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Spiel 2015 XVIII: Japon Brand Blitz II — Minerva, My Fair Princess, Vanquish Sky, Air Alliance, Village of Familiar & More

W. Eric Martin
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• Hisashi Hayashi's Minerva from OKAZU Brand is a puzzley tile-laying game that has you managing money in order to afford the tiles you want, then trying to line them up in the right way so that you can activate them — ideally over and over again — to fuel further growth.

• Hayashi and OKAZU Brand also had the far lighter Go da Cheese! card game, with players trying to lay out their mice, cats and dogs carefully on the available cheese so that each animal can catch the thing it desires.

• Kuro publishes a lot of titles through his Manifest Destiny brand, with more than a dozen games being released in 2015 — seriously, check out the TGM Preview that I'm putting together for a half-dozen new games coming out in November 2015 — with some of those designs being larger board games as opposed to "simply" card games. My Fair Princess challenges the player knights to raise orphaned girls so that they have a shot at becoming a princess.

• Another Kuro title at Spiel 2015 was Vanquish Sky, a two-player battle game with players laying out cards that have an RPS-relationship, triggering special moves when dealing damage the right way (based on their played cards) and getting access to more cards with each point of damage taken.

• Kuro's Cinema Frontier, which has players assembling scenes and actors to create the best movie, wasn't part of Japon Brand's initial line-up, but the designer finished the design, so *boom* onto the list it went.

• Akio Nomura's Air Alliance from Route11 is an involved tactical game of moving passengers around the world in order to earn money, ideally creating alliances with other airlines in the process in order to look others out of your routes.

• I've already previewed Rubbish Auction from Takahiro and KogeKogeDo, finding it an odd bidding game that throws in a bluffing element related to what brings you bonus points at the end of the game.

• Seiji Kanai's Shinobi Arts — in which players use their ninja skills to collect items — comes from QBIST, not his own Kanai Factory, but I have no idea what that means, if anything, regarding the game's origin or development. So much that I don't know about the JP market...

Village of Familiar is a larger game from One Draw normally publishes, with this Hiroki Kasawa design challenging players to build magical tree houses for their familiars, who can also come in handy with resource collection.

TimeBomb from Yusuke Sato and New Board Game Party is a hidden role game of terrorists vs. SWAT with one side trying to get the other to accidentally set off a bomb or delay their crime-fighting efforts.

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