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Pics from Spielwarenmesse 2015 I: Catan: Das Spiel, Broom Service, CardLine Marvel & Star Wars Carcassonne

W. Eric Martin
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From gallery of W Eric Martin
As was the case in 2013 and 2014, BoardGameGeek showed up at the 2015 Spielwarenmesse — the giant toy and game fair held annually in Nürnberg, Germany — with John Knoerzer and me filming dozens of game demonstration videos over three days. I'll be editing those videos over the next week or so (fingers crossed!) and to tide you over until I start posting those, here are some of the pictures that I shot during the fair and tweeted through the BGG Twitter account.

Board Game: Carcassonne

Let's start with the title that generated the most buzz on Twitter: Star Wars Carcassonne, a title so ephemeral that it consisted solely of a single (preliminary) cover image on an otherwise blank box and sixteen (preliminary) tiles that transform the familiar elements of Carcassonne into space terms: monasteries become planets, cities become gaseous clouds, and roads become a glowing blue interstellar highway of some sort.

Again, this is all preliminary as can be interpreted from that "subject to licensor approval" sign that the Schmidt Spiele representative insisted on being in this shot and two more to come. Note that the Star Wars license itself is not preliminary because otherwise Schmidt would not display this item at all. (Not that this box was highly visible, mind you, as you could see it only within the heart of Schmidt's booth.) What's still subject to approval is the particulars of the graphic design as well as the nature of gameplay as parent company Schmidt and publisher Hans im Glück want to incorporate the Star Wars mythos into the gameplay in some manner, but every detail needs final approval from Disney/Lucasfilm

Board Game: Qwirkle

That was far from the only Star Wars-themed game on display at Spielwarenmesse 2015 as can be seen by the (preliminary) design for Qwirkle: Star Wars, which probably shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone seeing how Schmidt Spiele released Qwirkle: The Simpsons and Qwirkle: Micky Mouse & Friends in 2014. When you have a blank canvas like Qwirkle, why not paint it with subjects that you know will sell?

Board Game: Ligretto

Star Wars Rebels also makes a showing among unreleased games due out in 2015 thanks to this (preliminary) look at Ligretto: Star Wars Rebels, which has a different character on the back of each deck and the familiar numbers and colors on the front.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Oh, hey, here's another Star Wars-themed game, this one taking Frédéric Henry's Timeline design and applying it to movies IV, V and VI in the Star Wars series. I'm not sure how tough it will be for SW fans to arrange every (preliminary) frame in Timeline: Star Wars in chronological order, but I doubt that will stop them from buying it just the same.

Seeing this title, though, makes me wonder how many Timeline games might exist ten or twenty years from now. Timeline: The Lord of the Rings, Timeline: Dr. Who, Timeline: Pulp Fiction, Timeline: Harry Potter — so many possibilities exist, most of them probably already residing in a folder in Asmodee headquarters.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

And if Timeline is picking up licenses, then why not Henry's CardLine series, which is identical in gameplay but with multiple numbers on each card to allow for more variety of play with the same set of cards. With CardLine Marvel, players can compare stats on strength, intelligence and fighting ability for many characters in the Marvel superhero universe.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

This shot of alea's Broom Service from Andreas Pelikan and Alexander Pfister doesn't tell you too much about the gameplay of this revamped version of Pelikan's Witch's Brew, but it does give you some sense of the game board — well, one side of the game board — which might help you imagine gameplay, which consists of acquiring potions through card play, then delivering them to different towers in the realm while avoiding storm clouds and other players.

We recorded a video with an overview of gameplay so that will provide more detail once it's live.

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As noted on BGG News in late January 2015, in celebration of the 20th anniversary of The Settlers of Catan, publishers KOSMOS and Mayfair Games and brand overseer Catan GmbH have rebranded the entire Catan line, dropping "The Settlers of" from the title in order to focus on the brandable, not-needing-to-be-translated location of Catan.

The new look for the game line is v. similar to the old look used by KOSMOS, with the boxed expansions also streamlining their titles and each tile now having unique art.

From gallery of W Eric Martin

Catan Kompakt is the new travel version of the game, and the plastic game board folds to fit in the trapezoid-shaped box at the top of the image. So few trapezoids in the game industry! That's what we've been missing!

The components get locked in the pull-out drawers, and the game board is composed of six pieces, some of which can be seen on the red displays at the top of the image; you can flip and move these pieces around as in the Simply Catan version of the game from 2006.

The rules include a two-player variant that includes "forced trading" cards for those times when your lone opponent is smart enough not to want to trade with you, which should be most of the time. When you play one of these cards, you take two cards from the opponent, then give back one card of your choice. Thanks for the "trade", pal!
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