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New Game Preview for Sept/Oct 2020; Request for Feedback on BGG's Gen Con Online Livestream

W. Eric Martin
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From gallery of W Eric Martin
As with all other game conventions scheduled for March 2020 or later, SPIEL '20 has been replaced by a virtual convention. As a result, instead of the standard SPIEL Preview that lists every possible title you might see in Essen — whether published, pre-Kickstarter, or prototype — I've created a preview list of games that have a retail release date scheduled in September and October 2020. (Those prototype games are still out there, of course, but I need to focus my efforts instead of trying to record all games in every stage of progress everywhere.)

The new game release preview for Sep/Oct 2020 is now live, with 134 titles listed as of the writing of this note. Some publishers have already sent lists of titles to be added to this preview, and I'm writing to all the publishers in my database this week to (1) request information and images and (2) solicit their interest in participating in BGG's livestream as part of SPIEL.digital 2020.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Each year at SPIEL, BGG typically records video overviews of 300+ games, whereas at Gen Con and Origins we record overviews of about two hundred games. During our Gen Con Online livestream, we covered just over sixty games, and we did the same during our livestream from Comic-Con@Home — which means we can't cover anywhere close to three hundred games unless we livestreamed for twenty days, which is impossible given that four days of streaming tired us out as much as a regular in-person convention.

Hmm.

With that thought in mind, if you watched any part of the BGG livestream during Gen Con Online and have feedback, I'd love to hear it. How well does the format work in terms of presenting new games? What's missing that we could possibly add? Which presentations stood out as most effective? Which were not effective?

We had many publishers ask about presenting games on TTS and Tabletopia, but we want to stick with physical games as much as possible since this is BoardGameGeek and since the look and presence of the actual components matters when you have the game on your own table.

Whatever we do, though, we're going to have to be much choosier when it comes to booking presenters for SPIEL.digital 2020, and I apologize in advance for all the designers, publishers, and game players we disappoint by not featuring game Y instead of game X. I love being able to feature a huge variety of games and publishers to ideally highlight something for everyone, but we're going to have to find new ways to do things this year, which feels like the de facto motto for 2020.

Board Game: Escape the Room: The Cursed Dollhouse
Shot of me thinking about going outdoors...
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A Report on the Games Scheduled to be Sold at Tokyo Game Market 2020 Spring

From gallery of W Eric Martin
[Editor's note: Game Market was scheduled to take place in Tokyo on April 25-26, 2020, but wasn't held. Even so, Saigo — who translates game rules between Japanese and English and who tweets about new JP games — has translated three reports about games due out at this event — from May 7, May 9, and May 11 — written by Takuya Ono, who runs the Table Games in the World blog. Mr. Ono has given permission to reprint the photos from his post. Many thanks to Saigo! —WEM]

Game Market 2020 Spring was scheduled to be held at Tokyo Big Sight on April 25-26. However, like the Osaka Game Market 2020 in March, the event was cancelled to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. Under the circumstances, I acquired some titles from the official Game Market shopping website. Here is my report on playing these games.

ぬくみ温泉繁盛記 / Nukumi Onsen Hanjouki (Managing Nukumi Hot Spring Inn) (from Kudousan no Game)

This is a worker placement game to compete in expanding one's hot spring inns and making them popular. Its Japanese theme works in harmony with its Uwe Rosenberg-like system.

At the beginning, the players each start with only the reception at their inn. The players each place their three workers on action cards to collect materials and money and use them to build guest rooms and facilities, such as bathrooms, vegetable gardens, and fish tanks. You must pay your workers at the end of the round, and the action spaces are increased and upgraded each round. You can also use the helpers' special effects. The rooms and helpers provide you income and points (popularity points). You can also gain bonus points if you meet the "Individual Policy" and "Overall Policy" requirements at the end of the game.

In addition to expanding your inn and increasing your income, you can also enjoy the growth of various items, such as having eggs turn into chickens, which in turn lay eggs, and growing vegetables and fish in your vegetable gardens and fish tanks. In the action space, there are several chance spots to roll the 12-sided die. You can also use a helper to modify the die roll and take a chance. It is quite apt that the most luxurious guest room "VIP Nukumi Hall" can be acquired only on such a chance spot.

DATA
Game Design: Kudousan / Artwork: Chika Tamakawa
1-4 players / 12+ / 20-60 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

•••

アルヴィウム / Alluvium (from Fudacoma Games)

In this flip-and-write game, multiple players/tribes work together to cultivate an unexplored land. It is another game from Fudacoma Games, who released In the Ruin in late 2019. The system to pass the sheet to the next player after drawing a piece in it creates an amusing interaction.

At the start of the game, the players each draw a Tetris shape on their sheet with their unique colored pencil. On each turn, a card is flipped. The players then draw that shape in their color in an empty area on the sheet or otherwise fill out one empty cell on the sheet and simultaneously pass the sheet to the next player in clockwise order. After the sheets are passed around and come back to their owners, the players each gain points according to the largest contiguous filled square or rectangle area on their sheet. This is repeated three to four times. By filling out the cells adjacent to the area filled out by the owner of the sheet, you can help them make a larger contiguous area and gain co-operation points for that. By gaining many co-operation points, you can also gain points from your areas on other players' sheets.

The gameplay to fill out adjacent cells to earn co-operation points while keeping gaps here and there to hinder the owner from scoring along the strategy to stay neither too close to nor too distant feels unique and fun. You can find out how your sheet has been filled out only when it has been passed around and returned to you. While your sheet is being passed around, other players might fill it mischievously to your disadvantage, so you wait for the sheet to return to you with mixed feelings.

DATA
Game Design: Yusuke Sawaguchi / Artwork: Makoto Takami
3-5 players / 8+ / 30 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

•••

ANTIQUE OR GHOST? (from POLAR POND GAMES)

In this card game, the players, as antique dealers, buy and display antique items. This is the second card game project from the members of analog lunchbox, who have produced a number of heavyweight games, such as Airship City. The values of the exhibits fluctuate according to the number of items on display and their market values.

There are six types of antique items. At the beginning, the players each place two item cards as items for sale. Then the players take turns to choose another player's item. The owner of the chosen item chooses whether to:

—Take the item into their museum's collection and let the current player use the item's effect, or
—Use the item's effect and let the current player take the item into their collection.

Each item has a different effect, such as changing or locking items' market values, increasing one's hand size, and swapping an item in one's collection with another player's item on display. Once you have five cards in your collection, you exit the game. The game ends when all players have five cards in their collections. The collections' final values are determined according to the number of the cards in the play area and market values, and the players compete to score higher points in total.

According to the GHOST cards dealt randomly to the players at the start, each player has an item that cannot be included in their museum collection. Furthermore, if that item ends up with the lowest market value, a curse will be put on them. Choosing which items to collect and which items to give to other players and use their effects require tactical handling.

DATA
Game Design: Masaki Suga / Artwork: ?
3-5 players / 14+ / 15-20 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

•••

ゲムマイスターの選択 / Game Meister no Sentaku (Game Meister's Choice) (from Friends at Ten-gan-an Alley)

This is a game to collect doujin indie games from the Game Market according to orders stating criteria such as one's budget, playing time, and number of cards. Note, however, that you must guess these criteria from mere looks of the games without referring to the game data.

First, the order is determined and announced, like "180 cards", "playing time of 110 minutes", and "16,000 yen". Starting from the cards positioned in a loop (representing booths), roll two dice, move your player token a number of steps matching either one or both dice rolls, and take the card from the booth where you have stopped. Repeat this and go out when you think you have met the order. When all the players have gone out, the players flip their cards to check the game data in total and the player whose cards meet the order most closely wins.

The only information made public for choosing the games are their photos and titles. While you might know some of these games, there is no way you could aptly remember their number of cards and playing time. Sharing uncertain guesses and chattering like "you wouldn't use so many cards in a game with such a title" and "a licensed game of this size would take an hour or so" facilitates a fun game play like that of Fauna. The photo of the owner of the board game café Ten-gan-an with the games at the Game Market venue in 2018 and 2019 is quite impressive.

DATA
Game Design: Ringo Kobayashi
3-6 players / 10+ / 20-40 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

•••

Chrono Collection (from luck movies)

Incorporating set collection and special abilities along with an elaborate artwork, this auction game to bid on watches provides substantial gameplay.

The current player to take a turn is always the last player on the time track. On your turn, advance your player token 1-4 steps and bid the amount matching the number of the cells you have advanced on the color of the cell you stop. Bid "1" if you advance 1 step, "3" for 2 steps, "6" for 3 steps and "10" for 4 steps. By advancing a lot at once, you can make a higher bid, but you will have to wait longer for your next turn. On the time track are "Ending Auction" bars. Each time all players have passed one of these bars, the #1 player of each color gets a card. There are Watch and Contract cards. The Watch cards are used for recording the scores, and the Contract cards are used for VIPs with special abilities. There are also Watch Set Collection bonus points.

Each time an item of a color is successfully bid, the bids from the #2 and later players remain active, but the number of remaining item cards is reduced and the bids are reset when the item cards run out. There is a choice between gradually raising bids for a certain item or widening the lead at once, causing intense maneuvering over slight differences between each bid. The game play remains competitive until the very end. The VIPs used in different combinations per game adds good flavor.

DATA
Game Design: Imai / Artwork: kis
2-4 players / 10+ / 40 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

•••

神のツルハシ / God's Pickaxe (from SHUNROID)

This is a Machi Koro-like dice game to dig up ore with items such as a pickaxe, trolley, and dynamite, then sell the ore at a high price to build refining furnaces. You have the choice of spending money on upgrades or saving money on the bare necessities.

The players all start with the God's pickaxe. On your turn, roll the die, check the corresponding field and take ore or money accordingly. The ore price goes up each time it is taken and goes down each time it is sold. You can use this profit to buy new items, which increases what you get by the die roll. You can own up to three items, but you can use only two of them on each turn, so as the game proceeds, the players discard their God's pickaxes to replace them with better items. There are also upgrade parts to enhance specific effects. The refining furnace each costs 15 G, and the first player to build four of them wins.

Since many actions allow the players to take money from the others, it is quite risky to have cash on you. On the other hand, you can own at most three ore and their prices fluctuate wildly, so you may not make much money by selling them. With the cost of two same-colored ore, you can buy its association, which supplies you income each time that type of ore is sold. However, this association also may be taken by another player. There is a great sense of accomplishment when you manage to build the refining furnaces after surviving a fierce exchange of blows.

DATA
Game Design: SHUNROID
3-5 players / 8+ / 30-45 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

•••

Suzie-Q (from OKAZU Brand)

In this game, the players compete to score points by writing three-digit numbers using the numbers from "1" to "9". The restriction whereby you cannot use the number you have previously used facilitates a tactical gameplay to outwit your opponents.

Meanwhile, you may use the same number multiple times in each of your three-digit numbers, such as "999" and "988". When all the players have written their three-digit numbers, they reveal these numbers all at once. The revealed three-digit numbers are then arranged in descending order. Three-digit numbers that include any number included in any other lower three-digit number presented are disqualified. You can definitely score by presenting the lowest three-digit number, but there is little to gain by doing that because you score points equal to the first digit in your three-digit number. Then the players each place an X through each number used in their three-digit number and move on to the next round. In this way, the players compete to score in total over five rounds.

