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***The Spiel 2020 Top 50 board games you should explore this Christmas season***

Marlon Kruis
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The original article is from my blog and please like the post if it brought you joy!

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It's that time of year again, Christmas, but my head is still at Essen Spiel which had come and go so quickly and so different from recent years. 2020 has been such a weird and difficult year for the world and the board game hobby didn't escape that fact. The covid rampage swiped all our plans, put stress on all our perceived freedoms and kept the Messe closed for Spiel 2020. But, Friedhelm Merz Verlag didn't let that keep them from organizing a

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Let's get the ugly truth out of the way, at least in my own humble opinion. I love the effort, energy and love everybody put into this digital version of the fair, but for me, it was just too much extra time spent behind a screen. The whole intrinsic reason I got back into the hobby back in 2015, was to spend less time online and more in the now. We all know Essen Spiel is a trade fair, but that fact seemed magnified with this digital platform and just felt too much like a marketing or sales funnel I tumbled deeply into. Of course, the Messe normally is also a big market where people sell their wares, but the feeling scrolling those booths is just so different from floating worlds in a virtual platform.

So, that's out of my system, again, all this new stuff was driven by the fact we need to save our healthcare systems, our elderly people and people who are so horribly affected by the coronavirus. So it's the logical choice.

And it was a success, look at these stats from the organizer

Quote:
148,000 individual visitors to www.spiel.digital
Official live streams alone record more than a million hits
Tabletopia reports a user increase of 100 per cent during the event
400 exhibitors from 41 different nations
1000+ new releases

Friedhelm Merz Verlag
Craziness and absolutely an amazing amount and result thumbsup

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Games, games and even more games


On to why you and I are here, let's talk games! What should Santa put into your stockings? Because there is no lack of new releases this Christmas season. There are awesome board games to play, share and talk about. In recent year's I could show you a lot of stuff from the Messe or afterwards with my Essen haul, but this year most content will be done digitally too, but in the coming weeks I hope to show you some real games and original content, there are some great games on its way to me. And what should you get for your gaming friend or what are some games you may want to find under your own Christmas tree this season?

Top 50 must explore games


For me, the basis of this not so subjective top 50 is the excellent tool BoardGameGeek has going for all kinds of fairs or seasons. Mister W. Eric Martin is a beast for this and hands us, geeks, such a useful tool!

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Let me warn you up front, this is going to be a huge post. I could have cut it into 5 separate posts, but I want to give you the grandeur of regular Spiel and the Christmas wishlist's where I always have that overwhelming feeling when I walk the halls at the Messe. So much and so good and so many! Yikes, let's get this train rolling. Grab a cup of hot cocoa or something stronger and join me down this long Santa list, with obviously nice and naughty games alike.

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From 50 to 41


Merchants of Dunhuang
Board Game: Merchants of Dunhuang

Beautiful art or at least a teasing box cover always has me turning for a second glance. But in this economic simulation set in the times where the Silk Road was the most lucrative road to travel on has me wanting. It has tons of different characters which brings unique ways to use their skills to become the best merchant out there. Increase your influence and become the master of the chaos.

Mandoo Games

Switch & Signal
Board Game: Switch & Signal

A cooperative train game? From a great German publisher as KOSMOS? Yes, that's on my must check-out list to experience. Relax, build tracks, move some stuff around, but oh boy, that rampage up quickly! Easy rules, but no easy game. So grab your whistle or your conductor hat and start planning out the way to go forward with your fellow gamers.

Kosmos

Mysterium Park
Board Game: Mysterium Park

We all know Mysterium, right? One of the, or maybe the best deduction mystery game out there. But it does have a little learning curve and could use some streamlining. Well, let me introduce this game to you! A new adventure, far more streamlined and bringing a close RPG experience in the tabletop form to your circus at home soon. And well, the artwork may just have you magically teleported to new and mysterious places.

Libellud

Cubitos
Board Game: Cubitos

Yeah admittedly, I ain't attracted to this cheese-like Austrian looking Sponge-bob on the box cover. But I am at the mechanisms, rolling dice, dice pool building, racing to be the champion and published by AEG who has always delivered on high-quality game components? Call it quirky, but I trust John D. Clair to bring something very fun to the tabletop.

AEG or Pegasus Spiele

Rossio
Board Game: Rossio

Is everything coming from Portugal board game-related just fantastic? It's unbelievable how many great designers and publishers are delivering such great euro games in recent year's. Rola & Costa, the two guys behind Pythagoras are publishing an Orlando Sá board game on Portuguese stonemasons. Simple rules, but a highly interactive player-driven game where timing is key. It has a very cool sounding card play mechanisms where the cards slide to the left and activate in different ways depending on how they are facing.

Pythagoras

2491 Planetship
Board Game: 2491 Planetship

I am a huge MEBO fan and yes, they are again from Portugal! This is re-implementation of an older game, City of Spies, which I played and did like, but not loved. The ideas where cool, but for some reason, the setting was a little lacklustre for me. But this space setting, with a crew and some tweaks on the gameplay may solidify it for me. Let's wait and see, I trust Gill and Nuno with this. Let the space adventures begin.

Mebo Games

My Farm Shop
Board Game: My Farm Shop

All based merely on designer pedigree, Rudiger Dörn always delivers. The box reminds me of the sims or Dream Home. If you ever wanted to run your farm and think that's an easy task? Well, think again. Enhance your farm with just three dices and profit of what other players choose on their roll. Milk cow, shear sheep and collect eggs? Come on, who doesn't want that experience from the easiness of their tabletop? Who makes the most money, wins!

Pegasus Spiele

Cleocatra
Board Game: Cleocatra

I love those games which play with their name and immediately make clear what you are. Rescue cats and be the best at it? Of course, you get rewards for that from Cleopatra herself, it's her explicit wish you do so. A simple tile-layer, with some pattern building and light player interaction. It's a lot of game in a tiny package and those are more than welcome with an always expanding game collection and not enough space. A little oddball on the list.

Sunrise Tornado Game

Spy Connection
From gallery of 55cards

Another designer must check-out, but this time a duo. Brett and Matthew are some of the best designers out there in the medium-weight spectrum of the board games. With Elysium, Pioneer Days and Monumental. A racing game where you can set yourself apart as the smartest spy out there and do it most efficiently. Not much else is clear yet for this title, but add the Lohausen art and I am excited nonetheless you? I can see you.......

Pegasus Spiele

Alhambra Roll and Write
Board Game: Alhambra: Roll & Write

We love roll and writes and while the original isn't something I was chasing after, this does look like a nice travel edition to take on a holiday. When such a luxury is possible again in these covid crazy times. For me, it keeps intriguing how much game designers can pull from just a few dice and a paper. So yes, this one has me intrigued and normally I would visit the Queen booth for some solid euro game fun. That's a bonus for sentiment's sake.

Queen Games

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40 and down to 31


Paleo
Board Game: Paleo

Hans im Gluck always delivers at Spiel. I can't name more German publishers with such a streak of awesome game releases very Spiel. But a coop? Are you kidding me, that has me stampede through the virtual Messe to grab a copy of this stoneage survival game. Do you choose for the short term or are you thinking ahead for what is coming? Make your choice as a group with not all information know upfront and see what nature gives you, wonder or something harsh? Feed the people and try to finish quests and try to survive. Oh, those gold old times.

999 Games

Monster Expedition
Board Game: Monster Expedition

Alexander Pfister.

Dennis Lohausen, Michael Menzel, Oliver Schlemmer.

Seriously, what else do you need to know....

AMIGO or 999 Games

Indus 2500 BCE
Board Game: Indus 2500 BCE

I just love the simplicity of the art on this cover. And it's a flip and roll, I already told you I love this style of gaming. With hyperactive kids at home and tons of things to do, we don't always have the time and space to play elaborate and time-consuming games. So, these streamlined little games just sound like a blast to play. Pick a card, draw a thing, deal with a calamity and protect your resources. They who does that the best, wins. Next!

Dice Toy Labs.

Novgorod
Board Game: Novgorod

Some games or better said some people creating games are special. Stefan Risthaus is such a human being. Will this game rock your socks and something brand new? No. Will it bring you fun, something very streamlined and clear and not a bloated experience? Hell yes! In recent year's Stefan designed some heavy hitters like Arkwright and Gentes and due to those games some of the little games he releases by his label, Ostia, don't get the attention they deserve. Novgorod is all about the balance of the building, improving and gather necessary victory points.

Ostia Spiele

Escape Roll and Write
Board Game: Escape: Roll & Write

Another roll and write, don't shame me, it's just an addiction. Rahdoalways speaks with so much passion about the original game and I totally can see this being as much fun as the board game in this little paper variant. Again a coop, again a Schlemmer art game and with Queen, you know you get what you see.

Queen Games

Seastead
Board Game: Seastead

I cut, you choose, has never been so appropriate as with Seastead. It's Waterworld the board game, but there's nothing wrong with that fact. Everybody has their favourite Kevin Costner movie, right? The selling point for me here is the choices which not only benefit you but also the other players. It's the balance of not giving them too much and yourself too little. "Seastead contains double-sided flotilla tiles, a variety of specialist cards, and multiple building paths to create endless strategies to explore!" I couldn't have said it better BoardGameGeek.

Wizkids

The Shining: Escape from the Overlook Hotel
Board Game: The Shining: Escape from the Overlook Hotel

Here comes Johnnnnyyy.......well, here comes the fact I am looking forward to this escape room style game. And I am not even that big on those style of games, but I like the movie. But now I am going to say something very controversial. I like the mini-series more than the movie. Runs away in shame. The Op uses a so-called Coded Chronicles to add unpredictability to your experiences and make you feel like being in a huge dizzying maze. I already made a note to myself, sharpen your axe this weekend daddy.

The OP

Rapa Nui
Board Game: Rapa Nui

The wonders of the world or the unknown beauties are always intriguing topics. Matagot is a publisher I always hold high in regard, not only because of the fact I love Kemet. At last years Spiel, I've got a short demo of Rapa Nui from Magali and it sounded like a very solid euro game with a cool feature where you must balance the fact your opponents can benefit form your transport of the famous Moai. What we sometimes miss these days is respect or offering for nature's beauty and wonders. Look up and respect those big and beautiful sculptures on Easter Island and be in awe. And in the end, it will give you victory points, the source of our gaming life.

Matagot

Pandoria Merchants
Board Game: Pandoria Merchants

Sigh, yes I know, another one? But no, not just "another one". This is going to be one of the best and one which may even surpass its big sister, Pandoria. It brings interaction between players and skips the fourth X from the original. Sounds awesome, right? And it's from two stellar designers, Jeffrey D. Allers and Bernd Eisenstein. I just love Carthago from Bernd and Peloponnes is not a stinker either. Play it solo, play it family style and go hardcore gamer. It's all packed in a small box with a big punch. Work together with your opponents to develop Pandoria, but do it while you are the dominate force. Resources, building and the all-important spells to harness the mysterious places.

Iron Games

Boomerang: Europe (or USA)
Board Game: Boomerang: Europe

We, humans, are travellers, we like to visit other cultures, we like to spend time making new experiences or memories and be around other human beings. Sadly 2020 was the year that travels luxury fell away due to covid and maybe even beyond in the future. But don't be to down now, Matagot and Grail games bring you these things to your tabletop this season. May it be the Europe version or the USA, draft cards, make sets of activities from around the continent and try delicious foods. A simple, yet very satisfying card game.

Matagot or Grail Games.

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30 goes to 21


Gods Love Dinosaurs
Board Game: Gods Love Dinosaurs

For some reason, I am lacking a Dino themed game in my collection. Not sure why, because I saw the original Jurassic Park seven times at the cinema back in the days. But now it´s time to change that, welcome Gods Love Dinosaurs from Pandasaurus Games. Balance the food chain of all the species and make sure you hatch enough eggs to be the best God in the end. It sounds like a fairly simple game in ruleset and mechanisms, tile laying and drafting, but it holds a fair amount of player interaction. All about the balance scale, eat enough, but not too much and make sure your ecosystem thrives the most. It does not hurt the game looks amazing too, so I am very stoked for this one.

Pandasaurus Games

Meeple Land
Board Game: Meeple Land

I am still looking for that one game that gives me the genuine theme park feeling like I have at one of my favourite places in the world, Disneyland! Will Meeple Land do it for me? Maybe, it does look very charming and how hard is to build such a park in the end, right? Well, there's a lot more than meets the eye. Smart park planning, attract people to your attractions, make those meeples happy with your services and advertise it to all those happy meeples. And keeping meeples happy is important, it will cost you when they ain't! Seems like an excellent medium-weight board game which will give you a happy feeling, even when you lost. You, in the end, made your own Meeple Land!

Blue Orange Games

Cloud City
Board Game: Cloud City

Maybe it's my thing, but I love the 3d aspect of games. Especially when seeing it grow and evolve is just a magnificent feeling. Building up your city plans into the clouds is breathtaking. It is not even that original in these golden ages of board gaming, but it is always great to see new city building games. It attracts new people, it gives a sense of accomplishment and is just very high on the toy level for us geeks.

