BoardGameGeek News

To submit news, a designer diary, outrageous rumors, or other material, contact us at news@boardgamegeek.com.

Archive for Convention Reports

1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5  Next »  [62]

Recommend
182 
 Thumb up
72.06
 tip
 Hide

Tokyo Game Market 2021 Autumn: Report from Table Games in the World

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Editor's note: Game Market took place in Tokyo on November 20-21, 2021, 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

On a fairly warm autumnal day for late November with the temperature reaching as high as 19º Celsius, Tokyo Game Market 2021 Autumn took place at Tokyo Big Sight West Exhibition Halls 1 and 2.

Previously, Game Market 2021 Spring was held when the COVID-19 pre-emergency measures issued by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government were in force, resulting in limited attendance of 12,500 in two days. However, due to the drastic drop in COVID-19 in Japan cases since September, the government has lifted its emergency measure restricting the attendance to events. The 1,500 early entry tickets for the show sold out and the Game Market catalog supplied with an admission ticket also sold well. I wonder if the announced target audience of 20,000 over two days will be reached.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

This photo shows the waiting line of 1500 people who had managed to buy early entry tickets. They started lining up at around 7:00 a.m. for the few and limited sales, and waited for the doors to open at 11:00 a.m.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Early entry tickets are sold for many events to avoid crowding during the COVID-19 crisis. It was first introduced to Game Market at Tokyo Game Market 2021 Spring. By limiting the early entrance, Game Market Management Office hopes to have the visitors enjoy the show at ease without lining up so early in the morning.

Finally, the doors opened at 11:00. With the customary announcement and applause, the enthusiasts who had been waiting for this moment dispersed into the venue. By the way, there were about five groups with children among these 1,500 people. Even after that, I saw some couples, but hardly any visitors with children.

It took 25 minutes for the 1,500 people to get in because they had to enter in a line with ample space between each of them. General admission (of about 300 people at 12:00) also started at 12:00, so the early entrants who were last in line only had an advantage of approximately 30 minutes.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

By the way, the opening time had been moved one hour later to 11:00 for the latest Game Market in order to provide time for setting up block booths. Although it is possible to enter the venue for preparation from midnight on the day of the event, the organizer had announced to move the opening time one hour later because some people had difficulties in preparation even with ten hours. At SPIEL, the venue setup starts two days before the event, but doing that at Game Market will raise its exhibit fees even higher.

On the other hand, the closing time is still 5:00 p.m., in consideration of the exhibitors from rural areas. It results in a shorter time for visitors, who are thus forced to rush to look around the large venue.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Block booths in West Hall 1: Oink Games, GP Games

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Block booths in West Hall 2: Engames×Korokorodou, Sugorokuya

Although it does not look very crowded in this photo, people were queuing all over the venue. GP Games had a "1,000-yen lottery wheel" in which you might win CATAN: 3D Edition as the special prize. With even the lowest prize being a game worth 2,000 yen, the lottery was so popular that it finished quickly before noon despite limiting the challenges to two challenges per person.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
GP Games' 1,000-yen lottery wheel

Gamestore Banesto brought new games from SPIEL '21 in October, including Boonlake and Free Ride. Only fifty or so copies of each title were available. These games were also very popular, and the line of people queuing to buy them extended almost to the wall. The game recommended by Banesto was a Taiwanese trick-taking game
Macaron, which can also be played solo.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Mr. Nakano of Gamestore Banesto managed to bring new titles from SPIEL in time

Meanwhile, instead of the block booth area with wide aisles, there was more congestion at the standard booth area. The crowds in front of the booths obstructed the views of items on display, and it was hard even to get through them. With bags full of games bumping one another and the smell of sweat, it felt as if the Game Market of pre-COVID-19 days was back.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Good old crowding at standard booths

Hot topics at the venue also included the release of the Japanese editions of Factoria and Fast Sloths by Sunnybird, a board game café from Nagasaki Prefecture. The games made it to the Game Market in time prior to the general release in early December 2021.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Taira, the café manager of Sunnybird, is also known for his board game podcast "Oshaberi Sunnybird"

One of the new efforts at the latest Game Market was the buying of used board games at the venue by the Book-Off chain of second-hand stores. They had announced a list of 1,500 titles that they would buy and bought them on the spot based on the inspected conditions. I heard that approximately 150 people had made an advanced booking to sell their used games there. Book-Off hopes to spread board games to their chain of stores throughout Japan in order to support the distribution of board games alongside that of new book titles.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Used board games purchased by the well-known chain Book-Off

A group of nine companies set up a joint block booth specializing in murder mystery and sold a total of 70 titles, including consigned games. Along with other doujin (indie) works, it is estimated that more than 100 murder mystery titles were released at the latest Game Market.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Mr. Kawaguchi of DEAR SPIELE hosting the murder mystery booth

BakaFire Party had an old European-style room in their booth to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the release of Tragedy Looper. They have released a new expansion set.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Celebrating the tenth anniversary of Tragedy Looper in an old European-style room

At standard booths, game designers described and sold their games directly. It was nice to hear detailed descriptions of the games as the demo tables to try them out were missing at the standard booths in the current situation.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Asozan-Daifunka with his debut game Box no Kanji

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Toryo Hojo once again released a game themed on a recent scandal in time

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Seiji Kanai released a new title in collaboration with Manifest Destiny

From gallery of W Eric Martin
OKAZU Brand's Hisashi Hayashi released a reprint of Yokohama with some tweaks


•••


This is my report on the second day of Game Market 2021 Autumn, which took place at Tokyo Big Sight on November 20 and 21. Since Tokyo Game Market had been changed to a two-day event, it has struggled with attendance on the second day, but the attendance on the second day at the latest Game Market seems to have sufficiently recovered along with that on Saturday. According to the announcement by Game Market Management Office, the attendance was 10,000 on the first day and 8,000 on the second day, adding up to 18,000.

Without any early entry tickets for the second day, there was a line of approximately 1,000 people waiting before the opening. On the previous day, the formalities to let the visitors into the venue took a long time at the entrance of Big Sight, resulting in the waiting line stretching all the way to Rinkai Line's International Exhibition Center Station, but the entry was handled smoothly today. The waiting line to enter the Game Market venue was changed from previous day's one line to four lines, and this helped letting the visitors in much faster.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Waiting line at the opening time on the second day

Although standard booths were relatively fewer on the second day, many exhibitors had their stock kept for the second day, and the venue was crowded like that on the first day. As for the block booths, while it had been quite deserted at TGM 2020 Autumn last year as if the size of the area was a disadvantage, there were many people everywhere in the halls this year.

At many booths, copies of their games were in short supply from the start on the second day, and even the ones that had been kept for the second-day visitors were sold out soon. I heard many people say that the items they had planned to buy were sold out. The games that sold out at the venue included not only the doujin indie games that were available only at Game Market, but also the games available for general distribution, such as those sold by Sugorokuya, engames and Sunnybird. It has been two years since Tokyo Game Market 2019 Autumn, which was the last Game Market in the pre-COVID-19 days, and it felt as if the visitors were going on a shopping spree after undergoing the frustration of not being able to play or buy games so freely.

This frustration may also apply to the game creators. They used to have occasions to release their games two or three times a year on a regular basis, but due to cancellations and downsizing of Game Market and other such game shows, they had lost such occasions. This led to longer production periods, which I think have resulted in many high-quality games in both mechanisms and artwork. It felt as if the pent-up passions of both the creators and visitors have exploded in this occasion.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
HOY Games' Gone with the Beans, the most anticipated game in our questionnaire survey on newly-released games at Tokyo Game Market, was in short supply all the time

From gallery of W Eric Martin
4tousei's Stampede, another anticipated game, was not available for advance booking, and it is not scheduled to be reprinted

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Five titles in slim boxes were released from itten as the "Fanbrick Series"

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Bushiroad's board game brand Teriyaki Games released two titles following Tsukkomi Karuta

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Yofukashi Project is an IP board game brand formed by Konami and others

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Asobition had pre-sales of the Japanese edition of an overseas game, a remake of a Japanese game, and an overseas remake of a Japanese game

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Sugorokuya had a display to propose how to introduce a board game section in general stores

The Game Market exhibit fees were raised due to a sharp decline in visitors during the COVID-19 crisis. The exhibit fees for TGM 2020 Autumn were ¥17,600 per day for a standard booth and ¥161,700 for two days for a block booth, but the fees for the latest Game Market were raised by nearly 30%, to ¥22,000 per day for a standard booth and ¥220,000 for two days for a block booth. Due to this, some organizations that used to exhibit in block booths downgraded to standard booths. At standard booths, there are not any demo tables to try out the games, and there may not be enough space to display the components. Buying games without seeing the components and by only hearing verbal descriptions requires a lot of preliminary research.

In addition to the official Game Market website, Twitter is very helpful for my preliminary research. Game creators introduce their games with photos of components in advance, and enthusiasts spread the information on the games, which look interesting. Those who visit Game Market gather such information and form their plan to buy whatever within their budget. This has been happening for a quite a while, but it seems to have grown more active since the cancellation of Game Market last year.

