Yellohat previews Spiel 2012
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This list contains previews of games that draw my attention for the upcoming Spiel convention in Essen. Per game I wrote quite an extensive preview so that I have a good idea of the games available that interests me most.
The previews are not in stone as in the course of time I might add some notes and or new thoughts.
I also aim to include a game play picture, with reference to the bgg user who uploaded the picture to boardgamegeek.

On the Yellohat radar geeklist you can see the games that possibly appear later on on this previews list.

My perspective is actually broader than Spiel 2012 releases only. Though most games mentioned will be newly released there and then. The perspective of this geek list is games that are interesting for adding to my collection and are available at Spiel 2012.

Please do not forget to thumb this list or the items you like as each thumb gives me the energy to write a next item. Thank you.
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1. Board Game: Massilia [Average Rating:5.51 Overall Rank:16076]
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Designer: Alain Epron
Artist: Maxime Brienne
Publisher: Krok Nik Douil editions
Year Published: 2012
# of Players: 2 − 4
Playing Time: 90 minutes
Mfg Suggested Ages: 12 and up
Language Dependence: No necessary in-game text
Category: Economic
Mechanic: Action Point Allowance System, Dice Rolling, tile Placement

 

Picture by bgg user alainE

Eye opener
A new game by the same designer of Vanuatu draws my interest! I played Vanuatu twice and the game is nasty in player interaction. I enjoyed any minute of it. And hopefully Massilia has some of that too.
And as I am a lover of Troyes with it's plenty full dice. Massilia deserves my serious look.

Preparation
I read the rules. The rulebook is clear.

Theme
The players run each sales stands at the local market of Marseille, named Massilia back in the Roman Empire.

Gameplay
The game consists of seven rounds, representing one full week and players try to obtain fame.
At the beginning of each day the price tiles (in value 1,2,2 or 3) rotate clockwise of the four available items. So pricing, used for either purchases or sales, is predictable. The port is replenished by a number of items from a cloth bag. Then each player rolls it's dice and eventual unused dice are also rolled.
A player may then decide to keep, reserve one of his dice against a payment. The rest of the dice are placed in the middle of the board, available for all players.

Then at player's turn a dice is picked and used. Dice come in four colors. Each color representing one of the four possible actions.
The dice can be manipulated by taking a penalty token. The color can be ignored, the value can be increased or decreased by one or two dice can be considered as one summing up it's values.

Beige: buy goods from the port. Buy the number of goods equal to the value of the die. Fame value (1,2 or 3) of the good decreases by one.
Grey: get cards equal the value of the die and keep against payment in goods, hand limit four.
Brown: move the consul or one of the three clients the number of spaces equal to the die value.
Black: get fame the same number of dots on the die against payment in money.

When a client visits your shop he will purchase the cubes of his color and also you will get fame points for each sold cube. Fame value rises by one on sales.
When a consul visits your shop he can close it when it is empty or the owner will have to pay for each cube in the market stand.
When a consul visits an open spot on the board, a new market stand can be opened against payment of five.

A player may also pass at his turn. The earlier you pass the more money you will receive and the later you will be in turn order the next round.

There are three goods, orange, purple and pink and there is also beige. These beige items can be seen as a kind of joker items. They can be purchased and or sold easier but do not bring fame when sold.

The cards, representing gods, can be used to get some extra powers.

Components and artwork
I like the cartoonesque artwork by Maxime Brienne a lot! And the components look solid on the pictures.

Extra: Bacchus and Thief expansions
Two expansions are available already. I am not sure if the bacchus, an additional god, adds a lot.
The thief, who moves the same number of spots and the same direction of a client seems to add some extra nastiness. The thief can be caught by the consul giving fame points.

First thoughts
I expect that the nastiness in this game is hidden in the movement of the consul. Also the limited availability and pricing mechanism and fame value mechanism of the items look interesting.
The cubes are without any identity but I guess that is all right.

Availability
Until 1st of July it can be preordered at Indiegogo from usd45, pickup Essen.

Conclusion as per 10th of May
Massilia looks interesting, interesting enough to give it my first serious Essen-2012 look. It is too early to decide if I would like to purchase this.
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2. Board Game: Western Town [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:3313]
Board Game: Western Town
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Designer: Olivier Warnier
Artist: Anthony Wolff
Publisher: Whyme
Year Published: 2005
# of Players: 2 − 4
Playing Time: 90 minutes
Mfg Suggested Ages: 12 and up
Language Dependence: No necessary in-game text
Category: American West, City Building
Mechanic: Deck / Pool Building, Hand Management, Simultaneous Action Selection

Board Game: Western Town

Picture by bgg user EndersGame

Eye opener
Western Town looks like a game with euro mechanics with player interaction. It has been successfully backed at Kickstarter and got few but good ratings.
It has been available as a print&play since 7 years and been improved since.

Preparation
I watched the video by Tom Vasel and I read the rulebook. The first page of the draft rulebook looks a bit chaotic the rest is well written.

Theme
Build and expand a town in the Wild West. Build the nicest buildings and try to please president Lincoln to get points and try to avoid the Indians attacking you.