Blue Orange Games

Paris
Board Game: Paris

When this power couple designer (Kiesling/Kramer) duo releases a board game, the hobby pays attention. It's just a simple fact and something these two designers have earned over their long list of published games. Relive the Belle Époque and set yourself back in these when one of the most beautiful cities of the world was shaped. The straightforward medium-weight point salad type game will have ever euro gamer mouthwatering on gameplay. Obtain the right buildings at the most opportune time and invest in the development of the city of love. The art and cover are amazing from Andreas Resch.

Game Brewer

Raiders of Scythia
Board Game: Raiders of Scythia

Where the North Sea saga did not immediately attract me, this one does. And from what I saw it adds some new twists on the core mechanism Shem introduced there. For some weird reason the box speaks to me, it asks me to play it. I am curious what the solo variant is here because I don't think this is something my partner is going to like, but for me, some plundering, quests and raiding does sound like a blast! Again, this being a massive Renegade release, it is an oddball choice for me to be honest and I hope I can try this somewhere along the way, by horse or with my crew I don't care, but try I must.

Renegade Game Studio / Garphill Games

Ugly Christmas Sweaters
Board Game: Ugly Christmas Sweaters

Speaking of oddballs, how about a trick-taking game being on my must-have list of Digital Spiel 2020? The whole thing just sounds quirky and should not work. But it does, it does! I cannot wait to try this soon at Christmas. While this time the whole jolly holly season will be different, playing games is going to happen, one way or another. And you bet this little trick-taking game from Hunter. R. Hennigar is going to be on the pile to play.

Hen House Games

Kitara
Board Game: Kitara

Last year at Spiel I got the first glimpse at the Iello booth for this strategy game. It holds a lot of very cool things I can enjoy in a game card management, territory control and a lot of awesome animals to control. It gives me some Kemet vibes and that's a close top 10 game for me. Eric designed the clever card game The Dresden Files, so to see him tackle this genre is interesting too. And as you may already guess, the artwork from Miguel Coimbra (7 Wonders Duel, Cyclades, Small World) does add to the enjoyment factor. The rulebook is also just 8 pages and that does seem like tiny for such a game, but keeping the complexity on the board is just perfect. I am ready to concur some Chwezi Empire!

Iello

Escape Tales: Children of Wyrmwoods
Board Game: Escape Tales: Children of Wyrmwoods

Wow. We were very impressed by the first Escape Tales. It was really powerful and had some very deep narrative experiences and choices which will stay with you for a little while. The puzzles are challenging, but without that horrible time restraint, very enjoyable to break your brain on. It does take you to emerge into the story and take all the time to go through this multi-hour multi-session narrative story experience. And now Board And Dice(dutch version will be published by the fabulous White Goblins)is going to make it even scarier, I dare them. Scare me! Bring it on! Dark and twisty!

Board and Dice / White Goblin Games

Whistle Mountain
Board Game: Whistle Mountain

I am here for Luke, yes I admit it willingly. Luke Laurie designed one of our favourites games, The Manhattan Project: Energy Empire. But Scott's not shabby either, Voluspa and Whistle Stop are some stellar designs too. And now they are double-teaming here with Beziers to release Whistle Mountain? It's a peculiar setting, which doesn't make sense but does sound to work very refreshingly. At least, your workers falling in the water does sound cool. The whole way the technologies work, versus building up the scaffolding by weir contraptions and trying to make use of your opponent's opportunities makes it sounds like a real challenge. With tons of variability in the way the game can play out and being a beast on its own, it has me intrigued since watching Rahdo's run-through.

Beziers Games

Aquatica
Board Game: Aquatica: Cold Waters

I understand, don't judge a book by its cover, but this box cover just has me mesmerized. Cosmodrome is for me the one publisher who made such a big splash over the last two year's. Unbelievable what a great games and some even got lost in their releases, Skytopia, because Smartphone Inc. just crushed it at Essen Spiel 2019. I think Aquatica just missed the cut there, but it does sound like another smash hit with an expansion already in the works. Trying to hold on to your underwater kingdom as a mighty ocean king or queen sounds like a blast. Find new locations, recruit new characters from the depth of the oceans and complete your goals. Card combo galore is the key here to maximize this on first glance easier game, but don't be fooled, there's more under the surface that may appear. (it may be due to the expansion this is on my 2020 list!)

Cosmodrome Games / Arcane Wonder / Cranio Creations

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From 20 to 11


Polynesia
Board Game: Polynesia

So when you are Disney fan, this may have a very Moana feeling. But this Ludonova board game has nothing to do with that movie. Escape the dangers of the Volcano, hop from island to island, keep your sails out to finishing quests and gathering resources to all this action successfully. It looks like a very fun streamlined euro game with not too much bloat on its bones, but pure route building fun along with the Polynesian isles. The components look very contemporary and very to the point too. And Peerhas some great releases already under his belt, too.

Ludonova

Tawantinsuyu
Board Game: Tawantinsuyu: The Inca Empire

Creating a line of games with unpronounceable names is a thing nowadays and who does that better than David Turczi and Board and Dice? The newest of the bunch is Tawantinsuyu which stands for The Four Regions from the Incan Empire. For us boardgamers, this means, tons of awesome mechanisms, which will intertwine with each other like clockwork, which means gatherings tons of resources, please the gods, send out your different workers, which leads you up the hill and has you crunching out the best choices. This game holds a lot of escalation and planning on where you will put your workers out on the hill. A combo-galore I call that teasingly, this is going to be a complex yet satisfying Turczi game.

Board and Dice

Glasgow
Board Game: Glasgow

I love two-player games, especially when they come from dutch publisher 999 Games and German label Lookout Games. Why? Because you know there is going to be a fantastic game in such a tiny box. Is it a euro? Very much, but that's a win in my book. This game has a lot of inspiration from the classic Glenn More and that is another plus in my book. Mandela Fernandez-Grandon is a first-time designer and my guess is he is going to knock this one out of the park. The setting is nice, very generic, but I do like building cities and having a refreshing beer while doing that. I love playing games with my spouse after a busy day at home or work and this looks like a hit for these game nights.

999 Games / Lookout Games

The Castles of Tuscany
Board Game: The Castles of Tuscany

A new release from Stefan Feld will always have eyes turning and I am no exception on this fact. Burgundy is one of my favourite Feld's and having another fresh implementation in the spirit of that, yes, please! The new box covers from the publisher Alea are getting up there with the best, now also get the components and artwork right and this German publisher will skyrocket on a lot of people their tabletops. The gist of the game is you as an Italian Renaissance princess or prince will try and build your influence out in the Tuscany region. Support towns, build villages or extract resources like marbles to see your lands grow. This all is supported by a clever card play where you try and put tiles out as useful as possible. With Feld you know you will get points in a variety of ways and I guess this will not be an exception.

Alea

Troyes Dice
Board Game: Troyes Dice

In recent years we have seen a lot of re-implementations of former board games into a draw and write, in a card game version or as with this title, into a dice version. And in a lot of these the little sister game makes up for a lot of fun. I expect this title is going to do the same. Pearl is a great publisher and the designers Sebastien Dujardin, Alain Orban and Xavier Georges know what they are doing. From the rumours and reviews I have seen this is another experience as the classic board game Troyes, but another one of these games which will fit perfectly in my wish to play more on the busier weeknights when the bigger board games aren't an option. Discover the Middle Ages as a Champagne family member and seize the best opportunities. Pick your nobles, civilians or religion and go out and fight for what's yours, victory points!

Pearl Games.

The Red Cathedral
Board Game: The Red Cathedral

There's always that one game, that out of the blue grabs everybody's attention. This season The Red Cathedral from Devir Games just filled that spot. It does sound very intriguing to build this epic St. Basil's cathedral in Moscow. Can you handle your construction team better than the opposing teams? Will you use the rondel as smart as possible and make use of the resources in the most optimal way as possible? There are enough interesting choices to make and levers to pull here. Devir states "The Red Cathedral is a very accessible game concerning its rules because it is very easy to understand the various levels of the game, but it remains very interesting concerning the strategy. It is sure to please those who are more interested in the challenge offered by trying to strategically optimize their position in each game rather than the complexity of the rules." and that sounds very good to my ears.

Devir Games

Bonfire
Board Game: Bonfire

Are you surprised this Feld is on the list? This is the big release from Hall Games and Pegasus Spiele of 2020 and when you put Feld on the box, it will explode! Get it? Bonfire, explode? It will be heavy, complex, ton's of points to grab and you are a Gnome who will need to get the bonfires going again? Sounds like a must check out for me.

Hall Games / Pegasus Spiele

Fresco: Card and Dice Game
Board Game: Fresco: Card & Dice Game

Fresco is a fantastic game and Queen is releasing, FINALLY, a card and dice game for it. It seems to be in the work for many years and I did not expect it ever to happen. And if I am not mistaken, it is two separate games you will get. I don't need to know much more. Like I said before, I am keen on smaller games which I will get to the table with my spouse and friends to enjoy in these hectic times. This one seems like an easy sell and very much enjoyable with tons of people. Go, Queen, work a little on the Kickstarter techniques and campaigns, but for the most part, this publisher brings some many great games into the world.

Queen Games

Winter Kingdom
Board Game: Winter Kingdom

A classic coming back in a winter wonderland setting. Not sure about that wonderland, but for sure it is set somewhere where it snows. Donald X. Vaccarino is a master designer and not many are bigger than him. So when he takes his already stellar design and makes it even better, I will pay attention.

Queen Games

Hallertau
Board Game: Hallertau

It's Uwe, it's about farming, it's very, very euro and the art is from Klemens Franz. There's nothing really to add, I almost used more words than the BoardGameGeek entry from the publisher to "sell" this. I do think they could have done a little better there, but on the other hand, it's Uwe.

Lookout Spiele

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The ultimate Top 10 Games (at least for us!)


Monasterium
Board Game: Monasterium

What got me first was this sentence on the Boardgamegeek game page: 'Monasterium (which is Latin for "Monastery") is a strategic game with an <str>innovative dice mechanism</str> that presents the players with ever new challenges. The game includes a double-sided game board: one side for the game for two and one side for 3-4 players.' Add the fact it's from publisher DLP, which has some fantastic board game in its portfolio. Arve Fuhler has some nice games already under his belt, but this one may put him up with some other great euro game designers. Building the best Monastery with the greatest novices sounds very generic, but on the other hand also quite fun to participate in.

DLP Games

Merv: The Heart of the Silk Road
Board Game: Merv: The Heart of the Silk Road

Ian O'Toole, Fabio Lopiano and Osprey Game are publishing this stunning looking piece of art. Ian is my favourite board game artist, Fabio designed some fantastic games and Osprey is a great UK publishing label. I even got an excellent demo and play at Spiel with Fabio and Edward for Heavycardboard for his first release, Calimala. I also played Ragusa and both games are proofs of balanced design with a modern twist. Another tight economic game depicting the legendary Silk Road. But the twist is, there are Mongol Hordes to keep out too, so building up your walls is essential too. The whole package sounds and looks fantastic! I hope to grab a copy soon, I will go a long way to get one, even out onto the Silk Road!

Osprey Games

Café
Board Game: Café

We have seen a lot of card patching games in recent year´s, but not many will be as good as Café. In most cases, you will patch cards to build the most profitable lands, but here you will patch an engine to run your coffee business. How awesome does that sound? As a huge coffee addict, I am intrigued by the setting and by the simple yet very intriguing-sounding gameplay of this one. Again I keep repeating myself, but Portugal seems to be the centre of the board game bustle nowadays. Rola and Costa are having some delicious brown gold in their hands with this awesome little card game!

Pythagoras

Lost ruins of Arnak
Board Game: Lost Ruins of Arnak

Its the new big box release from one of the most influential publishers of the last decade, CGE. What I like about this title is the fact they gave their in-house developer couple Min and Elwen the chance to release their first full-blown release and not just with a small little game. Exploration is one of those things in board games I love, like stepping into the real shoes of Lara or Indy. Deck-building combined with worker-placement is a fun twist on these two well-known mechanisms and the balance between adventuring or making sure you have the resources to go forward sounds like a blast too! Like you may know, add in some excellent art and a real setting to explore and you had me looking for my hat and lasso.

CGE

Rajas of the Ganges: The Dice Charmers
Board Game: Rajas of the Ganges: The Dice Charmers

We adore the big sister game RAJAS and we cannot wait to try out this smaller variant of the game. It is that simple sometimes. Not sure what to say more, but if you love the original as much as we do, this is a must explore one for sure. The same seller point here is again the crossing tracks, money and fame, which need to cross each other to score. Just an awesome feature,

HUCH!

Faiyum
Board Game: Faiyum

Oh when the big green man releases a game, I will pay attention. No, not The Hulk, how dare you think that! Mister Friese, mister Friedemann Friese. He will always bring you something refreshing. He will do things differently. Is it always a success? No. But is it always daring and true to his philosophy? YES! In this game set in the Middle Kingdom of Egyptian history, you will need to make use of the Nile as efficient as possible. Planning is the main key here. And the twist is, the sequence you will play your cards, is in reverse order the sequence you will need to play them in your next round. So playing them in the best way possible and think ahead in time to make use of them in your next round, is critical. Like I said, Friedemann. It looks very euro, but then again, I do appreciate Harald Lieske his art and it makes it clear.

