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A Subjective Review & an In Depth Report of a Hectic Essen 2009
"Kurosawa"
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2009 might have been a vintage year at Essen with innovative releases coming from countries like Poland (7, Stronghold) or Czech Republic (Dungeon Lords, Shipyard) creating a lot of hype.

The show also was the launch of the latest Alea (Macao by Stefan Feld), the new big box of Queen Games (Colonia by Shogun designer Dirk Henn) and the last part of the Uwe Rosenberg's economic trilogy; the follow up of Agricola & Le Havre: At the Gates of Loyang and we saw the still unknown Russian publisher Sirius selling well at their booth so yep: Russia is the latest country on the move in board game world.

We went with 5 people on Thursday & Friday and also playtested a prototype of one of my friends with a publisher there. Upon arrival we were shocked at the vast increase in attendance, apparently there was a holiday week in Nordrhein Westfalen this year. Because of the huge crowd it was difficult to find empty playing tables (unless you were prepared to wait) so as a result we hardly had the chance to test games. These are my impression of two hectic days at Spiel. I hope you enjoy this review, especially for those who could not make it to Essen.
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1. Board Game: Long Shot [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:869]
"Kurosawa"
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The Z-Man games booth in hall 9 was the first one I targeted. Most of their new games were priced at 30 euro which is competitive for a new game. Long Shot was on top of my wish-list due to it's theme and I have been looking for a long time for a great horse betting game.

In the meantime we played it and had a blast, it's everything and more than I hoped for. Each round you either buy a horse, bet on any horse or play an action card. Our first play was tense and everybody was supporting for his horse or bet, I got so excited when my horse crossed the line first that I pushed an expensive teapot from my mother of the table. I can easily see Long Shot becoming one of my favourite games.

Z-Man was selling a lot of impressive games this year and I don't know how I did it but somehow I managed to control my wallet and buy only two games from them (the other was the new editon of Ideology:


Of their other new releases my friends tried MegaCorps and they were not impressed by the bone-dry look of it. With Endeavor and Dungeon Lords Z-Man had also two of the biggest hits of the show for sale. I would have still picked up Campaign Manager 2008 here but the release was postponed until Christmas.

I regret not buying the Japanese game Shadow Hunters from Z-Man, a game we considered last year and after reading the rulebook I think it's something really good, priced at a mere 20 euros I should have gone for it.

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2. Board Game: Space Pirates [Average Rating:5.46 Overall Rank:9339]
"Kurosawa"
Belgium
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Russian publisher Sirius Products was located next to Z-Man. They made their debut last year with the average Heroes of the World. This year they made a big impact on the show with quite a big booth, lots of playing tables, stacks of games and two new releases by French designers. I find it very encouraging for the market to see a new publisher investing heavily in the show.

We were surprised that both of their games were not mentioned before the show on BGG but it was mainly the cute (Russian?) girl explaining games at the Sirius booth that convinced us to test Space Pirates, designed by the talented Christophe Boelinger (who brought us Dungeon Twister, a game I adore).

The box cover of Space Pirates looked very attractive and was screaming 'buy me' and it featured plastic space ships. But as soon as we started the game I had something like 'what the heck is this?'. It combines a space theme with dexterity and memory. Now I'm not that keen on those mechanics but it just didn't work here.

Basically you get cards that tell you which coloured chits you need to save, each person has a ship to pick up the chits and each round you can also look at some chips and then (this is the dexterity element) you pinch the chip with your finger over the table. If it's a chit with a colour you don't want to pick up you push it towards ships of other players or you can bluff and do the oposite.

I thought this game sucked like a Vietname wh**e and for me personally this was the stinker of the show (okay this might be a bit too rude for family friendly BGG, no harm intended).

But to my surprise one of my 4 friends thought it was okay and another one (BGG member Maarten Lecleir) decided to purchase it since he considered it fun and original (it sure is unique) so that shows how subjective an opinion can be but so far Space Pirates' BGG votes are pretty low. I really hope I'm proven wrong because Mr. Boelinger really is a good designer and it would be sad if this would hurt his reputation.
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3. Board Game: The Three Musketeers: The Queen's Pendants [Average Rating:6.81 Overall Rank:1977]
"Kurosawa"
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The other game on the Russian Sirius booth also caught our attention and we also wanted to test it but since every table was occupied and the sexy Russian girl was at another table; the designer Pascal Bernard (who brought us Heroes of the World in '08) explained the game to us.

