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To submit news, a designer diary, outrageous rumors, or other material, please contact BGG News editor W. Eric Martin via email – wericmartin AT gmail.com

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Game Overview: The Game: Spiel...so lange du kannst!

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Spielwarenmesse, the annual toy and game fair in Nürnberg, Germany, is a trade fair and not a retail show, so often game publishers don't have copies of finished games on hand because they're taking orders from retailers and distributors before hitting the big red print button.

But a few publishers did have finished goods on hand, and some of them even offered review copies, such as Nürnberger-Spielkarten-Verlag, which my cameraperson and I visited at approximately 5:50 — ten minutes before closing time — on our last day at the show. I intended to pick up flyers and get brief overviews of their games so that I could add them to the BGG database, but after the presentation, the NSV representative offered review copies of the two games in question, so into the bag they went, with Steffen Benndorf's The Game: Spiel...so lange du kannst! coming back out of the bag on the flight back to the U.S. and proving to be as enjoyable a time filler as I suspected it would be.

Here's an overview of the game — or rather, The Game — which I've now played fifteen times. The gist of The Game is simple: Play all of the cards in the deck onto the four discard piles. Sometimes you get lucky and can play a few cards, or many of them, without worry; at other times, you dance around, try to stash cards in hand for later, and hope to draw the right things in order not to be forced to close out a discard pile. If you've played the iOS app King Solitaire, originally known as 4 Thrones, you'll have some sense of the gameplay, with you being forced to play in certain directions — ascending or descending — on the discard piles, but sometimes being able to retrace your steps and play cards that you might have thought unplayable. The video has more details, and the English and German rules are available through NSV.

One thing I didn't mention in the video is that should you become an expert player, the rules suggest that you can increase the challenge by having fewer cards in hand or forcing yourself to play at least three cards each round. I'm not there yet as I often have unclear notions of which cards I've played and not a perfect memory for such things. Having such a memory doesn't guarantee success, but it does allow you to play the odds better because you'll know which cards remain in the deck still waiting to be played. All in good time...

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Thu Mar 5, 2015 5:33 am
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Videos from Spielwarenmesse 2015 IX: Da Luigi, Lumis, Dohdles!, Harry Hopper, Crazy Time, ZomBee, Tschakka Lakka & The Big Bang Theory: Das geniale Spiel

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BGG recorded eighty or so game demonstration videos at Spielwarenmesse 2015, and one-tenth of those were in the KOSMOS booth. Amazing!

Most of these videos clock in at less than three minutes, and I think that's because Katerina, the KOSMOS representative, remembered what happened in 2013 when we visited with a near-dead camera battery and had to whip through games as quickly as we could in order to record them all. For 2015, she raced through the demonstrations, giving what I think is enough of a hook on which you, the potential player, can hang your hat while not getting bogged down in extraneous details.

We'll start with Rüdiger Dorn's Da Luigi, a family-style game in which competing restaurant owners inflict customers — bad customers, mind you — on one another while trying to serve those sitting in their own place.





• Dorn also has a second title due out from KOSMOS in the first half of 2015: Tschakka Lakka: Die rasante Würfeljagd nach dem Tempelschatz. That subtitle succinctly summarizes the game's setting and manner of play, and once you remember those details, you can forget the actual subtitle and just focus on saying "Tschakka Lakka!" over and over again — although if you do that too much, you inevitably start singing this song.





• From a glance at the game board, it's easy to tell that Stephen Glenn's Lumis: Der Pfad des Feuers has some relation to Hex, and your goal is indeed to connect opposite sides of the board before your opponent can do the same, but you do through cardplay that creates towers and flames on the board. I'm hoping to try this out soon as Glenn and I have chatted a bit about the game, and I've enjoyed his past work, especially Rattlebones.





• Klaus Teuber won the 1988 Spiel des Jahres for Barbarossa, a party game in which you create clay objects that are ideally not too easy and not too hard for others to guess what they are. For 2015, he's transformed that design into the faster-playing Knätsel?!, which will be released by KOSMOS in the U.S. in 2015 as Dohdles!





