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Links: Reports from Nürnberg 2011, Saint Petersburg in Slate & More

W. Eric Martin
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Time for another round-up of game news from across the webs, starting with that giant toy and game show taking place in Nürnberg, Germany:

• Photos from the Nürnberg 2011 Spielwarenmesse have started to appear; check out the 60-ish photos from German retailer Milan-Spiele, which includes a taste of what's coming from Amigo for Spiel 2011 and other surprises.

Matt Leacock's Pandemic has won MinD Spielepreis 2011 – the annual gaming award from Mensa in Deutschland (aka, MinD) – beating out (in order) Dominion, Agricola, Galaxy Trucker and Blokus.

• Michael Lewis, author of Liar's Poker and The Big Short, is interviewed by Tim Harford for an article in Financial Times (and reprinted on Slate) while playing a learning game of Saint Petersburg. Says Lewis, "This game is all about trade-offs ... it's made for the Anglo-Saxon Protestant work ethic. The Greeks would never appreciate it."

Sid Sackson's classic book A Gamut of Games is returning to print in late March 2011 from Dover Publications.

Fantasy Flight Games is hiring an Associate Media Producer. Head to the link for details on how to apply.

Cubo Magazine is a new Spanish-language site devoted to game news.

• Designer Jeffrey D. Allers has sent his latest Postcard from Berlin on Opinionated Gamers, this time talking about limits in life and in game design, with designers needing to keep the limits natural and (ideally) invisible during play. Props for working in a reference to Mark Dunn's Ella Minnow Pea.

In a January 2011 post on Berlin Game Design, Allers noted that after receiving a royalty check he realized that his published designs have collectively sold more than 20,000 copies since 2008. While a nice milestone, Allers adds this warning note to prospective designers:

Quote:
To put this into perspective, even if I would have sold four times the number of games since 2008, my income would still put me below the poverty level in the United States. It's a good thing I'm not trying to support my family with my game design hobby, and I wouldn't recommend anyone else trying to do this, either, unless he or she is already milking an established hit.

• And finally some Wall Street employee named Derk Solko is quoted on why Monopoly is unpleasant to play in an article for Cracked.com on "5 Classic Board Games With Disturbing Origin Stories." Cracked doesn't spend time fact-checking its articles and verifying source info? Who knew?
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Mon Feb 7, 2011 7:50 pm
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Dragon*Con 2010

Mary Prasad
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Hillsborough
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Dragon*Con is usually held in Atlanta, Georgia, over Labor Day weekend; for 2010 that was September 3-6. They hail themselves as the "largest multi-media, popular culture convention focusing on science fiction and fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music, and film in the universe." Wow, that's a big tagline – not to mention possibly offensive to certain aliens.

Memberships usually do not sell out so you may wait to register at the convention. In fact, this year the line was so incredibly long for preregistration that it might even be faster to wait (although next year may see a switch as all those who were in the prereg. line figure this out). I will say that the badges for preregistration are larger and possibly valuable (to those who collect them). On the other hand, hosting hotels sell out very quickly. If you want to book a room in a Dragon*Con block, you should sign up as soon as they open. If you do not get one in a block, you can try to reserve a room anyway. I advise that you do not tell them you are attending the convention since some hotels will not allow you to book a room if they know you are attending the convention. Yes, this actually happened to me. If you belong to an organization like AAA, you can try to get a discount that way, or just ask what specials they have running. Once in a while I get a rate that is better than the convention rate (this may involve paying ahead). You should ask about refund policies before booking.

Fun Facts: (from the Media Relations Handbook) approximate number of attendees 35,000; volunteers 1,700; guests 400; years 24; hotels 5; days 4.


Three of the many Lara Croft/Tomb Raiders at Dragon Con. Note the preregistration size badges.

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Sat Feb 5, 2011 6:30 am
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Nürnberg 2011: Pics of the Queen Games line-up

Rob Harris
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(In this Nürnberg 2011 report from Feb. 3, 2011, Rob Harris ran down what to expect from Queen Games in 2011. Rob has now sent photos from the show, so I'm reprinting that section below with photos in place a few extra details gleaned from the images to give you a better idea of what to expect in the months ahead. —WEM)

These are all 2011 releases from Queen Games without specific release dates, and yes, the descriptions are sketchy for many of these. The titles are:

Castelli, by Günter Burkhardt – nothing else known at this time.


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Sat Feb 5, 2011 4:35 am
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Toronto Toy Show Report 2011

Chris Kovac
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The last weekend in January means my annual trip to the Canadian Toy & Hobby Fair in Toronto. This is a small trade show featuring toys and games for the Canadian market. Since this show is geared towards the kids market, many of the board games shown are also geared towards that market, though there are exceptions. As usual I found a few games which might interest us hobbyist gamers. Unlike in previous years, I am going to group games by distributor, then in an "Innovators" section for independent designers.

Îlot 307 inc.

This game distributor out of Quebec had a selection of Euro-style games at the show, the most interesting of which were Sultans of Karaya, Water Lily and Vizia.

Sultans of Karaya, by Alex Weldon (MJ Games) – This is an interesting Werewolf-like small box game themed around an evil assassin who is trying to kill the Sultan. The game ends when the Sultan is killed by the assassin, the Sultan kills the assassin, or three slaves sit side-by-side, thereby starting a revolution.

At the start of the game, each person is dealt a hidden character; during the game, they can either exchange their character with another player or a neutral card in the middle of the table, or use their special power, revealing their card in the process. Other characters include the seductive dancing girl, the stalwart bodyguards, a seer (who bets on who is going to win), and the slave. This looks to be a fun party game for those who would like a change from Werewolf.


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Fri Feb 4, 2011 9:18 pm
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Nürnberg 2011: Queen Games & Hans im Glück's Pantheon

W. Eric Martin
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All credit for the following Nürnberg 2011 report goes to

Rob Harris
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who contacted me prior to Nürnberg 2011 to see which companies I'd be interested in hearing more about while he was at the show. I said Queen Games and HiG's Pantheon, and that's what Rob sent me. Kudos, Rob! Now, on to the report, which I've edited due to Rob having typed on a phone while being sleep-deprived...


First, let's take a look at the Queen Games line-up for 2011. These are all 2011 releases without specific release dates, and yes, the descriptions are sketchy for many of these. This is a start, though, and we'll build from here. The titles are:

Fresco: The Glaziers, which was released in January 2011 in North America and is also available in Europe. This expansion box consists of modules 4-6 for the Spiel des Jahres-nominated Fresco, with players being able to mix-and-match these modules with any in the base game, in addition to using them individually. (2-4 players, 10+, 60-90 minutes)

German Railways (1832-1872), a new edition of Winsome Games' Preußische Ostbahn, a railway game through German history. (3-5 players, 12+, 60 minutes)

Kairo, in which players build a stall in Cairo's bustling marketplace in order to attract customers and sell wares. (2-4 players, 10+, 60 minutes) (Interesting to think that this game is still on display given all that's happening in Egypt generally, and Cairo in particular, this past week. —WEM)

Lancaster, with players as English lords who are supporting the King during his conflict with France, while simultaneously trying to build castles for themselves nad increase their influence in Parliament. (2-5 players, 10+, 60 minutes)
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Fri Feb 4, 2011 4:32 am
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