2F-Spiele

Anno 1800
Board Game: Anno 1800

A new Martin Wallace release and one based on a popular video game series, Anno 1800 from Ubisoft. Martin has earned his stripes as one of the most famous and renowned board game designers out there. With for me these two as best of that bunch, Brass Birmingham and Railways of the World. His approach and art on how to make use of production chains or business simulations are second to none in tabletop form. In his latest release, you will get all of that and some more. Make very sure the people with get what they want. Their demands are small at the beginning, but as with all civilisations, people´s needs grow vast! So keep up the pace and make sure your engine is as smooth as possible and make use of what is given from the other players. This all sounds like a classic Martin Wallace design and I cannot wait to tinker with it.

KOSMOS

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Vladimir Suchy, as a very established designer, took a risky leap last year with his publishing label and he cannot regret that decision. With Underwater Cities as it's initial hit release and now following it up with Praga Caput Regni, us euro gamers have another smash hit to gloat over. I already have a copy and I can confirm, this one will not disappoint! An excellent production, lovely artwork and a setting which appeals to its targeted audience. With the spinning wheel and it's actions tokens, it reminds us a little of Tzolkin, but also not that much really. Praga is all about impressing the king and making his city great again. It's a solid set of intertwining mechanisms which are easily grasped but give a lot of challenge in which strategy to follow.

Delicious Games


d10-5d10-7d10-5


Pandemic Legacy Season 0
Board Game: Pandemic Legacy: Season 0

It's Pandemic, it is the story which may or may not lead you to more answers for season 1. It is all about the cold war and spies. It's about working together and having unique experiences around your tabletop with friends and family. No video game or no other activity known to me can have this effect. So yeah, it's an obvious choice, but not one taken lightheartedly. Matt Leacock and Rob Daviau created a branch of games which took so many board gamers on adventures they may never thought would become reality, which is in a sense sadly what did happen, but they mastered the art of what a cooperative board game should do. The sense and wonder of opening boxes, putting stickers out or finding a new way of interacting with the game is just pure delight, time to investigate!

Asmodee / Z-MAN Games


d10-5d10-7d10-5


Cloudage
Board Game: CloudAge

With Maracaibo as my favourite game from 2019. With Mombasa being in my top 10 of all-time favourite games and not even mentioning all his other stellar designs like Great Western Trail, Isle of Skye and Tybor. Alexander Pfister is next to Vital Lacerda my favourite board gamer designer. Can it be a big surprise it is on the podium for the 2020 Christmas belated Spiel top 50 board game list? Nope, it cannot be unexpected. There isn't a huge amount of information yet on this game, but I don´t need that and from what I have seen, it looks great, it sounds great and it will be great. Plus, it has an innovative sleeving mechanism and Alexander drips on it his campaign sauce again, that sounds awesome. Add the smooth artwork from Christian Opperer and this just looks like that extra dessert after a too large of a Christmas meal, you cannot resist. It just looks too tasty not to have a bite.

DLP Games / Capstone Games


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C´est la vie

If you made it to the end, I applaud you and if you haven´t, well you won´t read this now, will you? I want to thank every one of you fellow board game geeks for being as fantastic as you are and I wish you all the best for 2021. Let's stick together as a species and include each soul into our beloved hobby. No matter the gender, race, preferences or any other unique feature which makes us human beings. We survive only together, through pandemics, through bad leadership or even through deeply in bedded cultural differences.

So what did I miss on this list? With thousands and thousands of releases, it must mean I haven't seen them all. Let me know down below or on the social media which board games you will be playing this holiday season.

All the best and stay safe and healthy!

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~ El Crosso
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Thu Dec 17, 2020 2:00 pm
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*** Maracaibo and the adventures on the Caribbean seas ***

Marlon Kruis
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Mister Pfister takes you on a splendid adventure around the Caribbean seas and beyond. Put on your finest pirate costume, sail the treacherous seas and go deep and fast on this race published by Capstone Games. Go about it on a solo adventure or challenge three other companies to take you up for an epic story you together can endure or just play a single game of Maracaibo! The choice is yours.

thumbsup Tons of options and strategies to pursue.
thumbsup Easy ruleset and an excellent rulebook.
thumbsup The text and iconography on the cards, it makes so much sense.
thumbsup Campaign mode is amazing and isn't too heavily woven into the game itself either.
thumbsup Solo mode is a blast and variable difficulty.
thumbsup Multi-use cards are always a great option to have in a game.

thumbsdown While you have tons of choices, there is some randomness in the game you should be aware of
thumbsdown The little wooden discs aren't the best component choice ever.
thumbsdown You can't ignore the influence track, it is a dominant place to gather a lot of victory points.

My verdict:

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Let's continue our adventures a little deeper
Designer: Alexander Pfister
Artist: Fiore GmbH, Aline Kirrmann
Player count: 1 - 4 players
Playtime: 30 - 120 minutes
Theme: Pirate, Marine, Caribbean, Economic
Mechanisms: Card Play, Race, Track Movement, Campaign

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Which story are we telling and how does the setting put us there?
As with every board game, I am looking for a story. How thinly woven in I don't care, but I am looking for it to let the setting makes sense. If that isn't the case, most often that means the game is too abstract for me sadly. In the case of Maracaibo, the story is excellently put into the gameplay. As a pirate, I assume the world will feel like your oyster and the possibilities must seem endless. As is the gameplay, will you fight? Will you build and exploit your network? Change alliance by how the wind will blow today or where you see a profit? Are you doing it slowly and sip some rum on every island or are you taking the race part very seriously and try and put pressure on your advisories there? Again, the setting gives you all the ingredients to do that and that makes very much sense.

Setup and rules talk
One of the biggest hurdles to overtake in our analog board game hobby is setting up the game and learning the rules. Most often, those who will read these reviews will also need to teach those rules to their friends and family. How does Maracaibo hold up here? Let's start with the setup. That will take a few minutes and is on the longer side for most euro games. Especially the cards, which will come in a few flavors, will need to get sorted out. But also the cubes for the different countries you will fight for, need to get sorted and placed. In the end, it isn't the biggest issue, but be aware that if you are going to teach the game, you need to setup in advance or need someone helping you out to speed up this process.

Rules. Oh, those pesky rules. I myself love reading rulebooks, watching teach and playthroughs, but I do find it a challenge to teach them now and again. The Maracaibo rules aren't the most complex ones, but it will take a little time to grasp them fully. Especially due to the fact there is a lot of synergy between many actions and cards. My advice would be to focus on the rules first and strategy second. The rulebook is excellent and in most cases, it holds everything you need and won't lead to much boardgamegeek checking for rule clarity. There are tons of icons and colors in this game, but what is really stellar is that on the cards you will get both iconography and text! Just love that fact and makes it so much clear what something means. Player aids are available, so that's great, I would have liked one for the solo game too though. A small nitpicky thing though.

Lastly, it's always great that a publisher takes a little time to explain the real setting versus the simulation we are playing. For me here it was bare they could have done and could have put even some more historic context within the rulebook or as an extra page.

Flow of the game
This is where for me Maracaibo shines, the flow is so sweet and so puts you into the boots of those swashbuckling pirates. You sail, you do your main action and you grab some new opportunities? Easy, right? Well, there is a little more to it than that. Depending on how far you will move, you will gain more village actions. grab some doubloons, discard cards or build (sounds better than buy which is the official term) your cards. Those actions are only available at Villages (small circles) and for main actions, you will need to stop at a City (big circles). If you would stop here, what can you do, you may ask? As the first option, you can deliver a good, which needs you to discard a project card for it's good. That will empty your player board from those ugly brown discs and lead to more options, points, or doubloons. This is optional though, but very smart to plan out, to upgrade your ship. But mainly your goal at a city is to Combat or Explore. In short, combat will lead you into the most important part of Maracaibo, influence with the three powers (Spain, England, or France) and will put out their cubes onto the Caribbean. And which pirate doesn't want some power and points from them? Exploring will send your explorer deep into the jungles of the mainland to gather all sorts of rewards and bonuses. And if you think those options are it, you aren't paying attention or I am just not telling you yet. So let's change that, there are even more possible actions to undertake in a city or village. If there is a Quest token, you may discard the needed icons as a cost and gain the rewards. When playing the campaign, this is where the story will evolve over time. Or when you build a relationship with an Assistant you can do their action. Which often is gaining income, combat power, or points. All this happens over four rounds, where you will do an interim scoring at rounds one, two, and three. Depending on how quickly you will sail this Caribbean rondel, it will depend highly on how much you will get done in those few rounds before final scoring.

Campaign or legacy, that's the question
Definitely no legacy here, you won't destroy components, you won't alter the game in such a way that it isn't possible to just play a regular game. So we are talking about a campaign. I haven't played the full campaign yet, but in a broad sense speaking, and without spoilers, it's a fun adventure and sprinkles in a real sense of adventure and changing state of the board which makes sense. That latter part I find important. Changing rules or adding stuff for the sense of adding, is no fun. I haven't played that many legacy or campaign games admittedly, Pandemic season one and Gloomhaven I did, but for me, this type of campaign is really accessible and far from overwhelming or takes a lot of rules overhead. I do find myself, at least in the solo games I have paid, more focusing on the story arc and less so on scoring points. I really like this, to be honest.

One thing I would like to highlight is the chances that will happen out on the mainboard. I just love the fact they choose to use special cardboard overlay cards to change the board state. No permanent adjustments, but very clear and hugely impactful stuff you can introduce during a total campaign.

Components and artwork
Let's talk hardware, let's look at the quality you will find in this square box of cardboard goodies. Cubes, cards, player boards, a big mainboard, cardboard money, wooden ships, wooden victory point markers, and tons of chits for quests and combat.

E Chits are thick and well-cut.
E Cards are fine, maybe not top of the class, but absolutely fine. I don't like the white borders though and the rope distinction wasn't the best choice here.
E Player aids are a little flimsy, but do what they are meant to do.
E Player board is thick, but lacks the double layer sadly.
E The wooden little brown discs are, honestly, horrible. They are easily bumped, too small, and are just taking away on the overall quality.
E The mainboard folds good, printing is very clear and vibrant.

Overall the production is great, but it isn't the highwater like re-print of Brass from Roxley, but also not the lower grade euro games we all also know as being used still today.

The artwork on the cards is good, it lacks a little diversity in race and sex types, but all in all the quality of the characters or buildings shines through nicely. The mainboard looks bright and interesting. It does hold some nice little details, but here also the choice was function over form. With a lot of icons and spots out to sail too, it's a logical choice. The tracks (explorer, income, and influence) are nicely woven into the total feel of the board and setting, so another well done there.

Shelf Life
For me, this is the contemplation of how this style of the game holds up against my other owned board games or with the fans also like on Boardgamegeek. I will compare it here to the Pfister games I have played or games I see a relationship is some mechanism, setting, or feeling while playing.

1 The obvious, The Great Western Trail, is one I have played once and must admit, I did not really like. I do like the setting, but I struggled with doing a good job with the available options there. It just didn't click, but need to give that one another chance. But, now with Maracaibo, I don't feel the need to chase this one down for now.
2 Mombasa. My current favorite Pfister game. I like the setting, all the mini-games you need to balance and the way the card play works is just amazing. Both are different enough to have their space on my shelf though.
3 Teotihuacan. Based on the rondel only really. For me, Teo still feels a little too mathy and less about really setting yourself into the slippers of the people we are perpetuating. On the fence, if I would choose Teo over Maracaibo, I don't think I will.
4 Underwater Cities. The cards, oh the sweet cards. In both games, I really love the fact of so many different cards you can use.
5 Orleans. One of my favorite bag builders, don't really see these compete for me and can live happily on my shelf together.

Weight and Complexity
Boardgamegeek speaks of a five weight scale and has this on a 3.88. I think that's a little high if I for example see that Under Water City is rated as a 3.58 or Gugong as a 3.05. In my experience, this is a solid medium-weight board game with meaningful decisions, but also some luck with the picked and hidden prestige buildings (less so with the play open variant) and with the cards being available. I would rate it as a mid 3 .5 and the most complex sequence is the combat action, which isn't that complex either. The greatest complexity lies in the synergy of cards versus the variable board state and reading the overall state of the influence track. In other words, if you want to do well, don't ignore the influence rack for the big powers. Also, the point salad character of the game can feel a little sandbox at first and adds to this being a little more complex, but also not too restrictive. But beware, this is in the end a racing game, at least you need to get your stuff done before someone ends the round. It adds to the game that you really need to pay attention to what other players are undertaking or you expect they will do this round.

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Which leads to my culmination
For me, with the above contemplation, makes this one of the best games of 2019, and to put it even stronger, this will be a top 10 candidate for me for sure. In my humble experience, this is Alexander his best game to date and I cannot wait what he will bring us in the future. I love how he slowly worked up his storytelling ability with his smaller box games and has now integrated it into his big box games so sweetly. Well done sir, I will take my head off, if I ever am to wear one. Keep up this direction and let's make this the standard for euro games to come.



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This review copy was provided by the lovely folks behind Capstone Games, thanks y'all for this kind gesture!


