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Spielwarenmesse 2020 VII: Alma Mater, Adventure Mart, Azul: Crystal Mosaic, and Some Upcoming Games That Don't Being with "A"

W. Eric Martin
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From gallery of W Eric Martin
Time for more pics from the Spielwarenmesse 2020 trade fair in Nürnberg, Germany, which Lincoln Damerst and I attended from Jan. 30 to Feb. 2. So many games to see in an unfinished state! So much potential that we'll experience in five-minute bursts, then never see again! (I have played Treelings, Chili Dice, and Zen Garden multiple times since returning home, so I'm putting those review copies to good use.)

Video overviews of roughly a hundred games that we saw at Spielwarenmesse 2020, including some included in this post, will be published on the BGG Express YouTube channel and the individual game pages by the end of February 2020. Note that the components and artwork shown in the images below is non-final and not necessarily representative of what you'll find in print once these games appear on shelves.

Board Game: Alma Mater

From gallery of W Eric Martin

One game component that is final is the book token in Alma Mater, a game from Acchitocca and eggertspiele. Company owner Sophie Gravel, who presented the game on camera, told me that they had tried different approaches for the book, but using wood would mean that all aspects of the book would be the same color, whereas with plastic they could have the white pages on the inside of the colored book, thereby making the object look more bookish.

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Board Game: Azul: Crystal Mosaic

Normally I try to avoid have a reflection on game components, but I wanted one here to show off the raised edges of the trays in Azul: Crystal Mosaic, a set of expansion boards and trays for Azul from Next Move Games. The lip of the plastic tray wraps around the board so that ideally everything stays in place should you knock into the tray.

Board Game: 5211

Next Move plans to release a new version of the excellent 5211 card game with Azul-style graphics. What's more, the company is releasing a new version of the original 5211 game with simplified graphics on the cards. While the cards as originally published are beautiful, sometimes it takes a few seconds to realize that someone played blue and not green, so now the cards will still have patterns on them, but all in the same tone.

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Board Game: Adventure Mart

After we recorded the overview of Adventure Mart, a DigiSprite design coming from Hub Games in 2020, I complimented Michael Fox on his presentation of the game as it was perfect. He covered lots of ground in a short time, working with my questions and interruptions to present a clear view of what the game was in a manner that both satisfied your immediate need for knowledge while leaving you curious to learn more. (I'll compliment him again once the video is available, although I suppose I should watch it again first to make sure it holds up.)

Board Game: Prisma Arena

Michael didn't do as well on the Prisma Arena overview, but I won't hold that against him — although I did just say that in writing, so that's not great of me, so let me amend my note with the following:

Michael hitting it out of the park on the Adventure Mart is more than most game presenters do. Michael ran a podcast for years, so he has lots of experience presenting brief game summaries, and in that video you can tell that he's learned from that experience and wasn't merely doing the same thing for years without getting better at it. (As for me, I realize a lot of the writing I do in this space is functional. It has a job to do, and it does it. On occasion I have a bigger goal in mind, and sometimes it works out to my satisfaction. I've been writing full-time for twenty years, so I have a lot of experience upon which to draw, and ideally I put that experience to use in ways that are useful to you, the reader.)

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Board Game Publisher: Piatnik

Each year Piatnik sends me information at the last possible moment, so I never have an appointment scheduled with them. Sometimes we drop in to the Piatnik booth to record overviews, but often I take pics, then move on, content to add titles to the database later. In 2020, I took this sole image late on Sunday afternoon of the titles that seemed most BGG-friendly, then ran on to another booth. Breadcrumbs to be followed later, perhaps...

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Board Game: Catham City

German publisher HUCH! is another company that we mostly walked past at Spielwarenmesse 2020. I had looked over the company's list of new releases for the first half of 2020, and all of the titles seemed to be logic puzzles (which I personally love, but which are not listed on BGG), games for young kids (which we tend not to cover), and German-language versions of games initially released elsewhere, as with Catham City above, which first appeared from Russian publisher Cosmodrome Games in 2017.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

...and then I saw Jumpkins, a Michael Feldkötter design that is so new that it's not even listed in the "Neuheiten" section of the HUCH! website. I had previously tried to make an appointment with the two people that I knew at HUCH!, and both of them were leaving before Sunday, which was the only day we had openings, so I snapped a pic of this game on Sunday and said, "Maybe it will be useful later." If nothing else, it's a reminder of how much we're probably missing without even knowing it...

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From gallery of W Eric Martin

In a late January 2020 post, I mentioned that Game Brewer is starting "a new family line of games under the brand AMUZA", and it turns out that Game Brewer was at Spielwarenmesse 2020, but I discovered that only on Sunday when confronted with an empty booth. Thus, here's a pic of a banner that was in that booth. Info to perhaps come in the future!

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From gallery of W Eric Martin

Gopher Broke was another late Sunday find, and while I might get more information about this title from Playroom Entertainment, I might not as marketing information from PE and parent company Ultra PRO can be scarce.

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From gallery of W Eric Martin

And here's another pic from late on Sunday that is essentially a request for future Eric to do more work since Shape Shift is not in the database. If nothing else, publisher Professor Puzzle now has a logo in place on its BGG page, so I've added one more drop to the BGG info ocean.

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We're nearing the end of our Spielwarenmesse 2020 pictorial coverage, with our video coverage already underway. Only three more such posts on my part!
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