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Gen Con 2019 Coverage Begins Again w/ Ticket to Ride: London

W. Eric Martin
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Two weeks after Gen Con 2019 opened, BoardGameGeek is re-launching its coverage of this show on our BGG Express YouTube channel with this overview of Ticket to Ride: London from designer Alan R. Moon.

Dozens more videos will be published on that channel in the coming weeks, with those videos also being posted on the individual game pages and in our SPIEL '19 Preview since many of them will serve as previews of titles that will be featured in Essen in two months.


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Fri Aug 16, 2019 3:20 am
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Steph's Photo Guide to Gen Con 2019!

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Gen Con 2019

A Photo Guide by Steph Hodge





At the BGG Booth

The booth grew in size, and our store was huge! So much to set up!


Re-branding unveiled!




Beth & I showing off our bedazzled shirts!


WEM is always so skeptical.




Stefan Feld makes an appearance!






The Games!!

Funkoverse Strategy Game


Boomerang


Ishtar: Gardens of Babylon


Sierra West


Letter Jam


Aeon's End: The New Age


Deranged


Wonderland's War


MegaCity: Oceania


PARKS


Abomination: The Heir of Frankenstein


Extraordinary Adventures: Pirates


Obscurio


Cloudspire


Mystery House: Adventures in a Box


Watergate


Die Hard: The Nakatomi Heist Board Game


Toy Story: Obstacles & Adventures


Harry Potter: Death Eaters Rising


Foodies


Atelier: The Painter's Studio


City of the Big Shoulders


Pappy Winchester


Kingdomino Duel


Colors of Paris


Everdell & Everdell: Pearlbrook


The Starfarers of Catan


Sleeping Gods


Into The Black Forest


Era: Medieval Age


Gone Fishing


Rune Stones


Nine Tiles Panic


Old West Empresario


Dragonscales


Nevada City


Dice Realms


Crown of Emara


Black Angel


Foothills


Lockup: A Roll Player Tale


Cartographers: A Roll Player Tale


Fuzzy Mage Fight


Hellboy: The Board Game


Dragon Boats of the Four Seas


Barrage


On Mars


Dwar7s Spring


ANIMALCATRAZ


Nouvelle-France


Welkin


Rail Pass


Zodiac Clash


Hats


Imaginarium


Anomaly


Mezo


Iron Forest


TEAM3 PINK


Pigasus


Quodd Heroes


Planet Unknown


Glen More II: Chronicles


Lovelace & Babbage


Genotype: A Mendelian Genetics Game


Incubation


Giant-sized Mental Blocks


Wayfinders


Big Trouble in Little China: The Game & Big Trouble in Little China: The Game – Legacy of Lo Pan


Narwhal Free for All


Sagrada: The Great Facades – Passion


The Maury Game: You Are Not the Father


Empyreal: Spells & Steam


Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle – Defence Against the Dark Arts


Tentacle Town


Honey Buzz


Roll for Adventure


Pictionary Air


Seeders from Sereis: Exodus


Destroyer of Words


Tattoo Stories


Little Town


The Sherlock Files: Elementary Entries


Hewns


The Artemis Project


Call to Adventure


Magnastorm & Fuji


Moon Base


Bosk


Trickerion: Collector's Edition


Really big Spirits of the Wild


Imperial Settlers: Roll & Write


Arkham Horror: Final Hour


Namiji


Terramara


Blockbuster


Conquest: the last argument of kings


Star Wars Fluxx







BGG Hot Games Room













Packing up...





Hodgepodge of Images







Wakanda Forever






The IELLO team excited about Ishtar being #1 on GeekBuzz








New Geek and Destroy Shirt!



And that's a wrap!



Thanks for joining me!
-Steph
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Wed Aug 14, 2019 4:28 pm
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At Gen Con 2019, CMON Limited Revamps Zombicide, Features Ankh: Gods of Egypt, and Looks Ahead to Cyberpunk 2077

W. Eric Martin
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I need to clone myself for major conventions because I'll learn something in passing or see a game announcement from a publisher — but I'm already committed to a publisher meeting or a game preview that absorbs the time that I would spend writing about all this new stuff, which means that I learn a lot during a convention like Gen Con, yet have little time to relay that material to you, gentle reader.

This is especially true for major announcements from publishers, as with CMON Limited's trio of announcements during Gen Con 2019, with the most exciting of these being the revelation of Eric M. Lang's Ankh: Gods of Egypt, which CMON describes as "the final installment of Eric M. Lang's strategic trilogy" following Blood Rage and Rising Sun. Here's a short description of the game, which is for 2-5 players and which will hit Kickstarter before the end of 2019:

Quote:
Play as a god of ancient Egypt, competing to survive as society begins to forget the old ways, so that only you and your followers remain.

Build caravans, summon monsters, and convert followers in your quest to reign supreme in Ankh: Gods of Egypt. Deities, monsters, and the people of ancient Egypt have been lovingly reimagined and interpreted in beautiful illustrations and detailed miniatures, and players will truly feel like gods as they shake the very foundations of Egypt. All gameplay in Ankh, including combat, is streamlined and non-random. Compete and win solely on your godly wits alone.
Given the nature of those other two titles and CMON's business model as a whole, you shouldn't be surprised to learn that Ankh: Gods of Egypt will feature miniatures aplenty, with Mike McVey directing the look of them. Here are samples displayed at Gen Con 2019:






Artist Adrian Smith, who worked with Lang and McVey on both Blood Rage and Rising Sun, is providing art for Ankh: Gods of Egypt:




• A second title announced by CMON Limited during Gen Con 2019 was Cyberpunk 2077: Afterlife: The Card Game, co-designed by Lang and Andrea Chiarvesio and produced in collaboration with CD PROJEKT RED, creator of the Cyberpunk 2077 video game. Here's an overview of the setting and gameplay:

Quote:
Cyberpunk 2077: Afterlife: The Card Game thrusts players into the dark alleyways of Night City where ruthless gangs clash with corporations in an endless war for money, power, and control.

