Archive for Convention Reports
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W. Eric Martin
Let's check out a few more game overview videos that BGG recorded at Spielwarenmesse 2016 in late January, noting while doing so that you can find all 59 (and counting!) of these videos on the Spielwarenmesse 2016 playlist on BGG's YouTube channel and on the individual game pages in the database.
• Designer Phil Walker-Harding has a number of releases hitting shelves in 2016, including the Egyptian-themed building game Imhotep from KOSMOS, with players serving as architects who are also tasked with loading materials on transport boats and getting those boats to the building sites. Sounds like Egypt's unions weren't strong as those employee responsibilities should be better delineated...
• When I first looked at the components image for Smugglers from Klaus and Benjamin Teuber, I didn't get how it worked, figuring that I'd need to see the game in action to really understand it. Mission accomplished!
• Kirsten Hiese's Kerala: Der Weg der Elefanten is a tile-placement game in which the elephants themselves tell you where to place the tiles — well, sort of.
• Whatever you feel about the game, I'm excited to have learned about Glupschgeister because it led to interesting discussions about translation issues, both with Katarina from KOSMOS and with Sabine and Emily from AMIGO, the latter of whom was born in Canada, so she drew on her native English language background to pull out "bug-eyed" as a decent translation of "glupsch", although she said that term still wasn't ideal. Even so, I invite everyone to now welcome one another by yelling "Glupschgeister!"
• Gunnar Kuhlencord's 90 Grad has been released in a few editions since its debut in 2000, and now Clemens Gerhards has released a beautiful wood version of the design, but "beautiful wood version" is pretty much synonymous with Clemens Gerhards so that shouldn't be a surprise.
• Italian publisher dV Giochi plans to release an expansion for Michael Palm and Lukas Zach's BANG! The Dice Game in 2016, and as with many expansions these days, BANG! The Dice Game – Old Saloon consists of multiple modules that can be combined with the base game individually or in any combination.
W. Eric Martin
• Time for another round-up of some of the game preview videos that BGG recorded at Spielwarenmesse 2016, starting with Kuraki Mura's Happy Pigs from IELLO. I've played the original Swan Panasia release a few times and will confess that after reading the rules I initially didn't expect much from the game, but in practice I found it grossly entertaining. I guess that's why we need to actually play the games before rating or reviewing them...
• Théo Rivière's Sea of Clouds, also from IELLO, is a quasi-card-drafting game of air pirates who want to get what all pirates want to get: A renewed annual contract with the Starz network that guarantees 3% on the back end for DVD sales and merchandise.
• Queen Games was showing a half-dozen titles that it plans to release in 2016, including Piero Cioni's World Monuments, which from the description seems to fall into that midweight family game category that Queen targets with many of its releases.
• Risky Adventure from Anthony Rubbo and Queen Games takes a familiar setting — adventures exploring for stuff in the jungle and desert — and forces you to take more risks during the gameplay itself.
• Designer Desnet Amane first released Dungeon Guilds through his own Moaideas Game Design studio in 2013, and now Queen Games has picked up the title design and has upped the monster quotient 100% in Mighty Monsters.
• I previewed Pierre Buty's SOL from Catch Up Games after taking an early look at the rulebook, and now you can see (a prototype of) the game board for yourself to imagine how characters will be scrambling over the terrain in search of the treasure of the God of the Sun.
W. Eric Martin
My cameraperson John and I have been at Spielwarenmesse 2016 — the annual toy fair in Nürnberg, Germany — only one full day (and two hours of a second day), and we've already recorded a few dozen game overview videos, including Cry Havoc, In the Name of Odin, Bunny Kingdom, Cacao: Chocolatl, and Oceanos (an Antoine Bauza designer from IELLO that I need to add to the database).
Our hotel's Internet connection is miserably slow, so I can't upload any videos from here, but I plan to start posting them the week of February 1, 2016 once I return to the U.S. For now, I've been posting pics of new games (and new editions of old games) via BGG's Twitter account because each photo upload also takes longer than I'd expect it to. Should you care to look at the feed, here's a sample of what I've been posting there:
W. Eric Martin
• Time for another round-up of game preview videos recorded at Spiel 2015, starting with Rising 5, a Mastermind-style game from Gary Kim and Evan Song that layers special powers onto the co-op deduction game.
• Okay, this video isn't quite a preview, but unless you live in Portugal, you're unlikely to have run across Estoril 1942: A Game of Spies from designers Gil d'Orey and Antonio Sousa Lara and d'Orey's MESAboardgames. As d'Orey explains, Estoril in Portugal was a spy hangout during World War II, and players compete to build up their own spy network.