When aiming to score by a higher number, it is risky to use three different numbers. It would be nice to score with "999", but such an attempt may be hindered by other players. Then how about "888"? But it may be hindered by an "8" from another player. It is safe to use the numbers already used by all the other players, but so long as any other player has not used such numbers, it is hard to predict the outcome. Furthermore, the points to score double in the final round. In this way, the excitement curve keeps rising in this game.

DATA
Game Design: Hisashi Hayashi / Artwork: Ryo Nyamo
2-5 players / 8+ / 10 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

•••

大江戸地引網 / Edo Dragnet (from Accent Circonflexe)

This is a game to catch and collect fish by laying nets around hexagonal cells. Make sure to collect the fish adequately, or otherwise they will count as negative points.

There are fisher pieces on the central island and boat pieces in the offing. The players take turns to use three action points and perform a combination of two actions, namely placing a net piece on one side of a hexagonal cell and moving their piece to an adjacent cell. By laying the net and enclosing an area with your piece(s) in it, you can get the fish in that area. After that, the net pieces enclosing the area are removed and more fish are randomly replenished. Repeat this, and the game ends when the fish to replenish run out. You gain points for the type of fish you have collected the most of, but if you collect three or more types of fish, the types of fish other than those you have collected the most or least will count as negative points.

You can quickly catch fish by spreading communal nets with other players, but the order to choose and take the catch from the communal net is determined according to the "IKI rank". As a result, you may fail to take the fish you want and end up with unwanted types of fish forced upon you. Since you can place the net pieces freely, you can also use them to divide the areas where other players have cast their nets widely, so as to reduce their catch. Especially when the game nears its end, the players work together to chase down the top player by making them catch the types of fish that will result in negative points. The game requires strategic thinking to play with considerations not only on cooperation but also on betrayal and obstruction.

DATA
Game Design: Koyashun / Artwork: Yuhey Ishihara & Katsubayashi
3-4 players / 8+ / 40-60 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

•••

名前はマダないワンシーン / Namae wa Mada Nai One Scene (As Yet It Has No Name: One Scene) (from Ram Clear)

This is a party game to give names to the kinds of phenomena that we frequently encounter in our daily life, such as "part of a dropped piece that is still 'okay' because the part did not touch the ground" and "staples that failed to be stapled". After the players have each pitched a name, they vote on which name to adopt. The player who has presented the most successfully-adopted names wins. Short and impressive phrases seemed to have a higher chance to be adopted.

DATA
Production Direction: Kyo Tumuki / Illustration: Ryosuke Otomo
1-(many) players / 6+ / ? min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

•••

怪盗ルパンツ / Lupints the Phantom Thief (from Coco de Natta)

This is a game to give clues in order to make another player take a certain underwear you are aiming for from among those arranged in the play area. The player sitting across from you is an inspector, so you must not let them guess and take the correct underwear before the others. The type of clue — such as a word, Kanji character, onomatopoeia, and Senryu poem — is determined by the die roll. It is prohibited to give certain types of clues, such as those that can infer the gender, color, pattern, certain name, and type. Such high restrictions on the clues facilitate much thinking.

DATA
Game Design & Artwork: ?
4-8 players / 12+ / 20-40 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

•••

DATTO! (from 42GAMES)

This rabbit-themed trick-taking and racing game is new from Osaka Game Market 2020.

The players must follow suit, and the player who wins the trick advances their piece the number of steps matching the number on the lowest-number card among those played following suit. If the card you play as the Leader is the last card of that color, you can announce "DATTO!" when you play it and advance with additional steps matching the number of cards in your hand. If, among the cards with the color matching that played by the Leader, you played "1" and another player played "9", you win and make the One-Nine Dash like a "Datto", which means "dashing with lightning speed like a fleeing hare" in Japanese. The Leader is the player with the fewest steps taken, so if you dash too early, you might miss an opportunity.

When to play your Nap card, which allows you to pass once during the game, is an important key to victory. If the two remaining cards of a suit are "1" and "9", there is a chance of both "DATTO Announcement" and "One-Nine Dash" to occur at the same time, leaving the players in breathless suspense over the outcome of the game until the very end.

DATA
Game Design: ? / Illustration: michibata
2-4 players / 8+ / 20 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

•••

Micronesia (from Toydrop)

In this dice game, initially released in 2017, the players each send their tribe to 12 islands.

Roll three dice, divide them into one-die and two-dice rolls, and send your tribe pieces to the islands with corresponding numbers. On each island, place one of your tribe pieces if it is unoccupied. If it is already occupied by any number of tribe pieces, you must place one additional piece more than those present. (The tribe pieces that were occupying that island return to their owner's hand.) The number of tribe pieces to place on each island thus increases in this way. The player who runs out of their tribe pieces to place is eliminated from the game. Then the remaining players compete to score points from the islands.

Using dice rolls matching the numbers of the islands occupied by your tribe pieces, you can move your tribe pieces between the islands. Furthermore, you can change the dice rolls freely by cancelling a die roll, thus allowing you to control the luck factor.

DATA
Game Design: Toshihiro Hachisuka / Illustration: Omanazaki
3-4 players / 8+ / 25 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

•••
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Convention Previews Are Out; New Game Release Previews Are In!

W. Eric Martin
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Origins Game Fair, Gen Con, and SPIEL aren't taking place the same way that they normally would — Origins more than most, but that's a topic for another post — so instead of assembling convention previews for conventions that won't function in their usual way, I thought it would make more sense for the remainder of 2020 to have "new game release" previews that highlight when games will be hitting retail markets.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

In order to organize what I'm doing and make it easier for you to spot what's new on a list, I've grouped new and upcoming game releases into three categories:

• Games hitting retail between June 1 and August 31, 2020 (roughly Origins and Gen Con)
• Games hitting retail from Sept. 1 to Oct. 31, 2020 (a.k.a. SPIEL '20 titles)
• Games hitting retail from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31, 2020 (holiday releases)

The New Game Release preview for June-August 2020 is live, debuting with 59 titles listed and with more being added as publishers respond to a survey that I sent out in early June and as I go through distributor lists that highlight release dates. I'll most likely publish the Sept-Oct preview near the beginning of August 2020, which was the planned publication date for the SPIEL '20 Preview.

Note that these previews are solely for game releases. I'm not cataloguing Kickstarter launch dates and game demoes on online platforms. Many folks love previewing future releases at conventions, but I'm not covering conventions in these previews, so I decided to stick with what's hitting stores so that folks staying at home know what's available to them when.

Note also that since BGG is a global site, these new game release previews will list games to be released in retail outlets that aren't necessarily in your country. If something sounds good to you, ideally you'll find a way to get it onto your table.

If you're a publisher that plans to release a game between June and December 2020, but you didn't receive a survey from me, please comment or email me, and I'll send you the link.
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A Report on the Games Scheduled to be Sold at Osaka Game Market 2020

From gallery of W Eric Martin
[Editor's note: Game Market was scheduled to take place in Osaka on March 8, 2020, but wasn't held. Even so, Saigo — who translates game rules between Japanese and English and who tweets about new JP games — has translated a report about this non-event written by Takuya Ono, who runs the Table Games in the World blog. Mr. Ono has given permission to reprint the photos from his post. Many thanks to Saigo! —WEM]

Game Market 2020 Osaka, which was due to take place on March 8, was cancelled to prevent coronavirus infection. Thus, the board games that were supposed to be released there lost that occasion, but fortunately, the Game Market Management Office and several other organizations offered to sell those games online. Here is my report on playing some of those games:

たぬきのきんたま / Tanuki no Kintama (Tanuki's Balls) (from Narumi Factory)

Named after a famous phrase in the popular folk song "Tan Tan Tanuki", this is a go-out game to play cards and change the size of a Tanuki raccoon dog's left and right balls (called "Kintama" in Japanese).

The players take turns to play 1 ball card from their hand and place it on either left or right pile of ball cards in the ball area. You can play a card numbered within the range of ±2 from the topmost card on either pile. Otherwise, take the topmost card of a pile. If you manage to have the ball cards "1" and "8" in the ball area, it triggers the "1-8" (hit-or-miss) attack whereby you can make any one player (possibly the top player) draw a card from the deck.

The cards numbered "1" to "8" are used, and "1" and "8" are linked. The conditions to play the cards are not very strict, so you can play this game quite loosely like the loosely swinging balls of the Tanuki in the folk song.

DATA
Game Design & Illustration: Narumi
2-4 players / Age: 7+ / 10-20 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

•••


The Field of the Sun (from Little Future)

This is a card game in which the players take turns to flip cards from a communal deck of cards and compete for the majority of crops.

On your turn, flip cards from the deck one by one and add them to the single row. Stop at any point and take any one card from the row. If you flip a card of the same suit as one already present, your turn ends immediately and you must take the last flipped card. The game ends when the deck is exhausted, and the player with the most cards of each suit scores positive points for that suit while all other players score negative points. Even with three special event cards, the game system is very minimal.

There are five cards of each suit, so you can win the majority if you take three cards of a suit. However, you cannot collect them so easily. If another player has a card of the same suit, should you go for the same suit to compete with them, or avoid such competition and take a card of another suit? All the cards are eventually revealed, so the dynamic competition continues until the very end.

DATA
Game Design: Yusuke Emi / Illustration: Memento Mori & Suhama Yamazaki
2-5 players / Age: 10+ / 10-30 min

From gallery of W Eric Martin

•••


おばけはおまえだ! (You Are The Ghost! from GIFT10INDUSTRY)

This is a communication game using hearing. The players take turns to choose a picture card according to the sound they hear from the earphone. One player, however, is randomly assigned to play the role of the ghost, and that player must pretend that they also heard the same sound to avoid being found out.

An eerie sound is heard from the earphone. The players take turns to receive the smartphone and earphone, press the button on the smartphone to play the sound, and take the picture that they think matches the sound. They each explain briefly why they chose that picture, then simultaneously point at a player who they suspect to be the ghost from the explanation. The ghost player gains points if they manage to trick others from finding them out, and other players each gain points if they find out who the ghost is.

Giving specific explanations helps the ghost player pretend that they also heard that sound, so the players explain the sound with some vagueness, but being too vague will make one look suspicious. It was fun playing the game, with occasions, such as the ghost player providing plausible explanations from a wild guess and a non-ghost player managing to communicate that they are not the ghost without almost any clear explanation.

DATA
Game Design: Takashi Hamada / Illustration: Toshi Murase
3-6 players / Age: 10+ / 15-30 min
English rules

From gallery of W Eric Martin

•••


ツリーラインアベニュー (The Tree-Lined Avenue from TACTICAL GAMES)

The players compete to score by planting five types of trees in rows and columns. It is like, what would happen if a communal board is used for Kingdomino?

