Nürnberg/New York 2014 Preview
W. Eric Martin
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For 2014, I'm previewing games being shown at the Nürnberg and New York toy fairs in a single GeekList. I had created separate GeekLists for these convention previews in 2012 and 2013, but given how international the game market is — with publishers selling around the world and players buying from wherever they need to in order to get games they want — combining these previews makes sense.

Some background about the two conventions: The 65th Spielwarenmesse – the International Toy Fair in Nürnberg, Germany – takes place January 29 to February 3, 2014, while the 111th annual American International Toy Fair in New York is held Feb. 16-19, 2014. Note that, unlike at the Spiel game convention in October, many games previewed in Nürnberg and New York won't be available for purchase immediately, instead appearing in stores over the next few months. Think of this list as a preview of what you might see appear in stores throughout the first half of 2014 (although some games won't appear until Q3/Q4 2014).

Lists from earlier years, mostly created by BaSL prior to 2011:
-----Nürnberg 2013 Preview
-----NY Toy Fair 2013 Preview
-----Nürnberg 2012 Preview
-----NY Toy Fair 2012 Preview
-----Nürnberg 2011 Canonical List
-----Nürnberg 2009 Canonical List
-----Nürnberg 2008 Canonical List
-----Nürnberg 2007 Canonical List
-----Nürnberg 2006 Canonical List
-----Nürnberg 2005 Canonical List
-----Nürnberg 2004 Canonical List
-----Nürnberg 2003 Canonical List
-----Nürnberg 2002 Canonical List

I'll be visiting both Nürnberg and New York to record game demos of the titles on display there. Feel free to suggest other games to add to this Preview via email (wericmartin AT gmail.com) or in the comments section!
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Board Game Publisher: ABACUSSPIELE
1. Board Game: Han [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:3618] [Average Rating:7.20 Unranked]
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 5
Playing time: 45 minutes
Suggested ages: 10 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
German
Description:

For the most part, Han uses the same gameplay as China, also from designer Michael Schacht, but the maps on the double-sided game board introduce new rules and variants.

In general, players use cards to place pieces (houses or emissaries) into the nine regions on the board. To place in a region, a player must play a card of that region's color or two cards of the same color as a joker; a player can place at most two pieces in a region on a turn, but only one piece if the region was unoccupied at the start of the turn. One side of the game board — titled "Grenzstreitigkeiten", or "Border Disputes", and made for 3-5 players — includes house sites that straddle two regions; to claim one of these locations, a player must discard two appropriately-colored cards. The number of emissaries in a region is limited to the number of houses of the same color in that same region.

When all house spaces in a region are filled (or at the end of the game), players score for that region. Whoever has the most houses in that region scores one point for each house in the region, whoever has the secondmost houses scores one point for each house of the player who has the most, and so on.

At game end, players also score for having majorities of emissaries in two adjacent regions, scoring as many points as the number of emissaries in both regions. Players also score for having four or more houses in an uninterrupted sequence along one of the roads on the board. On the "Grenzstreitigkeiten" game board, players also score majority points for the houses in the port cities located in multiple regions, these port cities effectively forming their own region. Whoever scores the most points wins.

"Grenzstreitigkeiten" has one variant. Each player starts with one fortification in addition to his other pieces. Once per game, a player can play two matching cards, then place his fortification on a house site, then top it with a house. Whenever this house scores — whether for the region majority, for being a port city, or for being part of a sequence — the house's owner scores double the points he normally would.

The other side of the game board — "Wege der Diplomatie", or "Ways of Diplomacy", which is made for 2-4 players — also has a variant, with each player receiving a marketplace. Once per game, a player can play two matching cards, then place the marketplace on a house site, then top it with an emissary (not a house). This allows a player to compete for emissary points in a region that is otherwise full.

Other Information: • Price €25

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2. Board Game: Limes [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:1830]
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 1 − 2
Playing time: 20 minutes
Suggested ages: 8 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
English
German
Italian
Description:

Two thousand years ago on the borders of the Roman Empire, life goes on as might be expected — but barbarians lurk across the border, so not only must the players grow grain in the fields, catch fish, and chop wood, but they must also maintain watchmen in a clever network of watchtowers to keep a lookout for fires and barbarian attacks.