In the game, you become fixers — databrokers and masterminds of Night City. Your job is to recruit cyberpunks, equip them with gear, and send them out on missions. Each successful mission raises your street cred, with mission survivors becoming veterans, imparting their knowledge and experience to newer recruits. In this chrome-infused world, street cred is the only currency that matters.

Nothing comes cheap in Night City. You need to balance between what you want and what you can actually afford. Using an innovative drafting mechanism and special dashboard, you must decide which cards you want to buy and which to sacrifice for funds in order to purchase new ones.
At Gen Con 2019, CMON labeled this title as a Q4 2077 release, but in fact it bears the far more reasonable release date of 2020.

• CMON also announced a 2020 Kickstarter campaign for Zombicide: 2nd Edition, with senior producer Thiago Aranha saying in a press release: "We've gone through every aspect of the game, from making doors easier to work, to updating how the car drives on the board, to reworking target priority for ranged attacks and adding in dark zones that will hide zombies from survivor's bullets, looking at where we could improve and make the Zombicide game experience all that it could be. We're very proud with how this new edition has turned out, and it'll provide all the thrill of Zombicide, yet challenge returning players in new ways."

While the original game had ten scenarios, this new edition features "25 different scenarios linked by a branching story". Updates will be available so that players can adapt their existing Zombicide material to the refined rules of this upcoming release.




• Finally, prior to Gen Con 2019, CMON announced a partnership with Italian company Xplored for a new gaming console called Teburu that will blend the physical and digital elements of gameplay.

The first title to be released on Teburu is Zombicide Evolution – Las Vegas, and at Gen Con 2019 CMON ran demos of this game for the press, VIGs, and others. The idea behind the game will be familiar to anyone who's played Zombicide: Explore your surroundings, collect weapons, complete missions, and (of course) destroy relentless hordes of zombies.

The Teburu system functions like a video game in that it manages all of the rules of the game, allowing you to jump into gameplay while knowing nothing. We placed our characters in the starting location on the game board, learned our mission, then started doing things — moving around, opening doors, interacting with NPCs, searching rooms, and so forth. If something wasn't allowed, the system told us so; if we goofed, perhaps ending our turn after taking only one action, we could undo our turn and try again. The system has a central game portal that relays information to all, while each player has their own phone (provided for the demo by CMON) that features their character. You can click around on your character to see their stats, check out what's in their inventory, switch weapons, trade weapons with others, etc.




When you want to move, you pick up your character and place it on a target in the room to which you're moving, with the device registering your presence in the room. (Each character has a magnet and embedded ID sensor.) When you roll dice to shoot or hack at zombies, the wireless dice relay the results of your roll to the game system. To search a room, you pick up your character, then place it back into the same room. At the end of a round after each player has taken their turn, the system tells you where new zombies enter the game board and where zombies already in play move. As you interact with NPCs, the game system plays out their role with video and audio accompaniment, as in a video game. Sometimes zombies burst into a room unexpectedly, with the system handling all of the random dice checks that you might otherwise be required to monitor and perform on your own.

I've never played Zombicide previously, but I jumped into the game and rolled through most of a scenario with others. The system was a little finicky at times, mostly with regard to the dice. Several times one player picked up the dice, shook them a little in his hand, then stopped to consider something or other, and the system would record the "result" of the roll because the dice were no longer moving — after which the player would undo the result, then actually roll the dice. For the most part, the Teburu system handled all of the details that I wouldn't want to do on my own, allowing me to focus on making plans with my fellow players. I didn't even pause to take a photo of anything, so clearly I was engaged!
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Mon Aug 12, 2019 12:07 am
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BGG's SPIEL '19 Preview Is Now Live!

W. Eric Martin
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Gen Con 2019 is over, so BGG's SPIEL '19 Preview is now live. I need to put away this laptop as my flight is leaving soon, so more updates later. Zoom!
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Mon Aug 5, 2019 12:52 pm
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BGG's Gen Con 2019 Hot Games Room — Here's What You'll Find

W. Eric Martin
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Gen Con 2019 is underway, and I have to run to appointments soon, but we've assembled a (partial) list of the games available for play in our Hot Games Room, so I wanted to share the list so that the HGR overseers Doris and Chad can point people to it, while also thanking publishers for their donations. If you'll be at BGG.CON in November 2019, then you'll find these titles in the BGG Library at that time:

AEG - Edge of Darkness, The Captain Is Dead: Dangerous Planet
Alley Cat Games - Welcome to DinoWorld, Cat Café
APE Games - Rice Dice
Bezier Games, Inc. - Silver
Big G Creative - Kenny G: Keepin' It Saxy, Carpool Karaoke Game, Trapper Keeper Game
Big Potato - Blockbuster, What Came First, Head Hackers
Blue Orange Games - Detective Club, Dragon Market, Pappy Winchester
Brain Games - TEAM3, Snowman Dice, Pigasus
Calliope Games - Tsuro: Phoenix Rising
Capstone Games - Ragusa, Watergate
Catalyst Game Labs - Shadowrun: Sprawl Ops
Chip Theory Games - Cloudspire
Cryptozoic Entertainment - Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards: ANNIHILAGEDDON! Deck-Building Game, DC Deck-Building Game: Rebirth




