W. Eric Martin
• To continue with reports from the 2018 Spielwarenmesse trade fair, let's look at Age of Giants, an expansion for both the 2017 Spiel des Jahres winner Kingdomino from Bruno Cathala and Blue Orange Games and that game's integrable sequel Queendomino.
This expansion includes twelve new tiles that allow for either game to be played with up to five players, with some of those tiles having letters and being placed earlier than any number in the drafting order and other tiles having a number higher than any others. Some tiles have a giant depicted on them, and if you take one of those, *plop*, you have a giant in your kingdom; grab a tile with footprints on a later turn, and you can then make that giant mosey somewhere else.
In addition to the giants, the expansion includes a set of objectives, giving you a new reason to claim this tile over that one since you might be able to claim big bonuses at game's end.
• IELLO showed off a few games that I've mentioned in other posts (Raids, Fairy Tile) as well as an unfinished prototype of 8-Bit Box, which is meant to resemble a video game console in both looks and gameplay. Check out the player controllers in the lower right corner! Each one has a direction dial, an action dial (showing A, B, C & D), and a number wheel.
8-Bit Box will come with three games that resemble old time video games, such as the Pixoid game in the image below. These games will have their unique bits packaged in individual boxes that fit inside the "console" box, while a separate box will hold bits common to all games, such as the controllers and cubes.
• Hans im Glück featured the extremely Hans-im-Glücky-sounding Race to the New Found Land from Martin Kallenborn and Jochen Scherer.
In the game, each player represents one of four exploration-hungry European countries, each having different starting bonuses and one tiny starting ship. During the game, you will want to build additional ships because each ship can take an action in each round. Actions include things like building those previously mentioned ships, exploring islands off the coast of North America (which gives you bonuses and sets you up for majority scoring on each one), and researching in various cities for items to be used later.
As you hit certain milestones on the scoring track, you claim one of the bonuses in a particular deck, then move the milestone marker down a few notches to make it easier for others to reach. Thus, you get first dibs on who will captain your fleet or what type of endgame objective you'll have, but you kind of help others to improve along the way.
• Shortly after arriving at Spielwarenmesse, I ran into Eric M. Lang, Director of Game Design with CMON Limited, and he told me that designer Andrea Chiarvesio had joined CMON as Senior Game Designer. An official press release is still in the works, but for now you have this pic of the two of them.
• Lang told me that Gizmos, a Phil Walker-Harding title that I had played twice in prototype form at BGG.CON 2017, was on display in the CMON booth, but it was just a trap as the game wasn't anywhere to be seen. I batted my eyes at the person working the CMON booth, and they got permission for me to take a picture of the Gizmos box — which was not helpful at all. As I note in my description below, this design is a super-fueled combo engine, and I'll say more once things get a bit more public.
• Designer Gerhard Junker of Juhu-Spiele released a few hundred copies of the dexterity game Blocky Mountains in 2014, and now German publisher Noris Spiele has licensed the design and is releasing a new edition aimed at players ages 5 and up. Interesting to see something so niche and hobby-centric being presented to the German public at large, but it makes sense given that the game itself is very toy-like and something that a lot of kids would play around with, as with HABA games, without caring how much they were adhering to the rules.