W. Eric MartinUnited States
I didn't see tons of folks carrying Catan: Starfarers at SPIEL '19, but I can imagine that's because (1) as far as I know the game was available only in German, and (2) people could pick up a copy at the KOSMOS booth at the end of Hall 3 on their way out the door. No sense lugging that giant box around any longer than you have to!
DragonGyas was a surprise title in the Japon Brand booth, mostly because this minis-based skirmish game was only being demoed ahead of a Kickstarter campaign. The gist of the game, which we featured on the BGG livestream, is that each player has a giant mech-like figure that will be moved via programming along the lines of RoboRally while they also move tiny human-sized support characters around the battlefield to clear paths, remove opposing forces, and take potshots at the giant in hope of a lucky hit.
I'm in awe every time I see DiceTree Games' version of Modern Art. So lavish! As I mentioned on the BGG livestream, in 2020 DiceTree plans to release new editions of Jens Drögemüller's The Scepter of Zavandor and Reiner Knizia's Ra. Excited to see what these will look like...
DiceTree's version of Code 777 is also sharp.
These hexagonal tables might have seemed like a good idea for the planning committee and in the workshop, but in practice they seem awkward as Marco Polo II: In the Service of the Khan — just announced in English from Z-Man Games for a 2020 release — fills one table completely but leaves the other two looking barren.
Lost Cities: Auf Schatzsuche seems like one of hundreds of new releases that will receive almost no attention or buzz post-SPIEL on gamer sites like BGG, yet will sell thousands of copies to casual buyers in German department stores. I did see one group playing it, although they noted later that they had interpreted the rules incorrectly — which seems like something that could be said about 95% of the new games played at any convention.
I had received a mock-up demo copy of Odyssey from publisher Lupo Art Games, but alas, it ended up one of the dozens of titles covered only in my SPIEL of Regrets "preview" video.
The booth-in-progress that I had highlighted in my day -1 post turned out to be a game manufacturer's booth, with them trying to stand out from the half-dozen or so other manufacturers on site.
Each year at SPIEL, my friend (and Japanese interpreter at Tokyo Game Market) Ken Shoda and I exchange tips on new abstract strategy games that we've spotted. They don't receive any buzz, so they're easy to overlook. Ken played a few games of Skipp from Full Flow Games and wasn't sure it would hold up, but he bought a copy anyway to bring to the abstract strategy game club he attends. No harm sampling the field since it's often hard to assess these from only a reading of the rules.
Speaking of abstracts, Thomas Weber's Kipp4 from Clemens Gerhards was being displayed in the window of Rue-Art, a gift shop on Rüttenscheider Straße that I'd pass each evening on my way to buy groceries from the REWE market.
In the game, you either add a marble of your color to the outside edge of the board, remove a red marble, or jump one of your marbles over the adjacent lip to another cavity on the board. After doing this, you rotate the board 90º, 180º, or 270º degrees, with the marbles tilting and moving to form new patterns. Whoever first has four of their marbles in a row wins.Says the potato: "Skin me, mash me, and slather my eyes with mayo!"
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