At the latest Game Market, I noticed three trends, namely "two-player", "pen-and-paper", and "trick-taking" games. While I can presume that the spread of two-player and pen-and-paper games are due to the demand for playing games even during the COVID-19 crisis, I am not sure why so many trick-taking games are being released. I wonder if the popularity of trick-taking games in Japan has increased to the level of that in Germany. I would like to write about such games in a later article.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Domina Games' Lemures is a board game for 1-2 players

On my way home, I stopped by the food court in front of the venue and saw groups of people playing at some tables the board games they had just bought. It seems to have been a day for many people to spend plenty of time to enjoy board games. The upcoming Game Markets will be held on February 6 (Sun) at Intex Osaka and on April 23 (Sat) and 24 (Sun) at Tokyo Big Sight. I hope that the infection rate will stay low to enjoy these upcoming shows as well.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Ref: Tokyo Game Market 2021 Autumn reports from other Japanese websites you may
want to read:

https://www.4gamer.net/games/999/G999905/20211123001/
https://www.4gamer.net/games/999/G999905/20211126085/
https://www.famitsu.com/news/202111/24241917.html
https://xbusiness.jp/post/364
https://kai-you.net/article/82112
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=iLEjsVm7ibM
http://horabodo.seesaa.net/article/484559686.html

•••


Report on New Games
(posted on Nov. 18, 2021 on TGiW)

Approximately 500 new titles are estimated to have been released at Tokyo Game Market 2021 Autumn. Let me introduce some of them by genre. While the games released in a small number of copies are already hard to acquire, some are still available online, so try searching for the ones that catch your attention.

Trick-Taking Games

Trick-taking games have long been popular at Game Market. In our questionnaire survey on newly-released games at Osaka Game Market 2021 and Tokyo Game Market 2021 Spring, trick-taking game titles, such as Luz, Trick Quest, and Hii Fuu!! were ranked high. The number of new trick-taking game titles exceeds even that from SPIEL. Card games can be produced with relatively less cost, and there is at least the fun of trick-taking itself. This may be why they are picked by many people. With many Japanese editions of overseas titles also being released, it seems that there is still rich source of ideas in this genre.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

HAMELN CAVE (YUTRIO)

In this two-player co-operative trick-taking game, the players try to escape from a cave by controlling the ship that moves toward the winner of each trick. Without consulting each other, you need to follow suit to meet the other player's intention, which you try to guess by the cards they play. In addition to moving the ship, you also need to get rid of the ghosts that have entered the deck.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Backhander (Hugame)

In this trick-taking game, the suits to follow are revealed in line as the "suit lane" in advance. It is also possible to play cards from the tricks you have won to change the suit lane. The second-place player wins at the end, so you need to adjust the number of tricks to win by changing the lane.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Lambdice / ΛICE (Asobi Dust)

In this trick-taking game, you can change the suit of your card by placing a die on it. In such a case, the rank of the card is determined by the dice roll, so you may win (or lose) unexpectedly.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Interspace Conference on Earth (Suteki na Yama)

In this trick-taking game, special abilities are activated depending on the tricks you win. Points are scored in sets, but you lose points for having too many cards of the same suit.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

ULTIA (Xuhs Scobog)

In this three-player trick-taking game, each player first looks at the cards dealt to them and announces the hand they aim to form as their victory condition. The player who sets the highest condition wins the right to meet that condition, and the other two players try to stop that player. There is even a certain difficult hand with which you can immediately win the game if you manage to form it.

Pen-and-Paper Games

Pen-and-paper games that can be played by any number of people remain popular during the COVID-19 crisis. In addition to roll-and-write and flip-and-write games, many new mechanisms have been developed both in and out of Japan.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Gone with the Beans (Hoy Games)

This flip-and-write game follows the style of Terra Mystica. Resources created from the facilities on flipped cards are used to build and develop new facilities. The ruler travels from country to country. The cost to build the facilities is less when the ruler is in or near your province, so it is important to patiently prepare for that. It feels great when you manage to prepare the resources just in time. The game contains four different game sheets, each with a different set-up.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Era of Voyage: In Search of the Golden Country (A.I.Lab.遊)

Players create sea routes by putting stickers according to the routes indicated on the flipped cards and try to gain resources and points with a single-stroke move. It is also possible to make changes by putting stickers on top of one another. I was told that there is an advantage of using stickers over tile placement because you can keep track of each game this way.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Hexa Ruins (Melobodo)

Using the resources gained from roll-and-write, the players head for the ruins. You may stop along the way depending on the resources. What is indicated by the dice roll changes depending on the date and time.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Animism (Fudacoma Games)

Each player simultaneously fills in a space on the sheet they receive, then passes it to the next player in order to connect routes to gain resources and points. At the end of the game, add up the points gained from your routes filled on each sheet. Using the polyominoes purchased with resources, fill in the sheets with your color. Dice rolls are used only for special actions.

Two-Player Games

Two-player games also remain popular during the COVID-19 crisis. They can be played casually with close friends or family members when many people cannot gather. Although this genre has been largely dominated by abstract games, many new titles incorporate various elements such as luck and dexterity so as to appeal to a wide range of players.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

VICKE (Peanuts Design)

The players each explore their opponent's islands with their ship and race to find the two treasure islands (concealed from them). By placing sea route tokens, you can increase your movement speed and block your opponent's ship.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Savannah Rush (Iopy Games)

Players use their animal tokens for area majority and combo bonuses. The difference in the value, number of tokens and special abilities between each animal and the rules that allow you to also place your opponent's tokens make the game highly strategic.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

You Be Aim (Protocraft)

In this two-player flick-and-move game, players flick shots from a special launcher to defeat enemies and advance. You can play a different game on each side of the double-sided game board.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Bossa (Bossa)

This is a two-player game to place tiles on both sides of each of two dice, one with black dots and one with white dots, in ascending order with a difference of one. The first player to place and use up all the tiles in their hand wins.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Kansenshou: Yonshu Kongou ("Lord of Infection: Mix-and-Match") (N&I Research Creation)

Four viruses fight as humans to infect, spread, and damage each other.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

LINKCARNATION (piyopiyo-gaming)

Players compete for points by placing cards in links in ways to cancel or strengthen each other's effects. There are decks of five tribes. Each player chooses two tribes for a two-player game and one tribe for a three-player game.

Communication Games

Although struggling with the COVID-19 crisis, multi-player communication games are still prominent at Game Market. Some of them come with rules to play the game online across long distances.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Ojisan Message (Doya Games)

Players compete to combine cards to create an old man's unintentionally improper online message in order to get blocked at once. It is more of a dirty joke game than I thought.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Silhuettia (JOLDEENO)

Players put transparent cards on top of each other to indicate the topic to guess. With an element of set collection, you may sometimes need to try a difficult topic

From gallery of W Eric Martin

The Defeat of Medusa (Zoemooi)

As the people who were turned to stone by Medusa, players each strike a pose to depict the answer, which is Medusa's weakness, to the hero. Meanwhile, the Medusa player tries to guess the answer or who the hero is hiding among the people frozen as statues. It is fun to have the players hold the pose.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Warattewa Ikenai Ondoku ("Read Aloud without Laughing") (Non Product Production)

Players read aloud in turns, in units of paragraphs, the story of a famous Japanese folklore Momotaro, The Peach Boy. Each paragraph is read according to the style stated on the order card drawn from the deck. If anyone laughs while reading or listening, that player receives a chalk token as a penalty. Just reading some order cards made me chuckle.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

A Momentary Masterpiece or an Unconscious Awakening (Eokaku)

The painter draws the painting within ten seconds using only the shapes indicated on the flipped style card, then presents it so that other players can guess their chosen motif. The paintings inevitably tend to be abstract due to the shape and time limitations. The painter gains fewer points if everyone correctly guess the motif, so it's better to be vague to some extent.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Navi-Rabbi (Rock and Games)

This is a 2-vs-2 team game in which a player in each team collects the item ordered by their Commander to escape from the moon. You do not know who your Commander is at first, but you can guess who it is from the orders given after each of your moves, such as orders that keep leading you to the same direction.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Bistro Flip (Banana Moon)

The Chef players combine their chosen ingredients and Chef's Style, present them to tell how they would deliciously meet the Diner player's request, then flip the dish card to see what they have made. The final step to flip the dish card leads all the effort to recklessly topsy-turvy gourmet dishes.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Word Radar Tantango (Kakugari Books)

This is a co-operative game to indicate the answer with two co-ordinate axes. The keywords written by the players are used as references on vertical and horizontal axes. Then each player places a co-ordinate token where they think most matches the answer. It is a good idea to have both flexible and specific keywords available.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

BL Made by Everyone: The Reaction (Bodoman)

The players each combine the face cards in their hand, devise and say a line to match the given situation, and vote for the best player.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Banjo na Kanjo ("Banjo Emotion") (SUNABA.inc)

After shuffle-playing banjo music, each player plays a facial expression card which they think most fits the mood of the banjo music, then vote in the Dixit style for the card which they guess was played by the leader. The facial expression cards have a banjo player's photos on them.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

WOLFUME (aaa Games)

In this social deduction game with nine types of aroma available, players try to identify a person who has received a different aroma from the rest. If you sense that your aroma differs, conceal it by playing along with other players' comments.

Gamers' Games

While most of the indie doujin games at Game Market have a playing time of 15 minutes or so, there are some gamers' games that can take as long as 90 minutes. They are sold at higher prices with many components, but some game creators have gained trust by releasing such games on a regular basis.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Orchard Plan (luck movies)

Players each grow and harvest fruits on their player board by placing workers in the central 20-square action space, then sell the fruits through set collection. The players who take weaker action spaces move up in turn order instead.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

ACADEMIC SOCIETY (analog lunchbox)

Players compete to earn prestige as scholars through worker placement and use their accomplished studies for engine building. You can increase the number of your workers by making the scholars regular employees, but this on the other hand reduces their prestige.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

EETenki: The Queen Himiko Chronicles (Accent Circonflexe)

Players predict the weather that will be revealed next, grow rice crops into jade beads, and ship them to China and get items. There are four types of weather, namely sunny, rainy, cloudy, and thunder. You can also perform card counting as well as an action to take a sneak peek at an upcoming face-down weather card.

