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Latin American New Game Round-up: Beautiful Gardens and Primary Colors — and Butter Lids

Hilko Drude
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Welcome to a new edition of my Latin American news. As always, it is hard to predict how many people will really care, but I am convinced that in the future, Latin American games will be integrated into the international market better than they are now. Many Asian games made it, too, after all. Enjoy the read.

Argentina

In late April 2018, Buenos Aires saw the fourth edition of the Geek Out Fest. For the third time, the King Alfonso Awards were handed out (I had written about the candidates here).

Being far away from the action, it was a bit hard for me to determine who the hot favorites were, but I had kept my eyes and ears open and it didn't come as a big surprise that Franco Toffoli's Corona de Hierro would be a strong contender — and it was indeed declared the winner. I have finally played the game now after owning it since SPIEL, and I certainly see the appeal. It's a rather confrontative medieval struggle in which becoming the king might be the key to success, but is not necessarily enough to ensure victory. Artwork is by Luis María Dumont, Emiliano Mariani and Guillermo H. Nuñez.




A bit outside the big spotlight, Mandalas by Mauro Guarino had been published in a tiny print run before, but is currently updated for an improved component quality. In the game, you assemble thirteen pieces to form a mandala in which matching patterns and colors should ideally share a border. Even without knowing Spanish, you should be able to get the idea from this short video. The company's name is Old Skull Ideas.




Brazil

A truly marvellous project can be found here. The Clube do Tabuleiro de Campinas (Campinas (city) Board Game Club) develops games for those who normally cannot afford to buy any. It's sort of a new approach to the concept of print-and-play as the games are made in a way that you can use materials that often end up in the trash. The print-and-play components can be downloaded for free.

The latest game is called Batalha espacial ("Space Battle") and was created by Wagner Gerlach. Aside from a few printouts, you need the lid of a butter container that is apparently common in Brazil. In the game, two spaceships shoot at each other from the two sides of the playing field. Between them lies the lid, which can be turned. Shots have different effects depending on which section of the lid they hit.

I think that game design to promote participation is a wonderful concept, and it helps recycling as well. Great!




In case anyone has missed the considerable buzz, the kickstarter campaign for Arena: The Contest by Alexandre Aboud and Danilo de Alcantara recently ended and was a great success. In this game, we are in a distant future when war is forbidden and armed conflict is refined to special arenas. It is conducted by specially trained miniatures heroes and heroines who clash in these arenas. Of course there will be lots of combinations of weapons, skills, and situations, and if you like games with lots of components, you are at the right place here. As expected, the funding goal was reached within a split second. The publisher is Dragori Games.




A novelty from Mandala Jogos is Covil: The Dark Overlords by Luís Brüeh (who also illustrated it). Dark masters gather their troops in the morning, battle each other in the daytime, then at night they check who won. Repeat for four days, then the darkest of all masters wins. The Mandala edition is in Portuguese, but Canadian publisher Vesuvius Media has also created an English version. Might be good news for the many readers of this article who don't master Portuguese.




In other news, the Prêmio Ludopedia has been awarded again in Brazil (for games from 2017). There are six categories for this award nowadays: For experts, for families and for children (I find it remarkable that they are named on the website in this order – a certain difference to the Spiel des Jahres tradition), both for international and domestic games. I am obviously mostly interested in the domestic ones.

For experts, the winner was Os Reinos de Drunagor ("The Realms of Drunagor") by Daniel Alves and Eduardo Cavalcante, published by HISTERIA GAMES. It's a well-equipped miniature games with all that comes with it, and it was funded through the Brazilian crowdfunding platform Kickante. Remarkable — one would assume that crowdfunding mostly works by addressing a worldwide audience in some way or another, but apparently that is not the case.




In the family game category, the winner was Dwar7s Fall by Luís Brüeh, published by Mandala Jogos. (The game has appeared in various editions outside Brazil as well.) It's a worker placement game in which slightly dyslexic dwarves try to gather supplies for winter by collecting the most precious jewels, which they can then exchange for food.




