W. Eric Martin
• German publisher HUCH! & friends has released information on what it plans to show at Spielwarenmesse, the toy and game fair held each year in Nürnberg, Germany. I'm still adding and approving titles to the BGG database, but I thought I'd post info about a few of the titles in this section, starting with Carlo A. Rossi's Im großen Zauberwald, in which wizard apprentices hunt down spell ingredients in a bizarre manner:
In Im großen Zauberwald, players have to pull different items from between the trees of the enchanted forest without getting stuck. Each player starts the game with three recipe cards, each of which show seven ingredients you must collect; players lay out these cards in a row in front of them. The game board consists of a copse of 17 trees, and the wooden cubes representing the ingredients are scattered within the circle formed by these trees.
On a player's turn, she chooses one of the spell cards she holds. This card indicates both how far the player rotates the trees on the game board – ideally moving desired ingredients close to hand – and how many ingredients the player can collect that turn. As soon as she's finished turning the board, she says "Go!" and all players start using their wooden rakes to pull ingredients into their "basket" in the corner of the game board. When the active player has collected the proper number of ingredients, she tells everyone to stop collecting.
Players then check their baskets to make sure they collected the right things. First, if the active player has collected the wrong number of ingredients, she must return an ingredient for each number she's off. Second, if a player's ingredients all match ingredients that are desired on her leftmost recipe, she places those ingredients on that card; any remaining ingredients are placed on her next recipe card. If a player grabbed any unneeded ingredients, she returns them along with one ingredient from a recipe card per error.
The first player to complete her three recipe cards wins! If all players have used their spell cards without someone winning, then whoever has completed the most recipes wins, with the number of ingredients collected serving as a tiebreaker.
• Another title from HUCH falls into the category of "Can you do this faster than me?" which thrills and frustrates people in roughly equal numbers. Players in Martin Nedergaard Andersen's Voodoo Mania want to get rid of their cards as quickly as possible. How? Here's a summary of gameplay:
In Voodoo Mania, each player starts with a hand of three cards and a reserve ingredient pile of 18-45 cards, depending on the number of players. One card starts in the center of the table. Each card is double-sided, and each side features four of five symbols on it (mask, amulet, voodoo doll, magic potion and top hat) in four of five colors.
All players play at the same time, trying to play their cards in hand. To play a card, the card must depict the symbol missing from the top card of the discard pile in the missing color or it must also be missing the same symbol in the same color. In the latter case, the player laying down the card says "Voodoo!" and all other players must draw a card from the bottom of the discard pile and place it on the bottom of their personal ingredient pile. Then all players start playing again.
At any time, a player can place a card from his hand on the bottom of his ingredient pile, then draw the top card of this pile. Whenever a player plays a card, he draws a replacement card to keep three cards in hand.
When a player runs out of cards, the round ends and everyone scores one point for each card still in hand or in the pile. After three rounds, the player with the fewest points wins.
• For other titles from HUCH! & friends, head to the Nürnberg 2013 Preview on BGG. Sixty-five titles as of January 11, 2013 with many more still to come...
• Another German publisher unveiling its titles for Nürnberg 2013 is ABACUSSPIELE, the list of which includes the quick-playing Alles Käse! from designer (and superheroic game version uploader on BGG) Meelis Looveer. Here are details on how to play this game:
The player mice in Alles Käse want to collect as much hole-y cheese as possible, and to do so either they can play it safe, scout the territory, and see whether the cheese they find sticks around for later pilferage – or they can take a chance on a sweet-looking chunk of Swiss and possibly end up in a trap.
The cards in the deck have 1-6 "holes" on them, with six cards in each hole denomination; on the reverse side, the cards show either cheese or a trap, with the cards showing more holes having a greater percentage of traps.
To set up the game, players shuffle the 36 cards, then lay out six cards in a row with the hole side up. On a player's turn, he rolls the six-sided die. If the number on the die doesn't match the number of holes on any card in the row, the player peeks at one of these cards to see whether it shows cheese or a trap on the reverse side, then returns it to the row. (With 2-3 players, the player also moves the top card from the deck to the discard pile.) If the number on the die matches the number of holes on at least one card in the row, the player can either:
Take one of these cards, reveal it, and place it in front of himself, or
Take one of these cards and place it on the discard pile without revealing its opposite side to anyone.
In either case, the player then fills the empty spot in the row with the top card from the deck.
If someone collects a third trap, the game ends, this player automatically loses, and everyone else counts the number of holes on their cheese cards; trap cards are worth no points. The player with the most holes wins. The game also ends if the deck runs out, with the holiest player once again winning.
• The "stack these bits in an ungainly and unstable container" genre gets a new entry with ABACUSSPIELE's Ab in die Tonne from designer Carlo A. Rossi. (Yes, him again. Two titles in one news update!) Here's a description of the gameplay:
Players in Ab in die Tonne need to toss trash into the garbage bin, but unfortunately they're all a bit lazy and instead of emptying the bin when it's full, they're content to pile everything as high as possible in the hope that someone else will knock it over and have to clean up the mess.
Before the game begins, each player takes a set of cards numbered 1-10. Place the forty pieces of "trash" – milk cartons, tin cans, bottles and apple cores – next to the garbage can.
Each round, players secretly choose one of the three cards in their hand, then reveal them simultaneously. In order from low number to high, each player places a number of pieces of trash equal to the number she revealed into – or onto – the garbage bin. If a player makes the garbage mountain collapse, she receives a penalty token, then empties out the bin, with the next player in that round starting with a clean bin. If someone places the final piece of trash into the bin without knocking anything over, she receives a bonus.
The game ends after the sixth penalty token has been handed out, and whoever has the fewest penalty points wins.
• In addition to the two titles above, ABACUSSPIELE has four other titles on its Nürnberg 2013 platform, starting with a German-language edition of Samurai Sword from Emiliano Sciarra and continuing with three new editions of previously published games: the UNO-like card game Stop; Michael Schacht's Coloretto, which has its tenth anniversary in 2013 and is being released with the artwork from the Russian version of the game (shown at right); and Schacht's Zooloretto, which has a new "Löwenedition" that is exactly like the previous base game except for the inclusion of thirteen lion tiles (male, female and babies) that can be substituted for another species in any of the Zooloretto titles.