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Origins Game Fair 2017 I: Czech Games Edition — Codenames Duet, That's a Question!, and Pulsar 2849

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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Board Game Designer
Board Game Publisher: Czech Games Edition
Thanks to the efficient editing efforts of Nikki Pontius of BGG's own GameNight!, I can start posting game demonstrations and overviews recorded in the BGG booth during the 2017 Origins Game Fair less than week after that show ended. Kudos, Nikki!

• We'll start with a trio of titles coming from Czech Games Edition, with the first two of those titles — Codenames Duet and That's a Question! — scheduled to debut at Gen Con 2017 in August.

Codenames Duet is, as far as I can tell, the second title that lists Vlaada Chvátil as a co-designer (with Star Trek: Frontiers being the first). My understanding is that Scot Eaton approached CGE with the basic design for this two-player take on the Spiel des Jahres-winning Codenames, and CGE has been developing it non-stop ever since. The version of the game that I played at PAX East in mid-March 2017 differed from the original submission, and that version differed from what I saw one week later at the GAMA Trade Show, and that differed from what I saw at the Gathering in April, and so on. CGE has a great reputation for its designs, and seeing that development work in action helps you understand why they have the reputation that they do.

That's a Question! is another party game from Chvátil, his take on the well-known "guess how someone will answer a question" genre. In this design players get to create their own questions using the hexagonal topic cards in hand, with the goal of trying to split the party in their answers.

I had asked someone at CGE about Chvátil's most recent designs all being party games, and they mentioned that he has children now, so he's been leaning toward shorter games that allow for quicker iteration and development. That isn't to say that Chvátil is done with larger and longer games, but given the strength of Codenames and how much fun this game has been to observe (as all I've done is observe it so far), this change of focus isn't necessarily a loss.

• The final title previewed by CGE is Pulsar 2849, a dice-drafting, space exploration game from designer Vladimír Suchý (Last Will) that will debut at SPIEL 2017 in October. The design is still in development right now, but Josh Githens demonstrates the basics of game, the basics of the tech trees (plural, with each player having an individual tree and all players sharing a different tree), how you explore the stars, and more.

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