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Back to Back to the Future with Funko Games

W. Eric Martin
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Board Game Publisher: Funko Games
The year 2020 is outside the universe created by the Back to the Future film series, yet the movie is apparently more popular than ever — at least for game creators who want to give people a chance to travel back in time to right the past and ensure the future.

Just ahead of NY Toy Fair 2020, U.S. publisher Funko Games has announced the first non-Funkoverse title in its line-up — Back to the Future: Back in Time, with this being a fully co-operative game for 2-4 players that plays in under an hour and that features a dice tower inside the Hill Valley clock tower.

Here's an overview of this Q3 2020 release from the in-house design team of Prospero Hall:
Quote:
"Wait a minute, Doc, are you telling me you built a time machine...out of a DeLorean?"

The photo of the McFly family is slowly fading... It's 1955, and you're wrapped up in a time paradox with Biff, Lorraine, George, and Doc Brown! Cooperate to move around Hill Valley to get the DeLorean ready, avoid Biff and his gang, help George and Lorraine fall in love, and crank the DeLorean up to 88 MPH — all just in time for the lightning to strike the Clock Tower, sending you back to the future!

Board Game: Back to the Future: Back in Time
In Back to the Future: Back in Time, each player takes on the role of a major character from the movie: Marty McFly, Doc Brown, Jennifer Parker, or Einstein the dog. The objective of the game is to have the characters move around 1955 Hill Valley, collecting certain items in an effort to fix Doc's famous DeLoreon time machine, defeat Biff Tannen and his gang of trouble-making friends, while ensuring that Marty's parents fall in love. Only when that is accomplished can players then accelerate the DeLoreon to 88 MPH down Main Street before the clock tower strikes 10:04 pm!
The other BTTF titles due out in 2020, as covered in October 2019, are a Back to the Future title from Funko Games due out in July 2020 that will be part of the Funkoverse Strategy Game and a different co-operative dice-based game from Chris Leder, Ken Franklin, Kevin Rodgers, and Ravensburger titled Back to the Future: Dice Through Time that will debut at UK Games Expo in June 2020.
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Try Your Hand at Being a Meddling Kid in Scooby-Doo: Escape from the Haunted Mansion

W. Eric Martin
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Board Game Publisher: The OP
Let's think back all the way to, um, yesterday, Feb. 18, 2020, when I posted about Ravensburger's Wonder Woman: Challenge of the Amazons. In that post I wrote "it's time to start seeing game announcements for licensed titles that will have their revelations timed specifically to this show", and here's yet another such announcement:

In mid-May 2020, Warner Brothers and Atlas Entertainment will release the animated movie SCOOB!, which will feature the fifty-year-old dog Scooby-Doo and his constant companions Velma, Fred, Daphne, and Shaggy trying to solve yet another mystery.

Not coincidentally, in late May 2020, game publisher The OP will release Scooby-Doo: Escape from the Haunted Mansion – A Coded Chronicles Game, a co-operative game from Sen-Foong Lim and Jay Cormier in which players take on the roles of these characters and attempt to solve a mystery of their own. Here's an overview of how this game works:
Quote:
In Scooby-Doo: Escape from the Haunted Mansion, players take on the roles of the teen sleuths and their courageous canine pal to solve a mystery! Work together to decode clues and find your way out of the haunted mansion in this co-operative "Coded Chronicles" game. Can you solve the mystery of Lady Fairmont's ghost with the help of Mystery, Inc.?

Board Game: Scooby-Doo: Escape from the Haunted Mansion

In more detail, more than fifty clues are hidden in the pieces and interactive game board to help you discover what happened in Lady Fairmont's haunted mansion! Players share five narrative booklets to be read as everyone works together to fill in the story's missing details. Different parts are kept in secret envelopes to be opened as the crew unlocks the answers.
"Coded Chronicles" is The OP's trademarked term for, to quote its press release, "the first at-home escape room-style activity that integrates storylines from iconic franchises into the foundation of a unique code-revealing mechanic, which players use to cooperatively and gradually unlock new parts of the game".

