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The Gen Con 2018 Preview Is Now Live!

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Let's cut to the chase: With the 2018 Origins Game Fair in the books, BGG's Gen Con 2018 Preview is now live for your perusal. I've sent requests for information to about 240 publishers, and I've heard from sixty to date, with some of those publishers being add-ons based on things I've seen on Twitter, Facebook, or elsewhere.

The Gen Con 2018 Preview is launching with an even two hundred titles to start, and the preview for Gen Con 2017 ended up with 573 titles on it, so we have a ways to go in the six weeks that remain before thousands of people converge on Indianapolis, Indiana to check out everything being shown, sold, and shipped home.

I have several titles in hand to preview ahead of their debut (or more widespread release) at Gen Con 2018, and I look forward to introducing you to those games and many more before August 2 arrives!
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Tue Jun 19, 2018 3:49 am
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Game Previews from the May 2018 Tokyo Game Market III: From Batavia, Cinderella Magic, BABEL, HIKTORUNE, Bravado, and BOOK MAKERS

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Time for the final batch of overview videos that BGG recorded during day one of Tokyo Game Market in May 2018, starting with BABEL from designer Masakazu Takizawa and publisher Koguma Koubou.

This game combines two familiar concepts — building and hidden roles — with some fanatics wanting to bring about the collapse of the tower of Babel before the builders can make it reach the eighth level. The tricky part of the game comes not only from those hidden traitors, but from walls that come in five heights, which makes it tough to keep the floors level. Fanatics can't knock over the building on their own or else they lose, so if that incompetent builder a fanatic, or are they doing the best they could with what they have?





• While BABEL is an older title out in a new edition, Koguma Koubou's HIKTORUNE was new at this show and garnering a lot of attention for its unusual dexterity element, specifically the way that you have to grab cards from a vertical display without knocking anything over. You can grab as many cards as you want, but if anything falls, then you lose a life and everyone else in this co-op game will get mad at you. Don't grab many cards, though, and you won't be able to do anything — and since you can carry over only a few cards at the end of your turn, you better hope for a Goldilocks grab that keeps you on the path of finishing quests so that you can conquer the dragon in the end.





Kenichi Tanabe has been publishing his designs for more than a decade, and for Game Market he had two new co-designed games from COLON ARC, with From Batavia (co-designed with Toryo Hojo) being a very Euro-sounding card game of hand management and special power exploitation.

Your goal in the game is to be the first to launch three full ships. Each player has a hand of goods, and each turn players simultaneously reveal a card from their hand that they want to load onto their current ship. To pay for the good, they pay cards from their hand, but these cards go their left-hand neighbor, which means that everything you do fuels them — but you can't make progress without giving them something to do. Or perhaps you can since each good played has a special effect, with the strength of many effects being based on the number of such goods already on the ship. Thus, the design seems to have lots going on in a tight game space.





• The other new Tanabe/COLON ARC title, co-designed with Peke, is Cinderella Magic, with 3-7 players trying to figure out whether Cinderella has everything she needs to go to the ball. Players take turns playing cards either face down (to keep info hidden) or face up (to use the special power of the card played). When someone decides to go to the ball, everyone else votes on whether she can make it or not, then those who guessed correctly receive glass slipper reward cards. Once all of those cards run out, the prince hands over the final slipper to whoever has the matching one, then players tally their points.





Tojiru Tateyama's Bravado from ALL DICE presents players with a one vs. all situation — but you won't know who the one is until you've finished the first half of the game.

Everyone represents an adventurer setting off the fight an evil spirit, but you need to be equipped with a helmet, armor, and a weapon of some sort, and these are divvied out one at a time from the deck. Who wants this? You? Okay, you're done in the helmet category. Now who wants this whisk? Once everything is dealt out, you each reveal a secret card and use the value on it along with the value of your equipment to determine who has been swayed by the spirit to fight for them.

The player characters have special abilities on them, in addition to a melee or ranged speciality, giving you a reason to argue for specific cards during the set-up round — and not just because you want to be on a particular side of the battle, although you could be thinking ahead to that as well.