Limes is based on the designer's board game Cities, and while the game system is roughly the same, the scoring is completely different. In addition, the tiles in Limes have a different layout from those in Cities. Together, these changes ensure that Limes has become an entirely new game. (Limes includes two sets of cards, one for each player, but if you combine copies of the game, any number of people can play at the same time.)

Each player has his own deck of cards. One player shuffles his deck, then places a card at random on the table; each other player takes this same card and places it on the table in his own area. Each player can optionally place one of his figures on this card; once a figure is placed on a card, it cannot be returned to the supply. The second card played (and all subsequent cards) much be placed adjacent to or touching the corner of an already-played card. After each card placement, a player can either place a new figure on this card or move an already-placed figure; a figure can move from one territory to an adjacent territory, e.g., from woods to lake or from grain fields to woods.

The game ends as soon as any player has placed 16 cards in a square (4x4 grid). Each player then receives points as follows:

  • Farmers receive one point for each connected grain field.
  • Fishermen receive one point for every house situated directly adjacent to their lake.
  • Watchmen receive one point for every patch of woods they can see in a straight line (north, east, south, west) from their tower; other watchtowers block their view, so they can't see woods behind those towers.
  • Woodcutters receive one point for every territory to which they can deliver wood, e.g., every different adjacent territory.

The player with the most points wins, with ties being broken in favor of the player who has the highest score with a single figure.

Other Information: • Price €15

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3. Board Game: Oink! [Average Rating:5.45 Overall Rank:13951]
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 6
Playing time: 15 minutes
Suggested ages: 6 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
German
Description:

Oink! challenges players to make lightning-fast strikes when two similar animals appear on the table — but in addition to striking the table, they need to make the proper animal noise faster than anyone else, and whoever does so claims all of the available cards. Watch out, though, as the naughty pig intrudes again and again between other animals with a loud "Oink!"

In more detail, shuffle the ninety cards and deal them equally face-down to all players, who then takes turns drawing one card and playing it on top of a central pot. Should an animal be added to the pile while it's already the top card, players race to strike the table while woofing, baaing or otherwise making the sound of the animal depicted. Should the top two cards sum to 7, however, players must strike the table and "Oink!" at the same time. While the numbers on most animals range from 0-6, the pig has special rules, with a 7 on each card; thus, whenever a pig is placed on the pile, everyone must race to slap and oink as quickly as possible! Whenever a player correctly slaps the pile, she places the cards aside in a score pile; if incorrect, she must add a card from her deck to the discard pile (or scratch her head while making monkey noises, as the players prefer).

When all players run out of cards — or when at least one player is out and someone has claimed the pile — the game ends. Players then compare the height of their score piles to see who's claimed the most cards and won.

Other Information: • Price €8

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Board Game Publisher: alea
4. Board Game: La Isla [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:787]
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 4
Playing time: 30 − 60 minutes
Suggested ages: 10 and up
Categories:
Mechanics: Show More »
Language:
English
French
German
Description:

Ready to start exploring a previously uncharted island? Good! You and the other players each have a team of five scientists, and you want to capture animal species so that you can study them — and, of course, score points.

The game board in La Isla consists of a set of oddly-shaped tiles that are placed in a circular arrangement around a central polygonal tile. Thirty-five animal tokens (seven each of five types) are placed at random on spaces numbered 2, 3 and 4 on the game board; these numbers equal the number of camps that surround these spaces.

On a turn, a player has three cards that he places face-down in the A, B and D spaces on his card display. All players reveal their A cards at the same time, then place them in one of the three slots at the top of their display; the image depicted on the top of this card shows the special power that the owner of this card has available. Once a player has filled all three slots on her display, future cards placed with the A action cover an existing card.

After revealing the cards in their B slots simultaneously, the players collect the goods depicted in the lower-left corner of their individual card.