Tree cards are arranged in order according to the number of players. The players then take turns to choose one card and place it to eventually form a 6×6 grid park. The Kingdomino system whereby taking a higher-numbered card forces one to pick later in the next round is applied. However, on the communal park board, the players each score from the trees in the same rows and columns as their gardener pawns. The players play both cooperatively and competitively by arranging trees to score and at the same time planting obstructive trees on the rows and columns where their gardener pawns are not present.

The park also has animals and facilities that are linked to end-of-game bonuses, and some high-number cards are equipped with advantageous actions. The players each have two gardener pawns to score from four lines in total, so most trees can be of some use. Because of this, there is little variation in the turn order, and it is difficult to move up in the turn order once you fall behind. The sheer number of choices requires a tactical handling.

DATA
Game Design: Yota Suzuki & Hayato Oshikiri / Visual Design: Yota Suzuki
2-4 players / Age: 14+ / 20-30 min (released at TGM 2019 Autumn)

From gallery of W Eric Martin

•••


タイムトラップTime Trap from TACTICAL GAMES)

In this card game, the players race to get rid of their hand of cards in the seventh round. If you run out of cards by the sixth round, you will be eliminated.

There are different conditions for each round, such as "Play only odd numbers" and "Play any card, but if you play '5' or '7', your card will be snatched". The players play their cards in ascending or descending order in accordance with these conditions. At the start, the players each receive a "time trap" card that allows them to reverse the ascending/descending order. Pass if you do not have a card to play anymore. After everyone has passed, move to the next round.

While it is desirable to keep your hand of cards to avoid being eliminated by the sixth round, you must play and reduce them to some extent or else you will not be able to win in the seventh round. It is also important to assess how many cards you should make others play. Before you know it, you might lose at once.

DATA
Game Design: Hayato Oshikiri & Yota Suzuki / Visual Design: Yota Suzuki
2-4 players / Age: 14+ / 10-15 min (released at TGM 2019 Autumn)

From gallery of W Eric Martin

•••


インザルーイン (In the Ruin from Fudacoma Games)

This is a flip-and-write game to use the patterns indicated on revealed cards to write routes and walls in order to bring back treasures from ancient ruins.

After the players have each written the route or wall on their sheet in the pattern indicated on the card, they move their pawn the number of steps indicated on the card. The treasure locations are indicated on the cards, and they can be acquired on a first-come-first-served basis. If you fail to connect your route to the treasure, the treasure location will turn into a wall on your sheet. Each time a treasure is taken, another treasure will appear in another location. The first half of the game ends when the deck of cards runs out. In the second half, the players must return to the starting point to escape from the ruins while collecting the remaining treasures. In addition to the treasure, you can score by forming the largest rectangular area made of roads and walls, earn bonus points for connecting specified routes, and receive a penalty for failing to draw specified patterns.

As is frequently the case in a flip-and-write game, the interaction is relatively low, but the system allows the players to be informed of other players' actions each time a treasure is found, like "I've taken Treasure B!", "Oh, no! I was almost there!" The gameplay provides a feeling of exploring in the dark.

DATA
Game Design: Yusuke Sawaguchi / Artwork: Makoto Takami
1-4 players / Age: 8+ / 30-45 min (released at TGM 2019 Autumn)

From gallery of W Eric Martin

•••

[Editor's note: This Osaka 2020 title was covered separately on TGIW by Mr. Ono. —WEM]

海拓者 / Kaitakusha (See Settlers)

Choosing Which Islands to Visit Despite Going Out of Course

From gallery of W Eric Martin


This is a board game to travel to your destination at the other side by a ship that cannot move forward, while visiting islands and constructing buildings along the way. This game, formerly due to be released at Osaka Game Market 2020, was selected as the grand prize winner of Board Game Selection 2020, a competition hosted by nine board game cafés and shops, where you could play the submitted games, in the Kansai region.

The players each start their ship from one of the four sides of the game board. On your turn, play a card from your hand of three cards for actions such as moving your ship; getting foods, cards and other items on the island you visit; and placing your crew member pawn on the island. Once you place your crew member pawn, you can get resources, such as bricks, iron, and stones, which can be collected over several turns and used for constructing buildings.

The hand of three cards lacks forward movement. Furthermore, when ending up with the same type of card, your ship can go off course tremendously. There are scoring chips in the center, but not only is it difficult to reach there, but even if you do, you are quickly surrounded by other players' ships, making it difficult to move away from there. In addition, the players must race to get the resources indicated on the displayed construction cards. You also need to take care to procure food or else your crew members will die from a food shortage.

The game ends when one of the players reaches the opposite side of their starting point or reaches the specified score. The players compete to score by adding up the points from construction cards, bonus points by type, gold and tiles in the center, and the points for reaching the goal. With so many elements, you need to examine your priorities according to your hand of cards. If your priorities coincide with another player, it will hamper your score, but such choice is made light due to the difficulty of handling your hand of cards.

Our game play with four players took approximately 45 minutes. A traffic jam occurred near the center, and while we waited for vacancies, Bashi-san reached their goal by making a detour. They also made good use of the resources they had gathered during the detour and managed to increase their points for construction. Despite the large element of luck in one's hand of cards, this game with diversified ways to score, instead of gradual engine-building, allows close competition by a narrow margin until the very end.

DATA
Kaitakusha (See Settlers)
Game Design & Artwork: Tadashi Koyama
2-4 players / Age: 10+ / 30-45 min
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Fri May 8, 2020 4:32 pm
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BGG.CON 2019 Recap

Mary Prasad
United States
Hillsborough
North Carolina
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From gallery of W Eric Martin
Author's Note: Yep, this write-up is super-duper late as explained at the bottom of the page.

BGG.CON 2019 was held November 20-24 at the Hyatt Regency Dallas. This is the first year in this new space. One of the advantages of the new space is that the exhibit hall was in one room rather than two. Also, the main ballroom was larger and more hotel rooms were available. Although the hotel can handle about 5,000 attendees, BGG.CON plans to scale up over time, due to extra growth issues and logistics. In 2019, there were about 3,500 attendees.

The new location is closer to Love Field airport, which makes me very happy since I fly Southwest. My husband and I have been flying into Love Field for a few years now anyway; it's a lot less expensive for a direct flight, even considering Lyft to/from the hotel. The smaller airport makes it easier and faster to get in and out. The new location is also within walking distance of many more restaurants. Woo hoo! More on food later.

This year's general registration line was very efficient. Once registration was opened, no one waited more than 37 minutes. Still there were a few attendees who camped out overnight, just for fun.

Premium badges were available again at the same flat fee of $400. There were a few more this year: 180 – it is capped at about 5% of total badges. The benefits were the same as in 2018. With the new venue, there were a few hiccups in processing the line, but they will be fixed for next year.

From gallery of diceychic
You know it's going to be a fun time when these guys are hosting the party!

Door Prizes

Each attendee received one game from each category listed below: A, B, C, and D.

A/504 - Stronghold Games
A/Galaxy Trucker - Czech Games Edition
A/The Walled City: Londonderry & Borderlands - Mercury Games
A/First Martians: Adventures on the Red Planet - Portal Games
A/Guardians Call - Skybound Games

B/Abandon Planet - Orange Machine Games
B/Black Hole Council - Orange Machine Games
B/Werebeasts - Bezier Games
B/That's a Question - Czech Games Edition
B/Dragon Whisperer - Albino Dragon
B/Mystic Market - Ravensburger

C/Poland - Decision Games
C/Land Without End: The Barbarossa Campaign - Decision Games
C/Bad Maps - Floodgate Games

D/BGG.CON 2019 Glasses - Tabletop Tycoon

Team Geek

A special thank you to the staff of volunteers and workers of TeamGeek! They are a big part of BGG.CON's success.

From gallery of diceychic
Team Geek photo by Sterling Babcock

Fun fact: At 115 members, Team Geek volunteer staff is half the size of the first BGG.CON in 2005.

Thank you to Jeff Anderson for providing the Team Geek fun fact, as well as much of the information above and probably some mixed in below.

New Guidebook and App

For 2019, BGG.CON created an app using Guidebook. You can check it out on iOS or Android.

The Guidebook provided general information such as check-in hours, BGG.CON schedule, list of exhibitors, maps of the exhibit hall and convention area, GeekBuzz how-to, BGG events policies, BGG.CON FAQ and Wiki links, and more. It had an inbox for announcements, such as daily prize winners. If you created a Guidebook login, you could make use of the personalized schedule and to-do list.

Also through the Guidebook, attendees could find out how to join the Exhibitor Hall Scavenger Hunt, which replaced the Exhibitor Bingo from previous years. There were twelve QR codes to be found throughout the Exhibit Hall. Attendees could scan the codes to unlock a secret message, plus a survey, in order to be entered to win one of the Grand Prizes, given away at the Saturday night Closing Ceremonies. In order to be eligible to win, attendees had to finish the QR code hunt, complete the survey, and be present to win at the prize drawing.

From gallery of diceychic
You never know who you may run into. Daniel Solis is a game designer and friend who lives near me. Where do I ever see him? At BGG.CON...

Dedicated Areas

Similar to previous years, some areas were set aside for certain types of games and events, such as quiet games, RPGs, war games, social games, community meet-ups, and scheduled tables. There was a spreadsheet sign up online. After the sign-up period closed, the schedule was posted next to each room. If there were open tables, attendees could sign up to reserve them during the con.

Sponsors

Thank you to the following Ultimate Geek Sponsors for their ultimate support of BGG.CON 2019:
Bezier Games
Czech Games Edition
Decision Games
Floodgate Games
Mercury Games
Orange Machine Games
Portal Games
Skybound Games
Stronghold Games
Tabletop Tycoon

Also, thank you for Sponsoring Geeks 2019:
Albino Dragon
Level 99 Games
Ravensburger

From gallery of diceychic
Stephen Buonocore, Stronghold Games (L) and Nick Little, Indie Boards & Cards (R) sharing a quiet moment

Not so fun fact: I'm so upset the photo above blurred. I even took two; this was the best. It was a fairly shady corner (where else would you find these two characters), even if my iPhone photo doesn't show it. The result was an exposure that was too long to hand hold. Grr.

Hot Games

This year there were quite a few more hot games tables — 14 more, assuming all the listed copies below were out on tables. The number of unique games was the same as last year (19) but there were more copies this year: 42 total in 2019, as opposed to 28 in 2018. Listed below are the number of copies followed by the name of the game.

(1) Alubari: A Nice Cup of Tea
(2) Aquatica
(3) Azul: Summer Pavilion
(2) Barrage
(3) Black Angel
(2) Cooper Island
(2) Crystal Palace
(2) Ecos: First Continent
(2) Glen More II: Chronicles
(2) The Magnificent
(3) Maracaibo
(3) Marco Polo II: In the Service of the Khan
(1) On Mars
(2) Orléans Stories
(3) Paladins of the West Kingdom
(3) Tapestry
(2) The Taverns of Tiefenthal
(2) Terramara
(2) Trismegistus: Ultimate Formula

Game Library

Below are the top ten list of games checked out of the library, preceded by the number of checkouts. (I listed the ties as one entry since some were related.) This does not include the games that were available throughout the convention in the Hot Games area. Information provided by Scott Alden.