• The game BOOK MAKERS from Kengo Ōtsuka, which he self-published under the brand name Ōtsuka seisaku, is based on a fake weekly manga series, and in the game the characters from this manga participate in a tiered tournament to see who's the most powerful one of all. You and the other players care who wins not because you represent these characters, but because you're placing bets on who will win each bout, which is conducted in a quasi-RPS way.

Totally off topic, but I found Ōtsuka's voice entrancing in a movie star kind of way.





• We have another two dozen game overviews to post, but the editing crew is already in Dallas to prepare for BGG.Spring this coming weekend, so those videos will start popping up on BGG's YouTube channel the week of May 28.

Many thanks to Ken Shoda, Simon Lundström, and Sam Don'trecallhislastname for the huge translation assistance they provided because otherwise the designers and I would mostly have been staring at another and pantomiming and not getting much accomplished in the way of demonstrating games. We couldn't have done it without them!
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Wed May 23, 2018 1:00 pm
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Game Previews from the May 2018 Tokyo Game Market II: Let's Make a Bus Route, Mini Wild, Bug Hunting, Mayfly, and Salmon Run

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Saashi is the designer of several stylish games from Japanese publisher Saashi & Saashi, including the well-received solo game Coffee Roaster, so when we found out that S&S would have a new release at Tokyo Game Market in May 2018, we knew that we wanted to film an overview if possible.

Let's Make a Bus Route is a relatively large entry in the somewhat new category of flip-and-write games, these being an offshoot of roll-and-write games because players are presented with the result of a flipped card (instead of rolled dice) and must then do something with it. Having cards in such a game typically gives you better control since you know that certain actions or results are coming at some point in the game; you just need to hope that you put yourself in the right position to take advantage of them when they come.

The gist of this game is that everyone is creating their own bus route in the same town, and you want to create stops that serve lots of passengers and take riders by scenic attractions while avoiding traffic in town caused by all of the other buses that are trying to do the same thing as you!





• Designer Kyu Takai of the doujin group I Cannot Live By Myself has published three games, with players trying to reunite a mother and daughter beluga whale in 2018's Beluga (for which we'll have a video later), trying to ensure that they can blossom and spread seeds as a dandelion on a lone island in the tile-laying game Dandelion from 2017, and trying to keep a male mayfly alive so that it can mate with a female in 2016's Mayfly, which is the subject of this video.

One of the things I like best about titles at Game Market is that often someone sees something that they want to make into a game, then they do it. Boom! Commerciality is not an issue for many GM designers; they just have something that they want to put out into the world, so they do it, and I find those types of projects far more interesting to talk about and present than the 22nd iteration of someone taking over for a dying king. Can't you at last having a dying lion, and players need to see who will lead the pride? Or the senior class president is graduating and now all of the juniors are fighting to lead the student body? Or maybe the secondary colors stage a coup against the primary colors for rainbow supremacy in A Who's Who of #2 Hues?





• Strangely enough, we have seen several games about salmon making an effort to return to their home grounds to spawn, so Blachoco from the doujin group Kogumayan might not be treading on virgin ground with the small card game Sakenobori (a name that translates as "salmon run" and a name that I had previously used as the main title of the game), but the design features three other hallmarks of Game Market releases: (1) minimal components in a tiny package, (2) a game that is often about bluffing and reading people's intentions, and (3) specialist components that you'd never see in a mainstream production, in this case tiny origami-style boats that hold the salmon roe that players try to collect.





• Game Market isn't only about Japanese games since several designers and publishers from Korean and Taiwan make the trip to Tokyo for each show, such as Tom Kim from Piece Craft, who showed off the "Go Fish"-style game Bug Hunting attempt to deduce which cards players might have in their hands from the colors visible on the back of them so that they can call out the bugs they want to complete their own collections.





• Kim also showed off the Piece Craft title Mini Wild, which debuted at the December 2017 Game Market. This game has you drafting multiple cards at once so that you can assemble plants, herbivores, and carnivores into an ecosystem that will net you points in the end.

