Morganza's 2013 Watchlist: Spiel Essen, BGG.con, and beyond
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Once more into the breach, dear friends.

This list is mostly to help me keep track of which hot new games I want to try out at BGG.con, but will also theoretically be useful afterwards to keep track of other stuff I want to try or evaluate, or to track games that I've tried and dismissed. (Though last year's list got ignored after a month or so.)

Last year's list was at Morganza's 2012 Watchlist - Spiel Essen, BGG.con, and onwards.

This year I'm also adding entries for some of the Geeklists I've found useful to find out about new games.

Note: While Artifact Patchistory is my #1 must-try, and the Power Grid map is my #1 must-buy (already pre-ordered), the rest of the list is only loosely sorted.

Top games to try:
Patchistory
Wildcatters
Russian Railroads


I'll keep a BGG.con log at Morganza at BGG.con 2013

Quote:
“Pursue that which is most precious. If you should bow down, let it only be to a lofty mountain.”

-- Maori blessing

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1. Board Game: Power Grid: Australia & Indian Subcontinent [Average Rating:8.02 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.02 Unranked]
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There's a new Power Grid map. I'm going to get it.

Don't ask me to talk about whatever new twists and features are on this iteration -- I haven't looked into it. My entire research on this matter is neatly encapsulated in the first line.

Status, 2013-11-27: Pre-ordered a while ago. I did read up on the maps and India, with its nasty shortages, will be the one I want to try first.
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2. Board Game: Artifact [Average Rating:5.77 Overall Rank:9820]
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Jeffrey D. Allers (Piece O' Cake, Nieuw Amsterdam) and Bernd Eisenstein (Peloponnes).

It's hard sometimes to judge a game just from the rules, but it seems like there are a LOT of tradeoffs to juggle here, most of which impact your ability to mess with other players.

Perhaps my #1 must-try for BGG.con

Status, 2013-11-15: I've read the mostly negative reviews and have lost most of my enthusiasm.


Status, 2013-11-27: Played once at BGG.con. Tentative rating 4.7 :-( No interest in playing again, even with a better understanding of rules and strategy, though someone who has tried one of the advanced versions might be able to convince me.
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3. Board Game: Nations [Average Rating:7.71 Overall Rank:94]
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This is the kind of game that either works very well or fails abjectly -- the card mix is the key.


Status, 2013-11-27: Played once at BGG.con as Persia (asymmetrical start). Got crushed by the luck of the card mix and have very little interest in trying again.
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4. Board Game: Russian Railroads [Average Rating:7.80 Overall Rank:67]
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O and O have made a number of 18xx games I really enjoy, I'm curious where this one is going.


Status, 2013-11-27: Played once at BGG.con; pre-ordered the next week. This will appeal to the heavier gamers in a few of my circles.
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5. Board Game: Twin Tin Bots [Average Rating:6.42 Overall Rank:2947]
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Robo-Rally programming as an engine driving a cube-pusher?

I'm curious to see this concept in a modern game. Hopefully it will retain the charm of its inspiration.


Status, 2013-11-27: Looking forward to trying this on Michael's copy at GamesDay.
 
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6. Board Game: Caverna: The Cave Farmers [Average Rating:8.13 Overall Rank:14]
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If

Le Havre : Ora et Labora :: Agricola : Caverna

... then this is not the game for me, as Le Havre is by far my favorite of the three.

We shall see.


Status, 2013-11-27: Played once at BGG.con; does not have the replayability of Agricola (at least not until the expected expansions show up), but I'd be happy to play this instead if an opportunity arose.
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7. Board Game: Bremerhaven [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:3137]
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The blind bidding may be OK or may kill the game.

Lookout Games tends to publish stuff that's up my alley, I want to try this one.


Status, 2013-11-27: Not tried yet. Reviews I've read don't contradict the above.
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8. Board Game: Freedom: The Underground Railroad [Average Rating:7.61 Overall Rank:304]
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I'm wary of coops because of the alpha player syndrome, and a wargame publisher, even a crossover like Academy Games, may have a different experience in mind than I'm looking for from coops. Probably worth a try if I get the right table, though.


Status, 2013-11-27: Not tried. The group playing this next to me at BGG.con said this was a very hard co-op, and while susceptible to alpha player syndrome that was less important because it took 2 or 3 people to find the good moves on any given player's turn.
 
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9. Board Game: Concordia [Average Rating:8.07 Overall Rank:23]
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What's all the buzz about?


Status, 2013-11-27: Played once at BGG.con; I'd be happy to play this solid mid-weight Euro again but nothing made it stand out enough to buy.
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10. Board Game: Cornish Smuggler [Average Rating:5.98 Overall Rank:5869]
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Boring processing game or exciting game of undermining your opponents?


Status, 2013-11-27: The buzz is that the cards are so swingy a lot of the strategy fails. Not tried and will not seek out, but I won't say no if someone suggests it.
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11. Board Game: Steam Park [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:677]
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How fast can you re-roll your dice to get the symbols you need?

The same mechanism from Escape, but with a competitive "build the best" (including a Tetris element) game wrapped around it. Might be worth trying once.

