This is a 2-part guest post by Hilkman translated from the German articles originally published in December on his blog Du Bist Dran!
K&M Jogos just released Treta do Anzol by Mário Sérgio and Rodrigo Sampaio Rodriguez (the latter is mentioned here under the name of Rodrigo Zuzu). Loosely translated the title is "Fish hook pranks". In this crazy fishing tournament the members of a family argue about who has caught the best fish. Sadly you always seem to get other things, from monsters to mermaids and when there finally are fish there, you have to protect them from cats and envious relatives. For the others you're in the same category, of course, and so you constantly duke it out as hard as possible. Whoever has the most fish at the end of the game can win the competition. It has been illustrated by Douglas Duarte.
Since summer I have a prototype of the football simulation Bola na Rede (Ball in the net) lying around here, sadly only with portuguese rules, so I couldn't play it yet.
I was a bit taken by surprise by the Crowdfunding-Campaign for a completely redesigned version of the game by Yuri Piratello and André Coelho (illustrated by Rodrigo Satyro). Apparently it wasn't just like that for me, since so far the campaign has barely gotten any attention. This despite the fact that this version doesn't just include another game, called Footpoker, but as a sadly unusual stretch goal, it also includes a women's team. Something like that is scarce and a nice detail. A successful end to the current campaign seems doubtful, in light of the weak start, but maybe this game will be published in one way or another anyway. I at least will keep my fingers crossed.
One year ago in Essen I could already get to know an early prototype of Hegemonía: Sombras del Poder (Hegemony: Shadow of Power) (I had already reported on it quickly here). Now the game by Nico Valdivia Henning has been released. The publisher Niebla Games released computer games as well as board and card games, that mainly play in a shared universe, namely the world of Causa: Voices of the Dusk. In Hegemony you make alliances and take on challenges together. Each member of an alliance carries a hidden wager, which means the most successful alliance can profit. The art of bluffing and of course the skill in diplomacy are needed to be part of the right alliance at the right time. A whooping eight artists have been part of illustrating the game.
On 20. November 1910 Francisco Madero called for the Mexican revolution against the dictatorship of Porfírio Diaz. For the 108th anniversary the Kickstarter campaign for the new edition of Tierra y Libertad: The Mexican Revolution Game (Second Edition)(Earth and Freedom) by Saúl Sánchez was supposed to start (the predecessor was released in 2010 already). It didn't make it quite in time, but now the campaign is running. The players each lead a group of Mexican revolutionaries and try to topple the dictatorship, competitively or cooperatively, and establish a new constitution. The Kickstarter advertises connecting worker placement with direct conflict (making a kind of hybrid game). Now the Mexican revolution is not only 100 years, but also a whole continent away for most Germans, but maybe someone here has heard of guys like Emiliano Zapata, at least since 1994. If not, maybe the game offers a good opportunity to change that.
Junior Achievement is a nearly 100 year old organization, that aims to further entrepreneurship among youths. There are branches nearly everywhere, just like in Peru. At a competition of the organization, K’iraw una cia JA just won four categories with the game Wakkeball War, for the company of the year, the most innovative project, the best socially responsible project and the best production process. Now K’iraw will also compete internationally, first within the Americas. Behind it is a group of 27 students around the 16 year old Sathya Mariluz Garcia. In Wakkeball War four rival ball shaped characters are on their way to the legendary city Paititi. The game is played on a map of Peru and the actions are resolved through different kinds of cards. The game is supposed to further knowledge of Peru on the side, and you can download an app with questions in addition to the game. The author says that the game is intended to strengthen the national identity. Something that sounds a little weird from a German perspective isn't that unusual in Latin America, I've found a bunch of games with goals like this before (see above). Mostly it is about a theme that is connected to their own history in some fashion.
On 15th and 16th December 2018 RAGE (Roll a Game Expo) takes place in Mexican Guadalajara, a relatively large-scale project, which should become Mexico's first real game convention. To convince the publishers and authors to come, a Mexican game award has been brought to life, which is supposed to be handed out in different categories. A jury does the selection, but an audience award is also planned. I already had the opportunity to look at a model of the trophy in Essen, the Quetzalera (english: Quetzaladder). Its a word play consisting of Quetzalcoatl and escalera, in which Quetzalcoatl is a central American snake god and escalera means ladder – You might know “Snakes and Ladders”, the classic ladder game. So the snake snakes itself through a ladder.
To my great joy there will also be an award specifically for Mexican games, even more specifically for those that present themselves at the convention. It spans from advanced prototypes to already released stuff. Role playing games are also part of it. For me, as a blogger, this award is also awesome, because I suddenly find out about a ton of games that I haven't heard of before. It seems like there is a lot more to the Mexican gaming scene than I had previously assumed – Mexico is a little bit of a sleeping giant among the Latin American gaming nations. We'll see whether the convention gives this a boost. One can hope.
I already reported on War For Chicken Island by Ivan Escalante last time. The campaign has since been canceled and restarted, this time with a lower financing goal and much more success – it was a massive difference to the first go they had. I still find the miniatures fun. Tierra y Libertad by Saúl Sánchez is currently in Crowdfunding, as you may know, at the latest since last Week. Kanyimajo by Ramón López I have reported on here already. Who else is there?
For 2019 Geisha by Ana Coronado at Detestable Games has been announced. As expected it takes part in Kyoto and several different Geishas try to be the most successful. For that reason they work on their skills, like poetry, Ikebana, music and so on. It is executed in the form of a worker placement game, where you play mini games at the places you wish to do something. I might not be the most experienced worker placement player on earth, but I haven't come across a concept such as this before, and I often find mini games particularly appealing. The illustrations stem from Daniel Sotomayor.
Also with Detestable Games Meeplepalooza by Kina Jager and Santos Artigas is supposed to be released. In this drafting game you found a rock band and take part at a festival – where you of course want to be the band that everyone is talking about in the end. To get this done, you need musicians, instruments and good songs, that you need to write yourself, by filling in notes on sheets. Add to that a few nice solos and you'll be famous in no time. The illustrations are made by someone by the name of Nabs.
There is supposed to be a crowd funding campaign for Geisha as well as Meeplepalooza in 2019.
Bound takes place in the future. More specifically in the year 2048. All humans have access to a kind of successor to the internet. The player try to dominate this net as hackers and remove their enemies from it. One is Shade, a super hacker, and the most successful criminal. The others try to follow in his footsteps and can't shy away from anything to get to the top. Bound comes from a trio of authors, José Pablo Lara Robles, Erick I. García Rodriguez and Juan A. Velázquez Ovando. Art design wise E. Kazunari Shiraki Merida and Enrique Palos Reynoso are responsible.
Mentes Voladores is a party game by Luis Alfredo Cortés, which he designed together with Cristián Bredee. Every player has a plastic mind frog, or rather three of them. Each round you compete for a reward chip, then a task card is revealed. Reacting to that you flick the corresponding mind frog into the box – whoever does so first wins the chip, assuming that it was the right frog. Why frog? Well, those things kind of look like the frogs in the flicking games in my childhood. Mentes Voladores is supposed to be released in February 2019 under the label Lúdika y Artefactos.
Dark Maiden by Lis Luna is a cooperative card game for up to three people, in which you fight through four locations and gather items to finally face an evil end boss. Until then you should of course be strong enough. The illustrations come from six different artists and studios and Dark Maiden will be released by Sun Fairy Games.
Sajkab is the name of a World which various historical populations have been transported to by a mysterious maelstrom: Maya, Spartans and so forth. There continue having battles against each other that they're used to from home. That's the story that Omar Benitez tells us with his game Sajkab. It is a card driven board game, in which the players move their pieces through, partially, harsh terrain and try to get superiority in battles. Sajkab has been illustrated by Damiant.
