Nürnberg/New York 2015 Preview
W. Eric Martin
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From gallery of W Eric Martin
As in 2014, I'm previewing games being shown at the 2015 Nürnberg and New York toy fairs in a single GeekList. The game market is an international market — with publishers selling around the world and players buying from wherever they need to in order to get games they want — so combining these previews makes sense.

Some background about the two conventions: The 66th Spielwarenmesse – the International Toy Fair in Nürnberg, Germany – takes place January 28 to February 2, 2015, while the 112th annual American International Toy Fair in New York is held Feb. 14-17, 2015.

Note that, unlike at the Spiel game convention in October, many games previewed in Nürnberg and New York won't be available for purchase immediately, instead appearing in stores over the next few months. Think of this list as a preview of what you might see appear in stores throughout the first half of 2015 (although some games won't appear until Q3/Q4 2015).

I'll be visiting both Nürnberg and New York to record game demos of the titles on display there. Feel free to suggest other games to add to this Preview via email (wericmartin AT gmail.com) or in the comments section!
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Board Game Publisher: KOSMOS
Board Game Publisher: KOSMOS
76. Board Game: Lost Cities [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:315]
Board Game: Lost Cities
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2
Playing time: 30 minutes
Suggested ages: 10 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
English
Description:

Lost Cities is a card game in the Kosmos two-player series. The game originally consisted of a single deck of cards of rank 2–10 in five different colors with three special "handshakes" ("HS" in scoring examples below) in each suit, but as of 2019 the game now includes six colored suits, with the sixth color being optional for gameplay. A game board is included to organize discarded cards and help players organize their card collections.

The object of the game is to gain points by mounting profitable archaeological expeditions to the different sites represented by the colored suits of cards. On a player's turn, they must first play one card, either to an expedition or by discarding it to the color-appropriate discard pile, then draw one card, either from the deck or from the top of a discard pile. Cards played to expeditions must be in ascending order, but they need not be consecutive. Handshakes are considered lower than a 2 and represent investments in an expedition. Thus, if you play a red 4, you may play any other red card higher than a 4 on a future turn but may no longer play a handshake, the 2, or the 3.

The game continues in this fashion with players alternating turns until the final card is taken from the deck. The rest of the cards in hand are then discarded and players score their expeditions. Each expedition that has at least one card played into it must be scored. Cards played into an expedition are worth their rank in points, and handshakes count as a multiplier against your final total; one handshake doubles an expedition's value, while two handshakes triples that value and three handshakes quadruple it. Expeditions start at a value of -20, so you must play at least 20 points of cards into an expedition in order to make a profit. If you are left with a negative value and have a handshake, the multiplier still applies. A 20-point bonus is awarded to every expedition with at least eight cards played into it. A complete game of Lost Cities lasts three matches, with scores for each match being added together.

Scoring example 1: An expedition has a 2,3,7,8,10 for a total of 30. This expedition is worth 10 total points: 30 plus the initial -20.

Scoring example 2: An expedition has 2 HS, and 4,5,6,7,8,10 for a total of 40. This expedition is worth 80 total points: 40 points for cards, plus the initial -20, ×3 for the two multipliers, plus the 20-pt bonus for playing 8+ cards.

Scoring example 3: An expedition has 1 HS, and 4,6,7 for a total of 17. This expedition is worth -6 total points: 17 plus the initial -20, ×2 for the multiplier.

Other Information: • Price $20

• Returning to the U.S. market from original publisher KOSMOS in English.
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77. Board Game: Lost Cities: The Board Game [Average Rating:6.81 Overall Rank:1132]
Board Game: Lost Cities: The Board Game
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 4
Playing time: 30 − 60 minutes
Suggested ages: 8 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
English
Description:

Redevelopment of Lost Cities, first published with altered rules as Keltis, and then published by Rio Grande as Lost Cities: The Board Game with Knizia's original rules and theme.

