.




The theme is awesome and the idea of the hidden movement is awesome. Looks better in real life then I saw to date. So a must check if you like these style of games.






Merlin and Feld. Sometimes it ain't gets better...oh and there are dice.


Base game is just plain fun racing and this one is coming home!


Finally more to Nations the Dice game.


If he wasn't doing tons of stuff already, Alexander Pfister is also bringing more Isle of Skye to Spiel 2017


Hans Im Gluck is always a pleasure to see and play. Smooth, accessible and for a variety of gamers very appealing.


Altiplano by DLP Games


Reinier Stockhausen gives an interview on his latest game


Histogame brings a radical game changing expansion to their classic, Wir Sind Das Volk. The 2+2 expansion


Always a pleasure to meet Peat and even better so soon at the fair. This guy is awesome!


Dinner and more games


So after a quick dinner we played the new Stronghold title, Space Freaks.







First impressions are a little mixed, but overall quite enjoyable. We will need to try it more to get the hang of it. There are a lot of american style ways to this game. But it still contains the figuring out your best move from the euro side. Production quality is above average and the wacky stuff you can do reminds me a lot of those great video game shooters. Mister B. delivered another strong game if you like various player powers  and don't mind a lot of player interaction. 

Now of for some sleep.

Good night y'all.







Did you like what you see? Would you want to see others on it? Do you have suggestions we should check out? We would love to hear your 2 cents below in the comments!



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Our top 6 Spiel 2017 games part 3, The expansions * Geek of the Week!!!

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Hi all! Welcome and have a fun read.






The last part of our pre-Essen games we want to check out continues...


We arrived at the expansions. The hotness from last year or even some older games getting injected with new life. It will bring new cards, new player possibilities or more new ways to experience the games. The publishers know we may like that right? So are they any good? Let's dig in and have a look at what's coming. (and yes...we continue our number joke )





But first...




This thing happened, I am "Geek of the Week" on Boardgamegeek. I never ever expected to make that list. Jenn, the boardgame librarian, nominated me for this awesome honor! Miss, you have made my year! I have no words for this but hopefully have some answers

If you have any questions, I will try to answer them, due to being at Essen that can be a difficult task, but I will do it as soon as possible! Hope to see you there.



City of Spies: Double Agent




Quote:
New spies arrive to town and with new abilities. Besides Estoril, players will also fight in Lisbon, where they will find new ways to create the best network of spies.

City of Spies: Double Agent will offer players:
the ability to add a fifth player.
7 new characters with a new nationality.
a fantastic new ability [double agent] who will allow new strategies.
2 new mission tiles.
2 new locations boards (Lisbon) with new special rules.


I like it when a base game can play more players when those game days give you that fifth player. Not many games can handle that. Be aware on this upgrade if you want to keep the more realistic time, the people may look familiar. Hint: Stronghold


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OMG: Escape to Canyon Brook 



Quote:
Oh My Goods!: Escape to Canyon Brook, an expansion for Oh My Goods!, consists of new chapters that continue the Longsdale in Revolt story.


So just a continuation of the latest expansion, but this little box euro game having a real evolving story, just sounds amazing. I agree with Rahdo this may be a fantastic new step for eurogames. Include a compelling story which players can dive in to and so deepen their experiences within a given game is such a clever step done by Alexander Pfister and Mayfair & Lookout Spiele.


Nations: Unrest




Quote:
Beware! Unrest may manifest itself in the worst possible situation. New benefits await the Nations that act quickly. Build the greatest Nation from your unique starting conditions!


Finally this wonderful civ dice chucker is getting its long do expansion. We love the big brother, but this more portable and faster playing game is another favorite around our house. New a syncronized nations, new green dice (unrest) and more bonus tiles will make this an even more compelling game.


Picture is coming from toniemn on boardgamegeek.


Wir sind das volk: 2+2 




Quote:
2+2 is a four-player expansion to the award-winning Wir sind das Volk! that broadens the original game to the global Cold War from 1945 to 1989. Players form two partnerships: the USA and West Germany versus the USSR and East Germany. However, there can be only ONE winner! This fact makes every decision a nail-biter: What is more important right now? Your side's interests or your own?


Very intrigued to get the base game, but also disliked such a game couldn't be played with more. Well, now you can! It does sound like quite the game now and you will need to balance your steps very well, to not burn your alliances, but also holding up your own changes of becoming victorious. Let's see what Histogames and Richard Sivel did with this classic and award-winning board game.