Each player in turn then places one of his scientists on a camp, first paying two resources of the type matching that camp. (If all of a player's scientists are on the board, she moves one of these scientists.) If the player now has a scientist on each camp surrounding an animal space, she takes that animal tile, scoring points for it as noted on the board (4, 3 or 2 points).

Finally, the card in the D slot increases the value of one animal. You (and only you!) immediately score one point per animal of the type you moved up on the scale. If you don't have an animal of that type you don't get any points. Each animal has a points threshold so that if you move an animal up, say, four times, each animal of this type is worth an extra point at the end of the game. The scale goes up to five so that every animal can be worth up five points at the end of the game. When the sum of these values for all five animals equals seven, nine or eleven (based on the number of players), the game ends at the conclusion of the round. Players then tally their final scores to see who wins.

Other Information:
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5. Board Game: Las Vegas Boulevard [Average Rating:7.33 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.33 Unranked]
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 1 − 8
Playing time: 30 − 75 minutes
Suggested ages: 8 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Expands:
Language:
English
French
German
Description:

Las Vegas Boulevard, labeled the first expansion for Las Vegas, includes several modules that players can use individually or in combination, specifically:

  • Eight dice in two new colors to allow for up to seven players.
  • A purple die for each player that allows you to remove an opponent's or own die when placed (with enough purple dice to have up to eight players).
  • A large die in each color, except purple, that counts as two dice when determining who scores at a casino.
  • Two white dice to play the basic variant with up to 7 players.
  • Rules for playing a solitaire version of the game.
  • Rules for playing a variant of the game.
  • Bills worth $100,000.
  • Bills worth $50,000 for each bill of a specific color you collect.
  • One-shot action cards, with each player receiving one such card at the start of each round.
  • Special cards of variable random value.
  • A new, seventh casino; on a turn, a player can place all the dice he rolled of a single number in this casino, but then no more dice of this number can be placed in this casino by any player.

(Note that Las Vegas Boulevard was initially announced as Las Vegas Lights and later renamed Las Vegas Plus.)

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Board Game Publisher: AMIGO
6. Board Game: 6 nimmt! Jubiläumsausgabe [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:608]
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 10
Playing time: 45 minutes
Suggested ages: 8 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
German
Description:

In 6 nimmt!, a.k.a. Category 5 and many other names, you want to score as few points as possible.

To play the game, you shuffle the 104 number cards, lay out four cards face-up to start the four rows, then deal ten cards to each player. Each turn, players simultaneously choose and reveal a card from their hand, then add the cards to the rows, with cards being placed in ascending order based on their number; specifically, each card is placed in the row that ends with the highest number that's below the card's number. When the sixth card is placed in a row, the owner of that card claims the other five cards and the sixth card becomes the first card in a new row.

In addition to a number from 1 to 104, each card has a point value. After finishing ten rounds, players tally their score and see whether the game ends. (Category 5 ends when a player has a score greater than 74, for example, while 6 nimmt! ends when someone tops 66.) When this happens, the player with the fewest points wins!

6 nimmt! works with 2-10 players, and the dynamics of gameplay change the more players that you have. One variant for the game has you use 34 cards, 44 cards, 54 cards, etc. (instead of all 104 cards) when you have three, four, five, etc. number of players. This change allows you to know which cards are in play, thereby allowing you to track which cards have been played and (theoretically) make better choices as to which card to play when.

Other Information: • Price €8
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7. Board Game: Banana Split [Average Rating:5.03 Unranked]
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 4
Playing time: 30 minutes
Suggested ages: 6 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
German
Description:

In Banana Split, you want to complete as many ice cream orders as can, especially the valuable banana splits! To set up the game, shuffle the ice cream order deck, then reveal four cards. Shuffle the ingredient deck, and deal each player five cards, which they place behind their screens. On a turn, a player can:

  • Draw one card from the ingredient deck.
  • Take one ice cream order and play ingredients on it.
  • Add one or more ingredient cards to an order already in front of you.

When you play ingredients on an order, you must play exactly as many as are on the card and in the order listed, from top to bottom. When you play the final ingredient on an order, place that card aside as you'll score its point value at the end of the game. Banana split orders can't be built upon turn by turn, but must be claimed all in one go, either by playing all four ingredients at the same time or discarding one wild card ingredient. Special ingredient cards let you steal an ice cream order in progress or take an extra turn.