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Tue May 22, 2018 4:40 am
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Game Previews from the May 2018 Tokyo Game Market I: Passtally, Coffee House, Savannah Smile, Moneybags, Zogen, and Desktop HEBOCON Battle Kit

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• I attended Tokyo Game Market for the fifth time in May 2018, and for this outing we stepped up our coverage to record dozens of gameplay overview videos during the two days of the event, so much so that we missed seeing much of the convention while it was happening. Yay, and boo!

Even with us recording for ten hours, Lincoln and I covered only a tiny fraction of the new games being shown at Game Market, but ideally we have a nice sampling of what was at the show, starting with this overview of Masaki Suga's passtally from the doujin group analog lunchbox. This tile-laying game for 2-3 players fits nicely into the category of games like Metro or Tsuro in that you're trying to create the longest path possible because your score each turn is based on the tally of the tiles you pass through, with the height of a tile also being a scoring factor. What's more, you can move your scoring targets around the perimeter of the playing area, which means that opponents have a harder time cutting off your scoring since you can move to fresh ground.





• Suga also presented a second title from analog lunchbox: Coffee House, which challenges 3-4 players to scope out information on important news in the hangout spots of 17th century London so that they can increase their reputation as newspaper publishers.

I'll mention that we have both of these titles coming for purchase to the BGG store, but we have only 25 passtally and 10 Coffee House because that is literally all the copies that analog lunchbox still had in reserve. Lots of non-JP game publishers who visited Game Market were swarming over both titles, so perhaps you'll see new editions of these games down the road in any case.





• Doujin publisher Bodogeimu (the Romaji version of "board game") has already had one breakout hit from Game Market, with French publisher Cocktail Games picking up their Concept-like party game Imagine in 2015, then licensing the game to multiple publishers around the world and having it be nominated for the As d'Or (the French game of the year award) in 2017.

Now Bodogeimu has released Savannah Smile from designer Fuji, a 2-5 player design in which you attempt to anticipate how animals will move around the playing area and where you should set up your camera at which time so that you can take pictures of them — and during the game, you literally take pictures of the animals, such as the one showing on the video thumbnail that I took during our demo. The giraffe is just barely visible in the background, so more points for me!

I know that some folks don't like players using phones during tabletop games, but this idea is an inventive integration of the phone into the gameplay, plus you now have souvenirs after playing to show off to others and share on social media. I can't imagine this game not being picked up by certain media-hungry publishers...





• I've mentioned "doujin" publishers in this post, and that word — which in Japanese is written 同人, and which is sometimes written as "dōjin" — represents a group of people with a common interest. My understanding is that many self-published manga are referred to as coming from doujin publishers, that is, one or more people who love manga and decided to start creating manga themselves as well. The doujin term has also been adopted for those game designers who create and publish their works on a fan basis. I'm not sure what the guideline is for when a self-publisher is considered "doujin" or not, but I imagine if you're creating and publishing games as a full-time career, then you're no longer doujin.

Which brings us to Oink Games, which apparently made the leap from doujin to professional publisher several years ago. Oink Games had the first SPIEL-style booth at Game Market that I saw, and the publisher maintains a consistent look to their games that wows fans and makes their releases instantly recognizable. Oink has been releasing a new title at each Game Market, and this show saw the debut of Moneybags from designers Jun Sasaki and Yoshiteru Shinohara, a game that challenges you to tip the scales in your favor and somewhat literally so given the metal coins that you'll fight over in this game.





• The appearance of Moneybags in Tokyo was something of a surprise as at the Osaka Game Market just one month earlier, Oink Games had released Zogen, a real-time game by Christoph Cantzler and Anja Wrede that challenges you to rid yourself of microorganisms, whether by playing them legitimately onto a shared discard stack or by cheating your way to victory under the lazy eyes of your opponents. Perhaps we should now get in the habit of anticipating a new game from Oink at every show, although I'm not sure that principle will hold true at Gen Con 2018 in August — or will it?





• Designer Roy Nambu of Pen & Dice made a special trip to Game Market to show off Desktop HEBOCON Battle Kit, which actually debuted at the December 2017 show.