  • Reiner Knizia: "The original version that we developed is exactly what Jay [Tummelson, owner of Rio Grande Games] has now published [LCBG]"

Primary differences between Lost Cities: The Board Game and Keltis:

1. In LCBG you play 3 rounds, scoring at the end of all 3 for the monuments you collect. (Normal scoring occurs each round.) In Keltis, you only play 1 round, and score everything each round. This is not just a rule difference, as the scoring is different for the monuments/stones based on the number collected.

2. In Keltis, you may play your cards in either order, descending, high to low, or ascending, low to high. In LCBG, you must play in ascending order.

Note: the rules for LCBG have the Keltis rules as variants, and have the board elements necessary for #1 above. Keltis does not have the rules nor board elements to play LCBG.

  • Kosmos (Keltis publisher) changed the card play to ascending and descending order to lower the luck level and add balance to the game.
  • Kosmos changed the theme to fit in with other Kosmos abstract game series.

There are more differences, which are non-substantive. Lost Cities: The Board Game has a different-looking board, tiles and figures (meeples) to connect with its predecessor. Card-play in descending order is an optional variant in this edition. The numbers have been multiplied by 5 to strengthen the relation to the card game, and instead of a scoring track you collect your points as golden coins.


From the Keltis entry:

Players play cards to move their playing pieces along stone paths. There are cards with 5 different colors/symbols, each corresponding to one path; in addition, each card shows a number (0-10, twice each). In each color, each player can play his cards either ascending or descending. Like Lost Cities, it's better to concentrate on a few paths, since the last spaces grants high points, but ending early gives negative ones.

The player in turn plays one card (out of a hand of 8), or discards one. He moves the corresponding playing piece on the path. Many of the spaces have a token that grants some bonus - either direct points (counted on the scoring track), an extra move on a path, or wish stones that are needed at game end to avoid negative points.

The game ends when a total of 5 playing pieces have reached the 7th space (or more) on their paths. Now, scoring happens:

  • Pieces which only moved 1-3 steps give negative points (-4, -3, -2).
  • Pieces with 4+ steps grant points (1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 10).
  • One piece of each player is higher and scores double.
  • Fewer than two wish stones grants negative points (-3 / -4)
  • 5+ wish stones yield a bonus of 10 points.
  • All this is added to the points scored during the game
Other Information: • Price $40

• Returning to the U.S. market from original publisher KOSMOS in English.
 
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78. Board Game: Lumis: Der Pfad des Feuers [Average Rating:6.36 Overall Rank:8752]
Board Game: Lumis: Der Pfad des Feuers
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 4
Playing time: 30 minutes
Suggested ages: 10 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
German
Description:

Whether as a team game for four players or a duel for two, players in Lumis: Der Pfad des Feuers must create a path of glowing fire stones that connect to their tower blocks on the game board.

Lumis is an abstract connection game in the tradition of classics like Hex and Twixt with each player (or team) trying to create a path from one side of the game board to its opposite side, but with the opposition working at cross purposes. To start the game, each side places tower blocks on the game board, then tries to build connections between these tower blocks using cards that match the colored spaces on the board. Once you have connected to a tower block, it's yours, but until you do so, the opponent can steal it from you.

The first player or team to make a complete connection wins!

Other Information: • Price €35

Board Game: Lumis: Der Pfad des Feuers
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79. Board Game: Panik Pilze [Average Rating:5.95 Unranked]
Board Game: Panik Pilze
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 4
Playing time: 15 minutes
Suggested ages: 7 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
German
Description:

Players score points for having the most mushroom baskets in Panik Pilze, and to make this happen players should collect as many different types of fungi as possible. Also, you might want to lay your hands on the baskets owned by other players...

Other Information: • Price €7
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80. Board Game: Ratzeputz [Average Rating:6.20 Unranked]
Board Game: Ratzeputz
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 4
Playing time: 20 minutes
Suggested ages: 4 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
German
Description:

A lot is going on the vegetable garden, and in Ratzeputz the small gardeners need to work with Till the dwarf to plant and harvest the colorful carrots. But watch out as underneath the garden bed Ratzeputz lives with his insatiable family of rabbits — and carrots, as is well known, are their favorite food.