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Our ranking for games:
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Thu Oct 1, 2020 2:46 pm
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*** A look back at the craziness at Saturday's Spiel 2018 ***

Marlon Kruis
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From gallery of el_crosso




How is that somewhere along the busy road I still got two days of Spiel 2018 to share with you in 2019? The lousy excuse would be our time being consumed by the recent activities regarding our new home, new football passion as a coach and a little kid having a bad sleeping phase. But, besides all that, the holiday season may have had its impact here too and it is never too late to share some board game love, right? So here are my adventures from the busiest day at Spiel, Saturday is Crazy Day!

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Day 3


Board Game: Sierra West

Sierra West demo by Board&Dice releasing Spiel 2019

Board Game: Sierra West

Spiel 2018 Sierra West by Board&Dice mountain

Board Game: Sierra West

Spiel 2018 Sierra West by Board&Dice multi use cards

Board Game: Sierra West

Spiel 2018 Sierra West by Board&Dice the river

Board Game: Sierra West

Spiel 2018 Sierra West by Board&Dice the trail

Board Game: Sierra West

Spiel 2018 Sierra West by Board&Dice player board




Board Game: Walking in Burano

Walking in Burano from EmperorS4art by Maisherly

Board Game: Walking in Burano

Walking in Burano from EmperorS4 Art by Maisherly

Board Game: Walking in Burano

Walking in Burano from EmperorS4 and designed by Wei-Min Ling




Board Game: Stress Botics

Spiel 2018 Stress Botics by Token Synapse the easy game setup

Board Game: Stress Botics

Spiel 2018 Stress Botics by Token Synapse full game Fernando Barbanoj

Board Game: Stress Botics

Spiel 2018 Stress Botics by Token Synapse main board

Board Game: Stress Botics

Spiel 2018 Stress Botics by Token Synapse cards

Board Game: Tombed

Spiel 2018 Tombedby 4DadosKickstarter

Board Game: Tombed

Spiel 2018 Tombed by 4Dados miniatures
Tombed by 4Dados Indiana Jones meets The Mummy dungeon crawler

Board Game: Tombed

Spiel 2018 Tombed by 4Dados chits and cards

Board Game: Stress Botics

Stress Botics by 4Dados designed by Fernando Barbanoj




Board Game: Radetzky: Milano 1848

Radetzky by Post Scriptum. Pandemic like board game set in the history of Milan

Board Game: Radetzky: Milano 1848

Spiel 2018 Radzetsky by Post Scriptum main board

Board Game: Radetzky: Milano 1848

Spiel 2018 Radzetsky by Post Scriptum chits

Board Game: Radetzky: Milano 1848

Radzetsky by Post Scriptum being explained at Spiel 2018

Board Game: Wendake: New Allies

Spiel 2018 Wendake New Allies by Post Scriptum




For more look back at Spiel 2018 and what you may expect in 2019 see here.


~ Love Your Board Game Life ~



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Mon Sep 2, 2019 7:26 pm
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* Ginormous Spiel 2018 Friday Madness * HeavyCardboard Meetup * Jordan & Cole

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So we entered day two of the convention at the Messe Essen for the Internationale Spieltage Spiel. Today is a day filled with a lot of cool things like the full Kickstarter demo game of Jordan Draper's Tokyo Tsukiji Market together with Root designer Cole Wehrle, The traditional Heavy Cardboard Meet-up with an emotional Edward speech at Fitzpatrick and some enjoyable interviews with Eilif from Aporta Games, Clay from Capstone Games and designer Wei Cheng-Cheng with his Mini WWII board game published by Formosa Force Games!

Truth be told, I did start off a little slow today, because of the adventures the night before. But, as is common at these hectic days at Spiel, I continue on with a lot of positive energy and after a big breakfast, let's crush some more spiel fun.

One of the people I got to know a little over the last few years, is Clay Ross from the American board game label, Capstone Games. It's always such a pleasure to spend time with him. What was even cooler, he brought along his dad, who was running the booth with him. I did a short interview with him a while back to get to known him a little better. They had The Estates out, which is just a fantastic brutal auction game and they were demoing the currently live on Kickstarter game, Pipeline. From the demo and the Heavy Cardboard play-through I saw, this one looks really good! And how about The Climbers? If you haven't seen it, here our thoughts on that Simply Complex game from Holger Lanz

Now it was time for my planned demo game with Jordan Draper for his newest release coming to Kickstarter this January, Tokyo Tsukiji Market. As a surprise to me, Cole Wehrle joined in on this full play demo, so of course, I was a little starstruck. We played a full four-player demo in about 90 minutes, with Jordan destroying us. But I must say, the game is highly enjoyable and has a very player-driven core to it. You will never have the same game twice and this is one of those systems which will require players to really stay engaged the whole way. As always, the prototype already looks great and Jordan goes over the top in his production on the little eels, the fish markets, and the wonderful chunky money bits.

Quote:
The game is quite a heavyweight one, but it does leave room for playing with your gut too. And in fact, that's a positive thing too, a good market based economic game should have that in my humble opinion. Just dry number crunching is not what I enjoy doing. The metagame is fun here too, where you can talk another player's into buying your too expensive priced fishes and play out the poor player card can be beneficial in the long run. All in all, this was really one of the most memorable experiences from Spiel 2018 for me personally and I want to thank Jordan again for this.
From the Capstone booth, it was a short walk to the Aporta Games one, where I finally got to meet the amazing folks behind that publishing house. Well, Eilif, in this case, and we had a wonderful chat about the new releases from them. (Trollfjord, Santa Maria American Kingdoms & Rebel Nox ) As we are huge fans of Santa Maria from last year's Spiel, we couldn't wait to try out all the modules from the new expansion, American Kingdoms! Soon more on these on the blog.

And well, to keep it logistically efficient, I had to see the designer, Wei Cheng-Cheng, of one of my most anticipated games from the convention, Mini WWII. He designed this game with the intention to get to play a war game with his son. But he didn't want that 3+ hour experience, plus a lot of rules, but he wanted an accessible game which also teaches the broad impact World War II had on our societies. He did a masterful job with that! It stays a game, it organically leads to understanding some of the big scenes which happened during those times, but it doesn't turn into a mere simulation.

With a trip full of highlights, there's always also that less than ideal experience. Like I always preach and have written in our policy, we give you honest feedback on games and give you our whole board game life, well this was my least favorite moment of the fair. Sometimes, when meeting up with somebody, you know that feeling that you are just less "into the groove"? You maybe didn't eat enough, or you didn't hydrate enough water at the Halls (so important folks!) or are tired from the long day. Sadly for some reason that happened with my meet at WizKids with Zev this year. I totally blanked out, had nothing to really add for them and just failed the whole scene. I am still so sorry for that, Zev and I hope in the future I come more prepared. I did receive a nice review copy of Maidens Quest (Just 20$ on Amazon!), which is one of my most played games since Spiel! It plays solo, or with 2 players, and depicts Maiden's who are just tired of waiting for their saviors and go out save themselves! You can play this out of the hand and basically anywhere. Pick a Maiden, Pick an enemy, seed the deck and have a go at fighting or escaping your story! You can play a few rounds or go through the whole adventure, it's all up to you. This is such a clever design, with the rotating of the cards when hurt or when you are upgrading cards and the way your deck evolves throughout the game. Call me very happy about this one and if you like clever little card games, this one won't disappoint. One pickle though, the rule book is not the best out there, but it's worth getting through that hurdle and give this one a try.

What better way to get rid of this experience, then by joining some of my board game friends at the Heavy Cardboard meet-up 2018. I honestly forgot to take some pictures there, because I was just too much into having great talks with all those wonderful souls. Like my Guinness buddies Alexander Huemer (designer of Lignum and I now FINALLY have a signed copy of it!) & Harald or finally meeting Ross (from Moregameplease) in real life. Or chatting with Jon (Jon Gets Games), Mara (canibeblue) and the No Pun Included couple Efke & Elaine. I do have one epic story to share though, which is followed by a picture and that is, when you give out a prestigious award at your meeting, what's the number one priority? Bring the AWARD with you. Guess what Edward & Jess did not bring after a hectic day at the Messe? Exactly, not the award. As a good friend would do, I accompanied Jess (finally could hang out with her and chat for a few minutes after our crazy adventures from last year!) back to Messe in the pouring rain and found out a second important lesson, have a key to the closed booth. Let's say this, we couldn't get back without the Golden Elephant Award. So a thing happened but got neatly resolved after the fact, but we had a successful trip! Finally, Vital Lacerda, Ian O'Toole, and Paul could receive their award for Lisboa, as that was the Golden Elephant Award winner of 2017. After many more beers, even more, great discussions about a whole variety of topics, I went straight to my room to crash after another fantastic day at Essen

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Now let's get to the board game photo's shall we? All that rambling Marlon, we are here for the shiny and the glitter! SHOW US! Well, much obliged, enjoy them again and let me know if you have any favorites among them.
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Day 2

Board Game: Pipeline

Pipeline by Capstone Games

Board Game: Pipeline

Spiel 2018 Pipeline by Capstone Games Ian O'Toole Artwork

Board Game: The Estates

The Capstone Games Booth at Essen. Clay rocking it with his dad!

Board Game: The Estates

The Estates by Capstone Games

Board Game: The Estates

The Estates by Capstone Games

Board Game: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: A Gemstone Mining Game

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: A Gemstone Mining Game by Usaopoly

Board Game: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: A Gemstone Mining Game

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: A Gemstone Mining Game by Usaopoly

Board Game: Lincoln

Lincoln by PSC Games from Martin Wallace

Board Game: Lincoln

Lincoln by PSC Games from Martin Wallace

Board Game: 1918: Death on the Rails

1918: Death on Rails by 2D6.EE

Board Game: 1918: Death on the Rails

Spiel 2018 1918 Death on Rails by 2D6.EE

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Smoox from the Taiwanese Boardgame Design group

Board Game: Mini WWII

Mini WWII by Formosa Force Games from Wei-Cheng Cheng, Zhi-Jian Yuan

Board Game: Mini WWII

Mini WWII by Formosa Force Games from Wei-Cheng Cheng, Zhi-Jian Yuan

Board Game: Mini WWII

Mini WWII by Formosa Force Games

Board Game: Mini WWII

Mini WWII by Formosa Force Games player aid

Board Game: Mini WWII

Mini WWII by Formosa Force Games from Wei-Cheng Cheng,

Board Game: Mini WWII

Mini WWII by Formosa Force Games from Wei-Cheng Cheng signing boxes

Board Game: TOKYO TSUKIJI MARKET

TOKYO TSUKIJI MARKET by Jordan Draper Games

Board Game: TOKYO TSUKIJI MARKET

TOKYO TSUKIJI MARKET by Jordan Draper Games money

Board Game: TOKYO TSUKIJI MARKET

TOKYO TSUKIJI MARKET by Jordan Draper

Board Game: TOKYO TSUKIJI MARKET

TOKYO TSUKIJI MARKET by Jordan Draper

Board Game: TOKYO TSUKIJI MARKET

TOKYO TSUKIJI MARKET by Jordan Draper with Cole Wehrle

Board Game: TOKYO TSUKIJI MARKET

TOKYO TSUKIJI MARKET by Jordan Draper with Cole Wehrle

Board Game: Nanty Narking

Nanty Narking by Phalanx

Board Game: Nanty Narking

Nanty Narking by Phalanx

Board Game: Atlandice

Spiel 2018 Atlandice by Ludonaute

Board Game: Bumúntú

Bumúntú by WizKids

Board Game: Maiden's Quest

Maiden's Quest by Wizkids

Board Game: Maiden's Quest

Maiden's Quest by Wizkids

Board Game: Valhal

Valhal by Tetrahedron Games

Board Game: Valhal

Valhal by Tetrahedron Games player board

Board Game: Valhal

Valhal by Tetrahedron Games German event card

Board Game: Valhal

Valhal by Tetrahedron Games

Board Game: Valhal

Valhal by Tetrahedron Games

Board Game: Dice Throne: Season Two – Battle Chest

Dice Throne expansion by Roxley Games

Board Game: Dice Throne: Season Two – Cursed Pirate v. Artificer

Spiel 2018 Dice Throne expansion by Roxley Games

Board Game: Dice Throne: Season Two – Seraph v. Vampire Lord

Dice Throne expansion by Roxley Games Seraph

Board Game: Trollfjord

Trollfjord by Aporta Games

Board Game: Santa Maria: American Kingdoms

Santa Maria and American Kingdoms expansion by Aporta Games

Board Game: Santa Maria: American Kingdoms

Santa Maria American Kingdoms components by Aporta Games

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Cookie Rookie by Yokagames

External image

Spiel 2018 Chio Hero by Yokagames

________________________________________________________________________

Here Day 0 Press Day, Day 1 Thursday or skip ahead to Day 3 or Day 4.
________________________________________________________________________


End of another fantastic day!


Thanks again for dropping by and sticking all the way to the end. I hope you liked it and if so, don't be shy and like this post or share it with other board game friends.

Thanks a lot!

~ Marlon


~ Love Your Board Game Life ~



________________________________________________________________________

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Your , thumbsup or heart really matters, so please do so if we brought you any value through our content :-)

Thanks!