Once all the ice cream orders have been fulfilled, players tally their scores to see who wins.

Other Information: • Price €15
 
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8. Board Game: Ene mene miste... [Average Rating:5.46 Unranked]
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 6
Playing time: 15 minutes
Suggested ages: 6 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
German
Description:

Players in Ene mene miste... need to keep a sharp eye on the chalkboards to see — and sum — the items that appear more than once.

To start the game, lay out the two starting chalkboard cards, then shuffle the remaining 28 cards face-down and set 14 out of play. Turn the top card face-up and place it near the starting cards. If anyone spots an item — or multiple items — that appears on two or three cards, she yells out the combined sum of all items that appear on two or three cards. For example, if three bananas appear on one card and two on another, yell out "Five!"; if in addition one pear appears on a card and one pear appears on another, yell out "Seven!" Each player can yell out at most one number, and whoever first yells the correct sum claims one of the face-up cards, then replaces it with the top card of the deck. Whoever claims the most cards wins.

With younger players, you can lay out only two cards at a time to keep the sums smaller and minimize the calculation; with older players, keep four cards in play, possibly adding more cards to the deck to make the game last longer.

Other Information: • Price €8
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9. Board Game: GeoCards [Average Rating:4.00 Unranked]
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 1 − 4
Playing time: 15 minutes
Suggested ages: 7 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
German
Description:

GeoCards World includes fifty cards with which players can play three games that challenge their geographical knowledge. Each card is double-sided, with the outline of a country, its name, its population and its size on one side of the card and its capital and the surrounding countries on the other. In all three games, whoever collects the most cards wins.

In the first game, shuffle the cards with the capitals face-up, then take turns naming the country depicted on the card. Guess right and you claim the card; otherwise, remove the card from the game.

In the second game, deal the cards out evenly among the players with the capitals face-up. On a turn, you hold one of your cards capital side-out toward your left-hand opponent. If he can name one of the countries adjacent to the depicted country, he claims the card; if not, the next opponent in clockwise order can try to do so. Remove the card from the game if no one guesses correctly.

In the third game, deal ten cards capital side-up to each player. On a turn, choose two cards and hold them out to your left-hand opponent. If he can guess which country is larger in size or population (depending on what choose at the start of play), he claims both cards; otherwise, remove the card from the game.

Other Information: • Price €10
 
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10. Board Game: Koboldbande [Average Rating:6.38 Overall Rank:7964]
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 4
Playing time: 20 minutes
Suggested ages: 4 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
German
Description:

It's a race for the treasure in Koboldbande, with the player kobolds working together to create a path to the treasure before the dragon can get its talons into the chest first.

Before the game begins, players seed the 6x8 game board with four keys and a candy tile by rolling two dice — one color, and another symbol — and placing the tiles on the appropriate locations on the game board. Shuffle the 27 path tiles and 10 dragon tiles together.

On a turn, a player draws a tile. If it's a dragon tile, she places it on the first empty space on the dragon path; if a path tile, she places it at the end of a path already on the board. (The first path tile is placed in the upper-left square of the game board, while the treasure is below the lower-right square.) If the path is placed on a key, the players claim the key. If the path crosses the candies, the players can place one dragon tile on the candies, delaying the dragon on its way to the treasure.

Once the players have collected three keys, they can then lay a tile on the treasure chest — and if they reach the treasure before the dragon does, they win!

Other Information: • Price €19
 
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11. Board Game: Lemminge [Average Rating:6.41 Overall Rank:4916]
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 5
Playing time: 30 minutes
Suggested ages: 8 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
German
Description:

With a name like Lemminge, you know you're going to be racing little rodents across a finish line of some sort, and this design lives up to that promise. Each player controls two lemmings that must make their way across a game board of hexagonal spaces; most spaces contain grassland and can be entered no matter which card a player lays down, but some spaces contain special terrain (water, hills, etc.) that can be entered only when the appropriate card is played.