As soon as the young gardeners plant a new turnip, hungry Ratzeputz immediately comes out to see what's present, and as the players rotate the garden turntable the cheeky rabbit will move with it. If they have bad luck, then "plop!" — the carrot falls down a rabbit hole. Gardeners can be unlucky at harvest, too, with the rabbits also being happy to take home a turnip.

In the end, whoever has the most carrots wins! Ratzeputz includes two levels of difficulty and bonus game rules for children ages five and up.

Other Information: • Price €30

Board Game: Ratzeputz
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81. Board Game: Tschakka Lakka: Die rasante Würfeljagd nach dem Tempelschatz [Average Rating:6.01 Overall Rank:13158]
Board Game: Tschakka Lakka: Die rasante Würfeljagd nach dem Tempelschatz
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 4
Playing time: 20 minutes
Suggested ages: 8 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
German
Description:

Deep in the jungle lies the unexplored temple of the Mayan god Tschakka Lakka. Exploring together with Raccoon Jones, the players will try to uncover the precious treasures of the temple — but the loot comes closer only when you roll the matching temple symbols on the dice.

Will you be able to salvage the treasures in Tschakka Lakka: Die rasante Würfeljagd nach dem Tempelschatz? Will you be a lucky explorer and make it out in time with the temple's precious relics?

Other Information: • Price €20
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82. Board Game: Ubongo [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:1009] [Average Rating:6.71 Unranked]
Board Game: Ubongo
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 1 − 4
Playing time: 25 minutes
Suggested ages: 8 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
German
Description:

In Ubongo, players compete to solve individual puzzles as quickly as they can to get first crack at the gems on hand for the taking.

Original edition:
The game board consists of six rows, with twelve gems (of various colors) placed in these rows. At the start of play, each player places his pawn in front of one of those rows. Each player also takes twelve polyominoes — that is, pieces consisting of 2-5 squares in some configuration; players use these pieces each round to try to recreate shapes.

At the start of a round, each player receives a puzzle card that depicts a shape created by some number of squares; one side of this card depicts six rows of 3 pieces, the other side depicts six rows of 4 pieces, for a more difficult puzzle. When everyone is ready, someone rolls a die to determine which row of pieces each player can use to recreate the shape on their individual card. The race is timed by a sand timer, and the outcome of this race determines the action on the main playing board.

Whoever first solves their puzzle in time gets to move their pawn up to three rows left or right, with the second player to finish moving two rows and the third player only one row. Players then collect two gems from the front of the row where their pawn is located, which means that the more rows you can move, the more control you have over which color gems you can collect. After collecting gems, each player receives a new puzzle card, and a new round begins.

After nine rounds, the game ends and whoever has collected the most gems in a single color wins! If players tie, then those players compare who has the most gems in a second color, and so on.

2015 edition:
The puzzle-part of the game remains the same, but the scoring track and system has been greatly changed, to be the same as in Ubongo Extreme. There are no pawns anymore, but instead the winner takes a 3-point gem plus a random gem, the second-place player takes a 1-point gem plus a random gem, and others who finish within time take just a random gem. Whoever scores the most gem-points after nine rounds wins the game.

Other Information: • Price €33 or $40

• This edition includes a "Play-it-smart" app that allows players to play ''Ubongo'' on a solitaire basis. In addition, the app can replace the sand timer included in the game, and it can even be set up with dual timers so that children and new gamers have more time than adults and experienced players.

Board Game: Ubongo
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83. Board Game: UGO! [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:3249]
Board Game: UGO!
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 4
Playing time: 40 minutes
Suggested ages: 10 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
German
Description:

In UGO!, players try to found a mighty kingdom. Eagerly they expand their empire with more and more countries – but only the areas that are well maintained by farmers shall ensure that a truly flourishing kingdom will be founded.

UGO! is a trick-taking game. The starting player plays a card from hand, then in clockwise order the other players play a card of the same color, if possible, while playing a different color otherwise. The one who plays the highest card takes all the others. In a tie, the player who follows suit wins. If none of the players followed suit, then the first one wins.

