HRune's guide to Spiel 11
Arne Hoffmann
Germany
Essenbach
Germany
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Ok, I am joining the crowd quite late and did not even know if I compile my own GL. With 700 new titles spawning this year it will be an almost impossible feat to find all the interesting ones beforehand.

But I have to try at least, do I not? And I rather look at it this way: It should not be difficult finding interesting games at the fair at all. cool

This is more of a "keep on radar screen" list than in past years, jotting down those interesting sounding titles in a central place. Lets just hope that my iPad will connect to BGG during the fair.

Any comments from my fellow geeks are welcome as I start tuning the list as the Spiel comes and goes.

List is sorted by booth numbers

MHL = Must have Level

Ok, the fair has been over for a week, I was able to play quite some games at the fair and around it, get a lot of explanations and even more impressions. I added and will add some of my expressions in the list. Maybe one or two geeks are interested in my musings.
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1. Board Game: MIL (1049) [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:1489]
Arne Hoffmann
Germany
Essenbach
Germany
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This was actually on and off my personal radar and got back on again after two mates independently told me about it. So lets stick in on this list to take a look at the rules and the game in Essen.

Rules do not sound overly complex, gameplay sounds quite interesting with the restraints of generating heirs in time, the marriage options of getting rid of women and the possible screwage and support through vassals.

Seems that only around 250 copies of the game will be at the fair. Should check it out early on Thursday.

--- HomoLudicus --- 4-119

MHL: bought after very positive comments from friends who played through a round Thursday morning.
 
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2. Board Game: Karmabusiness [Average Rating:5.10 Unranked]
Arne Hoffmann
Germany
Essenbach
Germany
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Ok, the current description on the game page rather sounds like advertisement for some of these Self-Fulfillment-Economical Seminars.

"Develop your Negotiation skill"
"Detect and take advantage of business opportunities"
"Set aside part of your profit for Karma"

Ok, game was only on display today. No rules, no one explainig, no chance to play. The material did not convince me at all, so if there is actually a game behind this, I will most likely not find out. Too much oth stuff to test and see.

--- Gen-X Games --- 4-119

MHL: NO
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3. Board Game: Mare Balticum [Average Rating:6.26 Overall Rank:3702]
Arne Hoffmann
Germany
Essenbach
Germany
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The graphical design did raise my interest in the game. Pick-up and deliver is usually also down my path so this is certainly worth paying a visit to.

--- Gry Leonardo --- 4-120

MHL: really looks beautiful, no doubt, and a nice game in there. But also a quite easy game, more suited for the children I currently do not have.
 
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4. Board Game: String Railway: Transport [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:3325]
Arne Hoffmann
Germany
Essenbach
Germany
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Maybe this year?

--- OKAZU Brand --- 4-123

MHL: check out

Again this fell off my radar in Essen. Did not want to buy it off a whim and did not get a chance to try it. Not overly sad about it as I found a good round of games in Essen.
 
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5. Board Game: GOITA [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:4580]
Arne Hoffmann
Germany
Essenbach
Germany
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Partnership Card game - have not heard of this classical Japanese card game. Might want to check it out.

Ok, this can be played with a standard deck of cards and doe not sound that interesting. Interest very low unless I find beautiful cards.

--- Nekomado Co --- 4-125

MHL: low
 
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6. Board Game: Tournay [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:545]
Arne Hoffmann
Germany
Essenbach
Germany
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Interest mainly due to Troyes being a big hit last year. As a card game, my interest is low to start with.


1st place in Fairplay Scout ranking on Thursday evening. Have not had a chance to try it, yet, friends felt it similar in quite some ways to Troyes and not because of its looks.

--- Pearl Games --- 4-139

MHL: low

Tournay got good buzz in Essen, being in the top spot of the Fairplay Scout list (btw, those readers with a subscription receive the complete Scout list by mail after the fair - besides valuable reviews. )

Tournay was going to be sold out on Saturday so I took my chance to buy the 42nd last game - it was fate, I tell you - without trying it first. Got my first game in yesterday (2p) and quite liked it. Once you get to know the card functions and symbols the game runs smoothly and quite fast. No real comparison to Troyes, maybe the fact that I can use meeples of the other players by paying them. You have to be fast in setting up your district and your "engine" (whether for cards, coins or meeples). Looking forward to future plays and do currently not regret the impulse buy.
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7. Board Game: Vintage [Average Rating:6.65 Overall Rank:2974]
Arne Hoffmann
Germany
Essenbach
Germany
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Ok, last year's crop of wine games was so-so with Grand Cru being more accessible although I am still not sure if I like the rule regarding turn-length. Vinhos, although with many interesting mechanisms, was simply overdone and could have used some streamlining.

Where will Vintage end up? Finally the wine game I have been looking for?

Got a good explanationfrom Gil which lets the game look promising. You find the typical vintage mechanisms here - buy estates, buy grapes, harvest, aging. Here coupled with a nice action selection mechanism but also with ship movement. Might the latter be too much or does it fit the game just right? Maybe I can get a test game in.