Game play
The game lasts 5 rounds. At the beginning of a round a Lincoln card with the objectives for the round is revealed.
There are 21 possible buildings you can construct in your town and for each kind of building you can have the corresponding action card in your hand, though there is a hand limit that is determined by the occupied spaces on your player board.
Each player will play two actions from the cards during phase II. This is done simultaneously with your neighbor. Then all players once play a third action or a reveal action from that card. The result of the reveal is poorer but it will unable a similar card from one of your neighbors for the rest of the game.
After that round all buildings will provide the player income and then a Lincoln card will be earned by the player who scores highest on the conditions on that card.

Some actions result in a die roll of the Indian attack die. When a third red or second orange cube is added to the Indian camp an attack will follow to one player's town. The attack goes to the town of the die roller or to the town with the smallest amount of peach pipes. The player can then defend his properties using his cowboys or he will see some of his buildings damaged.

Components and Artwork
The artwork looks okay but nothing spectacular though the buildings are nicely drawn. There are a lot of icons on the card due to the double possible use of the cards and some actions look complex. I guess the rulebook will have to be consulted from time to time.

First thoughts
I think this game has a high level of interaction when your buildings are being blocked from further use. And when on top of this there is the tension of a possible Indian raid.
The rules are well written and on the complex side. It is not clear to me when building can be built, I guess it is during phase I, preparation.

Availability
Fund raising at Ulule was successfully closed.

Conclusion as per 13th of May
The game initially did not really grasp me, but it still intrigues.
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3. Board Game: VivaJava: The Coffee Game [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:1961]
Board Game: VivaJava: The Coffee Game
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Designer: T. C. Petty III
Artist: Christopher Kirkman, Darrell Louder, T. C. Petty III
Publisher: Dice Hate Me Games
Year Published: 2012
# of Players: 3 − 8
Playing Time: 60 minutes
Mfg Suggested Ages: 13 and up
Language Dependence: Some necessary text - easily memorized or small crib sheet
Category: Bluffing, Economic, Negotiation
Mechanic: Commodity Speculation, Simultaneous Action Selection, Trading, Variable Phase Order, Variable Player Powers, Worker Placement

Board Game: VivaJava: The Coffee Game

Picture by bgg user ckirkman

Eye opener
I remember this game's designer diary! And a game about my favorite drink must get a closer look.

Preparation
I read the rules. The rulebook is extensive and well written with good examples.

Theme
This is a semi-cooperative game where the player tries to participate in bringing the best coffee blends to the market.

Gameplay
This gameplay is for 5 to 8 players. A round starts with placing blend slates. These decide the color, there are five, of the coffee bean available on nine possible fields. Then a player places a field researcher pawn on one of these nine possible fields on the world map board, three places per one of three continents. The player obtains the bean and puts it in his cloth bag, representing the roaster. The spot on the map also gives the player an action or points.
Per continent the groups, with 1 to 3 members, decide, using votes, whether they want to research in order to enhance their technology or if they want to create a blend together. A tie results in research.

When the group decides to blend they draw combined five beans from their bag. Each member contributes minimal one bean from their roaster bag. Then the blend gets a place on the market. The composition of the blend decides the place in the order, newer in front of older. And there can be only one rainbow blend, the newest.
The best composition is five beans of the same color, then four of the same, then three plus two, then five different (rainbow), then three, then two plus two, then two. But a nice table in the game will help.

If the group goes for research, then each member can progress three steps on the technology chart, named research lab in the game.
Possible technologies are taking one or more extra beans of the same color from the world map. Or removing or exchanging a bean from the roaster bag before blending. Or electing not to add the bean drawn from the bag for the blend. Or investing in a blend where the player is not participating in actively. A player can also get action cards from the flavor deck.

At the end of a round each participant per blend gets performance points. Then each blend, the rainbow excluded, is degraded by removing the least valuable bean.

The game ends when a player reaches 21 performance points, when there are less than three blend slates at the end of a round or when a player completes four tracks in his research lab.
The player with most performance points is the winner.

The 3 or 4 player expansion
It is called the intern inspansion. Before placing the researcher pawn on the world map, you can also pick an intern for help. Interns are like limited helps. Some of the interns can help you with adding a bean to a blend, this then is drawn from the central interns' roaster bag. They also give you an extra vote and or help you in developing.

Components and Artwork
On reading the manual you can nearly smell coffee. The game components look solid.

First thoughts
This looks as a fun game with a great theme! The game is played at best with 5 to 8 players. That is a shame as I usually have 4, 3 or 2 players, me included, at the table. For a crowd of 8 players this game might be a tad too complex and too long.

Availability
The Kickstarter project was funded successfully in February. Release is expected in August. A copy cost usd55 or usd75 with international delivery.
The game will also be available as pickup at Essen.

Conclusion as per 14th of May
I hope it will be priced friendlier in Essen! This looks as a great game to me with great goodies. VivaJava is on my radar.

