Rahdo Runs Through►►► Essen 2013 Preview
Richard Ham
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Hey everybody! This is a geeklist I made predominantly for my own use, which lists the top 100 games I'm going to be trying to see at Essen this year (plus 16 expansions). And yes, I know that seeing 100 games (plus expansions) in just a few short days is a pipe dream, and I'm not likely to succeed, which is why the list is ordered as a countdown, sort of. I needed to prioritize, so making this list was a useful thought exercise for me.

The list is broken down into 5 sections:

Expansions (starts on page 1)
16 must see/get expansions

Already Runthroughs (starts on page 1)
6 games I've already done runthroughs for (in prototype form), which I'm still stoked to see in their final shippable state

The Countdown (starts on page 2)
The 94 "other" new games that I haven't seen at all, and am very excited about, in countdown form (from #94-#1)

Addendum (starts on page 5)
Other games I might have missed (either they weren't in the database when I created this list, or you've convinced me I should seek them out)

Demos only (starts on page 6)
Games that won't be at the show to buy, but are demoable, which I'll be looking into

Please feel free to let me know of anything I missed that I should have included!
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Richard Ham
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First up, we have the 16 expansions I'm most interested in. Let me know if I missed any worth mentioning!
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2. Board Game: Lords of Waterdeep: Scoundrels of Skullport [Average Rating:8.22 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.22 Unranked]
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Lords of Waterdeep: Scoundrels of Skullport adds two new expansions to the Lords of Waterdeep board game – Undermountain and Skullport – inspired by the vast dungeon and criminal haven under Waterdeep. The Skullport expansion adds a new resource to the game, Corruption, while the Undermountain expansion features bigger quests and more ways to get adventurers. Players can choose to add one or both expansions to the base game.

Lords of Waterdeep: Scoundrels of Skullport also includes new Lords, new Buildings, and materials for a sixth player.
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3. Board Game: Pandemic: In the Lab [Average Rating:7.93 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.93 Unranked]
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In Pandemic: In the Lab, the second expansion for Pandemic, you will use a new game board that allows you to move the pawns in a laboratory. The goal of this activity is the same as in the base game – finding cures for diseases – but this time in a new way. Behind sealed bio-hazard doors, scientists race against time to sequence diseases, take samples, and test cures.

Pandemic: In the Lab includes four new roles, new Virulent Strain events, and a Worldwide Panic Mutation scenario. Players can compete individually or on rival teams (when playing with four or six players). Can your team work together in the lab to save humanity?
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4. Board Game: Escape: The Curse of the Temple – Expansion 2: Quest [Average Rating:7.68 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.68 Unranked]
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Escape: Quest includes two new expansion modules – Quest Chambers and Character abilities – for Escape: The Curse of the Temple that can be used individually or combined with any other modules for the base game.

Quest module: In addition to activating gems, players now need to complete special quests before they can leave the temple. At set-up the quest tiles are shuffled separately, and 1-3 of them are then shuffled (unseen) into the deck. This means you never know what challenges you will face.

Character module: Each player plays one of six different characters: Doc, Mechanic, Discoverer, Dark Priest, Muscleman, Mentalist. Each character comes with two unique abilities, and at the start of the game you pick one.
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5. Board Game: Rattus: Mercatus [Average Rating:7.08 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.08 Unranked]
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NB: There are 3 (that I know of) different Rattus themed goodies to pick up at Essen 2013:

Rattus: Mercatus includes twelve new class cards featuring the characters mentioned above and others. These characters allow you to collect goods and use money to perform special actions.

Rattus: Arabian Traders, a mini-expansion that requires both Rattus and Rattus: Mercatus, includes four new class cards. If you add in the Rattus: Africanus expansion as well, you can play with up to six players and use the new Islamic class cards.