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Thu Nov 29, 2018 3:09 pm
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* Spiel 2018 Thursday Photos * Gaming Rules meet-up * Lift Off! *

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From gallery of el_crosso




Have a fantastic Thanksgiving board game friends and I thank each and everyone one of YOU who ever interacted or liked my content. I am blessed for that.

heartheartheart




After a short sleep and a big breakfast, it's opening day of Spiel 2018 and the start of the adventures of thousands of board game lovers getting together and create what is the Internationale Spieltage SPIEL. The crowds were absolute bigger and the time it took to get to the press parking lot and inside the Messe, was crazy. I don't think in the last 3 year's I saw a busier day.

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Today is also my start of all the pre-planned meetings with various publishers, other content creators, picking up pre-orders or meeting up with new & old friends. It's a process which starts months in advance, which may sound a little crazy and artificial, but for me, it really is needed to get safely through these hectic days. On the agenda were meet-ups with Katie from PSC Games, Rafael from Game Brewer, Daniel from TMG and also at midday the German Blogger Meet-up, where I got to hang out with some of the local content creators from Germany and my Spiel buddy, Andre!

After Messe hours I went to Fitzpatrick for a more social event put together by Adhil to hang out with a bunch of board game Instagrammers, which after a bite to eat, fish & chips in my case, lead into joining Paul Grogan's Gaming Rules event later that evening. These nights are just plain fun, with a huge variety of people from designers to casual gamers and the raffle they did had a TONS of games for everybody. For me, that is no incentive to join these meet-ups, all about relaxing and meeting fellow gamers, but it's cool seeing people having fun with them.

Quote:
Paul is another one of those souls in the hobby having his heart in the right place and deserving more love for his contribution he is given to the hobby. The hours and love he puts into his content are bonkers! So if you feel that too, have a look HERE and maybe chip in a little?


One of the highlights, and a tradition really, is playing games with my American friends. Normally Steph is included in these play's, but she was crushing it at the BGG booth with the live streams and the board game demonstrations. So, this time it was an all boy's activity, Ron, Derek and my half brother from another mother, Rand, played Lift Off! by Hans im Glück. We got the pre-booked press table and got to play half a game. Besides the weird draft mechanism, it does what it sets out to do, quite well. There is more going on that meets the eye and what you are doing, does make sense with the space launching theme.

________________________________________________________________________

See here the other posts for more fun on Spiel 2018

Press day post, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4.
________________________________________________________________________


Day 1

Board Game: Arraial

Arraial by MEBO Games from Nuno Bizarro Sentieiro & Paulo Soledade

External image

Arraial by MEBO Games tiles

Board Game: Ragusa

Ragusa by Capstone Games & Braincrack games. Designed by Fabio Lopiano

Board Game: Ragusa

Ragusa by Capstone Games & Braincrack games. Designer Fabio Lopiano

Board Game: Ragusa

Ragusa by Capstone Games & Braincrack games

Board Game: Gùgōng

Gugong by Game Brewer designed by Andreas Steding

Board Game: Architectura

Architectura by Game Brewer

Board Game: Architectura

Spiel 2018 Architectura play mat by Game Brewer

Board Game: Trade on the Tigris

Trade on the Tigris by TMG Games

Board Game: Gentes

Gentes by TMG & Game Brewer

Board Game: Gùgōng

Spiel 2018 Gugong by Game Brewer

Board Game: Festo!

Festo by Game Brewer

Board Game: Festo!

Festo by Game Brewer main board

External image

Ruthless by Alley Cat Games & Roland Macdonald

Board Game: Ruthless

Spiel 2018 Ruthless by Alles Cat Games & Roland Macdonald

Board Game: Dice Hospital

Dice Hospital by Alley Cat Games

Board Game: Discovery: The Era of Voyage

Discovery the age of voyage by EmperorS4

External image

Hanamikoji by EmperorS4

Board Game: Discovery: The Era of Voyage

EmperorS4 interviews

Board Game: Realm of Sand

Realm of Sand by EmperorS4

Board Game: Tales of the Northlands: The Sagas of Noggin the Nog

Tales of the Northlands The Sagas of Noggin the Nog by Nick Case

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Tales of the Northlands The Sagas of Noggin the Nog by Nick Case

Board Game: Tales of the Northlands: The Sagas of Noggin the Nog

Tales of the Northlands The Sagas of Noggin the Nog by Nick Case components

Board Game: Tales of the Northlands: The Sagas of Noggin the Nog

Tales of the Northlands The Sagas of Noggin the Nog by Nick Case heroes

Board Game: Tales of the Northlands: The Sagas of Noggin the Nog

Tales of the Northlands The Sagas of Noggin the Nog by Nick Case cards

Board Game: Chartered: The Golden Age

Chartered the Golden Age by Jolly Dutch productions Alexander

Board Game: Chartered: The Golden Age

Chartered the Golden Age by Jolly Dutch productions

Board Game: Underwater Cities

Underwater Cities by Delicious Games and Vladimir Suchy

Board Game: Underwater Cities

Underwater Cities by Delicious Games and Vladimir Suchy

Board Game: Extraordinary Adventures: Pirates

Extraordinary Adventures: Pirates by Forbidden Games

Board Game: Railroad Rivals

Glenn Drover with Forbidden Games

Board Game: Railroad Rivals

Railroad Rivals by Glenn Drover from Forbidden Games

Board Game: Mini WWII

Mini WWII by Formosa Force Games from Wei-Cheng Cheng

Board Game: Mini WWII

Mini WWII by Formosa Force Games from Wei-Cheng Cheng

Board Game: Majolica

Majolica by Blue Magpie Games

Board Game: The Forgotten City

The Forgotten City by TWOPLUS Games

Board Game: Robin Hood and the Merry Men

Robin Hood and the Merry Men by Final Frontier Games

Board Game: Spirits of the Forest

Spiel 2018 line-up from ThunderGryph Games. Tao Long, Dead Man's Doubloon, Spirit of the Forest, Overseers

Board Game: Tang Garden

Tang Garden by ThunderGryph Games

Board Game: Tang Garden

Tang Garden by ThunderGryph Games

Board Game: Lift Off

Lift Off by Hans im Glück

Board Game: Lift Off

Lift Off by Hans im Glück money

Board Game: Lift Off

Spiel 2018 Lift Off by Hans im Glück spaceship

Board Game: Lift Off

Lift Off by Hans im Glück money card backs

Board Game: Lift Off

Lift Off by Hans im Glück with Derek (zenracer)

________________________________________________________________________

Some random snaps from around the Messe and late night farm racing in Iceland

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Goodnight Messe, soo you tomorrow again!

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Massive groupspledge pick-up for CO2

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The Gaming Rules meet-up

External image
Reykholt with Adhil at the hotel (Frosted Games & Renegade Game Studio)

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Reykholt was enjoyable, but not great. Just not my cup of veggies

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Blitzkrieg! from PSC Games. Had a lovely chat with Katie, such a lovely lady!

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More Lift Off! by HiG

External image
Lift Off! has more going than maybe meets the eye.

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Pretzel time, yummy! :-D

________________________________________________________________________


And that's it for Thursday, which already went into Friday when finishing up our play of Reykholt with Adhil, and how fitting, Oskar & Magnus from Iceland! That was a bunch of fun, while to be honest, Reykholt is not the game for me.

Like they would say on television, stay tuned and be back to check out my Friday coverage of Spiel 2018 and more fun stuff to share with you all!

~Marlon


~ Love Your Board Game Life ~



________________________________________________________________________

Thanks for dropping by, sticking all the way to the end and we immensely love you for it!

Your , thumbsup or heart really matters, so please do so if we brought you any value through our content :-)

Thanks!

~ Marlon & Erna
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________
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Thu Nov 22, 2018 3:03 pm
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* Spiel 2018 Press Day Photos * Part one of many more photo reports *

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From gallery of el_crosso




Sorry for being a little of the blogging game after Spiel, sickness pre and post-Essen had me tight up, but what a magnificent few days it has been. Spiel 2018 was again fantastic, but as always I was also all over the place, meeting with a ton of fantastic people from the industry, playing the newest board games, hanging out with good friends from all around the globe, some late-night meet-ups at the pub with Heavy Cardboard & Paul Grogan from Gaming Rules, playing games at Motel One and of course most important, trying to see all the shiny (new) releases at the Messe Halls to share with you, the amazing online board game community taking the time to watch my stuff! Erna and I are so grateful for that and of course, we are also happy to see the growth of our little niche into something so blooming the last couple of years.

Quote:
More people [190.000] visiting the convention,
and more games [1400] releasing every year, 1400 this year.
That's just amazing, right?


There are some debates about the quality of those releases and if this was a great Spiel year or just a mediocre one, but that may be a topic for another post. Let's get to the meat, shall we? This post is massive and comes in parts, but there are tons of photo's, so take your time and scroll through them at your own pace. See you down below okay?


External image


Press Day and Pleasant Company fun


Quote:
Spiel is something more, it's not just a trade show, it's an experience, it's a way of seeing the world,
it's a beautiful lifestyle of analog &
digital blending together in a surrounding driven by human passion.


My Essen adventure always kicks off a day early, before official opening dates, with driving from our home in The Netherlands to the biggest board game convention in the world at Germany to join my fellow media friends for the press conference and the pitching game fun at the Demo hall downstairs. I feel privileged I got that chance to be one of the first international bloggers to join the Press squad there a few years back and want to thank Dominique Metzler and everybody behind Friedhelm Merz Verlag again for their endless efforts to make this board game convention available for us to share with the online community.

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At the back of the class, press conference and seeing Ella from Man vs. Meeple making some videos.


After all the Press day activities (photos are down below) were done, I went back to the hotel, to meet up with my roommates. After a quick drink, we went out to Motel One to play some games. I played Arraial by Mebo Games with my Icelandic friends Magnus & Oskar. Adhil was already there playing Symphony No.9 by Moaideas with Jenny from Brettspielsuechtig.

Board Game: Arraial

Board Game: Arraial

Board Game: Arraial


This year I shared a room with my good friend from South Africa, Adhil. He is also known as boardgameguru77 on Instagram and has an amazing feed going there. He was together there with Robert van Zyl, the man behind Pleasant Company Games and designer of games like Ancient Terrible Things, Konja and a new quirky one coming soon, The Dead Eye! But oh boy, what a fun character that one is. We had an impromptu dinner at Sabu Shabu, drank some beers, played a stupid crazy game called
Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards: Panic at the Pleasure Palace, which I even won. I must have liked it, right? What's a fantastic way to finish of day 0 of Spiel 2018!

Board Game: Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards: Panic at the Pleasure Palace

Board Game: Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards: Panic at the Pleasure Palace

From gallery of el_crosso


But, enough with the rambles and my crazy feelings put down on digital paper, show us some photo's and tell us what stood out, will you? I will! I will put the photo's in a somewhat chronological order as if I were going through the halls. Enjoy them and I will see you at the end, let me know what you found interesting in the comments below or on the social's.
________________________________________________________________________

The Photo's

Press day, which is essentially Day 0 of Spiel 2018


Board Game: Lift Off

Lift Off by Hans im Glück overview

Board Game: Lift Off

Lift Off by Hans im Glück at Spiel 2018 Spaceship

Board Game: Lift Off

Lift Off by Hans im Glück at SPiel 2018

Board Game: Forum Trajanum

Forum Trajanum by HUCH!

Board Game: Tribes: Dawn of Humanity

Kosmos Tribes

Board Game: Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon by Blue Orange Games

Board Game: Isle of Skye: Druids

Isle of Skye Druid by Lookout Spiele

Board Game: Forbidden City

Forbidden City by Jumbo Games

Board Game: #hashtag: the game

#Hashtag the game by Jumbo Games explained by Romina Schwark

Board Game: Caverna: Cave vs Cave – Era II

Lookout Spiele releases Caverna Cave versus Cave 2 and Patchwork Express

Board Game: NEOM

Neom by Lookout Spiele

Board Game: BATTALIA: The Stormgates

Battalia by Fantasmagoria

Board Game: Dare to Love

Dare to Love by MIZO

Board Game: Dare to Love

Dare to Love by MIZO

Board Game: Pirate Rumble

Dare to Love by MIZO Blackbeard

Board Game: Paleolithic

Paleolithic by Shepherd Kit

Board Game: Paleolithic

Paleolithic by Shepherd Kit such cute animeeples :-)

Board Game: Monster Lands

Monster Lands by Second Gate Games

Board Game: Sailblazer

Sailblazer by Korea Boardgames Company

Board Game: UBOOT: The Board Game

UBoot by Phalanx Games

Board Game: Petrichor

Petrichor by Mighty Boards & APE Games

Board Game: Petrichor

Petrichor by Mighty Boards & APE Games

Board Game: Franchise

Franchise by Queen Games

Board Game: Cryptid

Cryptid by Osprey Games

Board Game: Dicetopia

Dicetopia by All or None Games

Board Game: Dicetopia

Dicetopia by All or None Games

Board Game: Cerebria: The Inside World

Cerebria: The Inside World by Mindclash Games and the card game version in the back

Board Game: Atlantis: Island of Gods

Atlantis: Island of the Gods by Redimp Games

Board Game: Architectura

Architectura by Game Brewer

Board Game: Magnastorm

Magnastorm by Feuerland Spiele

Board Game: Magnastorm

Magnastorm by Feuerland Spiele look at those awesome Turtles

Board Game: Magnastorm

Magnastorm by Feuerland Spiele

Board Game: Prehistory

Prehistory by A-Games

Board Game: Pandoria

Pandoria by Írongames

Board Game: Pandoria

Pandoria by Írongames tiles & meeples

Board Game: Atlandice

Atlandice by Ludonaute submarine

Board Game: Atlandice

Atlandice by Ludonaute

Board Game: The Great City of Rome

The Great city of Rome by Z-Man & Abacusspiele

Board Game: Newton

Newton by Cranio Creations

Board Game: Passing Through Petra

Passing through Petra by Renegade Game Studio

Board Game: Passing Through Petra

Passing through Petra by Renegade Games Studio player board

Board Game: Gunkimono

Spiel 2018 Gunkimo by Renegade Game Studio.