My wild role playing time are long gone, and usually I don't write anything about role playing games on here, but I'll make an exception for Leyendas de Elden (Legends of Elden), since it also competes for the Quetzalera award. So far I know about Leyendas de Elden, that it is supposed to be a role playing game that is as accessible as possible, which also targets inexperienced role players or real newbies. Added to the simple rules there will be unusual character classes, and it takes place in a world that mixes fantasy and science fiction. Leyendas de Elden comes from Daniel Ortiz and will be released under the label OR15 Gamelab. This publisher also has another game in the race, a card game by Guillermo Esquivias, which will be unveiled at the expo. So we can be excited.
In Colorbugs by Israel Ramos the most famous artists of the garden, namely Vincent Van Bugh, Frida Kohlor, Pabug Picasso and Salvabug Dalí, want to finish their paintings. Each of them has their own goals, in the form of secondary colors behind a screen. To reach these goals, they have to mix the base colors that they find in the garden. The delightful illustrations come from Julieta Maldonado. The publisher is called Ludens Games and has released a diverse range of games in the one year of its existence, from abstract games, to educational games, to party games.
Chakkan is a deck building game for two players. Sadly I'm not that well-versed in this genre, but a push your luck mechanism was new for me: You place 8 of the cards from your deck in a face down pile and reveal two of them. If they match in color or number, you may reveal more – but if you reveal the wrong card, you need to place all of them back again. Or you stop and take the revealed cards onto your hand and can play them afterward. The game itself is a fighting game, in which you try to reduce your enemy to 0 points. The game, with illustrations, has been made by Juan José Cabrera Fernandez and has been released by Another Game.
I couldn't find any substantial information about three more games: Code 10: Chase the Alien by Jorge Velázquez Demon Hunters by Hugo Hernández (probably another role playing game) Party Booster by Alberto Sánchez
Hello everyone to our second game development diary for Heritage.
We have said before that the game will include 700 years of history. Today we want to talk about the ways history is portrayed in the game.
But before we get into the details of what that means, please read this important disclaimer about history in our game:
1. We are not historians and we make no claim to historical accuracy for our game. Our game has vampires in it. We are selecting bits and pieces of history to inject into the game and we are doing our best to make that fun and plausible but with the focus being on fun.
2. Because we have a limited budget and limited development time, we are currently working on a largely European setting. That doesn't mean we believe other areas of the world are less important or that we wouldn't want to include them in the future. But this is our starting point.
3. When it comes to the portrayal of women and minorities, we're trying to keep true to the setting without limiting the ability of our players to have fun the way they want to. Human and Vampiric history is large and unknowable enough to allow for any story you might want to tell and we will try to make our game reflect that. That being said, there are many ways in which history influences the game, from thematic names for abilities to our character illustrations and descriptions. We hope you will enjoy those when the time comes. But the main tools for us to inject historical flavor via gameplay are Missions and Battlegrounds. Both of these serve a purpose in any individual game but both of them are also tied into the mechanisms of the overarching campaign:
Missions and Mission Chains
(Note, as always: These are placeholders, not representative of the game):
At the start of every campaign game, you will take the 4 topmost Mission cards from the stack to set the stage for your current game.
Missions give you a way to earn additional Victory Points for the current game round if you gather the right group of characters. As such, their gameplay effect is clear-cut. However, there are a few more interesting aspects to missions:
Each mission comes with a tentative date on top. By virtue of these dates, each game will have a clearly identified timeframe during which it takes place (From the date of the earliest mission to the date of the latest mission). This timeframe is important because it tracks your group's progress through the timeline of the campaign, during which additional or changed material might be unlocked.
Thematically, most of the more than 100 missions in the game are based on an actual event in human history and many of them are grouped in "chains" of interconnected missions that might give benefits to any player who is able to fulfill all of them during the course of a campaign. For example, fullfilling the mission chain connected to the rise of the Ottoman Empire, will unlock cards connected with that region.
It will not be easy to collect these bonuses. What you can get depends on your position in each individual game. So depending on how you play the game, you might not see that many chains completed at all. While that does mean that we are making quite a bit of content that many players might not even see, we do feel that this adds to the excitement and to the replayability of the game.
One thing about Missions that changed since the days of the Essen Demo is that they now also come double-sided. Once you complete a mission, you will turn it to its backside and see how the mission was concluded as well as a list of effects to apply to the current game or the campaign.
In addition to the historic mission chains, there will be a number of other mission types in the campaign mission stack, all of them tying into the metagame in various ways (more on that later).
Players will be collecting all the mission outcomes and rewards they have achieved during the campaign in their personal player envelopes, building a timeline of sorts. Many of those will play into the conclusion of the campaign, giving meaning to the heritage that is built in that fashion.
Battlegrounds and Vampiric History
Battlegrounds represent the Vampiric side of history in our game. Each battleground consists of a game board that describes a certain challenge that most or all Vampires at any given time were involved in. These can take on all manner of different forms, ranging from power struggles between vampires, to external threats like the inqusition. Battlegrounds are the "game boards" of Heritage and one of the main ways to earn points in individual games.
There will be a total of 9 battlegrounds during the game with usually 3 in play at any given time.
Let's take a look at the battlegrounds in play for the Essen Demo and the first 100 years of gameplay, to illustrate some of the concepts involved. Please note that all of this is prototype artwork and gameplay and still subject to change!
The first and easiest battleground in the game is Of Clans High and Low: It's a very simple "Tug of War"-kind of struggle to introduce the basic concepts. Thematically, at the beginning of our timeline, clans are clearly divided between the high clans (Ventrue, Brujah, Toreador...) and the low clans (Nosferatu, Gangrel,..). Each vampire played will apply his preference to the appropriate side and in the end whichever side the balance has tipped to will provide bonus points to players who have vampires of that faction in their bloodline.
One battleground that is central to the game is "The Beast Within". It is a board on which you track your bloodline's struggle with the beast. Certain powerful actions in the game will lower your resistance to the beast on this board, reducing your points in this battleground.
Finally, the last basic battleground is the "War of the Princes", which represents the power struggle between different vampiric factions in late medieval europe. Depending on its location attribute, each Vampire will be able to take one action for the respective faction on this battleground, vying for control of different areas.
During the campaign most of the battlegrounds will be resolved and replaced. For example: On the High/Low Clan Battleground board, there will be a space to record which caste of clans won the struggle, for each individual game. After around 100 years (5-7 games) you'll check the scores there and unlock different stuff based on the outcome. Then you will replace this battleground with a new one (in this case "The Inquisition"), that will come with different mechanisms, challenges and rewards. Through battlegrounds, players will follow the flows of Vampiric history through the timeline of our game and by resolving and replacing the battlegrounds in different ways, they will -to some extent- be able to shape it as well.
Two Tracks of History
To sum it all up: In Heritage, we'll move through time and history on two tracks. Missions will allow players to immerse themselves in human history, unlock all kinds of different stuff and experience subplots as they are following the connected mission chains. The broader strokes of vampiric history are portrayed by the the battlegrounds and shaped by the players' handling of these. And both of these systems play into the campaign metagame - but we'll deal with that another time.
Importantly, both mission cards and battlegrounds are very modular. All rules pertaining to a battleground will be printed directly on the board. So when players want to play a custom game outside of the campaign (or after their campaign is finished), they will be able to just take the generic mission cards and a set of battlegrounds to their liking and start playing right away.
This is a 2-part guest post by Hilkman translated from the German articles originally published on his blog Du Bist Dran!
Back in normality – while I’m trying out the first new releases from the fair, a few news from Latin America have accumulated. Have fun reading.