The gameplay is kind of a head-spinning combination of Patchwork and RoboRally in that players first draft polyomino pieces from a circular display, then assemble those pieces into a square grid, with that grid representing your robot for the "robot wars" game to come. You want to draft pieces that have turns and other actions that will benefit you during the war to come, but you also must fit all of those pieces into your grid, and the direction that you place a movement arrow in your grid will be the direction that you can move your robot in the future, so you need to take care!

Once everyone has finished building, you then enter the arena portion of the game, with everyone trying to keep their robot alive as long as possible while pushing others out of the ring and damaging them.

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Fri May 18, 2018 6:04 pm
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Episode #9 of The BoardGameGeek Show — Coverage of the Tokyo Game Market; First Impressions from Eric M. Lang

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Scott, Lincoln and I are back with a new episode of The BoardGameGeek Show, and I'm somewhat amazed that this episode is here.

Lincoln flew back from Tokyo on Wednesday, May 9 following his visit to Game Market, and we shot this episode later that same day, after which he edited everything together, while adding in a short video overview of Game Market, a tour of the Yellow Submarine game store in the Shinjuku area of Tokyo, and our interview with designer Eric M. Lang, who was making his first trip to Game Market on behalf of CMON Limited to check out what was new at the show. How Lincoln didn't just collapse due to jet lag I can't say. (I made the same trip with Lincoln, but I returned home on Monday, so I spent just four nights in Tokyo, which was a short enough time that I never adjusted to that time zone.)

In any case, we talk about our impressions of Game Market, speculate on what will be nominated for the Spiel des Jahres award (with nominations coming on May 14, 2018), talk about plans for the 2018 Origins Game Fair, and rap about what we've been playing. Show notes are included below.




00:35 BGG News
00:45 Origins 2018 Preview Launched
01:51 Tokyo Game Market 2018 Impressions
10:45 What Have You Been Playing?
10:56 HEXplore It: The Valley of the Dead King - Kat Kimoundri, Nathan Loos, Jonathan Mariucci - Mariucci J. Designs, LLC
14:00 The Mind (Again!) - Wolfgang Warsch - Nürnberger-Spielkarten-Verlag
14:11 Diceland - Andreas Spies, Reinhard Staupe - Nürnberger-Spielkarten-Verlag
15:49 Merchants - Reiner Knizia - Pegasus Spiele, New Games Order
17:59 Yavalax - Ken Shoda - nestorgames
18:55 Laplace - Margalith Akavya - Tablegame Communication Lab
21:04 Passtally - Masaki Suga - analog lunchbox
22:23 More on Games from Tokyo Game Market 2018
22:27 Zombie Crisis - Kuro - Manifest Destiny available at BGG Con Spring
23:10 Catain - Crap Games
24:05 Here Comes the Dog - Naotaka Shimamoto - itten games
26:15 Z-Man Games aquires the rights to Love Letter
31:45 Spiel de Jahres Nominations coming Monday May 14th, 2018
32:34 SdJK Nominee speculation
37:04 SdJ Chairman Tom Felber's "Top 10 Unmistakeable Signs Your Are No Longer Part of the Game of the Year Audience"
42:30 Episode goodbyes
43:10 Tokyo Game Market 2018 Highlights
44:17 Eric M. Lang Interview
50:29 Yellow Submarine store visit
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Fri May 11, 2018 3:31 pm
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Tokyo Game Market • May 2018: A Short Report

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I'll keep this short because time is precious at the moment: Lincoln Damerst and I have completed one day of filming at Tokyo Game Market, with seventeen video overviews recorded in a window of about four hours. Look at our fancy set-up at the show:




The funny thing is that when you watch the videos themselves, you'll notice only two or three speakers in front of the BGG backdrop as usual. Video magic! Let me thank Ken Shoda, on the left in the image above, for being incredibly helpful as always, both due to his translation on camera and off and to him knowing dozens of people at Game Market and connecting us with many folks along the way. We have more than enough people scheduled to fill our second day at the show, and I wish that we had more time at TGM, but alas, we don't.