--- MESAboardgames --- 4-211
MHL: lets check out

No test game, yet and no one in the vincinity got a copy. Still up for a buy later this season.
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8. Board Game: Rumble in the House [Average Rating:6.15 Overall Rank:3110]
Arne Hoffmann
Germany
Essenbach
Germany
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This sounds like a very fast and fun bluffing and double-guessing game for a larger crowd (plays up to 6). Pretty simple rules (move a character that is alone in a room to an adjacent room or "remove" a character from a room containing more than one). Every player is secretly appointed two of the twelve characters in the house. Does this hold for a filler? Lets try to find out.

Ok, this fgame is sure fast and that is the only positive impression I got. The bluffing element falls really short as there is simply not much (anything?) one can do.. Not a game for me.

--- Flatlined Games --- 4-216

MHL: NO
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9. Board Game: Régents [Average Rating:6.44 Overall Rank:5122]
Arne Hoffmann
Germany
Essenbach
Germany
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Medieval area control games certainly work for me. So lets check this one out to see how the game plays.

Mick bought this one which should give me a chance to find out more about the game after Essen.

--- Krok Nik Douil editions --- 4-226

MHL: very low
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10. Board Game: Vanuatu [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:398]
 
Arne Hoffmann
Germany
Essenbach
Germany
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An appealing theme combined with action programming. Lets check this one out, too.

Read through the rules twice and checked some remarks from fellow geeks. This increased my level of interest up to almost pre-ordering the game.

--- Krok Nik Douil editions --- 4-226

MHL: bought
 
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11. Board Game: Uskoci: A Card Game of Croatian Pirates [Average Rating:5.61 Overall Rank:9500]
Arne Hoffmann
Germany
Essenbach
Germany
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To be honest, only the pirate theme does currently attract me (card game ... ). Might be a good idea for a stop to check out gameplay.

And it was a good idea. This is a fun variation of set collecting, adding thematically sound piraty effects. Played two games in a row and am tempted to get a copy.

Played another round today and that was still fun. Hefty price tag for just a card game, though.

--- Amalgam --- 4-228

MHL: medium
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12. Board Game: Montana [Average Rating:6.38 Overall Rank:7306]
Arne Hoffmann
Germany
Essenbach
Germany
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I kind of like the looks of the game and am usually up for area control games. Bidding/set-collecting of poker hands might be a turn-off, so this might be a good game to check out.

--- Cambridge Games Factory --- 4-231
MHL: low - undecided
 
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13. Board Game: Dungeon Petz [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:84]
Arne Hoffmann
Germany
Essenbach
Germany
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To be honest, this has the only credential of playing in the same universe as Dungeon Lords. The worker placement mechanism of different sized groups of imps sounds interesting in its own regards.

Definitely worth taking a look and hopefully trying out.

--- CGE --- 4-310
MHL: lets take a look first
 
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14. Board Game: Prêt-à-Porter [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:637]
Arne Hoffmann
Germany
Essenbach
Germany
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Okay, an economics game set in the fashion business. Could be something, however the rulebook looks overly long and complicated. So I am skeptical to start with.

Read through the rulebook. Not as complicated as feared at first. Except for the fresh theme, no real spark from reading the rules. Hope to try the game.

--- Portal --- 4-311+4-312

MHL: lets check out
 
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15. Board Game: Drum Roll [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:698]
Arne Hoffmann
Germany
Essenbach
Germany
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A circus theme for an economic game is quite refreshing, I have to admit. Colosseum might have fallen in the same category and I take it gameplay will be quite different here. Currently reads a little bland and a stop at Artipia Games will show more.

--- Artipia Games --- 4-407

MHL: low
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16. Board Game: Cave Evil [Average Rating:7.89 Overall Rank:1742]
Arne Hoffmann
Germany
Essenbach
Germany
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I doubt that this game will end up in my shopping bag but have to admit that the totally dark graphics certainly raised my interest and my RPG and dungeon crawling itch. I fear that the playing time and the rulebook will actually turn down the game. Currently, the dark caves keep calling my name.

Read through the rules and doubt if this is a game for me. Will definately check it out, if only to see the components.

The components look dark and quite OK. Gameplay and game in setup is definately not my cup of tea. Also a pretty heavy price ta of 50 EUR at the fair. Phew...
--- Emperors of Eternal Evil --- 4-412

MHL: NO
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17. Board Game: Singapore [Average Rating:6.25 Overall Rank:3113]
Arne Hoffmann
Germany
Essenbach
Germany
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Peer's designer diary got me quite interested in the game as I like the idea with the black chips. Certainly will check this one out.

--- White Goblin Games --- 5-01

MHL: medium

Played this last Sunday. Easily explained but some complexity due to the different buildings. Two nice twists: the Raffles player decides on the building sites for all players. This led to mostly choosing expensive sites for the others and a cheap one for oneself. Money is a limiting factor but maybe not much so that this tactic lives through future plays. Second twist is the gambling element with opium and the black buildings. Usually these offer greater rewards at the risk of losing half of ones opium and also having to pay for it.

This game needs forward planning as the generous victory point buildings only appear near the end of the game and need quite some ressources.