• Designers Nuno Bizarro Sentieiro and Paulo Soledade are known for complex games like Madeira, Panamax, and Nippon, but that's not all that they can do. For evidence I present I Love Portugal, a bare bones deck-building game that MESAboardgames will release in 2016.
• Jun Hwan Mun's Ice Cream from UBO CnC is a quick-playing "take that" card game that has you serving scoops to opponents to put the hurt on them.
• UBO CnC also plans to release Ten Cats by Hiroki Kaneko and Madoka Kitao, a reimplementation of Kitao's Jushimatsu that's now for 2-3 players, with each one trying to line up ten kitties in a row by drawing and placing tiles from a personal bag. (My confusion during this presentation stemmed from me realizing that I knew this game, but I somehow couldn't articulate it. The main difference appears to be the presence of components for up to three players in the box.)
• While walking through Hall 7 at Spiel 2015 to the BGG stand, I repeatedly passed a booth for Baccum, a publisher that I had never heard of featuring a game that I also had never heard of. A mission! During the convention, I recorded an overview of Generalship with co-designer Minwoo Hyun, created listings in the BGG database for the game and publisher, and uploaded images for each.
After doing all of that so expeditiously, I'm now finally posting the video more than two months afterward. Sometimes you're on the ball; sometimes you're the ball...
W. Eric Martin
• When I first learned about Fabulous Beasts from George Buckenham and Alex Fleetwood, I wasn't sure whether it should be added to the BGG database, shunted to VideoGameGeek, included on both sites, or shunned as a dangerous anomaly. In the end, I created a listing for the game, figuring that I could also stamp it out later should the need arise.
Having had a chance to see the game in action at Spiel 2015, however, I find the design an interesting blend of the digital and physical, using both elements in ideal ways for a game that has you trying to populate a world with a teetering stack of animals, food and miracles.
• Designer Dave Cousins released Safe Breaker, a quick-playing deduction game, through his own North and South Games at Spiel 2014, and for Spiel 2015 Smart Zone Games has licensed the design and upped the production values tremendously, replacing the cards from the original with magnetic half-towers that give you something to play with while trying to suss out who owns which towers.
• For the tenth anniversary of Reiner Knizia's Pickomino, a.k.a. Heckmeck am Bratwurmeck, Zoch Verlag has released Heckmeck Extrawurm, which adds new tiles and powers to the press-your-luck dice game.
• Nitro Glyxerol from Luca Borsa and Andrea Mainini is Zoch Verlag's speed-based dexterity game for 2015. Does Zoch actually release one such game annually? I'm not sure, but the title does feature animal poop and that item definitely finds a place in at least one Zoch release each year. Standards and all that...
• Designer Stefan Kloß has paired with his wife Anna Oppolzer to put together a sequel to 2014's Beasty Bar from Zoch Verlag. This new title, Beasty Bar: New Beasts in Town, falls into the now standard format of being a standalone expansion, with players once again trying to get their animals into the club by using special powers and manipulation.
W. Eric Martin
• Bernd Eisenstein's well-regarded Peloponnes board game debuted in 2009, and he's released mini-expansions for the game through his Irongames brand roughly once a year since then. Now Eisenstein has transformed the system a bit with the Peloponnes Card Game — the same, but different! — with this title having debuted at Spiel 2015. In this video, Eisenstein and sometime design partner Jeffrey D. Allers lead you through the basics of play.
• Martin Nedergaard Andersen has had a couple of dozen games released by publishers in the past three years, with Russian publisher Lifestyle Boardgames being responsible for two of them. The memory game Fruit Mix challenges you not to match the fruit hidden behind the tiles, but the fruits (and plates and colors) keep changing, so good luck with that.
• Which number is larger: the length of the longest cigar or the number of sausage varieties in Germany? Andersen's Giraffometer from Lifestyle throws lots of numbers at you in different categories, but you don't need to know the exact answers to score — you need only guess well and get lucky.
• At Spiel 2014, Lifestyle demoed Marie and Wilfried Fort's Splash! to distributors and other publishers, and by Spiel 2015 the game had been released with versions in Dutch, French, Chinese, German, Italian, Polish and Russian. Why? Because Splash! is both familiar and easy-to-learn, a balancing game in which you want others to knock stuff over so that you can score.