The event differs a bit from earlier shows I've attended in that the con has a concentration of larger booths in one area, with those exhibitors staying in place for both days of the show. Some of the smaller individual "doujin" publishers who take the meter-wide or double-meter-wide tables will appear at TGM on Sunday as well as Saturday, often with a different booth number, but more than a hundred exhibitors will be new for this second day, giving you a reason to go back because you could not have seen them on Saturday even if you wanted to. The two-day show is an interesting way for Game Market to expand, while still staying the same size.

One of those larger booths is from BakaFire Party, which debuted a new expansion for BakaFire's Sakura Arms, which is hugely popular here among some players. The booth had music playing, the artist TOKIAME signing posters and drawing images, demo tables on the side, a large space on the other side of this booth for a tournament area, and a line of interested buyers that wrapped around the entire structure.




It's amazing to see this much activity for a game that in the U.S. has generated (from my perspective) little excitement or talk, but as a couple of U.S. publishers have pointed out to me, what generates a buzz among U.S. gamers tends to differ a lot from what gets JP gamers excited. The line for Sakura Arms might have been beaten by the one for Blade Rondo from Domina Games, a title that I hadn't even heard of prior to showing up here. Domina has released several games with both JP and EN rules in the past, but this title had a lot of text, so English rules don't exist right now, so it might be tough to find out more right now until JP fans start talking about the game — assuming it has fans in the long run. It's hard to know what will happen following TGM because often you get only a taste of something, and FOMO makes you say, what the heck, I'll buy it because after the con ends, you're possibly out of luck.

HIKTORUNE from Takizawa Masakazu of こぐま工房 (Koguma Koubou) has also created a buzz, and we recorded an overview of the game so that you can see it in action later.

The gist of this cooperative game is to collect items and complete quests so that you can defeat a dragon before you run out of lives, but its hook is how you acquire cards. To begin the game, you stand the cards on edge on a piece of felt, with the cards spread out so that they're supported vertically against one another in a leaning pyramid of sorts or something that looks like a suspension bridge. On a turn, you can grab as many cards as you like, whether from either end or from somewhere in the middle, but the card stack can't fall over or else you lose a life (after which you shuffle discarded cards with the deck to form a new "deck").




If you don't lose a life, you then use those cards to complete quests, connecting elements with a guardian that can use them and having other special items as well. As you complete quests, you gain rewards fur use in future levels. You can keep only a limited number of elements each turn, so grabbing too many cards might hurt more than help if you have to just throw them away.

I can see this card-grabbing system being adopted for many other game designs because it creates a lot of excitement during play.

Okay, time to prep for another trip to Tokyo Big Sight and another full day of booth-hopping in which your eyes are always bigger than your wallet...



Coffee House from analog lunchbox was another buzz-getter, a very Euro-sounding game from Masaki Suga, seen in the center above
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Sat May 5, 2018 10:46 pm
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Game Previews from the 2018 GAMA Trade Show: Starship Samurai, Robotech: Attack on the SDF-1, Imhotep: A New Dynasty, Teotihuacan: City of Gods, and Choose Your Own Adventure: House of Danger

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• Let's run through more game preview videos that BGG recorded at the 2018 GAMA Trade Show, starting with the timely Choose Your Own Adventure: House of Danger from Prospero Hall and Z-Man Games, and I say "timely" because 1980s nostalgia seems all the rage these days, so why not transform the hugely popular 1980s CYOA book series into a $25 MSRP tabletop game?

Funny thing I just discovered while looking into the history of this book series is that the first CYOA book was actually released in 1979, not the 1980s, but what's more, author Edward Packard wrote the first title based on this idea — "The Adventures of You on Sugar Cane Island" — in 1970, only to see it rejected by several publishers. He shelved the manuscript for five years, after which he finally convinced someone to publish it, after which that publisher licensed the series to Bantam Books, after which editor Dinah Stevenson came up with the CYOA title to market the series, after which it became a hugely popular line.

You might conclude from this story that publishers are dumb and don't know a good idea when they see it, but I'm sure publishers could pull out a thousand terrible suggestions that show they were right not to waste their time trying to turn dreck into best-seller material. In the end, no lessons have been learned.