I don’t think I’ve seen Dragqueens as a game theme so far. This has changed not too long ago, since at the moment there is a Crowdfunding-Campaign for Las Divas by Mariano Medina Gouguet (by self-publishing). According to the cover it isn’t about being a Dragqueen… but being the BEST. There are different Dragqueens with different goals, of which you draw one face down. One may want to have many cameras on her, another wants fame, another may want to talk the others down. There’s a small number of different cards with different functions that you draw and play. Whoever reaches his personal goal first wins. Las Divas has been illustrated by David Salamanca R.
Years ago Friedemann Friese got attention with a solo game called Freitag (Friday). Some years later, Super Noob Games are now releasing a solo game called Lunes(Monday). As you can guess, it doesn’t have anything to do with a lonesome island, but something completely different, the least favorite day of the week in the office. Here you try to leave the office, without your boss noticing. You move through variably built office buildings, finish some tasks on the way and hide from the boss. And sometimes you should fill up on coffee (also something you can know from Friedemann Friese, even if in a pretty different fashion). When you manage to get outside, you win. Lunes is made by Aibel Nassif and Julián Tunni, who also contributed to the illustration.
Back in June I already mentioned Corruptia by Cami Muñoz Villar and Feño Casals Caro with praise, of which I could play an advanced prototype at the game author meeting in Göttingen. In Chile the game is released this month through the publisher ZXG. In Corruptia the players take on the role of politician that want to become as powerful as possible. On some of the cards laid out at the beginning there are meeples, which are basically people, that have been involved in a project due to the politics surrounding it. The players play out cards onto the table in turns and try to pull meeples from the laid out ones onto the new cards. At the end the connected cards of one color are multiplied with the number of meeples on a group of cards and then you gain points for each card of the corresponding color you still hold in your hand. Sadly playing out the cards isn’t that simple. There are certain formal requirements, but also a vote in parliament about it. So you should be sure you have enough allies, or when that’s not the case, to be able to bribe or blackmail the other players. As in many negotiation games that you play for the first time, we were very reserved at the beginning of the game, since we couldn’t really understand the consequences of our actions yet. Going further the negotiations and agreements got louder and more interesting. A really nice game, the release of which I’m very happy about. It was already available at NiceGameShop in Essen (and there you can get it now as well).
Whoever is sad about the fact that many of the games are still very hard to get over here, may be happy about getting the opportunity again to make a game themselves via Print and Play. I’m talking about La Marca del Cthulhu. Its a sort of deduction game, in which you try to find out the identity of others (in the best case without going insane yourself). First you roll and then you may place tiles in the playing area, with which, if they fit, you may undertake actions. Each character has different goals (although everyone wants to survive). Some have the goal to gain knowledge, others work towards killing a specific other character. It has been published under the publisher name Nebrall Games.
In Excavatumbas by author and illustrator Juan Diego Leon the players dig for treasure at a graveyard, where they intend to sort worthless from valuable stuff. Of course they also have to take care, that the others don’t run off with the best things, so you also have to steal amongst each other and sabotage to your hearts content. But beware, there are also three ghosts at the graveyard. When the third appears he puts a stop to it all and you should have gotten as many treasures as possible until then. Excavatumbas has been released under the publisher name of Black Lion Games.
Criaturas y Cristales means – probably not that surprisingly – “Creatures and Crystals”, which might give a first premonition on what the game is about. It is a card based fantasy game by Martin Venturini, which can be played by 1-5 people either competitively or cooperatively. You play a character that you send through markets and temples during the game to gain abilities and equipment there, to prevail in a hostile world. This doesn’t just include the fight against evil monsters, but also the contest with other characters in a special arena, where you can prove that you’re better than the others. Criaturas y Cristales is published by 3D Fantasy in three differently priced versions, each illustrated by Emmanuel Bou and designed by Daiana Diaz.
These days MendoZen is releasing Pegó el Zonda: Ancestral by Munir Ots, illustrated by Fernando Carmona. In this game we set off into the history of the Cuyo region in West-Argentina to the Huarpe. Various tribes are competing to gain the favor of the gods, the worthiness to which they mainly demonstrate by controlling the Zonda wind. With the help of different play styles of the wind you attack the other players and deal damage to them, if they can’t protect themselves through other natural phenomena. The whole thing is done with cards and card combinations that you play until there is just one player left, who therefore has won thanks to divine favor.
A new edition of the 2015 title Los caminos de Alicia(The Paths of Alice) by Matias Esandi and Amelia Pereyra has just been published by Rewe Juegos, this time it’s not in a fancy box like the original, but includes an expansion. You lay down a labyrinth of hexagonal path tiles from a central spot. There will appear scenes from Alice in Wonderland in the labyrinth here and there, which have certain effects on the game. Each player follows a different goal on the way through the labyrinth. Since this is, it feels like, the one hundredth game with the theme Alice in Wonderland, that I’ve encountered (I’d be surprised if there were more games for a different literary source), I capitulated and just ordered the book. I guess I’ll indeed have to read it in order to join in on the discussion.
Finally I have two more short news from Argentina.
Tinkuy releases an expansion to the game Contame, on which I have reported here in the past. The expansion is called Contame Inicio and includes new cards for the storytelling game. On the 24th and 25th November the event Innovando el Juego takes place in Buenos Aires, which I will participate in, in a certain sense, as well, sadly only virtually: On Saturday at 18:30 German time I’ll be interviewed live via Skype. The whole thing will be released afterward on Youtube as well, apparently, but at the moment I just find it awesome to be able to be near such an event at least a bit. I’m very excited about it, although I’m not certain yet what awaits me there.
Roberto Tostes has won the first prize at a prototype competition by Diversao Offline in 2017 with Sobrevivência na Amazônia (Surviving in the Amazon). Now he has started a Crowdfunding-Campaign for his game to get it published. The players have dropped themselves off in the Amazon region via parachute to explore little known territories. They now have to fight through the rough terrain until they reach the extraction point. There are dangers lurking, but also the possibility to gain extra points by photographing animals that are threatened by extinction. To survive, the brave explorers have to get food and water and they need to build camps to sleep in, every four rounds, because of the darkness of night time. Sobrevivência na Amazônia has been illustrated by Manoela Boianovsky and Orly Wanders and is intended to be released by self-publishing.
I wrote about Wagner Gerlach and the Clube do Tabuleiro de Campinas here once already. Equilíbrio escaped my attention then, which seems to have been made in spring. It is again a game which can be made by yourself with supposed disposable stuff, meaning you don’t need to buy it (and also can’t). A hexagonal game area is placed with bottle caps on which further (partially stickered) bottle caps are stacked. You move through this area with your meeple and try to gather five different elements (Water, Earth, Fire, Metal and Wood), which you can exchange against a Yin-Yang-Symbol afterward. When gathering the playing area gains holes, which make movement harder; when you exchange a symbol though, you can place down the five elements again to acquire new tactical options. Whoever has exchange three Yin-Yang symbols first, wins the game.
And in September I reported on Meeple Heist, with the assumption that the publication by Papaya Editora was just around the corner. Yesterday I now found out that Papaya Editora are closing down completely. All the rights to the games have been sold to Ludens Spirit an apparently bigger publisher. What they will do with all the rights, I don’t know, but at least the release of Meeple Heist should be secured. Currently it is set for January 2019. We will see.
In miniature games on Kickstarter I usually also shrug when a ton of people longingly count the days to release, because there are sooo many cool miniatures included. For me, all of these classic fantasy miniatures kind of always look the same. Absolutely not belonging into that category is War For Chicken Island, which currently has a lot of effort on Kickstarter to reach its funding goal. Even though the miniatures this time around really look quite cool. They are chickens that fight for limited resources on an island that is way too small. Despite their exaggerated weaponry they are less concerned with clubbing in the others skulls, but rather to high five them, because that gains you points you need to win. Leads to the same thing, but without someone dropping out of the game. War for Chicken Island comes from Ivan Escalante, who also illustrated it. The publisher is called Draco Games and I thought the Kickstarter video was pretty cute sometimes. Currently it looks like there is a relaunch, even though the final decision (as of yesterday) has not been reached yet.