99 Letter Jam
74 PARKS
68 TIE: The Quacks of Quedlinburg and The Quacks of Quedlinburg: The Herb Witches
62 TIE: Cities: Skylines – The Board Game and Wingspan
60 Azul
58 TIE: Rune Stones, Rune Stones: Nocturnal Creatures, and Rune Stones: Queenie 1 – New Rune Stones
57 TIE: Ecos: First Continent and Paranormal Detectives
55 The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine
54 Expedition to Newdale
52 TIE: Atlantis Rising (Second Edition) and Paris: New Eden

From gallery of diceychic
The game library in all its glory!

Math Trade

This was the 14th annual math trade at BGG.CON! This is a no-risk trade. There are very clear instructions posted every year, so even if you have never traded before, they have you covered — just click the link and scroll down for newbie information including a couple more links for help. Math trades are a super cool way to trade games you no longer play/want for something new to try. If you want to participate, start checking the BGG.CON forum at the beginning of October. I highly recommend it, and the more participants, the better the trades!

If you are interested in which games were up for trade or what games people wanted, check out the Math Trade Actual Geeklist or the Hopes and Dreams Request List respectively.

This year there were 156 games traded (849 not traded), with 54 people making at least one trade. Organized by Mischa D. Krilov.

Virtual Flea Market (VFM)

The Virtual Flea Market was held on Thursday, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. (for sellers, set-up was the hour before). Sellers were required to stay the entire selling hour or until all games were picked up. Sellers were assigned tables; for a map, click the link above, then scroll down. This is a great event for out-of-town sellers since they will know which items have sold before BGG.CON starts.

This year, almost 10,000 games were listed, 4689 games sold, and 96 tables with 280 sellers at the event. The room was quite a bit larger than last year so there was more space.

With so much going on, this event could easily get chaotic. To prevent this, there was quite the comprehensive guide for both sellers and buyers (click the link above). There was also a GeekList for requests, as well as an updated list of unsold games.

Information posted by Sterling Babcock.

Board Game Bazaar (Flea Market)

The 2019 Board Game Bazaar was held on Friday (rather than on Saturday in years past), from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. During this hour, attendees were able to haggle and purchase to their heart's content. There were a few positive changes due to the new venue. For one thing, the room was larger and, as such, much less crowded, yay! If you click the link above, you can scroll down to see the floor plan. There were about 95 tables of varying sizes available:

Small: Half of a medium table (3 ft. x 30 in.)*
Medium: A 6 ft. x 30 in. table*
Large: This is a 66 in. diameter round table
*Once gone, sellers would share a larger table.

About 11 of the tables were un-assigned, leaving 84 sellers (although some may have been filled at the last minute). This is such a popular event, likely it will fill out even more next year.

From gallery of diceychic
A view of a room

Before the event every year, there are also posted suggestions for both sellers and buyers (click the link and scroll down). Information posted by Dwayne Hendrickson.

From gallery of diceychic
During set-up — a well organized table with prices and everything!


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Nice orderly line as the doors opened for business


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The guy at the back has my heart (or at least his T-shirt does)


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BGG's own Steph Hodge, trying to sell off a mass of games plus some of her beautiful calendars (front center)


From gallery of diceychic
Look at all the pretties...


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...and more pretties...


From gallery of diceychic
...


From gallery of diceychic
...I meant the games, that was clear right?


From gallery of diceychic
Wow, I took a lot of game photos...


From gallery of diceychic
...this is what happens when my husband doesn't let me buy anything. I have to live vicariously through my photos


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Board game organizers!


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All kinds of cool meeple-themed stuff


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I LOVE HABA GAMES! (And I don't even have kids)


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These two were selling the most awesome enameled pins


This year's "Bazaar controversy" was a "carnival barker" who had a table of lollipops (calling them suckers is just too easy) on display where you could purchase one pull for $2 or three pulls for $5, with the claim that you had a 1 in 7 chance to win something. I didn't actually see it in action, but I'm guessing the sticks were color coded with green, blue, or red, corresponding to low ($0 to $15 prize), middle ($15 to $40 prize), or grand prize respectively. There were likely a lot of blanks (although there is a $0 listed in green). Grand prizes were Gloomhaven, Glory to Rome, and Wingspan — the first to pull received first pick, etc. I believe a number of people participated, but I have no idea if he made up his outlay in prizes.

Although this seemed like a good idea, it's not what the Bazaar is about. Jeff Anderson will be on the lookout from now on: "I didn't see it until right at the end of the Bazaar, and while I applaud the entrepreneurial spirit, it (and similar gimmicks) won't be part of this event going forward."

From gallery of diceychic
Carnival barker

Blood Drive

BGG.CON held a blood drive in partnership with Carter BloodCare on Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in one of the on-site ballrooms. Their plan was to staff four stations each twenty minutes, with additional staff if demand was high enough.

Donors received gift points and a T-shirt!

There were 68 participants, 11 deferrals, and 57 pints collected, and 57 pints may help up to 171 patients!

Carter BloodCare gives their sincere thanks to the donors and volunteers for their support. The blood drive provides the Gift of Life for patients in need.

GeekBuzz

Every attendee is given a GeekBuzz code with their badge. The Wiki GeekBuzz page has information on how it works. Results are posted on the full leaderboard. Here are the top ten (as of February 2020).

1. Ecos: First Continent
2. Letter Jam
3. Aquatica
4. Paladins of the West Kingdom
5. Azul: Summer Pavilion
6. Tapestry
7. Wingspan
8. Point Salad
9. The Castles of Burgundy (20th Anniversary)
10. Sanctum

Guests

This year's guests are listed below. You may click their names to see their profiles. After each name, I also added one of their more famous games or a link to their board game-related work.

Alan Moon (Ticket to Ride)
Elizabeth Hargrave (Wingspan)
Eric Lang (Blood Rage)
Eric Rayl ("The Game Designers", see Events below.)
Kelly North Adams (Veggie Garden)
Martin Wallace (Age of Steam)
Matt Leacock (Pandemic)
Richard Ham (Rahdo Runs Through)
Rob Daviau (Risk Legacy)

From gallery of diceychic
Guest Alan Moon (L) and wife Janet Moon (R), nice couple!

For an hour on Friday evening, there was a Special Guest Panel where attendees could listen to the guests in a lively discussion of their varied areas of board gaming.

From gallery of diceychic
Eric Lang is famous for giving bunny ears, I assume only to his bestest of friends (I got the bonus tongue sticking out!)

Food!

There are many options for food near the hotel, including quite a few within walking distance. There is a Subway about a seven-minute walk away, and a French restaurant that I'd like to try next year, called Bullion, about six minutes away.

One of my favorite restaurants is Shake Shack. We recently got one closer to where I live, but it's still 45 minutes drive away, so I try to hit this one at least once when in Dallas. It's a half-hour walk, or eight minutes by car. Every store has a couple of exclusives, usually a concrete and a burger. The Dallas burger exclusive is the Link Burger: a cheeseburger topped with griddled Pecan Lodge jalapeño cheese sausage link, pickles and ShackSauce. I actually haven't had the exclusive burger because I almost always order my favorite burger, the SmokeShack: a cheeseburger topped with Applewood Smoked Bacon, chopped cherry peppers and ShackSauce... my mouth is watering just thinking about it! Their Chick'n Bites are really good, too (at a different location, my husband and I had split an order instead of fries, oh yeah!). Of course the pièce de résistance is their creamy frozen custard, either a sundae, shake, or concrete. After our little outing to Daiso (details further below), friend Debbie and I met up with her husband Jeff at Shake Shack. YUM!

Bob's Steak & Chop House is located about a nine-minute walk from the hotel. This place is awesome, so awesome that I went there twice for dinner. (Thank you to Frank DiLorenzo for introducing it to me!) I recommend calling for reservations.

From gallery of diceychic
Walking back from Bob's Steak House - that's my husband coming back for me, and yeah, it took him a while to realize I had stopped. The rest of our friends are scattered about, practicing social distancing before it was cool

The Hyatt Regency Dallas hotel is located downtown next to iconic Dallas landmark, Reunion Tower. You can see it lit up in the photo above. The tower is 560 feet tall. Hotel guests get 20% off GeO-Deck tickets. At the top of the tower, on the 50th floor, is a rotating restaurant with a 360º view of the city. Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck serves "contemporary interpretations of Asian dishes." I believe you do not need tickets to go to the restaurant. There is also an American café revolving restaurant in the tower called Cloud Nine Café; you do have to purchase tickets for the GeO-Deck to eat here. Cloud Nine Café has a hot food menu on Saturday and Sunday, but only light food and drinks Monday-Friday. They reserve the right to close for private parties (ugh, i.e. it's a gamble).

There are several options for dining inside the hotel. Centennial Café, is the standard hotel restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, including regional Texas flavors. Parrino's Oven is an Italian restaurant with an open kitchen and wood fired oven, serving pasta and pizza (open for dinner only). Monduel's Bar is the atrium bar and lounge — it is huge! They serve food until midnight. I had the crispy Brussel sprouts with bacon, I can recommend it. Finally there's the Coffee's Post, a 24-hour grab and go that serves Starbucks coffee (lines can be really long in the morning). Near the gaming area there is also a temporary food station with a changing menu. They serve snacks, burgers, hot dogs, and my favorite the walking taco (usually Fritos or Doritos with taco meat and toppings — yum!).

Events

You can find the Official BGG.CON Schedule here and the Special Events page here.

The first evening of the convention there was an Orphans & First-Timers Meet-up. This is a great introduction to BGG.CON.

Similar to previous years, there was a Board Wargamers Meet and Greet as well as an Introduction to Board Wargaming. Both events were sponsored by Decision Games.

Another returning event (actually three days of events) was ProtoAlley sponsored by UnPub. Attendees help designers test their prototypes by playing and giving feedback.

On Thursday evening, Zoom Out Media and Scott Alden sponsored a documentary viewing of "The Game Designers." You can watch it below.



The ever-popular Puzzle Hunt was back again in 2019, as was the Game Show. Both were sponsored by The Op (USAopoly). The Game Show is so popular, they ran it twice; teams of four compete. The Puzzle hunt was hosted by David Arnott and Aaron Weissblum; The Game Show was hosted by Peter Sarrett.

Publisher Matagot sponsored a Play-to-Win event for Paris: New Eden. Publisher Kolossal Games sponsored a Play-to-Win event for Terrors of London.

If you are one of those crazy younguns who stays up late, you could have watched the annual Battling Tops on Friday at 11 p.m. (this was well after my bedtime; I'm not a youngun). The event was hosted by BGG's very own Jon Theys (a.k.a. the Archbishop of Awesome) and Chad Krizan, BGG's Advertising Manager.

From gallery of diceychic
Chad Krizan (R) was awarded this giant belt at the Closing Ceremonies for best spinning top


From gallery of diceychic
Beth Heile is thinking he's never going to get that on a plane..