Daily Magic Games - Thieves Den, Chocolatiers
Days of Wonder - Ticket to Ride: London
Deep Water Games - Welcome to... expansions
dV Giochi - BANG! The Dice Game - Undead or Alive
Familiar Games - Mageling
Feuerland Spiele - Fuji, Magnastorm
Fireside Games - Castle Panic Big Box
Floodgate Games - Sagrada: The Great Facades – Passion, 3 Laws of Robotics
Forbidden Games - Extraordinary Adventures: Pirates
Fowers Games - Sabotage, Getaway Driver
Foxmind - Bermuda Pirates, Quick Link, The Potion's Magic Scroll
Funko Games - Funkoverse Strategy Game
Gamelyn Games - Tiny Epic Mechs
Gamewright - Dragonrealm, Sushi Roll, Whozit?
Goliath / Games Adults Play - (May Cause) Side Effects, The Misery Index
Good Games Publishing - Fluttering Souls, Fairy Season
Grail Games - Stephenson's Rocket




Grey Fox Games - Reavers of Midgard
HeidelBÄR Games - Wordsmith
Hit 'em With a Shoe - Bee Lives: We Will Only Know Summer
Hobby Japan - Master of Respect
Hobby World - Deranged
Horrible Games - The King's Dilemma
Hub Games - MegaCity: Oceania, Flip Over Frog
IELLO - Ishtar: Gardens of Babylon, SOS Dino, Farmini
Indie Boards & Cards - Aeon's End: The New Age
Junk Spirit Games - Battle of the Bards
Keymaster Games - Control, PARKS
Kolossal Games - Terrors of London expansions
KOSMOS - Adventure Games: Monochrome Inc., Adventure Games: The Dungeon
Lay Waste Games - Metal
Libellud - Obscurio, One Key
Lookout Games - Foothills, Patchwork Doodle
Looney Labs - Are You A Robot?, Jumanji Fluxx, Marvel Fluxx




Mantic Games - Hellboy: The Board Game
Mercury Games - Rail Pass
Mixlore - Pinnacle
Moaideas Games - Towers of Am'harb, Shadow Rivals
Mondo Games/Restoration Games - Unmatched: Battle of Legends, Volume One, Unmatched: Robin Hood vs. Bigfoot
Next Move Games - 5211, Era: Medieval Age
North Star Games - Wits & Wagers: It's Vegas Baby
Oink Games Inc. - Mr. Face, Tricks and the Phantom, Nine Tiles Panic
Osprey Games - Undaunted: Normandy
Pandasaurus Games - Machi Koro Legacy
Parallel Games - City of the Big Shoulders and the Burden of Destiny expansion
Peaceable Kingdom - Sky Magic
Pearl Games - Black Angel
Pegasus Spiele - Tricky Druids, Crown of Emara
Petersen Games - Glorantha: The Gods War, The Tooth Fairy Game
Plaid Hat Games - Abomination: The Heir of Frankenstein, Quirky Circuits
Plan B Games - Century: Golem Edition – Eastern Mountains
Portal Dragon - Planetoid
Portal Games - Imperial Settlers: Empires of the North, Monolith Arena: Academics




Ravensburger - Horrified, Jaws, Disney Villainous: Evil Comes Prepared
Renegade Game Studios - Clank! Expeditions: Temple of the Ape Lords, Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid – Shattered Grid, ArtSee
Rio Grande Games - Caravan
Sit Down! - Gravity Superstar, Bad Bones
Smirk and Dagger Games - Cutthroat Caverns: Anniversary Edition
Spin Master - Wakanda Forever, Sinister Six
Stronghold Games - Amul, Dizzle, Encore!, Diamonds (Second Edition)
Synapses Games - Incubation
Tasty Minstrel Games - Dilluvia Project, Old West Empresario
The OP - Die Hard: The Nakatomi Heist Board Game, Talisman: Batman – Super-Villains Edition, Astro Trash, Furry Foodies, Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle – Defence Against the Dark Arts




ThunderGryph Games - Hats, Rolling Ranch
Thunderworks Games - Lockup: A Roll Player Tale, Cartographers: A Roll Player Tale
University Games - Heist: One Team, One Mission, Rubik's Cage
Upper Deck Entertainment - Legendary: A James Bond Deck Building Game
Vigour Games - GROWL
Winning Moves Games USA - Precious Cargo
Wonderment Games - Quodd Heroes
Wyvern Gaming - Cthulhu: The Horror in Dunwich, Sojourn
Z-Man Games - Choose Your Own Adventure: War with the Evil Power Master, Love Letter (2019 edition)


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Thu Aug 1, 2019 4:38 pm
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Steph's Photo Guide to Origins 2019!

Steph Hodge
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Origins Game Fair 2019


A Photo Guide by Steph Hodge







BGG team plays some Jaws



At the BGG booth!



[Editor's note: We corrected the name to "Le Havre" before Origins opened. —WEM]




























[center]Gem Hens


Era: Medieval Age



Roll Player: Fiends & Familiars


Medium


Claim


Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Board Game


The Crusoe Crew





Hot Games at Origins!

Pipeline



Caravan


Heroes of Land, Air & Sea


Sorcerer


Bunny Kingdom: In the Sky


Dragon's Interest


Lanterns Dice: Lights in the Sky


Planet


BIOS: Origins


Pandemic: Rapid Response


Astro Trash


Subtext & Second Chance


Egizia: Shifting Sands



Die Macher


Valparaíso


New Frontiers


Beta Colony


Underwater Cities


Fireball Island: The Curse of Vul-Kar


Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle – Defence Against the Dark Arts


High Rise


The Isle of Cats


Arraial


Duelosaur Island


Calico


PARKS


Sovereign Skies


Claim


Shikoku


The Artemis Project


Endeavor: Age of Expansion


Space Explorers


Detective: City of Angels


Roll for Adventure


Drop It


Tuki


Abomination: The Heir of Frankenstein


Quirky Circuits


Periodic: A Game of The Elements


Skull Tales: Full Sail!