Each player starts with 2-6 cards in hand, with the number dependent on the player count. On a turn, a player either:

  • Discards any number of cards from hand, then refills her hand to six cards, or
  • Plays a card, then moves one of her lemmings.

Each card is one of five landscape types and numbered 0-4. If the card played is equal to or lower than the value of the top landscape card of the same type, then the player adds the values of all landscape cards of this type, then moves her lemming up to this many spaces, crossing grassland and the depicted landscape type freely. If the card is higher than the top card of the depicted landscape type, then discard all cards of this type and start a new pile. Before moving her lemming, though, she places a bonus landscape hex of this type on the game board — ideally stifling the future movement of her opponents while scooting her own lemming further toward the goal.

If one or more lemmings are in your intended path of movement, you can push them aside before moving into the space, spending one point of movement for each lemming so moved. You can push your own lemming, if you set them up right — even across the finish line.

The first player to move both of her lemmings across the finish line wins.

Other Information: • Price €20
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12. Board Game: Quiddler [Average Rating:6.04 Overall Rank:3072]
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 1 − 8
Playing time: 30 minutes
Suggested ages: 8 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
German
Description:

Quiddler challenges players to create words from an ever-increasing number of letter cards in their hand. The game lasts eight rounds, with three cards being dealt to each player in the first round, four cards in the second, five in the third, and so on. Each card has one or two letters on it as well as a point value.

On a turn, a player draws the top card from the deck or discard pile, then discards a card. When a player is able to use all of the cards in his hand (with one left for discarding) to spell words — each of which must contain at least two cards — he may go out by placing the words on the table. Each other player takes one final turn, then plays as many cards as they can in words. Each player now scores, adding the point value for cards used in words, then subtracting points for any cards remaining in hand. In addition, the player with the most words and the player with the longest word each receive 10 bonus points; in case of a tie, no one receives the bonus. Whoever has the highest score after eight rounds wins!

Quiddler also includes rules for a solo variant.

Other Information: • Price €11
 
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13. Board Game: Saboteur 2 [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 12
Playing time: 45 minutes
Suggested ages: 8 and up
Categories: Show More »
Mechanics:
Expands:
Language:
German
Description:

(Note: This listing covers only the expansion-only versions of Saboteur 2; for the Saboteur 2 listing that includes both the base game and the expansion, go to Saboteur (compilation editions).)

In Saboteur, each player takes on the role of a gold-digging dwarf or a saboteur who wants to hinder exploration of the gold mines — but each player knows only his own role, so the digging may or may not go as planned!

Each turn, a player either lays down a tunnel card to dig from the start card toward one of the goal cards (or potentially away, if a saboteur) or plays an action card to help or hinder someone. If the diggers manage to find the gold hidden under one of the goal cards, then the diggers share the loot found there; if the gold can't be reached before the deck runs out, the saboteurs profit instead. After three rounds, the player with the most gold wins.

The Saboteur 2 expansion adds new role cards (the boss, profiteers, geologists) to the base game, new action cards (steal gold, change your role), and new tunnel cards featuring doors, ladders and bridges. What's more, the gold seekers can now be divided into teams — blue vs. green — and only those on the team that finds the gold score anything — assuming that anyone finds the gold at all, of course...

Other Information: • Price €8
 
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14. Board Game: SET Junior [Average Rating:5.71 Overall Rank:13480]
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 4
Playing time: 15 minutes
Suggested ages: 5 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
German
Description:

SET Junior uses the familiar SET gameplay, but scaled down in difficulty for younger players. In SET, players want to create sets of three cards, with each card in the set having the same feature as each other card in the set or a different feature. For example, all three cards have green symbols on them, but they have 1, 2 and 3 symbols and the symbols are all different shapes (oval, squiggle and diamond).

One side of the double-sided game board in SET Junior features three 3x3 squares, with each line in a square forming a set. Players take turns drawing a tile from the stack — with each tile featuring 1-3 symbols in one of three colors and in one of three shapes — and placing that tile on the game board. Each time a player completes a set by placing a tile, she claims a point chip and whoever collects the most chips wins.