Scooby-Doo: Escape from the Haunted Mansion is for one or more players ages 12 and up, and it bears a 120-minute playing time.
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Wed Feb 19, 2020 9:00 pm
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Marvel Villainous: Infinite Power Challenges You to Wield the Infinity Gauntlet

W. Eric Martin
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Video Game Publisher: Ravensburger Spieleverlag GmbH
In case you're not content with being a villain from one of the Disney movies, you'll find new opportunities to be bad in Marvel Villainous: Infinite Power, a standalone game from designer Prospero Hall and publisher Ravensburger, the team behind the Disney Villainous line of games that has sold more than 800,000 copies since its debut in 2018.

Marvel Villainous: Infinite Power is for 2-4 players ages 12 and up, bears a playing time of 40-80 minutes, and carries a US$35 MSRP. The game features five villains, including Hela, Ultron, and cover star Thanos, and gameplay is similar to Disney Villainous, but with a few twists:
Quote:
Dominate the Marvel universe as an iconic comic book villain! Each villain follows a unique path to victory; each uses different abilities to face other villains and mighty heroes from across the universe.

Board Game: Marvel Villainous: Infinite Power

In Marvel Villainous: Infinite Power, players move their villains to different locations within their domain, carry out the actions there, and deal twists of fate to their opponents from a shared fate deck. Three different game modes allow players to scale the difficulty of their game by facing more or fewer events — situations that extract a heavy toll on villains until they are resolved the only way villains know how. Specialty cards add to each villain's ability, making them even more formidable as more specialty cards are played. With beginner and advance options, this game is an adventure for the whole family!
Marvel Villainous: Infinite Power is scheduled for release at the start of August 2020, and unlike its Disney predecessor the game is not a Target exclusive and will be available at retailers both large and small.

(Disclosure: I was hired by Ravensburger to edit the rules and components of Marvel Villainous: Infinite Power. —WEM)
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Wed Feb 19, 2020 8:06 pm
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Abandon All Artichokes as You Drop by the Gamewright Dungeon for a Marshmallow Test

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Board Game Publisher: Gamewright
Board Game: Dungeon Drop
NY Toy Fair 2020 opens on Saturday, Feb. 22, and I'm still trying to catch up with what will be shown there, while also building a livestream broadcast schedule for BGG's coverage of both FIJ 2020 and GAMA Expo 2020. Yes, February is the second-busiest time of the year just behind October and the final rush to SPIEL.

In any case, U.S. publisher Gamewright has announced its game release schedule for 2020, and it plans to issue nine games in 2020. (Technically Gamewright is announcing ten new releases, but that's because it's including Darren Kisgen's Dragonrealm on the list. That title debuted in Q3 2019, but it wasn't previously announced to the NY Toy Fair audience, which means it's new to them. Anyway...)

• The top title on Gamewright's list might be Scott R. Smith's Dungeon Drop, which was crowdfunded in mid-2019 by Phase Shift Games and which started reaching backers in January 2020.

Board Game: Dungeon Drop

In this 1-4 player game, you set up the dungeon by dropping cubes on the table, with these cubes representing treasure, monsters, pillars, chests, keys, and other items. Each player has a fantasy class and race, with each having specific powers and life points. On a turn, you choose three pillars, then collect all of the items within the triangle formed by those pillars, with you trying to get gold (which is always worth points) and other items based on your hidden scoring card.

Board Game: メトロックス (MetroX)
Board Game: メトロックス (MetroX)
• Other titles coming from Gamewright include a new edition of Hisashi Hayashi's flip-and-write game MetroX, which was previously available only from Hayashi's OKAZU Brand. In this game, you're trying to complete subway lines more quickly than other players to receive large bonuses, while also just filling in as many stations as possible. Gamewright already has copies of MetroX in stock, and it should be available at stores in Q1 2020.

Board Game: Qwixx Card Game
Qwixx: Das Kartenspiel from Steffen Benndorf and Reinhard Staupe is also seeing a Q1 2020 North American release, with this item bearing the name Qwixx Card Game. Gamewright has been extremely successful with Qwixx, and now it's finally expanding the brand from NSV Games. In the game, players try to cross off numbers in four colored rows to score points, with you doing so based on (1) the number visible on the back of the deck and (2) the drafted cards played from your hand, with you needing to play sequential cards to maximize your score.