Virtual Charity Auction

From gallery of Kristine
BGG.CON 2019's Virtual Charity Auction was sponsored by DFW Nerd Night. You can see a GeekList of what was auctioned by clicking the link.

Every year the BGG.CON library catalog continues to grow. Many games are duplicated or never make it to the traveling library. To help manage this, BGG.CON culled select games from its storage collection and auctioned them for charity.

All proceeds from the sale benefited Café Momentum, a Dallas-based restaurant and culinary training facility. Their mission is to transform young lives by equipping their community's most at-risk youth with life skills, education, and employment opportunities to help them achieve their full potential. The auction and GeekList was organized by DFW Nerd Night, a Dallas/Fort Worth based non-profit that throws monthly board game parties and raises awareness and support for different local charities.

This year $4,500 was raised for Cafe Momentum!

Spiel-a-thon

Information provided by Stephen Conway (edited). To see the full coverage, including many photos of the fun (courtesy of Debbie Ohi), check out the The Spiel Foundation's BGG.CON Spiel-a-thon page.

From gallery of diceychic
Super sweet Debbie Ohi taking photos at BGG.CON

Note: The Spiel Foundation is expanding! Please see this website page for more information.

The 11th BGG.CON Spiel-a-thon was held on Saturday. The Spiel Foundation's mission is to make the world a more playful place. We raise money by playing so other people can play, too. It's a virtuous circle of fun! Over 200 people participated in this year's event. We broke our record by raising $4,750 [compare this to last year's $3,500]. The format included a Carnival of Games and a Gauntlet of Games.

Players in the Carnival of Games enjoyed eleven tables filled with fast, fun games, each taught by a Spieler. Games played generated money for the Foundation and gave participants a chance to win fabulous prizes! The Gauntlet of Games offered players a time trial. The goal was to complete eight mini-game challenges in the fastest time to win prizes. Top players from the Carnival and Gauntlet competed in a final round against a group of gaming celebrities to win amazing prize bundles.

The 2019 team of celebrity players included: Bebo – Be Bold Games, Tiffany Caires – HABA USA, Smoox Chen – Taiwan Board Game Design, Kathleen Mercury – game designer and middle school teacher, Dan Yarrington – Tabletop Tycoon, Stephen Buonocore – Stronghold Games, and Katie Aidley – The Spiel.

The finalists this year were Noel Strickling, Stephanie Patrick, Ramon Vergel de Dios, Sarah Vergel de Dios, Jake S., Ryan S., and Henry Yang (the winner of the Gauntlet with a time of 1 minute, 30 seconds!).

The winner of the 2019 BGG.CON Spiel-a-thon (for the third year in a row) was Noel Strickling. He survived a five-way tie in the finals and won a tie-breaking game of Strike to emerge the victor.

The celebrity Champion (for the second time in a row) was Kathleen Mercury! Kathleen won the Spiel-a-thon at Geekway to the West in St. Louis this past May. She won six of seven games against the contestants.

We had a truly amazing team of 21 volunteer Spielers this year: Francie Broadie, Patty Richardson, Allen Dove, Rebecca Strickling, Debbie Ohi, Jeff Ridpath, Bruce Gibson, Cindy Gibson, Matt Roberston, Kathy Lewis, Erin Green, Erin Davis, Roni Worley, Jay Bartelt, Nathan Baumer, John Knoerzer, Beth Heile, Katie Aidley, Keiren Theys, Brian Lenz, and Sharon Rozines. Thank you to all who volunteered!

We gathered an enormous pool of prizes from generous vendors/publishers at the convention. We had over 200 games to give away during the event. The total retail value of the prize pool was over $3,500! We are constantly humbled by the enthusiastic support we receive whenever we ask for help with prize support at Spiel-a-thons far and wide. See the The Spiel Foundation's BGG.CON Spiel-a-thon page for a full list of vendors who contributed.

Last but not least, we need to thank the BGG.CON crew for giving us the time and space to host the event. As we begin our second decade of Spiel-a-thons in Dallas, we couldn't do it without the assistance of Jeff and Kristine Anderson and Jon and Lainie Theys in particular. We are grateful to have them in our corner and look forward to many more Spiel-a-thons in years to come!

From gallery of diceychic
The Spiel guys show off the prizes

At the Races

At the Races is the latest large group game from MeetMax Games, designed for parties and events. For 45 minutes, attendees played together in teams over six different races: fun, training, sabotaging, and betting on horses! There were prizes for the winning teams. A phone was required to participate. Watch this video to get a better idea.



MeetMax Games ran the game at BGG.CON as a charity event for the Game Loft, an after-school kid's charity. The event was free, but attendees could sponsor a horse in advance by making a small donation to the Game Loft. This allowed them to name and describe one of the eight horses. Hosted by Rikki Tahta.

Tournaments

Tichu Tournament

This year's Tichu tournament was a duplicate "team-of-four" tournament. This is the first duplicate tournament at BGG.CON. (It had been done at BGG Spring twice and BGG at Sea as a paired tournament.) There were 11 teams with 46 participants (two teams had 5). Jeff Anderson, the organizer, modeled the team of four tournament after the duplicate Bridge tournament run by ACBL (American Contract Bridge League).

For more information, check out Jeff's post about the Duplicate Tichu Tournament. Here's a link to the boards he used for each player's hands.

From gallery of diceychic

Star Realms Tournament

There was a Star Realms tournament sponsored by White Wizard Games.

Poker Tournament

The annual Texas Hold'Em tournament is a staple at BGG.CON. The object is to be the last person standing to win great prizes. Since no money is involved, amateurs are encouraged to play. Before the tournament got started, they went through the rules of the game to help people get started. This year there were 210 players. Both winners were in the tournament for their first time: Brian Pierson first place, and Brad Bush runner-up, who was also a first timer at BGG.CON 2019. The tournament was sponsored by Tasty Minstel Games (TMG). Hosted by Jeff Anderson.

From gallery of diceychic
Winners of the Poker Tournament, Brad Bush (L) and Brian Pierson (R)

Rio Grande Room

Rio Grande Games had a room where you could play their games. They had staff to teach as well. It's a great place to get away from the masses in the main game room and try out some new games!

From gallery of diceychic
Note the last item listed on the right, the guys in the white shirts will "help" you, hmmm...


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Games in the Rio Grande room (why is he looking at me like that?)

Funagain Games

Funagain Games had a room where you could play a couple of featured games. They also had a small store so you could buy the games you played.

From gallery of diceychic
You can see the games for sale in the background

Exhibit Hall

The Exhibit Hall was closed the first day (Wednesday), opened from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. For the first time in years, the Exhibit Hall was all in one room. Yay!

Below is just a smattering of companies in the Exhibit Hall, mainly those I was able to talk to at the convention. There were many more exhibiting!

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The Fog of Love booth owners went all out!

R&R Games
Information provided by Frank DiLorenzo, R&R Games.

Coralia was released October 2019. Players explore colorful coral reefs to gain the most points through dice drafting. Dice are colored and match reefs on the board. A player selects a die then performs the action on the corresponding reef, which may be picking up a fish card, pearl card, or starfish card, diving for treasure, putting out an octopus, or collecting turtles. There is also an island, for actions that were already used on the board, where cards may be collected (random).

Humboldt's Great Voyage was released October 2019. The game is a tribute to Humboldt's voyage, both the 220th anniversary of the voyage which defined his life and the 250th anniversary of his birth. Players each have four ships (cards) with spaces for crates on top and acquaintances (influential people you meet) on the bottom. Players collect wooden knowledge tokens (discoveries) from the board to put on the bottom of the cards, allowing them to gain acquaintances (set collection points for different colored acquaintances). Crates are used to complete the ship cards for victory points. The main mechanism is a bag draw plus board manipulation - at the start of a player's turn, they draw a knowledge token and decide if they want to move the tokens in one of the matching color cities on the board (the board starts out seeded with four tokens in each city). If the player does not like the first draw, they may draw again, but that color must be used. The player selects one of the cities of that color and moves the tokens Mancala style, taking crates where the tokens match the color of the cities.

From gallery of diceychic

Fun fact: My "real" job is commercial photographer. This is one of the photos I shot for R&R Games!

Fun fact: In 2019 one of the secret key gates was opened in the R&R treasure hunt. The obelisk was discovered, and the information on it has been obtained by several hunters so far. An engraved marble obelisk was presented at Salt-con to the person who discovered it. This is a big development for those seeking the R&R treasure, 23 years in the making.

Czech Games Edition (CGE)

Letter Jam was released August 2019. This is a co-operative word guessing game in which players try to guess the letters that are in front of them (face down). During set-up, each player will request a word length that the player to their left will select from a pile of letter cards. These cards will be shuffled then put face down in front of them, with one of the letters in a stand facing outward so that the player does not see it, i.e. the other players see your letter but you don't. Players cooperatively decide on a clue-giver who will put numbered chips in front of the other player's letters, or the one on the table; they decide who will be the clue-giver by listening to clues like "I have a word that is 7 letters long and helps 4 players". The players decide which person to choose as the clue-giver and that person puts out the numbered chips in front of player letters (or one wild "*" card on the table) spelling out the word. Then each player tries to guess the word - filling out a guessing sheet to keep track.

In development is an app that will allow players to streamline the set-up of the game by scanning letters and automatically sorting the letters into piles and creating the player words.

Fun fact: There are two secret messages in Letter Jam, one found on the box cover and one hidden in the game components.

Fun fact bonus: The challenge in developing the app word library is making sure all inappropriate words are removed, but not just the words themselves but also the anagrams and any other combinations.

Sanctum is due to be released in February 2020 (pre-released at BGG.CON). Players are heroes working independently to defeat the demon lord. The inspiration is ARPG video games (Action Roll Playing Games). Each player has a character board that may be tailored through fighting demons, getting progressively more difficult (with better equipment being dropped of course). Next to the character board is the skill table. At the beginning of the game, each skill table is populated with the skills of the particular character (these are cards and tiles). As players defeat demons, the gems on the skills will move and unlock to grant abilities and benefits.

Board Game: Sanctum

IELLO

Ishtar: Gardens of Babylon was released October 2019. This is a tile-laying game by Bruno Cathala. Players earn points in different ways by having majorities near fountains (fountain color determines its point value), purchasing trees (represented by cards, differing costs are printed on each card), and unlocking end game scoring (player board). The player with the most points at the end of the game is the winner.

King of Tokyo: Dark Edition was previewed at SPIEL '19. They have announced a new mechanism called "wickedness". There were two new monsters displayed at BGG.CON along with a new board and box. This is a limited edition single print run product so be sure to get a copy when it releases.

From gallery of diceychic
King of Tokyo: Dark Edition

Fun fact: King of Tokyo has been translated in 38 languages, including Arabic and Hebrew.