Cry Havoc: Aftermath




Quote:
Cry Havoc: Aftermath expands Cry Havoc with new skills and structures to add even more re-playability to the game. Each faction receives five new skills and three new structures, which nearly doubles the amount of unique abilities in the game.


One of the big hits of last years Essen, but also one which caused the most controversy on the way the games has its a synchronized mechanisms implemented. Let's see what these new skills and structures will bring to that ball game. One thing they add we think is a good option, the game lasting the full five rounds instead of ending all of a sudden due to someone rushing the game. Admitted, a little skeptical how this expansion will play out, but its Portal Games, so that's always something we want to see!

Flamme Rouge: Peloton




Quote:
Flamme Rouge: Peloton, the first expansion for Flamme Rouge, offers a chase group of four riders (pink and white rouleurs and sprinters) that allows the base game to be played with up to six players. All 5-6 player games are played with a breakaway tile and 1-3 supply zone tiles. These can also be added to your games at lower player counts.


Oh my, we so love this game! As a cyclist myself, this was straight into my wheelhouse, so of course when Asger  tweeted about these possible ways we were all over it. More players, more roads, refresh zones and cobblestones. Cannot wait to make my own version of the Flemish classic road races brought to us by Lautapelit and Stronghold.

Dokmus: Return of Erefel




Quote:
Dokmus: Return of Erefel adds new game boards to the Dokmus base game, brings seasons to the island, and introduces Erefel, a new guardian


Need to put it out first, still need to pick up the base game, but this abstract puzzle looks like so much fun. The people behind Heavycardboard solidified it on our wish list. Don't know much more about it, then what's given above by the publisher, but that does sound cool already!

Lorenzo il Magnifico: Houses of Renaissance 




Quote:
In Lorenzo il Magnifico: Houses of Renaissance, each player now becomes the head of a powerful house of Renaissance, each of which has a strong special ability that only that player can use. Players choose the houses from the ten available at the beginning of the game through a special and fast auction


The oddball for us on this list. We didn't like the base game that much, but still, this new addition to the game does sound awfully tempting to try. More players, more unique powers, new mechanism and the obvious more cards. So we will be paying Cranio Creations a visit at Essen to check out how this will change the game and maybe this will bring the base game higher on our ranks.

The box cover is a little odd too, dad is given his son a back rub or wants to strangle his offspring.....

Round House: 2nd expansion - Port City




We are fans of all most everything what EmperorS4 is bringing and this one isn't an exception on it. Missed the base game last year, did do a demo though and we really loved what we saw. Can't wait to score the base game and this extensive sounding expansion too.

4 New tiles:

Port city (move assistant to nearby town or score the small temple tile)
Bao-Chao Banknote Tile (switch money to honor points)
Amulets (Extra scoring tiles)
50/100 prestige point tiles.



So that's it for most of the games...but...now your thoughts!


What do you think? What are the expansions you are most looking forward too or ones we should check out at Spiel 2017? Or do you think expansions are not necessary? 

Let us know in the comments and we can have a gentle discussion on it :-)



Did you like what you see? Would you want to see others on it? Do you have suggestions we should check out? We would love to hear your 2 cents below in the comments!









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Which board games we think you should be demoing at Essen Spiel 2017 part 2 *

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Finding those even newer gems shining on the horizon

Visiting game fairs is one of the great ways to connect to publishers and see the current hotness, but what about the designers and their new upcoming games you will also find there? Let's have a look at some titles we will be trying to demo at Essen.






Feudum

Quote:
Blimey! You and your blokes have been banished and stripped of everything but a few shillings and table scraps. Undaunted, you journey to a strange land to reinvent yourself and reclaim your honor. Will you farm the earth, fight as knights or finagle your own feudums?


Booth 2-C148

This one, when we first saw the Kickstarter, just looked so distinctive. But was it any good? Could there be a heavy eurogame encapsulated in that whimsy looking game? But after watching the crazy good intro video to the game (those should be the standard for  Kickstarter games!), the gameplay really looked so intriguing. The timing of the project, running beside Lisboa, was the reason we didn't back it. But believe us, we will be looking forward to demoing this complex strategy game at the Odd Bird Game booth.




Living planet

Quote:
In Living Planet, each player portrays one major Galactic Corporation exploiting the distant planet MYC.14.250.
Each one of them much eager to industrialize the planet and generate as much profit as possible before the planet self-destruct.