The board shows a maze that presents a castle viewed from above. One player plays Richelieu and his guards that protect the jewels of the queens whilst the other players control musketeers and their goal is to find the jewels. The game comes with plastic musketeer miniatures in different colours. It looked like a very well produced game with lots of theme so one of our group (BGG member David Ausloos) purchased it.

What really impressed us about this Russian publisher is that they produced their games in boxes with many languages (English, French, German, Russian and yes our language Dutch). So when David bought it they asked him 'which language do you want'? and they popped up an edition with Dutch cover and rules. Now that's what I call service.

This could be the sleeper hit of Essen '09.
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4. Board Game: Imperial 2030 [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:101]
"Kurosawa"
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If I was only allowed to buy one game at the show, it would have been Imperial 2030. I consider the original version of Imperial the best game ever made and it's also the most played game in my collection apart from Carcassonne. I've been almost praying (and I'm not a religious man at all) that a new map would come out for it, even considered making one myself so I was delighted with this release.

I'm also a big fan of the rondel system and like everything from this designer (and recommend people to check out The Princess of Machu Pichu, a very good game where the whole board forms a rondell).

They had an upgrade kit with new flags and a new map priced at 15 euro or the complete game with all wooden components (which you can also use from the earlier edition) and the new box priced at 35 euro. I decided to buy the upgrade kit and now regret that because the 2030 expansion doesn't fit in the box of Imperial.

What I love about Imperial is the subtle strategy. It's a game that's easy to explain but hard to grasp since it's so deep, it takes 20 plays before you understand how the mechanics really work and every game develops totally different, I've seen all countries win.

In my book a good game is one that you like; a great game is one that you always want to play over and over again and that gets better with each play. Imperial fits in that category.
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5. Board Game: Savannah Tails [Average Rating:6.30 Overall Rank:2537]
"Kurosawa"
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Scottish publisher Fragor Games is a company I admire since they manage every year to come to the show with an original and well themed product that sells well. Considering how small they are they deserve all praise. In 2005 they even scored a big hit with Shear Panic and Snow Tails did pretty well too. A short explanation by Mrs. Lamont was enough to sell me a copy (23 euro).

In the meantime we played it twice at home and although it's just a very light racing game / short filler we had lots of fun. You can make the track as short or long as you want and there are obstacles or animals that can help or block you but the movement is decided by cards (no dice).

On the photo here you can see Tom, one of my board game friends who traveled with us and is enjoying a game of Savannah Tails. He looks surprisingly geeky in this shot.

If your dream has been to race with ostriches then this is your once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I suggest you go out and buy it.

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6. Board Game: Antler Island [Average Rating:6.19 Overall Rank:2858]
"Kurosawa"
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Fragor's 2006 release Antler Island was for sale for a mere 10 euro and only 7 in combination with Savannah Tails so I picked it up as well.

One of my friends Maarten said he really didn't feel like playing a game about stags mating with doeples on a remote Scottish island and that he wasn't into games that feature animal sex.

At the hotel room I couldn't resist, unpacked the game and tried it and it impressed me. The board has 3 levels (the middle section of the island is higher), the stags are made out of a material similar to stone (some kind of epoxy?) and easily rank amongst the most stunning components I've seen in any game and guess what: this really is a good game.

On friday I wanted to buy another copy as a birthday gift for a friend but the last show copy was sold just in front of my eyes (they did mention that there are still copies left in stock in Scotland).

If you have an interest in biology, the mating process of doeples or if you are a pervert that likes to watch animals reproducing themselves; then I suggest you track down a copy of Antler Island.
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7. Board Game: Dakota [Average Rating:6.04 Overall Rank:3905]
"Kurosawa"
Belgium
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On the booth of Italian publisher Nexus there was a beautiful prototype of a game called Dakota with some very interesting mechanics. It will be released in 2010.

After a long conversation with the friendly and enthusiastic designer Piero Cioni I'm convinced that this is high quality stuff. What I also like about Dakota is that both sides (indians & cowboys) can make buildings that are different from each other (for example a saloon).
My first must buy for Essen 2010.

My friends tested Bruno Faidutti's Ad Astra at the Nexus booth. They thought it lacked something to purchase it. I tend to like Faidutti's work (Citadels is one of the most brilliant card games ever made) but he seems to excel more in lighter games.
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8. Board Game: Deadlands: The Battle for Slaughter Gulch [Average Rating:6.00 Overall Rank:4555]
"Kurosawa"
Belgium
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At the booth of Twilight Creations we spotted a free playing table of Deadlands, I liked the look of the box so we played it with the intention to purchase if it turned out to be good and designer Kerry Breitenstein was so kind to explain it to us but we were a bit dissapointed.