Breaking Games

Flick Wars was released at BGG.CON. It is a combat dexterity game played on a battlefield mat with wooden disk units. Obstacles (semi-spherical wooden pieces) may be placed below or above the battlefield mat, creating a 3D surface. The goal is to eliminate your opponent (assigned before the game begins - e.g. in a four-player game it is the player to your left). There are also team and co-op variants. On a player's turn, they may make an activation flick (move or attack, which may be modified by unit cards) or perform any two command actions in any order: move flick or deploy a unit. At the end of a player's turn they may use gems to take more command actions. Then if they have any units off the battlefield, the player who has them as a target places those units back on the battlefield mat. If the player's target has been eliminated, they win.

From gallery of diceychic
Flick Wars card

Fun fact: Several of the cards in Flick Wars are named after the BGG user names of staff members who worked on the game. For example "Howitzer 7102G" is named after Andrew Tullsen's user name Howitzer_120 plus his wife's initial and year they were married, backwards.

The Broken Token

The Broken Token's newest additions include Twilight Imperium Fourth Edition game organizer and Wingspan game organizer and dice tower, sold separately. (Note: the newest expansion will also fit in the organizer, with sleeves.) The Wingspan organizer will also support Meeple Source tokens.

From gallery of diceychic
Wingspan dice towers (L), organizer (C), and how they come packaged (R)


From gallery of diceychic
Close up on the dice tower for Wingspan. The one on the left was beautifully stained and painted

BoardGameTables.com

In addition to making game tables, they also make some nifty games!

On Tour was released January 2019. This is a roll-and-write, route-building game. Players each represent a band on tour. The goal is to build the highest point route across the U.S. Each player is given a dry erase board with a map of the U.S. on it, divided into regions with states in each of the regions, all connected by route lines. Three region cards will be put on display each turn; each has a state indicated as well as the region. One player rolls two ten sided dice, then all players write in the two two-digit numbers created by the dice on their board, forwards and backwards. For example if a 7 and a 5 were rolled, all players will write 75 and 57 on their boards by selecting two of the cards displayed and putting a number in each region corresponding to the selected cards. If the number is placed in the state indicated on the card, the state will also be circled. At any time, a player may connect states from low to high in their route on the board. Cards are discarded and refilled before the next turn. When all states have been filled in, the game ends. Each player adds up their route points, two points for each state that was circled and one for each that was not. The player with the highest score is the winner.

QE was published in July 2019. "QE" stands for quantitive easing, which is based on the principles of money and economy of inflation. The boards and components are dry erase boards. Each player represents the head of a particular country's national banking system. The active player is the auctioneer who flips the top international company tile disk (from a stack) and sets a base price, writing it on their bid tile. All the other players secretly bid on their bid tiles and pass their bids to the auctioneer. Bids can be anything, including 0 - each player may only enter a 0 once a round. The highest bid wins, but if it was not the auctioneer's bid, the bid is kept secret. The winning bid is written on the back of the disk and given to the winner of the bid. The disks each have a color coded industry on them which is filled out on the bid-winner's score board, along with the number of victory points printed on the tile. A player gets an extra mark on their board if the company tile disk represents their own country. When the stack of company tiles has been exhausted, the game ends. Players earn points according to sets collected - per color, per set of different colors, number investments in their own country, and points earned by the tiles themselves. The amounts paid for each tile is also totaled: the player who spent the most money loses the game; the player who spent the least gets bonus points. The winner is the player who earned the most points but did not spend the most.

Fun fact: The designer of QE, Gavin Birnbaum, hand makes a limited number of wooden game boards for QE. One of the wooden copies was discovered by the owner of BoardGameTables.com, Chad Deshon. He decided to contact the designer in order to get permission to mass produce the game. Gavin is allowed to continue to hand make the game. QE was originally a four-player game; Chad and Gavin collaborated on the five-player version of the game.

From gallery of diceychic

Gamelyn Games

Tiny Epic Tactics was be released at the end of 2019. This is a tactical strategy game that is played in the Evergreen Woodlands using 3D Terrain (expandable to new maps with an expansion). It features 32 unique characters and five modes of play, including a co-op and a solo mode that explores a whole new dungeon feature. Each player controls four heroes: a Fighter, a Rogue, a Wizard, and a Beast, with each character having its own unique abilities. Players will be able to unleash attacks and knock backs: shoot arrows out of the forest or down onto their enemies, smash them with your Beast, or blast a powerful magic spell. Players take turns spending action points to move across the 3D landscape, positioning their heroes in control points, to eliminate and defend against their enemies, and use the terrain to their advantage, gain access to caves to port you around the map, or stop in a village to heal up. Once all control points are captured or a player is eliminated, the game ends; the player with the most victory points wins.

From gallery of diceychic

Stronghold Games
Information provide by Stephen Buonocore, Stronghold Games.

Fast Sloths was pre-released at SPIEL '19 and BGG.CON, and will be released February 2020. This is a "pick me up and deliver me" game; since the sloths are too slow, other animals must pick them up and move them. It is a racing game with clever use of animals, each having its own movement rules. The first player to collect a certain number of their player-colored leaves from different areas of the board is the winner.

Aeon's End: Outcasts is due to be released August 2020 after the Kickstarter in Februray 2020. This is a co-operative deck-building game in which players are mages teaming up to defeat monsters called Nameless. It is the fifth game in the series and will continue the expedition mode from Aeon's End: the New Age. It will also introduce a new mechanism for journeying into the Void.

Board Game: Aeon's End: Outcasts

Fun fact: Stephen Buonocore says, "In Fire! (coming out February 2020) there is hidden content that has yet to be found on BGG, go find it."

TMG

Dawn of Mankind was released October 2020. Each player is in control of a tribe, going from babies to elders. The tribe members enter a progression chart (flowchart) board at one end and move across it as they grow, earning skills and points along the way. Each step on the board shows a tile, allowing variations from game to game. Tribe members may not move off tiles on their own unless the player takes a rest turn (i.e., takes no other actions) but may be moved by another player's tribe member as they enter the same tile. Players may earn points in various ways, for example, when crossing an art space they may move down one art card to earn points - but timing is important. There are only three spaces on each card, going from less points to more points, thus a player may wait to collect points on a card but waiting too long may prove fruitless if another player uses the last scoring spot.

Chrono Corsairs is due to be released in Q1 2020. Players are pirates shipwrecked by a time storm and are now stuck in a time loop on the island of Ouroboros, re-living the same day over and over. During the game, players plan their moves on their ship board. Cards allow each player to tailor one of their actions each round. Then players move their pirates around the island to different areas, making discoveries (via event tokens, which begin the game face down), collecting doubloons, collecting points, using artifact cards that allow players to break rules when used (unused are worth points at the end of the game), etc.

Once an event token is discovered, the event can be triggered, depending on the board situation. Some events are bad; you might lose your pirate or doubloons. But don't despair - they come back the next day (round) when time resets. This allows players to learn about the island since event tiles stay flipped up for the next round. At the end of each day, pirates holding the majority in each area collect treasure. Players may use doubloons to upgrade their ships, giving them certain advantages. The player with the most points at the end of the game is the winner.

Board Game: Chrono Corsairs

Fun fact: From Seth Jaffee, TMG: "The inspiration for the original logo in 2009 was Monty Python and the Holy Grail, when they ate Sir Robin's minstrels (not a dragon, but the knights): 'and there was much rejoicing'. So we joked about a dragon eating minstrels, and them being tasty, and it stuck. The first 'logo' was an image of a plump dragon picking his teeth with a feather, a broken lyre on the ground, and a satisfied look on his face, implying he'd just eaten a minstrel, and that it was tasty. That was a nice image, and people got (and loved) the reference, but it didn't work well as a logo. In 2010, Gavan Brown adapted the dragon mascot into a proper logo, the one we use today. It's the same dragon, but more comic-y, and without the implicit minstrel-cide. Though the company's full name is still Tasty Minstrel Games, we prefer to use TMG because people sometimes misspell or mispronounce 'minstrel' in an unfortunate way."

Game Toppers

If you have played in the Hot Games area, you may have played on one of these Game Toppers (see their website for photos since I forgot to take one this year). The toppers fit on your own table so they are more economical than purchasing a specialty game table. They also make awesome game mats that may be used without purchasing a topper; they're not only great for playing games, but also for putting together jigsaw puzzles.

Wattsalpoag Games
Information provided by Kris Gould, Wattsalpoag Games.

From gallery of diceychic
River Trek will be kickstarted sometime during Q2 2020 and released the following quarter. This is a Mancala style game, i.e. you pick up a stack of pieces (representing explorers) and drop one at a time from the bottom of the stack as you move along the track, stacking on top if pieces are already in the space. Each piece is a player's color that allows its owner to activate the space as it is placed. If you have a trading post on the space you get money, if there is an animal, you get the matching token, or if it is a river space, the piece washes downstream. Animal tokens give its owner a certain advantage; some are one-time use, others are available until no more pieces remain on the space. The winner is the player who has the most money at the end of the game.

From gallery of diceychic
Animal token graphics, River Trek

Echidna Candy Store may be released in 2021. This is a sequel game to Echidna Shuffle featuring 12 echidnas. Echidnas pick up an order from one of the three cash registers located at the center of the board. Each order has a certain combination of candies that must be collected. Around the outside of the board are 12 jars with candy pieces ready for pick up. Echidnas move around trying to pick up their candies, although they may get in each other's way. Once an echidna picks up the full order of candy, they move back to the cash register to deliver them, earning them the order. Collect all three of your orders to win the game.

Fun Fact: Kris received an echidna cake for his birthday at Sasquatch (a game convention).

From gallery of diceychic
An echidna cake for Kris' birthday! Photo by Jennifer Geske.

—Break Time

Debbie Ohi and I took a break from all the fun at BGG.CON to have some shopping fun at a local area Daiso. (There are no stores near us, but there are a few in the Dallas area!)

From gallery of diceychic
Debbie (L) and me (R), in front of Daiso

Daiso sells a lot of cool items from Japan. It is like a dollar store, although most items are $1.50. From Wikipedia:
Quote:
On October 2, 2005, the first store in the United States opened for business in Alderwood Mall located in Lynnwood, Washington near Seattle, WA. This store is much smaller at only 442 square meters (approx. 4,750 square feet), and items were originally one of three prices, $1, $1.50, and $2 (all USD). The current inventory now includes packaged food and items are now priced up to $8, though most items are at the $1.50 price point.

There are 77 stores in the United States, with more being built: seven are in Washington, 8 are in Texas, and 59 in California. The largest U.S. Daiso is located in Union City, California, which has 17,760 square foot (1,650 square meters) of floor space and opened on August 8, 2007.

On December 12, 2018, Daiso Japan opened its first store in Hawaii, and opened another on March 14, 2019.

On March 8, 2019, Daiso Japan opened its first branch in the East Coast U.S. in Flushing, Queens, New York
I went a little crazy since I get there only once a year, if that. You can see my haul in the photo below. (Note: This was only what I bought; Debbie had her own pile of goodies.) Many of their paper pads have smooth paper in them, which is perfect for pointed pen calligraphy and fountain pens. The mini containers (center of image) are perfect for game pieces. They also have thick baggies (bottom center), also great for game pieces.

From gallery of diceychic
My Daiso haul. Don't judge me.

Delicious Doom Chocolate
Information provided by Heather Amaral, Delicious Doom Chocolate.