My notes 6th of July
VivaJava will be available as pickup at Essen. See this thread.
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4. Board Game: Tahiti [Average Rating:6.36 Overall Rank:4280]
Board Game: Tahiti
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Designer: David E. Whitcher
Artist: Chuck Whelon
Publisher: Minion Games, Queen Games
Year Published: 2012
# of Players: 2 − 4
Playing Time: 60 minutes
Mfg Suggested Ages: 13 and up
Language Dependence: No necessary in-game text
Category: Exploration, Farming, Print & Play, Transportation
Mechanic: Modular Board, Pick-up and Deliver, Set Collection, Tile Placement

Board Game: Tahiti

Picture by bgg user RPGShop

Eye opener
The artwork by Chuck Whelon, who I spoke at Spiel 2011, looks very appealing and I like Minion Games` productions.

Preparation
I read the rules and I watched this video. The rules are well explained in the rulebook with good examples.

Theme
Go collect food for your tribe before the season ends. Visit various islands with your canoe and have your rowers transport the goods home.

Gameplay
In the game there are five different foods, banana, coconut, taro and fish. All of these five but fish can be obtained at other islands than the home island. Fish can be caught everywhere.
Each player's turn consists of four phases. In the Haumea phase the player moves the God of Haumea pawn to the edge of the modular game board and then an island tile is placed. This Haumea phase is skipped when there are no more tiles to be placed, this indicates that the end of the season is nearing.
Next is Haumea's bounty phase where two or three cubes are drawn from the bag and placed on the board if there is place for that. Each island tile can have two different food cubes. There are three cubes drawn when there still is a Haumea phase, when just a new island tile was placed.

Then there is the action phase where you have a minimum of one and a maximum of four actions. This depends on the number of free rowers you have in your canoe. Your canoe has six spaces. One is always a rower, two are reserved for goods and the remaining three can be place for either a rower or a good cube. For each of these three spots with a white rower which are covered with a good you have one action less to spend. And this covering and uncovering happens during your action phase. So if you get rid of a cube from the boat, your will gain an action.
There are four possible actions to pick from:
- Rowing, move to one adjacent tile. If you cross a reef and you have goods on the boat, you have to draw two cubes per reef you crossed. If you draw a good matching the color with one of the goods on your boat, that good is lost.
- Loading, you may load as many goods as possible of the same color if you have none in your boat or goods of the equal color. Or you may load one good of a different color than already in the canoe.
- Unloading, at the home island you may unload all and move the cubes to the scoring chart.
- Fishing, at any tile you may draw two cubes from the bag. If you draw one or more fish cubes, you may add one to your canoe. If the tile has a depletion token with a fish on it, you may draw three cubes in stead of two.

After the action phase there is the depletion phase if the Haumea phase is skipped. In this phase a depletion token is added to an island which no longer has goods. This island no longer will produce for the rest of the game.
If there are only four island tiles in production, this indicates that this is the last round. The round will be completed.

The winner has the most points. There are bonuses to be gained if you have a variety in goods and if you have most, or second most in the foods that are favorite for your tribe. This is indicated on a preference tile what is kept hidden for the other players.

Components and artwork
The drawings in bright lively colors by Chuck Whelan looks great! The Haumea pawn and draw bag looks as crafted locally at Tahiti.

First thoughts
The score chart looks a bit too spreadsheet and unfortunately has lost some of the great atmosphere which is in the rest of the game's artwork.
This looks like a nice family game to me. It has a nice theme.
The pawn is a stretch goal at Kickstarter and the bag is a Kickstarter bonus. There was no word of a starting player token.

Availability
The game can be preordered for usd35 and or supported at Kickstarter until 19th June.
Shipping costs at Kickstarter is usd15 for Europe.
Minion Games won't be presence at Spiel as it appears now but the game will as it is coproduced with another publisher.

Conclusion as per 15th of May
I am seriously considering supporting this on Kickstarter. This game looks fun!

My notes 25th of May
Today I found the shipping costs note being usd15 for shipment to Europe. This unfortunately pushes me away from Kickstarting it. The Kickstarter is nearly completed, now at 99%.
Hopefully Minion Games will have an presence on Spiel.

My notes 31st of May
Tahiti was kickstarted successfully which is great. It now is approaching funding 120%.
It looks like there is room in my shelf for this light pick up and deliver game. I am curious who is the coproducer and silently I am still hoping to be able to pickup a Tahiti by Minion Games copy.

My notes 5th of June
Minion Games announced that Queen Games will create German-French versions of Tahita, The Manhattan Project and probably Kingdom of Solomon.
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5. Board Game: Courtier [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:2575]
Board Game: Courtier
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Designer: Philip duBarry
Artist: Andrew Hepworth, Jeff Himmelman
Publisher: Alderac Entertainment Group
Year Published: 2012
# of Players: 2 − 4
Playing Time: 45 minutes
Mfg Suggested Ages: 10 and up
Language Dependence:
Category: Card Game, Renaissance, Territory Building
Mechanic: Area Control / Area Influence, Card Drafting, Hand Management, Variable Player Powers

Eyeopener
I like Philip duBarry`s The Kingdom of Solomon and AEG brings out a line consisting of at least three games in the fantasy city state kingdkom named Tempest.

Preparation
I read the rulebook which is well written except that an example of the game board is not shown.

Theme
In the Renaissance, the virtual kingdom Tempest you try to get most influence at the court.