• Alex Putfin's Crazy Time features the familiar "take turns flipping over cards, then race to do something when something specific happens" formula seen in Jungle Speed and other games, but now we're worried about the hours on the clock, the passing of time, and special rules that get added to the game each round.





• Michael Schacht is the designer behind The Big Bang Theory: Das geniale Spiel, in which you use characters from the show in order to collect treasured items, possibly thanks to a paradox or two thrown into the mix.





• My cameraperson John Knoerzer had not heard of Klaus Kreowski's dice game ZomBee before we stepped up to the demo table, and he groaned mightily at the title, but I find it a clever, kid-friendly take on a game trend — plus it opens up thoughts of exciting convention promos!


Okay, maybe not.





Harry Hopper is the debut title from Florian Nadler, and I can imagine this game's origin at a bar, with people making up rules for how they can flip coasters and what they're trying to target with their flips. Maybe that's just me though...

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Wed Mar 4, 2015 3:16 pm
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Videos from Spielwarenmesse 2015 VIII: The Big Book of Madness, Sapiens, Pingo Pingo, Kenjin, Master Fox, Welcome to the Dungeon and Tales & Games: The Grasshopper & The Ant

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Yes, I have still more game demonstration videos to post from Spielwarenmesse 2015, lots more. I meant to jam all of these out in the two weeks between that show at NY Toy Fair 2015, but things happened (as they do), followed by eight snow days in two weeks here in the unable-to-cope Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina. Finally, I'm somewhat back to being able to do stuff, starting with...

The Big Book of Madness from Maxime Rambourg appears to be IELLO's big title of 2015, with this deck-building game confronting the young apprentice wizards with all sorts of nasty things that they need to return to the book from which they came. Matthieu Bonin from IELLO had a rough version of the game on hand in Nürnberg, Germany, which allowed him to give us an overview of the gameplay.





• Nicolas Sato's Kenjin is one of (at least) two titles coming in 2015 from Superlude Éditions, with IELLO providing distribution and support for this bluffing card game.





• IELLO's Bonin gave me an early look at Frédéric Vuagnat's Master FoxMaître Renard in French — at Gen Con 2014, and the game has nice chunky wooden components to accompany the fox masks included in the box. You'll be pleased to know that I cut myself singing Ylvis' "What Does The Fox Say?" from the end of this demo video. You're welcome.





Sapiens is the first release from Cyrille Leroy and his Catch Up Games, with IELLO once again providing publishing guidance and distribution for this newcomer. Sapiens debuted at the Festival International des Jeux in Cannes at the end of February 2015, so this video now serves as a postview for those who tried the game at the fair but a preview for the rest of you.





Purple Brain Creations is a frequent co-publication partner with IELLO, and in early 2015 it will release Tales & Games: The Grasshopper & the Ant from ant specialist Yoann Levet, this being the fourth title in PBC's Tales & Games series.





• Masato Uesugi's Dungeon of Mandom debuted from Japanese publisher Oink Games in 2013, and while the title seems a tad off, it also relays the nature of the gameplay, with players essentially boasting about how little equipment they'll need to enter a dungeon, despite them knowing little about what might actually be waiting for them inside. For its release of Welcome to the Dungeon, IELLO has boosted the number of characters in the game from one to four, with each character having a different set of equipment for you to forgo in your manly boasting.





Pingo Pingo has you running away from bear-riding penguins and consulting monkey sorcerers, and once you discover the game is from Roberto Fraga, it all makes so much more sense. Pingo Pingo is a remake of Squad Seven and possibly should be merged with that game listing, but I know that people have previously objected to penguins showing up in unexpected places...

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Tue Mar 3, 2015 3:37 pm
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New Game Round-up: Recon for Arctic Scavengers, Rewind 20th Century Railroad Growth & Repos Releases in 2015

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• Despite much doubt about the issue since it released a new edition of Robert K. Gabhart's deck-building game Arctic Scavengers in 2013, it turns out that Rio Grande Games will indeed release Arctic Scavengers: Recon, an expansion that adds new tribe leader roles, new mercenaries, new equipment, and new levels of player interaction to the base game. Arctic Scavengers: Recon bears a $30 MSRP.