Delicious Doom is a Dallas-based gourmet chocolate company, made for nerds, by nerds. Heather: "We remember having nerdy themed chocolate when we were kids and it was, pretty awful tasting. We figured nerds deserved good chocolate that fit their likes so we started our company as a hobby and then it turned into a full blown business after the demand became so large! Currently we use Ghirardelli chocolate in not just our solid chocolates but also to dip our fudge and other sweets to bring the best to our customers. Delicious Doom became two years old just before BGG.CON, and this is our first real year on the con circuit. We've so far worked with Texas Pinball Festival, Quakecon, and Retropalooza. We found gamers are our favorite crowds, not just because they love chocolate but because we love games, too! We do not have our own store yet but for Dallas locals we have four locations that carry our chocolate! Carpe Diem Comics in McKinney, Realms of Arcadia in Highland Village, Doc's Comics in Frisco and FX Games in Plano all have a wide selection of our chocolates on offer year round."

From gallery of diceychic
This was a hard booth to walk away from... (do I have chocolate on my face?)

Fun Fact: The Delicious Doom team took home enough new board games from BGG.CON to need a new shelving unit; they can't wait until 2020 to do it all again!

Surfin' Meeple
Information provided by Nikki Pontius

Paris: New Eden was released in Europe at SPIEL '19 by Matagot; it will be released around Q2 2020 in the U.S. This is a dice selection, set collection game with majorities. Players play through four seasons, each with four rounds during which players choose dice from one of five location, taking the location's action. Next they acquire buildings by looking at the dice and tokens they collected, determining majorities. Players get points for sets, feeding their people, and secret goals. Buildings help towards your sets of people, allowing you to have more people to feed and the potential for more points. The person who earns the mosts points at the end of the game is the winner.

Fun fact: Paris: New Eden was originally going to be a zombie theme. It was later changed to a happy (i.e. family friendly) post-apocalyptic Paris theme.

Portal Games
Information provided by Luke Otfinowski, Portal Games.

From gallery of diceychic
Pret-a-Porter Third Edition was released November 2019. This is an economic game set in the world of high fashion, with resource management and worker placement aspects. This is a redesign of the 2009 cult classic game of the same name. The game takes place over four quarters, each consisting of two working rounds and one exhibition round in which the companies show off their collections and designs in order to earn prestige (points) and money, which is used in the next quarter to pay for various activities.

Fun fact: The original Pret-a-Porter game was partially funded by the Polish government as part of a grant seeking unique ways to teach business fundamentals to high school students.

In 2020, Portal Games will be focusing on the Detective line of games, from expansions and base game redesign to new cases by guest designers.

From gallery of diceychic
Detective

Foam Brain Games

Foam Brain Games sells stuff for roll-playing and tabletop gaming. On its website, you can order really cool metal dice (see photo below), including some that glow. Unfortunately they are sold out of the pink glowing ones at the moment. Boo.

From gallery of diceychic
Cool metal dice


From gallery of diceychic
Beautiful and unique dice trays by C4 Labs, sold by Foam Brain Games

Fun fact: Foam Brain Games has no brick and mortar presence, but does eighty shows a year.

Mercury Games
Information provided by Kevin Nesbitt, Mercury Games.

Big City 20th Anniversary Jumbo Edition was released at BGG.CON. This is a redevelopment of the original Big City from 1999. The 70+ pieces are PVC miniatures embedded in an ABS base plate. The new edition has about 25% updated or new rules/mechanisms. For example, it has a redevelopment phase to alleviate the issue with people hoarding properties. Now if you don't develop a property in a reasonable amount of time, the city will take it back to be redeveloped. It also mitigates the luck factor in getting stuck with a property that you don't want. Also if someone gets lucky with several properties, they could lose some if they can't be developed, allowing other players access. Also, the city hall building would trigger the second half of the game but because it was worth 0 points, the game could bog down since there wasn't much incentive to build it. Now city hall goes up by one point each round until someone decides to build it.

Fun fact: The designer of Big City, Franz-Benno Delonge, was in contact via email with Kevin Nesbitt not long before his death, working on a reproduction. They discussed his vision for the new redevolopment of Big City, all while working on Container, which was released a month after his death. The reproduction of Big City was interrupted and didn't get finished. Fast forward to 2018: Kevin was able to go back to the original email communications with Benno, finally making it a reality.

Big City: 20th Anniversary Jumbo Edition – Urban Upgrade Expansion is due to be released January 2020. This adds four new building types, a waterfront tile, two new neighborhoods, and a way to genuinely play it with five players. (Although the original game was for 2-5 players, the designer regretted that decision; it was not recommended due to board overcrowding.)

Board Game: Big City: 20th Anniversary Jumbo Edition – Urban Upgrade

Fun fact: The symbol for a bathroom in Germany (at least in Munich) is 00, so the designer of Big City originally did not want a property labeled "00." He eventually changed his mind thinking it might be funny, so it was added to the expansion.

Common Ground Games

Common Ground Games is a Dallas area game store. The store is about a nine-minute drive from the hotel. Locals may be interested since they have space to try out games. You can find a link to their game library on this page.

From gallery of diceychic
Common Ground Games booth

Wyrmwood

Wyrmwood sells beautiful, high-quality gaming accessories, some made in their own shop. Some of the items they sell include gemstone dice, metal enameled meeples, and dice towers, dice trays, and dice vaults made out of all types of woods, including exotic woods like purple heart, Bolivian rosewood and black poisonwood. They also make gaming tables.

From gallery of diceychic
The very friendly people at Wyrmwood


From gallery of diceychic
Wyrmwood game table

Jenefer Ham Handmade Glass

Jenefer Ham enjoys playing board games with husband Richard Ham (of the Rahdo Runs Through series). From her website: "Because we enjoy our gaming so much, I started experimenting with making unique glass player markers and pawns to use in our play sessions, to make our gaming time even more special and personal. And as it turns out, these pieces have proven quite popular with the boardgaming community at large, and now I produce several different styles and sell them through my ETSY store and at conventions..."

Her glass pieces are really beautiful and unique. Check out her website to see photos of her work.

Luma Imports
Information provided by Colin Young, Luma Imports.

Treasures of Cibola was released November 2019. This is a bidding, set collection game. Players try to collect the most valuable artifacts by bidding on cards. Cards have one to three artifacts on them. There is also a temple board featuring all the artifact types, each with its own scoring track. Some cards have a boulder symbol on them, allowing its owner to place a boulder token on the temple score track, covering one of its values. Players may place boulders on any score track until there is only one number showing, i.e. the last number showing will be the value of the artifact at the end of the game. Two of the artifacts will award the majority holder points, one positive and one negative.

Bruxelles 1897 was pre-released at BGG.CON and has a planned release of Q1 of 2020. Bruxelles 1897 is a card game based on the Bruxelles 1893 board game. This is a worker placement game in which players try to score the most points by taking actions using their worker cards via a 3x4 grid of action cards, which is set up before the game begins and before each round. There is also a board with tracks, which may score players points at the end of the game. Worker cards have two playable sides. Players start with four or five worker cards: two with values 1 and 3, one with 2 and 4, one card that starts in jail with values 2 and 5, and possibly a card with 2 and 4 depending on the number of players. When playing in the grid, the player chooses which side to place facing up and pays that amount to take the card, replacing it with the worker card. A player may also play in a separate row of cards without paying the cost but risks the card going to jail. Actions allow players to gain victory points or advance on a track. At the end of each round column majorities and card intersections are determined and assessed, winners earn awards (like victory points, or getting a card out of jail).

Board Game: Bruxelles 1897

BGG Store

Did you know that the BGG store has high-quality bits? Promos? Yes, it does, these and more! Find unique BGG items like enameled pins and shirts, as well as some hard-to-find items like Japanese game imports. (I spent way too much on these in the past. Oh, so hard to resist!)

From gallery of diceychic
BGG Store

Closing Ceremonies and Giveaways

This year's closing ceremonies were changed a bit as Jeff Anderson posted:
Quote:
One rough spot [in 2018] was the length of our closing ceremonies on Saturday night and we'd like to improve that by making it easier to give away the awesome games donated by many of our exhibitors. To that end, the exhibitor giveaways will now be distributed over the course of the convention, and we will do so at the new BGG Prize Booth located near the front of the Exhibit Hall (Marsalis).

Each morning (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday) we will randomly draw from all picked-up badges to determine the winners of that day's exhibitor giveaways. If your badge user-number is drawn, come to the BGG Prize Booth anytime before the exhibit hall closes on that day at 5 p.m. to claim your prize. If you don't pick it up by then, you'll forfeit the prize and it will go back into the pool for the next day's winners. Prizes unclaimed on Saturday will be set aside for daily giveaways at future events.

Winners will be posted in the BGG Prize Booth (Exhibit Hall - Marsalis), by registration (Trinity A), and also announced via the Guidebook app.
This made the time for giveaways on Saturday shorter.

From gallery of diceychic
Piles of games given away; designer Eric Lang drew the tickets


From gallery of diceychic
Custom board game posters given away

There was also a contest to see who could guess how much the 2019 BGG library weighed. The library contained over eight thousand items on sixty shelves. Attendees could guess how much the library (games and shelves) weighed by taking the survey via the Guidebook app. The closest guess without going over won a special prize at the closing ceremonies (had to be present to win). Unfortunately I didn't write down the numbers (neither did Jeff) but I remember the guesser was shockingly close. If anyone remembers the details, please leave it in the comments below!

From gallery of diceychic
Closing Ceremonies at BGG.CON


From gallery of diceychic
Jon Theys pulls an "Eric Lang" on a crazy-eyed W. Eric Martin

A big thank you to everyone who attended! Hope to see you all at the next BGG.CON!

From gallery of diceychic

Quote:
Blooper!

From gallery of diceychic
Everyone waits for Rodney Smith to get his BGG shirt on
Author's Note: Yep, this is super-duper late. The end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020 were the worst ever for me in terms of germs (and sadly it has just gotten worse for the entire globe!). This is the first year that my husband has cut back to 80% at work (some would call this semi-retirement but he hates the term for some reason). So, we decided to do some traveling during the cold months. My husband and I left for Ecuador and the Galapagos on Thanksgiving day (just a few days after BGG.CON – no time to work on this article!). While there I caught two viruses back-to-back and was sick for the last 4 of the 5.5 weeks of the trip. Just to add insult to injury, I contracted food poisoning at the Quito airport lounge – likely from some condiments that were left out for who-knows-how-long. Even after recovering from the food poisoning, I spent weeks coughing. I have asthma, which always makes chest colds worse and lung recovery much longer. At the end of January, I had finally recovered enough to attend a small annual game convention. This is where I picked up Influenza A. Oh joy. Thankfully, I was able to get tested and put on an anti-viral fairly quickly, because we also had plans to leave for Puerto Rico for 3 weeks in February. I was mostly recovered by the time we left. By the way, my husband also came down with Influenza A, although his was a milder case than mine because he had received the flu shot for it. Now we are home again just in time for the sweeping pandemic (not the game). I, for one, really do not need an even worse virus to add to this year's collection. Wash hands everyone! I sincerely hope you do not get sick!