Gameplay
Each player starts with 15 influence cubes of his or her color and you want to place these on characters, named courtiers, in one of the eight coteries on the game board.
There are also petitions. You have one own secret petition and there are also four public petition cards.
You are given a hand of five cards. The hand consists of any combination of cards from the power deck and influence deck.
At your turn you start with doing one of three possible actions:
- play a power or influence card,
- discard up to five cards from your hand,
- obtain an influence cube from the general supply,
After the action, you may complete a petition if you control all courtiers mentioned on it. After a petition is completed a new petition card is drawn and a new fashion card is revealed. The fashion card displays the Queen's preferences.
If you control a coterie, you have an extra ability.
The fashion card deck contains one card, `the Queen is arrested!`, which ends the game.
If the game continues, you refill your hand up to five. You can pick either power or influence cards, some are open for picking up.

Components and Artwork
The artwork looks very nice and detailed. This is a card driven game. The influence and power cards contains texts, I guess sometimes a lot.

First Thoughts
The game is mostly in the cards that are drawn. The difference between power and influence cards is not clear to me.

Availability
I found no information about price and or preordering here.

Conclusion as per 21th of May
I fear this is a game where the players are reading the available cards and I see some similarity with Tournay, a game I already own.
I would like to see the game board and some more cards, and it's abilities.
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6. Board Game: Briefcase [Average Rating:6.32 Overall Rank:4193]
Board Game: Briefcase
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Designer: Nikolas Sakaloglou, Sotirios Tsantilas
Artist: Antonis Papantoniou
Publisher: Artipia Games
Year Published: 2012
# of Players: 2 − 4
Playing Time: 45 minutes
Mfg Suggested Ages: 10 and up
Language Dependence: No necessary in-game text
Category: Economic
Mechanic: Deck / Pool Building, Hand Management

Board Game: Briefcase

Picture by bgg user 3pod

Eyeopener
Briefcase is a deck building game in an interesting setting.

Preparation
I read the rulebook which is well written and extensive.

Theme
Build your agglomerate of companies.

Game play
This deck building game is driven by your hand of decision cards. There are buy cards, block cards and activate cards. Next to that there are ten different building cards in the game which are differently shaped.
You start with one power plant which will provide you energy. With buy cards you can obtain resources, paper, steel, staff or concrete or, if you have the resources at stock, you can buy (found) a new company. When playing the activation card you activate a company placing the company in production. The company then will provide resources, decision cards or special abilities.
With a blocking card you can block or unblock resources or a company.
At your turn you have four decision cards at hand and you can play them all.
At the central bank you can get rid of decision cards and cash them in for victory points.

Components and artwork
The company cards look very nice, the decision cards and resources look a bit less inspiring.

First Thoughts
In this deck building game the blocking resources and a company adds some nastiness to the game. I played three other deck building games: Ascension, Dominion, Tanto Cuore and Thunderstone. I think this has most interaction.
I like the suggestions made for available cards per game. A suggested fast game, complex game etc are outlined.

Availability
The game can be purchased at the Artipia webshop for eu28, no information on shipping costs.

Conclusion as per 23th of May
Would I prefer another deck building game or should I buy an expansion of Tanto Cuore?
 
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7. Board Game: Richelieu [Average Rating:6.72 Overall Rank:6691]
Board Game: Richelieu
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Designer: Olivier Lamontagne
Artist: Marco Morte
Publisher: White Goblin Games, Cranio Creations
Year Published: 2012
# of Players: 2 − 4
Playing Time: 60 minutes
Mfg Suggested Ages: 10 and up
Language Dependence:
Category: Bluffing, Political
Mechanic: Area Control / Area Influence

Board Game: Richelieu

Picture by bgg user henk.rolleman

Eyeopener
Bluffing and intriguing are elements of this White Goblin production.

Preparation
I read the four page rulebook. Though I had to read it twice, it is well written and this is no complex game.

Theme
Obtain prestige at the court of Cardinal Richelieu. Deploy your agents so that you are supporting the cardinal or the opposition.

Game play
On the game board you find three places for confrontations between the cardinal and the opposition. These are called intrigues in the game. The opposition can be the English, French, Habsburgs or Protestants. The intrigue consists of one tile of the cardinal and one of one side of the opposition. These tiles contain places for the players' agents.
Each player has ten agents at the game start. These are valued -2, 1, 2 or 3.

There are also three tracks on the board: income track, military track and prestige track. You try to obtain most prestige but if you get past the cardinal you only have one action where the players behind the cardinal can do two actions.
There are four possible actions;
- Collect income,
- place an agent on an intrigue (this is the only action you can do twice on your turn), you pay the amount indicated on the spot for placing and two extra if you place a second agent during your turn. If you opt to place an agent on a 0-spot, this agent is played open.
- pay provision to advance at the military track,
- sell a jewel for 5 or buy one for 8.

When one of the two tiles per intrigue is full the intrigue is solved. The agents are revealed and the value for the factions are calculated. In case of a draw the cardinal prevails.
The biggest and second biggest contributer to a faction gets bonuses and the cardinal moves some spots on the prestige track. The biggest contributer also gets the tile. The possible bonuses to be gained can be prestige, money, income, military influence, free placement of an agent, corruption meaning that you can move another player's agent to another spot or you can place a help in the form of the Queen or the Eminence Grise.

