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Spielwarenmesse 2020 X: Previews of Games from FIJ 2020

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

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 Maybe my publisher contacts are out of date, maybe French publishers prefer to be lackadaisical about setting appointments, I don't know.

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

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

From gallery of W Eric Martin

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

Board Game: Dream Runners

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

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

Board Game: Nidavellir

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

Board Game Publisher: Lumberjacks Studio

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

Board Game: Mosquito Show

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

Board Game: Wild Space

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

Board Game: Imagician

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

Board Game: Fiesta de los Muertos

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

Board Game: Ghost Adventure

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


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

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

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

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

From gallery of W Eric Martin

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

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