Sherlock Express


Court of the Dead: Mourners Call


Masters of Renaissance: Lorenzo Il Magnifico – The Card Game


Barrage


Mystery House: Adventures in a Box


Cartographers: A Roll Player Tale


Roll Player


Die Hard: The Nakatomi Heist Board Game


Hadara


Escape Plan


Tricky Tides


Ishtar: Gardens of Babylon


Little Town


SOS Dino



Zombie Kidz Evolution


Farmini


The Refuge: Terror from the Deep


Slide Quest



Dawnshade



Letter Jam


Gem Hens


Run Fight or Die: Reloaded



Feelinks


Inuit: The Snow Folk & Dust in the Wings


The Alwaysgreen Garden


City of the Big Shoulders


Overlords of Infamy


Bite Your Tongue


Volcanic Isle


Game of Thrones: Oathbreaker


Kanagawa & Kanagawa: Yokai


The Grimm Masquerade


RUMBLESLAM


Epic Monster Tea Party


Altar Quest


Maniacal


Q.E.


Cubeez


Coma Ward


Get Off My Land!


Endangered


Miaui


Inoka


Fire Tower


Carroll County Cake Swap


Meeple Realty Inserts!











Other sightings at Origins

Merchant of Venus


The Taverns of Tiefenthal


King of Tokyo










Thomas didn't want to smile for me. Always a tough one.


















Painting sessions










Gate Keeper Games









Thanks for joining me!
-Steph
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Thu Jun 20, 2019 1:00 pm
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Game Preview from Origins 2019: Roll and Write Your Way Through Copenhagen

W. Eric Martin
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The original
Another day at Origins Game Fair 2019, another preview of a Gen Con 2019 release SPIEL '19 release that will be demoed at Gen Con 2019, with the game in question being Copenhagen: Roll and Write from Asger Harding Granerud, Daniel Skjold Pedersen, and Queen Games, the trio responsible for the Copenhagen board game released earlier in 2019. (The images shown below aren't final, and the name of this game might differ upon publication, but the description below should match the gameplay you'll find in the box.)

Copenhagen: Roll and Write features gameplay similar to Copenhagen, but with players now finishing the façade of their individual building through colors shown on rolled dice, not through drafted and played cards.

In the game, each player has a paper scoresheet that shows a building and five colored lines of boxes. A sheet in the center of the playing area shows various polyomino tiles in those same five colors, with tiles of two and three spaces on one side of a central divider and tiles of four and five spaces on the other side. The game includes five six-sided dice that feature the above mentioned five colors on five of their sides as well as a sixth color that serves as a joker. Each player starts with two red stars on their scoresheet; you can spend one or more of these stars on your turn to re-roll as many dice as you wish.

On a turn, you roll the five dice. If you have re-rolls in reserve, you can use them if you wish. You then choose a group of dice in a single color, then you see the shape of the polyomino that corresponds to this choice, then you draw that polyomino on the façade of the building, with the polyomino needing to "rest" on the bottom of the building area. One space in this polyomino is brick (represented by an "X") while the other spaces are all windows (represented by an "O"). If you created a polyomino of four or five spaces, you cross it off the central sheet of paper as each tile shown on the right side of the sheet can be used only once.


After the first few turns (components are non-final)


Each other player then gets to choose one of the dice that you didn't use to claim that polyomino, then fill in the leftmost empty box of that color on their scoresheet. (In a two-player game, the non-active player chooses two unused dice, assuming that at least two dice weren't used.) These boxes might have a symbol underneath them. If the box has a + under it, then this player can cross off the + on a future turn to add one "phantom" die showing this color to whatever they rolled that round, e.g., if you cross off a blue +, you effectively rolled three blue dice that turn instead of two. If a box has a star under it, then you can cross out that star on a future turn to use the power of that color:

• Red lets you reroll as many dice as you want.
• Blue lets you change one brick space to a window space when you're drawing something into your façade.
• Purple lets you draw one brick space in an empty space of your choice (as long as this space isn't floating in air).
• Green lets you change all dice of one color to another color of your choice.
• Yellow lets you use a polyomino shape that was crossed out on a previous turn.

You can use as many stars as you wish on your turn, say using a red star to re-roll dice to get three blue, one yellow, and one joker, then using a green star to turn all the blue dice yellow, then using a yellow star to let you re-use the yellow five-space polyomino that had been crossed out earlier.

When you fill in a horizontal row in the façade of your building, you score 2 points if all the spaces are filled with windows and 1 point if at least one space holds brick; when you fill in a vertical column, you score 4 points and 2 points under the same conditions (all windows vs. at least one brick). When you fill in predesignated rows and columns, you receive an immediate bonus — either drawing one window in an empty space or crossing off two boxes in one or two color lines on your scoresheet. If you cross out the final space in a color line, you score 2 points.

Gameplay continues until someone has scored 12 or more points. Complete the round so that each player has had the same number of turns, then whoever has the most points wins!


Final holdings in a four-player game, losing to someone who scored 15 points


I played Copenhagen: Roll and Write twice, once with two players and once with four. With more players in the game, more polyominoes get crossed out by opponents, so yellow stars would seem more important, and I pushed for them when choosing what to X off on an opponent's turn — but then I never had a chance to yellow star something as the dice didn't turn up as I wished they did, despite me re-rolling three times. Boo.