At the end of the game you can gain bonus points. The number of tiles give you bonuses as displayed on the board. Your income and military influence also counts as points and per jewel you get four points.

Components and artwork
The city-like game board looks good to me. White Goblin takes well care of component quality.

First thoughts
Why is England pink and France orange? This is a game with hidden agents, corruption, bluffing and tension. Did you deploy your agents successfully or do they sort no effect. I guess this game shines when you play with four even though there is a variant for two.

Availability
Richelieu is actually a pre Essen release by White Goblin. I have been told it could hit the shops about now. Price is around eu34.

Conclusion as per 24th May 2012
Richelieu raised my attention!
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8. Board Game: Fleet [Average Rating:6.94 Overall Rank:867]
Board Game: Fleet
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Designer: Ben Pinchback, Matt Riddle
Artist: Eric J. Carter
Publisher: Gryphon Games
Year Published: 2012
# of Players: 2 − 4
Playing Time: 30 minutes
Mfg Suggested Ages: 10 and up
Language Dependence: Some necessary text - easily memorized or small crib sheet
Category: Card Game, autical
Mechanic: Auction/Bidding, Hand Management

Board Game: Fleet

Picture by bgg user ckirkman

Eyeopener
Nice theme, short card game.

Preparation
I read the well written, nice illustrated and extensive rulebook.

Theme
Get fishing licenses and corresponding ships manned and go out to sea fishing.

Game play
Every player gets at start the seven different boat cards available. These boat cards can act as a ship, it also can act as money as it has a value and it can act as a captain.
A round consist of four phases.
Each round starts with an auction of licenses, for each player there will be a license card available. After bidding the license is placed open in front of the owner.
The license card allows the owner to deploy a fishing boat of the same type. And on top of that each license gives the owner an advantage. These advantages can be drawing extra cards, get discounts or extra victory points.
After the auction boats can be launched, if the player has a license for doing so, with paying the appropriate cost and optionally hire a captain so that the boat can go out fishing.
The next phase is fishing. Each combination of boat and captain gets a blue fish crate cube places on the cards. Each boat has a maximum capacity of four crates.
The last phase of a round is processing. A cube may be placed from a fishing boat on to a processing vessel if the player has such a license. After that a cube from a processing vessel may be traded for drawing a boat card from the stockpile. The fish crate cube is removed from the game.
The game ends when there no sufficient licenses for a next auction or all fishing crate cubes have been used.

Components and artwork
The artwork looks very good! The licenses look to be of a nice big size.

First thoughts
The icongraphy used on the license cards is not overly clear but I understood there is a player aid.

Availability
It has been Kickstarted very successfully with funding over 600% of the initial goal. Price exclusive shipping was usd20.

Conclusion as per 26th of May
If Fleet will be available at Spiel 2012 I will give it a look.
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9. Board Game: Chicken Caesar [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:3361]
Board Game: Chicken Caesar
Yellohat
Germany
Emmerich am Rhein
NRW
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Designer: Bryan Fischer, John Sizemore
Artist: Bryan Fischer
Publisher: Nevermore Games
Year Published: 2012
# of Players: 3 − 6
Playing Time: 90 minutes
Mfg Suggested Ages: 12 and up
Language Dependence: (no votes yet)
Category: Ancient, Humor, Negotiation, Political
Mechanic: Area Control / Area Influence, voting

Board Game: Chicken Caesar

Image by bgg user skipsizemore

Eyeopener
A political democratic game with Roman chickens containing voting, backstabbing and bluffing.

Theme
Get roosters of your family high in the hierarchy for power and points.

Preparation
I read the rulebook. It is well written though you have really to get used to the Latin terminology. I also watched Tom Vasel's preview. Tom did a splendid job explaining though I heard a few omissions.

Game play
The game board represents a chicken coop with various offices. In Ceasar's office, the highest office, there is place for one, just like the Censor's. In the Consuls' office there is place for three just like the lower offices, the guards and tax collectors.
Each player receives a number of chickens in his color, each chicken has a card and a pawn. At setup all offices are filled.

Each round, except the first, starts with promotions of chickens. All places in the offices must be occupied. And your chickens may advance from lower offices. Election comes through voting where nominating a rooster of you costs you money.
After that the tax collectors are going to determine the tax rate, one to five. In doing so they also set the number of traitor guards. The guards house is next. A deck of ten cards is formed. The number of foxes shown in the tax rate table determines the number of traitors. The other guards are loyal guards. The cards are placed next to all offices except Ceasar's.
Then the censor may exile a chicken.
Then all players Then the consuls see if they take a bribe of three money for upgrading a grave of a dead chicken.
Then there is the reward phase where all officers get a token of the office they are vacating and Ceasar get money equal to the tax rate and the tax collectors get the same amount minus one.
Then the attack phase follows. If an office has more traitors than loyal guards death occurs. The number of deaths per office is set by the number of traitors, typically one or all officers die. If one, or two, die, voting for the victim occurs.
Ceasar dies when one other chicken dies or when he was in his second term.