In addition to this expansion, Rio Grande Games plans to release Arctic Scavengers: Base Game+HQ+Recon, a boxed set with a $50 MSRP that combines the new Recon expansion with the original Arctic Scavengers title from RGG (which was packaged with the HQ expansion). No release date has been given for either title.

• In addition to two previously announced Bohnanza-related items — Bohnanza: Ladies & Gangsters and Bohnanza: Princes & Pirates — Rio Grande Games will release Bohnanza: Bohnaparte & High Bohn, which combines two expansions that it had previously released separately: Bohnaparte and High Bohn Plus.

• Rio Grande Games has also announced the signing of, but not a release for, 20th Century Limited by Jeff and Carla Horger. Here's a rundown of the game's setting and what you're trying to do:

Quote:
20th Century Limited condenses the history the American railroad into a sixty-minute game. Players take on the roles of the great railway robber barons as they set up small railroads, turn them into larger rail lines, then sell them off and start all over again. The spread of the North American rail system can happen on your game table in about an hour as the network develops in a fashion similar to the historical model.

The game possesses the simple route-building mechanisms that were used in Transmaerica. The placement of pieces is easy to understand, and this simple feature is livened up by the Rail Line cards that dictate the placement of rail segments to recreate the various historical railways of America. The second piece of the puzzle are the Demand cards that serve as a pseudo pick-up-and-deliver system. Players are able to choose what path suits them in the game. You can go for the fulfillment of demands or you can try to build the great rail lines that shaped America. Everything from the Santa Fe to Boston & Maine and many other memorable lines are represented, including the game's namesake: the New York Central Railroad.

Even the famous individual train routes are included in the game as bonus cards. Being able to create the Kansas City to Florida Special is worth a lot of points but at the expense of time as there is little other reason to link up Kansas city and Miami. Perhaps you have decided to become a tycoon and concentrate on getting a bonus for creating large routes, or maybe you will value your independence and not sell many of your railroads at all.

20th Century Limited is simple to learn and simple to play but possesses interesting choices and allows for multiple paths to victory.

• In my Spielwarenmesse 2015 post about what's coming from Repos Production in 2015, I neglected to mention Concept XL, which is a 75x75 cm rubber and polyester playmat due out June 2015 for use in classrooms or other situations in which you want to let more eyes view the game board at one time. You'll need to supply the cards from the Concept base game or just create your own concepts for others to guess, in addition to supplying pieces of some sort to use on the playmat.

Thomas Provoost from Repos mentioned at Spielwarenmesse that they had many requests for such an item from educators and others, and from seeing the crowds around Repos' own giant Concept board at Spiel, I can believe it. The energy from such a crowd is amazing, and you're not competing so much as all working together to defeat a challenge.

• In addition to the playmat, Repos plans to release Concept: The Teaching Tool, which it describes as a free "computer-based teaching tool" to assist teachers in learning how to use the game system in class to "allow your students to learn, communicate, and broach certain topics in class".

Ca$h 'n Guns (second edition) Expansion: The Cop, scheduled to debut at Gen Con 2015, is an expansion for Ludovic Maublanc's Ca$h 'n Guns (second edition) that debuted at Gen Con 2014 that includes four new guns, new loot cards, and new unique player powers. What's more, this expansion includes one element present in the original Ca$h 'n Gun$ game: role cards that place one player in the role of an undercover policeman who has infiltrated the criminal underworld. Over the course of the game, this player must try to sound the alarm before everyone has finished splitting the loot.


• Repos Production has released many versions of Time's Up! and in September 2015 it will unveil Time's Up! Kids, a version of the game that lasts only two rounds — one with descriptions, the other with only miming — with cards that feature images and no text, allowing for kids as young as four to play.

