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Spielwarenmesse 2014 — Game Previews V: Han, Limes, Tortuga, Friday the 13th & Oink!

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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Board Game: Han
• Another day, another batch of preview videos recorded at Spielwarenmesse 2014 — the annual toy and game fair held in Nürnberg, Germany — by me and my cameraperson John K. (Every time I write his name, I think of "hot hands" Franz, as his girlfriends used to call him, but John is far less brooding and far more of a sports fan.)

Let's start this time with the trio of games coming from German publisher ABACUSSPIELE, still riding high off the Spiel des Jahres win for Hanabi in mid-2013 but also busy with new projects and new editions of old projects, such as Michael Schacht's Han. Han is both old and new, featuring the same gameplay as China but with new rules, new variants, and new game boards — and in Schacht's designs, sometimes knowing the board is half the battle.

Board Game: Limes
• The other larger game from ABACUS is Martyn F's Limes, which is pronounced "lee-mez" and refers to the border set-up of Ancient Rome. This game is a remake of F's Cities, with both similar gameplay and some differences (just like the title above!).

Board Game: Oink!
• The last new game from ABACUS in the first half of 2014 is a quick-playing card game from Inon Kohn titled Oink! Despite already knowing the basics about most of the games I'm previewing at Spielwarenmesse (thanks to all the write-ups I did for the Nürnberg/NY 2014 Preview), I don't usually practice my intros or plan anything, but instead just wing it and see what happens. Sometimes this leads to unusual sounds being issued, but ABACUS' Matthias Wagner took it in stride, though, pro that he is.

Board Game: Tortuga
• Hmm, a couple of videos are already in place for Jay Cormier and Sen-Foong Lim's Tortuga from Queen Games on that game page, but gosh darn it, I traveled all the way to Germany to record these things, so I'm going to go ahead and present this overview video here. That's the pirate way, after all. Take no prisoners! Speak quietly and carry a Sennheiser microphone!

Board Game Publisher: Le Scorpion Masqué
• Some games are reprinted again and again with new versions and new themes, and while I suppose you might consider that a fault — with the theme-gameplay connection being tenuous enough that it's reborn each time — I think it's just one aspect of publishers doing their thing and presenting game designs in their own idealized packages, in the form they view best for the design in question.

That brings us to Friday the 13th, a card game from Le Scorpion Masqué and designer Reiner Knizia, with the game having previously appeared in print as Poison, Thirteen and Baker's Dozen. Whatever the name, though, the gameplay remains solid with a lot of "in your face" moments as you get to screw your poor, hapless left-had neighbor again and again through solid hand management and a dash of luck.

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