If one player's chickens all are dead, no sufficient chickens are there to fill vacant spots or if the stock of office tokens is depleted, the game ends. Scoring is via a table where higher office tokens cash in more points. Remaining cash is also points.

Components and artwork
It looks as very solid.

First thoughts
The theme adds fun and raised my attention. Killing is an essential part of the game in order to clean up spaces in the office. This game may contain a lot of voting and thus politics.

Availability
It can be preordered here for usd50, sales will start this August. No notes on shipment costs.

Conclusion as per 28th of May
A political game is lacking in my collection. It surely contains a lot of interaction. I marked Chicken Caesar.

My notes 5th of June
Nevermore games will not be present at Spiel 2012.
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10. Board Game: Snowdonia [Average Rating:7.40 Overall Rank:452]
Board Game: Snowdonia
Yellohat
Germany
Emmerich am Rhein
NRW
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Designer: Tony Boydell
Artist: Tony Boydell, Klemens Franz, Charlie Paull
Publisher: Lookout Games, Surprised Stare Games Ltd
Year Published: 2012
# of Players: 1 − 5
Playing Time: 45 minutes
Mfg Suggested Ages: 8 and up
Language Dependence: (no votes yet)
Category: Trains
Mechanic: Worker Placement

From gallery of tonyboydell

Picture by bgg user tonyboydell

Eyeopener
This is a worker placement train game in Wales, late 19th century. It was one of the hottest items at the UK Games Expo May this year.

Preparation
I read the draft rulebook and the author's blog. The rulebook needs some rewriting. There is also this very interesting review.

Theme
Snowdonia is about constructing a mountain railway to Snowdon in Wales. I am not sure but it seems that you can also build Eisenbahn to the Jungfraujoch in Switzerland.

Game play
At game start you have a route in front of you. It starts at the foot of the mountain and the route is planned, only the ways need to be excavated and underway buildings like stations and viaducts are required to built. Try to contribute most to this project having an eye at the moody Welsh weather.

Before everybody starts the weather is determined. Good weather means that your workers can excavate or lay track better then during rainy days. These activities are even impossible when it is misty.
This is a worker placement game. Players first place their worker pawns. A player can choose from various actions:
- Obtain raw materials like stone, iron and or coal.
- Excavate to remove rubble from building or track sites.
- At the works you can make stone from rubble or rods from iron ore.
- Lay track.
- Contribute to a building or purchase a train.
- Obtain a bonus card.
- Move the surveyor.
After placing the workers, the actions are resolved.
When you complete a task you may claim it so that you gain points.
The train, you can have only one at the same time, can give you an extra worker in exchange for one coal. Each train also gives you enhanced options. So do the bonus cards, they can give you extra help during your actions and bonus points at the end of a game.
At the end of a round new cards appear and the stockyard is restocked from a drawing bag. In the drawing bag you can also find event cubes. These trigger that one work in progress, meaning a building, train, excavation or track laying is completed by the game. I even see a negative event, I guess it means that a train crashes or a track is removed.
The game ends when the last piece of track is completed. You get points from the completed tracks and building parts as well from bonuses. One train gives you bonus points. The surveyor also gives you points equal to the value of the building or site where he is standing.

Components and Artwork
The components look solid and the artwork by Klemens Franz looks very pretty.

First thoughts
There is something in this game that excites me. I watched this video about the real Snowdon Railway and another video about the Jungfraujochbahn.

Availability
Expected price is eu40. The game can be preordered at feedback@surprisedstaregames.co.uk.

Conclusion as per 31st of May
I will seriously consider this game.

My notes of 8th of June
Preordered!
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11. Board Game: Ground Floor [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:1280]
Board Game: Ground Floor
Yellohat
Germany
Emmerich am Rhein
NRW
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Designer: David Short
Artist: Ariel Seoane
Publisher: Tasty Minstrel Games
Year Published: 2012
# of Players: 2 − 6
Playing Time: 90 minutes
Mfg Suggested Ages: 12 and up
Language Dependence: Some necessary text - easily memorized or small crib sheet
Category: City Building, Economic, Industry / Manufacturing
Mechanic: Worker Placement

Board Game: Ground Floor

Picture by bgg user ckirkman

Eyeopener
A worker placement economic game that is highly successful on Kickstarter.

Preparation
The extensive rulebook is well written and well explaining.

Theme
Run a modern day business.

Game play
The game board represents the main city and you also have an own board where your own enterprise is formed. Your own company will grow during the game.
At the start of each round you receive income and then you may hire employees. If you are highest on the popularity scale you may hire first so you can obtain the cheaper workers before any other player.
Ground floor is a worker placement. At your turn you may place time tokens, each worker gives you a certain amount of time tokens and these tokens can be employed at various places. You can obtain information at the consulting firm, at the advertising company you can raise your popularity, at the warehouse you can acquire supplies and at the factory you can produce goods which will be sold at the outlet sale. Economic forecast cards will dictate the income created at the outlet sale. Finally at the construction firm you can expand your own office with an additional floor.
The floors and there are 18 different ones, in your own office will create extra in-game abilities and the points you need to win the game.
In your own office you can remodel the office and or train your staff.