Could you quickly introduce yourself, for the people out there that may not know you already?
Okay. I’m Saigo, a translator living in Kagoshima in the southern part of Japan, and I play board games mostly with my two kids. I’ve translated and proofread the rules of some Japanese board games into English. I’m a member of a translation team led by Jon Power, who’s helping people register Japanese doujin (indie) and other Asian board games onto BoardGameGeek. I’m also a member of Japon Brand‘s annual translation team. Recently, I’ve translated some reports on Game Market by Japanese board game websites, namely Table Games in The World (TGiW) and Nicobodo, and uploaded them as BGG News articles. These translated articles appear shortly after each Game Market, thanks to the generous support of these websites’ administrators and BGG News editor W. Eric Martin. And I have a Twitter account from which I tweet about Japanese board games regularly, sometimes sporadically, on weekdays.
We’re very interested in board game cultures around the world. How would you describe the scene in Japan?
Playing a variety of modern board games is still a hobby for a small population, but there are many people in that group who promote the hobby in many directions, and the population is steadily growing. It’d be nice if the board game culture can be widespread in Japan like in your country Germany.
The Tokyo Game Market is developing a reputation for the high volume and ‘quirky’ style of games published. Why do you think the independent tabletop scene is flourishing in Japan?
With regard to the games produced in Japan, I’m really not the right one to comment on it since I haven’t produced any games, but I’ll try my best. Most of the board games currently designed and produced in Japan are doujin games, whereby the designers directly sell their games at Game Market and other shows, as well as through board game stores. Like the culture of Comic Market (Comiket) on which the style of Game Market is based, one is regarded a game designer the moment they’ve produced a game and presented it at Game Market or elsewhere, regardless of the game’s commercial quality or even playability, and regardless of the number of copies produced or sold. I think this openness has motivated many people to design games freely, some of which may turn out to be “quirky”.
As an insider of the Japanese indie board game scene you have seen many different games. What are some of the more unique concepts or mechanics you’ve witnessed?
I’m afraid I don’t have the sufficient overall knowledge to tell which games are more unique. So, instead, I’d like to recommend you to check out the doujin games released over the years. I see many people coming all the way from overseas to the Game Market in search of good games, but the games brought to the latest Game Market are only the tip of the iceberg. To be more specific, most doujin game designers produce games as their hobby with their pocket money. To keep producing new games, they can’t take the risk of producing many copies that might not be sold out within a certain period. In other words, they don’t have rooms to stock so many copies of their games. Thus, many doujin games, even good and popular ones, are produced in small number of copies without ever being reissued. Under these circumstances, it’s highly recommended to dig into the past and look for the games that have been released and played over the years.
As an example of such an act, Encyclopaedist, which was initially released in 2006 by Josee Design, was reissued by 数寄ゲームズ (Suki Games) at Tokyo Game Market 2018 Spring. This game was long rumored as an “addictive” game that one should try out by many notable board gamers. I bought it this spring and it’s quickly become my go-to 3-player game. (For information about Encyclopaedist, see here)
Another one of my go-to game from the recent past is Painter Detective, which was released in 2015. I’ve played it with people of various ages and nationalities, both gamers and non-gamers, on various occasions, on bar tables and on picnic sheets, and it’s constantly fascinated the people who played them that they requested to play it over and over. I keep hearing many people recommending this game, but then again, it hasn’t been reissued (though it was reimplemented by Painter Detective Girl in 2016.)I recently saw a tweet by its game designer hinting that its sequel might come out, so I’d recommend you to check it out.
As a good source of information on such doujin games, Jon Power has listed the many hundreds of doujin games he’s helped people register onto BGG. And, in this age of advanced machine translation, I’d recommend you also to check up doujin game overviews and reviews on major Japanese board game websites, such as Table Games in the World (TGiW), Fuuka’s Board Game Diary, and Nicobodo. Especially, on Fuuka’s Board Game Diary, the writer reports about the many doujin games she’s played shortly after each Game Market.
You also work as an interpreter on the Tokyo Game Market for overseas publishers. How has the interest of overseas publishers developed over the years?
More and more people, including publishers, are coming to visit the Game Market from overseas. Regarding the publisher I’m accompanying at the Game Market, they say that they’d like to establish a good relationship with doujin game designers over the years and they keep visiting the show constantly with an interest. I respect their careful and thoughtful action and am looking forward to seeing their visits bearing fruit by and by.
Could you give a sneak peek of what you are working on right now? Which Japanese games can we soon expect to play with English rules?
As a translator, I don’t refer to the information about these games before their designers do, sorry. Instead, I’d like to refer to your great service to keep doujin games at your store with English rules, along with your inquiries asking about the availability of English rules to the designers of the doujin games that have caught your attention, because I think it’s wonderful. As mentioned, many doujin game designers produce and release their games as a hobby in their free time with their pocket money. They normally can’t spare extra time and money for translation and localization. However, the interest expressed by overseas gamers may motivate the designers to take an extra effort to make their games available also to non-Japanese gamers. It’s a mutual thing. Thank you for the interview, and see you at the next Game Market!
This is a guest post by Hilkman translated from originally two seperate articles on his blog Du bist dran!
The author collective Maldón is known for often designing their games rather spectacularly, which it releases under its publisher of the same name. So, I always instantly perk up my ears when there's something new from Maldón. That's why it nearly surprises me that I missed the release of El Camarero this summer – I really got to hand this in now. In this game, every player has a set of cards and loudly creates an order of a five-course menu. In the middle of the table you then have eight cards lying around, and you take turns being a waiter and either have to assign cards to customers, who ordered the corresponding thing, or you have to carry stuff back into the kitchen that nobody wants. However, there's also a bell and whoever notices an error slams it incessantly, so that the waiter gets a complaint-chip. In the end you get points for fulfilling your own order (if it has been delivered back to the kitchen you should have complained) and point deductions for unfilled orders and complaint-chips. Sounds like an atmospheric party game. You can find a video with the instructions here.
I'm not entirely certain how dangerous a Pogo-hug can be. If I want to find out some day, I should probably play Nació Popular by Leandro Bortolussi and Julieta Vega, that has been released by La Jugandéra Magica. This two-player game is about snatching jewels, which you can do by playing cards. The cards that have been played are then compared according to a rock-paper-scissors system. Whoever has the most points at the end wins. Additionally, there are there further game modes. What does this have to do with a Pogo-hug? Well, the player that gathers the most jewels may throw a hug-die, that determines a type of hug. The Pogo-hug is just one of the possible variants. I've also never seen something like that before.
From 11. to 15. October the SOFA, “Salon del Ocio y la Fantasia” (along the lines of: “Salon of Leisure and Fantasy”), will take place in Bogotá. There's music, video games, cosplay and pretty much everything else you can imagine in a huge area. More than 200.000 people were there last year! Of course, that also means that board game publishers are there in numbers and there are a bunch of new releases to report on (probably in the next article as well).
Asedio: el juego de cartas means “siege” in English and is a card game by Manuel Jacobo Monroy, who also illustrated it (link to his illustrator page). The players brawl for the vacant imperial throne of the empire of Draboria. To do so, they first build themselves a small power base in the shape of houses, then villages, then towns, hire mercenaries and send them off to attack the others (in which case they of course shouldn't neglect the defense of their own settlement). Since the cards simultaneously represent money, you always have to think about whether you need them for your plans or better use them to finance those mercenaries. The player who does this most successfully and reaches a certain number of points wins the game. Asedio has been released in self-publishing.