The winner places the cards on his kingdom cards, starting from left to right and sorted by color. If you have nothing on your kingdom cards yet, you can sort the cards from left to right in any order. However, if you do have cards already on your kingdom, you must place them on top of the other matching colors (countries). As soon as you have placed the cards and started a new game round, you may not change them anymore. The winner of the game round is also the starting player of the next one.

Other Information: • Price €13
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84. Board Game: Unser Sandmännchen und seine Freunde [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Unser Sandmännchen und seine Freunde
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 6
Playing time: 10 minutes
Suggested ages: 3 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
German
Description:

In Unser Sandmännchen und seine Freunde, the little Sandman wants to distribute his sleep sand, but the beds of all of his friends are empty. To help the Sandman wish them a good night, players need to find those friends. If they can get the friends to their beds in time, they win the game together.

Other Information: • Price €10

Board Game: Unser Sandmännchen und seine Freunde
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85. Board Game: Von Drachen und Schafen [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:2722]
Board Game: Dragon's Hoard
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 4
Playing time: 25 − 45 minutes
Suggested ages: 8 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
German
Description:

In Dragon's Hoard, each player plays a dragon hunting for treasure. Collect sheep from the farmer's fields and use them to buy treasures, but watch out! Other players will send angry mobs and wizards your way to stop you. Defend yourself and battle your way to riches.

In game terms, players draft cards from a common draw pile before taking their actions. You want to buy as many treasures as you can. Dragons buy treasures with sheep that they've collected, while opponents will play terrible actions against you to keep you from tendering those sheep. Battle to keep your treasure, while trying to stop your opponents from doing the same.

At the end of the game, the player with the most victory points from treasures and bonuses wins!

Other Information: • Price €13

Board Game: Dragon's Hoard
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86. Board Game: Die Welt: Wetten, da liegt Manhattan! [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Die Welt: Wetten, da liegt Manhattan!
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 4
Playing time: 30 minutes
Suggested ages: 10 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
German
Description:

Die Welt: Wetten, da liegt Manhatten! features gameplay similar to Die Welt: Singapur, wo liegt das nur? (which is derived from Deutschland: Finden Sie Minden), with players trying to locate places or landmarks on a world map.

To set up, players lay out game boards that feature land masses with no names on them. On a turn, players are confronted with a location, such as Timbuktu or Medina, then they all try to guess where in the world that location is. They can play it safe and choose a large block of land – scoring only a few points in the process if correct – or they can go small and pinpoint the location more precisely on one of the game boards, scoring far more points if correct, but upping their chances of scoring nothing if they miss their mark. In the end, whoever scores the most points wins.

Die Welt: Wetten, da liegt Manhatten! is playable as a standalone game or the ninety locations included in the box can be used with the Die Welt: Singapur, wo liegt das nur? base game.

Other Information: • Price €7
 
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87. Board Game: Wettpuzzeln auf dem Bauernhof [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Wettpuzzeln auf dem Bauernhof
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 1 − 4
Playing time: 15 minutes
Suggested ages: 4 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
German
Description:

On the farm in Wettpuzzeln auf dem Bauernhof things have been moved around: The cow hides behind the goat shed, the dog is running around the scarecrow, and where is the tractor? Everything is messed up and not even Farmer Paul can be found. Now it's time to quickly find the right parts and clean up the farm once again!

Other Information: • Price €17

Board Game: Wettpuzzeln auf dem Bauernhof
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88. Board Game: ZomBee [Average Rating:5.02 Overall Rank:17450]
Board Game: ZomBee
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 5
Playing time: 10 − 20 minutes
Suggested ages: 7 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
German
Description:

In the dice game ZomBee, you need to stay calm, reveal the right flowers, and (perhaps) get a lucky hand as well because if you reveal a "ZomBee" by mistake, you must lose all of your honey drops.

On your turn, you roll the dice up to three times, trying to give these cubes to your opponents. For each flower on a die, a player must reveal one tile, passing the risk of the other dice to whoever's next.