From gallery of diceychic
My husband I are scuba divers. This is a photo I took at Gordon Rocks, Galapagos, Ecuador. There were well over a dozen hammerhead sharks (not all seen in this photo). I was about ten feet away using a fisheye lens, which makes things look much further than they are.
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Game Previews from GAMA Expo 2020 VII: Forgotten Waters, OmenQuest, Pyramid Quartet, Under Falling Skies, and Call to Adventure: The Stormlight Archive

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All 115 videos from our GAMA Expo 2020 coverage are now live on our BGG Express YouTube channel and more specifically in this playlist. Now it's time to roll back to the remaining game overview videos from the FIJ 2020 show and get those live, but before that happens, here are a few more highlights from GAMA Expo 2020.

• In February 2020, Plaid Hat Games separated from Asmodee to become independent once again, and PHG's Colby Dauch was in Reno to show off the first game following that separation: Forgotten Waters from Mr. Bistro, J. Arthur Ellis, and Isaac Vega.





• Looney Labs was running a Kickstarter campaign for the four titles included in its "Pyramid Quartet" line — Martian Chess, Homeworlds, Nomids, and Ice Duo — and while that crowdfunding campaign is now over, the games themselves are due out in retail stores in the second half of 2020 (assuming that shipping lines are working, stores are open, etc.).





Call to Adventure: The Stormlight Archive from Chris O'Neal, Johnny O'Neal, and Brotherwise Games is a standalone game based on the novels of Brandon Sanderson that can be combined with the earlier game Call the Adventure. We still need a final cover for this character-building game, but we had promotional artwork from the publisher and I want to get these videos out sooner than later, so here we are...





OmenQuest from Isaac Bluefoot of Dragonflower Ink is not a game, but rather a storytelling device of sorts, a communication tool with several game-like activities associated with it. This video was one of the final things we recorded on Thursday before packing up, and Issac and Candice were having a ball riffing off one another as they ran through the different ways to play.





• Tomas Uhlir's Under Falling Skies was originally released as a print-and-play game in 2019, but Czech Games Edition has now picked up the design and redeveloped it for release in the latter half of 2020. Here's how the game works:

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Game Previews from GAMA Expo 2020 VI: Pitch Out, Flick Wars, Meeple Mountain, Silver Coin, and WWE Cage Battle

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We're nearing the end of our coverage — or rather re-coverage — of GAMA Expo 2020. We now have more than ninety game overview videos in a playlist devoted to that show on our BGG Express YouTube channel, and I have only another twenty-ish coming at this point.

I imagine that game announcements will be slow in the months ahead given that many publishers have delayed their release schedule, but for now I'll plow ahead with another handful of video overviews of upcoming titles, with release dates likely to be adjusted from whatever is stated below.

Meeple Mountain was a surprise to me as I don't think Peter Vaughn of Breaking Games even mentioned it to me when I booked him on BGG's livestream. (We had lots of extra time on the schedule when I arrived in Reno, so whenever I'd run into a publisher on that first day, I'd ask whether they had something to show me that wasn't already booked.)

Meeple Mountain is the name of a water park that you'll explore over the course of the game, with your meeples jumping into various pools based on where they land at the base of the slide hidden inside the figure of a GIANT MEEPLE. Watching the video below will give you a much better idea of what I'm talking about.





• Bézier Games has announced Ted Alspach's Silver Coin the day that GAMA Expo 2020 opened, so we had some notice of the game but not much. This title can be combined with the earlier titles Silver and Silver Bullet, with your goal being the same no matter how you play: Ditch members of your village to lower the number of werewolves you attract, with the lowest score after four rounds winning the game.





• This thumbnail for Flick Wars from Shaun Austin, Andrew Tullsen, Breaking Games, and Print & Play Productions shows an older cover image, whereas the box that Tullsen had on hand in Reno was huge. No matter — I'll update the image when I can, and for now you can listen to him describe this disc-flicking game in which defeated enemies are transformed into obstacles that everyone then has to work around.





WWE Cage Battle is a transformation of Charlie Price's Kung Fu Zoo from WizKids into a new arena, specifically a caged wrestling match, with the dice functioning as your wrestlers.





• With two other flicking games in the mix, I thought I might as well make it three, so here's an overview of Pitch Out, a design by Adrien Charles that Gigamic has licensed from Jocus and already released in Europe. We saw a mock-up of this game in wood at FIJ 2019, but Gigamic has gone with plastic components to keep the price down for the worldwide release.

In the game, each player has their own team of characters with unique powers, and you use the plastic layers of the carrying case as obstacles on the table that you need to play around.

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Sat Apr 4, 2020 1:00 pm
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Game Previews from GAMA Expo 2020 V: Hyperspace, Evil Dead 2, Steamwatchers, Super Fantasy Brawl, and Ascension Tactics: Miniatures Deckbuilding Game

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From gallery of W Eric Martin
I'm back with another handful of games that BoardGameGeek previewed on its livestream from GAMA Expo 2020. You can find all 70+ games on our BGG Express YouTube channel, with another forty still to be published over the next several days. Publishers are responding from their home shelters with images for titles not yet in the BGG database, which will help me make those thumbnails a bit more attractive than our frozen faces would be.

For this round-up, I'm highlighting titles that will contain miniatures, which typically means that the games will engulf your entire table, although that's not always the case.

• To start things off, we'll look at Ascension Tactics: Miniatures Deckbuilding Game from Justin Gary and Stone Blade Entertainment, with this being a title that was debuted at the show and that won't hit retail until 2021.

As you can probably tell from the name, this design pairs the deck-building aspect of Ascension with a tactical miniatures game and a distinct lack of dice.





• We first saw Super Fantasy Brawl from Jochen Eisenhuth and Mythic Games at the FIJ 2019 fair in Cannes (video link), and now a year later Mythic's Sam Healey led us through a much more polished version of the game.





• Healey also presented an overview of Mythic's Steamwatchers from Marc Lagroy, which was on Kickstarter (link) at the time of the broadcast. In the game, you lead a nomadic tribe across a frozen Europe in search of elusive and transient steam columns that allow you to grow food and survive.





Evil Dead 2: The Boardgame from Jasco Games and Lynnvander Studios features an ugly face on a heartwarming story (as told here in August 2019) of how this game came to exist.





• Miniatures are a hallmark of releases from Petersen Games, so you will not be surprised to find them in Sandy Petersen's Hyperspace, an asymmetric 4X design that was Kickstarted in February 2019.

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Fri Apr 3, 2020 3:00 pm
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Game Previews from GAMA Expo 2020 IV: Ride the Rails, Targi: The Expansion, Sea of Legends, Piece of Pie, and Telestrations: Upside Drawn

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From gallery of W Eric Martin
The game overview videos from GAMA Expo 2020 just keep on coming — until I've published them all, of course, at which point they will stop. Unless you click on one, though, as then it will start. Anyway...

We have about fifty more videos to go until they're all live on our BGG Express YouTube channel, and I'm starting to get into crunch mode since multiple games lack BGG listings or cover images or both. I don't have an obvious theme or topic to tie this handful of games together, so I'm going with a non-obvious one. Any guesses?

Ride the Rails is the second title in Capstone Games' "Iron Rails" series, and Ian O'Toole kills it in the art and design category. The basics of the game are simple, with you taking ownership in railroad lines, and new lines entering play over the course of the game as you build across the United States.





Telestrations: Upside Drawn from Kane Klenko and The Op puts you in the unusual situation of trying to guess an image that you are drawing. That drawing is a mystery to you because all you're doing is holding the pen while your teammate moves the drawing surface, effectively drawing in reverse. Your role consists solely of lifting the pen from the board and putting it down again and sweating profusely because you can't imagine what the image might be.





• At first glance Piece of Pie from Trevor Benjamin, Brett J. Gilbert, and Blue Orange Games resembles the game Piece o' Cake from 2008, but the only real similarity is that when you slice these desserts, you cut them into triangular wedges instead of cutting out rectangular slices from the center so that you can push the outer parts together to keep them from drying out. Watch and see if you don't believe me.





Targi: The Expansion from Andreas Steiger and KOSMOS has been a long time coming in an English-language edition, so I'm not sure whether Tom Wetzel from Thames & Kosmos had to do anything more than throw the bits on the table and say, "Come and get it!", but instead he gave a straightforward presentation as if no one's been panting about this thing for years.





Sea of Legends from Ryan Schapals, Zach Weisman, Jordan Weisman, and Guildhall Studios seems like a vast design that we only got the smallest sampling of at GAMA Expo 2020, but hey, that's better than nothing. The goal of these convention videos is to give you, the potentially interested player, some sense of whether you want to subscribe to a BGG game page, download a rulebook to learn more, tell someone else about the game so that they'll back it on Kickstarter in order to give you a chance to play it, etc.

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Thu Apr 2, 2020 1:00 pm
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Game Previews from GAMA Expo 2020 II: Crazy Tower, Color It!, 5er Finden, Aqualin, and Flash 8

W. Eric Martin
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I've been posting more game overview videos from GAMA Expo 2020 on our BGG Express YouTube channel, with those videos popping up on their respective BGG game pages as well, but let me highlight a few of those titles in this space, specifically five titles that each play in twenty minutes or less. Why? Because when possible I find it more interesting to make a connection between all the titles I'm writing about, and we have a decent number of videos already published in our GAMA Expo 2020 playlist, so I can make it happen in this case.

• We already recorded an overview of Aqualin from Marcello Bertocchi and KOSMOS at Spielwarenmesse 2020, but at GAMA we have a three-camera set-up that lets us do an overhead shot, which seems like a better way to present this type of game.





• Similarly, we had shot an overview of Color It! from Lena and Günter Burkhardt and HABA in Nürnberg, but the set-up at that publisher's booth during Spielwarenmesse was not ideal, so I wanted a do-over — and since I'm the one who booked the livestream schedule, I made it happen.





Color It! is one of two roll-and-write games that HABA USA plans to release at Gen Con 2020, with the other being 5er Finden from Jürgen P. Grunau. Color It! is aimed at players as young as four, while 5er Finden is for (somewhat) older players, with everyone racing to spot patterns on their individual game board depending on what's rolled on the dice.





Crazy Tower has four credited designers — Alexis Harvey, Félix Leblanc, Manuel-Lucas Bergeron Duhamel, and Mathieu Auger — and is for up to four players. Coincidence?! (Yes, probably.)

I demoed the game on camera with Carl from Synapses Games, and I can imagine that the four-player game would become quite intense given how quickly our two-player demo ratcheted up the tension.





• After seeing this overview of Flash 8, Christian Lemay of publisher Scorpion Masque asked whether this was the shortest overview video we ever recorded. We have had shorter ones, but I think those were teaser vids that didn't cover the gameplay. Here we cover everything you need to know in just over two minutes, thanks partly to my habit of talking possibly too quickly when recording overview videos...

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Mon Mar 30, 2020 1:00 pm
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