On a positive note: I like that they somehow managed to fit a lot of components (including miniatures) in a compact box. The artwork on the cards were also of fine quality and the box cover just looks fantastic but on the downside: the graphics of the tiles that form the board look like the work of an amateur (no offense intended and hey it's just my subjective opinion).

Overall I liked some of the ideas implemented here but I had the feeling that something was wrong with the game. It just felt way too random, like you couldn't control anything and that the game was playing you instead of you playing the game. But then I must emphasize that I only played 3 rounds, a complete game might be less random and have more interaction because I was really missing that here.

My impression of the game certainly wasn't that bad and the theme does shine through, this is probably Twilight Creations best release to date, but it seems to lack something to make it a really good game.
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9. Board Game: Tulipmania 1637 [Average Rating:6.20 Overall Rank:2517]
"Kurosawa"
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Scott Nicholson is well known to many BGG members with his podcast 'Boardgames with Scott'. This was on my will-buy list after watching an episode. It's actually Scott's first game published on JKLM!

Scott's video convinced me that this is a game right up in my alley. It's very subtle and I love subtle games. This one is centred around a very interesting stock-market mechanic based on a bubble market (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-Oz4y8HhI4).

The quality of the components is pretty lousy: the art is poor (both ingame & on the box) and the cards are way too thin (Scott did mention this on his podcast). But I knew that before I bought it but still I obtained it because I'm convinced there's a good game here.

It seems like a game with the theme just pasted on. But it's not. Scott got the idea when he was on holiday in the Netherlands and found about about a bubble market that existed in 1637 when people invested ridiculous amounts in tulips. He researched the topic and then build the mechanics around this theme afterwards. Since Scott deserves support for everything he's done for us, gamers, I recommend people to check this out. It's a cheap game, cost me 20 euro and it's sold at 30$ in the US.
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10. Board Game: Dark Darker Darkest [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:1858]
"Kurosawa"
Belgium
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This one was not yet for sale since it's a prototype that will hopefully see the day at Essen 2010.

But first of all I have to mention that my opinion is subjective in this case since I have been a play tester for Dark Darker Darkest for the past 2-3 years and since the designer, David Ausloos, is a good friend of mine who always travels to Essen with me.

Having playtested it and seen it develop; I am convinced that it's unique in it's genre. Unlike other horror games this is not a light miniatures game with simple rules but it's a gamer's game that will appeal to hard core gamers. The style is a crossover between Ameritrash with Euro mechanics blended in and lots of theme. Every player controls a character that can carry and use items. It's a co-operative game but unlike Descent you don't fight another player but a system. I am 100% sure it will make a huge impact if it gets released because it's not like any other game I've seen.

On Thursday night it was playtested with a small Spanish publisher in their hotel (I actually skipped that test and stayed in our hotel since I was a bit ill). And although the test went fine and they were very enthusiastic about it they informed David after the show that it was simply too expensive for them to produce (many components including plastic miniatures and thick tiles). Still I find if very honest of them to inform David so quickly of their decision and in case they're reading this: we really appreciated the time they took to test it (they played a full 3 hour game until deep in the night, even though they had to be fresh at their booth again the next morning).

David has been trying to sell the game since half a year now (he developed it three years) and he did all the impressive artwork himself too. With one publisher it came very close to be selected several months ago but that deal went off last minute. Since then he has heard more than once that it's an expensive game to produce but another publisher has emerged with interest recently so there is a small light at the end of the tunnel. It just shows how hard it is to get something on the market, even if the product is of high quality. For any new designer I would recommend to start with a card game or something with cheap components and avoid plastic miniatures.

But anyway, if you are a publisher interested in a beautiful heavy weight game with innovating mechanics and stunning graphics, then please contact David, he is even willing to drop the miniatures and replace them by counters or cardboard stand-ups if necessary (although I think that would take away a bit of the appeal) and he will be happy to inform you.
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11. Board Game: Maria [Average Rating:8.00 Overall Rank:158]
"Kurosawa"
Belgium
Antwerp
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I have been looking for a long time to find a war game with good components (a board instead of a paper), without countless little counters and a strong ruleset. Since I knew about the reputation of Friedrich I headed to the Histogame booth.

I bought King of Siam (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/29937) from them last year and would describe that as an elegant, short, easy to explain but tough to win game.