• New publishers pop up each year at Spiel, sometimes only to appear once before vanishing and sometimes to launch a title that heralds a new presence in the game industry, with most newcomers falling somewhere between those extremes. One of the first-timers for Spiel 2015 was Italian publisher Apokalypse Inc, which debuted with Manlio Zaninotti's movie-making game The Producer: 1940-1944.
W. Eric Martin
• The year 2015 is coming to a close, and I regret to report that I still haven't posted everything that BGG recorded at Spiel 2015 in October. For heaven's sake, Eric, what's your problem?
Thankfully many of the videos still to be posted are ones that I recorded away from the BGG booth, videos that serve as previews of forthcoming games — which means that I'm not late with these videos after all! Instead they serve as previews of what's coming in 2016! Why, that's just good planning on my part (as long as we ignore the videos for which this is not true).
In any case, let's look first at an overview of Histrio from Bruno Cathala and Christian Martinez, which publisher Bombyx will also release as Fourberies in French. The gist of the game is that players are pulling together a troupe of animal actors to put on a play, manipulating the tastes of the king so that he's anticipating what you plan to deliver. The artwork by Jérémie Fleury is amazing; here's a sample showing the queen. Intense! (Tric Trac published an excellent overview of Fleury's work on this game, showing sketches and historical influences, along with finished illustrations.)
• Cathala also showed off the card game Zany Penguins, a co-design with Mathieu Lanvin that Bombyx will debut at the Cannes game festival in February 2016 before releasing the game in France in March and elsewhere in later months.
W. Eric Martin
• Let's look at a quartet of game demo videos that I recorded at Tokyo Game Market in November 2015, with my wife Linda running the camera while I presented the games. (I had heard from multiple people that Japanese game designers rarely want to be photographed as they are often undertaking game design as a secondary job that they would not want associated with their main line of work, so I planned on learning the games, then demoing them — which is precisely what we did.)
Japanese game publisher Oink Games had a new title for TGM, one not from director/main designer Jun Sasaki but rather from Jean-Claude Pellin. Here's an overview of Nine Tiles:
In Nine Tiles, each player takes nine double-sided tiles, with each side of a tile having one of six images, and arranges them in a 3x3 gird. Each image appears a total of three times on the tiles, with it being paired with a different image in each of the three instances. (The sets of nine tiles are identical, and they have 1-4 dots on them to help players sort the tiles.)
Each round, one of the thirty goal cards is revealed, then players race to rearrange their tiles — flipping one tile at a time, or swapping two tiles — in order to make their nine tiles match the image shown on the card. Whenever a player thinks they've done this, they slap the card. If they're correct, they keep the card; if they're wrong, they still keep the card, but flipped face-down. If a player collect two face-down cards, they're out of the game.
The first play to collect four (face-up) cards wins!
By combining two sets of Nine Tiles, up to eight players can compete at once. When more than four people are in a game, reveal two of the thirty cards each round. Each player can claim at most one card in a round.
Pellin has told me that this design will also be released in 2016 from Belgian publisher AzaoGames under the name Flip Hop, with the symbols being replaced with hip-hop snails. Curious. (I'll probably merge these listings once we confirm that they're essentially the same thing.)
In case you want to see Nine Tiles in action, check out the video below. I've since played twice on a purchased copy — well, two copies as we played with six people — and I crushed all comers. As with other pure speed games, if you're 10% faster than others in Nine Tiles, you're likely to win 90% of the time as there's nothing other than speed to determine who wins and who loses. Still, I'm ready to face other challengers should they want to throw down the tiled gauntlet...
Speaking of Oink Games, the publisher's Deep Sea Adventure won the first Game Market Award, with the other four nominees for this debut prize being Minerva, Princess Escort, Hitohira, and Stone Garden. Here's a pic of Sasaki accepting the award during TGM:
• Designer/publisher Kenichi Tanabe has been releasing games since 2007, and for the Nov. 2015 TGM he released two titles through his COLON ARC brand: Lisboa and Balloon Challenge. I didn't record an overview of the former, alas, but we're getting a few copies of Lisboa as well as Balloon Challenge for the Geek Store, so perhaps I'll get a chance to do so later. For now, though, here's an overview of the card game Balloon Challenge:
• I bought TimeBomb from New Board Game Party on the recommendation of a trusted source and highly enjoyed this secret-role game, despite me not normally taking to such things. (Here's my overview of the game from May 2015.)
Thus, when I discovered that NBGP would release TimeBomb II at Game Market in November 2015, I made a note to pick it up, in addition to recording an overview video for the game. That said, I still need to get a translation of the rulebook since my overview gets me only 85% of the way through the complete rules.