Other Information: • Price €13

Board Game: ZomBee
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Board Game Publisher: Ludically
Board Game Publisher: Ludically
Video Game Developer: Asmodee
• This publisher is distributed by Asmodee in Germany, France and North America, so you might be able to track rules, release dates and other details by tracking announcements from Asmodee in addition to the original publisher.
89. Board Game: Te Kuiti [Average Rating:6.12 Overall Rank:12371]
Board Game: Te Kuiti
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 1 − 2
Playing time: 20 minutes
Suggested ages: 6 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
English
Description:

Te Kuiti (Teh-KOOO-ee-tee) is a simple game of memory and area control, with each player taking on one of two asymmetric roles. The "sheep" player tries to match two sheep (memory), while the "shepherd" player strategically builds fences to wrangle the stragglers (area control). A fortunate shepherd may find old posts that can be made into quick fences, but an unfortunate shepherd may find a fence ruined by a strong-willed ram. Players score points based on which sheep they find hiding and the number of stragglers they best corral.

After the first game, players swap roles and play a second game. The player who scores the most total points from both games wins!

Other Information: Te Kuiti overview video shot at Spiel 2014 in the BGG booth:

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Board Game Publisher: Mayfair Games
Board Game Publisher: Mayfair Games
90. Board Game: Extra! Extra! [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:5331]
Board Game: Extra! Extra!
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 6
Playing time: 60 − 150 minutes
Suggested ages: 12 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
English
Description:

Extra! Extra! is all about completing the front and back pages of a newspaper, with a mixture of stories of different sizes. The larger the story, the better. Players score bonus points for stories in their speciality, extra material, interviews, and headlines.

In the game, players collect news in six newsworthy subjects: home, world, business, politics, sport, and leisure. To do this, they place their reporters on the news they want to publish, but they can be outbid by other newspaper owners with bigger wallets. Copy and photo cuttings can be obtained from "the morgue"; more reporters can be hired; and news sold to raise capital.

Whoever completes his front and back pages first receives a bonus — but will that player have enough Circulation Points to win?

Other Information: • Price $65
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91. Board Game: Flea Market [Average Rating:5.50 Overall Rank:15912]
Board Game: Flea Market
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 3 − 5
Playing time: 20 − 40 minutes
Suggested ages: 8 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
English
Description:

It's Market Day, so head down to the flea market to see what hidden treasures you can find. As a buyer's agent, you are trying to find popular items, buy them cheap, and sell them for a profit!

If you are the first player to earn $45 in Flea Market, you win!


Game Summary
Players start with some money and 2d6. The goods tokens are numbered 3-18 and placed on the board. Each turn, the current player rolls 3d6 and that item goes up for auction. If it's another player's item, that player becomes the Auctioneer. Bidders (non-Auctioneers) all roll 2d6 secretly, and are allowed one reroll. Then reveal your dice: from high to low, players get the option to buy the item for the sum of their dice, paying the Auctioneer. If the token belonged to a player, that player also gets a bonus $3-7 (depending on how far in the game you are). If no one buys it, the current player gets it for free (if it's another player's item, they keep it)! The game ends as soon as someone gets $45 = winner!

Other Information: • Price $21
 
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Board Game Publisher: Nürnberger-Spielkarten-Verlag
Board Game Publisher: Nürnberger-Spielkarten-Verlag
92. Board Game: The Game: Spiel...so lange du kannst! [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:997]
Board Game: The Game
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 1 − 5
Playing time: 20 minutes
Suggested ages: 8 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
German
Description:

Players in The Game try to discard all 98 cards in the deck onto four discard piles in order to win, but they need to do so in the right ways.

Each player starts with 6-8 cards in their hand depending on the number of players, and four discard pile prompt cards are on the table: two showing "1" and an up arrow and two showing "100" and a down arrow. On a turn, a player must discard at least two cards from their hand onto one or more discard piles, with cards on the 1 piles being placed in ascending order and cards on the 100 piles being placed in descending order. One tricky aspect of the game is that you can play a card exactly 10 higher/lower than the top card of a discard pile even when you would normally have to play in a descending/ascending order, e.g., if a 100 discard pile is topped with an 87, you can play any card lower than 87 or you can play the 97.