Board Game: Passing Through Petra

Passing through Petra by Renegade Games Studio

Board Game: Blackout: Hong Kong

Blackout Hong Kong by Eggertspiele

Board Game: Crown of Emara

Crown of Emara by Pegasus Spiele

Board Game: Crown of Emara

Spiel 2018 Crown of Emara by Pegasus Spiele

Board Game: The Boldest

The Boldest by Pegasus Spiele

Board Game: The Boldest

Spiel 2018 The Boldest by Pegasus Spiele artwork

Board Game: East Indiaman

East Indiaman by Moaideas

Board Game: East Indiaman

East Indiaman by Moaideas

Board Game: Symphony No.9

Symphony No.9 by Moaideas oversight

Board Game: Forbidden Sky

Forbidden Sky by Schmidt overview

Board Game: Forbidden Sky

Forbidden Sky by Schmidt rocket

Board Game: Tsukiji

Tsukiji by Redbox & Asmodee

Board Game: Tsukiji

Tsukiji by Redbox & Asmodee

Board Game: Tsukiji

Tsukiji by Redbox & Asmodee

Board Game: Fertility

Fertility by Catch Up Games & Blackrock Games

Board Game: Nemeton

Nemeton by BLAM! & Blackrock Games

Board Game: Nemeton

Spiel 2018 Nemeton by BLAM! & Blackrock Games

Board Game: Paper Tales: Beyond the Gates

Paper Tales expansion by Catch Up Games & Blackrock Games

Board Game: Cerberus

Cerberus by La Boite de Jeu & Blackrock Games

________________________________________________________________________

DLP Games Press Event



Board Game: Manitoba
Board Game: Manitoba
Board Game: Manitoba
Board Game: Manitoba
Board Game: Manitoba
Board Game: Manitoba























Board Game: Valparaíso

Board Game: Valparaíso

Board Game: Valparaíso


________________________________________________________________________

Next Up


After a long first day with seeing already a ton of new games, old & new friends, slightly too many beers and having a great time, it's off to bed for Day 1 at Spiel 2018 the next day.

From gallery of el_crosso

Vital Lacerda, Martin Wallace and Ella from MvM taking a selfie! One of my favorite pictures from Spiel 2018


Thanks for getting this far. Want more fun? I continue the coming days here, so keep an eye out on the blog for more Spiel 2018 reports soon and many, many more photos.

~ Marlon

~ Love Your Board Game Life ~



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Thanks for dropping by, sticking all the way to the end and we immensely love you for it!

Your , thumbsup or heart really matters, so please do so if we brought you any value through our content :-)

Thanks!

~ Marlon & Erna
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Fri Nov 16, 2018 2:18 pm
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* El Crosso's Spiel 2018 Top 9 Must Buy Board Games * and short rant *

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From gallery of el_crosso




At the pinnacle of our Board Gaming hobby


In anticipation of Spiel 2018, we are on the hunt for what the board game hotness is for this year and what games grabbed our attention. We will kick it off with the MUST BUY games, but a small caveat is that we already received some of the new titles as review copies and those will appear later on the lists we are planning to share with you all here and on Instagram. These ones are the ones we won't leave Essen without, will we run to grab a copy, bride people to save one for us or just cry when they get sold out.

Next lists are in the line of Must Do Demo's, Must Have Expansions, The Other 9 Which Could Crush All Others and when time allows it some more lists. As the header of this section already suggested, are we at the pinnacle of our board gaming hobby? The growth of the number of gamers, fresh new publishers arriving at the scene, bloggers & vloggers galore, major takeovers or joint ventures starting and even famous tv shows are depicting our small niche of the entertainment hobby. Growth is life and our great little corner of the world is alive as ever before!

From gallery of el_crosso

Some of the titles we are showcasing coming days on the blog and Instagram


________________________________________________________________________


Let us first give a big shout out to our friends from TableTop Together and their magnificent TOOL. Without that, we would have been lost in the woods with a 1000 plus list of board games releasing at Spiel 2018. Accompany this games list with the Hall Plans which Alain (DukeOfEarl) on Boardgamegeek always makes and you are off to the races.

We have a handy post from last year which may be of help for this year too in preparation for your Spiel journey.

We also love The GeekPreview from Boardgamegeek, but keeping administration on both would be even crazier and we like the extra flexibility the system has on the Tabletop Together Tool. But, the lovely people behind the Geek are doing an absolutely stellar job on this. Nothing but endless props to them! heart

________________________________________________________________________


The Top 9 Must Buy Games


From gallery of el_crosso


meeple Arboretum (2nd edition) meeple

Board Game: Arboretum


Quote:
Nowhere is nature's beauty quite so evident as in the resplendent colors of an arboretum. In Arboretum, you create carefully planned paths for your visitors to walk as they take in the colorful explosion of buds and leaves. The cheerful cherry blossom, the fragrant dogwood, the mighty oak – all have a place in this peaceful haven. But the tranquil setting belies the game's competitive heart. You must choose which cards to plant in your arboretum and which to keep in hand, as only the most expert curator will win the renown of nature enthusiasts everywhere.
Sometimes you just want a quick game of something good, because the kids are taking up time or work has its impact on the available tabletop hourly quota needed to keep the brain playful. But, you don't want to have just a filler game and also want some meat on the bone still what to play? Arboretum looks stellar and play's this part fantastically from what we have heard and we have seen from the reviews. One we surely want to pick up at the Renegade Game Studios (2-F138) and if there are Deluxe versions left, we may grab a copy of that too.

meeple Codenames: Disney family edition meeple

Board Game: Codenames: Disney – Family Edition


Quote:
The Disney Family Edition of Codenames combines the hit social word game with some of Disney’s most beloved properties from the past 90 years. Including both pictures and words, it’s family fun for Disney fans of all ages. Codenames: Disney Family Edition keeps the Codenames gameplay, while featuring characters and locations from over 90 years of Disney and Pixar films.
It's quite simple, we are lifelong fans of the Disney brand and have visited the parks so many times and have seen all the movies. How can we not want to have this in our board game collection? From the mastermind Vlaada Chvátil and brought to Spiel by Usaopoly (5-I100) and CGE.

meeple Coimbra meeple

Board Game: Coimbra


Quote:
In the 15th and 16th century, Portugal is thriving under its leading role during the Age of Discovery. Nestled in the heart of Portugal, the city of Coimbra serves as a cultural center of the country. As the head of one of Coimbra's oldest houses, you seek to earn prestige by deepening relationships with nearby monasteries or funding expeditions of the era. To reach this goal, you must vie for the favors of the city's most influential citizens, even if you must offer a bit of coin or some protective detail.
We were a little on the fence about this one, we see the fun and well thought out design goodness in these games of Virginio & Flaminia, but we didn't love them. We did like the looks of Coimbra though while the opinions on that differ greatly. But we love the clever use of dice in games and in the end Rahdo did his magic on us and put it above some other euro games. It also reminds us a little of one of our favorite titles, Madeira, but some heaps lighter. So Pegasus Spiele (3-M110) or Eggertspiele don't let us down on this one, but we have faith in both these publishers to bring home the gold.

meeple Forum Trajanum meeple

Board Game: Forum Trajanum


Quote:
Emperor Trajan plans to have a monument built for eternity: the Forum Trajanum. It is supposed to become the biggest and most glorious Emperor's forum that the Roman world has ever seen — not only in order to demonstrate his success as Princeps Optimus in an imposing manner, but also to foster the well-being and the fame of the honorable citizens of Rome.
Stefan Feld is making a huge splash again with not just one game releasing, but two! We looked at both and for us, Forum Trajanum edged out the other one, but you bet we will give it a swing if we get the chance to play it. In this fairly simple gaming with just a few actions you can take, you will need to build your own colonia but also assist in the capital growth of Rome. We read a lot of intertwining mechanisms with a lot of points to be had, so call us hungry for some point salad! Huch! is bringing this for the German crowd and Stronghold Games (3-O111) is taking the English version along.

meeple Futuropia meeple

Board Game: Futuropia


Quote:
In this Utopian society, we all will work much less. Our robots can do nearly everything already. There is no need for great envy. It is simply about equality, justice, and the fair allocation of the complete and still necessary work, which then gives us ALL more leisure time.
The men in Green, and no that's not Green Lantern or The Riddler, but the designer with his F named board or card games, Friedemann Friese. He is out again with tons of games, but one caught our attention almost instantly Futuropia. The dystopian future which he sets out to explore sounds just so interesting and something we do want to see happening. A zero luck economic strategy game is another nice premise and with the quirky art from Harald Lieske, you have something different out on the tabletop. Stronghold Games (3-O111) is again up there as a publisher which is a must visit when you are attending Spiel.

meeple Key Flow meeple

Board Game: Key Flow

Quote:
The great river Key Flow passes through the new Key Lands, carrying ships laden with resources for building and trade. Along the riverside, buildings are built, boats are moored in docks, and animals graze in the fields. Players build communities alongside this river, and send workers (known as "keyples") to work in both their own and their neighbors' businesses, enabling their economy to develop and flourish.
We have a love-hate relationship with The Key series. We played Keyflower early in our board game adventures and we were not seeing the great strategy behind that one. We traded away our copy and eyed Key to the City in 2016, but to be honest, the theme appealed much more, but the game was rather stripped down from its magic. Last year's  Keyper had those fancy flippy boards, but that one also attracted us, but we didn't stay for the party. Now we are back for Key Flow, which again looks like a streamlined card game in the Key series. Again we are very hyped and looking forward to it, but will it satisfy our needs...? Quick, smart gameplay, lovely looking artwork (Vicki Dalton) and a farming game (not our favorite setting) which holds its own on short weeknight gaming moments. Richard Breese is a wonderfully kind gentleman and together with Sebastian Bleasdale, they have a fantastic brand going with their "Key" series. R&D Games (3-O101)  and Huch! are bringing it to Spiel 2018.

meeple Teotihuacan: City of Gods meeple

Board Game: Teotihuacan: City of Gods


Quote:
Travel back in time to the greatest city in Mesoamerica. Witness the glory and the twilight of the powerful pre-Columbian civilization. Strategize, accrue wealth, gain the favour of the gods, and become the builder of the magnificent Pyramid of the Sun.
Is this the title, with the very difficult name (exact pronunciation here by Ella), the one game which will go down in history as THE Spiel 2018 hottest board game title? After seeing the videos from Heavy Cardboard, Jon Get Games and Rahdo we are almost certain it has the potential to do that. (Newsflash, mister Pfister dropped a bomb with his Blackout release, so will that dethrone Teotihuacan? Who knows, but if someone can do it, it is Alexander.) The game looks really like a big rondel with a lot of variability in the set-up. The board looks a little bland, but as we understand they tried versions which were more elaborate and that didn't work out. Gameplay with the dice movement and resource conversion looks very solid and the use of the dice is again something unique with the "workers" evolving and dying when they reach 6 pips. NSKN Games (1-G124) has a monster hit in their hands and Daniel Tascini & Dávid Turzi (only the solo developer this time, but still...) have established themselves now as a recurring big-time designers with 2 titles in the Boardgamegeek top 50 (Tzolkin, Anachrony and Marco Polo) and now this new Spiel hype game on their portfolio. Where will this end up?

meeple Underwater Cities meeple

Board Game: Underwater Cities


Quote:
The earth is overpopulated. Only one way is open for human expansion: the world under the sea. Players compete to build the best underwater nation formed by cities connected by a network of transportation tunnels, with aggregate vital structure such as desalination plant, scientific lab but above all the kelp farms, vital for survival.
Talk about themes which inspire and which stand out of the crowd. Building Underwater Cities just sound awesome and when Vladimir Suchy is involved, you can expect something special. At first, we thought this to become quite an abstracted out game and wouldn't bring a lot of theme to the table, but with recent information and after screening the rules, both the gameplay with the clever card play and the theme seems so well implemented. The way you will need to time and play your color cards at the best place possible, to get the most out of them in regard to actions, sounds just so intense & enjoyable. Gather stuff to build out your vision and in the end, regardless if you win or not, having really built something to glance over is always is win for us. Published by Vladimir himself with his Delicious Games (5-C111) label.

meeple Valparaíso meeple

Board Game: Valparaíso


Quote:
In 1811, free trade is declared for the harbor city of Valparaíso in Chile. A short time later, Chile proclaims its independence. As an influential citizen of Valparaíso, you want to push the development of your city, so you send merchants into the hinterland to get hold of important export goods and send your ships overseas to gain new achievements there.
Rococo is most-likely our favorite mid-weight board game due to great gameplay and just a stellar theme. Erna and me love playing this. So when you see father and son Malz having a go at a new DLP Games (1-F133) release, Valparaiso, call us groupies, but we go in blind! It may look a little generic for a eurogame, but we don't mind that if the gameplay is just rock solid and enticing. And generic is very subjective and not the correct word when mister Michael Menzel is responsible for the art.  The rulebook does look like a solid game is present and the main board looks just really aesthetically pleasing, we love the real world like map-based games. It just triggers something in the brain and transports us to a place in our minds. The premise of the gameplay tells us it will give a lot of interactions around the table and players are involved in each other turns and are affected by other players choices.