The game feels super-combo-y, with you trying to set up the bricks just so, then kick everything off at once by dropping in a polyomino that completes a line or two, ideally giving you one of the bonus "cross off" actions at the same time so that you can complete another line and race to the 12-point threshold before someone else can do so. Things don't always come together for you, but this can be as much a result of incompetent special power usage as unlucky die rolls.

Queen Games is still working on the final graphics and components of this design, so don't expect it to appear exactly this upon publication.
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Sat Jun 15, 2019 1:00 pm
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Game Previews from Origins 2019: Ishtar and Caravan, or Stationary Camels in a Shifting Desert

W. Eric Martin
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Thanks to a larger BGG staff presence at Origins Game Fair 2019, I've been able to get out of the booth more than I usually do at such events in order to talk with publishers about future releases. Sometimes I've even played a game!

Given my discovery of this possibility at a game convention, here are short takes on two games being previewed at Origins 2019 that will be released in the next two months: Ishtar from Bruno Cathala, Evan Singh, and IELLO, and Caravan from Joe Huber and Rio Grande Games.

•••


I played only a half-dozen turns of Ishtar due to time restrictions, so at this point I can cover only the gross mechanisms of the game without anything in the way of how it feels.

On a board of 4-6 hexagons for a game with 2-4 players, you are trying to transform a gem-filled desert into the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Each hexagon has a fountain on it, with some spaces on that hexagon being sacred and off limits. On a turn, you take the next landscape tile on the tile display — shown in the upper left of the image below, with tiles coming in one of three shapes —or you pay a gem to take any tile that you want, then you place that tile next to a fountain or next to an existing tile. If you cover any gems with this tile, you collect them and place them on your personal game board.

Tiles have a combination of grass and garden spaces, and they sometimes bear an icon that allows you to place an assistant on a garden space (with each player starting with two assistants) or use collected gems to activate a space on your personal board. The first row of spaces on your board all have one-shot actions, such as placing a two-space flower tile over grass tiles in order to enlarge or reserving a tile for future use; the second row of spaces has scoring bonuses that will take place for you at the end of the game if you activate them — but you have to activate the space ahead of the scoring bonus in the first row before you can activate the scoring bonus.

You use assistants to claim garden areas for yourself that will score points for you at the end of a game. You want to enlarge the gardens, but along the lines of Through the Desert, you can't place a tile that would combine two gardens that each bear an assistant into a single garden. Thus, you need to ensure that you have room to grow, but of course if you enlarge a garden too much before claiming it, someone else might grab it out from under you.

Aside from activating spaces on your board, collected gems can be used to acquire tree cards that earn points at game's end. You then place a tree on the board next to a garden, with trees adjacent to gardens being another way to earn points as long as you've activated that bonus scoring space. Alternatively, you might activate the space to score points for gems still on hand at game's end, which would mean you don't want to spend them for trees.

The game ends when a certain number of stacks of tiles have been placed, with players scoring the garden of each placed assistant as well as any bonus point spaces they've activated.




•••


As Huber suggests in his designer diary for Caravan, the design feels like a member of the "German games in the mid-1990s when the focus was on simple rules with depth of play". I've played only once, so I can't vouch for the "depth of play", but Caravan strikes me as being akin to a classic Leo Colovini game as the rules are so short as to be almost non-existent and the players interact in a relatively tiny shared space, with each player's actions affecting what everyone else can do.

To set up the game on the 7x7 board, place one goods cube in eight specified locations. Players take up to four actions on their turn (after the first three turns in which players take one, two, then three actions), with actions being to place or move one of your camels without a goods cube in an empty space, pick up a goods cube in your place, pass a goods cube along an orthogonal chain of your camels, steal a good from a camel in the same space as one of yours, or place or move one of your camels without a goods cube in a space that contains one or more camels, with this latter action costing two actions instead of one. Simple, simple, simple.


Gamer Shawn and Rio Grande Games production manager Ken Hill


As soon as you move a goods cube to the destination space matching its color, you remove it from the board and place it on your player board. Cubes going to the edges of the board are worth 6 points, while the other cubes are worth 3 points. Goods in the far corners start with a demand token, and when you collect a good, you collect any tokens in the same space as that good. When only four goods remain on the board (regardless of how many goods rest on the backs of camels), you pause the game, place a demand token on the spaces where goods remain, then refill the empty numbered spaces.

As soon as the last goods have been placed on the board, the next delivered cube signals the end of gameplay, and whoever has scored the most points wins.

We played the beginner game in which each player has six camels and not all of the goods are used. Even so, I managed to strand one of my camels in the upper-right of the game board (as shown in the image above), as I placed it there to pick up three demand tokens along with the white cube, but I had neglected to think through Ken's explanation of the game. Nowhere in his presentation had he mentioned that you could dump a cube, yet somehow I had assumed that I could do that. Not so. Once a camel picks up a cube, that cube remains in place until you move it along a chain of your camels until it stops on another camel or is delivered to the target space. I had unwittingly started playing the game on hard mode...




Eventually I cleared out all the cubes in the southeast portion of the board, then moved north to rescue my unfortunate ungulate. Caravan is an odd take on the pick-up-and-deliver genre in that the camels can't move once they pick something up. You need to build camel chains, move goods, shift links in that chain, and disrupt other players' chains as best as you can.