The rulebook is worth reading for entertainment value even if you don't think this game is right for you.

The Rules wrote:
If it is so, that Visitor found a Ride that appeals to his tastes in your Park, and you can place him on a free space of that Ride; he will fasten himself to the seat, and remain there until the end of the game! Robots are able to make thousands of rounds on a Ride... with the only problem that sometimes they puke some oil! If there is no appropriate Ride for that Visitor, he finds your Park boring and departs without leaving a single coin behind. If you listen quietly, you could even hear his feeble, mechanical voice cursing you for your incompetence. Frankly, we couldn’t blame him.


The Rules wrote:
Try to think how you will use your dice before your Action phase begins, so the game won’t lose its spark while the other players wait for you to boot up your brain



Status, 2013-11-27: Not tried, no plans to seek it out, but I may go through the rule book again. :-)
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12. Board Game: Triassic Terror [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:1817]
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Some reviewer said it had a Euro soul under the Ameritrash trappings. And, y'know, I like killing my neighbors from time to time.

The review by Bruce Murphy convinced me that I might want to try it.


Status, 2013-11-27: Not tried. Still would like to try it with the right people.
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13. Board Game: Coal Baron [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:470]
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Kramer, Kiesling, and lots of buzz.


Status, 2013-11-27: Not tried. Will neither avoid it nor seek it out unless I get further data.
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14. Board Game: Mush! Mush!: Snow Tails 2 [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:2928]
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Snow Tails streamlined, for up to 8 players. I don't play Formula De very often, but this might be up the same alley.


Status, 2013-11-27: Not tried. Interested, but not enough for a blind buy.
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15. Board Game: New Haven [Average Rating:6.52 Overall Rank:3449]
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Not sure where I heard about this filler+


Status, 2013-11-27: Not tried.
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16. Board Game: Rococo [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:197]
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What makes this not just another Euro?


Status, 2013-11-27: I've heard a few good things about this, interested in trying it.
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17. Board Game: Glass Road [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:210]
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Perhaps I should try this...


Status, 2013-11-27: I'd be interested in trying this at the right table but won't seek it out.
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18. Board Game: Yunnan [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:1248]
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No random elements? Want to know more.


Status, 2013-11-27: Not tried. Probably should, though Dave was unenthusiastic (even if his table probably missed a few strategic elements.)
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19. Board Game: Bruxelles 1893 [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:251]
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Again, lots of buzz, not much solid info.


Status, 2013-11-27: Bad buzz from geekbuddies. Not going to seek this out. (Sorry, Fabrice; I'll report back if you turn out to be right.)
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20. Board Game: Patchistory [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:782]
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Don't know too much about this, but 2 of the 50 English copies will be at BGG.con. Apparently the rules are tough to wade through but there's a game there if you make the effort.


Status, 2013-11-27: Played twice in the same day at BGG.con ; 1 on my wishlist.
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21. Board Game: Wildcatters [Average Rating:7.53 Overall Rank:1658]
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Ben gave it an 8.


Status, 2013-11-27: Unavailable at BGG.con; still looking for an opportunity to try.
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22. Board Game: Sail to India [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:1117]
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Hearing more and more people talking about this.


Status, 2013-11-27: Played once at BGG.con; will buy when it's reprinted next summer.

Note: you can't expect much from a game that fits in a tiny box and plays in under an hour, and I expect dominant strategies will emerge. But, y'know, this is a game that plays in under an hour and fits in a gap in my game bag.
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23. Board Game: Bruges [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:198]
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larryjrice wrote:
Taught a couple friends Bruges and we ended up playing four times over the course of two days. Canals are still tricky business, but I finally won using the canal strategy and even beat the "broken/overpowered" card...although I would have lost on tiebreaker if he had discarded a card for a point instead. I have now played this one 10 times and see new potential combos still...of course, whether you get the necessary cards remains in question.



Status, 2013-11-27: Not tried. Not seeking out unless I hear more positive comments.
 
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24. Board Game: Madeira [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:300]
Burster of Bubbles, Destroyer of Dreams.
United States
Sunnyvale
California
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I hadn't added this to my watchlist because it seemed too long and fiddly for what it offered, and I think I guessed right:

Jeroen wrote:
Madeira was a pleasant play, though it may run a bit long for what it offers. There is quite a bit going on, and the combination of the character actions with the associated building actions is especially neat. In the end, none of us ended up with any pirates - they were all removed as soon as we got them. Also, the scoring tiles seemed a tad easy - except for the ones in the first round, I think we scored the maximum for each of the other ones...


"runs a bit long for what it offers" is a death sentence around here.


Status, 2013-11-27: Played once at BGG.con; this is a game that needs the right table. The game is a tiny bit cooler than Jeroen made it sound, as long as you play it with the kind of people who enjoyed Vinhos. Dave E. has a copy so I guess I'll be able to play it enough.
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25. Board Game: Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar – Tribes & Prophecies [Average Rating:8.12 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.12 Unranked]
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Might be worth a try, though I haven't even assembled my copy of the base game (all my plays have been on other people's copies.)


Status, 2013-11-27: Willing to try if it comes my way.
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