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Still here, now for some closing thoughts


Those are just 9 out of so many more games we are liking to bring home from Essen Spiel. The growth of the hobby is such an amazing thing and overall just immensely positive, but with the growth comes also the fact that we cannot see all the games anymore and even more likely, we need to judge games sometimes to quickly on art, back of the box, designer pedigree or publisher preference.  Or sometimes better, read deeper pockets, marketing or bigger companies behind certain titles grabbing all the footlights.

Is this something which you also see? And what are your thoughts on the growth of our niche hobby?

Thanks for reading along on another one of those lists and we are very grateful for each and every person doing just that. Please let us know with a comment or a thumb, heart, like message pigeon, what you thought about our content.

~ Love Your Board Game Life ~




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Thanks for dropping by, sticking all the way to the end and we immensely love you for it!


Your like, thumb or heart really matters, so please do so if we brought you any value through our content :-)

Thanks!

~ Marlon & Erna

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Thu Oct 11, 2018 3:05 pm
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* Carson City The Card Game * Did you know that there is a cowboy code * A CrossWord review.

Marlon Kruis
Netherlands
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When we found this package at our doorstep, with clearly a bad written send to name on it (very fun Paul!), we did not expect it to be one of the new hotness releases coming to you this Spiel 2018. This title is released by one of our favorite Dutch publishers, Quined Games and it is nothing else but Carson City the Card Game by the popular French designer Xavier Georges and illustrated by Alexandre Roche. You can imagine what we did next right? We grab us a bottle of good old scotch, sorry there was no bourbon, and unpacked this beauty as soon as the first drink was in! Like every story before, from there it took off and let's see where this Wild West ride will take us, shall we?

But first let me introduce you to the Cowboy Code and my question to you, should we reintegrate some of those customs back into our habits?

Quote:
Cowboy & Cowgirl Code

The cowboys of the Old West had an unwritten code that they lived by. The code included such rules as being courteous, always saying "howdy", don't wave at a man on a horse (you should nod), never ride another man's horse without his permission, always help someone in need, and never put on another man's hat.


Sounds like a code we may have to re-introduce? But, that's something for a whole other discussion. Let's get to the meat, shall we?

Board Game: Carson City: The Card Game


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Designer: Xavier Georges
Artist: Alexandre Roche
Player count: 1 - 6 players
Playtime: 30 - 45 minutes and some extra time for score counting
Theme: Western
Mechanisms: Bidding, Card play, Tile placement

Board Game: Carson City: The Card Game

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Highlights
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With an easy set of rules and just, a few components you will have a Wild West Carson City experience.
Beautiful artwork from Alexandre Roche.
Clever use of the back of the character cards. They are used to change priority ever round or kill characters of back into the deck.
Out of the box, a solution to get a bigger player count experience with low player counts. Read, smart integration of the use of the spare bidding decks.
It plays one to six players and that's just an achievement on its own and it does it well too.

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Lowlights
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While thematic, why black border cards? For non-sleevers a poor choice.
Deck knowledge is a power and will set first-time players a little back against people who have played Carson City the Card Game before them.
Scoring can be a little fiddly and takes time to get used too. After some play's though, it's on par with something like 7 Wonders, but it does take a little practice.
We do miss that central board where you compete on land grabbing, making use of other players buildings and settling one big area with each other.
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Which story are we telling
That of explorers of the West and settlers of the Wild. You start out with just dust to make your dreams come true by building houses, mine mountains, ranch kettle on your ranches, sell your goods in the stores, make money by funding a bank and defend yourself against outlaws. With all western stories, you will feel like sitting in a saloon, playing some poker and judge the folks around the table for their worth.

Setup-Time
With the inlay provided by the publisher, you will have an easy time setting up this game. Sort and shuffle the 2 era terrain cards, provide players with their chosen symbol auction cards, set-up possible virtual players with less than four players and shuffle the character deck.  Now hand each player a player aid for reference of the characters when they can activate and information on the number of buildings each era holds.

Board Game: Carson City: The Card Game


The flow of the game
The game is played over two Eras, each of which takes nine rounds. On your turn, you will play one of your 9 auction cards in an attempt to buy some terrain or scoop up one of the available characters.

The dealer, one of the players, reveals four terrain cards (5 with 5 - 6 players) and one character card. Now some character abilities may trigger, see the handy-dandy player aid for that or a character is just drawn gets killed when the top card of the deck is a Skull. Replace it with a new one.

You now pick your auction card in secret and play it face down onto the tabletop. Those will get revealed simultaneously. Starting with the highest card, and then in descending order, players pick their terrain or character. You will only use every auction card once per Era, so make sure you make those high cards count. Players who want to make use of character cards in this stage, need to announce that to other players and execute its effect now. Again, make those character actions count because the effect is only allowed once per Era per character. This continues nine times which will end the first Era. Rinse and repeat for the second Era, with of course now the second Era terrain cards.

Building your town is done in an 8 x 8 plot maximum fashion, which is 4 times 4 terrain cards (1 terrain cards holds 4 plots) placed out on the table. Joined terrain needs to touch at least one side, not just at a corner. You may not rotate terrain cards and cannot slide a card under one or more cards. You may place it fully or partially to cover one or more cards. At least, only when that chosen card covers empty land or three exceptions: mountain over a mountain, building over an identical building. House over a house or by Townhouse. When you have the Sheriff or a prison, you may cover Outlaw plots.


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End of the game is when the second time around you played all your nine auction cards and we can start tallying up the score from your town. Count the VP from buildings and those from your characters. The highest one wins the game.

Component quality
Let's start with the obvious, and less than ideal choice, black border cards for people who don't want to sleeve their card games. While thematic and looking wonderful, on a practical viewpoint we don't think this was the best choice. So we recommend sleeving the character cards and find some whicCardstockthe square terrain ones. Cardstock is good, the inlay is working properly, but won't hold any possible expansions though. Pure speculation on if there ever will be an expansion, but we sure hope to see more. The game comes with a score pad and we hope that there will be a scoring app soon.

Shelf Life
We love us our games which play a big range of people, 1 to 6, and that is something which always comes in handy on busy game nights. And especially still having a real game, instead of becoming just a party game, and that is important to us. In most cases with for example 6 players it's also a very long experience, but in this case, it's still as quick as with fewer players. We don't have too many Western style games in our collection, at least, so we thought. We did a search on Boardgamegeek on "American West" and this was the result put in what we think is the complexity:

Bang The Dice Game
Montana
Carson City and Gold & Gun.
Cavum
Gold West
Forged in Steel

From these, we would scale Carson City the Card Game above Bang the Dice Game and on a same level of complexity as Montana. For being light and somewhat social, but below most others in sense of weight & complexity.

And what about the comparison between the big brother and this new Card game version of Carson City? One of the big differences is that you will build your own terrain instead of on a central map where you will fight for places to get your stuff to build. That is one of the big attractors to bix box Carson City for us. Also, the worker-placement part is lost in the Card Game and is brought down to a single fight for those terrain & character cards in the center of the table. So instead of Duels and the agonizing wait if someone is coming for your stuff, all that is captured in that auction phase of the card game. There are more meaningful decisions to make in the big game and also has a lot of mind games going in what we described as those agonizing times when you are unsure if players are come after you for terrain, buildings or with characters.

Board Game: Carson City: The Card Game


Weight
Boardgamegeek ranks this on a 2.00 out of 5 and we would agree on that. The most complex part of the game is the final scoring and keeping track of what you scored and what is extra with certain characters or situations you gathered along the way. The way the game is played is mostly guessing what others are thinking and wanting to grab from the market.

Theme Consistency
It's a compact game and does what it sets out to do very well. The flavor of everything you do is done in a Western style and gives you the feeling of being in the Wild West. From the fact you are quite social with the auction cards, simulating the crowdy poker plays, trying to trick each other and grabbing land as if nobody's business. Settlers at heart, but greedy or devious people in the execution of becoming the richest lot out there. The artwork helps to pull out that theme and does add very much to this consistency. What takes you out of this experience a little, is the eventual final scoring and the accompanied, number crunching. But with a few plays, you will know where the most profitable combinations are and you can take or deny those to anyone eying those.

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Fun Factor
Playing the social and psychological part here is just so much fun. Grabbing what you want or tricking people into overspending for mediocre terrain which they thought you wanted so bad? The game goes by so quick and is almost certain to give you those tables flipping or cheering moments. And those games are in the end, for our taste, often the best.
 
Audience
Besides knowing what is coming out of the deck, which gives a huge advantage if we are fairly honest, this is really an accessible card game with a lot of appeal to many potential players.  So we would say, with everybody who likes some interaction around the table while in the meantime laying an optimizing puzzle on your own side of the fence. The gist of the game is easily explained, but it may take a full play for novices to really see which buildings work with which character and besides what other land or building they want to be for maximum scoring purposes.



Board Game: Carson City: The Card Game


Board Game: Carson City: The Card Game


Board Game: Carson City: The Card Game


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In Short Our Conclusion

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If you want a quick Western game fix and have a just a few or just too many players for a longer strategy board game, this one is a fantastic choice. Mind games are guaranteed and accompany it with some bourbon, and you have a feeling hanging out in a saloon banging out some land grab with your fellow cowboys or cowgirls.

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If you want more strategy out of your Western game fix and want to compete on one board with your competitors, plan ahead for more steps and also have some more strategies to choose from, this is not the game for you.

Board Game: Carson City: The Card Game

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So? Will you pick up the cowboy or cowgirl code and when you at it, maybe have a glance at this fun little Western card game?

Let us know in the comments below and don't forget to follow along on the blog for more board game fun.


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Rating


From gallery of el_crosso




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Thanks for dropping by, sticking all the way to the end and we immensely love you for it!


Your like, thumb or heart really matters, so please do so if we brought you any value through our content :-)

Thanks!

~ Marlon & Erna

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This review copy was provided by the lovely folks behind Quined Games,
thanks y'all for this kind gesture!
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Thu Oct 4, 2018 3:10 pm
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*Noorderspel 2018 photo report * Board game convention in Groningen * Tons of Photos *

Marlon Kruis
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Noorderspel 2018 board game convention, hosted by WirWar Spellen Groningen

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Since our recent move up North in the Netherlands we hadn't had the chance of visiting any of the Dutch conventions there yet, but now we were only 45 minutes away from Groningen so we couldn't pass up visiting Noorderspel 2018 in the beautiful venue of the Der Aa-Kerk.

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The local friendly board game shop, WirWar Spellen, is the driving force behind this wonderful convention and with proud one of the owners, Kim, told us they expected this year to be the biggest turnstile event yet. Congratulations on that fact!

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The diversity of crowd and a lot of board game hotness

There was no lack of great publisher houses and the venue was packed to the brim with board game hotness from recent years, but also some new tasteful 2018 titles were present. What also stood out for us was the variety of different kind of people which were present. Let me explain, from people who never had played any board games, besides the classics of Monopoly or Trivial Pursuit, light casual gamers with their Munchkin or Cards against Humanity fun and the expected many players, who are well aware of what the modern board games have to offer to them. Also, the diversity between male and female was something which we were pleasantly surprised to see.

There were tons of tables and enough possibilities to demo the games. All tables were hosted by friendly and capable demoing guys & girls. One little quibble, with the growing crowds, some paths could get a little crowded, so with the hobby sitting in an upswing of popularity, they may outgrow this atmospheric place in coming years. Which is a great thing, of course, more great souls enjoying the board game hobby is a very positive one.

We could say many more things about this wonderful event, something about the very affordable price for entree (2,50 euro and free for kids below 11), the practical place it has in the city center of Groningen, the huge giveaway of great games for a lot of visitors with the big raffle, but we prefer speaking in visuals and let you have a sense of being there yourself. So without further ado, let's get to the photos, which are quite a few again. We have sort them by the publisher, and with the present games they showcased (may not be on pictures) and they are without a particular order to them.