Components and artwork
The artwork is breathing the theme, working at the office. And that office looks clean and in neutral colors. The additional floors for your building pieces look great so you may construct an impressive tower flat containing your company.

Availability
The game can be Kickstarted, Essen pickup for usd50.

First thoughts
It looks a bit too much as work.

Conclusion as per 1st of June
I see the theme very present in this game, it works.
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12. Board Game: Mercante [Average Rating:6.64 Overall Rank:4481]
Board Game: Mercante
Yellohat
Germany
Emmerich am Rhein
NRW
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Designer: Jeff Tidball
Artist: Andrew Hepworth, Jeff Himmelman
Publisher: Alderac Entertainment Group
Year Published: 2012
# of Players: 3 − 5
Playing Time: 60 minutes
Mfg Suggested Ages: 12 and up
Language Dependence: (no votes yet)
Category: Economic, Renaissance
Mechanic: Auction/Bidding, Commodity Speculation, Variable Player Powers, Worker Placement

Eyeopener
This is one of the three games from AEG's Tempest series. A highly interactive economic game. Somewhere I found this game described as an economic warfare game.

Preparation
I read the well written and nicely illustrated rulebook.

Game play
At game start each player gets an own player board which houses a warehouse and place for an additional two warehouse to store goods. Each warehouse has capacity three. Then a house power card is given to each player to gain an extra ability. Then all players get each two agents, two contract cards, two event cards and cash.
In this game there are sixteen different types of goods and they come in four different categories.
There is also an agenda holding three event cards. Event cards indicate price drops and or raises in goods or categories of goods. A new card is placed on top, the rest shift one below and the fourth card then is discarded.

Each player turn starts with an optional upkeep phase. This will only happen if the starting player of that round has the upkeep marker. This upkeep is a bit cleaning up, but as the upkeep marker is given to the player counter clock wise it happens a bit more often than a player has turns.
Then the player auctions one shipment. The player can choose to auction the shipment good by good or as one party. Each player may place one bid, or pass, where the active player is last to say. The winning bid is payed to the bank.
After the auction the player may get his agents and assign them to eight possible tasks.
- Buy a victory point
- Intelligence: inspect the event, shipment or contract deck and replace the cards in his desired order.
- Dockworkers: deliver goods to the central market to earn money and to fulfill contracts. When a sale is being done all player have the opportunity to play an event card, containing the good on sale, before the final price is set.
Optionally a player may also sell goods at his own bazaar to get three crowns money for each good sold.
- Improve: purchase an additional agent or warehouse.
- Manipulate events: draw one card and play one or draw an additional card.
- Security: protect a warehouse against theft from other players.
- Contract: draw two contract cards and keep one. Taking upon a contract will bring you cash and is a way of earning victory points. But if you meet to fail the contract you will get penalty points.
- Skulduggery: you may steal a good from an unsecured warehouse or from the discard pile.

The game ends is there are no more shipment cards, if the turn track is completed or if somebody has 80 crowns money. The goods at his warehouse will be sold for three crowns each.

Components and artwork
Three games bearing the same theme is awesome and the artwork really really looks very nice. I cannot say a lot yet about the components.

First thoughts
The nasty interaction is in adjusting prices and stealing goods. And there are the auctions. I am not sure how much this nasty interaction will work in my playgroup as we tend to focus on our own strengths in stead of blocking somebody else.
And I see a lot of bookkeeping in this game.

Availability
I found no prices or opportunity for reserving on the Alderac website.

Conclusion as per 4th of June
This is a one hour economic game with a lots of goods and turbulence.
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13. Board Game: Kill the Overlord [Average Rating:5.98 Overall Rank:7205]
Board Game: Kill the Overlord
Yellohat
Germany
Emmerich am Rhein
NRW
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Designer: D. Brad Talton, Jr.
Artist: Victoria Parker
Publisher: APE Games
Year Published: 2012
# of Players: 4 − 8
Playing Time: 30 minutes
Mfg Suggested Ages: 13 and up
Language Dependence: (no votes yet)
Category: Card Game, Medieval, Political
Mechanic: Hand Management

Eyeopener
A light political party game with nice artwork.

Preparation:
The two page non illustrated rulebook is well written. There is a game page on the publisher's website and on the Kickstarter page there is a nice explaining video.

Game play
This is a not too difficult character game where personalities get executed. After an execution round the surviving players get a promotion, thus a different role. The players who died start at the bottom.
The goal is to get the highest rank, the overlord and have 40 gold pieces or eliminate all other player in a round.

At game turn all players get two plot card as long as the hand limit, standard four, it still allows. Then all players get income as shown on their character card.
The overlord passes an execution card to another player. And that player then has to defend himself using a block card, this is one category of plot cards.
There are other cards in the game such as a retaliate card that can cancel the effect of a previous played card. Other cards are book cards which can only be played if the player has no block cards. Book cards can change the faith of the execution order but these can be answered.
Another type card is the 'plead guilty', this can be played by an other player to draw the execution card from the player who is just about to be executed to himself.
If the overlord gets executed a round ends, if not, the overlord passes the card to another player. If the overlord succeeds in executing all other player he or she automatically wins.