• We'll close with バイオリニスタ！ — Violinista! — a convention-only cooperative game from Bouken Adventure Planning Service that to this untrained ear comes across as four people playing violins somewhat at random, but my ineptness at Japanese limited me from finding out about the game in detail. In any case, I wanted to share this unusual experience:
Thu Dec 17, 2015 10:00 pm
W. Eric Martin
After many weeks, I'm finally posting material that I recorded at the November 22, 2015 Tokyo Game Market, starting with this walkthrough video of some of the 400+ exhibitors at the show.
The video is relatively brief, and despite what I stated at the end I never made it back around the hall for more video; instead I took more than one hundred images of various booths, and I'll post those separately once I finish some game previews and other posts. That said, I can offer these two panorama shots of the exhibition hall at Tokyo Big Sight, the top one being taken at about 4:45 (fifteen minutes prior to the end of TGM) and the latter about thirty minutes later, with many of the tables and chairs already being put away and a line of people (at right) queueing to ship games out of Tokyo.
The (good) dilemma of having so many gaming opportunities is that you end up with more material than you can post in a reasonable amount of time, not to mention actually finding time to play the games themselves. (Speaking of which, I still need to finish posting videos from Spiel 2015, but most of those videos are previews of unpublished titles that I recorded away from the BGG booth, so they're still timely. At least I hope they are!)
Oh, and to share one more image for now, my son Traver helped out at Tokyo Game Market by handing out flyers about the Geek Store to roughly 150 exhibitors, and while doing so he picked up a couple of fans: "How old are you?" "Do you have a girlfriend?" He's a little young for you, ladies! After all, first he needs to grow up so that he can fill out my jersey...
Welcome to Part 2 of BGG.CON 2015! Be sure to check out Part 1 as well for food, registration/door prizes, hot games, Geek Buzz, and more!
Hack and Slash Games, producers of Ophidian 2350, one of this year's door prizes — see Part 1 for the full list
Let's start out with one of my favorite parts of the convention...
There are several shopping — and selling — opportunities at BGG.CON! Yay!
This is a no-shipping math trade; all trades are to be completed at BGG.CON. If you are unfamiliar with math trades, they are pretty awesome. It's basically trading on a big scale: lots of people and their lots and lots of games. Your old tired games go in and bright shiny new (to you) games come out! What could be better? The process is a bit complicated but nothing the average geek can't handle. For newbies (or those who need a refresher) there is a wiki page plus info available on the math trade thread itself. Everyone who wants to participate adds their games to the big math trade Geeklist, they look over the list and make up a want list, *magic happens* (this is where some algorithm runs to create the actual trades), results are posted, and finally the happy math traders seek the recipients of their games at the convention, each receiving games in return (not necessarily from the same people).
The math trade starts up early, around the beginning of October, with the Geeklist closing at the beginning of November, followed by want lists, then results around the 10th of November. A trade date/time is listed on the BGG.CON schedule but traders are free to locate people earlier during the con. This year's results were down quite a bit from the previous couple years with 520 total trades...still quite a lot! My husband usually participates, but this year he didn't get his act together on time. (Well, we did go on two trips in October plus had a big Halloween party, so he had good excuses.) Hopefully next year!
Virtual Flea Market
The virtual flea market is such a great idea! You can list your to-sell games online, then bring only those that sold to the convention! This is especially helpful for out-of-towners, who have to lug games a long way that possibly may not sell, i.e., at the traditional flea market. You may participate in both the virtual flea market and the math trade but if you do, list them on the math trade first, then once it has concluded add the un-traded games to the virtual flea market. A date/time is on the BGG.CON schedule, but sellers/buyers may meet up beforehand if desired. There is a lot more information on the Virtual Flea Market page.
The flea market is a frenzy of geek selling and buying! Get there early to get the best selection...or later if you don't want as much temptation. I made a few awesome buys, including a copy of the Spiel 2014 limited edition black Lectio (formerly Lexio) for $80 (not so much a "bargain" but a great hard-to-find-at-least-in-the-US addition to my game collection; it's available from South Korea but shipping is costly). This year something went wrong with the cooling system - the room was SO HOT (although that didn't stop me the other throngs from shopping).