Enjoy and sorry for the tons of scrolling ahead, you are warned! ;-)
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White Goblin Games

E Codenames
E Hanamikoji
E Holmes
E Machi Koro
E Professor Evil
E Queendomino
E The Mind (we have a review on it here!)
Ubongo
 
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999 Games

E Beverbende
E Drop It
E Ilôs
E Manhattan
E Muse
E Raja's van de Ganges / Rajas of the Ganges
E The Climbers (another review)

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Quined Games

E Carson City The Card Game (soon a review on it here!)

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Game Brewer

E Castellum Maastricht
E Chimera Station (and look at that, review!)
E Gentes
E Gugong

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Alley Cat Games / Roland's Revenge

E Ruthless (soon a review on the blog)

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Jolly Dutch

E Chartered: The Golden Age (preview here and soon an update!)

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Portal Games

E Detective: A modern Crime Board Game
E Monolith Arena (awesome website!)
E Robinson Crusoe

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Geronimo

E Magic Maze Kids
E Penny Papers
E Photosynthesis
E Blue Lagoon

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Hot Games

E Flamme Rouge
E Gang Up!
E Luxor

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And many more people, publishers, designers & games

E Rifugio
E Blasted Hollowheart
E Beach Cleaner / Goudjacht
E Okavango
E El Gaucho
E Go Go Eskimo
E Bloqs
E Forbidden City
E Junior Party Alias
E Century Eastern Wonders / Oosterse Rijkdom
E Trans America
E The Great Tour
E Terraforming Mars (demo door Rabenhaupt)
E Game of Trains
thumbsup And many, many more publishers you can find here.

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What's a convention without prizes?

E Winner of the Icecool competition
E Designer game of the convention (Chartered: The Golden Age)
E Play against NOX Spellenzolder

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Closing out

I hope you liked our contribution to one of the biggest board game conventions in the northern parts of the Netherlands and showcasing all the people enjoying these fantastic board games. We would like to thank Wirwar Spellen again for such a great event. We had a ton of fun doing it and with the family there, we and even got to play some games together also. Good times with likeminded people for a moment and being entranced by the magic sitting around a table together is worth a lot in this digital age we are living.

E Noorderspel website
E More Noorderspel fun on Bordspeler.nl
E Nox Spellenkerk on YouTube (Dutch)

A little side note, please contact us when you want to use any of this content for personal use, we only ask to credit us properly.

Any publisher's wanting to use our content, please see our policy and let us know how we can help out.




________________________________________________________________________


Thanks for dropping by, sticking all the way to the end and we immensely love you for it!


Your like, thumb or heart really matters, so please do so if we brought you any value through our content :-)

Thanks!

~ Marlon & Erna

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Follow Us:

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Thu Sep 27, 2018 3:07 pm
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*Terrors of London, a Victorian Horror tale about legendary monsters and a Dark River * a Kickstarter preview.

Marlon Kruis
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A horror story intro



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As most stories start, there was a time when everything was easy and the flow of life was like an easy stream of water belonging to a small creek, which belonged to a bigger river and maybe even to a bigger ocean. The river flowed its way into where it wanted and it never came across anything but beautiful riverbanks with colorful flowers, bees doing there bee like things and wild animals drinking just a small portion of the river's presence. But, like so many stories before ours, such peace and happiness won't be the way this stories will come to be and this zen-like state would change, forever.
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On one dark and cold December night, the river flowed into, what soon will be, it's biggest and most scary crossing it would take in his long and everlasting presence. From afar it saw a darker and more red glowing sky as it had ever seen. It's wasn't the moon, which was bright and glowing above it, but the pull of its magnificence being did weigh heavier on the river for some unknown reason. The heavy sense of toxins, smoke, and blood became more and more noticeable within every inch of the river flowed towards that smoke-filled sky. The melody of strange sounding wolves, other beings, and were that mortals flowing in the river which gave their last breaths, were getting louder and scarier. As soon as the first wooden houses rose up, the river could almost feel itself being consumed by some sort of evil, like a thick and syrupy substance being mixed into what once was a clear blue water, it turned into a red stream of death, decay and maybe even a spark of dark sorcery.

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The river, as rivers do, still wanted to keep flowing downwards, but when it approached the harbor it almost came to a complete stop and found the source of all these changes. What it found beyond that scene, was the clear and dark reason why it was called what it was called later in history, the River Thames (Tame), or better know in our story, as The Dark River.

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Designer: Brad Pye
Artist: Ryan Pye
Player count: 2 - 4 players (team game)
Playtime: 20 - 40 minutes
Theme: Victorian Horror, Halloween, Monster-lore
Mechanisms: Deckbuilding, Hand management, Variable player powers

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Highlights
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The elephant in the room and we admit it freely its something we love a lot, the artwork is one on a level we have rarely seen in board games. It's so detailed, it's so fitting, it oozes horror and is just absolutely one of the best ever created for a board game.
Diversity in unique character cards (both relics & monsters) and the available Overlords (8 with the Noble pledge!) are awesome. So much cool creatures from the well know horror stories or ones which get lesser attention are portrayed in cool ways.
Horde actions versus faction monsters to boost your own Overlords powers. You cannot go for only faction monsters, you will need other ones too, to make hordes of monster for extra actions. So mix your deck up with all kinds of creepers.
The possibilities are humongous with the easy set of Keywords and the stories which are out there to include in this adventure. It seems a smart choice by Kolossal Games to put out games which have legs for many moons to come.

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Lowlights
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We are curious what the team game will bring. This really seems like a 2 player battle card game only. So there may be a limit on gamers who are looking for a game for a higher player count.
Cleaning up some of the Keywords, trying to limit some edge cases which may lead to confusion is a development activity which needs to be done still before production retail launch.
Player boards need some work, we don't want that health marker being on the wrong position due to a bump. But being a Kickstarter, and seeing the unlocked stretch goals, this has been unlocked already.

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Playing Terrors of London at night on our family vacation at full moon was quite the moment. Plus, it was quite scary...


Which story are we telling

Not much here, for this time, our opening has set the scene hopefully and puts you into the fantasy times of classical monsters, beasts and dreaded humanoids roaming the streets of London. As one of the mighty Overlords, which are the big bosses behind the curtains, you will be trying to be the one left standing in a clearly broken world of darkness, magic and more shades of grey. You will horde, trick and play the big puppet master from behind the curtain on your minions, underlings or other creepy creepers.

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Acolytes are the money makers of the game, but they have their own factions


The flow of the game

Every player is given his starter deck, ten cards containing money cards (cultists), power cards (fanatics) and two out of four of your influence cards (special power cards related to your Overlords faction) which you can choose before the game. Out of the ten cards, the start player takes four cards and the other, five to start the game off.

The goal of the game is to slay the other Overlord and reduce its health to zero.

Resources come in three flavors, Coin, Power & Regeneration.
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You can do the following actions on your turn, which contains playing as many cards from your hand as possible and consist of three phases, passing is only allowed with at most 1 card in hand. Which you put onto the draw deck.

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1 Phase 1, The Action Phase. Play cards, form hordes, activate Relics, use Overlord abilities, buy cards from the street and deal damage.

EPlay Actions are simply played a card from your hands with no costs and play out its immediate effect or which may activate later in the round.
E Buy Actions are when you have enough money played on your play area, you can purchase a card from the Street to build up your deck better.
E Attack Actions is putting your build up power to use and deal damage.
E Horde Actions lets you form or expand a horde, which will give you nice bonus actions and ways to manipulate the game state. This is one of the unique, or at least fun parts of Terrors of London, making compatible factions lines.
E Relic Actions lets you activate one of your maximum of three Relics.
E Overlord Action is a one time a turn possibility to active your specific faction power on your player board.
E Pass Action is simply that, passing out of your turn.

2 Phase 2, The Clean Up. Simple, clean up the mess you made with all those cards but leave those Haunt given monsters where they are.

3 Phase 3, The Draw Phase. Draw five new cards, if your deck is empty, shuffle your discard and form a new draw deck. Next player is up.

This continues until one of the players is down to zero health and then you may put out your best evil laugh you can as the winner.

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Keywords

As is the case with most deck builder card games, Terrors of London has a list of specific KEYWORDS with their unique actions within the game. We won't list them here to avoid having conflicting meanings with the eventual production rulebook being out versus what is now present in the preview rulebook version. But understand that most of the ones figured out by Brad Pye are very clear and are making sense in most cases and aren't hard to grasp after a few plays.

Component quality

Being a preview copy, this is always difficult to say, but based on the artwork and the reached stretch goal of for example 300GSM cards, this will be a beautiful game, where the artwork will be the key factor eventually. The rest of the game components are quite basic cardboard chits and player boards. The cubes we used for health tracking are replaced by small open cardboard donuts with a hole which lay flat on the player board. Sorry, we couldn't come up with the technical term of those. At least, that's a better solution when you bump the table instead of the cube. The Player aids are fine, but we do like to have them include all of the Keywords and the possible Actions for the production release. We think it could do an even better job there when they do that. Less friction is more enjoyment. But, knowing Kolossal Games as a publisher a little, they will do their utter best to deliver the highest possible product as possible.

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These Cultist and Fanatic cards make up your starter deck and will give you money and power to obtain better cards.


Shelf Life

It is another deck builder and there are many of those out there in the wild. So where will this one hold up on our game shelves? We don't own many of them, if we look at Boardgamegeek (we did search on deck builder & card game) we don't own a lot of competitive deck builder cardgames. Helionox, Hands in the Sea and as a co-op we own Aeon's End, those don't have any overlap. So for us on both theme and mechanisms, this can stay on the shelf for a while as a go-to deck builder game which takes just a few minutes to play and have a hell of a lot of fun. We often like the deckbuilding part in grander board games as one part of the experience, and we do less go for full-blown deckbuilding only games like Dominion, but in this case, it is theme, cleverness and the easy to grasp rules & keywords, which makes this a keeper for us.

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These influence cards spice up your factions powers. As Overlord it can give you the needed extra actions to derail your competitor's plans or get stuff back from the dead.


Weight

Using the Boardgamegeek ratings, this is a light to a medium-light card game. When you understand the Keyword principal it's just matching icons for the horde abilities and trying to make the most out of your hand of cards & abilities. We found for example Omen a Reign of War from the same publisher a notch higher in complexity on Keywords, but just a tad. There are meaningful decisions to make, which monsters to add and where do I balance variety versus own faction? But there is also a big amount of random luck of the draw with the stuff available from the Streets.

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Staring yourself in the face


Theme Consistency

This game breaths theme in every sense of the word. It's really that simple and it's a full-blown thematic card game. The card actions make sense with the characters, the Overlord special abilities also make thematic sense with their factions. The one thing which is less thematic, or at least it isn't in the same style as the hand-drawn cards, is the 3d like faction symbols, but for gameplay purposes, it does work quite well and it's a nitpicky thing either.

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Let's lay out some pain and monsters


Fun Factor

We really like playing this one and that obviously is very personal, and the concept fun in its sense is also very subjective. If fun sets you off on the wrong path, replace it with enjoyable instead. It's a good thing more Overlords and Monsters are added through stretch goals so the game won't get stale soon. Combining the right monsters, with the right artifacts and delivering your opponents tons of damage is just a satisfying feeling for us. Playing a couple of games, in just an hour, makes this an acceptable thing and won't make the other side too grumpy. It stings, but shuffle up and start over making the world a darker place.

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The death of an Overlord, a tragedy for some, a win for others.


Setup-Time

You will bust this out in minutes and same for clean up. If you keep the Acolytes separate, the starter cards, the special overlord cards and just the big deck of other cards, you are set for the races in a quicky.

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Audience

The horror style game does mean you need to be open to somewhat more explicit kind of artwork. It isn't a gory style, but nonetheless, it is something to be aware of. But being a light game it's playable with a lot of people and the explanation is done in a few minutes. So there's a broad group of gamers to play this game with. For our D&D friends this is a game which they are going to love to pieces, but for our family, it may be a little too explicit in its exposure, but if they can stomach it, try to let them see the beauty of this title.

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The streets are filled with tasty monsters and horror


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In Short

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If you like a little Horror in your life and adore beautiful artwork, or if you like a solid deck builder which isn't overly complex but still has a lot of cool little things going, don't look any further. This game is going to fire up some of your senses and scare other games in its niche away. A more strategic way of play is possible, but there is a sweet sense of randomness left. which fits the setting very well.

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If you don't like darker subjects and want heroes in your stories, don't take this path. But do know that on the dark side there can be a beauty too. If you want a highly strategic deck builder with zero luck, that's also not the case here. This game needs you to do a little of many, and for players who want's set strategies to explore, they may be lost in the balancing act this game needs.

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Our (preliminary preview) verdict

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We hope you liked our contribution to this Kickstarter and if you do, let the publishers and other gamers know this on the Kickstarter page or down below with a comment or a like. You can't imagine how much those are appreciated and do make a difference.

Thanks for reading and joining us on our board game journey.


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More monster and relic cards from Terrors of London from Kolossal Games to close the preview out.




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Thanks for dropping by, sticking all the way to the end and we immensely love you for it!


Your like, thumb or heart really matters, so please do so if we brought you any value through our content :-)

Thanks!

~ Marlon & Erna


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This copy was provided
as a preview copy
by the lovely folks 
behind Kolossal Games.
Thanks for the trust
Kira, Travis & co!

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Fri Aug 31, 2018 3:08 pm
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