The publisher Ludo BrandTeller has a new release with Medieval Magic Market by Christhian Bedoya, a card game, in which different fantasy-figures go to a market and try to get a hold of items that are as valuable as possible... and then also keep them, since the other people are interested in them as well. The various characters have different abilities, of course, and you can easily lose the things you gained again. Additionally, you don't know exactly when the market closes, so you always have to try to stay on top. The illustrations are also done by Christhian Bedoya. By the way, the publisher name does not have anything to do with burning dishes (Brand is fire in German and Teller means plate), rather it is the English brand and teller that is referred to.
As an adolescent I went to the football stadium from time to time – it was less expensive than the movies and easy to get entertainment. Nowadays modern football has arrived... with all its commercial overhang. I haven't watched the Bundesliga live in ten years and since there are no more free radio broadcasts anymore, I don't even properly follow it anymore. It appears to me, that it's the same with some games. In my youth I played Blood Bowl here and there, but then there were 27 different editions and a massive overhang – it feels foreign to me. Yet still I have pleasant memories of how I painted my team of dwarves back then and played a few hot matches. So, I can understand pretty well that it has its allure. So I want to call some attention to Kings of the Pitch, a Kickstarter-campaign by Juan Montaño from Mexico, in which you have the possibility to buy a set of referees for fantasy football. It’s a niche-product indeed, but the financing goal is modest and I feel like it is interesting that miniatures don't have to come from China (I had reported on a different miniature workshop here [German; he's talking about this]). Maybe someone may find this of interest.
Due to the massive amount of work I've put into the preview article on Essen, my research about Latin American games has come up a bit short. Though there are a bunch of things I did find, and if I missed something, I'll try to hand it in in November.
There's a new Kickstarter-Project from Mexico called Weapon Wars, which has reached its financing goal already, but will still be up for a while. In Weapon Wars cosplayers fight with iconic weapons, from spoons to pillows to nerf guns to I don't know what. You always attack the person to your left and hope that she can't fend it off and you gain a pixelated heart from her. Whoever gathers three hearts first wins the game. Of course there are a lot of special cards, with which to manipulate the whole procedure. I found the video for the campaign to be quite funny. Maybe you're interested in looking into it. The author is called Carlos David Perez Tovar, the publisher is Lodus Games and the illustrations stem from Rodrigo Gil.
In September I already reported on the publisher Guerras Gato Games. Their new game is called Kanyimajo and comes, like the others from this publisher, from Ramón López. The evil witch Robacolores (who steals the colors) has imprisoned the Kanyitos. Kanyitos are little energy balls (whoever wishes to get a better picture of it should take a look here). Now there are only three days remaining to rescue them, otherwise the world will stay colorless forever. Luckily the players have gotten wind of the witches' cat, that could transform the Kanyitos into Kanyikats. To win, you have to rescue as many of the poor creatures as possible, without meeting the evil witch twice. The illustrations are made by Shengolia again.
There's also something new from Uruguay once more. There's supposed to be a gold treasure in the woods around a small village, which means you should go and have a look around there. Sadly the treasure is guarded by a Werewolf, and a Werewolf sorta isn't really harmless. Where I got that from? From the game Matching Adventures: The Werewolf's Treasure by Federico Franco, which has been published by Arnár Estudios (with illustrations by Rodrigo Linares and Pablo Luthar). The game is memory based: You have to find pairs of cards within the laid out cards. If you find one, you may keep one of them as an action card and use it later (for example, those are weapons with which to defend yourself) – with the goal, to find six gold coins before the Werewolf eats you.
The basic structure of the game is very simple: Each turn, players choose a character card to join their bloodline. This character is his own personality and will act accordingly on all battlegrounds currently in play. The character may then be used to take an intrigue action if the player desires. At the end of the game they will automatically be counted for any mission cards that fit its type.
We'll discuss more topics, including battlegrounds, missions and intrigue cards later. This time we want to focus on the characters:
All character cards come with 2 sides, human and vampire.
The human side portrays the characters as they were in life. There's all kinds of different characters, beggars and kings, hardened mercenaries and grieving children. For gameplay purposes humans don't have any special skills, so the only way they affect the game is via their personal combination of attributes (more below). In the first game, almost all characters will be human.
However: after every game players have the opportunity to Embrace one of the humans in their current bloodline - or to endow an existing vampire with additional traits.
Once a character is Embraced, it is turned around to reveal its vampiric side. That side shows a fully colored portrait of the character in their vampiric form, as well as one trait inherent to them. Players will add the appropriate clan sticker and name the character and then return it to the common pool of cards.
Embracing characters like this will not (usually) make them exclusively available to you. They might just as easily end up on another player's hand in the next round. As this is the main legacy element of the game, it means that you will remain on (mostly) equal footing with players for the purposes of playing individual game rounds.
So it is no problem for a player to skip a few games of a campaign and return later. They might have lost some ground in the meta-game of the campaign - but their chance of winning the current game are the same as everyone elses.
Here's an early rendition of what character progression might look like (Note that the artwork and layout is alpha-stage):
(From human side to vampire side to first sticker added)
The little quill in the top left indicates the character to be a scholar-type. The three flags on the side of the card that get expanded as the character is developed signal the character's basic inclinations and dispositions via Attribute Colors. Beyond portrait and name, these are what gives each character card their own personality.
Character Types and Personalities
The four types of characters in Heritage are indicated by one of these symbols: Sword, Quill, Mask and Coin. As you might imagine, Sword indicates a warlike profession, Quill is for the scholarly types. Coin is for merchants and rich people while the Masks are more on the shady side. Generally you will need a certain combination of character types in your bloodline in order to complete one of the historic missions in the game (more on that in another post).
As for Attribute Colors, they are the main way that characters interact with the world and they are what fleshes out an individual character for the purpose of the game.
These are the different categories:
Politics/Attitude: Red points to nobility, arrogance, elitism or refinement while Green signifies things like low birth, humility or egalitarian tendencies.
Ethics/Spiritual: Blue signals humanism, wisdom, benevolence or even passivity or meekness. Yellow might mean the character is cruel or evil - or it could stand for passion, force of character or creative destruction.
Origin/Geographical: The characters are roughly divided geographically and culturally by the four cardinal directions, as signified by black (North), brown (East), white(South) and turquoise(West).
Attribute Colors are a way for us to introduce role-playing elements into the game without making the game overly complicated to read and play. They are thematically kept vague in order to give players room to define their favourite characters in the way they desire.
But it's important to note that Attribute Colors have an absolutely unambiguous effect in gameplay. So if -for example- your character has the green attribute color, it might mean he is an uneducated peasant or it might mean he is a noble striving for a more equal society. But it will always shift power slightly towards the Low Clans if the corresponding battleground is in play.
And since characters always apply all their colors to all battlegrounds in play and their character type always counts for missions, the main consideration for players when choosing them is to weigh those different consequences against each other.
I might, for example, really want to play Elias, my trusted noble knight in order to crush low clan opposition in the Battle of the Vampire Castes, but maybe his choleric personality will hurt my clan so badly that it is not worth it? Oh well... I desperately need warriors for my mission. Good old Elias will do the job!
That kind of situation is typical for Heritage and for us it is one of the reasons we enjoy the game so much: When considering the advantages and disadvantages of characters for your bloodline, the line between theme and mechanics starts to blur.
From Essen SPIEL... As of this writing we have only 3 weeks until the biggest board game fair in the world, Essen SPIEL, open it's doors to the public. Also as of this writing the BGG preview list by Eric Martin for that event has more than 1000 games on it and new titles are still added daily and there are many more games releasing at Essen which will never have a listing as publishers don't know about the list or don't care.
Like for many other publishers Essen SPIEL is the most important fair of the year for the Nice Game team. We can present and sell our games to a gigantic audience and since 'everyone' is there we arrange meetings for game submissions and distribution (Note: If you want to pitch a game idea to us or if your are interested in distributing one of our games please get in touch).