Liked the first game a lot and regret not getting the game at the fair. But already preordered.
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18. Board Game: A Fistful of Penguins [Average Rating:6.15 Overall Rank:2494]
Arne Hoffmann
Germany
Essenbach
Germany
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A quick dice game in which you try to get a good scoring selection of animals? Sounds intriguing.

Clever little dice game with a neat twist on re-rolls for collecting the right sets of animals. Plays pretty fast in rouly 10-15 minutes and offers good fun.

Did not pick up a copy right away only to learn that this gem was sold out on Thursday evening.

--- Wattsalpoag --- 5-02

MHL: currently sold out
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19. Board Game: A Few Acres of Snow [Average Rating:7.52 Overall Rank:134]
Arne Hoffmann
Germany
Essenbach
Germany
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There is all this buzz about this game so there must be something to it, right? Almost had a chance to play this but will probably have to wait until Essen to take a glance at it.

--- Treefrog --- 5-26

MHL: undecided
 
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20. Board Game: Upon a Salty Ocean [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:1868]
Arne Hoffmann
Germany
Essenbach
Germany
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Giochix.it games have not been a big hit with me in the past. Strada Romana is a solid game which found its way into my collection but last year's Rio de la Plata was no-go for me despite some clever ideas there. Upon a salty ocean does sound intriguing as an economic game and the 25% discount for orders paid through Paypal prior to 16 October is for sure a luring incentive. Lets read through the rules available to find out more.

Interesting mechanism for the actions becoming more and mo expensive the more players take them during a round. Will try to get a test game in.

--- Giochix.it --- 5-53
MHL: medium after reading the rules.
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21. Board Game: Shitenno [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:2217]
Arne Hoffmann
Germany
Essenbach
Germany
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The distribution phase in which the active player creates card lots while knowing that he'll receive the one left over falls into a neat decision making category (like e.g. San Marco with its distribution mechanism).

Should check this out.

Falls flat for me after reading the rules. Will definately need a test game

--- Ludonaute --- 5-59

MHL: lets check out
 
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22. Board Game: Coney Island [Average Rating:6.56 Overall Rank:1791]
Arne Hoffmann
Germany
Essenbach
Germany
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Although I like theme parks quite a bit, it falls a little flat as a theme for a board game. However, Michael Schacht and Argentum sound like a good team up front so this should be worth a look in Essen.

--- Argentum --- 5-64

MHL: high

Also played this last Sunday and really like this. Easily explained, limit amount of options but involved gameplay. What I like is the reduction on only money and two ressources. In addition the game is quite interactive as you can build rides over other player's workers. Plays fast and entertaining.

Preordered after the fair.
 
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23. Board Game: Fief [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:1710]
Arne Hoffmann
Germany
Essenbach
Germany
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Fief 2 is one of my all-time favorite games as it was actually the one luring me into this hobby. I can remember great gaming nights but also some irks in the winning conditions and the endgame. The description of Fief mentions vastly revised rules, currently only available in French. Lets take a look at the new design and maybe get an explanation of the differences to Fief. Maybe this will water my mouth for a future English or German edition.

Ok, read through the rules and compared them to those of Fief 2.

What I like:
+ easier victory conditions due to reduced VP count and smaller fiefs
+ no military might to king&queen but rather financial one.
+ only mills for increasing income
+ embassy tokens for reduced diplomatical discussions
+ vote tokens for the elections and "blind" voting with a bluffing element
+ split character and event deck to secure drawing lords and ladies
+ the graphical design is up to date akthough I also like the former quite well.

What I do not like after reading:
- region effected by a calamity is determined randomly instead of by the player drawing it. This was one of the things I really liked about Fief 2. This rule change introduces more randomness...
- no exchange of cards for married couples. This lessens the benefits of a marriage... Again, that used to be one of the advantages I saw in Fief 2
- more stress on military with newly introduced siege engines and sieges... Unsure about this...
- no more revolting peasants. Not a major loss but this was a nice gambling element in Fief 2.

So in all I am not sure about the reworked game... I wonder if the + changes could easily be implemented in Fief 2, especially with regard to victory conditions and the influence of king&queen. Or if the calamity rule could be changed within Fief, though their card backs are different from the other events...

--- Asyncron Games --- 5-83

MHL: medium
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24. Board Game: Kingdom of Solomon [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:1387]
Arne Hoffmann
Germany
Essenbach
Germany
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Worker placement / ressource management with some nasty twists? Enough to check it out.

-- Minion Games --- 7-100

MHL: lets check out

Check out we did. Played a four player game in Saturday. Neat twists and really fast gameplay for a workerplacement game. Only one action card (taxation) left a small bitter aftertaste as it seems much stronger than the other cards. However, this did not stop us to buy 5 copies afterwards.

Nice little gem which calls for deeper exploration.
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25. Board Game: Burdigala [Average Rating:6.11 Overall Rank:6855]
Arne Hoffmann
Germany
Essenbach
Germany
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A small roll and move game by Bruno Cathala? Lets try to check out the gameplay.

--- Id&aL Editions --- 9-07
MHL: low
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