Board Game: Abandon All Artichokes
Abandon All Artichokes is a card game from Emma Larkins that challenges you to do just that. Here's a short description of this Q1 2020 release:
Quote:
A bumper-crop of prickly produce has overtaken your patch, and there's only one choice: abandon all artichokes! Prune your deck by harvesting fresh vegetables, each with a special power that lets you swap, discard, or compost cards. You need luck, strategy, and a green thumb to grow a winning hand!
Board Game: Hi Lo Flip
• Another Q1 2020 release from Gamewright is Hi Lo Flip, a card game for 2-6 players from Garrett J. Donner and Michael S. Steer that plays as follows:
Quote:
In Hi Lo Flip, you want to ditch all the cards in your hand, while also keeping others from playing so that you can collect the discard pile for yourself.

Each round in the game, you start with a hand of seven cards from a deck numbered 1-100. The HI-LO chip is in the center of the table showing one side of it. On a turn, you play a card from your hand onto the discard pile that is either higher or lower (depending on the HI-LO chip) than the current top card. If you can't play, then flip the chip. If it lands on the opposite side, play a card, then end your turn; if not, then draw a card, playing it immediately, if possible. If you still can't play, then whoever played most recently claims all of the cards in the discard pile, then you play whatever card you want.

If you play a card that ends with a 1, then the next player draws a card and skips their turn. If the card ends in a 2, then you must play again.

When someone runs out of cards, they collect the discard pile, then players tally their points for cards collected, with cards ending in 0 being worth 10 points and all other cards 1 point. The player who went out scores a bonus of 10 points. Complete multiple rounds until a player scores more than 75 points, with whoever has the highest score at that point winning the game.
Board Game: Hi Lo Flip

Board Game: Marshmallow Test
Board Game: Voodoo Prince
Marshmallow Test is a 2-5 player trick-taking game from Reiner Knizia that sounds like a new version of 2017's Voodoo Prince from Schmidt Spiele:
Quote:
It's a tricky-sticky situation: a game that rewards patience, but only for so long...

Win tricks in Marshmallow Test by playing the highest card in the established color. The longer you wait to go out, the more points you score — but don't delay too long or else you get nothing! Find the sweet spot and victory is your ultimate prize!
Board Game: Shifting Stones
Shifting Stones is the only Q3 2020 release on this list, with this 1-5 player game sounding like a real-time puzzle game:
Quote:
Leave no stone unturned! Nine mystical tiles lie before you in a grid of rocky ruins. Rearrange the tiles to match one or more of the patterns in your hand. The catch is that you must sacrifice a card every time you swap or flip a tile. Carve out the most points in Shifting Stones, and your victory will be set in stone!
Hmm, more details needed, which is what a trip to NY Toy Fair 2020 will help provide...

Board Game: Splurt!
• Like Dungeon Drop, the party game Splurt! is another new edition of a previously self-published game. To play, shuffle the deck of cards, then flip over one to reveal the category on the back of the card, e.g., a nickname and the condition on the front of the next card, e.g., begins with A. Whoever yells out a valid answer first wins the flipped card. Can you name an animal containing five letters? A song ending in E? Collect the most cards to win!

Board Game: Hit List
Hit List is a party game for four or more players that may or may not be related to the 2016 release iKNOW: Hit List from Tactic. The premises sound the same, but again, this is something to figure out later.

I'll note that I run into Gamewright developer Jason Schneider at many conventions, and he has a good eye for what makes a design ideal for Gamewright. I've suggested that he check out this or that game as something that I think would be a good license to pick up, and inevitably when I see him later, he'll say, "Yeah, that sort of worked", then he'll name some element of the design that makes it a miss, whether the player count, the rules overhead, something in the graphics, or a detail I never would have noticed.