Booth 7-C115 Lumberjacks Studio 

It was the art on the box that captured our eye. The bright white lights versus the muted grey mountains and just those few greenish colors on the explorer. Stunning. But then I saw the designer and it was the men behind Archipelago and 4 Gods Christophe Boelinger Gathering resources, trade them on the market to make money and deal with the troubles a distended planet randomly gives. Every turn the leader role will alternate, curious how that plays out in a competitive game.



Lords of Hellas
Quote:
Enter the Dark Ages of Greece, ruled by mighty Gods wielding advanced technology. Control asymmetric heroes and choose your path to victory, either by strategic control or adventure style monster hunting and quests.

Booth - 2-A116

Yes, we did back this on Kickstarter and yes on occasion we do love us a big miniatures game! Tied in with a twist on the Greek mythology and it is a game we are really looking forward to. Awaken Realms included a lot of different gameplay possibilities, like regular competitive or one versus many styles. With the different ways you can become victories and the asymmetric hero's you can play, this sounds like a lot of fun. A cocktail of a little Kemet, a taste of Blood Rage and if you want to go nuts some Cry Havoc. Cheers!



The Scarlet Pimpernel

Quote:
The year is 1793. France cowers under the Reign of Terror, and not even the innocent are safe from the Committee of Public Safety and their precious guillotine. In the midst of this turmoil, one man uses courage and cunning to fight the brutality: The Scarlet Pimpernel.


Booth 6-J112

We will admit this, we may be huge fans of Ian O'Toole and Eagle-Gryphon Games. But how can't you be? Look at the art, look at the production quality and look the latest run they did? The theme, well it just sounds so spiffy and we want to play as a clever hero trying to rescue people from their deads in a competitive fashion. The last confession, I did not know Brian Kelley, the designer, but his introduction on BGG was hilarious: "Brian Kelley works as a graphic designer and marketing specialist for an Internet company by day, and as a budding game designer at night. His first ambition was to become a Superhero. However, his only superpower was dropping toast butter-side-down. Not especially useful."



Ancient Aliens

Quote:
In the depths of space, millions of light years away from the Universal core, a habitable planet has been discovered. Orbiting a young sun and being ripe with resources it is immediately desirable for the High Races. Conquering its primitive inhabitants by force would be easy but the all-knowing, ever-present Overseers do not allow any acts of violence towards infantile races.


Booth 8-B111

A returning kickstart project somewhere around Essen time. The card-driven resource acquiring gameplay sounds like a lot of fun. You have 3 possible choices from the five hand cards and play those on the raised middle of the game board. Yes, it' raised and yes we like that too! It may be generic in theme, so want to see how it plays if it stands out from other space games, but we do like the look of it. Let's experience what Svavar Björgvinsson and Gamia Games will bring to the table.



Fallout

Quote:
Fallout is a post-nuclear adventure board game for one to four players. Based on the hit video game series by Bethesda Softworks, each Fallout scenario is inspired by a familiar story from the franchise. Survivors begin the game on the edge of an unexplored landscape, uncertain of what awaits them in this unfamiliar world. With just one objective to guide them from the very beginning, each player must explore the hidden map, fight ferocious enemies, and build the skills of their survivor as they attempt to complete challenging quests and balance feuding factions within the game.


Booth 6-A118



We loved the video game and the branches it created in the video game world. We may tell you someday what Counterstrike So we were delighted to see it coming to the table top. After seeing some of the GenCon previews it made us very pleased and looking forward to those wastelands. Coöp, dice chucking, you really can be eliminated from the game and tile exploration, yes we want to see this from Fantasy Flight Games

UPDATED: put in the wrong Fallout game which is also releasing.



Founders of Gloomhaven

Quote:
Founders of Gloomhaven is a competitive tile-placement, action-selection, city-building game in which each player controls a fantastical race working to build the city of Gloomhaven and gain influence over its residents. This is a standalone game set in the same universe as Gloomhaven. The events, however, take place hundreds of years before Gloomhaven and depict the original construction of the city.


Booth 7-J108

It's heavy, it's epic, it lays the path for it predecessor Gloomhaven and has some splashes of a "Splotter" game to it. Call us very interested and yes, this project we did back of course. But I cannot wait how the game is progressing and what Isaac has done to some of the features which still needed some tweaking. The fact that it is a game where you need your counterparts as much as trying to defeat them in the end, is so well done.