This year we are presenting 3 new games at our booth at 4-E103. We are selling Das Geheimnis der Tempel, which is the German version for Mystery of the Temples, a compact strategy game with a innovative crystal grid mechanic. Furthermore we are demoing two titles:
In Dragon Canyon players competing in reigning over the canyon by battling the opponents and racing to to claim the different buildings in this gorgeously illustrated and quick playing game.
Vampire: The Masquerade – Heritage puts the player into the role of an ancient vampire building a bloodline through the centuries. In this quick-playing legacy card game players will experience a 700 year campaign, unlocking new challenges, characters, and rewards along the way. This game you can also play at Paradox booth 5-A104.
Apart from showing our own games Essen SPIEL is equally important for acquiring new games for our Nice Game Shop. Since we are based close to Essen we can easily get new titles for our shop directly from the many publishers which are present.
But which games to choose? Obviously we are looking for obscure games published outside Europe or North America. But this is a broad term, the BGG preview list alone has over 120 titles which fit that criteria. Let me show you some of the games that piqued our interest.
Eco-Links by our partners at Korea Boardgames is a frenetic tile laying game with great theme: restoring natural habitats of various animals and help them reconnect with their families. In the game you are making paths connecting all the animal markers as fast as possible, first player to do so takes the 1st token and flips the sand timer, now all other players have little time to finish. Depending on speed and if you build all paths correctly you score points.
In this East Asian themed game we play as anthromorphic bears trying to reign the lands by placing strategically steles on the board, thus securing items and dragon seals. Steles can only be placed adjacent to other steles, but have to have another color than neighboring steles. Then you pay steles equal to the steles surrounding you to the supply and take the item from the spot you build your stele. If you manage to get 3 copies of the same item you get to draw one dragon seal card which can change the rules for you if played. The game ends when a player collects all the 4 different items 2 times (or 3x in a 2-player game), thus filling the player board. Theme and illustrations are top notch here and it is one of those games that is easy enough to play with casual gamers or with kids, but gives some tough decisions for the most hardcore gamer, too.
In カゲロウ (Mayfly), the players are nature deities working together to help a single male mayfly from larval stages to adult The game is seperated in two parts. First we feed the grub so that it grows into a big and healthy fly. Then, as a fly it has to overcome several obstacles like frogs and birds to find it's partner. There are several different endings and the stories at the end of a game are just heart-melting.
Scientia is a game I have played three years ago as a rough prototype and I enjoyed my play of it a lot. The card turning mechanism felt very fresh at the time and the theme is great. Now it has been illustrated by the magnificient Vincent Dutrait and got a lot more development so I am very excited to try it out. The game is sadly not for sale at Essen but you can test it at the Korean Pavilion.
Mizo Games has to be one of the publishers pushing the boundaries of board game theming the most these days. Last year they presented at Essen Raid on Taihoku, a coop game about the people living in the city during the bombings in WW2. Then they followed up with Run Animals, Run! in which they players take the roles of animals native to Taiwan in their struggle for survival against all odds and the urbanization of the island.
Now they are bringing Dare To Love to Essen, which was crowdfunded very successfully in Taiwan earlier this year. Dare To Love is as far as I know the first game called LGBTQ friendly on the box. In this one vs. many game one player assumes the role of Asomrof who tries to stop or kill the lovers of the people he imprisoned. The other players acting as those lovers trying to stop Asomrof and free their friends.
The presentation is absolutely spectacular with a cardboard dicetower, transparent plastic standees and great artwork all around.
Eye My Favorite Things is actually an older game now coming back in a new edition and seems to bring some innovation in the trick taking genre. Quoting from Board Game Geek:
Each player asks some topic of the next player, such as favorite movies, cartoons, animals, etc., and that neighboring player writes down their top five favorites on cards in sleeves. Behind these answers are hidden cards numbered from 1 to 5 and one non-favorite on a card numbered 0. These six cards are now your hand for playing tricks.
You don't know what card answer corresponds to what rank number, so you have to guess the next player's preferences and tendencies, and play one card based on your judgement of their tastes. Once cards are played to the trick, the hidden numbers are shown. Your neighbor's preference rank is the card's strength. Card 5 is highest, 0 is lowest, but if 5 and 0 appear in the same trick, 0 wins.
In short, understanding your neighbor is the key to winning the game.
Strange Vending Machine is flying a bit under the radar which is a shame because it is a game that many people will enjoy. Essentially it is a push-your-luck set-collection game in which you take cards you can only see one half of it and add them to your collection. According to the symbols you have gathered (which are on both halves) at the end of the game you will score points.
Now, the cool part is that the game comes with little cardboard vending machines in which you put little cardboard coins and then you get to draw a card. If you want you could also take all coins out of one vending machine (ideally the one with the most coins in it, as they are points) but beware of the false coins with which you can pay for the card drawing, but which are minus points at the end of the game.
Last but not least I would like to give a shoutout to APIBGI, the Indonesian association for board games which will have a big booth at Essen this year. They will bring a total of 24 games of which 12 are for sale. Some of them we could also try like Acaraki: The Java Herbalist and The Festivals, and now we are very curious to see what new games are brought to the fair. Hilko wrote a nice overview article about the games which are for sale, which you can read here.
As already discussed in previous edition of the Global Boardgame News Iranian publisher Houpaa will be bringing Dej, the Persian edition of the classic Citadels, to Essen SPIEL.
This game will be exclusively available at our booth 4-E103 and if you want to make sure that you get a copy you can fill in the reservation form we have created. On Friday and Saturday at 1 PM there will be Bruno Faidutti at our booth to sign the game.
While Essen SPIEL is still on the horizon and we are still busy finishing up everything we want to show there, we already started the preparations for Tokyo Game Market, which will be taking place November 24-25 at Tokyo Big Sight.
Many publishers already announced their games on Twitter and we went ahead and created a Preview list here on BGG with all the new important releases.
We will go into full TGM mode after Essen but already it is easy to say that especially the new Yokohama Duel by OKAZU Brand will get a lot of attention. Also, there is a new Studio GG release called Mystery Homes and a new game by Ayatsurare Ningyoukan called Jumble Order which we are looking forward to. On the more quirky end of the spectrum there is Masala Magic which is a cross between Poker and Incense smelling (a la The Perfumer). The components just look insane especially considering the price of just 4000 yen. Then there is Mech Maker by Protocraft, which is a crossover of mech dueling game and modeling kit.
Definitely a lot to look forward to at the next Game Market. And that's it for this edition of Global Boardgame News.
If you are in Essen make sure to visit us at 4-E103. We will bring the whole Nice Game Shop. If you don't come to Essen and like the look of the games here, then don't worry as we will have all of them in the www.nicegameshop.com after Essen.
This is a guest post by Hilkman translated from the German article originally published on his blog Du Bist Dran!
This weekend (editor's note: September 22+23) the Diversão Offline in Rio de Janeiro is about to take place, an event that is sometimes called the "Brazilian Essen". With about 5000 visitors on each of the two days it of course isn't comparable in size, but it is definitely one of the biggest board game events in Latin America. Many publishers showcase their more or less new games there. While I announced some things in the last weeks here already, there is still a lot more to go. Sadly some of the publishers only announce their new games on site.
At least I have found this:
It doesn't seem as if you could announce a merger in a more charming fashion... the new publisher Diceberry Editora of Iaggo Piffero, who just prepared to launch his first micro game, was taken over, before doing so, by Potato Cat (who we talked about here already). That's something you don't see every day. Diceberry will continue as a separate studio, though, and will likely be responsible for micro games at first. It begins with three releases:
Jetpack Lhama sounds gloriously quirky. The paths on which the Lamas transport goods have been destroyed by natural disasters and now they need to think of something new. What would be more appropriate than jet packs? So they strap them on their backs and get going. On the way they sadly have to get through city ruins and take care not to hit old stone pillars and, this is very important, not to get hit with a curse, which can happen easily once in a while. It sounds like it is right up my alley. Jetpack Lhama is a micro game, in which the racing track is put together with cards.