• Speaking of 1980s nostalgia, Robotech: Attack on the SDF-1 from Strange Machine Games is a huge tower-defense-style game for 1-6 players, with multiple scenarios in the box based on the episodes in the anime series.





• Feudal Japan in space — that's the basic concept behind Starship Samurai, coming out from designer Isaac Vega and publisher Plaid Hat Games in mid-2018. The giant mechs that give you influence on the game board? Perhaps those resulted from Vega watching Robotech in the 1980s. I have no idea, but this game seems to have that nostalgic hook, while also being a thoroughly modern game in its presentation.





Daniele Tascini was co-designer of the hit games Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar and The Voyages of Marco Polo, so folks are going to pay attention to what he does next, which in this case is Teotihuacan: City of Gods, an involved worker placement game with a cocoa-based economy due out in late 2018 from NSKN Games.





Phil Walker-Harding's Imhotep: A New Dynasty debuted in Germany at the end of 2017, and now Thames & Kosmos expects to have the English version of this expansion to the Spiel des Jahres-nominated Imhotep out in August 2018. Find out which new challenge boards await:

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Thu Apr 19, 2018 4:05 pm
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Game Previews from the 2018 GAMA Trade Show: Nyctophobia, Senshi, Wonderland, Star Trek Fluxx, and Much from WizKids

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• Time for another batch of games previewed at the 2018 GAMA Trade Show, starting with the Gen Con 2018 release Nyctophobia from Catherine Stippell and Pandasaurus Games. This title needs to be experienced to get the full effect of what's going on, with all but one players being unable to see and trying to feel their way through the landscape to safety before the hunter catches any of them, but at least this video can give you a taste of what's coming:





Senshi is a 2-4 player majorities game coming from Dan Manfredini and Arcane Wonders at the end of May 2018, and I play a complete game on camera with AW's Tony Gullotti so you can see how it works and imagine how you would have played to beat both of us.





Looney Labs will debut two new flavors of Fluxx at Gen Con 2018 in August: Star Trek Fluxx and Star Trek: The Next Generation Fluxx. Both games are playable on their own, but they'll have some overlap as well. At GAMA, designer Andy Looney didn't have artwork to show as that's still going through the approval process, but he did talk a bit about the design of these sets:





• For International Tabletop Day, which takes place April 28, 2018, Renegade Game Studios has a special item available only through brick-and-mortar stores and only on a one-shot basis, that is, no reorders will be possible beyond a store's initial allocations. Sounds like an odd thing to do, yes? Create a product, then limit access to it? Still I'm talking about it here, so I guess the gimmick has worked to some degree.

Wonderland is a tiny two-player-only game from Daniel Solis in which each player has a deck of only seven cards. With these cards, they both create the values of rows and columns in a 3x3 playing area and compete to score those points by having majorities in those rows and columns. Steph Hodge and I explain the game and play it in just over four minutes.





WizKids is releasing at least one new game per month throughout 2018, so with limited time available at GAMA 2018, we ran through this quartet of games — Endless Pass, Fungeon Party, Doppelgänger, and Star Trek: Galactic Enterprises — in a very short time. Come Origins in June 2018, we'll have five days to fill with demos and more time to show off each of these games, but for now here's the WizKids Whitman sampler:

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Sat Apr 14, 2018 1:00 pm
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Osaka Game Market 2018: Report from Table Games in the World

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Editor's note: Game Market took place in Osaka on April 1, 2018, and Saigo — who translates game rules between Japanese and English and who tweets about new JP games — has translated this report about the event from Takuya Ono, who runs the Table Games in the World blog. Mr. Ono has given permission to reprint the photos from his post. Many thanks to Saigo for translating this! —WEM

On April 1, as cherry blossoms were in full bloom, Osaka Game Market 2018 was held at Intex Osaka in Suminoe Ward, Osaka City. After holding Game Markets in Kobe for two years, the Game Market in the Kansai region returned to Osaka this year, and the attendance has grown from 4,700 at 2017's Kobe Game Market to 6,000 (according to the announcement by the Game Market Management Office).