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Fri Feb 27, 2015 10:54 pm
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New Game Round-up: King of Siam in England, Tons of Mini Games in France & Bottom of the 9th in Dice Hate Me Greater Than Games

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• Osprey Publishing, which has released hundreds of illustrated military history books since its founding in 1969 and which has also co-published books of wargame rules, plans to release its first board game in 2015 under an Osprey Games label: The King Is Dead, which appears to be a reworking of Peer Sylvester's König von Siam with art by Peter Dennis. Here's an overview of the game:

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The King Is Dead is a board game of politics and power struggles set in Britain in the chaotic period following the death of King Arthur. For the good of the country, a leader must unite the Scots, Welsh, and Romano-British — not by conquest but by diplomacy.

Players are members of King Arthur's court. Whether a loyal knight, a scheming lord, or an ambitious noblewoman, you all have one thing in common: power. As prospective leaders, each player uses their power to benefit the factions, gaining influence among their ranks. The player with the greatest influence over the most powerful faction is crowned the new ruler of Britain.

• As noted by Eric Hanuise on BGG, Bruno Faidutti and Serge Laget's Space Station Argo — first announced as a Fantasy Flight Games release in 2005 — will be the Spiel 2015 release for Belgian publisher Flatlined Games. It's been a long-time docking...


• In November 2014, French publisher IELLO launched a line of mini games — cleverly dubbed "Mini Games", with a €13 price for each title — with French-only versions of Kuro's Seventh Hero (Héros à louer) and Hisashi Hayashi's Sail to India (En Route vers les Indes). A French-only version of Mike Elliot's Agent Hunter was released in late February 2015 at the game show in Cannes.

Next in IELLO's will be separate English and French versions of Masato Uesugi's Welcome to the Dungeon, first released by Oink Games as Dungeon of Mandom, with this title due out March 27, 2015 in France and about the same time in the U.S. Welcome to the Dungeon features three new heroes in addition to the original hero from Dungeon of Mandom, with each hero having a separate set of equipment. Each round in the game, players essentially dare one another to enter a dungeon against monsters that they may or may not have identified with less equipment than others would bring with them. Win two rounds or be the last one alive and you win.


Separate English and French versions of Hope S. Hwang's Illusion, now bearing the name Kabuki, are due out April/May 2015 and this new version of Hwang's observation and memory game now features kabuki mask artwork from Naïade.


Title #6 in IELLO's Mini Games line, also due out April/May 2015, is Aramini Circus, a new version of Steven Aramini's Yardmaster that debuted from Crash Games in 2014, with the raw materials of that earlier version being replaced with unbearably cute animals from Mathieu Leyssenne. Notes IELLO's Matthieu Bonin: "We have the rights for Europe (with a few exceptions), so we expect this game to be available in a few languages (probably inc. English)."

Other titles coming in IELLO's Mini Games line include new versions of Candy Chaser (released in Japan in 2013 by Grounding, original publisher of Machi Koro), David Short's Yardmaster Express, and Seiji Kanai's Cheaty Mages, with Bonin stating that all three of these titles will have new artwork and possibly even new themes.

• Speaking of IELLO, the publisher has picked up Kuraki Mura's Happy Pigs, first published jointly through Swan Panasia and Kuraki Mura B.G. Studio, for release in both French and English, and I couldn't be happier than a pig in whatever it is that makes pigs happy. I've played this game a handful of times, and while I didn't expect much from the initial looks of the game, it's proved to be great fun. One note, though: Matthieu Bonin from IELLO warns that the pigs and their blurred-out genitals might not be as prominent in the new edition: "We just started working on a new theme (still with animals, but probably not only pigs) and possible new rules (for a better two-player experience, for instance)."

• What's this? A game publisher merger/acquisition that doesn't involve Asmodee?! Yes, that is indeed the case with Greater Than Games announcing that as of February 26, 2015 it has merged with Dice Hate Me Games, with DHMG now serving as one of the brands within Greater Than Games. In more detail from the GTG announcement:

Quote:
The structure of Greater Than Games will be changing a little. We will be introducing three imprints: Sentinel Comics, Dice Hate Me Games, and Fabled Nexus. The Sentinel Comics imprint will cover Sentinels of the Multiverse, Sentinel Tactics, and any other games that belong to that universe. Dice Hate Me Games will include previous Dice Hate Me Games titles, such as the recent Brew Crafters and VivaJava: The Coffee Game: The Dice Game, as well as future strategy board games with the same feel of the rest of the line. Fabled Nexus is a new name, and it will be the imprint for future highly thematic science fiction and fantasy games, like Galactic Strike Force!