After a player finishes their turn, they refill their hand from the deck. During play, players cannot reveal exact numbers in their hands, but they can warn others not to play on certain discard piles or otherwise make play suggestions.

Once the deck is emptied, players are required only to play at least one card on a turn. If you play all 98 cards, you win! If you get good, the rules suggest that you play at least three cards a turn to increase the challenge.

Other Information: • Price €8
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93. Board Game: Träxx [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:3461]
Board Game: Träxx
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 1 − 4
Playing time: 15 minutes
Suggested ages: 8 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
German
Description:

Each player in Träxx has an erasable game board that features lots of colored hexagons shaped into a larger hexagon, with the numbers 2-10 being scattered across this playing area. While the color and number arrangement is the same on all player boards, the starting point differs on each board. (The second edition of Träxx includes a pad of individual score sheets instead of erasable boards.)

To play, shuffle the deck of fifteen cards, then reveal the top card, which will show four or five colored hexagons. Playing at the same time, each player takes an erasable pen and draws a path on their game board — with this path starting at or at least passing through the starting point on their board — that covers up to as many hexagons as were revealed, with the colors of the hexagons in your path matching those shown on the card. Thus, if the card shows two gray hexagons and one each of blue, red and yellow, then your path can cover at most two gray hexagons and one each of blue, red and yellow.

Once all players have drawn their path, reveal the next card, continuing the path in either direction and covering only as many hexagons of the proper colors as is shown on that card. A path cannot cross itself.

When your path crosses a number, call out that number. If you're the first one to reach it, you'll score that many points at game end; if others have reached it first, you score half this many points, rounded up. Once you've finished all fifteen cards, the game ends and you lose one point for each space not covered. Whoever has the highest score wins!

Other Information: • Price €16

Board Game: Träxx
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Board Game Publisher: Pegasus Spiele
Board Game Publisher: Pegasus Spiele
94. Board Game: Crazy Coconuts [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:903] [Average Rating:7.04 Unranked]
Board Game: Coconuts
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 4
Playing time: 20 minutes
Suggested ages: 6 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
German
Description:

Coconuts is a dexterity game based on the "Monkey King" character from Chinese mythology.

In the game, players launch coconuts toward a field of cups in the middle of the playing area. Land in a cup, and you get to stack it on your player board; land in a cup on someone else's board, and you get to move it to yours. By playing special "Monkey King Magic" cards, you can force opponents to shoot blind, take long shots, or otherwise bollix their efforts to cup a coconut. Whoever first completes a pyramid of six cups on his player board wins!

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95. Board Game: Empire Engine [Average Rating:5.77 Overall Rank:7123]
Board Game: Empire Engine
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 4
Playing time: 30 minutes
Suggested ages: 14 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
German
Description:

Once, the world of Mekannis was united and prospered under the guidance of the Great Engine—an enormous thinking machine built into the molten heart of the world. Over millennia, Mekannis was transformed until every piece of land was incorporated into the gears and levers of the Engine itself. An act of hubris by the world’s rulers caused a series of devastating malfunctions that shattered the land and the death of the Great Engine. Now four empires rise to dominance. The Kestrel Dominion, descending from ancient hereditary rulers and cherishing their ancestral tradition of honor; Nova Centralis, a plutocratic nation built upon exploiting wealth and greatly desirous of maintaining their economic edge; the Sylphian Commonwealth, a once-verdant land now poisoned by the aftereffects of the Engine’s destruction; and the Grail Prelacy, a theocratic nation emboldened by prophecies of ultimate victory. Each empire vies to fulfill the prophecy and restore the Great Engine, the source of ultimate power.

In Empire Engine, players take on the role of a mighty empire, powered by rotating gears. During the game, players simultaneously choose actions to attack, defend, salvage, export, or collect resources (goods for export, soldiers to attack your opponents and inventions to score points). Players use their gears to rotate their engines, and in each round perform the actions on the top edges of their engines. The player who scores the most points for the goods, soldiers and inventions in their score pile at the end of the game is the winner!