BGG had a store set up near the entrance to one of the exhibit halls. Unfortunately for me, there were a lot of games from Asia. I spent almost $300 in that stupid little store! UGH! What are you doing to me?? Such temptation...and on imports that are hard to find in the U.S.! (Note: BGG doesn't make a lot on the games because they are imported.) I'm complaining, but I wouldn't give any of them up. They also had many copies of the giant 2015 Board Game Advent Calendar, which already sold out in the online store. I really wanted one, but it was just too big for the plane (plus my husband rather drew a line after the nearly $300 I already spent). Boo.
Debbie Ridpath Ohi and Mary Dimercurio Prasad
Check out Part 1 for the illustration of me that Debbie drew on my badge — so cute!
As of this writing, there are 5,781 games in the BGG Library. During the convention, there were 10,821 checkouts of 1996 unique games over the course of five days. The average checkout length was 4.1 hours. Note: This doesn't include the Hot Games that were checked out continuously during the entire convention. (Information provided by Scott Alden.) The top ten are listed below but the full list is available.
Qty/Title/Checkout Length (hours)
228 Codenames 3.47
90 Dimension 2.97
70 Between Two Cities 2.83
68 Mysterium 3.61
66 Treasure Hunter 3.01
66 Dr. Eureka 2.34
63 504 6.86
61 Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King 3.38
58 Spyfall 4.67
58 Shakespeare 5.66
7 Tichu 4.36 ... WHAT???
The Dice Tower Live!
Fun Fact: (Eric Summerer) 86% of the silly puns at the end of the Dice Tower Podcast are submitted by listeners on the BGG forums. The rest are Eric's fault.
Once again, The Dice Tower did a live recording, but this time as part of Board Game Breakfast's hundredth show! If you want to skip ahead to the good part, I'm at 31:08. During the show, we discuss Chris Handy's Pack O Game by Perplext. The games are the size of a pack of gum — perfect for travel or just to play while waiting for your food at a restaurant.
L to R: June King, Ravindra Prasad, Debbie Ridpath Ohi, Jeff Ridpath playing some of the Pack O Game titles by Perplext
L to R: Tom Vasel, Mark Zielinski, Mary Dimercurio Prasad discussing Pack O Game
There are many special events at BGG.CON. Here are just a few of them. Check out the full schedule for more information.
This video tells it all...
(I think I'm glad I went to bed early.)
Ack. I missed out. I didn't plan ahead (no partner) plus spent too much time (money) in the exhibit halls. The event is held over two days, a group stage on the first day then a bracket stage on the second. Two days...it might even be too much Tichu for me. (HA!)
I haven't been to one of these yet but hope to make it one day! There were over a hundred games auctioned off; it looked like a great list! Plus it's for charity, so you can actually feel good about buying more games!
Game Show and Trivia
The Game Show is so popular that they run it twice. Teams of four compete on a massive scale. The "Know Limit Trivia Game" is described as a Poker-Trivia hybrid (no-limit betting). Fifty people play elimination style, betting on their knowledge. Prizes.
A new Wild West room premiered this year. They allowed ten players in the room for up to one hour to solve the room's puzzle. Eight time slots; free to attendees.
Seems to be very popular, but I'm not running around to look for clues. I have enough trouble trying to figure out whatever my husband has done with the clues (i.e. messes) he has left around our house.
Try out prototypes at Unpub's Proto Alley, enter one of the many tournaments, join in the Spiel-a-Thon trivia charity drive, attend a panel with game industry biggies, meet up with other first-timers, learn how to sell your game design, the list goes on!
L to R: Ravindra Prasad, Tom Lehmann, Debbie Ridpath Ohi, Jeff Ridpath: giving Tom ideas on his new prototype
Exhibit Hall (Part 2)
Here is a video I shot going through both exhibit halls. This is the first time I used this video camera off the tripod — I didn't realize how much motion blur there would be, but I think you can still see quite a few of the games and stuff pretty well. Plus the music is fun. You may want to read the exhibit hall stuff in both parts before watching as much of what is mentioned is in the video.
Tasty Minstrel Games
Bomb Squad – Recently released. Bomb Squad is a highly thematic cooperative game that builds on the Hanabi mechanism (i.e., you cannot see your own hand of cards) to provide a tense new experience: join the Bomb Squad! Help program a robot to navigate a building, rescue hostages, and defuse bombs in real time. Since you cannot see your hand of Command cards, you'll have to help your partners figure out which cards to play. The game is turn-based, but a timer app counts down in real time... Every ten minutes a bomb will go off unless you diffuse it first! Rescue as many hostages as you can, diffuse the bombs, and save the day!
