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New Game Round-up: Small Titles from Cool Mini Or Not, New Master Prints from Quined, and Smitten by Schotten Totten

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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• Perhaps in a nod to Steve Jackson Games' long-running practice of publishing an annual stakeholders report, Cool Mini Or Not has published its own "letter to stakeholders for 2015", noting that its revenue in 2015 was $17.2 million ($10 million more than its 2013 revenue). In terms of new game announcements, CMON CEO Chern Ann Ng writes, "We're also making smaller format games a major part of our strategy, with titles like The Grizzled, Play Me, Looterz, Dojo Kun, Unusual Suspects, Potion Explosion, Waka Tanka, Tada and more entering major distribution this year."

BGG's livestream coverage from GAMA Trade Show 2016 has a 45-minute block covering CMON at 12:15 PDT, and the only thing I knew previously about the titles being featured was this: "five games, some small". Now we all know a bit more, in addition to the news of The Grizzled: At Your Orders! coming in 2016.

• Speaking of the bluffing game Waka Tanka, I published a description of the game in Dec. 2015, noting that CMON planned to release an English-language version in Q1 2016, and the comments on that post lit up about the cover image used for the French version of the game from Sweet November (shown at left).

Since then, the cover artwork for the U.S. edition has changed, and designer Bruno Faidutti has written about this change (and artwork changed in Isla Dorada) on his blog. An excerpt:

Anyway, a Brazilian publisher decided to bring the game to the US, and was as surprised as me, the illustrator, and the French publisher when told the cover picture of the game was overtly racist. Of course, we first mocked the idea that it was impossible to draw an American Indian who looks like an American Indian, but after some discussions on game forums, it appeared that the issue was, once more, extremely specific. The problem was not the exotic and unrealistic setting, which is common in European games and didn't create any problem so far, but the figure of the old chief in the foreground, which reminded every American of "Cigar stores Indian" – an image I didn't even know about.

For both games, the first steps in the discussion between European (and Brazilians) and Americans were trying to prove that the picture was, or wasn't, racist. Of course, this was vain, since the answer is that the same picture can be racist in the US and not in Europe, or the reverse, depending on what part of the representation of the other has become the accepted sign of racism, and whether the very act of caricature is considered insulting or not.

• To continue the chained discussion, Waka Tanka illustrator David Cochard is also the artist on what will be title #16 in Quined Games' Master Print Series: Papa Paolo by designer Fabrice Vandenbogaerde. I know nothing about the game other than what's shown here, and even this isn't final given that the designer's name isn't on the box.

• And to chain even further, here's the final cover art for Quined's new version of Alain Epron's Vanuatu:

• To end this chain, here are covers of two more new editions being released in 2016: In 2014, IELLO published a French version of Kuro's Seventh Hero under the title Héros à Louer, with this title featuring much more playful fantasy art than what was used for the English-language release from AEG. Now in June 2016, in co-operation with AEG, IELLO will release an English-language of this title as Rent a Hero:

• And at Gen Con 2016 in August, IELLO plans to have its new version of Reiner Knizia's Schotten Totten, featuring Djib's art on this charming cover and the best tagline so far in 2016:

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