W. Eric Martin
• With 2013 now underway, I've started to assemble a convention preview for Spielwarenmesse – the International Toy Fair in Nürnberg, Germany at which publishers show off their wares for the coming year to retailers and the press. As a trade show, Spielwarenmesse differs from October's huge Spiel convention in Essen, Germany in that (a) it's not open to the public but only those who are in the industry in some manner and (b) the games are often not presented in complete form and are not available for purchase. These games will likely be released sometime in the first half of 2013, although some won't appear until later in the year.
Just as the games themselves have in many cases not yet been produced, many details about these games have not yet been released by the publishers. Instead I've been scraping for info about upcoming releases from designers, retailers, press agencies and (when possible) publishers, then assembling makeshift entries for forthcoming games that I'll update later. (NB: This is the reverse of what we want for submissions to the BGG database as we prefer to have full descriptions before accepting a submission, but my job involves pulling together these previews, so I'm breaking the rules in order to bring you as much info as I can now while tagging these entries for updating in the future.)
With all that out of the way, feel free to check out and subscribe to the Nürnberg 2013 Preview to see what's on the agenda from various (mostly European) publishers. Lots of updates to come on this list as publishers start unloading their press releases and image files and I hear back from publishers that I plan to visit in Nürnberg in February 2013 in order to record game demoes. If you're a publisher or designer who will have something on display at the show, email me (address in the BGGN header) to let me know what to add to the list!
• To highlight a couple of titles for which I do have full information, one of the Ravensburger titles due out in early 2013 is Potzblitz from Inka and Markus Brand, which is part of the publisher's "Einfach Spielen" line of easy play games for families. Here's a description of the game:
In Potzblitz, everyone is playing at the same time, rolling their dice to complete the most lucrative tasks – or any task really as at the end of the round, the player who remains taskless pays a penalty, moving him closer to zero points.
To start the game, each player takes three dice in a single color, a claim card, and eight blitz tokens. Each round, three to five plus/minus cards are laid out based on the number of players, with +1 being the highest value and -2 being the lowest. Task cards are then laid out below each plus/minus card other than the -2; these task cards show either a sum or an image of three dice with specific pip values. Once the cards are in place, players start rolling their dice simultaneously, sitting aside any they want to save while trying to match what's shown on one of the task cards.
As soon as a player meets a task with her dice, she can throw her claim card on it, which prevents others from claiming that task. Once all but one player have claimed a task, the round ends. Whoever failed to complete a task loses two blitz tokens, while everyone else loses one, holds onto the same amount, or gains one based on the plus/minus card associated with their completed task.
Players then set up a new round by dealing out new task cards and rolling dice once again. When a player has to return a blitz token but is unable to do so, the game ends and whoever holds the most blitz tokens wins.
• Another title from Ravensburger, which a user has already nicely summarized as FITS + Ubongo, is Just in Time from designer Günter Burkhardt. A summary of the game: "In Just in Time, each player tries to place his pieces on his game board faster than any other player, while leaving gaps in the right places on those boards. Ah, that's the art of the game because there are many points waiting to be scored if the highest possible numbers survive in the gaps created with your playing pieces."
• I already posted info on Schmidt Spiele's Kniffel: Das Kartenspiel from Ted Alspach in a late Dec. 2012 post, but another title from Schmidt has popped onto the radar: Das vergessene Stadt from designer Matt Leacock, the brief description of which is "a thematic sequel to Forbidden Island, with the (surviving) explorers from that adventure working together once again to now search the desert for 'The Forgotten City'." I should have more detailed information on this game soon.
• Designer Wolfgang Kramer has a quick-playing card game from Kosmos titled Primo that fits into the Skip-Bo genre of card-laying games. Here's a summary of the gameplay:
Players in Primo want to rid themselves of cards by laying them in sequence on six stacks shared amongst all the players.
On a turn, a player has six cards in hand. In any order and as many times as the player wants, she can (1) play a card from her hand onto a stack if the number on the played card is one less than the top card of the stack, (2) move one stack onto another if the highest card of the moved stack is one less than the top card of the stack being covered, and (3) play any card from her hand onto an empty stack. A player's turn ends when she can play no more cards, possibly because she has emptied her hand! Two special cards are available with five copies of each; one forces opponents to take cards from the top of a stack and place them in their personal deck, and the other allows a player to play one or more cards at the top of the stack instead of the bottom.
Instead of playing cards on a turn, a player can return any number of cards from her hand to the bottom of her deck, then draw that many cards.
The first player to get rid of all cards in her deck and her hand wins!
Two variants are included in the rules. First, players play four rounds, and after each round all players score negative points for the number of cards left in their decks and hands, while the player who went out scores three positive points. Second, instead of ignoring the card colors (blue and yellow), you choose whether you must alternate card colors in the stacks or have only a single color of cards in each stack.
• On his personal website, Kramer mentions that his 6 nimmt! card game – now nineteen years old! – will appear in yet another version in the U.S. After previous appearances as Take 6, Category 5 and Slide 5, 6 nimmt! will be released as – drumroll, please – The Walking Dead Card Game, with Cryptozoic Entertainment releasing the game in Q2 2013. Here's a description of the game:
The Walking Dead Card Game, based on Wolfgang Kramer's 6 nimmt!, features the same basic gameplay as that card game while adding ten character cards and two modes of play: Survival and Hero.
To play the game, you shuffle the 104 number cards, lay out four cards face-up to start the four rows, then deal a number of cards to each player. Each turn, players simultaneously choose and reveal a card from their hand, then add the cards to the rows, with cards being placed in ascending order based on their number; each card is placed in the row that ends with the highest number that's below the card's number. When the sixth card is placed in a row, the owner of that card claims the other five cards and the sixth card becomes the first card in a new row.
In addition to a number from 1 to 104, each card has a zombie point value. In Survival mode (for 3-10 players), players want to collect as few points as possible, while in Hero mode (for 2-6 players) you want to collect more zombie points than anyone else. In Hero mode, each player has a single-use character card that can give you an extra advantage in the round in which you play it.