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Find the Right Crew to Tackle Space Dragons, and Prepare to Steal with Matthias Cramer

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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Board Game: Space Dragons
• German publisher Edition Spielwiese has passed along an overview of its 2021 game releases, with the first title due out being Space Dragons, a trick-taking-ish card game from Richi Haarhoff, whose first release was the 2020 title Memorinth, also from Edition Spielwiese. (Haarhoff won the 2018 "Spiel des Jahres" author stipend based on those two designs.)

Space Dragons is for 3-5 players and plays out in 15-20 minutes. At the start of the game, each player receives a spaceship card as well as a hand of nine crew cards, with these cards being numbered 1-80 and featuring 0-3 symbols. After drafting these cards — choose one, pass the rest to the left, choose one, pass, etc. — you then begin the game, which will last seven rounds.

At the start of a round, you reveal a space dragon, which will have a point value and 0-2 symbols. Each player in turn plays one card face up in front of themselves, and whoever plays the highest card claims the dragon. (Your played cards stay in front of you, which is why the draft matters.)

Lower-value cards come with strong effects to help you during the game, while high-value cards might contain harmful effects. When you play a card with a shield, for example, you take an unused crew card from the deck and tuck it under your spaceship with the shield symbol visible. If play a (typically high) card with damage on it, for each damage symbol you either remove a shield from your ship or tuck a crew card under your spaceship with the damage symbol visible. Each damage costs you 5 points at game's end, while each shield is worth 1 point. For each tool symbol you play, you remove one damage. For each crosshairs played, at the end of the round whoever played the highest card must remove one shield or take one damage.

After seven rounds, you score points based on how your collected symbols match up against the scoring cards for that game. Whoever has the most science symbols might collect 10 points, for example, while the player with the fewest science symbols scores 5 points. Players also score for mood and crime, trying to collect the former and avoid the latter. Crew cards might also have positive and negative points.

You can also play Space Dragons using Haarhoff's original rule from the 2018 SdJ event. To do this, you forgo the draft, instead playing a card from your hand during a round, then passing your hand to the left and playing a card from the hand you receive. Doing so makes the game more chaotic since you can't draft a hand to your tastes, but this might be ideal for your first games since you don't know what you're doing anyway.

Board Game: MicroMacro: Crime City
Johannes Sich's MicroMacro: Crime City — which I cover in this BGG News post — has proved to be a big success, and Edition Spielwiese's Michael Schmitt tells me that Crime City: Season 2 is scheduled for release in July 2021, with this being a standalone item with "some more complex cases set in a different part of Crime City". What's more, this title will have links to the original design, and says Schmitt, "In the end, the city will consist of four districts that can be placed next to each other. At the same time, we are preparing, among other things, a standalone app as well as other themed worlds, including a children's game."

• Near the end of 2021, Edition Spielwiese will release Swindler (a.k.a. Beutelschneider) from designer Matthias Cramer, with this being a 2-4 player press-your-luck game in which you're trying to steal items from various bags to complete challenges presented to you by the Guild of Thieves. As you earn money by selling items to fences, you can hire accomplices with special powers. You can earn your turn when you wish, but if you draw a skull from a bag and cannot protect yourself from it, you must return all items you have of this color, even if you collected them on an earlier turn.
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