Tokyo Metro

Quote:
In Tokyo Metro, players take on the role of private investors looking to build up stations across Tokyo, speculate on train lines, and comprise a shared network to benefit multiple parties. The core of the game is built around worker placement, which opens up three possibilities: Walking and riding trains across the Metro map, Investment into train lines and build up your available actions


Booth 7-G107

It looks so sleek and so very minimalistic, but it sounds so very deep in what it may be in game play. Investing, route building, bidding and a lot of player interactions. All based on a real replication of the Tokyo area. Which, just like for example London, we really like playing such simulations. But this one really looks something Heavy Cardboard should be checking out and could suit out Dutch Heavy cardboard herd a lot.



Interkosmos (expansion)

Quote:
The China National Space Administration joins the competition to build the most developed space agency and claim fundamental space race achievements. In Space Race: The Card Game – Interkosmos, you can encounter Taikonauts (including Yang Liwei), launch Project 863, build Xichang Satellite Launch Center, or initiate the Heavenly Palace space program.


Booth 2-D146

We like the clever play the base game gives us. The way you activate your agency by the different lines is a nice puzzle to make. The iconography was a thing at first, but the team behind Boardcubator cleared that up very well. Another plus is the realistic use of the space race events and people who gave shape to that era of mankind. This may be mostly extra cards and a new agency to play, but more is sometimes just all you need.



So what do you think? Which games are on your list to demo at Spiel 2017? Did we miss some gems you can share with us?

We would love to hear your 2 cents below in the comments or on the blog!




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All Things You Need To Do Before you go to Essen Spiel 2017.

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Grab your markers & your pencils and slay this beast!




With the biggest board game convention of the year around the corner, everybody is eagerly making their battle plans to conquer those massive halls. This endeavor may seem daunting, and I agree it is nothing less than what it is, but with some effort upfront it gets a whole lot easier (and less stressful!) to overcome that massive crowds, be more efficient and enjoy your visit more.

 

 
So what are some tools and tips we can share?

Most of you will be looking for an oversight of what games that are releasing? Or maybe which games are on the hotness lists? And what do they cost? Are freebies & promo's offered? If pre-orders are available and so yes, where do I do them? And which publisher have which game available at Essen? At least those are some questions we ourselves are always on our mind the days before Essen.

But don't be scared, we've got your back and hope to give you some tools to beat all those burning desires. With a little effort and some awesome tools at your disposal,  you will get your answers most likely within a few

Games & Promo's






Brought to you by the Peter Hoffgaard Møller, which we had the pleasure to meet last year's Essen. He found a problem and gave us a tool to slam that problem shut.

What does the tool do?
It helps prioritize the games releasing and demoing at the big convention.

What can you do with the tool?
*Prioritize all the new games releasing (and demoing) at the convention
*Add notes to the games
*Filter and sort the list of games in numerous ways (player count, play time, price etc.)
*Print your prioritized list (either sorted by booth number or priority)
*Share the list with your friends
*View top games (based on all users priorities)





The Geek came with a likewise solution as Tabletop Together and gives you a lot of integration with their own board game Geek wish list and mind-boggling database of games they have going there.

What does the tool do?
It helps you also prioritize the games also releasing and demoing at the big convention and makes it integrate it with your wish lists priorities.

What can you do with the tool?
*Prioritize all the new games releasing (and demoing) at the convention but fewer categories
*Add notes to the games
*Filter and sort the list of games in numerous ways (thumbs, publisher, mechanisms, designer, etc.)
*Print your prioritized list (either sorted by booth number or priority)
*Share the list with your friends

Pre-orders


This one is tricky we think and very dependent on how bad you need a game and have bigger security you can grab the game. Sometimes you do get a better pre-order price and some extra goodies. On the above sites, there are links included to the publishers where you can make preorders. Or you can go to your favorite publishers and scan their websites. Subscribe to their newsletter and they will even bring that information down to your doorstep. Here's another nice geeklist where they bundled up some links for your convenience.

And don't forget, you also can pre-order the Messe tickets on the official website.

Promo's


So if you fancy those swanky extra's, this geeklist is an essential need to plot out where you will need to go to get those shiny things. Essen Spiel 2017 has a lot of specials, freebies, promos and other giveaways and those are all noted and can be included in your hall plans.