We didn't mess with one another too much, possibly because Shawn and I were playing for the first time and just trying to figure out how to make goods go. When you steal a good, you place the good underneath the camel's legs, and that good can't be stolen away from you until you move it. What's more, when you steal a good, you have to give that player a theft marker, with everyone starting with one such marker. No theft marker = no theft by you. I can imagine theft playing a larger role once you gain more experience in the game and are thinking of how each camel can serve several roles at once, but as mentioned before, you can't move a camel with a good on it, so don't steal unless you have a plan to get rid of the goods.

In the end, I beat Shawn by one point, with Ken being only two points behind Shawn. I had concentrated on demand tokens far more than the other two players, and those twelve tokens made up for my relative lack of goods cubes. Looking forward to trying Caravan again, especially with four players, and Ishtar also seems to have a similar minimalist appeal, with players fighting in that shared space to grab good gardens and elbow others out of the way.


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Fri Jun 14, 2019 1:00 pm
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Tokyo Game Market 2019 Spring: Report from Table Games in the World

Saigo
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Editor's note: Game Market took place in Tokyo on May 25-26, 2019, and Saigo — who translates game rules between Japanese and English and who tweets about new JP games — has translated reports about this event (day one and day two) that were 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 2019 Spring, Japan's largest tabletop game event, was held on May 25, when the temperature rose above 30°C for the first time this year.





Tokyo Big Sight, which was used as the venue up to the last Tokyo Game Market, is currently under construction to be used as the International Broadcasting Center and Main Press Center for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. Under the circumstances, the Tokyo Game Market took place for the first time at the Tokyo Big Sight Aumi temporary exhibition halls. Comprised of two halls, the building has the total capacity of 23,240m², which is approximately double the size of the venue used for Tokyo Game Market 2018 Autumn. In addition to being large, the air conditioning was sufficient to keep the venue fairly cool.




There was a line of approximately four thousand people waiting before the opening (according to Rael-san's report). An area for the visitors to wait in line before the opening was provided at the corner of the hall, but the queue still extended to outside. Tokyo Game Market 2018 Autumn had an attendance of 22,000 over two days, but this Game Market had even more attendance. Tabletop gamers formed an orderly queue to buy the items they were eyeing.


Standard booths


After the opening at 10:00 a.m., the crowds spread into the two halls. Still, with the wide aisles, the standard booth area did not feel confined. On the other hand, there were long queues of people for a long time in front of some block booths, such as those of BakaFire Party (of Sakura Arms), MAGI (of Magical Patisserie) and Domina Games (of Blade Rondo).




The area provided for the visitors to wait in line was later used as a food court with kitchen cars. Since there are not many eateries near the Aumi exhibition hall, people lined up and the dishes from the kitchen cars became sold out one after another. Some people who did not have much time to spare brought snacks they had bought elsewhere such as at a convenience store.

At this Game Market, talk shows, tournaments and many other mini-events were organized. There were so many of them that I almost missed the time to check the new games.




At the Sugorokuya booth, to celebrate the board game manga Houkago Saikoro Club (Afterschool Dice Club) being made into an anime, its author Hiroo Nakamichi had a talk show with some voice actors, who would voice the main characters in the anime, namely Marika Kouno (who would voice the character Aya), Saki Miyashita (Miki), and Miyu Tomita (Midori).

After showing the program's teaser for the first time, they talked about their recommended board games and the appeal of board games. Miyashita from Nara Prefecture and Tomita from Saitama Prefecture both mentioned the difficulty in expressing the nuances of the Kyoto dialect used by their characters. It has been announced that the board game store manager, another main character, will be voiced by Takaya Kuroda.





At the Arclight booth, they announced the production of a new series of board games: KAIJU ON THE EARTH. In this project, multiple game designers will design middle- to heavyweight board games all themed on Kaiju, a globally popular content that had originated from Japan. These games will be produced with an eye on both domestic and international markets.

According to the plan, the first game, designed by Masato Uesugi (of I Was Game) will be released this autumn. This will be followed by the release of the second game by Yuji Kaneko (of Kaboheru) in the spring of 2020 and the third game by Hisashi Hayashi (of OKAZU Brand) in the autumn of 2020. Many notable people will be involved in the production, such as Drosselmeyer & Co. Ltd. in charge of the general direction, Koji Nakakita on the Kaiju design, Yuji Sekita on the image visual, Eiko Usami on the graphic design, and Giant Hobby on the figure modeling.




At Training Game Lab, Mahito Mukai (of Puninokai), a Zen temple deputy chief priest, who has also designed a number of temple-themed board games, delivered a "board game sermon". By referring to the Four Dharma Seals, which form the foundation ideology of Buddhism, he preached the "board game training" to respect both the games and the people with whom you play.




At the DELiGHT WORKS booth, Seiji Kanai talked about his game The Last Brave along with its newly released three-card expansion.




At the Jelly Jelly Cafe booth, the podcast "Horabodo!" hosted a public recording event. In this talk show, the game designers, who had their doujin games published for general distribution from Jelly Jelly Cafe, talked on the stage on the topic "a step from self-produced games to general distribution". These talks can later be heard on the podcast.

While I think that the style to personally produce and sell some copies not only puts a lot of burdens on the individuals but also runs the risk of delivering underdeveloped games to the users, there is also the merit of creating diverse games with fresh ideas. Meanwhile, there is a growing trend whereby printing offices and board game cafés support such creative activities to produce works that could be played widely around the world.




At the joint booth of Ten Days Games and Mobius Games, the two hosts of the podcast "Board Game Oppai" organized a mini-event they called "Real Life Unusual Suspects", whereby they invited six people from the audience as "suspects" and narrowed down the "suspect" to one of them though interrogations. The changing expressions of the participants, compared to the illustrated faces in the original game, provided a different kind of fun, and the audience had good laughs at the hosts' witty talks.