Rattus Cartus: Nobilis, the first expansion for Rattus Cartus (a card game based on the Rattus board game) includes 18 different buildings with players using all or only some of them each game to provide a wide variety of play. This first expansion also includes special cards (Books, Horses, Lances, Privilegs, Wizard Staffs and Diplomats) and extra rat tokens; a second module in this expansion includes noble tokens.
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6. Board Game: Völuspá: Order of the Gods [Average Rating:7.32 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.32 Unranked]
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The balance of power is shifting among the Order Of The Gods!

The goddess Freya can permanently increase the value of the other beings.
The resourceful Dwarf taps the power of neighboring gods.
The monstrous Niohoggr hoards extra benefits for anyone brave enough to defeat it.
And the swift flying Raven can score twice in the same turn!

Play these new tiles with the Völuspá base game, or blend tiles from the Order of the Gods expansion with tiles from the Saga of Edda expansion. Four recommended game set-up variants are included, and many other variants are possible, enabling you to enjoy Völuspá and these expansions in many different ways. The possibilities in Völuspá are more endless than ever!
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7. Board Game: Edo: Expansion #1 [Average Rating:7.45 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.45 Unranked]
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Edo: Expansion #1 expands the Edo base game with three new modules – Jiin, Tokken, and Ronin – and each module can be used individually or combined with other modules. The expansion also includes material for a fifth player, allowing for play of the base game and all its expansion modules with 2-5 players.
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8. Board Game: Galaxy Trucker: Latest Models [Average Rating:7.95 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.95 Unranked]
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Galaxy Trucker: Latest Models consists of new game boards for 2-5 players with model C spaceships. Class 1C and 2C come on the same game board with color denoting spaces that can be used in 2C but not in 1C. Asteroids that approach the spaceship from the front or from behind sometimes swoop around to hit the ship on the side, and asteroids that approach from the side sometimes split in half and hit the ship twice! A structural rift down the center of the spaceship requires universal connectors to connect only with other universal connectors when bridging this rift. So much for their universality!

Class 3C is a toroidal spaceship with the top of the 6x6 tile grid wrapping around to the bottom and the left side wrapping around to the right. Since lasers require an empty space in front of them – and engines an empty space behind them – your ship must have holes in it to accomodate those building requirements, and the larger and more numerous the holes, the more you must pay in insurance costs prior to launching your spaceship.

Class 4C has space to build four separate spaceships, but when the sand timer is flipped the first time, someone rolls a die and players can now build in additional areas of the game board in order to connect some of the ships. When the sand timer is flipped a second time, the die is rolled once more, possibly providing additional building sites.
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9. Board Game: Among the Stars: The Ambassadors [Average Rating:7.34 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.34 Unranked]
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In order to assist in the construction of their space stations, each race has formed a team of ambassadors to visit other space stations in need. These ambassadors are willing to offer their services and strengthen the bonds of the newly-formed alliance.

These ambassadors are introduced in the game with the addition of a fourth action that allows the players to invite them to their station and make them part of their Council. Each ambassador comes with a different ability, based on his race's strengths and capabilities. However, there is limited space in each player's Council so they have to choose wisely who they are going to invite.

Among the Stars: The Ambassadors is a boxed expansion for Among the Stars featuring more than 150 new cards. Apart from the Ambassador cards, it includes more than twenty different new Locations, new Objectives, and a new Alien race. It also inculdes material for the 5 and 6 player!
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10. Board Game: Ginkgopolis: The Experts [Average Rating:7.66 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.66 Unranked]
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Ginkgopolis: The Experts is an expansion for the board game Ginkgopolis that consists of five modules that can be added to the game individually or in any combination. The modules are:

New buildings 21-23
Prestige buildings 24-25
Experts
Events
Green areas

The Experts is an extension that adds the game Ginkgopolis.
It can be played separately.

The success of Ginkgopolis attracts experts from all disciplines (artists, engineers, bankers, journalists ...) who want to enjoy its success.
Competition of ideas and press campaigns succeed to discover the avant-garde buildings, which are more impressive. So large, it becomes necessary to provide green spaces for better ventilation this boomtown.
And it should not be the speed of construction make you forget the standards expected ... a call to order may sometimes be useful!