Racing Games

Roll-and-move games form the basics of board gaming, but mere roll-and-move games would fail to attract attention. In addition to dice rolling, many games also incorporate card plays and action points as the ways to advance player pieces along with a wide variety of ideas on themes.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Demolition Racing 2055 (BrainBrainGames)

In this racing game, which partly follows the style of a traditional Japanese gambling game Tehonbiki, players take turns to choose how many squares to move. If you step on the bomb trap set up by the dealer, you cannot advance and you take damage instead. The dealer must take the last remaining choice, so they may end up exploding by the bomb trap they have set up. Strategic materials vary between each course and machine, facilitating a tactical gameplay to outwit your opponents. If a player takes damage and their HP drops to 0, they are eliminated from the race.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Arukuma (ASJ)

In this one-against-many game, people try to escape from a forest where a bear chases them. The people lose if any one of them is caught by the bear. Barricades are built to block the paths. The turn order for the bear and people is determined by a coin toss.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Obon Derby (Azb.Studio)

This is a racing game to create Shouryouma and advance with card effects. Shouryouma are "spirit horses" made of cucumber and eggplant with chopsticks or skewer legs during the traditional Japanese Bon Festival holidays. You can create and enjoy funny horse figures and names, like in SocraTesla and Shark-mageddon, the games created by the same author.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

HAKONE (Paix GUILD)

Players draft runners in this game themed on Hakone Ekiden inter-college long-distance relay road race. Each college team has its characteristics. Moves are made in the Royal Turf style with different corrections applied in each section.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Norun (Norun)

Players advance their pieces through simultaneous blind bidding, and the player who manages to go out at the closest spot from the black hole, which approaches them from the other end, wins. In the style following Mahe, if one piece lands on another, the bottom piece carries the top one when it next moves, making the moves quite unpredictable.

Auction Games & Drafting Games

While auctions are not used as often as before for distributing resources, they remain popular as means for facilitating tactical gameplays to outwit opponents. Drafting is also a popular alternative to auctions.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Stampede (4tousei)

Players each hold as many dice as they like and roll them all at once. Each player's total dice rolls (pips) indicate the amount to pay. The highest bidder wins the item but the price paid is the second-highest bid, in the style of a Vickrey auction, and this induces inflation.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Suroboruos (Kentaiki)

In this auction game, the items you bid on will be worth points only if you bid the amounts shown on these items and place chips to complete them in subsequent bids. You can earn the chips to use as your funds by having your items sold at auctions or by completing cards.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

The Wicked Labyrinth (TACTICAL GAMES)

In this set-collection game, players reveal the items in their hands in simultaneous blind bidding to win and collect "soul fragments" and upgrade them for scoring points. You can also reveal "the witch's sign" to have the winner of the bid lose points. You need to carefully allocate your limited items over the five bids because the items will not return to your hand, even if you lose each bid.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Natsu Matsuri ("Nostalgic Festival") (Element Creators)

Players reveal the items in their hands in simultaneous blind bidding to win and collect Fond Memory and Satisfaction points in four sections. While collecting points in each section normally helps to gain points, the points gained from Firework may become less, even if you collect more.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Koumon de Kataru Jinsei ("Life Told through the Anus") (Toydrop)

Players each play a combination of two number cards to bid on an "offering". The combined numbers are written on a whiteboard, and the player with the highest number in total at the end is eliminated. Note that any anus does not appear in the game, though "Koumon-sama" (Mr. Anus), who resembles the Japanese comedian "HG", does.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Mask Village Poker (COLON ARC)

The players each receive one card at a time and draft it (take it or pass it to the neighboring player) to form their "village" hand to compete and score points.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Doraneko ("Alley Cats") (Mirror House)

Players line up the cards in their decks in real time to create routes in order to get items and score points. The cards are added by drafting for deck building.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Guild Build (Hakuroku)

Players hire adventurers through action drafting and score points by defeating enemies and through set collection. The adventurers are all bird characters.

Gambling Games

These gambling games are also arranged in a variety of ways to facilitate tactical gameplay and strategic thinking.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Patron Hold'em (KogeKogeDo)

Players each receive two adventurer cards. After checking their abilities, players bet on whether their adventurers can accomplish each quest. The player whose adventurers have accomplished the most receives the money (pot) contributed by all the players. Adventurers' abilities may be increased by item cards, so it might be worth making a bet on them even if they cannot accomplish the quest with their current abilities.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Aruchin (Aruchin)

Players roll dice in a rice bowl to form a hand. There are six special cards to change the dice rolls or snatch them from other players.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Infinity Casino (Genge Games)

The players each write any amount on their chips and place bets. If you correctly bet on the outcome of the dice roll, you win the payout based on the amount. The highest and lowest bets are cancelled, but there are no limits otherwise, so it is not unusual to bet billions and trillions. The score table lists the points corresponding to bets of up to the immeasurably large number.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Over Potion (Tachiai Games)

In this push-your-luck game, players pour potions into glasses and lose if they overflow. You can roughly estimate how much each player would pour by referring to the back of the cards, but some glasses may not have been filled as much as you expect.

Euro-Style Games

These games have combined mechanisms, such as tile placement and set collection. Some ambitious games have incorporated engine building as well.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Fujiyama (Nanatsumu)

Players place hex tiles in such a way that the same color parts are connected to each other, and place animal tokens to score points. The players each draw tiles and pass one of them to each neighboring player on their sides. Then each player takes and places one of the tiles passed to them.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Shikigami Kaidou (Shakushi Heiki)

Players collect resources and acquire Shikigami spirits in the Splendor style. Each player's two tokens are moved to indicate their Yin-Yang Master points, which influence the turn order and points to score.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Good Night Fantasy (USAPAGAMES)

Players collectively play their cards in ascending order into the center of the table without speaking to each other, like in The Mind. Meanwhile, you can also play some cards with special effects to overcome difficulties as well as to buy new cards to make the deck easier to clear the game.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Through the Woods (Board Game Mill)

Players collect tiles in the Tokaido style, replenish them in the bear's store, and score points in each season. The winner's player piece can ride on the swing hanging below the tree house.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Nana Card Game (MoB+)

Players take turns to try revealing a set of three cards with the same number, each from the hand of any player, including themselves, or the play area. While any cards in the play area can be flipped and revealed, only the cards with the highest or lowest number can be revealed from each player's hand of cards, which are arranged in ascending order from left to right. If you manage to reveal a set of three 7's (the number in the middle and "nana" in Japanese), you win immediately.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

My Best Chef (Smart Ape Games)

This is an engine-building game to collect employees with resources, then use those employees' abilities to gain more resources. The employee cards are almost entirely unique in their effects and illustrations.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Da Mafia (Wablues)

Players place their workers in any of the six locations and resolve the cards one by one to gain rewards and new workers. If different players' workers turn out to be in the same location, assassinations and other such events may occur as the card effects are resolved in order.

Others

Many innovative games that do not fit into the genres listed above were also released. It is a delight to encounter games with such unique themes at Game Market.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Maboroshi no Nantoka Bunmei ("Illusory Something Something Civilization") (Mahoroba)

Players try to decode the words presented by mysterious symbols, which each represent a combination of a consonant and vowel, by asking questions to the Answerer. The pattern changes every time, but the "n" consonant along with voiced and semi-voiced sound marks, which are constantly used in the same way, are useful for decoding the words.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Gomi Yashiki Card Game ("Garbage-Filled House Card Game") (Maewabi Sen-etsu)

The players each use their characters' abilities to fill every room in their house with garbage. Its initial edition was sold out last autumn, and its brushed-up reprint is now available via crowdfunding.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

• Suiren to Suiren (Macoto Nakamura)

This is a memory game to distinguish the subtle differences in Claude Monet's many paintings of "Waterlilies".

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Linear Motor Car wo Kue! ("Eat a Maglev!") (Bughouse)

Players, as monsters with concealed identities, have a yaminabe ("hot pot in the dark") party in which they put all sorts of bizarre ingredients into the pot. The victory and scoring conditions vary between the monsters, so the players choose what ingredients to put into the pot according to their guesses.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Oheya de Undoukai ("Sports Day in the Room") (Class 1-1 Laboratory, Department of Games)

This is a collection of games that can be played in the room with light physical activities for all ages.

Thus, I have listed 58 titles that caught my eye as I browsed around all the booths, but they are only some of the games brought to the Game Market and I did not even have an opportunity to play them. We will conduct a questionnaire survey on newly-released games on this website to receive comments from those who have played these games and plan to announce the results in January 2022.
Twitter Facebook
16 Comments
Wed Dec 29, 2021 1:00 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
96 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide

Gen Con 2021 VII: AEG Teases Wormholes, Wallpaper, and More Ways to Smash Up

W. Eric Martin
United States
Apex
North Carolina
flag msg tools
admin
designer
badge
Avatar
Board Game Publisher: Alderac Entertainment Group
During Gen Con 2021, U.S. publisher Alderac Entertainment Group held a press event in a nearby hotel to highlight the two titles it debuted at that show — Whirling Witchcraft and TEN, the latter of which I covered in depth here — then present an overview of its release schedule for the remainder of 2021 and much of 2022.

For some games AEG revealed little more than a title, and for others I wrote as quickly as I could, and since we weren't allowed to record anything, those notes will have to do for now. Here's the list:

Smash Up: Knights of the Round Table — released Sept. 17, 2021. This single faction expansion for AEG's long-lived Smash Up game series from Paul Peterson will (as far as I know) be available solely at conventions and from AEG's online store, similar to other single-faction expansions such as Sheep, Penguins, and Goblins.

Board Game: Smash Up: Knights of the Round Table
Board Game: Dog Lover
Board Game: The Captain Is Dead: The Problem with Priggles
Board Game: Meeples & Monsters: Kickstarter Edition
Board Game: Space Base: The Mysteries of Terra Proxima

Dog Lover — due out November 2021. In this 2-4 player design from David Short, players use their trick cards to draft dogs, bones, food, walks, traits, and more from a 3x3 grid of cards.