•••


On May 25 and 26, Tokyo Game Market 2019 Spring was held at Tokyo Big Sight Aumi Exhibition Hall. The number of new board games from Japan released at this event amounts to 525 titles (provisional count as of this date). This figure is higher that of Tokyo Game Market 2018 Spring by 80%, and with this figure, the potential nominees for this year's Game Market Award (selected from those released at Tokyo Game Market 2018 Autumn, Osaka Game Market 2019 and Tokyo Game Market 2019 Spring) has reached 1,250 titles, the first time this total has exceeded 1,000 titles. If you add to this figure the new games from overseas, TRPG, TCG, and SLG, the number of new games amounts to more than the 1,400 titles released at SPIEL '18.

Meanwhile, many of these newly-released games are so-called doujin games, which are produced with one hundred copies or so by individuals and their friends and sold on the tables each covering the footprint of less than 1m². Some of them are produced with fewer than ten copies, and many of them can be bought only at the Game Market. Since they are released without being developed by publishers, they may be unrefined, but they can fascinate you by directly putting into practice the fresh ideas of the people who produced them.

I have noticed quite a few overseas publishers regularly visiting the show in search of interesting games. To them, the Game Market may seem like a treasure trove of new ideas. There is the Japon Brand project to recruit applicants and sell their games at a collectively-established booth at SPIEL, but some overseas publishers wish to seek even more and thus visit the Game Market. Many doujin games have been picked up and released in such a way by overseas publishers, with some of them being imported "back" to Japan. In this report, I would like to introduce some of these 525 titles that received attention.




Across the United States (from OKAZU Brand) is a railway game set in the 19th century USA. The players extend the railway lines, connect routes, transport commodities, and collect stocks and gold bullion to gain wealth and become millionaires. The playing time is 60 minutes. The station types vary from game to game according to the tile placement.




Traders (from 4tousei) is an engine-building game to move around on action spaces and efficiently trade copper and silver. You can acquire powerful cards on the way, but you have to circle the "rondel" before you can have the cards you have played return to your hand. As you raise your parameters, such as your contributions to the Queen, King and Bishop and your technical strength, you can take more actions and develop strategies. The playing time is 40 to 60 minutes.




HYAKKATEN (from NSG Create) is a game of inviting tenants on each floor of a department store and entice customers shop a lot. The playing time is 60 to 90 minutes.




"Shobai" All Right (from OKAZU Brand) is a resource management game to expand your stores and business in the fictitious commercial city of Zoosaka. Trade the cards from your hand to gain more powerful allies, produce and deliver items to your clients to meet their requests, and gain power by making offerings to the emperor, with the overall objective of competing for fame. This is a middleweight game with the playing time of 30 to 45 minutes.




Epic of Hegemonia (from Studium Mundi) is an area majority game to lead five unique tribes in order to collect resources and build strongholds. Each tribe has their characteristics, such as the all-round Human, powerful but few Dragon, and Slime that grows stronger when they are combined with each other. Try to make use of such characteristics to your advantage. This is a middleweight game with the playing time of 30 to 45 minutes.




Mitsuhama (from Tarte Games) is an auction game set in the port town of Mitsuhama in Ehime Prefecture. The players, as fish wholesalers, bid on fresh fish, including the Sea Perch, Filefish, Swordfish and Sea Bream, at the fish market and supply them to local restaurants. While the fish catches are determined by dice rolls, there are limitations to the amount that can be auctioned, and you need to have a warehouse keeper to buy the fish. The playing time is 30 to 40 minutes.




Moon Base (from itten) is a two-player abstract game to place ring modules on moon craters and thereupon build the moon base. Some craters overlap on each other, and this naturally leads to a competitive game play whereby the players try to stack the rings in a way that their colors will gain the upper hand.




In Front of the Elevators (from Saashi & Saashi) is a card game in which you compete to get more of the family members of your color in the front of the elevator line at the department store so that they can get onto the next elevator. Using the "Cut In Line" and "Lost Child" abilities along with the café rule whereby three friends meeting each other all head to the café, help your family members somehow squeeze into the elevator.




Dungeon Market (from spiel.jp) is a card game of flipping cards from the deck to venture into the dungeon, then sell the arms and protectors you have discovered to other players by offering the prices. Since the items to collect vary between the players, you may take advantage of other players when offering the prices.




Photome's (from Dear Spiele and Bodogeema) won the grand prize in Board Game Grand Prix, a contest to design board games themed on housing. It is a co-operative game whereby the players each place 3D building tiles while making sure that the animals specified on the topic card remain visible from the current player's view and the mole is concealed from the views of all the players.




Zimbabweee Trick (from Kentaiki) is a trick-taking game in which bills of increasing denominations are formed like what once happened to Zimbabwean dollars in the time of hyperinflation. The number of figures increase as the cards played are placed on top of one another, eventually forming bills with 12-digit numbers, which amount to hundreds of billions of dollars.




Nine Tiles Panic (from Oink Games) is a sequel to Nine Tiles and was again designed by Jean-Claude Pellin (from Luxembourg) and Jens Merkl (from Germany). According to the criteria specified on the revealed scoring cards, race to flip and arrange your set of nine double-side tiles so as to form a 3×3 town visited by hamburger-loving aliens.