Although I did not notice many games becoming a topic of conversation on Twitter before the show, there was the usual long line of people waiting before the opening. As the show opened at 10:00 a.m., they rushed into the venue. Many people queued to buy games, such as GANGSTER PARADISE Requiem (from Kaishin Games), which had drawn attention through crowdfunding, and Liqueur the GAME (from B-CAFE and Butagoya).




Oink Games released its new game Zogen, which was designed by Anja Wrede and Christoph Cantzler, who have produced games such as Shark Alarm!!! They had brought the game idea to the Oink Games booth at the 2018 Spielwarenmesse Toy Fair in Nürnberg, Germany in February and it was quickly made into a product. While the game title comes from the Japanese word "zogen" (ゾーゲン), which means "increase and decrease", it also sounds a little German. The Oink Games booth was also selling the Deep Sea Adventure T-shirt.




Zogen is a real-time pattern recognition game in which each player tries to play the cards from their hand to the center of the table and race to get rid of them until a player has only three cards in hand. Try to find a card that differs from the previously-placed card by exactly one pattern (micro-organism) and lay down that card while saying the pattern's name.

Meanwhile, other players can challenge your judgment by calling out "Zogen!" and if your judgment turns out to be wrong, you must receive the cards laid down on the table until that point. The game continues unless anyone calls out "Zogen!", and the players are all busy checking the cards in their hands, so even sloppy judgments may go unnoticed. Thus, even players with sharp judgment do not necessarily win the game.




Tricks and the Phantom (from Brain Brain Games) is a minimal deduction game that provides incredibly strategic gameplay with very few cards. It was initially released with English and Japanese text, and now a Korean edition has been released after a South Korean board game café showed an interest in the game. At Osaka Game Market, this game's variant rules for different number of players were distributed for free.




I encountered a meeple cosplayer with a haiku-like phrase on its body that reads:

Quote:
Though we have proclaimed
It's tough to proceed with / The way of board games
Our long road ahead / May extend to infinity

However, the venue was too crowded for him to walk around, so he stayed at the entrance/exit to see people off. The meeple costume can be put on like a stand-in cutout.




At 3:00 p.m., there was a talk show with the French board game designer Bruno Faidutti along with Seiji Kanai (Kanai Factory) and Hisashi Hayashi (OKAZU Brand). The show was hosted by Nobuaki Takerube. Izobretenik provided help as the interpreter. In response to Seiji Kanai's question on good games that have been played, Bruno Faidutti referred to the timing of their publication, commenting that Citadels would not have sold this much if it was published recently.




At this Game Market, board game accessories were quite prominent. The groups selling such products were located in D row, where various creative accessories were on display. Here are some dice towers and card stands produced by Cygnus.




Mr. and Mrs. Takahashi, who run the second-hand board game shop Schatzi in Amagasaki, had a booth under the name "MeepRing!!" where they sold meeple-patterned microfiber cloths. There could be a high demand for such a cloth among us board gamers with a relatively high proportion of people wearing glasses.




Koma no Toki had necklaces using Agricola pieces at their booth. Furthermore, there were many other charming items, such as meeple buttons (from Taka-Meeple), Darekara dice (from Hako no Soto), and tote bags (from Northgame).




Among the Kansai region's local game designers, Toryo Hojo of Loser Dogs released his new satirical game Heisei Shuuryou no Oshirase (Announcing the End of Heisei Era). It is a word game to nominate new names for the upcoming era by combining kanji characters. As a satirical game valuing the news, the game also comes with the data showing how often each kanji character has been used in the names of previous eras.




OKAZU Brand released its latest game MetroX. In this game, using the numbers revealed by drawing cards, all players fill up their subway map with ◯s in the station spaces to create subway networks. It is another paper-and-pencil game by OKAZU Brand following Rolling Japan. The rules whereby the players can fill up only adjoining stations with ◯s combined with the subway's interwoven system create a nice and tough dilemma for the players. With the maps for the Osaka Municipal Subway, which was renamed to "Osaka Metro" on April 1, and that for Tokyo Metro, this game is also good for studying subways.