Quote:
There are no staffing changes accompanying the merger. All current employees of Greater Than Games and Dice Hate Me Games will continue in their current positions, while being able to draw upon the additional resources of the merged company.

There are several upcoming products that have been announced by both publishers, and this merger will not change those releases. The ongoing preorders for Sentinels of the Multiverse and Sentinel Tactics products are unaffected, as are future project launches such as Monster Truck Mayhem and Spirit Island.

To throw in one such forthcoming title, thereby living up to the promise of a "new game round-up", on March 1, 2015 GTG and DHMG will launch its first joint project: a Kickstarter for Bottom of the 9th, a two-player baseball-themed game from Darrell Louder and Michael Mullins. Here's a rundown of that game:

Quote:
It's the bottom of the ninth inning. The game is tied. It's down to the home team to score one run to win it all. Unfortunately, the home team is staring down the league's best closer.

A dice and card game for two players, Bottom of the 9th brings all the excitement of the final three outs of a baseball game into a compact 5-20 minute game session. With variable player strengths, bluffing/deduction, and die-rolling, only the pitcher knows what's coming and the batter needs to keep his eyes peeled. Bottom of the 9th is played over the course of three outs, or four hits (for one run scored) — whichever occurs first.

Bottom of the 9th includes tons of variable player powers, myriad customizable line-ups, the possibility of two added expansion packs, and rules for advanced league and solo play to keep gamers wanting to play ball time and time again.
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Thu Feb 26, 2015 10:54 pm
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Videos from Spielwarenmesse 2015 VII: Discoveries, Zambezi, Pronto, Bermuda & Think Str8!

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• Cédrick Chaboussit's Lewis & Clark from Ludonaute received heaps of praise when it debuted in late 2013, and for 2015 the designer, publisher and artist Vincent Dutrait have come back together for Discoveries, which presents the Lewis & Clark from a different perspective, with players now seeing what they can find during the trip instead of simply trying to be the first to the Pacific shore.





• A first look at Leo Colovini's Think Str8! from HUCH! & friends might have you thinking, "Hey, that's just Hanabi with card racks!" but in fact the design is a throwback to an older release in which you face your stuff away from you: Alex Randolph's Code 777. With Colovini having designed several games with Randolph at the start of Colovini's career, that connection isn't a surprise, and the design provides a twist on the "decipher what you hold" nature of that game.





• Udo Peise and Marco Teubner's Pronto from HUCH! & friends bears the subtitle "Race around the word", and that should cue you in to the nature of the design. In fact, Pronto includes two racing elements, with the active player racing against time each turn and all of the players racing against one another to cross the finish line first.





• Carlo Emanuele Lanzavecchia's card game Bermuda from HUCH! & friends has an element in its gameplay that few other games do: the need to hold your breath at various points during the game. I'll leave it to you to decide whether or not that's a good thing.





• Peter Burley will always be first and foremost associated with Take it Easy! — although I'm more a fan of his excellent abstract strategy game Kamisado — but he's still creating and self-publishing through Burley Games from time to time with his next release being one that he's co-designed with his son Jonathan. Here's an overview of Zambezi:

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Wed Feb 25, 2015 6:16 pm
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Videos from Spielwarenmesse 2015 VI: Broom Service, Stichling, Tausch Rausch & Drachenhort

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• Game publishing is a funny business. Andreas Pelikan's Witch's Brew is in high demand for a reprint and sells regularly for $60-80 on the BGG marketplace, yet German-language copies are priced in the €20-25 range and I recall seeing them on clearance for (I think) €10 at Spiel several years ago. I imagine that dichotomy in the marketplace makes it tough for publisher alea to think about reprinting the game since one market appears to be saturated while another is dry.

