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Spiel 2015 I: 504, Automania, Cornwall, Completto, Team Play & Power Grid: The Stock Companies

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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• Let's start the individual game demonstration videos from Spiel 2015 with one of the most anticipated titles out there: 504 from designer Friedemann Friese and his own 2F-Spiele.

One game publisher I spoke with at Spiel 2015 dismissed the design as being 504 mediocre games and wondered why anyone would pay attention to what seems more like an experiment than a finished design — but I'd argue that the experimental nature of the design is one reason why people are paying attention to 504 in the first place. Creating a game from what's akin to a child's flipbook each time you play is a cool concept, akin to the cut-up writing technique of dadaists and William Burroughs in that you're never sure what the output is going to be until you're experiencing it firsthand. Such work isn't going to be to everyone's tastes, sure, but I've enjoyed my first encounter with the game and am eager for more.

• Friese and 2F-Spiele also had the far more conventional Power Grid: The Stock Companies at Spiel 2015, with this expansion adding three new ways to play Power Grid or Power Grid Deluxe, all of which involve shares.

• Each year at Spiel we vacillate between having a strict policy of reminding publishers of their demo appointments in the BGG booth shortly before they're due to appear and assuming that they'll remember to appear given that it's a nice bit of publicity for their publication. We vacillate not because we think reminders are bad, but because we're often short of runners at the time that we'd want to send someone.

In this case, however, I was headed to the press conference early on Wednesday during the final set-up day, so I stopped at the booths of the first half-dozen speakers on the way in order to remind them of their demo slots — which was a good thing for Aporta Games with its Automania title from Kenneth Minde and Kristian Amundsen Østby as Østby was already in the press demo room since he thought his demo time was later in the day. Crisis averted!

• As happens all to often at Spiel, I recall a game that I wanted to investigate further only after the fair is long over and I'm posting a video about it, the game in question this time being Completto from Heinz Meister and Schmidt Spiele as it sounds like a good intro game for casual players and unsuspecting parents of children who come for playdates with my son. Oh well...

• Designer Johannes Schmidauer-König debuted in 2012 with Dog Royal, a new take on Schmidt Spiele's Dog, and he and Schmidt have since published a few other titles, including the decently received Vienna in 2014 and now Cornwall in 2015.

• Oh, hey, here's Schmidauer-König again with another Schmidt title: Team Play. You might begin to think that "Johannes Schmidauer-König" is a pseudonym for one or more editors at Schmidt, but he also had Die Portale von Molthar released by AMIGO Spiel at Spiel 2015 so that seems unlikely.

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