On the other side of the game board, a dealer lays out up to ten tiles one by one and whenever any player sees a set among the face-up tiles, she shouts "Set!" and claims the tiles that form the set. The dealer then replaces these tiles and the game continues until no more sets can be claimed. Whoever claims the most sets wins.

Other Information: • Price €15
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15. Board Game: WÜRFELmania! 2 [Average Rating:5.40 Unranked]
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 6
Playing time: 30 minutes
Suggested ages: 12 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
German
Description:

DICEcapades! Quick Play Edition is a smaller version of DICEcapades that can be either played in half the time as a standalone game or used as an expansion for the original game. At the start of a player's turn, he draws a card from one of the decks, then tries out perform the challenge on the card, possibly with the assistance of others. The three categories of cards are:

  • Actionland cards are generally physical or dexterity challenges, such as drawing a picture, stacking the dice before time runs out, or doing 1d20 jumping jacks.
  • Thinkingtown cards are generally memory, logic, or math exercises, such as naming a certain number of items in a category, gaining/losing a point if the product of the numbers of the dice is even or odd, or rolling letter dice to spell a person's name within thirty seconds.
  • Triviaville cards present trivia questions, with an opponent rolling a color die, then asking the corresponding question. (Black = reader's choice.)

The player(s) performing the challenge score one or more points (if they succeed), and the first player to score twenty points wins. (The rules suggest playing in teams, so the maximum player count could be considered twelve.)

Other Information: • Price €20
 
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Board Game Publisher: Asmodee
16. Board Game: Abalone Quattro [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:5851]
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 4
Playing time: 40 minutes
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
German
Description:

Whereas Abalone was a two-player game with only black and white marbles as playing pieces, Abalone Quattro comes with four colored sets of 14 marbles and a new sculpted board that allows three players to compete against one another or two teams to go head-to-head. The goal of the game remains the same: Be the first player (or team) to push six opposing marbles off the playing area.

On a turn, you push 1-3 marbles in a straight line one space in any direction provided that either (1) the space you move into is unoccupied or (2) you're pushing an opposing group of marbles that consists of fewer marbles than the group you're moving. For example, a line of three marbles can push one or two adjacent opposing marbles one space along the line or off the playing area. (In team play, the first marble in the pushing line must belong to the player who makes the push. You can push marbles belong to both opponents.)

Other Information: Abalone still lives?! Man, I remember selling tons of those in 1991-1993 when I worked at a game store in California. Anyway, Asmodee expects to have this edition out in Q3 2014.
 
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17. Board Game: The Builders: Middle Ages [Average Rating:6.52 Overall Rank:1479]
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 4
Playing time: 30 minutes
Suggested ages: 10 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
English
Description:

In The Builders: Middle Ages, the cards represent buildings or workers. Players score points (and gain money) by completing the construction of buildings, while placing a worker on a construction site costs money. Each building has four characteristics (carpentry, masonry, architecture, tilery) rated between 0 and 5, and the workers have the same characteristics valued in the same range. To complete a construction, the player must add enough workers to cover the four characteristics of the building.

Each player starts the game with 10 ecu and an apprentice. Five workers and five buildings are placed face-up on the table, with the others set aside in separate decks. On a turn, you can take three free actions, then pay 5 ecu for each additional action. The possible actions are:

  • Open a site - Take one of the five buildings, place it front of you, then draw a replacement from the deck.
  • Recruit a worker - Take one of the five workers, place it front of you, then draw a replacement from the deck.
  • Assign a worker to a building - Pay the cost of the worker (as he won't work for free!), then place him on a building; when the building's needs are met, you earn the points and coins indicated, then flip the building over. The workers return to your pool of available labor.
  • Get money - Forgo one, two or three actions to earn 1, 3 or 6 ecu.

Some completed buildings join your labor pool as they can be used to complete other buildings. As soon as a player reaches 17 points, players finish the round so that everyone has the same number of turns, then you tally points, with each completed card having a point value and each 10 ecu being worth 1 point. Whoever has the most points wins.

Other Information: • Released in France in November 2013, Asmodee will distribute this title in Germany in Q1/Q2 2014 and in North America at a time still to be determined.