As for this design, the explanation of how to play is on the box itself: "1 clue, 6 answers, 30 seconds". That tagline gets you 85% of the way to playing, with only a few details yet to be discovered. That's what Gamewright wants in its party game line, and recognizing that would be a plus for designers pitching prototypes to them. As for this game, here are a few more details:
Quote:
Put this party game at the top of your list! Flip the timer, draw a card, and race to shout out answers that fit the category. How quickly can your team name ice cream brands? Vampires? Cartoon cats? Answers can be obvious or obscure, but they score only if they're on the Hit List!
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Wed Feb 19, 2020 1:00 pm
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Wonder Woman: Challenge of the Amazons Coming in March 2020 from Ravensburger

W. Eric Martin
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Board Game: Wonder Woman: Challenge of the Amazons
With NY Toy Fair 2020 due to open on Saturday, Feb. 22, it's time to start seeing game announcements for licensed titles that will have their revelations timed specifically to this show. Many of the NYTF attendees aren't interested in games per se, but they will pay attention to licenses that appeal to their customers.

With that in mind, on March 1, 2020, Ravensburger will release Wonder Woman: Challenge of the Amazons, this being a co-operative game for 2-5 players that's designed by Prospero Hall and illustrated by comic book artist Jenny Frison, who has created dozens of Wonder Woman covers.

The game description provided by Ravensburger is brief—
Quote:
The Amazons, a powerful tribe of warriors, have lived in peace for centuries on the tranquil island of Themyscira. That peace is shattered when their enemies invade. Now it's up to you to defend your home!

In the co-operative game Wonder Woman: Challenge of the Amazons, you'll strategize together, face your foes on the battlefield, and rise to meet the challenge!
—but Rodney Smith of Watch It Played has already posted an overview video of how the game works should you care to check that out.

Board Game: Wonder Woman: Challenge of the Amazons


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Tue Feb 18, 2020 4:00 pm
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Stefan Brück to Leave Alea in Mid-2020

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Board Game Publisher: alea
Editor Stefan Brück will leave the alea publishing brand — and parent company Ravensburger — in mid-2020.

This news was first reported by Sebastian Wenzel on Spielen.de, and I've confirmed with Ravensburger that Brück is leaving at his own request. The two alea titles teased at the Spielwarenmesse 2020 trade fairThe Castles of Tuscany and a new version of Puerto Rico — will be released as planned.

The alea game brand debuted at Spielwarenmesse 1999 with the presentation of Reiner Knizia's Ra and Karsten Hartwig's Chinatown. Brück had joined Ravensburger when that company bought his previous employer, F.X. Schmid, in the late 1990s, and the alea line was established to present strategy games somewhat more involved than the family games published by its parent company. While Brück is mostly known for his development work with alea, he has also edited many games that bear the Ravensburger logo.

I'll note that I've played games with Brück several times, specifically when designers were pitching potential alea titles to him. After a single playing, Brück would present his understanding of the game back to the designer, boiling everything down to its core, akin to characters in The Matrix seeing through reality to the code underneath it all. Everything was boiled down to points, money, bits, and actions — the game world in its most basic elements — and Brück would lay out the issues that he saw in the design, effectively inviting the designer to pitch the game again in a year when all of those issues had been worked out.

Ravensburger states that the alea brand will continue, although a successor to Brück's role as editor, developer, and line manager has not yet been named. I asked Brück about his future plans, and he said, "Give me some more weeks for a more concrete answer."
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Tue Feb 18, 2020 3:00 pm
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Game Previews from Spielwarenmesse 2020 III: Beez, Flyin' Goblin, Last-Second Quest, and War of the Ring: Kings of Middle-earth

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Board Game: War of the Ring (Second Edition)
• Time for more game preview videos from the Spielwarenmesse 2020 trade fair, starting with an overview of Kings of Middle-earth, a new forthcoming expansion for the second edition of War of the Ring from Roberto Di Meglio, Marco Maggi, and Francesco Nepitello, the latter of whom explains what you'll find in the box.

My apologies to Mr. Nepitello for butchering his name, which Lincoln pointed out to me later, and for not knowing a thing about War of the Ring, which I've yet to play. (Lord of the Rings has never held any appeal to me, so I'm at a loss in terms of what to ask about this expansion and what to summarize in this space: "So, um, more dwarves in this one, I see?" Thus endeth my confession for today.)





Board Game Publisher: Next Move Games
• Getting an overview of Beez from Dan Halstad and Next Move Games was much more my speed given that I didn't have to know anything about actual bees (or even "beez") in order to follow what was being said.