This extension consists of six independent modules that can be freely combined with new strategies and to renew the base game.
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11. Board Game: Snowdonia: Jungfraubahn & Mount Washington [Average Rating:7.63 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.63 Unranked]
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NB: There are 4 (that I know of) different goodies to pick up for Snowdonia at Essen 2013:

Snowdonia: Jungfraubahn & Mount Washington consists of two new scenarios for Snowdonia that take players away from the damp North of Wales and transport them (and their shovels) to more frozen climes! New mechanisms for the use of dynamite, new weather (snow) and new trains combine to provide a different playing experience. Jungfraubahn is a scenario for up to four players, with the yellow fifth player pieces being used as dynamite; the Mount Washington scenario handles up to five players with an amusing take on the "Surveyor". (Let's just say: "Wheeeeeeeeeeeee!") This expansion is comprised of a rulebook and a single deck of 66 cards containing:

New copies/versions of standard Snowdonia Contract Cards
Alternative versions of Contract cards for the Jungfraubahn scenario
Alternative versions of Contract cards for the Mount Washington scenario
Four new Trains (including Old Peppersass)
Special Jungfrau Track cards

Snowdonia: Britannia Bridge is a scenario for Snowdonia created by designer Tony Boydell and publisher Indie Boards and Cards to commemorate the second edition of the game; this scenario is available directly from IBC at conventions. Snowdonia: Britannia Bridge includes a trio of tweaked contract cards and a new engine – The Dawn Raider – that allows its owner to build track instead of the game (if he wants) whenever the game would build track due to an event.

Snowdonia: The Daffodil Line mixes up the conventions of the game by adding daffodil collection (!), stone breaking, and canal filling. The Daffodil Line is a limited run of approx. 750 copies.

No 1 L.A.D.A.S (lost) Promo Card is FREE to build (but the player still needs to take a Build action and the game must have had the train build event) and comes with three rubble cubes on it. Whenever the player takes the Surveyor action (i.e. go wandering up the mountain), take one of the rubble cubes off of this train card. If there are no rubble cubes on it at the end of the game (and the player still 'owns' it), then it's worth 9VP. This DOES count as a train for the purposes of "one train only" and the train upkeep event!
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12. Board Game: Suburbia Inc [Average Rating:8.00 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.00 Unranked]
Richard Ham
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Your borough has decided that it's time to incorporate. What does that mean for you, as its city planner? Well, lots more paperwork, that's for sure – but it also gives you great new possibilities for your little town.

In Suburbia Inc, an expansion for the award-winning Suburbia strategy game, you get to develop your city in new directions: Define borders that are unique and provide you with all-new benefits; build more than a dozen new, powerful buildings to optimize your income and reputation; and take advantage of new Bonuses (to increase your income) and Challenges (to boost your reputation) by achieving mid-game goals.
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13. Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar – Tribes & Prophecies [Average Rating:8.14 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.14 Unranked]
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In Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar - Tribes & Prophecies, each player now becomes the leader of a particular tribe, each of which has a special ability that only that player can use. The game includes 13 tribes to provide plenty of variety, (You know that 13 is a spooky and magical number, right?)

With this expansion, the game of Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar is also influenced by three prophecies that are revealed ahead of time and fulfilled when the time is right. These prophecies give players other opportunities to score points, but they can also lose points if they don't prepare themselves for the prophecy effects. As with the tribes, the expansion includes 13 prophecies. (Woohoo, 13 again!)

This expansion also has new buildings and components that allow up to five players to compete.
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14. Board Game: Last Will: Getting Sacked [Average Rating:7.53 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.53 Unranked]
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In Last Will: Getting Sacked, the lawyers have found a hidden clause in your uncle's last will. Spending money faster than all your relatives will not be enough. To inherit your uncle's fortune, you must also lose your job! After all, your uncle's heritage can't go to someone who's employed!