• I was able to play this once at Spiel 2013 with designer Frédéric Henry and two others, and the game was great fun. Similar to Splendor, another title being distributed by Asmodee, The Builders is an engine-building game with nothing but engine. You're firing from the first turn to get the right workers and assign them to the proper projects, with any wasted actions costing you momentum. I'm looking forward to playing this again as it's got that perfect potato-chip feel...
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18. Board Game: Continental Express [Average Rating:6.05 Overall Rank:5333]
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 4
Playing time: 20 minutes
Suggested ages: 8 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
English
Description:

In Continental Express, players add train cars to their station in the hope of fulfilling objectives and maximizing the value of their secret contract. To start the game, each player chooses one of two contract cards dealt to them; these contracts require players to collect icons of a particular color or groups of like-colored icons or icons and company tokens of differing colors.

Players then take turns drafting cards from three face-up rows; the card on the end of each row costs nothing, the card in the middle costs $1, and the card closest to each of the three decks costs $2. Players start with no money, however, and the only way to get some is to draft it – but naturally that means you'll be forgoing other cards. If a player has train cars matching one of the three face-up objective cards, he can choose to discard those train cars and claim the objective – and since the objectives have the icons that satisfy contracts, you'll probably want to do that.

In addition to train cars and money, players can draft characters, taking the special action of a character when he drafts one. Actions include things like taking a train car of your choice from the card array, stealing all money from one player, and taking a company token of the color of your choice. The card decks also include two events, and those cards flush either the objective cards on display or the smaller cards that players draft.

When a player claims his fourth objective, each other player takes one more turn, then the game ends. Players tally the points scored for their contract (if any), their claimed objective cards, and any money still in hand. Whoever has the highest score wins!

Other Information: • Released in France in late 2013, Asmodee will distribute this game in Germany in Q1/Q2 2014 and in North America at some point after I write this sentence.

• I've played Continental Express once, and it has a nice feel, being light and tactical with players being able to look ahead at what they hope to draft, while being pulled in multiple directions due to what's available. I muffed my secret goal, and the game ended sooner than I expected, so it was more like Portland-to-Denver Express for me. Maybe next game!
 
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19. Board Game: Spot it! Basic English [Average Rating:6.66 Overall Rank:939] [Average Rating:6.66 Unranked]
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 8
Playing time: 15 minutes
Suggested ages: 7 and up
Categories: Show More »
Mechanics:
Language:
English
Description:

Spot it!, a.k.a. Dobble, is a simple pattern recognition game in which players try to find an image shown on two cards.

Each card in original Spot it! features eight different symbols, with the symbols varying in size from one card to the next. Any two cards have exactly one symbol in common. For the basic Spot it! game, reveal one card, then another. Whoever spots the symbol in common on both cards claims the first card, then another card is revealed for players to search, and so on. Whoever has collected the most cards when the 55-card deck runs out wins!

Rules for different games – each an observation game with a speed element – are included with Spot it!, with the first player to find a match either gaining or getting rid of a card. Multiple versions of Spot it! have been published, with images in each version ranging from Halloween to hockey to baseball to San Francisco.

The game is sold as Spot it! in the USA and Dobble in Europe, with slight differences between the two editions.

Note: some versions have fewer cards and fewer symbols per card. (E.g. 30 cards with 6 symbols each.): Spot it Jr.! Animals

Other Information: • A waterproof version of the existing Spot it! game. Now you can play in the bath!
 
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20. Board Game: Tic Talk [Average Rating:6.01 Overall Rank:10896]
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 4 − 6
Playing time: 30 minutes
Suggested ages: 10 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
German
Description:

Tic Talk, first published as Wordy Word, pits two teams against one another each round, with one team creating words and the other trying to figure out what was created. At the start of a round, one team flips its sand timer, then rolls five colored, twelve-sided letter dice; each color corresponds to a row on a paper tablet, with the red die indicating what the first letter in a word must be, the yellow die indicating the second letter in a separate word must be, and so on. The team members think up words that fit these constraints as quickly as possible, stopping the sand timer once they've finished.