The gist of the game is that you want to collect pollen, and to make your movement through the flowers more beelike, you can never move in the same direction two turns in a row. You dart in one direction, then make a 60º turn, then turn around and rush the other way. Are you lost and trying to find your way around? No, you're just being a bee!





Board Game Publisher: WizKids
Last-Second Quest from Christian Giove and WizKids has a Galaxy Trucker feel to it, with players trying to stuff items into their backpacks — which come in various sizes from one round to the next — to complete quests quickly while leaving no space wasted.





Board Game Publisher: Zoch Verlag
Zoch Verlag's Rüssel raus! is an incredibly simple game from the design team of Inka Brand, Markus Brand, and Matthias Prinz, but sometimes you need a lot of brain power to get to the level of simplicity that's optimal.

Rüssel raus! presents a new take on rock/paper/scissors — sort of — is that each round players simultaneously put out either a fist or one finger, with the fingers then being summed and everyone placing one of the cards on display into their termite mound of the same number. Collect three termites of the same type into a mound, and you score; score twice, and you win. Pepper spray causes some complications but also another way to score.





Board Game Publisher: Queen Games
• Mike Georgiou's Zen Garden from Queen Games is one of the few 2020 titles that I've played at this point, with the game having a very Queen feel to it. Players buy tiles from a display for 0-2 coins, then place that tile adjacent to others in their garden, slowly building a 4x4 display that tries to maximize points in several different areas, kind of the way you might look at several overlapping Venn diagrams and try to find whatever fits into the most of them as the answer to your troubles.





Board Game Publisher: IELLO
Flyin' Goblin from Corentin Lebrat, Théo Rivière, and IELLO will be launched soon at the FIJ 2020 fair in Cannes, France, and this quick look at the game gives you an idea of what to target as you prepare your goblins on the launch pad.

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Mon Feb 17, 2020 1:00 pm
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Game Previews from Spielwarenmesse 2020 II: Dodo, Four Gardens, Castle of Mind, Moovz, and Die Wikinger Saga

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Board Game Publisher: KOSMOS
I've already posted one round-up of game preview videos that BGG recorded at the Spielwarenmesse 2020 trade fair, and now we have 44 such videos in place on our BGG Express YouTube channel in a Spielwarenmesse 2020 playlist. Lincoln and Nikki have been cranking through the editing on these videos ahead of a trip to Cannes, France to cover the Festival International des Jeux, and you can be the beneficiary of that work. Let me highlight a few of these videos here:

• I knew the basics of Dodo when we visited the KOSMOS booth — a co-operative kids' game in which you try to save the dodo's egg — and I assumed this would be a ridiculously difficult game intended to teach children about the meaningless of life and why you shouldn't bother trying to achieve your goals. After all, dodos are extinct, so clearly these children failed.

What I didn't expect was the bizarre, wait-a-sec-is-that-egg-broken-or-does-the-presenter-not-notice-it's-still-OHMIGOD-THAT-EGG-IS-WOBBLING-ALONG-LIKE-IT'S-POSSESSED effect of seeing the dodo egg in action. The gameplay is basic, with players needing to roll a die and find stuff (or remember where they saw stuff previously), with you being to increase the difficulty of the game if needed, but the production quality of the game is astounding, with action that will look like nothing in still images, yet be eye-catching in videos on social media.





Board Game Publisher: Korea Boardgames co., Ltd.
• Martin Doležal's Four Gardens from Korea Boardgames has a collect-stuff-build-stuff core that you've likely experienced in other games, but it features a four-level pagoda that depicts the stuff that you can collect, and on a turn, you rotate some level of the pagoda, with all levels above this also rotating, which can be good or bad since you have limited space in which to store that stuff.

The scoring part of the game has a neat twist as you move up four colored tracks as you complete buildings. If you reach the top of a track and score that color again, you don't gain any more points — you being at the top and all — but everyone else is knocked down one scoring level in that color. Keep scoring in that color, and you can knock them off that track completely with no chance of readmittance.





Board Game Publisher: Fontanus Center
Castle of Mind is a two-player abstract strategy game and the first release from Hungarian company Fontanus Center.