The Captain Is Dead: The Problem with Priggles — Q4 2021, with this being a microexpansion for The Captain Is Dead featuring small furry critters that might remind you of other small furry critters spelled "*ri**les".

Meeples & Monsters — Q1 2022. In this Ole Steiness game, which was funded on Kickstarter in March 2021,you draw from a personal bag of meeples each turn, then put them to work, with peasants building things or being exchanged for more specialized classes such as warriors, clerics, and mages. You can level up these meeples, add new buildings to town, fight monsters, and complete quests.

Space Base: The Mysteries of Terra Proxima — Q2 2022. The second "saga expansion" for John D. Clair's Space Base consists of a series of games with a linked story that adds new material to the game that can be replayed as part of this story or used as expansion material in the Base base game.

Board Game: The Guild of Merchant Explorers

The Guild of Merchant Explorers — Q3 2022. Candice and I played several turns of this flip-and-build game from Brett J. Gilbert and Matthew Dunstan, so I can provide more details:
Quote:
Each player starts with one city on their personal map board. Shuffle the deck of terrain cards, then reveal most of these cards one by one. Based on the terrain revealed, each player places on their board cubes that are connected to their starting city or other cubes. You want to complete areas on your board, cross the seas to new land, and establish new cities on the board. You can explore capsized ships for treasure — which gives you special placement capabilities — and create linked connections between locations to score bonus points. Common objectives can be completed by all players, with those who complete it first scoring more points.

Board Game: The Guild of Merchant Explorers
Treasure cards

At the end of a round, all cubes are removed from each board, leaving only the cities behind, so if you don't establish new cities, you'll be stuck in the same places.

The Guild of Merchant Explorers contains multiple copies of six different maps, and the game is designed so that you can play remotely with one or more copies.
Board Game: The Guild of Merchant Explorers
In round #2

Wormholes — Q3 2022. This Peter McPherson (Tiny Towns) design is a pick-up-and-deliver game set in space, with you being able to create wormholes to "find" shorter connections between locations and with others being able to pay to use those wormholes.

Board Game: Wormholes

Ready, Set, Bet! — Big Game Night during Gen Con 2022. In this horse-racing game from John D. Clair, you have a limited number of spaces in which to bet on the horses, so if you wait too long to decide where to bet, you might find yourself out of luck.

This Old Wallpaper — Big Game Night during Gen Con 2022. In this game, you attempt to rebuild a house from memories of wallpaper — or at least that's what I wrote down.

Dead Reckoning: Saga 3 — Kickstarter in the second half of 2022. The original Kickstarter campaign for Dead Reckoning, a card-crafting game from John D. Clair, included two saga expansions — Deep Legends and Salt & Thunder — and this new KS campaign will contain new content, while also allowing those who missed the original KS to board ship.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Vladimir Orellana shows us how to roll

Rolling Heights — Kickstarter in the first half of 2022. This is yet another pairing of John D. Clair and AEG, with players collectively building a city.

On a turn, you take all the meeples in your personal box, then roll them on the table. If a meeple lands standing up, you receive two cubes of the appropriate type to use for building; if it lands on its side, you receive one cube; and if it lands on its back, you get nothing because it's goofing off. You can re-roll workers on their back, but you can bust out on additional rolls, similar to Clair's Cubitos, an early 2021 release from AEG.

Dozens of building tiles are available, with many powers and bonuses.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

• Finally, but possibly most importantly, AEG plans to release a tenth anniversary set for Paul Peterson's Smash Up in Q4 2022. Smash Up has been a mainstay in the AEG line-up since it debuted in 2012, and the company wants to honor its longevity and ensure that players continue to have new things to smash up for many years to come.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Treats to smash up in the AEG press room
Twitter Facebook
10 Comments
Thu Nov 11, 2021 1:00 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
76 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide

Gen Con 2021 VI: Wyrd Miniatures, Arcane Wonders, Ares Games, and Thunderworks Games

W. Eric Martin
United States
Apex
North Carolina
flag msg tools
admin
designer
badge
Avatar
Board Game: Vagrantsong
Let's continue with my Gen Con 2021 wrap-up posts, which essentially have a bit of con material in the background to supplement game announcements and summaries.

U.S. publisher Wyrd Miniatures is adding two self-contained tabletop games to its catalog, with Vagrantsong being a co-operative, boss battle game for 2-4 players from designers Matt Carter, Justin Gibbs, and Kyle Rowan. At the show, Rowan told me that he's a huge fan of Kingdom Death: Monster and Gloomhaven, so he decided that he wanted to do one of his own.

Board Game: Vagrantsong

In the game, you control one of six vagrants, each with their own abilities, on a haunted train, and you need to save the humanity of "Haints" while not losing yours along the way. Vagrants and Haints alternate turns, with you trying to acquire skills and collect junk cards. You can lose skills through Haint attacks, with Haints having varying effects. The game includes a book with 23 scenarios, and it's scheduled for retail release before the end of 2021.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Skills must "fit" on your vagrant card by completing the square

The other tabletop game from Wyrd Miniatures is Bayou Bash, a racing game by Aaron Darland, Lindsey Rode, and Kyle Rowan in which 2-4 people compete not to complete a certain number of laps first, but to gain the most fans. The problem, however, is that when you gain fans, they are placed on the racetrack itself, thereby becoming obstacles for you to avoid in future laps and targets for your opponents to smush so that they claim the most (living) fans at game's end.

Board Game: Bayou Bash

Board Game Publisher: Arcane Wonders
• At Arcane Wonders, the focus was on Ivan Lashin's Furnace, which was debuting in the U.S. at Gen Con 2021 — here's my overview of the game — but AW's Robert Geistlinger also gave me release dates for multiple upcoming titles:

Picture Perfect - debuted at Gen Con 2021; due out on November 10, 2021
Air, Land, and Sea: Critters at War - debuted at Gen Con 2021; due out in November 2021
Onitama: Light and Shadow - due out in December 2021
Mortum: Medieval Detective - debuted at SPIEL '21; due out in the U.S. in Q1 2022
Air, Land & Sea: Spies, Lies & Supplies - due out in Q1 2022, with this being a standalone expansion for Air, Land & Sea
—A JNPR expansion for RWBY: Combat Ready - due out Q1 2022
Mobile Markets: A Smartphone Game - debuted at SPIEL '21; due out in the U.S. in Q2 2022

Board Game: Air, Land, and Sea: Critters at War
Board Game: Mortum: Medieval Detective
Board Game: Mobile Markets: A Smartphone Inc. Game

Let me give a brief rundown of Picture Perfect, a design by Anthony Nouveau that was first released by German publisher Corax Games. The game combines memory, deduction, and logic puzzles, with everyone trying to place various people — along with a dog and a plant! — around a table so that you meet the desired conditions of each subject as best as you can.

To set up play, you shuffle 42 condition cards, then place three cards in each of the fourteen envelopes, with each envelope corresponding to one of the fourteen photo subjects. These cards will say things like "I want to stand on the right", "I don't want the dog to be visible", "I want to stand directly behind the table", "I don't want to stand next to a man", "I want to stand next to [specific object]", and so on.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Each player receives a few envelopes to start the game, and you can look the contents of one envelope for as long as you want, then put everything back before you open the next one. Over multiple rounds, you'll swap envelopes in various ways with players and the center of the table, with you manipulating stand-up figures behind your player screen to both meet the conditions that you're sure of and serve as a memory aid to allow you to piece together later information. This character wants to stand in the back row next to so-and-so, for example, but what does so-and-so want? Perhaps later you find this subject wants to be next to granddad and in one of four specific spaces at the table. Can you make that happen without disrupting how you've previously arranged subjects? Can you even remember exactly who wanted what?!

During the game, if you think you've matched someone's conditions really well, you can slip a modifier card in that subject's envelope, which will adjust everyone's points for that subject at game's end, so ideally you've kept that subject to yourself for most of the game so that no one else benefits.

Once the rounds are over, everyone locks in their subjects around the table, with you being able to place as many or as few characters as you wish. You then remove the player screens and reveal the contents of each envelope one by one, scoring points based on how well you met the conditions and losing points if you whiffed on all three — which is why you don't want to automatically place all subjects.

Here's how our boards looked in the end:

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Picture...perfect?

The items on the table were merely decorative as we didn't play with the auction variant, which uses tableware for currency.

We had a bum pair of rounds in which we first revealed the contents of the central envelopes, then we were invited to swap envelopes from our hand with the center — but since we had all just seen the central envelopes, no one wanted to swap since doing so would benefit only those players later in the turn order.

Still, the concept was fascinating, and I can imagine how you'd improve over time once you get a handle on all 42 condition cards because then you could deduce what you haven't seen and try to place subjects you haven't interacted with based on that information. After playing on the BGG library copy one night at Gen Con 2021, I bought a copy for myself the next day — and that copy has now sat untouched while I played other games for work. Hrm.

Ares Games was thwarted by a lack of inventory at Gen Con 2021 due to shipping issues, with War of the Ring: Kings of Middle-earth, Last One Alive, and the revised edition of Last Friday now all due out by the end of 2021.

Board Game: War of the Ring: Kings of Middle-earth
Board Game: Last One Alive
Board Game: Last Friday

Thunderworks Games had a bit more in stock than Ares, along with a splashier layout thanks to an entire table being filled with Roll Player Adventures and Cartographers Heroes and its three map packs: Nebblis, Affril, and Undercity, with all of these items expected to be available at U.S. retail outlets in November 2021.

Roll Player Adventures: Nefras's Judgement and Cape May should also be available in the U.S. at the same time.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

The Lockup: Breakout expansion should be available in Q1 2022, with a Kickstarter project for the Isle of Cats-ish theme park-building game Tenpenny Parks from Nate Linhart due to launch in Q2 2022.