Maria is much heavier and longer (it lasts 3 hours but there is a lighter variant that allows you to play it in 90 minutes).

I asked the owner of Histogame, who was selling it, to explain me the basic rules of the game and really liked what I heard. It uses a card management system, no dice.

The box cover might look boring but the board is beautiful and it comes with wooden components instead of small counters. It was not cheap at 38 euro but I instantly bought it. Having read in the rule book in the hotelroom I think this was possibly my best buy at Essen '09.

I hope to have a date with Maria asap.
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12. Board Game: God's Playground [Average Rating:7.52 Overall Rank:793]
"Kurosawa"
Belgium
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The Warfrog / Treefrog booth was located next to Histogame so this was my next visit. Martin Wallace is with a long distance my favourite designer, his Liberté one of my all-time favourites and I have a yearly habit of buying two games from his booth.

This season they had two new releases and I'm still surprised in breaking my habit and bought none of them (they probably will still end up in my collection at some point in the future though).

God's Playground was before the show a must-buy for me. Not only because it's the new Wallace but also because of it's subject. I have friends in Krakow, Poland that I visit on a regular basis and this one is about Polish history.

But when I picked up the box I read on the backside 'if you don't like lots of randomness or games with dice then this is not a game for you'. That sounded very unlike other Wallace games, randomness and luck are completely absent there. I also found it strange that an argument why one should not buy a game was printed on the box. So I decided to wait for reviews on this and if they turn out to be good I will order a copy on the Warfrog website.

I also passed on Last train to Wensleydale since there are already so many train themed games on the market but I might still order it later. Of Warfrog I did already order Waterloo before Essen at their website since it was getting sold out.
 
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13. Board Game: Toledo [Average Rating:6.30 Overall Rank:1638]
"Kurosawa"
Belgium
Antwerp
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As I've said in my comments on God's Playground, I didn't buy my yearly two games at the Warfrog booth. But I did buy two games of Martin Wallace; so this way my yearly tradition stays intact because I obtained the new edition of Tinner's Trail on the booth of the nice British people of JKLM and this one. I wanted to buy the Phalanx release of Automobile as well but on the stand of Phalanx Germany they knew nothing about it; after the show I found out that it was for sale: nice...

Toledo is a lighter Wallace. This one from 2008 can be played with family or with non-gamers as an introduction to board games. But there is enough meat left to satisfy the more experienced gamers. It plays in just 1 hour, I've tried it already and am surprised it's not ranked higher because it's a very elegant design and I really enjoyed it.

The players are trying to forge swords in Toledo and by doing so they move their wooden pawns with a card management system towards the fortress of Alcazar. The pawns move on a track of tiles laid out on the board by the players, each tile triggers actions and when you land on a tile of an opponent you have to pay them with a card. A very underrated game that will hit my table at a frequent basis.
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14. Board Game: Zooloretto Exotic [Average Rating:6.92 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.92 Unranked]
"Kurosawa"
Belgium
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The newest game of Michael Schacht: Valdora, grabbed a lot of attention on the show with it's wonderful components; many people seemed to enjoy it at the tables. But it was really for Zooloretto Exotic that I visited Abacus.

Zooloretto is a game that often hits my table. Like Ticket to Ride it's an ideal gateway game and one of the best family games out there (my parents love it). I've used it several times as an introduction to board games with non-gamers and each time it was a hit. It's very light but it just never disappoints and I still have to meet someone who doesn't like it. On top of that it's a former Spiel des Jahres winner.

So with this in mind I couldn't resist getting the expansion for 15 euro. As I was at the Abacus ground a compatriot made me feel quite embarrassed. He also bought Zooloretto Exotic and was demanding the Abacus crew to fetch designer Michael Schacht for him. I thought this guy probably wants to distribute his game or something but no, a little bit later Mr. Schacht turned up, and the guy started begging to autograph his game saying things like 'Im a big fan of you, you signed my game last year too and I play all your games'. Michael dully signed it but this scenery was enough for me to get the hell out of there and who knows maybe this guy is reading this right now :-)
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15. Board Game: Gonzaga [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:1550]
"Kurosawa"
Belgium
Antwerp
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At the other side of the very large Abacus booth were several tables with a very attractive looking Italian game called Gonzaga. It has a map of Europe, a medieval theme and components that would make a person with a fetish of plastic drool.