With this expansion added to Last Will, each player begins the game with a job card that provides him with a regular income each turn and details a number of things the player must do in order to get fired. Unlike in real life, it can be difficult to persuade your employer to give you the old heave-ho. When you miss work, he's inclined to be charitable because he liked your uncle and he's sorry for your loss. To make him angry, you need to get caught living it up when you should be working. He won't sack you straight away, but he will at least dock your salary.

Once per round, you are able to reduce your income by completing one of the things listed on the job card, earning you a demotion. Even your kindly old boss has his limits, though; when you earn enough demotions to cancel out every line of income, you can discard your employment card. Congratulations: You have been sacked and are one step closer to winning the game!

You will also have a chance to find yourself a good, demanding wife. A wedding is such a romantic way to spend piles of money in a hurry, right? The expansion has six nuptial cards, so get down on one knee and ask the question!

Also, with this expansion, each game can have a different planning board to bring additional variety to the game. When you set up the game boards, you randomly select the eight plan tiles that will be used in the game.
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15. Board Game: Keyflower: The Farmers [Average Rating:7.89 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.89 Unranked]
Richard Ham
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Keyflower: The Farmers is an expansion for the game Keyflower. In that game, each player develops his own unique village over four seasons by successfully bidding on a variety of village tiles (specialized buildings and boats), skills, resources, and workers ("keyples").

In Keyflower: The Farmers, players develop the agricultural side of their economy by acquiring new farm buildings, growing wheat, and collecting and breeding farm animals (cows, pigs, and sheep). Animals are kept in the fields created by the layout of the roads, adding a new dimension and considerations to the base game. Points can now be scored through the acquisition and breeding of the animals, by harvesting wheat, and from the layout of the fields.

Players may choose to use all of the tiles from Keyflower: The Farmers and add tiles at random from Keyflower to make up the required number of tiles or simply mix the two sets of tiles.
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16. Board Game: Fresco: Expansion Modules 8, 9 and 10 [Average Rating:7.51 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.51 Unranked]
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Fresco: Expansion Modules 8, 9 and 10 consists of, as the name suggests, three additional expansions for Fresco! They can be played individually or combined with any or all other expansions for the game. These expansions are:

8. The Bells – The bishop wants a new bell for the cathedral, and the fresco painters can contribute by buying "bell certificates", gaining prestige (victory points) immediately and additional prestige at game's end depending on how much they contributed relative to everyone else.

9. The Wall Fresco – By refreshing sections of a wall fresco, the players can gain fame, glory, and a regular paint supply, thus saving money. What fresco painter would pass up such an opportunity?

10. The Medico – The time schedule for restoring the fresco is hard enough to meet, but now the apprentices are taking ill, one after the other. How can you finish the work on time? Only skillful planning and the healing drugs of a traveling medico at the market will help.
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17. Board Game: Dungeon Petz: Dark Alleys [Average Rating:7.80 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.80 Unranked]
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Bringing you more than just new pets, cages and magic items, the Dungeon Petz: Dark Alleys has a whole new district in the town. This is the heart of the expansion. It’s kind of a back alley district in the Imp town where all the weird existences live and try to do their business. So would you like to hire an illegal worker or buy a pet on the black market? Maybe book a facility that produces food for active dogs, cats and dragons? And what about a fancy ribbon or a cool spiked collar for your pet? Taking care of your pets will never be the same.
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And now for the countdown proper, games 100-1. But wait, not quite. The first 6 items in the countdown aren't in any sort of ranking... they're actually games that I've already played, in prototype form, and posted runthrough videos of. There's a link to each video in the entry if you'd like to know more. Since I've already played these, it didn't seem right to me to rank them against the other games which I haven't played yet, so I listed them separately in this block.
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19. Board Game: Byzantio [Average Rating:6.48 Overall Rank:5799]
Richard Ham
United States
Washington
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RAHDO RUNS THROUGH LINK:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/video/31568

Byzantio is a game of medieval intrigue in the east in which players take the role of the heads of the main Byzantine dynasties, and scheme to choose the successor to the imperial throne.