Colosseum – Deluxe reprint upcoming. Colosseum is a classic game of auctions and set collection in which you'll attract spectators to your events to please the Emperor and earn wealth and glory as you seek the title of Grand Impresario. Watch for the TMG reprint with new art, and the "Emperor's Edition" packed with upgraded components, coming to Kickstarter in early 2016.
Fun Facts: Among the TMG staff, languages spoken include English, Tagalog, German, and Serbo-Croatian. Rumors of foam sword fights in the office have NOT been exaggerated. And finally, the Utah team is looking forward to a company outing to watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens on opening day (and Seth is looking forward to joining them on that outing!)
Steve Jackson Games
I Hate Zombies – To be released in February 2016, 2-12 players. This has a rock-paper-scissors game mechanism with a twist that makes for a fun party game. The humans have different powers, e.g., the Miner can throw dynamite, but if a zombie throws anything but scissors, the Miner deals one wound to all zombies; otherwise the Miner is infected.
Munchkin Marvel Edition – To be released April 2016, coproduction with USAopoly. This all-new Munchkin game fuses the classic card game fun of monster-slaying and role-playing with the most iconic characters from the Marvel universe. Munchkin Marvel Edition comes complete with villains (monsters), heroes (allies) and custom S.H.I.E.L.D. Identification Cards.
Dice City – U.S. release at BGG.CON (released at Spiel). One of the "hot games" at BGG.CON, Dice City allows players to customize their game board by purchasing cards to go in their city, i.e., their grid of cards showing die faces across the top and colors that match the dice down the side. Dice are rolled each turn to determine which actions will trigger. Thus if a four is rolled on the red die, it will be placed in the corresponding row and column, allowing that action to trigger. Default starting cards are printed on each player board. The expansion, Dice City: All That Glitters is scheduled for release April 2016.
Greedy Greedy Goblins – To be released February 2016. Designed by Richard Garfield. Played in rounds, it a real-time game in which players flip tiles with one hand (reminiscent of Galaxy Trucker) and may put them in one of eight mines (cards) around the table. Each player has three goblins in their own player color, which they will place in mine to lock it.
At the end of a round, players collect their mines and start revealing tiles, doing what the tiles dictate, e.g., gems give points, monsters eat gems, minions let you draw cards, torch played face up allows the player to reveal another tile in that mine played face down to not use the effect, or dynamite - tiles have one stick or two sticks: one stick doubles treasure, two sticks triples, three or more blows up the mine. Players may also choose to place a goblin on guild tile to get a card, the tradeoff being that they give up potential mine scoring that round. The first person to 100 (or 60 for four players) points ends game.
Watchmen: Crossover Pack 4 – Pre-released at BGG.CON, to be released in December. This is an expansion that may be added to any DC deck-building base set. It turns the game on its head, making it a hidden roles game in which one player is a traitor.
Ghostbusters: The Board Game – Premiered at BGG.CON, released November 11, 2015. This is a scenario and campaign driven cooperative game for 1 to 4 players based on the movie. The game includes some cool miniatures, such as Slimer and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Characters grow but challenges become greater. Each character has a role to play in the party, e.g., a healer that cleans slime off well, a best runner, etc. Objectives include things like closing gates to prevents spirits from getting out and depositing ghosts in the Ecto-1 to create a buffer between our world and the spirit world. Every scenario has a unique gate effect. There is an online scenario customizer/randomizer. They also have a forum where players can post custom scenarios.
Fun Fact: At their booth, Cryptozoic promoted Ghostbusters: The Board Game with marshmallows. If you beat the scenario, you got one marshmallow; if you didn't you had to eat two.
The Big Book of Madness – To be released mid-December 2015. This is a cooperative deck-building game in which players take on the roles of student wizards who find an ancient book in the basement of their magic school and foolishly open it. Instead of really cool spells they find a book of imprisoned monsters. They must reseal the book page by page while avoiding the "creep of madness".
Shadows over Normandie[/i] – Released at BGG.CON. Part of the "heroes system" (Heroes of Normandie is the first game) but in the Achtung! Cthulhu setting (partnered with Modiphius Entertainment). Think WW2 plus Cthulhu and all that comes with it (spells, terror, madness).
Fun Fact: IELLO started as a Magic: The Gathering single card reseller. It was called "CARTAGOGO" which would translate into "CARD-A-PALOOZA." Cedric and Patrice, the founders of IELLO, met at a game store, playing Magic in Nancy, France. IELLO USA is partly a virtual company in the cloud; they basically try out every new app or type of technology possible.