At some point during the many discussions that Lincoln and I had while rushing between exhibitor booths, I mentioned that I found it surprising that publishers didn't create a set of thumbnail-proportioned images (640x360, 1,280x720, 1,920x1,080) to give members of the press so that videos wouldn't have so many odd-looking thumbnails that wedge a 3D cover in place awkwardly — and lo and behold, Fontanus Center was the first such company to deliver a thumbnail-proportioned image when I requested a 2D front cover for use on BGG. (I'd still like the flat front cover, but at least this video looks sharp!)





Board Game Publisher: Schmidt Spiele
• I had published a short overview of Die Wikinger Saga from Schmidt Spiele in mid-January 2020, but that description didn't give me a sense of how the game was played. A much longer description is now in place on the BGG page thinks to co-designer Knut Happel, but I still feel like it doesn't capture what you're doing in the game — and the tricky thing is that I don't know how to properly summarize the gameplay either, even having sat in during this presentation.

Too many games in too few days perhaps. Time to watch it again to re-learn what's already fallen out of my head...





Board Game Publisher: Helvetiq
• I'm not sure this video does justice to the cool concept behind Moovz from Helvetiq, a two-player game in which each player sets up marbles in a pattern on the wooden board they hold in their hands. Once both players are ready, someone flips the challenge card to reveal the target arrangement of marbles, then each player must tilt and jostle their board to move marbles into the proper places. Part of the challenge is physical, but part is also seeing what you need to do in order to reach that target pattern.

Ideally we can shoot a better presented video of this game at SPIEL '20 as we'll then have an overhead camera and can do a better job of keeping things in the frame. Still, I hope you'll give it a look.

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Sun Feb 16, 2020 1:00 pm
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Prepping for NY Toy Fair 2020 with Steven Universe, a Piece of Pie, and a Rip Off

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Board Game: Steven Universe: Beach-A-Palooza Card Battling Game
I've been swamped with coverage of Spielwarenmesse 2020 — so many pics! so many videos! — and trying to finish off coverage of that event before it got further swamped by other happenings, such as NY Toy Fair 2020, which I will attend in late February 2020 and for which I've done little preparation. Let's get started on that!

• U.S. publisher Cryptozoic Entertainment will continue its association with Cartoon Network with the Q1 2020 release of Steven Universe: Beach-A-Palooza Card Battling Game, a 3-6 player game from designers Erica Bouyouris and Andrew Wolf that works as follows:
Quote:
At this year's Beach-a-Palooza, Steven has a surefire way to win: Recruit more Stevens from the timeline and have them all front their own bands!

Steven Universe: Beach-A-Palooza Card Battling Game is your chance to become a Steven and try to put together the best band and audience! But it's not going to be easy as party crashers — both Corrupted and Homeworld Gems — want to ruin your amazing performance. It's Beach City's event of the year and you're on center stage. Play your cards right, and your band might be the big winner!

In more detail, each round you draft three character cards that feature gems and various familiar characters, sometimes being able to recruit characters to your stage or audience to generate energy and other effects. Get the right characters on stage, and you can form powerful fusions!
• On Facebook, Cryptozoic teased the titles it will be showing at NYTF and the GAMA Expo in March, and aside from the title above and an Epic Spell Wars title that I can't make out, the publisher will be showing the next title in its DC Comics Deck-Building Game line — Dark Nights: Metal, presumably based on the comic series of the same name from 2017-2018.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

• The U.S. division of Blue Orange Games will celebrate its twentieth anniversary in 2020 by releasing twenty new games. Sounds like a crazy plan! We've already covered a few of these titles when writing about releases from the European branch of BOG, specifically Maracas, Droll (under the name Draw'n'Roll), and Rose Ceremony (under the name Valentine's Day) in this Feb. 1, 2020 post and Cupcake Academy, Animix, and Gen Con 2020 release Dragomino in this Feb. 6, 2020 post.