Board Game: Lockup: Breakout
Board Game: Tenpenny Parks
Twitter Facebook
4 Comments
Sun Oct 31, 2021 1:00 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
100 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide

Gen Con 2021 V: Czech Games Edition, Capstone Games, and BoardGameTables.com

W. Eric Martin
United States
Apex
North Carolina
flag msg tools
admin
designer
badge
Avatar
Board Game: Codenames
It might seem ridiculous to continue with reports from Gen Con 2021 since both Origins and SPIEL have taken place following my most recent such report on September 30, 2021, but I took copious notes at that show about new releases and upcoming titles, so let's see what's still relevant at this point. (And looking ahead to 2022, well, I'm trying to make changes so that I'm not chasing data ahead of shows, but instead actually writing posts and recording videos. We'll see whether that effort succeeds...)

• Let's start with a quick trip to Czech Games Edition, which had a massive space outside the main exhibit hall at Gen Con 2021 thanks to that publisher adding to its original floor plan the rooms that Rio Grande Games had abandoned.

I believe that CGE had set up at least one table for every title in its catalog, with full games of, say, Through the Ages, Alchemists, and Tzolk'in available for those who wanted to indulge themselves. The feeling in the room was far more relaxed than what was going on in the exhibit hall, even at its reduced size for 2021, with people playing for as long as they wanted. CGE wasn't trying to turn tables as quickly as possible to make sales of new releases — although sales were happening anyway, with Lost Ruins of Arnak seeming to be in every third bag I saw.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
The environment might have been too relaxed...

Board Game: Lost Ruins of Arnak: Expedition Leaders
Board Game: Galaxy Trucker
The relaxed feeling of that demo area somewhat reflects CGE's plans for 2022, with North American sales manager Tony Gullotti telling me that the company plans to focus mostly on releasing items for Lost Ruins of Arnak and its reboot of Galaxy Trucker.

Lost Ruins of Arnak: Expedition Leaders debuted at SPIEL '21, and it should have a U.S. retail release in December 2021. (At Gen Con 2021, the demo copy of Expedition Leaders was being changed constantly as development on the expansion was still taking place in the Czech Republic. CGE prints locally, so it could continue testing until shortly before SPIEL '21.)

CGE has already released one bonus item for Galaxy Trucker — the Rough Roads expansion that's available solely in digital form. Gullotti said that this method of release allows the company to give players small extras without having to manage production, shipping, and inventory.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Giant-sized Galaxy Trucker at Gen Con 2021

Regarding its flagship title Codenames, Gullotti says that more than one million people per month play the game online at CGE's site (which has cards available in more than forty languages), and CGE is currently testing a Codenames app that would be playable on mobile devices, with players having various objectives that they could unlock.

Board Game: Ark Nova
Board Game: Maracaibo: The Uprising
• Clay Ross at Capstone Games gave an update on release dates, with Savannah Park, Riftforce, and Imperial Steam all due out in October 2021 (with preordered copies apparently having been shipped by this point); Corrosion hitting in Nov/Dec 2021; Ark Nova being available in February 2022; and Maracaibo: The Uprising arriving in Q1 2022.

Carlo Bortolini's Riftforce had arrived in the Capstone warehouse the Tuesday prior to Gen Con 2021, so Candice and I got to play once for a taste of what it offers. Candice already wrote about the game from her POV here, but I'll give it a go as well.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Candice contemplates her second play

Riftforce is a two-player dueling game in which you compete to score 12 points first, with points being scored when you eliminate an opposing card or control a field with no opposition during a reset action. On a turn, you can:

• Play up to three cards of the same guild or the same health (5/6/7).
• Discard a card to activate up to three cards of the matching guild or matching health.
• Refill your hand to seven cards and score a point for each uncontested field you control.

Board Game: Riftforce
Board Game: Riftforce Beyond
Your deck consists of cards from four guilds, and each guild has a unique power, e.g., fire does lots of damage, but injures a nearby ally because it's indiscriminate, while air moves to a new field, then scattershot hits up to three enemies. You want to combo powers when possible, say using air to attack so that you can move it away from a field and not get hit with friendly fire, but you'll probably spend your first few games going, "Yeah, this is going to be devastating! No, wait, that doesn't work like I thought it would."

In our game, my crystal goobers were worth 2 points instead of 1 when killed, but I managed to do massive amounts of damage with them before Candice could shatter my hopes for winning. I've since played Riftforce three more times, and I'm slowly starting to piece together how to draft guilds before the game begins in order to create competent combos as opposed to the nonbos I had initially. (In October 2021 Riftforce's originating publisher 1 More Time Games announced Riftforce: Beyond, which adds eight new guilds to the ten already available — which means I will never catch up with exploring all this game has to offer.)

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Only two points to go...

• At Gen Con 2021, publisher BoardGameTables.com won my No Prize for "best table signage" as each table was approachable on the perimeter of the booth space and featured overhead a compelling image, a short game description, and game details, not to mention being staffed by a demo person ready to roll as soon as you got there.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

At Gen Con 2021, owner Chad DeShon talked about the next couple of titles in its line-up, with those titles now being crowdfunded on Kickstarter through November 4, 2021. One of the games is Psychic Pizza Deliverers Go to the Ghost Town, a Hayato Kisaragi design that debuted from Japanese publisher One Draw in 2018. Here's an overview of gameplay:
Quote:
In Psychic Pizza Deliverers Go to the Ghost Town, players are divided into "Pizza Delivery Professionals" and a mayor (GM) who controls the ghosts and builds the town. The pizza delivery professionals have to find a pizza and deliver it to the right house in town, all while avoiding ghosts, barriers, and mystic teleportation runes. The first player to find and successfully deliver a pizza wins. Luckily for them, the pizza delivery professionals all possess mild psychic powers. They must use their abilities to sense and divine what's around them if they hope to deliver their pizzas.

Board Game: Psychic Pizza Deliverers Go to the Ghost Town

The main role of mayor is to moderate play and make the town. The mayor wins if no one is able to deliver their pizza. The game begins with the mayor building a unique town map that includes the starting location for each player, pizza, and house. On a player's turn, they may choose to move one space in any of the four cardinal directions, attack in any of the four cardinal directions in hope of banishing a ghost, or use a psychic power. The mayor then resolves the action, tells the player the location of any barriers adjacent to the player, and whether or not the player senses any ghosts/pizzas/houses in any of the eight spaces surrounding the player.

Attacking removes ghosts from the board and lets players draw one psychic card. Psychic cards allow players to make special movements on the board such as diagonal, hop step, or warp back to start.

Board Game: Psychic Pizza Deliverers Go to the Ghost Town
A peek inside the mayor's hideout

The players have only twenty turns to locate a pizza and deliver it to the matching house. The players have a gridded sheet of paper and a pencil to draw and record information about the town. The mayor has a special log sheet to track all the players moves and results.

The game also includes several variant tiles that can be added to the town to vary gameplay.
Japanese game maven James Nathan wrote about the game in detail in 2019 on Opinionated Gamers, and Nathan has been serving as a JP game scout for BoardGameTables.com, both for this title and for Dandelions, the other title being Kickstarted, with this being a new edition of Takashi Sakaue's dice game Birth that debuted in 2013 from Product Arts LLC.

Board Game: Birth
Board Game: Dandelions
Whereas Birth dealt with the creation of the universe, Dandelions presents a far more humble setting. Here's an overview:
Quote:
Transform into a dandelion, and float through clear blue skies on a pleasant breeze in this dice-rolling, area-majority game with a little direct-competition edge. Your quest is to find the best spots for your seeds to grow across a variety of vibrant, beautiful, and cozy gardens.

In Dandelions, players roll a group of dice, then choose one to move to a beautiful garden. Along the way, you can harness the power of the wind with three special actions — float, puff, and gust — to get the most points. The game ends after all the dice are used, and whoever receives the most victory points as combined from two different scoring methods wins.
DeShon says that he's already signing titles for 2023, with games typically falling into one of two box sizes and complexity levels. Nathan essentially has free reign to propose titles, suggest changes for the U.S. market, and help introduce others to these games that he loves so much. I, for one, greatly appreciate these efforts!
Twitter Facebook
3 Comments
Sat Oct 30, 2021 1:00 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
161 
 Thumb up
2.00
 tip
 Hide

Pics from the Press Room at SPIEL '21

W. Eric Martin
United States
Apex
North Carolina
flag msg tools
admin
designer
badge
Avatar
From gallery of W Eric Martin
The BoardGameGeek team isn't at SPIEL '21 as we bowed out of running a booth and broadcasting livestreams at external conventions early in 2021 when it was unclear what the world might be like by the time those conventions arrived.

As a result, only Beth Heile is on hand at SPIEL '21, and she and partner John K are gathering games for BGG.CON 2021 in November, meeting with publishers to talk about GeekUp bits, and taking pics of what's on display at the show. Here's a sampling of what she saw in the media showcase room:

Lost Ruins of Arnak: Expedition Leaders was still being worked on only three weeks ago, according to a representative from Czech Games Edition, but CGE prints in the Czech Republic, so shipping was not an issue regarding get copies to SPIEL '21.

Board Game: Lost Ruins of Arnak: Expedition Leaders

Golem, from Flaminia Brasini, Virginio Gigli, Simone Luciani, and Cranio Creations

Board Game: Golem

From gallery of W Eric Martin

SCOUT, from Kei Kajino and Oink Games, with this new version featuring circus-themed icons on the suits as a visual aid, with each card being named to represent an individual performer.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

It's a Wonderful Kingdom, from Frédéric Guérard and Le Boîte de Jeu

Board Game: It's a Wonderful Kingdom

Lisbon Tram 28, from Pedro Santos Silva and MEBO Games, includes a completely superfluous, yet thematic bell. The publisher noted that playtesters loved ringing it as they took actions, so the bell made it into the final game for ambiance...