Bungaku Game Zenshu (meaning "the collections of games based on classical literature") is a series of tabletop games themed on classical literature. A total of fifteen titles was released at this Game Market. Among them, Hashiru Melos Tachi (meaning "Running Meloses"), a road race trick-taking game designed by Kazunari Yonemitsu and themed on the short story "Run, Melos!" written by Osamu Dazai, received much attention. In addition to the games themed on Japanese literary works, there are also games themed on the works by great writers of overseas, such as Victor Hugo and William Shakespeare.




UNKO! (from IndiesCrown) is a card game to supply the appropriate amount of food to the customers in order to help them discharge the perfect poop. Try to guess from the face-down cards the appropriate amount of food to supply. Be careful not to supply too much food and upset the customer's stomach.




Omokaji Ippai! (meaning "Steer household chores!") (from Karakuri Cube) is a light card game, with the playing time of 10 minutes or so, to pass troublesome household chores on to other players.




Nai Hazu no Kioku (meaning "memoirs of non-existing events") (from Daienjo Seisaku Iinkai) is a game in which you draw topic cards and, according to them, create new episodes about a deceased person who is known to all the players. Then compare the episodes and choose which one of them sounds most befitting to the deceased person. The players can reminisce in the good memories of the deceased. There is also the expansion pack Moshimo Watashi ga Shinda Nara (meaning "If I die").




Our Records (from Surume Days) is a game in which you write your memorial event on a piece of paper and put it in a capsule toy vending machine, which was located in front of the Surume Days booth at the Game Market. In return, you get to use the vending machine and draw a capsule toy containing a piece of paper from another player. Then the players were instructed to tweet on June 1 about what was written on the piece of paper they received. Its author Nilgiri will hold the special exhibition IS THIS A GAME? Vol.2 in December 2019.




Mitsudan (meaning "confidential talk") (from Under Heart Look Look) is a game to plot how to approach the girl you like by arranging cards and trying to guess the cards plotted by other players along with the order they were plotted. This game was first released at Osaka Game Market 2019.




Small Light released the Japanese edition of New Tactical Games with Dice and Cards written by Reiner Knizia. This book was originally published in German in 1990, and the publication of its Japanese edition has followed that of Dice Games Properly Explained, another book written by Reiner Knizia.




In addition to the games, I also encountered many accessories at the venue. The accessory studio Colon, Yuran released "meeples floating in the sea", following the "meeples drifting in the sky" and "meeples lying in the field", which they released last autumn.




Majo no Jikkenshitsu sold meeple accessories made with resin containing garden flowers. The production of these accessories takes substantial time and trouble, so it is uncertain if they might be available again.

The Game Market Management Office will soon start the questionnaire survey on the newly-released games, and the results will be updated in real time. The winners of the Game Market Award will be announced at Tokyo Game Market 2019 Autumn, which will be held on November 23 and 24. In the selection process, the nominees will also be announced. I hope that this will provide a good opportunity for many people to encounter some board games they like.

•••

Postscript: Tokyo Game Market 2019 Spring: Attendance of 25,000 (original article)

The Game Market Management Office has announced that a total of 25,000 people attended Tokyo Game Market 2019 Spring, which was held on May 25 (Sat) and 26 (Sun) at Tokyo Big Sight Aumi Exhibition Hall. It was 14% higher than the attendance of 22,000 at Tokyo Game Market 2018 Autumn.

On the first day, 641 groups participated, with an estimated 4,000 people lined up before the opening, and the attendance was 14,000. On the second day, the number of participants was fewer, namely 536 groups and the number of people queueing before the opening declined by half to 1,900 people (according to Rael-san's report), but the overall attendance was 11,000.

Since Tokyo Game Market was first expanded to a two-day event starting with Tokyo Game Market 2017 Autumn, the attendance has steadily increased by approximately 10% from 18,500 to 20,000 to 22,000 to 25,000. If the attendance will keep increasing at this pace, it is expected to exceed 30,000 at the Tokyo Game Market that will be held after the next one.

The Game Market Management Office is carrying out an online questionnaire survey on the show. The questionnaire survey on newly-released games is also scheduled to start soon. Among the upcoming events, Tokyo Game Market 2019 Autumn on November 23 and 24, Tokyo Game Market 2020 Spring on April 25 and 26, and Tokyo Game Market 2020 Autumn on November 14 and 15 will all be held on Saturdays and Sundays at Tokyo Big Sight Aumi Exhibition Hall. Osaka Game Market 2020 is scheduled to be held on March 8 (Sun) at Intex Osaka. The call for participants will start later.
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Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:00 pm
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GAMA Trade Show 2019 Overview Videos: Pipeline, Sorcerer, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-earth, and Dozens More

W. Eric Martin
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Today I've been focusing on publishing game overview videos that we recorded during our GAMA Trade Show 2019 livestream.

We recorded continually for 2.5 days, and now we've chopped those streams into bite-sized pieces focusing on specific titles or groups of related games from a publisher. I published forty(!) new overview videos today on our BGG Express YouTube channel, and while I could include all forty clips below, I'll instead highlight only a handful of them, focusing on larger titles that will be released in mid-2019. GTS serves as a preview showcase for such games, putting them in front of retailer eyes since those individuals will be placing orders for them in the near future.

Here's some of what they (and we) saw:



























We now have more than seventy videos in our GTS 2019 playlist, with more than forty videos still to be published. I aim to get all of those out by the end of March 2019, the earliest that we will ever have published all the videos from GAMA Trade Show, FIJ in Cannes, and Spielwarenmesse in Nürnberg. Splitting all of the convention coverage videos into their own BGG Express channel has proven to be a great way to consolidate that material and get it live on both YouTube and BGG faster, so kudos to Scott and Lincoln for making it happen!
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Tue Mar 26, 2019 7:38 pm
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