W. Eric Martin
• As January continues, the German publishers are dropping their catalogs into public view one by one, with Schmidt Spiele being the next one to do so.
The highlight title for me — and possibly for others — is Die Tavernen im Tiefen Thal, a big box game from Wolfgang Warsch for 2-4 players that plays in 60 minutes. Schmidt struck gold in 2018 with Warsch's Die Quacksalber von Quedlinburg, so here's an overview of their second "big box" game together:
In the village of Tiefenthal lies "The Tavern of the Deep Valley". There, all citizens from the area gather, but it's important to attract new, wealthy guests for only then is there enough money to expand the tavern, which will then lure nobles into the tavern as well. But which tavern expansion is best? Should you focus on money? Or rather ensure that the beer will keep flowing?
In Die Tavernen im Tiefen Thal, the challenge is to skillfully choose the dice and develop your personal deck of cards as profitably as possible. The game is structured with five modules so that each player can set their desired level of difficulty.
Okay, we need more gameplay details to know what's going on, and thankfully BGG will be at the Spielwarenmesse fair in February 2019 to record video overviews of this and dozens more upcoming games.
• Speaking of Warsch, Schmidt has a spin-off title from Ganz schön clever, which like Quacksalber was nominated for the Kennerspiel des Jahres in 2018.
Doppelt so clever ("Double so clever") appears to follow the gameplay model of GSC, with the active player rolling dice on their turn up to three times in order to mark off spaces in their scoring sheet, after which everyone else uses one of the dice not chosen by the active player. This new game includes a new action beyond the re-roll and "use one more die" actions of GSC, an action that looks like a block with a backwards arrow on it. My guess would be flipping a die to its reverse face. We'll see...
• Schmidt's "Klein & Fein" line of small dice games has a second entrant in the first half of 2019: Dizzle by Ralf zur Linde, which like Doppelt so clever is for 1-4 players with a 30-minute playing time.
In Dizzle, players draft dice turn by turn during the round, and they need to match what they already have in order to continue drafting. At the end of a round, everyone marks boxes on their scorecard for what they've collected, then a new round begins. More details are needed to see what's going on here.
• So typisch! from designers Matteo Cimenti, Carlo Rigon, and Chiara Zanchetta is a 3-8 player co-operative party game "full of stereotypes and clichés", according to the publisher. Each round, a single player decides which item to assign to a person, then everyone else must assess how this player has decided. In the end, players win only if they've made more matches than mistakes.
• Overload is a racing game for 3-5 players from Wolfgang Riedl. At the start of the game, each player decides how many discs to place on their figure. The more discs you have, the more you score! Whenever someone passes you during the race, you add another disc to your figure — but if you collect too many discs, then you go out of control and need to start the lap again...
• Ratto Zakko is the one Drei Magier Spiele title in the batch, with Schmidt distributing this brand, and this Jacques Zeimet title for 2-8 players seems right in line with his brand of game design:
Ratto Zakko features fast food for gourmets — but hopefully you can grab the right dishes, despite the changing colors of the hoods that hide the dishes, the rancid cheese or rotten eggs that might await there, and the darn fly that keeps showing up when you least expect it! Who can grab the most delicacies?
• Finally, let's end where we began — with Wolfgang Warsch and Die Quacksalber von Quedlinburg, more specifically with the Die Kräuterhexen expansion that adds components for a fifth player, more ingredient books, a new "fool's herb", and the introduction of herbal witches for more variety.