KOSMOS kastle, one of many enclosed areas at the fair accessible only with an appointment or an invading horde of ninjas.
To start with, KOSMOS' Arnd Fischer gave me an overview of Klaus Teuber's Norderwind, a three-dimensional game due out March 2014 that superficially resembles Zoch's Riff Raff, but in practice the ship is an evocative action-tracking and resource-holding device, not part of a dexterity challenge.
Xalapa from HUCH!, as shown in this BGGN round-up, designer Lauge Luchau has Dimension coming from KOSMOS. Both titles are puzzling, restriction-based games, with players trying to place objects on an independent game board in real time better than anyone else. Which Luchau title will reign supreme?
Ravensburger was another German company with a compound set-up and labyrinthine walls that would leave an unescorted intruder confused and unable to escape. (While looking for Ravensburger on the hall 12 map on the way to our appointment, I started scanning the alphabetical list of companies, but my cameraperson John K. hit my arm and said, "Um, Eric, I think it's this one", pointing to a giant space on the map that dwarfed every other surrounding company. Indeed.)
Ravensburger had not included Inka and Markus Brand's Burgenland in its initial display of early 2014 releases, but perhaps the artwork wasn't quite ready at that time. No matter, though, because we recorded an overview at the fair.
Cartagena next to Burgenland in the video above, but don't go looking for a video of it as John and I skipped Cartagena — since it's 98% the same game as the one first published by Venice Connection and Winning Moves other than rules about removing a track piece for a faster game — and we instead snuck in Matchball by the Make 'n' Break design duo of Andrew and Jack Lawson.
Matchball doesn't have much to it, resembling Duchamp's Fountain in terms of complexity, but the Lawsons thought of it first and sold it, so kudos to them. (Actually, this is only one of two "bounce balls into targets" games that we saw at Spielwarenmesse. I'll get to the other one once I finally step away from the videos and do a few write-ups.)
AbluXXen, a quick-playing and mean-spirited card game from Wolfgang Kramer and Michael Kiesling that was released in Germany in January 2014.
I received a press copy of AbluXXen at Spielwarenmesse, and I've already played it thirty times, mostly as a two-player game thanks to an exchange student who's a glutton for punishment and a fine guinea pig for an eager gamer. I'll record a more detailed preview in the near future as Philippe covers the basics in the video below, but doesn't do justice to the spirit of the game.
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10 Feb 2014
- [+] Dice rolls