From gallery of W Eric Martin

• One of the 100 copies of Hippocrates from Alain Orban and Game Brewer shipped to SPIEL '21 in advance of the full production run.

Board Game: Hippocrates

Moon Adventure from Jun Sasaki and Oink Games, with the publisher describing this title (which features elements of 2014's Deep Sea Adventure) as a "hard co-operative game".

Board Game: Moon Adventure

Garden Nation, from Rémi Saunier, Nathalie Saunier, and Bombyx

Board Game: Garden Nation

ECO: Coral Reef from Unique Board Games, with designer Izik Nevo saying he was inspired by his time as a diver, his love of chess, and his desire to bring attention to the issue of pollution on the sea turtle population.

Board Game: ECO: Coral Reef

EXIT: Das Spiel – Die Rückkehr in die verlassene Hütte, from Inka Brand, Markus Brand, and KOSMOS introduces 3D elements to this best-selling line of escape room-inspired games. Updated: Image now spoiler-proof due to reader request.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Board Game: Exit: The Game – The Return to the Abandoned Cabin

• Components in Paleo: Ein neuer Anfang, an expansion for the 2021 Kennerspiel-winning game Paleo from Peter Rustemeyer and Hans im Glück.

Board Game: Paleo: Ein neuer Anfang

Living Forest, from Aske Christiansen and Ludonaute

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Dreadful Circus, from Bruno Faidutti and Portal Games

From gallery of W Eric Martin

CATAN: Logik Rätsel, a solitaire logic puzzle that I previously wrote about here

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Mille Fiori, from Reiner Knizia and Schmidt Spiele, which I described in detail here

From gallery of W Eric Martin

1923 Cotton Club, from Pau Carles and Looping Games

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Wer lacht, verliert! is a party game aimed at folks who (at a minimum) would not object to the NSFW image posted below. I'm fairly certain you will not find a copy of this game at BGG.CON 2021, so you'll have to buy one for yourself should you want to play.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
From gallery of W Eric Martin

• Beth took a break from shooting pics to take aim at a shifty character from Spiel des Jahres-winning MicroMacro: Crime City. (Note Beth's "golden ratio" earrings, which are awesome.)

I greatly appreciate her efforts to sample the SPIEL '21 offerings on top of everything else she's doing!

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Twitter Facebook
18 Comments
Wed Oct 13, 2021 8:40 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
81 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide

SPIEL '21 Preview Nears 500 Titles

W. Eric Martin
United States
Apex
North Carolina
flag msg tools
admin
designer
badge
Avatar
I'm still updating BGG's SPIEL '21 Preview, which might be of interest even if you're not heading to Essen, Germany for the show given the wide variety of games listed, with the latest being the space-based card-management game Apogee from French publisher DTDA Games.

DTDA Games showed up at SPIEL '19 seemingly out of nowhere with Efemeris, and now it's a late arrival at SPIEL '21, too, with the publisher not being listed in Merz Verlag's SPIEL-GUIDE 2021 or its late registration list from the end of September.

Board Game: Apogee

What's more, I just heard from Korean publisher Playte — formerly OPEN'N PLAY — which booked at SPIEL '21 the week of October 4. Yes, Merz Verlag is still booking publishers down to the wire, and I need to get those titles listed ASAP, even though they'll be available only for demo right now.

Ideally I can give you a good picture of what will be there in Essen to help you know what you want there on your table...
Twitter Facebook
9 Comments
Sun Oct 10, 2021 1:21 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
122 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide

Candice's Gen Con 2021 Round-Up/Discoveries: Part 2

Candice Harris
United States
Los Angeles
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
Microbadge: Great Western Trail fanMicrobadge: The Great Zimbabwe fanMicrobadge: Battlestar Galactica - I am a CylonMicrobadge: COIN fanMicrobadge: Twilight Imperium (fourth edition) fan
Aside from all the board game action, one of the things I loved about my first Gen Con experience was randomly bumping into different people I only "knew" from Twitter. I'm really glad I crossed paths with Jason Matthews (Twilight Struggle, Imperial Struggle, 1960: The Making of the President) and got to chat with him for a bit in between meetings.

Board Game: Riftforce
• Eric and I met with Clay Ross from Capstone Games, and thankfully Clay was still friendly with us after we "stuck him" playing Stick 'Em the last time we saw him in early 2020 at the GAMA Trade Show. We got to play a quick game of their new fantasy-themed, 2-player duel card game, Riftforce from designer Carlo Bortolini.

The goal of Riftforce is to gain 12 Riftforce (VPs) before your opponent. At the beginning of the game players draft 4 out of 10 different guilds with unique special abilities. Then you create and shuffle a deck of element cards for your respective guilds and draw a hand of 7 cards. You each essentially have a deck of four suits of cards with 5, 6, or 7 on them representing the card's health.

From gallery of candidrum

On your turn, you either play up to 3 cards along the rift with the same suit or with the same number, or you can discard a card and activate up to 3 cards you've previously played, again, either matching the number or the suit. This is when you trigger the special abilities of your guilds to attack and hopefully destroy your opponent's element cards, which is the main way you score points.

Besides playing cards and activating cards, you can also check and draw as an action. First you gain 1 point for each location on the rift that you have at least one card and your opponent doesn't have any opposing. Then you draw back up to 7 cards.

Riftforce quickly becomes a deep, thinky card game as you're managing your hand of cards to strategically play and place cards along the rift, while holding some back so you can activate the ones you've played. Timing is very important as well. The 10 different guilds all have interesting abilities and it's super fun exploring synergies between them.

I've already played 3 more times since Gen Con and dig it more and more with each play, in spite of always getting whooped.

Board Game: Genotype: A Mendelian Genetics Game
• Over at Genius Games, I got schooled on pea plant genetics when playing a few rounds of Genotype: A Mendelian Genetics Game, a new worker-placement, dice-drafting game for 1-5 players from designers John Coveyou, Paul Salomon, and Ian Zang.

In Genotype you are competing to gain the most victory points, which primarily come from fulfilling phenotype trait requirements on pea plant Cards. I had a great experience playing 2 rounds of a 5-player game. I'm not sure if it was the game itself or the fun, competitive people I was playing with (probably a mix of both), but I really enjoyed the blend of tight worker placement with dice-drafting and how well it was integrated with the theme. Plus, the fact that it's educational and even includes a booklet explaining how the gameplay elements tie back to the history and science behind is icing on the cake.

From gallery of candidrum

From gallery of candidrum
My player board during my demo game

• I previously mentioned Public Market, from Point Salad designers Molly Johnson, Robert Melvin, and Shawn Stankewich, in a tile-laying games post, but it was great to stop by the Talon Strikes Studios booth to check it out in person.

In Public Market, players bid on and draft fish tiles which you put in your ice chest to eventually sell based on the current market prices. After you sell your catch, you get a new ice chest. Each ice chest is different and presents new placement puzzles for you to solve as you load it up with more fish, plus you can unlock bonuses by covering shrimp in your ice chest. All the while, you can also build up an engine by earning permanent fish increases by completing Today's Catch cards.

The play mat looked great and really made the theme pop, but it's an upgrade and doesn't come with the game by default.

From gallery of candidrum
From gallery of candidrum

• I met briefly with Sam Healey at the Mythic Games booth where some people were deeply engaged in a game of Carlos G.Q.'s 6: Siege - The Board Game, an asymmetrical game with miniatures based on Ubisoft's acclaimed tactical shooter video game, Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Siege, which is available for pre-order and coming out in 2022.

From gallery of candidrum

At the next table over, a few folks were playing Monsterpocalypse Miniatures Game since Mythic Games and Privateer Press are co-producing a Monsterpocalypse big-box product range coming to Kickstarter Fall 2021, targeted for delivery in late 2022.

From gallery of candidrum

Board Game: Fire Tower
Board Game: Fire Tower: Rising Flames
• While wandering around the convention hall one afternoon, I was mesmerized by the sight of beautiful, chunky, orange crystals from Samuel Bryant and Gwen Ruelle's 2019 release Fire Tower, so I made an impromptu stop at the Runaway Parade Games booth to see what it was all about.

Gwen gave me quick rundown of Fire Tower, which is a competitive 2-4 abstract strategy game that plays in 15-30 minutes, where your goal is to protect your own fire tower while trying to spread the blaze towards your opponents. You play action cards that allow you to alter the direction of the wind and add varying patterns of fire, water, and defensive barriers on the board. But most importantly, you get push those beautiful, chunky, orange gems around the board while you play!

They were also showing off the Fire Tower: Rising Flames expansion, which is new 2021 release that adds a new action cards, other special cards, a flock of firehawks, and a solo mode.

From gallery of candidrum

Board Game: Dune: A Game of Conquest and Diplomacy
• I picked up a copy of Dune: A Game of Conquest and Diplomacy, the new fast-paced, streamlined version of the original Dune board game from Gale Force Nine and designers Bill Eberle, Jack Kittredge, Peter Olotka, Greg Olotka, and Jack Reda. They weren't demoing it at Gen Con, but I was excited enough to unbox it in the hotel lobby to take a peek at everything. I'm really looking forward to playing it! Of course, I still need to play its predecessor, but I'll likely get this to the table much sooner since it plays in an hour.

From gallery of candidrum
Twitter Facebook
8 Comments
Fri Oct 1, 2021 1:43 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
86 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide

Gen Con 2021 IV: Devious Weasel Games, Floodgate Games, Atlas Games, and Flying Leap Games

W. Eric Martin
United States
Apex
North Carolina
flag msg tools
admin
designer
badge
Avatar
Board Game: The Mirroring of Mary King
Non-final cover
At Gen Con 2021, Candice Harris and I usually met publishers independently, but sometimes we joined forces — and during those times we often ending up playing the game being featured in order to get a better understanding of it. I've already covered our 3/4 game of Azul: Queen's Garden, and now it's time to cover The Mirroring of Mary King, a 2022 release from Jim Felli of Devious Weasel Games.