In the 11th century A.D. the empire is torn between four factions, two of them provincial, military aristocracies (the houses of Comnenid and Phocas) and two of them urban, secular aristocracies (the houses of the Dukes and Angels). It is 1025, and the emperor Basileios II has ascended into the heavens without providing for an heir. In Constantinople, representatives from the most important aristocratic families vie for their favored to inherit the Emperor's ring and throne.

It is a futile and petty dispute as each family is not about to surrender the throne to any of the others, but they ultimately decide that the winner will be the one who's supported by most of the wealthiest cities of the empire. Every ambitious successor raises the banner of his dynasty and begins the struggle to win over the cities that will secure him the throne.

Each family secretly chooses seven imperial cities that they will seek to control through the actions available to them: Commandment, Diplomacy, Exile, Trade, Garrison, Espionage, and Corruption. May the rightful heir arise!

Nekken is a fantasy-themed implementation of this game using the exact same materials as Byzantio and with a map on the reverse side of the game board, giving a different game experience and essentially two games in one.

Four tribes have been living in peace for over 3000 years despite the ancient hatred of each other. United in the capital city Nekken, they slowly forgot their fear of the large volcano that looms over the metropolis – until the volcano erupted. Forced to abandon their homes, the tribes spread throughout the continent, facing danger in many forms while trying to establish new colonies. Their ancient hated has also been awakened and now they must struggle to survive. However, they still need each other, a new cold war emerges in the shadow of the searing heat of the volcano.

In Nekken, each player takes the role of a leader of their tribe and tries to be the one who will prevail and become the ruler of this new society. The goal is to achieve prestige through the establishment of new and glorious cities, using actions to move their leader on the map, exploring, establishing cities, betraying friends to achieve their objective. Hopefully no other ruler intends on settling in the same place!
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20. Board Game: Shadows over the Empire [Average Rating:6.00 Overall Rank:5129]
Richard Ham
United States
Washington
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RAHDO RUNS THROUGH LINK:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/video/34206

The King is dead! Cardis has fallen...

After a long siege, the empire of Asmidan has conquered Cardis and the Conclave of Law has been sent by the Emperor to establish the new rule. The city is in disarray and several factions struggle for power behind the scenes. The former Queen is using her influence to gather allies in an effort to help her son claim the throne. The Order of the Coin — a group of wealthy individuals — wants to rise to power ensuring the gold keeps flowing. The Asmidan's Church desires to seize control of the newly conquered city by using the feared Inquisition to sway whoever opposes it.

In Shadows over the Empire, players take the role of leaders of four factions in a struggle for control of Cardis. They must influence various personalities and have them do their bidding. Loyalties are constantly changing and great allies become mortal enemies in a city filled with desire for dominion. Who will prevail?
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21. Board Game: City Council [Average Rating:6.18 Overall Rank:5053]
Richard Ham
United States
Washington
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RAHDO RUNS THROUGH LINK:
(coming soon)

In City Council each player takes the role of a council member of a newly founded city. The government will select the members of the city council for the first few years until the city rises and flourishes, by which time the most popular member will receive the position of Mayor.

In order to build the city, you and the other councilmen must maintain a low level of pollution, fight crime, create jobs, and sustain an adequate city budget. If you and the others don't keep up the good work, the city project might not succeed, the government will take over, and all players will lose.

As a member of the council, you must also strive to gain the favor of the different political groups who rule the streets of your city. As the game progresses and the city grows larger, more and more political interest groups will try to impose their will on the city by knocking on your office door and asking you for small "favors" in which you will have to act on their behalf. In return, they'll offer you their support and you'll receive victory points for your personal cause, possibly allowing you to become the city's first Mayor.
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22. Board Game: Canterbury [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:2331]
Richard Ham
United States
Washington
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RAHDO RUNS THROUGH LINK:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/video/29537

Toward the end of the 6th century A.D., King Ethelbert of Kent established the old Roman city of Canterbury as his new capital. In Canterbury, 2 to 4 players represent Saxon Lords who are charged with building the city into a prosperous capital. The Saxon Lords must use the city's meager starting resources to build up the 25 districts of Canterbury and provide key services to its citizens.