Perhaps that's what has led alea to decide to publish Broom Service in 2015. This game, from Pelikan and Alexander Pfister, takes the card-based role-selection core of Witch's Brew and plants it inside another game, a game still bearing a witchy theme but one in which you're trying to deliver potions across the land by outguessing and outplanning what others will do.





• When I mentioned Rüdiger Dorn on BGG News in January 2015, I noted that he "is not normally associated with cute family games", after which someone reminded me of his authorship of the great dice game Las Vegas from alea, and now here I am with a video of his card game Tausch Rausch from Ravensburger, which reminded me of an earlier excellent Ravensburger release of his: Jetzt schlägt's 13, a light card game that few people seem to enjoy as much as I do. All I'm saying is that I need to recall in the future that Dorn hits homers to both sides of the playing field.





• Most of Ralf zur Linde's published games have been co-designs, such as Finca, Milestones and the SdJ-nominated Eselsbrücke, but he designs games on his own, too, with the latest such publication being the trick-taking card game Stichling from Ravensburger.





• Ravensburger has two titles due out in 2015 from designer Reiner Knizia, and I neglected to record a video about one of them — Captain Black — as it's a King Arthur-style board game with electronics that speak to you only in German and it's unlikely to ever be released in the U.S. due to previous sales efforts of such titles in that country, but then I forgot to take pictures of it as well to at least represent it in some manner. Sigh...

I did, though, record a video of Drachenhort, which is reminiscent of Heimlich & Co. in how the figures on the game board are linked to players, but no one knows who is linked to whom — until you start taking actions in the game, of course, perhaps revealing who you want to succeed.

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Mon Feb 23, 2015 5:01 pm
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"New Games Are for New Gamers": Reflections on NY Toy Fair 2015

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So I wrote this today, not really planning to write this much, but then doing so:

























































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Fri Feb 20, 2015 4:17 am
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Pics from NY Toy Fair 2015 II: StoneBlade Entertainment, Bombyx, Kosmos, FoxMind and MindWare

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Time for another round-up of tweets showing off new and nearly new games on display at NY Toy Fair 2015. I'm still posting more images on BGG's Twitter feed, and I'll post another round-up or two in this space in case you're not a twit like me.

















To elaborate on Maze Racers a bit, to start the game you roll a die that determines in which quadrants you place the start (green) and end (red) gates, then you race to build a maze from the parts, which in the prototype show above have a magnetic edge in order to attach to the metal base. At any point during the construction, one of the players can call time after which the other player flips a sand timer, then has one minute to finish construction. Players then swap boards and attempt to race a marble from one gate to another, and whoever does so first wins.

What popped to mind when I heard this description was Inception, with players racing to build as complex a maze as possible in next-to-no time. I assume that the game has specific construction rules so that you can't plop a gate in an empty area and force someone to roll a marble into it from nowhere. We'll see...





























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Tue Feb 17, 2015 8:18 pm
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Pics from NY Toy Fair 2015 I: Epic Spell Wars & More Adventure Time: Card Wars from Cryptozoic; Dice Masters & Much More from WizKids Games

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I noted just the other day that I might not compile summaries of the pics I've been tweeting from NY Toy Fair 2015 because going through the effort of uploading images and writing about them again would be duplicative, plus I have plenty of other things to post, etc. — then I realize that we have that fancy-shmancy tweet embedding technology that allows me to cut the work down to cutting and pasting. Thus, voilà!

To keep from having too many pics in one post, I'll stick with offerings from Cryptozoic Entertainment and WizKids Games for this post and revisit other tweets later. Plus, I have an appointment within the hour. To the tweets!
















(Actually, I've already updated that page since that tweet.)





























































Okay, that's it for now. Feel free to retweety-tweet-tweet, of course, or follow BGG on Twitter to catch more images from NY Toy Fair 2015 today. I hope to post them throughout the day, but that was also my plan on Saturday and appointments kept running into one another, leaving me to dump most everything in the evening. So be it.
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Sun Feb 15, 2015 12:48 pm
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