Candice already summarized the game, but I want to take a whack at it, too. In this two-player game, one player represents the mortal Mary King and the other player represents a ghost of one of her ancestors, and the two of you are fighting over her psyche, which is represented by a tableau of 4x3 cards that looks like this at the start of play:

Board Game: The Mirroring of Mary King
Non-final components

Each player has a deck of cards, which represents your mind, and one way to lose the game is to lose your mind before the other player does. Individual cards are a mixture of CONTROL cards that highlight 1-3 areas of the tableau and ACTION cards, some of which are unique to a player and some of which are common in each deck. Each player also has three stacks of cards next to the tableau that represent ideas, with these twelve cards being split between randomized CONTROL and ACTION cards.

The game lasts five rounds — Monday through Friday — and the number of CONTROL cards you can play decreases each day from 5 to 1, whereas the number of ideas that you can buy from the stacks increases from 1 to 5.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Sample ACTION cards, with you choosing one of the two effects

The ghost goes first, then players alternate turns. On a turn, you reveal the top card of each of your idea stacks, then in any order you wish play CONTROL cards (up to the limit), play ACTION cards in any quantity you wish, and buy ideas (up to the limit). To buy ideas, you pay by discarding cards at random from your deck, moving those cards to your memory. When you play a CONTROL card, in the vertical orientation of your choice, you flip all of the highlighted cards in the tableau to their opposite side. At the end of the day, refill your hand from your mind to five cards.

Each side has a unique special ability, and to use it, you must first flip one of the prerogative cards to the opposing side. If you can't, then you can't use your ability.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
How the board looked on Wednesday, with some spaces being locked

Your goal each day is to create a contiguous block of cards showing your side of the mortal/ghost conflict to force the other player to discard cards from their mind to their memory. With ten mortal cards connected in the image above, the ghost would discard three cards. If you manage to flip all of the cards to your side, you win instantly. If no one wins by the end of Friday, you count the cards remaining in your mind, then add a bonus if you control more of the tableau than the opponent, with the higher score winning.

The Mirroring of Mary King had a great back-and-forth flow to it along the line of many two-player games, with the ghost needing to hit as hard as possible in the morning since the mortal would then have the chance to respond, including with the final plays of the game if no one wins instantly. You're wary of playing as many cards as you possibly can since you must refill your hand, which means you're burning through your mind, but ideally more choices will enable you to do more damage to the opponent along the way. Felli noted that all of the components were non final, and the current targeted release date is Gen Con 2022.

Board Game: Vivid Memories
• At the Floodgate Games booth, Candice and I received an overview of Vivid Memories, a Matthew Dunstan and Brett J. Gilbert design that is in transit from the manufacturer with an anticipated late November/early December 2021 release date.

In the game, 2-4 players take turns drafting memory fragments — three different, two identical, or one + a bonus action — from moment tiles and placing them in an empty hex on your "brain" board. (The bonus action allows you to "rewire" your brain by moving fragments into or out of a single hex.) If you take the last fragment from a tile, you take the tile.

After all the fragments and tiles have been drafted, players take up to four actions, whether from those printed on the board or those on moment tiles, to manipulate the fragments in their brain. When you use a moment tile, you then flip it to its scoring side and (ideally) score points for particular fragment arrangements at the end of the round. Additionally, you want to create chains of fragments that link colored spaces on the brain board as you score points for those, then fill "core memory" spaces with fragments from the chains — and if you complete core memories, which require 1-3 fragments, then you score additional points at game's end.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Board Game: Décorum
Floodgate also previewed two upcoming releases, one of which is Décorum, a co-operative game from Harry Mackin, Charlie Mackin, and Drew Tenenbaum that is subtitled "A passive aggressive game of cohabitation".

The gist of the game is that the 2-4 players are redecorating their living space, and each player has goals that they want to achieve, with everyone needing to satisfy all the goals in order to win — except that players cannot state their goals directly. Instead they must act like my mother-in-law, who responds to changes with comments like "I love it!", "It's fine", or the dreaded "It's not for me." (Technically, my MIL would never say "It's not for me"; she would instead say "It's fine", but with a tone in her voice as if she was just struck in the face with a salmon, and that tone is what registers in our brains as "It's not for me".)

In the game, you will place wall hangings, curios, and lamps in various rooms, with these items coming in four styles (modern, antique, retro, or unusual), or you'll remove these items from rooms, or you'll paint the rooms, with others undoubtedly turning up their nose at your efforts, but ideally everything will come together before you run out of time. Décorum, which is due out in January 2022, includes thirty scenarios that set up the goals for each player and undoubtedly introduce new elements over their progression.

Board Game: Décorum

Kites is a 2-6 player co-operative game from Kevin Hamano due out in Q1/Q2 2022 in which players take turns playing cards to flip color-coded sand timers that represent the kites. If a sand timer runs out, then that kite has crashed, and you've lost the game. To win, you must play your way through the entire deck, which includes storm cards and other complications.

Board Game: Kites

Additionally, Floodgate Games expects to have Fog of Love and the Love on Lockdown expansion — which the company acquired in mid-2021 — on the U.S. market by the end of January 2022. Sagrada: The Great Facades – Glory should be available in Q1/Q2 2022, with Sagrada Legacy debuting at Gen Con 2022.

Atlas Games didn't announce any new titles at Gen Con 2021, but it was running through the stock of its newest release: Dice Miner, which hit the retail market in August 2021. As sales manager Travis Winter told me, in statement that mirror others I've heard, a quick sell-through is a mixed blessing because you have no idea how to gauge future demand. Atlas president John Nephew mirrored that sentiment in a Sept. 29, 2021 tweet:


He then elaborated, "It is more complicated than usual because of the FUBAR supply chain issues and extraordinary shipping costs. I don't want to play today's shipping for a 5 year supply. But I don't know how many that would be anyway."

Winter says that with an evergreen title like Gloom, which debuted in 2005, they know how many sell annually and use that info to ensure (as much as possible) that they never run out of stock. For Dice Miner, you're shooting in the dark as to what people might want 6-12 months from now. Will buzz and demand grow, level out, or disappear?

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Almost mined out!

As for other titles, in November 2021 Atlas Games expects to release both the card game Gloomier: A Night at Hemlock Hall — a standalone twist on Keith Baker's Gloom that can also serve as an expansion for that game — and the role-playing game Magical Kitties Save the Day.

RPG Item: Magical Kitties Save the Day! Boxed Set

Molly Zeff from Flying Leap Games was running through story after story in non-stop demos of Wing It: The Game of Extreme Storytelling, the title that launched the company in 2017. The game has the familiar structure of a judge awarding one player each round, with players being given random objects with which they must try to resolve a situation.

Board Game Designer: Molly Zeff

Flying Leap Games had two other titles at Gen Con 2021, with 2020's The Million Dollar Doodle splitting the creativity over multiple players. In the game, you receive two logo components, then combine them to create a logo that you then pass on to the next person. When you receive a logo, you then create a name for the company that bears that logo. Pass the creations, then create a slogan for the company you were handed, then pass once more to create a review for a company based on the slogan that you see. Everyone then votes on which company should be funded, so all players involved with the creative aspects of that company win.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

The next title from FLG is Just Tell Me What To Do, with someone each round playing a dilemma card, after which everyone else plays one of the four advice cards in their hand, then explains why the dilemma would be best solved with their approach, after which the original player chooses a winner for the round.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Sample dilemmas and advice

• Made another new friend at Gen Con 2021, then the security guard yelled at me to get my hand off the alien as apparently the oils on my skin would be corrosive. Irony!

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Twitter Facebook
11 Comments
Thu Sep 30, 2021 1:00 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
92 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide

Gen Con 2021 III: AMIGO Games, Hobby World, and Previews of Upcoming Releases

W. Eric Martin
United States
Apex
North Carolina
flag msg tools
admin
designer
badge
Avatar
• In August 2021, I noted that AMIGO Games, the U.S. branch of German publisher AMIGO Spiel, had regained the rights to Uwe Rosenberg's trading card game Bohnanza and that it plans to release a 25th anniversary edition of the game in 2022.

At Gen Con 2021, head of AMIGO Games Alex Yeager passed along a few details about this title, namely that it will be released as a single large print run to ideally last for a decent portion of the year, but not stick around forever; that it will retail for at most US$25; that it will contain a new bean type (my money is on "jelly"); and that it will contain three variant games, one of which will use a collectible coin packaged in the box.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Other titles coming from AMIGO Games in the U.S. — all in October 2021 — are:

2Can, a "golf"-style card game from Haim Shafir in which you attempt to trade cards to get the lowest score.
Flip-Pix!, a real-time game in which you have double-sided cards with pictures on one side and letters on another. To begin play, you flip over a card from the deck so that it shows either images or letters (depending on how you set up the deck), then if it shows images, everyone looks at the letter side of their cards and races to find a letter that starts the name of one object depicted on the card. As soon as someone plays a card, everyone flips their cards to the image side to find something that begins with one of the letters on the card just played. Whoever plays all of their cards first wins.

Board Game: 2Can
Board Game: Flip-Pix!
Board Game: CLACK! Thwack!
Board Game: Quick Cups
Board Game: Magic Mountain

CLACK! Thwack!, which plays like Haim Shafir's real-time game CLACK!, except that everyone has a stick with a suction cup on it, and you need to slap and grab cards that match whatever was rolled on the dice that round.
Quick Cups, another real-time game from Haim Shafir, with players manipulating their five colored cups as quickly as possible to match a revealed pattern. As with Bohnanza, AMIGO Games has gained the rights to this design that originally appeared from AMIGO Spiel, but was first released in English by another publisher, in this case Spin Master.
Magic Mountain, a design from Jens-Peter Schliemann and Bernhard Weber that I'll describe in detail because it seems like a neat design with an unusual physical element:
Quote:
In Magic Mountain, you want to move the sorcerers' apprentices down the mountain ahead of the witches — but you don't always know how the will-o'-the-wisps will make the figures move.

