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Upcoming Games Teased at the 2015 Gathering of Friends

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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From gallery of W Eric Martin
For those who don't know, the Gathering of Friends is an invite-only game convention that designer Alan R. Moon started in 1990, and while the convention was indeed a gathering of friends when it started, over time it's morphed into a gaming industry event that draws publishers who are looking to showcase upcoming games, designers who are looking to pitch prototypes to those publishers, and gamers who are looking to play as much as they can in the time available.

I've attended the Gathering multiple times since the mid-2000s, but I'm not at the con in 2015 as I'm planning to travel to Tokyo instead to cover Game Market in May. (More on that con at a later date.) Thus, I'm following the Gathering game teases from afar like anyone else, and in case others aren't doing the same, I thought I'd post a round-up to let you know what might be coming out in the months and years ahead. Gathering attendees are supposed to ask permission before sharing unpublished game designs, and ideally that's the case with everything included below because that would mean the depicted games are indeed to be forthcoming releases. Note that these games are almost always presented with non-final graphics and components.

To start with, Czech Games Edition has a ton of material being shown at the Gathering, such as this:

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Image courtesy Aeos James and used with permission

Okay, that's not exactly news since CGE announced in June 2014 that in addition to redesigning Through the Ages for the digital version then under development, it was also working "on a new edition of the physical board game that will feature similar improvements", with those improvements being new card design, new illustrations, some rebalancing on cards, and the possible addition of new cards. At the time CGE announced that "you can expect the new version of the board game at Essen 2015", and oh, hey, here we are in April 2015 looking ahead to what's going to be released later this year.

What else do we have from Czech Games Edition?

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Image courtesy Aeos James and used with permission

As a CGE rep later clarifies, this expansion is indeed a prototype — i.e., it's not finished and of course might never appear in print at all — but "the main domain of these Demons will be 'Hell gate' aka teleport".

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Image used with permission

• On Opinionated Gamers, Ben McJunkin shows off a "Quests" expansion for Galaxy Trucker that in his words "works to adapt the board game to the app".

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Prototype artwork; images used with permission

• In a separate OG post, McJunkin gives an overview of The Castaway Club, a design from Last Will designer Vladimír Suchý that takes the basic premise of that game — in essence, lose all of your money first to win — and expands the challenge to you losing influence and political clout in addition to your money. As OG editor Dale Yu explains in another post, "The game ends when someone gets to zero thumbs or zero influence, and then your score is your score in your worst of the three categories", although I'm guessing that he means the highest of your three categories.

• In that same OG post, Yu posts a pic of what I believe to be Splotter Spellen's Food Chain Magnate, which is scheduled to debut at Spiel 2015 in October, but it mostly looks like a million cards in tiny piles, so you can't make out much of anything.

• To return to Czech Games Edition, Debbie Ohi offers a couple of pics of Adrenaline, a first-person shooter board game from Filip Neduk, designer of the 2012 CGE title Goblins, Inc.:

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Image courtesy Aeos James and used with permission

• Ben McJunkin also offers this small CGE teaser of a word game from designer Vlaada Chvátil:

• To tie in to all of the CGE titles just mentioned, here's designer Vlaada Chvátil and Heli Barthen playing Flick 'em Up! from Pretzel Games, with the pic showing off many of the components in the game:

• One of the other publishers showing off a large number of forthcoming releases at the Gathering is eggertspiele, such as the table-hogging Porta Nigra from Kramer and Kiesling, which has only this description so far:

Porta Nigra is named after a large Roman city gate from the 2nd century in Trier, Germany. The game is set in that place and time, and the players are Roman architects working on this gate. Each player has a master builder that moves around a circular board, with you allowed to buy or build only where this builder is located, although with multiple movement points you can perform actions in different locations, with the type and number of actions coming from cards in your personal draw deck.

• Dale Yu has a couple of other shots of Porta Nigra in this OG post.

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Mombasa, eggertspiele, 2015 — photo used w/ permission

• On Opinionated Gamers, Ben McJunkin highlights the 2015 release Mombasa from Alexander Pfister and eggertspiele: "This is a very good, meaty game that will appeal to most heavier Euro fans. As a point of comparison, think about something like Russian Railroads." He summarizes his first play of Mombasa in a separate post: "I won, but it took half a game for anyone to figure out what they should be doing."

• Another title coming from eggertspiele is Friedemann Friese's BAU!, a building game in which players try to build towers from wooden parts based on what they roll on the die. OG Dale Yu summarizes the game on OG, but the design is still in the oven at this point, so details must wait for later.

• Speaking of Friese, he playtested his big Spiel 2015 release 504 at Toronto board game café Snakes & Lattes prior to the Gathering and has continued to playtest it throughout the Gathering with 2F-Spiele comrade-in-arms Henning Kröpke:

Invalid tweet.

• That's most of what I've seen in terms of soon-to-be-released games at the Gathering, although there's also this one of Rob Daviau's SeaFall:

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Image courtesy Aeos James and used with permission

• And my sweetheart:

Me neither! So bummed to be missing out on more Time Stories, but that day will have come already soon.

For a last pic, here's an overview of how Paul Jeffries reconstructs game boxes to keep them from being shelf hogs. I talked with Paul about this in 2014 after seeing a few of his creations, and he is way more dedicated to making them both compact and beautiful-looking than I am. (I shoot for compact and don't worry about recreating the box sides or replicating the cover in a smaller scale, but man, does his work look good!)

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