Porta Nigra – U.S. premiere at BGG.CON, to be released January 20, 2016. Players are master builders; they move around the board building different sections of the city Porta Nigra. The game includes a rondel action selection mechanism. This is the first game in the "Great Designers Series".
Stronghold 2nd Edition – Release date February 2, 2016. This is a two-player castle defense board game in which one player plays the human defenders in the castle while the other player plays the evil hoards trying to assault the castle. Game mechanisms include card actions (both sides) and random cube draws.
Fun Fact: It took six years of badgering Ignacy Trzewiczek of Portal Games to get Stronghold the board game into the Stronghold Games catalog. It was Stephen's holy grail game.
Wyrmwood Booth, makers of beautiful wood gaming accessories!
Neuroshima: Convoy – This is a two-player standalone asymmetric card game, set in the Neuroshima Hex universe – a post-apocalyptic world in which machines won the war. One player plays the machines and one player plays the humans. The machines have started a convoy traveling to destroy NY. There are five cities along the way. The machines are trying to destroy each, then finally NY for the win, but they cannot advance until they have defeated the humans in each city. The goal of the humans is to delay the machine player until his deck runs out.
My Happy Farm – To be released first quarter 2016. Comparing the new version to the Polish edition: updated the graphics and card layout, revised the rules.
Fun Fact: Eight out of nine people in Portal Games wear glasses and seven out of nine wear beards, "so if a blind dwarf shows up at the door, she's hired".
Terra Nova Games
Far Space Foundry – Released at BGG.CON. Far Space Foundry is a card-driven worker placement game with a rondel element. Space management is important; you want to optimize space in your warehouse and freighters. The unique part of the game is that it plays in two distinct phases. The board and components are double-sided. In the first phase of the game, players are collecting resources and working towards the second phase of the game, which is played on the other side of the board.
Fun Fact: (Justin Schaffer) During the development of Ophir we were making prototypes with some of the final art of the board and the temple pieces, and when I placed the first temple piece on the board, I noticed that part of it spilled off of the board. At first I was really worried and was freaking out because there was no way we could ask or afford our artist to make any changes, but after looking at it closely I discovered that it made the temple pop off of the board and added this very cool 3D effect that has become one of the selling points of the game. (Author's note: To clarify, the stacked temple cardboard pieces are large, part of the temple overhangs the board.)
Broom Service – Released June 2015, won the Kennerspiel des Jahres. This is a remake of Witch's Brew but with some new features.
The Castles of Burgundy card game is planned to be released second quarter 2016. Game play should be similar to the board game but implemented with cards.
Fun Fact: The 30th anniversary of the game Labyrinth is in 2016. They are planning a Q3 release of a glow-in-the dark version of the game.
Gale Force Nine
WWE Superstar Showdown – Released at Gen Con 2015. This was one of the premium giveaway games at BGG.CON. WWE Superstar Showdown is a very thematic, card-driven miniatures game played on a game board. Each team is trying to pin the other through card tactics. Your deck of cards represents your health/stamina.
Star Trek: Ascendency – To be released Q3 2016, for 3+ players, ages 12+, time to play 2+ hours. The game will be released in time for the 50th anniversary of original Star Trek series. Thematic 4X (explore, expand, exploit, exterminate) empire building game set in the Star Trek universe. You represent one of the factions, e.g. Federation, Klingons, Romulans. The Federation has just discovered warp 1 technology. There is no physical board per se; the universe is built/grown as you play and explore. The game contains miniatures, cards, dice; it's a free format game on an epic scale. Expansions planned.
Fun Fact: Gale Force Nice started as a game accessories manufacturer in 1998; it was the first in the industry to use a laser cutter/engraver. They actually bought the first one because the founder's wife wanted to build bird houses.
The Broken Token Booth
Renegade Game Studios
Fuse – Previewed at BGG.CON, release date December 4, 2015. This is a real time cooperative game for 1 to 5 players. The premise: Players are the crew of a spaceship that has been boarded by hostile aliens who have planted bombs throughout the ship. Players must defuse the bombs by solving dice puzzles before ten minutes are up or the ship is destroyed. The game is supported by a free iOS and Adroid app that represents the ship's computer, Anita, which counts down the remaining time using voice cues as well as some random flavor comments.
Apotheca – To be released early 2016, 2-4 players, ages 10+, play time 30-40 minutes. This is a partial hidden information game in which players use apothecary abilities to craft three potions. They do this by hiring apothecaries who give them certain abilities that allow them to manipulate the market board (tiles) in order to create potions (patterns).