To set up, place supports on the game board to elevate the starting area, then place six sorcerers' apprentices in the back row and four witches on their designated starting spaces. Add the five colored will-o'-the-wisp marbles to the bag.

Board Game: Magic Mountain

On a turn, draw a will-o'-the-wisp, then place it at the top of one of the six starting channels and let it go. If the will-o'-the-wisp hits a figure, the ball will stop. Pick up this figure and move it to the next open colored space on the winding path that matches the color of the will-o'-the-wisp. If you're moving a sorcerers' apprentice, you might want to do it quickly because if the will-o'-the-wisp hits that same figure, you can move it once again! Don't rush moving the witches, though, since you want them to move as little as possible. If a will-o'-the-wisp doesn't hit any figures, then you must move a witch of your choice to the next matching colored space. Once all five will-o'-the-wisps have been drawn, return them to the bag and start again.

If you manage to move four sorcerers' apprentices to the bottom of the mountain before three witches get there, you win! You can adjust the difficulty of the game by requiring more sorcerers' apprentices or fewer witches or both. Alternatively, you can play the game competitively, with each player or team trying to get their group of four figures down the mountain first.
You might notice the "Play together, not against each other!" tagline on the cover of Magic Mountain. Yeager noted that for the most part the company's titles in the U.S. have been sold by toy stores, not game stores, so co-operative games might not be familiar to the AMIGO Games audience. That said, Yeager wants to ensure that AMIGO Games releases something more suited for hobby gamers, such as Alexander Pfister's Monster Expedition, at least once a year to keep a foothold in that market.

Ivan Lashin's Furnace was on tables at the booth of both originating publisher Hobby World and licensing partner Arcane Wonders, with this being a 2-4 player game with an extremely clever bidding system in which you want to grind through raw materials to earn the most money. (For more details on the gameplay, head to my detailed overview from May 2021.)

Hobby World's Julia Klokova said that an expansion is currently under development, with Furnace: Interbellum consisting of new characters with special powers, new aspects in the production chain, and a new twist on bidding.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

• Publisher Restoration Games was awaiting many new titles that were in transit...somewhere other than Gen Con 2021, so it was demoing future releases on its main demo tables, with the highlights being Return to Dark Tower, which was funded on Kickstarter in February 2020, and...

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Thunder Road: Vendetta, which is launching on Kickstarter in the near future.

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Components not final

Artisans of Splendent Vale from Nikki Valens and Renegade Game Studios is another title with a crowdfunding connection — with that Kickstarter having launched two days after Gen Con 2021 ended. I don't recall seeing the game being demoed at the show, but you could marvel at the size of the box, which I estimate to be .65 descents. (I assume you're familiar with that unit of measurement?)

From gallery of W Eric Martin

• Aside from reliable sellers like BANG! and its Decktective game line, publisher dV Giochi brought approximately one hundred copies of Wonder Book from Martino Chiacchiera and Michele Piccolini to Gen Con 2021, with visitors playing the pop-up adventure game on one or two tables practically every time I passed the booth.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

• Auction site eBay had a giant booth at Gen Con 2021, and many people speculated before the show what might be taking place there. Turns out that you could have your picture taken and placed on a trading card-like printout. Yes, you too could be Carol Lomas!

Okay, I discovered a bit more to this story later, and I'll get to that in a future post...

From gallery of W Eric Martin

From gallery of W Eric Martin

• On the way to dinner on Thursday night, we met a new friend far from the convention center, a friend we only barely didn't step on thanks to its camouflage.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

• We also saw intriguing DNA-inspired signs/decorations outside the headquarters of pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Company.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

• Then we passed this amazing scene. Why settle for miniatures when you can set up the life-sized work at your home?

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Twitter Facebook
15 Comments
Wed Sep 29, 2021 1:00 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
88 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide

Gen Con 2021 II: Gamewright, Games by Bicycle, Greenbrier Games, and Pops & Bejou Games

W. Eric Martin
United States
Apex
North Carolina
flag msg tools
admin
designer
badge
Avatar
Board Game: Super Mega Lucky Box
Board Game: Qwixx Mixx
• I've already covered several late 2021 releases from Gamewright in two posts: a June 2021 preview of Phil Walker-Harding's roll-and-write game Super Mega Lucky Box, and a July 2021 round-up of Happy City, Chicken Chicken, Hedgehog Roll, Secret Squad, and Qwixx Mixx.

I had mentioned in that July 2021 post that Qwixx Mixx is, as far as I know, the first expansion Gamewright has ever released to retail, so I asked Nora Meiners, Gamewright's consumer marketing manager, about this during Gen Con 2021. Meiners stated that the number one seller on Gamewright's website has consistently been Qwixx replacement scoring pads (link), so it made sense to expand the Qwixx line with an additional title that could be an add-on for such orders.

Board Game: Yōkai
Board Game: Word Heist
Two other new titles present at Gamewright's Gen Con 2021 booth were Yōkai, a co-operative card game from Julien Griffon due out in September 2021 in which you try to group like spirits together, and Word Heist, a design for 2-6 players from Nyles Breecher, Patrick Lindsay, and Jordan Sorenson due out in October 2021 in which you use revealed letters to create a word that you hope others won't guess. You must give some hints as to which letters you used, and the more hints you give, the more you can score...as long as an opponent doesn't guess the word. If they do, then they score for all the letters used in the word, whether those letters were hinted or not.

When talking about sales and business life during the pandemic, Meiners mentioned that not having NY Toy Fair in early 2021 has been rough on Gamewright's publicity efforts since the company focuses on mainstream-friendly games and NY Toy Fair is all about introducing those games to retailers. "You have a small build-up for these new games in lots of places that collectively add up", she said, but without that show, you lose the most effective marketers of your titles.

• Publisher Pops & Bejou Games had hoped to debut CULTivate from designers Austin Foss, Jake Sells, and Jenna Radtke at Gen Con 2021, but the shipment was stuck somewhere in the Los Angeles-Long Beach port mess that I wrote about in this overview post, so they had only two demo copies on hand to show off how each player takes the role of a cult leader, then tries to gain followers and place them in particular patterns on their player board while simultaneously keeping others from doing this.

Board Game: CULTivate

• Publisher Games by Bicycle had a trio of new releases that hit the U.S. market in August 2021 available for demo or purchase, with Crystallized being a 2-4 player game from Frederica Scott Vollrath in which each turn you play one of three cards in hand. For the colors that you match, you place crystals from your reserve onto the shared storage board — but not all the crystals in play will fit on this board. If you need to place crystals but no room remains, then you can give them to another player who still has this color in their reserve, which means you want to void yourself of colors as quickly as you can so that others can't stick you with unplayable crystals. Whoever holds the fewest crystals when the storage board is full wins.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Charlie Hoopes' Emergency Broadcast is a pattern-building game for 2-4 players in which you take turns placing domino-style tiles on a shared game board to try to score objective cards in your card, whether immediately (in case you think opponents will wreck the layout) or at the end of a round for bonus points. In the first round, you draw six tiles and place five, then in the second round you draw five and place four, but only on top of whatever was placed in the first round. Tiles in the third round are then placed on top of second-level tiles, with new objective cards dealt out at the start of that round.

Board Game: Emergency Broadcast
Game board and sample objective cards

Board Game: Emergency Broadcast
Designer Charlie Hoopes

Sideshow Swap, which was originally self-published by designers Phillip James and Adam Stevenson in 2019, is a 2-8 player game in which you're trying to end up with the most valuable performer in play. Performers are numbered 0-15, with each player getting one face down at the start of play and five others being placed in a pool. Each turn, you take your salary, optionally purchase a ticket, then either play a ticket (and take the special action printed on it) or swap your performer with one from the pool. You can always peek at your own performer, but everything else you've seen needs to stick in memory. When the deck of tickets runs out _ or someone plays the unique game-ending ticket — the game ends, and whoever holds the highest performer wins.

Board Game: Sideshow Swap

Board Game: Sideshow Swap

• Publisher Greenbrier Games had advance copies of BarBEARian Battlegrounds: Tales of BarBEARia and the Candy Horde expansion, both of which will hit retail outlets in the U.S. on October 20, 2021. Co-designer Julie Ahern let loose with many bear puns while giving an overview of this 2-6 player game in which you assign dice each round over three seasons to various actions that include attacking your neighbors, gathering resources, gaining specialist powers, placing flags on locations on the adventure board — all in a quest for glory.

Board Game: BarBEARian Battlegrounds: Tales of BarBEARia

Board Game: Yashima: Legend of the Kami Masters
In November 2021, Greenbrier Games will launch a crowdfunding campaign for a reboot of Yashima: Legend of the Kami Masters, a 2015 title from designers Tony Gullotti and Joshua Sprung, with Ahern saying that the game will feature redesigned cards for a cleaner game.

Gordon Alford's map-exploration and storybook-driven game Lost Ones, which was Kickstarted in November 2020, was available for demo at Gen Con 2021 thanks to copies that had been airshipped ahead of the main shipment, which will ideally have a retail release in Q1 2022.

Board Game: Lost Ones

• I've already posted a detailed overview of Azul: Queen's Garden from designer Michael Kiesling, which Next Move Games will debut at SPIEL '21, then release in various countries before the end of 2021, but I'm trying to make sure that I check off everything in my notebook, so here's another pic from my demo game at Gen Con 2021. Go check out that overview if you want to know what's going on with all the bits...

From gallery of W Eric Martin
Non-final components
Twitter Facebook
2 Comments
Tue Sep 28, 2021 1:00 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls

1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5  Next »  [62]