Following this, a member of the other team looks at the word list, starts the same sand timer in reverse — thereby giving him as much time as the team took to write down its words — then tries to get her teammates to guess these five words. Clue-giving is done Taboo-style, and that team scores one point for each word guessed in the time allowed.

Other Information: • Normally we don't add listings to the BGG database that include nothing more than a title and publisher, but given that I'll be seeing this item in Nürnberg soon and can then scarf up more details, I'm adding it to the list to keep it on my radar. Beep!
 
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Board Game Publisher: Blue Orange Games
21. Board Game: Aztack [Average Rating:5.90 Overall Rank:12373]
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 4
Playing time: 15 minutes
Suggested ages: 7 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
English
Description:

Journey to the age of the legendary Aztecs and build a temple to win the favor of the high priest.

In Aztack, players stack stones according to their patterns, as each stone must match the two stones underneath by color and/or glyph. Look for opportunities to block your opponent from stacking their stones so that you can rise to the top. Whoever has the fewest stones remaining at the end of the game wins.

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22. Board Game: Battle Sheep [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:1259]
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 4
Playing time: 15 minutes
Suggested ages: 7 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
English
Description:

In Battle Sheep (first released as Splits), players start the game by constructing the board from identical four-hex tiles, then each player places his/her tall stack of discs on one of the border hexes. Players take turns removing some number of discs from the top of one of their stacks, moving that new stack of discs as far away as it can go in a straight line. Players must leave at least one disc behind when moving, so the board gradually fills up and movement opportunities become more and more scarce. The player occupying the most spaces at the end of the game wins!

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23. Board Game: BraveRats [Average Rating:6.47 Overall Rank:1935]
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2
Playing time: 15 minutes
Suggested ages: 8 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
English
Description:

BraveRats, first released as R, is a simple and short simultaneous action selection game for two that's played with cards. Both players have a hand of eight cards, numbered 0 to 7, with each card having a special power. Both players choose a card, then reveal them simultaneously. The highest card wins the round, and players play until someone has won four rounds. The cards' special powers greatly influence the game.

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24. Board Game: Doodle Quest [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:2417]
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 1 − 4
Playing time: 15 minutes
Suggested ages: 6 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
English
Description:

Dive under the deep blue sea where you'll find fish to gobble, treasure to discover, and divers to save!

In the line-drawing game Doodle Quest, players study challenging quest cards, then try to replicate the depicted path(s) on their separate transparent doodle sheets. Once finished, the players place their doodle sheets on top of the quest card to see whether the drawings line up. Visit starfish for bonus points! Doodle Quest includes 36 illustrations with two different levels of play: beginning and advanced.

Doodle Quest features the same basic gameplay as in Loony Quest, but has been developed differently by the publisher.

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25. Board Game: Niya [Average Rating:6.62 Overall Rank:1964]
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2
Playing time: 10 minutes
Suggested ages: 7 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
English
Description:

In Okiya, a.k.a. Niya,, each player tries to arrange her tokens to gain the favor of the emperor. Alternatively, you can prevent your rival from placing a token in the Imperial garden, showing that you have more control than your opponent.

To set up the game, shuffle the 16 tiles and arrange them in a 4x4 square; each tile shows one of four types of vegetation (maple, cherry, pine or iris) and one of four types of poetic symbols (rising sun, bird, rain or tanzaku - the small pieces of paper on which people sometimes write wishes).

The starting player removes one tile on the border of the square, sets this tile aside, then places one of her tokens in this space. The opponent must then do the same thing, but can choose from only those tiles that depict the same type of vegetation or poetic symbol shown on the tile first set aside. Play continues, with each set-aside tile determining where the next player can go until:

  • A player forms a line with four of her tokens in any direction,
  • A player forms a 2x2 square with four of her tokens, or
  • A player chooses a tile which doesn't allow her opponent to place a token.

In any of these cases, the player has won the game. A match can be a single game, a "best of three" series, or a point-based match, with the winner of a game earning as many points as the number of tiles remaining in the grid when she wins; in this case, the player who first collects ten points wins the match.

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