Magic Flow doesn't seem to be a lot less absurd to me. Here the players take the role of magical rappers, who have to fight monsters with their rhymes. Each monster has a certain verse length and the card back determines a specific way of death. You have to find fitting rhymes very quickly, so that the other magical rappers don't get it first. It sounds rather bizarre to me and apparently it's even language independent. I'd like to take a closer look at this as well.
The big Sudoku wave is possibly over already again, but sometimes you still see someone fill squares with numbers at a bus stop. If that's not interactive enough for you, you might want to try Sudokiller. A detective and a serial killer circle around each other here in 1880s London. The killer owns one of the numbers, while another belongs to his next victim. The detective then has to find out which of the numbers these are, before the Sudoku has been completely solved.
All three games have been developed and illustrated by Iaggo Piffero. And when I take a look at these unusual descriptions, I'm not surprised by Potato Cats interest.
Mine has definitely been sparked, and I'll see that I can get my hands on them soon.
Vitor Cafaggi is a Brazilian comic artist, who seems to be relatively popular. At least that's what I inferred after the game he illustrated, Valente – O amor em jogo („Valente – The love in the game) had been swarm-financed within three quarters of an hour.
Valente is a dog, who is split in two between two women (a cat and a panda lady). The players are now trying to get Valente onto their side by releasing comics. Those consist of three cards each (pictures), and once a strip is finished, he becomes a part of the overall story and influences Valente's decisions. Valente is a comic character made by Cafaggi, that has existed for a while already and hasn't been created specifically for this game. The author of the game is Renato Simões and the game will be released by Geeks N‘ Orcs.
Cat aficionado Ramón López releases his games through his own publishing house called Guerras Gato Games and most of them revolve around cats. His first game, Guerras Gato („Cat wars“), was first published in 2016 and is now being released in the second edition. What it's about is hardly hard to guess: Leaders of cats send their subordinates at their enemies – and you only have nine lives. When you're defeated for the ninth time, you leave the game and the last living cat wins. It has been illustrated by an artist that can be found under the name Shengolia. Shengolia has also illustrated another one of López‘ games, namely Miaurcenarios. It is a bit hard to translate it, this time around – mercenarios means mercenaries and miau means miau. Here the cats are ninjas and have to beat, among others, evil rats. The illustrators of Bakenoko: Soul Reaper, which is the third game in the series, come from a comic event called Draw Break. This is the only game of the three, in which the cat pictures aren't the focus. Whoever is capable of speaking Spanish and wants to take a look at the games, you can find short explanation videos here. For October there's already the next cat game announced. I'll report on it then.
Years ago I got the assignment to develop a game on the subject of "fair trade in communal procurement policy" together with Reinhold Wittig. This was quite a challenge, but in the end we kind of managed to put something reasonable together, even on such an un-sexy sounding subject. Working supposedly boring subjects into games is something that occurred to others as well, for example the team of Anevi, with their new release “En Busca del TeISOro Perdido”. The title actually means “the search for the hidden treasure”, but there's the word ISO woven into the word treasure. Why? Well, because the game is about the ISO-45001-standard, that describes requirements for worker protection management. It has been published together with Ludo Prevención.
This is a guest post by Hilkman translated from the German article originally published on his blog Du Bist Dran!
Since a few years the presence of Asian publishers at the convention in Essen is growing. The Korean Pavilion has been well established by now, Japon Brand is a veritable legend already (I reported on it here [link in German]) and Taiwan Boardgame Design (TBD) has also blown up in recent years. A ton of smaller publishers gather at the three booths, who probably wouldn't be able to sustain a presence in Essen otherwise. At least Japon Brand and TBD each have their own central preordering system and are helping the smaller publishers with public awareness (apparently its similar with the Korean booth, but I'm honestly not that familiar with them (editor's note: no unfortunately not)). Off and on one of those publishers gets big enough to become independent, figuratively speaking, as is the case with, for example, EmperorS4 from Taiwan, who will be having their own booth this year. So it seems that the collective booths as a steppingstone for further presence on the European market have paid off.
This year, there's another country that wishes to tread this path, and it is Indonesia. The procedure there was partially comparable to the other Asian countries, it does include some new characteristics though. 2014 was apparently the first time that an Indonesian publisher was present in Essen, and it downright led to a boom, a country wide number of events, where about 300 authors participated and finally released four games, published by one of the biggest media companies in Indonesia. Other submitted games also found publishers, or the authors published them themselves.
Last year another small Indonesian booth was there, all the way in the back of Hall 8. I was able to play a prototype there which constituted one of the highlights of the convention for me, and so I tried to find out again and again whether it had been published or not (so far it hasn't). The two publishers that were present there sent a report to the Indonesian creative economy agency (BEKRAF) and founded the Indonesian board game union (APIBGI). The BEKRAF has now financed a massive booth for APIBGI, an impressive 66 square meters in Hall 3.
There was a kind of submission contest for it, in which 46 games took part. Of those, 24 were chosen that will now be presented in Essen in multiple variants. 12 games have already been released, you'll also be able to buy those in Essen. The other 12 are finished prototypes, that can be played and whose authors are also hoping for contacts to publishers abroad. 8 games will be spotlighted specifically, those are basically the main winners of the selection process, those are four published games and four unpublished ones.
I quickly want to introduce the games that are already available for purchase here. Given the amount of what is being offered I'll be brief – in the end you guys need to have something to discover for yourself as well.
