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Germanizing Games - Es war einmal der Zasterhort!

Christian Heckmann
Germany
Mainz
Rheinland Pfalz
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Here's a disclaimer: Even though this series of posts is called "Germanizing Games", unless further reinforced, I don't suggest that all of the games featured on this article have original English titles. "Germanizing" is just a handy word that doesn't one-hundred-percent describe what I am doing here. Also this list isn't meant to be comprehensive when it comes to box cover artwork and it's not supposed to focus on this. Excursions into this subject are to be understood rather as a bonus than the centerpiece of these articles, which is the differences and similarities between English and German titles of board games (no matter which one is the original). That said, I don't own all of the board games out there, I can't double-check everything, I have to work with what the Geek gives me. If there are factual errors in what I write here, I'll be thankful for corrections.

Alrighty, let's continue to germanize some games, shall we?

Board Game: Once Upon a Time: The Storytelling Card Game


Board Game: Once Upon a Time: The Storytelling Card Game


The way Once Upon a Time: The Storytelling Card Game was translated into German shouldn't be even remotely surprising to anybody who has ever been even in vague contact with the German way of telling a story. "Es war einmal..." is the usual way us Germans introduce a fairy-tale (and/or other tales) and it means something to the effect of "There once was...", while "Once upon a time...", if translated literally, would give you something like "Einst, vor einer Zeit...". Yeah, it's pretty similar. I mean, why wouldn't it be? It tries to express pretty much the same thing. It's a bit unclear where the expression originates from. I'd have guessed that it would be the collection of fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm but it could also be that the original version was H.C. Andersen's "Der var engang". Who knows? The German subtitle "Ein märchenhaftes Spiel..." means "A fairytale-like game...". Kind of. See, while "Märchenhaft" can mean "fairytale-like". But it also can mean "fabulous". So... we're so good when it comes to puns, aren't we?

Board Game: Castaways


Board Game: Castaways


Náufragos is Spanish (or Portuguese) and means "castaway". Which might explain why the game by Spanish designer Alberto Corral is called Castaways (with the subtitle "Náufragos", apparently) in English. German publisher Lookout Games decided to be a bit artsy-fartsy and respect the game's heritage, which is why in Germany, the game is still called "Náufragos", albeit with the subtitle "Die Schiffbrüchigen", which means "The castaways" in English. Pretty simple, eh? Still, I found it kind of interesting.

Board Game: DungeonQuest


Board Game: DungeonQuest


Wow, what a throwback. Did you know that DungeonQuest is actually a Swedish game? It was originally released in 1985 under the title "Drakborgen", which translates to "Dragon Castle". Next up, there was a Danish version called "Drageborgen" (meaning roughly the same thing as "Drakborgen", although Google Translate tells me that "drageslot" would be probably more appropriate), a Norwegian one called "Skatten i borgen" (which if my rudimentary knowledge of Norwegian doesn't deceive me means something along the lines of "The treasure in the castle") and then the first English version that went by the aforementioned name DungeonQuest. German publisher Schmidt Spiele went back to the original idea and called the whole thing "Drachenhort", "dragon hoard", and commissioned some fabulous artwork for the cover. Contentwise the German edition seems to be a mixture between the English and Swedish editions, character art and names were apparently taken from the English version, while the card-artwork came from the Swedish version. There's also a weird tagline for the German version. It says "Gemeinsam oder allein - wer wagt es und dringt in das Verlies des Drachen ein?", roughly "Together or alone - who dares and invades the dragon's dungeon?". Not exactly the English "Dare you face the dragon's challenge?", which would rather be "Traust du dich, die Herausforderung des Drachen anzunehmen?" in German.

Board Game: Pit


Board Game: Pit


Speaking of throwbacks... Holy fuck, the uppermost picture is apparently of (one of) the first edition(s) of Pit. That's from 1903. That was more than twenty years before my grandfather was born. 118 friggin' years ago. That's a long, long time ago, in case you didn't know. It's also not a very good game. Amusing for five minutes or so, but that's about it. So I have no idea why it seems to be popular to this day. Ah well, what can you do? It looks like it took the game a while to come to Germany. I'm not sure whether that horrible (and entirely too small) cover up there is the first German edition, the Geek doesn't know either, but yeah, that game, called "Zaster" (a word derived from "saster", the Sinti-expression for iron which is a German slang-term for money, kind of similarly used as "dough"), was released in 1978. Three quarters of a century after the original English version. It also came out during that terrible time where German publishers decided to put photos of "happy families playing the game" on the covers of everything. It's harrowing if you asked me. They also slapped a very weird tagline onto the cover that you probably can't read because it's so small. It reads "Devisen, Devisen - wer hat zuerst 'n Riesen?". Which rhymes, so it has to be poetry, right? It means roughly "Forexes, forexes - who's the first to get a grand?". Real smooth.

Board Game: Cube Quest


Board Game: Cube Quest


And the final one for today, Cube Quest, a silly little die-dexterity-battle that has a really pompous and self-important air in its original English incarnation, if you asked me. I mean, sure, that gigantic die in the sky is kind of goofy, but apart from that, you'd be forgiven to think that this is a real strategy game or something like that. Not when it comes to the (first) German edition, though (there's a second one that was released this year, which also comes in a tube-package). Because that one has a super silly title ("Rumms", which basically means "thump" or "crash"), a sillier subtitle ("Voll auf die Krone!"... a bit hard to translate, we Germans have the expression "Voll auf die Fresse!", which translates to "Right in the kisser!", so "Voll auf die Krone!" should be "Right on the crown!") than the relatively serious "Clash for the crown" and more cartoonish artwork, not only on the cover but also in the game itself (if I remember correctly... the playing-mats are identical but the dice have wackier artwork on them). Which is a good thing, I'd say. Cube Quest is a stupid and silly albeit actually really fun little game and the German presentation really sells that, if you asked me. So good work, Kosmos. You did good this time. Don't let it go to your head, though, you've fucked up far more often...

And that's it for today. Hope you learned something and were entertained in the process. This will probably have been the last Germanizing Games post for the year. I mean... maybe it wasn't. Maybe I'll do another one before New Year's Eve. We'll see. Anyway, here's my Bandcamp-page. Check it out. And have a fantastic day.

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