Other titles coming from Blue Orange Games include:

Board Game: Save The Dragon
Board Game: Piece of Pie
Fréderic Moyersoen's Save the Dragon, a game for ages 5+ in which you're trying to climb steps and set up shields to keep you from knocked back by rolling boulders before you can reach the top to do what the title suggests.
Bye Bye Mr. Fox! from Marie and Wilfried Fort, with 1-4 young players needing to incubate and protect eggs so that they're not snatched.
Piece of Pie, a drafting game from Trevor Benjamin and Brett J. Gilbert in which 2-4 players take pieces of pie (as advertised) to complete objectives.
— David Wexler's Fish Club, which has players dropping their fish into a Drop It-style tank with the goal of having five of these fish touching.
Rip Off from Urtis Šulinskas, with players needing to rip up "dollar bills" in order to cover expenses — literally covering them with the pieces of the bills.

• Many game pitches from non-hobby companies attending NY Toy Fair feature games akin to the one below:


In case you care for a description of this release from new publisher Far Out Toys, here you go:
Quote:
Players must choose wisely in this slimy new game, Snot Nose, or they will get #snotted! With Snot Nose, players take turns pulling a booger out of the oversized nose and if the booger pulls out cleanly they are still in the game, but if you get a Snot Gush, you're out! The game comes with a wearable snot nose and make-your-own slime packets.
Board Game: The #UpsideDownChallenge Game
• Another NYTF game based on a marketing hook is The #UpsideDownChallenge Game from newcomer Vango, and yes, the hashtag is part of the game's name. Here's an overview of gameplay:
Quote:
Each turn, the active player draws a challenge card, which might be an individual challenge or a group challenge. Whoever the active player is dons glasses that flip their vision upside down, then they try to do what they've been challenged to do, such as giving someone a high five, pouring water into a glass, or drawing a picture.

You win and lose points along the way, and whoever first collects six points wins!
• Belgian publisher Smart Toys and Games makes fantastic logic puzzles, and for 2020 it's adding three games to its line (in addition to new logic puzzles). Froggit has 2-6 players ages 6+ racing frogs across a pond and sending one another back to start. Top Spot is a 3-5 player card game in which the cards have holes, and you score points by combining them in some manner. Cube Duel, shown below, is a two-player duel in which you're trying to have more of your color exposed once the game ends, and it includes eighty challenges for solo-mode play in case you still want a logic puzzle once the game is over.

Board Game: Cube Duel
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Sat Feb 15, 2020 1:00 pm
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Spielwarenmesse 2020 X: Previews of Games from FIJ 2020

W. Eric Martin
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Time to wrap up my coverage of the Spielwarenmesse 2020 trade fair, and for this post we'll mostly check out images of games that will be demoed or sold at the 2020 Festival International des Jeux (FIJ 2020), the game fair that takes place Feb. 21-23 in Cannes, France. (You can check out more such titles on BGG's FIJ 2020 Preview.)

The BGG team will be on hand in Cannes livestreaming from that convention, with our broadcast starting on Feb. 20 during the "professional" day when designers and other game industry pros can walk the fair without the public being on site. I'm still working on the broadcast schedule at this time, and as in years past, the BGG team — in this case, Beth Heile, Rodney Smith, and Lincoln Damerst — will likely need to walk the convention center to find people to put on camera. Maybe my publisher contacts are out of date, maybe French publishers prefer to be lackadaisical about setting appointments, I don't know.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
You might notice that I won't be at FIJ 2020. I attended FIJ from 2017-2019, and while it might have been fun to go again, I'm instead heading to NY Toy Fair, which is taking place the same weekend. I'm glad that we've been building a media team large enough to cover multiple events at the same time, and the plan is to keep building that team as Lincoln and I would like to add many other events to our con coverage plans without needing to attend all of them ourselves.

As with other posts about Spielwarenmesse 2020, video overviews of many of these games will be published on the BGG Express YouTube channel and the individual game pages before the end of February 2020. Note that the components and artwork shown in the images below is non-final and not necessarily representative of what you'll find in print once these games appear on shelves.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

From gallery of W Eric Martin

French publisher Ankama ran a Kickstarter campaign for Arkeis from Antoine Bauza, Corentin Lebrat, Ludovic Maublanc, and Théo Rivière in November 2019, and the game probably won't be released until the end of 2020 at the earliest, but you can be sure that Ankama will keep showing these bits to remind folks of what's coming.

Board Game: Dream Runners

I didn't get an overview of Ankama's Dream Runners from Joan Dufour as the publisher preferred to wait until FIJ 2020 when a more presentable looking mock-up would be available. Until then, you have this image...