Components and artwork
The character roles and plot cards are very nicely drawn. The character cards will have a male and a female side. Box size is like Citadels.

First thoughts
The quality in the game is in the quality of play of the plot cards. This is a game where you can die without being eliminated, so you might die a few times and still win.

Availability
The game can be Kickstarted until 23th of June for usd25 including worldwide shipping, expected delivery August this year.

Conclusion as per 4th of June
This is a game that can be explained easily. The artwork is to be liked and maybe there is place for a political game on my shelves.

My notes 4th of June
APE games will not be present at Spiel 2012.
 
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14. Board Game: Tanto Cuore: Expanding the House [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:2511] [Average Rating:7.57 Unranked]
Board Game: Tanto Cuore: Expanding the House
Yellohat
Germany
Emmerich am Rhein
NRW
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Data
Designer: Masayuki Kudou
Artist: COMTA, Takahito Ekuchi, Takuya Fujima, Kira Inugami, Ishigaa, KEI, Souji Kusaka, Misa Matoki, Rin Minase, Miki Miyashita, Misoka Nagatsuki, Poyoyon Rock, Ruchie, Mutsumi Sasaki, Satoru Satou, Mushimaro Tachikawa, Yuiko Tokui
Publisher: Arclight, Japanime Games
Year Published: 2010
# of Players: 2 − 4
Playing Time: 45 minutes
Mfg Suggested Ages: 12 and up
Language Dependence: Moderate in-game text - needs crib sheet or paste ups
Category: Card Game
Mechanic: Card Drafting, Deck / Pool Building, Hand Management

Board Game: Tanto Cuore: Expanding the House

Image by bgg user binraix

Eyeopener
Tanto Cuore is my favorite deckbuilding game. Actually it is the only one in my collection. I am looking forward to expanding the set.

Preparation
I read the rulebook and watched the effects of the cards in the picture gallery.

Game play
As expected, Tanto Cuore: Expanding the House is played very similar to Tanto Cuore. This expansion can be played on it own and it can be combined with the original Tanto Cuore.
At your turn you use your hand cards playing one action and one purchase. Then you discard all cards and draw five new cards for your hand. In the game you can remove maid cards from your deck by putting them in your private quarters. If you have a private maid in your private quarters they give you an ability at each of your turn's start. Only your newest private maid gives you such an ability.

There are new maids with new abilities and some maids add some player interaction to the game. Also new are the building cards which are in the game in stead of the event cards (sick and bad habit cards). Building cards are assets that are added immediately to your private quarters.
The game ends when two maid decks are depleted. Some cards have points on them, the winner is the player with most points.

Artwork and components
A lot of artists have been involved in creating the artwork for this manga themed card game. It looks awesome! Most of the girls look very cute and a few look a bit naughty.
I presume the card quality of the expansion is the same as the original and that is high.

First thoughts
I enjoy every game of Tanto Cuore a lot and so does my playing companion.

Availability
Tanto Cuore and Tanto Cuore: Expanding the house will be available at Spiel 2012.

Conclusion as per 5th of June
This game is hard to obtain in Europe so Spiel is the opportunity to get a Tanto Cuore expansion.
 
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15. Board Game: Di Renjie [Average Rating:6.05 Overall Rank:9815]
Board Game: Di Renjie
Yellohat
Germany
Emmerich am Rhein
NRW
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Designer: Ta-Te Wu
Artist:
Publisher: Sunrise Tornado Game Studio
Year Published: 2012
# of Players: 2 − 6
Playing Time: 30 minutes
Mfg Suggested Ages: 10 and up
Language Dependence: (no votes yet)
Category: Bluffing, Card Game, Deduction, Movies / TV / Radio theme, Murder/Mystery
Mechanic: Hand Management, Set Collection

External image

Picture from Sunrise Tornade website

Eyeopener
An East Asian themed deduction card game.

Preparation
I read the rules in Dutch.

Theme
The game looks a bit like clue with cards, but it has a few nice twists. The game is named after a ruler from acient China.

Gameplay
In the game there are serveral different cards; 5 weapon, 5 location and 6 victim cards. One card of each is drawn and placed under the box to determine the planned murder activity which has the group to find out. Of each card mentioned before, there are in total three copies for each.
Each player is given a hand full of cards, the quantity depends of the number of players.
Each player round goes as follows:
- Reveal a played clue, this can only be done if the player placed a clue in his previous round. The player then reveals the top card of the clue which is a stack of three cards.
- Ask for cards, the player can make his demand. The other players then can, not obligatory, give the player a card, or of the same type or wearing the same number.
- Play a clue, the player may place a stack of three cards. The top two cards have to be equal but the bottom card may be a 'victim' card. Each player is given one unique victim card at the start of the game. The card contains a number.
- Pick a card from the stack, this can also be two cards.

Components and artwork
I like the artwork of this cardgame.

First thoughts
I initially enjoyed Clue, years ago. And this looks like a good reimplementation of the best of Clue. This is a quick, not too hard cardgame with lovely Chinese artwork.

Availability
The game total print run is 1000. It can be purchased at Essen but then there are only 160 copies available at eu8,00 each. See here.

Conclusion as per 7th July
I preordered.
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