Logistics & Plans


And if nothing above fancy's your needs, or you just want to wing it, this one will be the one you will NEED. It's a little like a life hack. Think of it as Gandalf given Frodo the straight line to Mordor, Or Jon Snow who gets all the answers to the things he never knows or the solution to a maze beforehand.

The must-have Hall Plans including the publishers. Be in awe! But after the appreciation fades, fire up that printer and make some printouts (yes kids, don't do everything digital) so we can start marking your priority visits. In other words, include all your times, games and planned stuff here so you can create your own path.


See an example by the amazing Belgian gamer Eline Jansens from Table Top together.


Parking & Stay


So depending on where you are staying and how you arranged your transport, this can be a stress point too if you are sensitive to it. Last year we arrived on Friday morning and we had to wait in huge traffic jams. So try to pack your breakfast and be there early. Another tip is carpooling. If you have game friends around, ride together. There is a lot of parking space, but some areas maybe be a little walk from the Messe. Especially when you are hauling games, think about that part too. The public transport is quite well-arranged, but that can be very busy if you go the obvious hours. 

Staying, if you still need to arrange a Hotel now, well good luck with that. Maybe one of the surrounding villages is an option still, which isn't even a bad thing if you consider the costs. Staying in the centre of Essen or near the Messe has huge advantages, but also a high price. You do get a lot of gamers surrounding you, so finding after fair gaming is easy. Another great option is renting a condo with a larger group. So you have shared costs and there are a lot of gamers around. 


Other suggestions


So now for the latter part, you now know what you want, where the games & publishers are and you have a map where you can tie it all together.

Grab a pencil and a marker and start imagining how you will go through the halls and where you want to be for demo's, tournaments or where to pick up your pre-orders. Try to bundle those together on time and place where you are in which hall. Because you don't want to cross all those halls too many times and lose too much precious time.

If you really want to grab that possible last copy of Photosynthesisor Caledonia? Make sure you are on time and at the front soon. Like a funnel you will be led inside, so you will need to think where you are positioned in the crowd to maximize your advantage. But be considerate and give each other space.

So when going to battle you need food, right? Bring your own saves time and money or eat when others aren't eating. People have habits and lunchtime is one of them. You do have some delicious places to eat at the Galleria, but they can be very busy.

Picking up games is fun, hauling them not so much. So why not return them to the car? Or to the hotel? You have some fresh air, which is really nice after those stuffy halls, and you have time to relax for a moment or even grab a sandwich for some refueling.

Don't be that person.




FOMO it's a real thing, people. Google it. Especially within our own minds, this can trip you up. I can guarantee you if you want to do it all, that isn't going to happen. Essen is just too big, there is too much going on and even if you are going the full monty (so 4 days) it's not happening without being all stressed out. Keep in mind there always be that one game you didn't buy, which will be so cool. Or that you wanted to meet Vlaada, Uweor Ignacy, (bring him cookies though!) but you just keep missing them? Just focus on what does happen and enjoy that fully. Also if you see a good deal, which you think is great, decide then and there if you want to make it. Going back can be a hassle (where was that already?) or the deal is gone altogether.

Another thing I hope you all will keep in mind. Mind the people around you, connect with those people. Don't just be the stoic who slams those pathways and forgets to look up and ENJOY all those awesome people around you. Maybe even help others around you if you see them struggling with the grandeur Spiel can be. My first-day last year I was flabbergasted for all morning. I think I did walk around like a lost zombie...

No, all those big shoppers or crates people are dragging around, aren't all that convenient for busy pathways. But most people are very considered and if we all keep each other a little at bay, we all should be okay. A little hack, those Ikea bags are very handy for some game mulling but aren't very comfortable due to the short handle. If you cut off those on both sides on one side and tie them together, you can swing them across your back and keep the weight better distributed for longer. (tip from Hippe on bordspelmania)



Some parting words

These are just some of the possible thing you can do and we would love to hear your tips & tricks on tackling a massive event like this.

And lastly, and maybe this is not the most popular advice, do a reality check on the prices and availability with your (online) FLGS. As much as we love to bring all the games home from Essen, sometimes a little more restraint in impulse acquisitions may save you a few bucks (and a sore back) and get you the same game. Spreading the cash flow all over the board game industry is a good thing in our experiences and who doesn't like to save some money right?

But most of all, just enjoy the whole spectacle and being among like-minded human beings. Connect to them, have fun with them because the real value in all of this is the PEOPLE!







 
We would love to hear your 2 cents below in the comments or on the blog!




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