Fun Fact: Anita, the ship's computer in Fuse, is named after Renegade Game Studio's vendor liaison to retail stores; the likeness is based on the game designer's wife.
Chronicles: Origins – On Kickstarter February 2016. This is a new 4X legacy civilization game, designed by Dirk Knemeyer (Tesla vs. Edison) and Rob Daviau (Pandemic Legacy). Artana plans to release at least five games in the series, one a year, to create an entire history of a civilization. From one release to the next, players move from era to era evolving their civilization, with Stone Age and Bronze Age games to be released in Chronicles: Origins.
The goal of the Stone Age game is for players to lead a primitive tribe into the next age (and of course survive). It is semi-cooperative in that if the tribe dies, all players lose. The Bronze Age game is a competitive game in which players fight to become the leading city, using military, technology infrastructure, trade, and culture. The tribes created in the Stone Age seed the cities in the Bronze Age.
Passport Game Studios
Apollo XIII – Previewed at BGG.CON, to be released January 2016. It is a historical card-driven cooperative game that recreates the tension and stress of the Apollo XIII mission. All event cards are based on real life events.
...and then we held hands. – To be released January 2016. Previously print-and-play, also published by LudiCreations for Spiel; the U.S. release will be by Passport Game Studios. This is a two-player cooperative abstract strategy game about the players' (in the game) relationship. Players cannot talk to each other and must resolve "emotions" of the relationship (cards) in order to come together at the center of the board while in a balanced state (track).
Skyway Robbery – Previewed at BGG.CON, to be released December 2015/January 2016. The goal of the game is to acquire the greatest reputation amongst your fellow thieves. Players put together a team of criminal specialists, a la Ocean's Eleven, and visit exotic locales to steel their greatest treasures. Set in the steampunk world of Gaslight Empire. This is a cutthroat, card-driven, programmable action, set collection game. It's a beautiful production with delightful artwork.
Area 1851 – Previewed at BGG.CON, to be released December 2015/January 2016. This is a worker placement, set collection game. Players play tinkerers and local inventors in the old west, combining alien, settler, and native American technologies in order to enhance their own wealth and prestige. The goal of the game is to have the highest reputation gained through collecting cards with matching symbols on the edges in order to create unwieldy ludicrous contraptions.
Fun Fact: Game Salute originally started as a news and review support site for the tabletop game industry. Over time they've grown into a true publisher, with titles created from the ground up, e.g., the games listed above. Game Salute has run more successful Kickstarter campaigns than any other tabletop game company, with the folks from Kickstarter bringing that fact to Game Salute founder Dan Yarrington's attention during a meeting. They have had over one hundred successful campaigns on Kickstarter.
Funagain Games booth
Trickerion: Legends of Illusion - Pre-released at BGG.CON, to be released in December 2015. Trickerion is a competitive Euro-style strategy game set in a fictional city inspired by the late 19th century. Players take on the rolls of rival stage illusionists as they strive to become the city’s greatest magician by acquiring the most fame points.
Spirits of the Rice Paddy - Pre-released at BGG.CON, to be released in December 2015. Players compete as rice farmers tending their paddies by using oxen to build walls and remove rocks, ducks to eat harmful pests and fertilize their fields. Weeds must be controlled and water conserved. Produce the most rice to win.
Fun Facts: The art for Arcadia is by Kim Smith, a children's book illustrator at tuckedaway.com. The game came to APE as a fantasy village-building game. They morphed it into a Mars colonization game, then eventually settled on amusement park building. APE's development team worked on Spirits of the Rice Paddy with Philip duBarry for about 2.5 years before considering the game "ready". After playing a Trickerion prototype during the Kickstarter project, APE knew they had to co-publish the game with Mindclash Games.
The closing ceremonies is when you can actually get an idea of just how big BGG.CON is. This year people came from 44 states and 14 countries. This was the same number of states as last year, but a few more countries were represented.
Crowd during closing ceremonies
The big prize drawings are done during the closing ceremonies; stacks of games, donated by publishers and designers, are given away. Every year one lucky attendee gets to go home with a beautiful, hand-painted Crokinole board. Ryan Johnson, illustrator at Ol' River Studios, did the artwork on this year's board. Check out his BoardGameGeek Art.
Ryan Johnson holding up the Crokinole board with his artwork
In the image below, Kevin Wilson is on left (see Part 1, the section on Fantasy Flight Games, for a card with his image). Of course that's Aldie at the mic. Until next year...
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