I also managed to try out Tribes, a trick-taking game created by Beginners, a first-time exhibitor from Osaka. The game is comprised of three phases, whereby the players first play a card from their hand (you may follow suit), take one of the cards laid out and use it to gain their resource, then use the resource in combinations to earn victory points. Even if you play a card to gain a certain resource, it may be taken by another player, thus requiring a tactical gameplay.




Rezest, a social network game production company from Kansai, created a board game based on their browser game and released it with the title JOLLYROGER 〜大海の覇権〜 (Jolly Roger: Ocean Supremacy). Digital game companies moving into the board game market is also a recent trend.




In Game Markets in Kansai, the cosplay by Chim, the store manager of BOARDGAME.Lab!DDT, has also become a well-known practice.




Lastly, here is another cosplay to promote the game Rule of Magic (from River Games).




So that is my leisurely report provided along with photos. While both the venue and attendance have grown larger, Osaka Game Market is still relatively small compared to Tokyo Game Market and I consequently had ample time to enjoy the show. In Tokyo, on the other hand, I would be too busy checking newly released games. In Osaka, it was good to meet, talk, and have a relaxing time with many people, such as the people who participated in the Adult Board Game Festival on the day before the Game Market, the people I had previously known only over the Internet, and the people I met again after a long while. I hope to see you people again next year!
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Tue Apr 10, 2018 1:00 pm
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Game Previews from the 2018 GAMA Trade Show: Robotech: Ace Pilot, Istanbul: The Dice Game, Mystic Vale: Conclave, Whistle Stop: Rocky Mountains, and Magic: The Gathering – Heroes of Dominaria

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• Let's check out more video previews recorded at the 2018 GAMA Trade Show for titles that will be released in the near future, although I'm going to kick off with a game that's near only in the sense that it's coming out sooner than SPIEL.

Magic: The Gathering turns 25 in 2018, and to celebrate Wizards of the Coast is returning the setting of the game to its original plane of existence, Dominaria, for the set that's due out at the end of April 2018. Tied into this anniversary is the release of Magic: The Gathering – Heroes of Dominaria, a standalone board game for 2-4 players from WizKids that will debut in August 2018 in a standard edition and in September 2018 in a premium edition with painted figures. At GAMA, WizKids gave us a sneak peek at this design in a very unfinished state:






• In addition to showing off the new game Space Base, designer John D. Clair talked to us about Mystic Vale: Conclave, which releases from Alderac Entertainment Group in April 2018. This expansion for Mystic Vale includes enough base game components to allow up to six players in a game at once, then it adds a night-and-day system that puts two markets on the table so that two people take their turns at the same time, thereby not adding any downtime despite having more people at the table. That's the idea anyway, and the night-and-day system can be used in games with fewer players as well.

The expansion includes other new items, too, while being packaged in a huge box that will accommodate all things Mystic Vale in a single package — at least until the year 2026, should AEG continue making expansions until then.





• Time to collect rubies once again in Istanbul, but this time in Rüdiger Dorn's Istanbul: The Dice Game, which AEG plans to release in April 2018 following the game's debut from Pegasus Spiele at SPIEL '17. This game is not a "roll straights, roll full houses" type of dice game, but instead a design that mimics the feel of the original game, with you needing to collect and trade in resources, trying to pip others at all of the locations where rubies are available since the first person to a location gets the best deal.





Jeff Mechlinski of Strange Machine Games has several Robotech-based games in the offing, with the most straightforward of them being Robotech: Ace Pilot, which is due out in June 2018. In the game, you roll dice to gain access to crew powers that you then try to combine to take out the waves of enemies approaching you in a tight 3x3 formation.





• We'll close with another Gen Con 2018 release to round out this colon-intensive collection of game previews. Scott Caputo's Whistle Stop: Rocky Mountains Expansion from Bézier Games drops a mountain range in the middle of the game board, then challenges players to go around or over it, with the promise of special rewards once they do so.

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Sat Apr 7, 2018 1:00 pm
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