The children's game award went to the very pretty Belo Jardim by Marta Giardini, which was published by Mitra. I think it's a game about building a beautiful garden as that is what the title means in English. When I see those components, I long to play it, although my own kids have been beyond the typical age for this for a while now. (It's meant for ages 5 and up.)




Reading through the additional recommendation list for the awards is almost frustrating to me as I had heard of only three out of ten games before. There is still a lot to do and learn...

Chile

I have a thing for both Asian and Latin American games. When I hear about a game that comes from both regions at once, you can expect me to be especially interested.

There will soon be Kickstarter campaign for the small microgame collection Primar, a co-production of Hacko Games from Taiwan and Ludoismo from Chile. It contains Primar Blue by Martin Windischer, Primar Yellow by Víctor Hugo Cisternas and Pablo Céspedes (who also created the Bauhaus-style illustrations), and Primar Red by Odd Hackwelder, who will also take care of the printing and the Kickstarter campaign. All three games are microgames for which you need a maximum of eighteen cards. (There are fifty cards in the whole set.) Rules in several languages have been announced. I have played a preview copy and liked it a lot.




Victor Ponce has published a whopping five math games for children with Langley in 2017. The staff of his learning center had been frustrated about the bad quality of the available teaching materials, and the director gave him the ambitious task of creating one hundred math games. From these ideas, five actual games have materialized, and others might follow.

A core element of all games is that children can learn by themselves without a teacher because they contain a control and correction element. The games so far are Cuncuna FriendsCuncuna Friends 2MatematiKartTreasure Times!! and The Tricky Turtles, all illustrated by Paula "Supergato" Cortés (except for MatematiKart with illustrations by Claudia Zavala A.).




Colombia

I have to confess that until recently I had no clue who Nairo Quintana was. That's probably because my bicycle is just a means of transport for me, and I never had much interest in cycling sports.

Quintana is a Colombian cyclist who has been successful internationally, which has probably contributed to the popularity of cycling in Colombia, so it was just a matter of time until a Colombian cycling game hit the market, such as La Vuelta: una clásica mundial, which was published by Board and Chips. Only an illustrator is named (Jhon Cardenas) while the name of the designer remains unknown.

La Vuelta is a dice racing game in which you have to distribute your dice results as efficiently as possible between your two cyclists and the support vehicle to triumph in each (or at least most of) four races. There is a Spanish rule video here.




Mexico

Another fairly successful Kickstarter campaign was recently concluded for the card game Cooks & Crooks by Luis Muñoz (who also did the illustrations) and Andrés Novelo. The players are cooks in a TV show contest and don't just try to impress the jury, but also try to make sure their competitors fail, so they steal ingredients or drop yucky things into each other's pots and pans. Motto: Experience the satisfaction of ruining food. It was released by Detestable Games.




Uruguay

This is a first for me: I hadn't gotten any news from Uruguay until recently. But like anywhere else, there are people in that country who like to play games, and I also found a publisher, Arnár Estudios. They had published a few games before, including the attractively illustrated Warnimals in 2017. Their latest release is Undead Road by Federico Franco, an "endless" zombie game. Endless means that there is no clearly defined game ending. You cooperatively fight your way through wave after wave of zombies. Each wave is represented by playing once through the card stack, which contains zombies, weapons, and other equipment. Whenever the stack is finished, you have survived one wave, so you try to survive as many waves as possible, and in your next play you can try to beat your record.




That's all for today. Now I have bad news and good news for you. My round-ups here are approximate translations of articles I publish in my German blog. As researching the news and writing them in German takes a lot of time, I cannot really do those translations anymore, so this was my last Latin American new games round-up on BGG News. That's the bad news.

The good news: The fine folks at nicegamehub have agreed to do the English translations on their BGG blog, so if you want to stay up to date, please subscribe to their blog. I am planning to switch to a monthly format starting in early June. Thank you for reading and commenting!
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