The key services are (in order from most basic to most prestigious) water, food, religion, defense, commerce, and culture. As new structures are built in the city, the city grows more prosperous. While each Saxon Lord jealously guards his or her own prosperity and achievements, they all benefit as a whole from the growing prosperity of the city itself. When the city reaches the peak of its prosperity, the game ends and the player with the most individual prosperity wins.
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23. Board Game: Gear & Piston [Average Rating:5.84 Overall Rank:6571]
Richard Ham
United States
Washington
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RAHDO RUNS THROUGH LINK:
http://boardgamegeek.com/video/28761

It is 1888, and everywhere you turn, people are talking about the horseless carriage. They are also talking about Jenatzy and Cugnot, Benz and Diesel, Atkinson and Butler – visionaries now remembered for their passion to create, to progress, and to succeed. But this game is not about them, these giants of engineering.

No, in Gear & Piston you play one of the unsung heroes of history, an engineer of meagre means but great ambition, trying to build a prototype for picky investors seeking to profit from the future of transport. Will you make a name for yourself as an automotive pioneer, change the history of motorized transportation, and win the race that is Gear and Piston? With a lot of skill and a little luck, maybe. If nothing else, try not to blow yourself up in the process.

In the game, each player builds an automobile prototype by taking actions in different locations. You may patent brand-new parts in the Patent Office, look for rejected, volatile pieces of machinery in the chaos of the Junk Yard, try to gain an edge through the Back Alley, and finally build your prototype in the Workshop. All this just to please the two investors who are doing the rounds of the different engineering outfits, and who will be evaluating your rickety mess of an automobile. Good timing, keeping an eye on your competitors, and even a dash of luck are all you need to succeed in this business. So grab a wrench, some elbow grease and your wits, and put some gears and pistons together!
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24. Board Game: Legacy: The Testament of Duke de Crecy [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:601]
Richard Ham
United States
Washington
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RAHDO RUNS THROUGH LINK:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/video/33510

It is 1729 in pre-revolution France, a time when the aristocracy has all the power and the means to rule the country. As a wealthy, well-educated aristocrat, you have travelled the world and had the fortune to enjoy your life to the fullest – but you see that history is about to change course and you know that in order to stay strong, your family must prepare well. You need to find new allies. You must absorb smaller families and use their potency to strengthen your kin. You have to arrange wise marriages, nurture strong connections at court, obtain titles, build mansions, and find the right spouses for your daughters and sons...

Legacy: The Testament of Duke de Crecy enables you to build a powerful dynasty in 18th century France as you step into the shoes of a French noble and compete for lasting honor. Over three generations, you – a resourceful patriarch or matriarch – will attempt to create a lasting legacy by establishing a house with ties to many different wealthy and powerful families from France and abroad (Spain, Italy, Russia and other countries).

This card game offers endless possibilities. Each time you build a family, you write a unique story, bringing to life the diverse relationships between parents and their children, between cousins, uncles, aunts, nephews and nieces. Whether you are looking for the best husband for your only daughter or a suitable wife for one of your two sons, whether you are looking to add new blood to your family by marrying into foreign nobility – you will be working to make your family rise in status through prestige and wealth, new skills and abilities.

In Legacy: The Testament of Duke de Crecy – known previously as Nobles of Paris and winner of Ducosim Spelontwerp in 2009 – you will find 75 spouse cards with unique traits, more than twenty secret missions, nine titles, and nine "contribution to the family" cards. This all culminates in a highly thematic card game that will satisfy players who enjoy exploring many different paths to victory.
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25. Board Game: Countdown [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Richard Ham
United States
Washington
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And now, without further ado, the countdown of the "other" 94 games (the ones I haven't played) of Essen 2013! AAAAAAAND... GO!
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