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Game Previews from Spielwarenmesse 2016: First Martians, 51st State: Master Set, Stone Age Junior, West of Africa, Imagine, Ice Cult, Ice Cool, and In the Name of Odin

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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• After pausing for a quick trip to NY Toy Fair and some technical help with videos (since some of the ones that I processed picked up popping noises along the way), I've started posting the final 30-40 game previews videos from Spielwarenmesse 2016 on BGG's YouTube channel. I won't link to all of them in this section, but each video will also appear on its respective game page in the database.

That said, here's a handful that I thought you'd want to see, starting with First Martians from Ignacy Trzewiczek and Portal Games. Ignacy doesn't talk much about the general game design — and doesn't show off anything — but he does explain how this game design integrates an app into gameplay and why the app is important for what he wants to do as a designer.

• Trzewiczek also presented an overview of 51st State: Master Set, which relaunches that game system in the wake of Imperial Settlers, which was something of a relaunch itself. Here you can learn what's coming in the base set and what to expect in the future.

Kraftwagen was the first new title from German publisher ADC Blackfire, with Spielworxx' Uli Blennemann in charge of the game's development. Now Blennemann is preparing Martin Schlegel's West of Africa for release from ADC in 2016, with players in this game effectively bidding with the actions that they want to take each turn.

• Krzysztof Zięba's In the Name of Odin from NSKN Games invites you to take off to the great white north in Europe.

• Marco Teubner's Stone Age Junior from Hans im Glück, which Z-Man Games will publisher as My First Stone Age, presents a boiled-down version of the original game, with players focusing solely on building huts — and no, not that hut.

• I love the sound of Imagine, which comes across as a more freeform version of Concept, and am bummed that I missed out on picking up the game at Tokyo Game Market in 2015. At least Cocktail Games is bringing the game to a wider audience, and I believe that an English-language version is in the works, although the publisher for that has yet to be announced.

• Given how polished its releases normally look, Zoch Verlag was surprisingly unprepared with the final graphics for many of its designs, including Joe Wetherell's Ice Cult. As a rep explained to me, Zoch moved its headquarters shortly after Spiel, so it was offline for three weeks, and I can only imagine how many headaches that created.

In any case, this design looks like a fascinating abstract strategy game, one that can puzzle over quite a bit as you try to figure out how to do exactly what you want to do.

• Finally, at least for this round-up, is Ice Cool, a flicking game from Brian Gomez and Brain Games, with those two names seeming like a natural pairing. In this game, all players are penguins, with one trying to catch all of the others, and unlike in most other flicking games, you can launch yourself through the air and do wild curves as you spin along on your round little body. The nesting game board trays is just another neat touch in the design.

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