In Acaraki: The Java Herbalist the players are in a competition to find out who can deal with herbs the best. They gather herbs and try to heal the sick village population with them. When a village is completely healed, the person that was able to heal the most people will become the chief herb person. Acaraki was made by Erwin Skripsiadi and has been published by Hompimpa Games (€20)
Aquatico is the only one on offer that I've already had a chance to play. Its about building an ecosystem consisting of various types of environments. You try to play more of the different types than the others to gain points. Sadly environmental pollution sometimes gets in the way – a leaking oil barrel and the whole landscape is counted as a zero. You'll have to decide on a case to case basis, whether you play new cards or first try to repair the damages. Aquatico isn't strictly speaking my kind of game, but it looks fantastic with the spectacular graphics by Rezza Rainaldy. The author is called Brendan Satria and the publisher is Manikmaya Games. (€24)
The Art of Batik comes from Adithya W. Purnama and has also been published by Hompimpa Games. The players assist the owner of a Batik workshop in her work and, of course, try to stand out. The Batik work is apparently done by multiple people together and you're given points based on your contribution. (€22)
A student of mine once had a sadly wise answer to the question of when someone is poor: “You're poor, if you have less than the neighbors.” In reverse, you might also be rich if you have more than the people around you. This is tested in Bluffing Billionaires by Darwin, Desyanto Lie, and Nata Chen (in self-publishing). The players are billionaires and want to show, that they're the richest among the rich. To do so, they play one of their starting cards face down and try to guess who has played smaller cards than them. Whoever wins such a challenge gains a random card from the loser. Whoever is the richest in the end, wins. (€20)
The Festivals by Isa R. Akbar has also been published by Manikmaya. The players try to take part in several festivals on the different Indonesian isles. The one who reaches a certain festival first gains experience points, that are needed to win the game later on. It comes with fancy traveler meeples. (€24)
Flipeek: Medieval is a Memory-based game, in which you have to find objects to complete missions. In the solo variant, you have to fulfill as many missions as possible in five minutes (which is always a nice length for a game for me – even though I'm not really a solo player). The whole thing takes place with the background of a dispute between the Dragon King and the Human King. Flipeek: Medieval is made by Lovita Darwin and Febndy Kwik and is published by Coralis Entertainment. (€20)
Math Cat is a small card game, in which you want to adopt cute cats. But first you'll need to gain their trust, and to do so you'll need to do math. The cats have numbers and you have to make a calculation with the displayed cards, which has to result in the number of the cat. The player who adopted the most cats in the end wins. Math Cat comes from Senno Adi and Ergiena Tria Siani; it has been released by Hompimpa Games. (€10)
Oktet is apparently a weird party game for 3 to 9 people. I couldn't find out more so far – except, that it was made by Elbert Santosa and Sammael Candra Setiawan and is published by Morfosic Studios. (€10)
In Orang Rimba: The Forest Keeperthe players have to protect the jungle from destruction through unscrupulous over-exploitation. Sadly I don't know much more than that about the game. It was developed by Anggreini Pratiwi and Alvian CB. It has been published by Hompimpa Games. (€46)
You don't have to have studied Indonesian to see an interaction between the title Roket Raket and the words Rocket and Racket – in fact, it is about badminton rackets. Roket Raket is indeed a Badminton-Simulation. We'll have to see how big the market for something like it is. The game comes in a small card game box, guess it makes sense to give it a try then. It stems from Dio Al Sabah Akbar Zain, Kamal Ikmal, Ara Kurniawan and Brendan Satria and has been published by Manikmaya Games. (€10)
Senggal-senggol Gang Damai by Erwin Skripsiadi is a cooperative games, in which the peaceful coexistence of the various people in a street has to be secured. If there are problems anywhere, the players have to rush over to solve them. In the best case it works, in the worst case they make everything even worse and the problems escalate. Like Acaraki by the same author, the game has been released by Hompimpa Games. (€32)
Stockastic: Stock Trading Game comes from the same team as Flipeek: Medieval and it is about the stock market. The players try to trade as successfully as possible on the market, but also want to make life difficult for the others. In advanced mode there are characters that come into play who try to influence the stock market with different abilities. (€30)
Alright, now you guys already have a first overview about what's in store for you. Don't forget, another whole 12 games will be presented, which you just can't buy yet. There will surely be something exciting to find there – among other things they are about food, coffee, carnival and the travels of Ibn Battuta. At any rate, I'm hoping that there are gems hidden among the Indonesian games the same way that there are among the Japanese, Korean and Taiwanese games that can be found in Essen.
Note: I kind of just asked what the logo of the APIBGI represents. The answer was way more extensive than I expected, so I don't want to keep it from you:
If you look closer to APIBGI’s logo it looks as if 4 people (indicated by those circles) holding hands and at the top lit/holding fire. API in Indonesian means fire, those 4 people holding hands represent the usual sight of people playing board game together in a table. The torch sized / relatively small fire (compared with the people in the logo) indicates warmth since we’re trying to bring the best thing in play culture to Indonesian people, especially to its families, through the board game. The position of fire looks like it’s being used like a torch to light the way, it indicates we’re trying to go nowhere but up, we are committed to grow the industry to always looking forward the great things and do good things especially to the industry itself. API, the fire, is the tools, the vehicle, the way to get to somewhere as it is shortened from Asosiasi Pegiat Industri which is translated as the association itself. BGI in the otherhand is the people, the passenger, the object being carried by the API, it is shortened from Board Game Indonesia (quite self explanatory)).
This is a guest post by Hilkman translated from the German article originally published on his blog Du Bist Dran!
Apparently political games are popular in Argentina as well, as can be seen by the example of Ballotage by Diego Barderi and Francisco Rossetto. In Ballotage, the players put together a list for four candidates of their party. Then they throw their ballot into an urn. With a specific number of votes, one candidate of a list ranks up on the game board. This doesn't however mean that whoever leads the corresponding party gains any points. Rather it depends on the secret goals you have – so you don't necessarily always want to push for your own people. Furthermore you can always only cast your vote for a list, never for a person, which could require some serious tactics to make the right people get to the top. A nice gimmick is the actual voting via an urn, which is very stylish for a political game. Ballotage has been illustrated by Guillermo Taylor (TAY). If you've got some knowledge of spanish you can look at a video here (which you should be able to understand to a degree even with less than perfect understanding of Spanish. The game itself is language independent.)
Most Germans probably have no clear notion of rugby (although I have to exclude myself from that: I was lucky enough to have once experienced the semifinal and final of the german collegiate finals in rugby sevens, that was definitely impressive). In Argentina, however, its a bit of a different case, since Argentina has a very strong rugby national team that once made it up to rank 3 of the world rankings and still today represents a true challenge for teams from the traditional rugby strongholds. So it shouldn't be that surprising that there are also games about rugby from there.
Tercer Tiempo is a rugby deck-building game. The cards either represent abilities, with which to try and get ahead on the field. Other cards are tactics cards, with which to either combine ability cards to more complex plays, or interfere with the enemy team. The game comes from Ariel Mennucci and has been released by 2 Creativos. It has been illustrated by Matias Iribarren.
Meeple Heist by Thiago Bonaventura and Emivaldo Sousa seems to be an unusual game. The players lead a specialised gang that wants to rob a Casino. To that end, there are 16 meeples in four colours walking around in the Casino (meaning on the game map). Then you try to get them to the best positions. For each specialist there is a position to get the most money. Sadly there are two problems with this. First off, every player has a stack of cards that decides which meeple colour represents which person – the meeples that represent my safecracker could be the muscle for someone else. Now this would be a wonderful occasion to bluff, but therein lies the second problem: For each person in my team I have to play an escape plan card, in order not to leave empty handed in the end. While the others still may not know who makes up my team, during gameplay it becomes clearer and clearer who is a part of it. The more information is available on the board, the more accurately the others can interfere with my plans. This is one I'd really like to play some day. Last year there was a crowdfunding project for Meeple Heist, now the release by Papaya Editora is imminent. The illustrations have been made by Matheus Astolfo.
In Animal Warriors humans are locked in battle with animals. I'm not sure if I understood everything correctly (understanding videos in Spanish is still hard for me), but I'll try to describe it like this:
The cards represent figures that are part of different clans. They have attack and defense values, but can also support each other. The goal is to break through the enemy lines and rob your opponent of all of his hitpoints. There's a kind of game board, on which cards, but also bonus chips, are laid out, which can upgrade your own cards. The whole thing is shipped as a core box and there are several extra card decks that can be bought separately. Animal Warriors is made by Jhon Edicson Cárdenas Hernández.
Already released in spring, but having gone slightly under my radar, is Kontiki’s Adventure by Roberto Ballón and Cristina Frisancho (who also did the graphic design). The game is about the adventures of Tikis, little ghosts from old Peru, in a labyrinth of hidden cards. The players have to find altars and their fitting sacrifices, and whoever reaches the exit in the colour of the altar that has been activated last wins the game.
Of course there are spells and traps as per usual in a proper labyrinth, and the ghosts are trying to use this to their advantage (or to the disadvantage of the others). Kontiki's Adventure is intended to get the Peruvian audience closer to pre-Columbian history, but also to the modern world of board games. The publisher is called KON Juegos.
Chess is called Ajedrez in Spanish. And three means tres. When a game is released that is called Ajetrez, you can already imagine that it is a variant of chess for three players, and that is exactly right. But Ajetrez is apparently not really the official name of this venezuelan game, because it is actually called Los Tres Reinos (The three Kingdoms).
It amounts to the same thing though. The leaders of three kingdoms meet on a round game board. The goal is, of course, to become the ruler of all three. Partially the rules of chess are utilized, but there are 57 instead of the expected 48 figures and negotiations also play a part here. Additionally, there is quite a bit of background story to explore. Los Tres Reinos was developed by José V. Morillo I. and is published by the author.