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96. Board Game: GemBlo Q [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:10802]
Board Game: GembloQ
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 4
Playing time: 20 − 30 minutes
Suggested ages: 8 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
German
Description:

GembloQ is an abstract strategy game with translucent, colored pieces, each of which is made up of one to five squares. Each player has an identical set of pieces in a unique color, and the goal is to get rid of all of your pieces by placing them on the square game board. The first piece you place must be in the corner close to you, and each subsequent piece must touch the corner of one of your pieces already on the board.

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97. Board Game: Imperial Settlers [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:198] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
Board Game: Imperial Settlers
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 1 − 4
Playing time: 45 − 90 minutes
Suggested ages: 10 and up
Categories:
Mechanics: Show More »
Language:
German
Description:

Settlers from four major powers of the world have discovered new lands, with new resources and opportunities. Romans, Barbarians, Egyptians and Japanese all at once move there to expand the boundaries of their empires. They build new buildings to strengthen their economy, they found mines and fields to gather resources, and they build barracks and training grounds to train soldiers. Soon after they discover that this land is far too small for everybody, then the war begins...

Imperial Settlers is a card game that lets players lead one of the four factions and build empires by placing buildings, then sending workers to those buildings to acquire new resources and abilities. The game is played over five rounds during which players take various actions in order to explore new lands, build buildings, trade resources, conquer enemies, and thus score victory points.

The core mechanism of Imperial Settlers is based on concepts from the author's card game 51st State.

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98. Board Game: Istanbul: Mokka und Bakschisch [Average Rating:7.96 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.96 Unranked]
Board Game: Istanbul: Mocha & Baksheesh
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 5
Playing time: 40 − 60 minutes
Suggested ages: 10 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Expands:
Language:
English
German
Description:

Selling precious fabrics, the finest of spices, and the freshest of fruits in Istanbul was very good for business. But now the customers at the bazaar have discovered a new delicacy: coffee! As the cunning merchant you are, you sense the fortune you can make by selling the tasty bean.

To overcome these new challenges, you will need more help than just that of your assistants. Luckily, for a baksheesh, the guests at the tavern are willing to take a little side job. Also, at the guild hall, you can find the valuable help you need.

The first expansion for Istanbul, the 2014 Kennerspiel des Jahres, Istanbul: Mocha & Baksheesh brings four new places, more interaction between the players, and new ways to gain the coveted rubies. The Bazaar favorite of all gaming enthusiasts just got a little more attractive.

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99. Board Game: Kling Klang Klunker [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:3667]
Board Game: Bling Bling Gemstone
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 6
Playing time: 10 − 20 minutes
Suggested ages: 4 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
German
Description:

Bling Bling Gemstone features the same game play as Justin Oh's Toc Toc Woodman, but now players have more to aim for when they're swinging the axe.

To set up the game, players create a pillar of discs, with each disc having four colored plastic "gem" pieces slid into notches on its side. On a player's turn, the player takes two swings at the disc tower with a plastic pickaxe. If any gems or discs fall from the tower, the player must keep them. Red gems are worth 3 points, pink gems 2, and transparent gems 1, while the center disc is worth -10 points.

When no gems remain in the tower, the game ends and the player with the most points wins!

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100. Board Game: Mage Wars Academy [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:1630] [Average Rating:7.24 Unranked]
Board Game: Mage Wars Academy
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2
Playing time: 30 minutes
Suggested ages: 14 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
German
Description:

Mage Wars Academy features gameplay similar to Mage Wars Arena (née Mage Wars) with two mages in head-to-head combat to see who will be victorious.

Mage Wars Academy is a two-player starter set that features two mages, two spellbooks, and a new "boardless" gameplay design that's more portable and fast-playing than Mage Wars Arena. All of the spell cards included in Academy are compatible with those in Arena.

Multiple core sets (or future expansions) can be added together to create a 3 or 4 player game.

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