I was tempted to buy it on the spot but reconsidered after hearing the 40 euro price. Not that 40 euro is that much but considering the bargains and low prices one finds at Essen it is kind of expensive. Still this is a game that deserves a moment in the spotlights.
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16. Board Game: Colonia [Average Rating:6.58 Overall Rank:1432]
"Kurosawa"
Belgium
Antwerp
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Shogun is one of the biggest hits in my playing group. Some people always keep on asking to play it and we've had some legendary sessions with Shogun. It featured a unique cube tower system that determined the outcome of a battle.

So when I heard that Dirk Henn was releasing a new big box on Queen Games and since I also love his game Alhambra; I was naturally interested.

There was collectors edition priced 45 euro with wooden meeples and the normal edition at 40 euro with cubes instead of meeples and a different box for sale on the Queen booth. I wanted to obtain the collectors box but at another booth of a distributor I saw the normal edition for only 35 euro. Since I didn't feel like paying 10 euro for meeples I bought that one.

In the meantime I have read the rulebook and although this is an ecomomic game and Shogun an empire building game; the mechanics seem very similar. A lot of ideas from Shogun were re-implemented here and I like that; based on the rulebook I think this is another gem.
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17. Board Game: Mecanisburgo [Average Rating:6.56 Overall Rank:2844]
"Kurosawa"
Belgium
Antwerp
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On to the booth of Madrid based Gen-X Games then. Designer Daniel Val and his colleague, Gen-X owner Servando, were selling their games with lots of enthousiasm.

Last year Mecanisburgo escaped my radar so I was keen to check it out. I liked what I saw but it had a 40 euro price tag, if it was a bit cheaper I would have purchased it.

There also was a playing table for 2 de Mayo (a little two player gem) and their newest release Luna Llena: a very attractive looking game themed around werewolves, the perfect game to play at halloween nights and a potential hit.

The location of their booth (in a large hall where they were selling alternative products like swords and stuff like that) was not ideal and far away from the better halls where the better known publishers were. As a result they probably didn't get as much attention as they deserve.
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18. Board Game: Saigo no Kane [Average Rating:6.58 Overall Rank:4224]
"Kurosawa"
Belgium
Antwerp
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This is one from Wolf Fang was something I wanted to purchase last year but since it was priced high (50 euro if I remember correctly) I took a pass then.

But every year is another year and to my delight it was priced only 25 euro so I picked up a copy. The box was really heavy and when I opened it it was filled with tiles and a board so you get a lot of value for money.

In the game players play Japanese teenagers at a school and the goal is to become president of the school by winning votes & popularity.

I really like the theme and artwork.

The Polish publisher Wolf Fang seems like a promising company that is worth to keep an eye on. They haven't had a big hit yet but I'm sure that's just a question of time.

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19. Board Game: 7 [Average Rating:5.22 Overall Rank:10167]
"Kurosawa"
Belgium
Antwerp
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Wolf Fang's newest release 7 was also for sale for only 25 euro, I also obtained that.

It's a fantasy themed co-operative game. The graphics are hit and miss. Some cards look really nice, some others out of place and I find the boards plain ugly but it sure looks like something different from the other games on the market.

According to the publisher this game features some similar mechanics as in Saigo no Kane but instead of player competing with each other they play together and resolve quests.

When I was at the Wolf Fang booth, a Dutch guy came and instantly bought all 7 or 8 games from them (every game they ever published) without asking any questions about them. Naturally the publisher was happy with such a customer. It's good to see a small company like Wolf Fang having a succesful fair, there was quite a lot of activity on their booth.

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20. Board Game: GiftTRAP [Average Rating:6.50 Overall Rank:1209]
"Kurosawa"
Belgium
Antwerp
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Gift Trap was a game I only discovered one day before the fair. It was already published but since I'm normally not keen on party games I never noticed it. In fact: I discovered it by accident on the Boardgames with Scott podcast. Scott managed to convince me that his something for my play group and I saw on Bruno Faidutti's wonderful website (www.faidutti.com) that he elected it as his game of the year 2007.

In Gift Trap the players give presents to each other but the trick is to guess what another player really wants because you get rewarded for a good match. I haven't played it yet but it seems hilarious and something ideal to play with people that you know well. The box is one of the nicest I've ever seen; if you open it you'll find a board game that's folded in an original way and... present bags with tiles for each player.

I was delighted to find a new edition in both German & English at the Heidelberg booth.