From gallery of W Eric Martin

It's a Wonderful World: War or Peace from Benoit Bannier, Frédéric Guérard, and La Boîte de Jeu will be on sale at FIJ 2020, with the upcoming Ascension expansion available for demo. Scott Alden told me that I should play this one, so it's on the shelf for playing in the near future.

Board Game: Nidavellir

Another title on the "to be played" shelves is Nidavellir from Serge Laget and GRRRE Games, with this being a bidding game for 2-5 players in which you recruit individuals from taverns to build an army of dwarven defenders across five types, with you gaining bonus heroes and additional bidding coins along the way.

Board Game Publisher: Lumberjacks Studio

At FIJ 2020, Lumberjacks Studio will have the first two titles in its "Coffee Break" line of games for sale: Monster Café and Gold River. I had posted an overview of these two titles in early January 2020 in case you're curious.

Board Game: Mosquito Show

I had also covered Mosquito Show from Bruno Cathala, Andrea Mainini, and The Flying Games in that same post. In short, you must eat a mosquito each turn or else you lose the game — and if you eat the right combination of mosquitoes first, you win.

Board Game: Wild Space

Another title for sale at FIJ 2020 will be Wild Space, a combo-based crew-building game from Joachim Thôme and Catch Up Games. I hope to play this one soon as well, but if nothing else, you should be able to check out an overview video before the con opens.

Board Game: Imagician

Imagician from Olivier Mahy and BLAM ! features a dot-to-dot drawing system of sorts, with players racing to draw lines between spell ingredients in order to create an image that they can guess before anyone else. We'll have to get that on camera at FIJ 2020 as I'm curious to see this in practice.

Board Game: Fiesta de los Muertos

Antonin Boccara's Fiesta de los Muertos from OldChap Editions debuted in October 2019, but it was new to me in Nürnberg — not that I got a description or anything. Snap, snap, zoom! Maybe I'll get to check it out in more detail at, um, SPIEL '20, but here's a short description: "Welcome to the Fiesta de los Muertos. On this sacred day, the dead are back! Choose a word to describe your deceased character, but note that this word will pass from hand to hand and change little by little. Can you find your character and the character of the other players?"

Board Game: Ghost Adventure

We had recorded a video overview of Ghost Adventure from Buzzy Games at FIJ 2019 when it bore the name "Spinlander" and was in far less complete of a condition. The basic idea is that you'll start a top spinning on one of the boards while you're holding it, and you have to navigate that top through the land, ideally flipping it onto a new board once you've traveled as far as you can go. Buzzy's Wlad Watine was kind of amazing demoing this game on camera!

•••


From gallery of W Eric Martin
"It's Sunday at 16:00 — time to take a hammer to this baby!"

Until a few years ago, Spielwarenmesse ran Wednesday through Monday, and every single person I talked to about that timeline said that it didn't make sense because absolutely no one visited the fair on Monday.

Now the fair runs only Wednesday through Sunday, and attendance is still sparse on Sunday, with many people vacating their booths the previous day or leaving behind only a token representative to hand out flyers and business cards. Many people I tried to book appointments with were not available on Sunday, and when we finished filming at 15:30 and I started touring booths to take more photos, I often discovered those booths being dissembled before the fair was even over.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Not sure how well this non-motored-cycle might roll, but it certainly catches the eye as you're walking through Hall 10!

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Multiple jigsaw-puzzle manufacturers had booths in Hall 10, and I loved walking past the Cloudberries booth as that "Gradient" puzzle was mesmerizing. I might like the idea of doing that puzzle more than actually doing that puzzle, but for now I have only the idea to consider, and that's good.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Alas, you could not drive this monster truck back to your apartment in the evening, but it filled the role of "giant vehicle outside Hall 10 that greets visitors after they exit the metro", something that's been in place each year that I've attended since 2013.

I hope that you've enjoyed all these pics and the short write-ups that accompanied some of them. I'll be at NY Toy Fair on Feb. 21-22, so more such posts will come after that event since people keep insisting on publishing new games and I keep finding out about them...
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Fri Feb 14, 2020 3:00 pm
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