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21. Board Game: The BoardGameGeek Game [Average Rating:6.13 Overall Rank:2745]
"Kurosawa"
Belgium
Antwerp
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A game about our favourite website? How can one resist? I know I can't; especially if it's designed by Richard Breese who I regard highly (his marvelous game Aladdin's Dragon is after all those years still a big hit in my home).

The BoardGameGeek Game uses set-collection mechanics. Each player controls a board game publisher to bring games to the shops but also has three Geeks (represented by dice) that have to buy games of the competitors in those shops.

The 6 publishers that you can control are: R&D Games, Warfrog, Eggert Spiele, Hans im Glück, Queen Games and Ystari.

PS: if you look well you can sea Aldie on the box cover
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22. Board Game: Nostra City [Average Rating:6.42 Overall Rank:2850]
"Kurosawa"
Belgium
Antwerp
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I had an explanation of this or at least: somebody tried to give me an explanation on the Hazgaard booth but his English was so poor that he was struggling and I was enjoying his funny efforts. It was obviously a hired staff guy and since I understand German myself too it was truly mean of me to watch his struggle. And it was stupid of me too since I still don't know how the rules go of this one.

Some people have complained about the art in Nostra City but I saw it live and hey I thought it looked pretty neat. There was only one table but it had a session going; seemed like a very good game here. It's a mafia game where you can corrupt a jury, bribe trial witnesses and stuff like that. It's mainly a card game with a board but it's different from any other mafia game I've ever seen.
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23. Board Game: Okko: Era of the Asagiri [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:1601]
"Kurosawa"
Belgium
Antwerp
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Also on Hazgaard's area was a table with Okko: Era of the Asagiri. Since I like the comic books of Okko set in medieval Japan and this game is based on that universe and I almost bought it last year; I decided to sit down and do a short test and yes with that poor English speaking German guy again but I decided he suffered enough and removed him from his misery by allowing him to switch to German which was a good move.

Anyway: Oko is a two player skirmish game. In a way it reminds strongly of a game like Tannhäuser (although that's multi-player) but it for sure has some deeper strategy as the Fantasy Flight release. I must admit I'm not a skirmish man but this one was themed nicely but these kind of games tend to be using rather simplistic mechanics and that was the case here though; I can't see myself playing this for a long time so a no-go for me.

It comes with card board stand-ups but miniatures to replace those were for sale as well. People who like these type of genre might want to check this out since it seems significantly better as Tannhäuser (which was not that good really) but still pretty boring to me. Fans of the Okko comic book series should definitely check it out.

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24. Board Game: Sator Arepo Tenet Opera Rotas [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:1226]
"Kurosawa"
Belgium
Antwerp
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Normally we follow a policy of not buying the same game in our game group since we play them together mostly anyway but Sator is the exception on our rule.

Essen '08 release Sator has become a very popular game in my game group. David bought it last year after a successful play test and I had obtained it a couple of months later. This year the two Maarten's also bought it and we also got a copy for a friend's birthday. So we drove back with 3 Sator copies in the back of our packed car from Essen which makes it the most owned game in our friends group tallying at a total of 5! The Good news is that we don't need to transport it now if we want to play since there's a copy in almost everybody's house now.

Now this might not be of interest to all of you but it just underlines what a fine production this Italian game by Post Scriptum is.

Each player controls a monk and an acolyte and their goal is to recover 4 books on the board by using cards to move his monk and manipulate footbridge-tiles that can be moved or twisted. It comes with wonderful plastic pieces.

It can suffer a bit from analysis paralysis with 2 as it becomes almost like chess with monks and it plays well with 3 or 4 too.

Must buy for hard core Christians (there's many of those in the US) or religion freaks and I want to make it clear that neither me nor my friends fit in those categories.

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25. Board Game: Caligula [Average Rating:6.21 Overall Rank:4194]
"Kurosawa"
Belgium
Antwerp
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With Sator such a big hit in our group; naturally I was interested in Post Scriptum's newest baby and it's called Caligula (not a name I would give to my baby if I ever become a father).

Those friendly Italians (yes I admit I have soft spot for Italy) of Post Scriptum had only a small booth and of course the playing table was occupied so I decided to observe a game in progress for a while.

Caligula is a worker placement game and you probably will think 'there's quite a lot of those already' but I tend to like that mechanic and this one implements it on a card game. It also has some level of diplomacy and a hidden bids auction system. Since I haven't actually played it it's difficult to make a non-clouded judgement but I'll keep an eye on it in the upcoming months.

Oh and a suggestion for a Caligula expansion: maybe they can add the legendary decadent Roman orgies in the game?

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