As the early games of interest blip my radar with still over 6 months to go, its time to get over excited well ahead of the game. Again.
Just before I receive legal papers for defamation I need to emphasize, this is a personal summary of the games that pique my interest enough to keep an eye on them pre-show. If further and better particulars mean that I decide against something I will remove it from the list rather than hanging it out to dry in a pillory system . Last year I seemed to research the offerings more than ever before and succeeded in picking up some of the most bland and disappointing games ever. Perhaps this year I should trust more to instinct and try more before I buy. Perhaps this list already shows that will never be the case and how deluded I am.
This is a working document and will be added to in the months leading up to October. Please feel free to chip in and add comments, disagree with me or add missing information, especially if the game won't make the show or you know the stand number.
The 2015 US Essen Set has 3 new games and 1 expansion:
SOUTHERN RAILS Harry Wu has done a short, no luck game about building railroads in the Southern US. This game is for 3-5 players and lasts less than an hour.
TRANS-SIBERIAN RAILROAD Tom Russell has created a medium length, no luck game about building the Trans-Siberian Railroad and other railroads in Russia. The game map is rather large, as you might expect. This game is for 3-5 players and lasts about 90 minutes.
1857 Eddie Robbins has created another 18xx game, this time in Argentina. This game includes private corporations (little companies) and is not for beginners. 3-6 players for 2-4 hours. It plays fast and bankruptcies are common. Like 1879, it requires the tiles from 1830.
AGE OF STEAM: NEW ENGLAND EXPANSION This is a 2 player expansion using the Turn Order mechanism in Age of Steam: Austria.
I haven't bought a 2 player game since 1960 the Making of a President. This is mainly because I rarely play a one on one game. So They Come Unseen didn't seem a likely contender until I saw that it plays well as a 4 & 5 player with two teams as well.
The bluffing element makes me think of an elaborate Stratego and the fact that the soviets need to protect bases and manage resources too appears to ice the cake.
Definitely needs a look but unless its made out of spit and seaweed, I'm struggling to see a reason why I wouldn't buy this. Check out the video below and take note of how to be infectiously enthusiastic about a game. Nice job Duncan;
Looks like a complex Euro. Anther one to try before getting the wallet out.
I wasn't sure about whether the game was in English. This is the reply from the designer; Lignum already includes both versions. English and German. All cards have both languages on it. The board is double-sided: One side english, one side german. There will be one german and one english rule... the english translation of the rules is in the pipeline and will be soon available...
Looks like this could be deep, but its by the guys who produced Colonies which is one of the best games out of Essen for quite a few years. This needs special attention for that point alone. • Booth 7-D104 • €30 • Rules: Pending
Expansion for this great end of evening filler. There seems to be a free secret gift floating around with the pre-order and the chance to buy frankly sh*t ugly figures to replace the nice wooden cowboys for the frankly sh*t awful price of €20.
'We'll give you a fair trial... Followed by a first class hangin'.
Not to be published by Spielworxxx but word is good for a release this year with.....?
Haspelknecht, the 3rd game of the coal trilogy from Thomas Spitzer is going to be published by Quined Games in 2015.
"In Haspelknecht, the players take upon the role of farmers with opportunities to exploit the presence of coal in their lands in the southern part of the Ruhr region. Coal was found here, nearly at the surface. It is set in the times where the lands were mostly flocked with forests and roads were rare.
The players will obtain knowledge, extend the farm and dig deeper in the ground to get more coal. The game has many ways that lead to victory.
The game has a very interesting and innovative action selection mechanism. The player has to pick the right tasks and he has also to take care of the ground water which will spoil opportunities to get coal.
The game offers a lot of variation and replay ability as the knowledge tiles offer countless possible setups.
The game is suitable for 2 to 4 players and lasts 60 to 90 minutes.
The artwork will be done by Johannes Sich Haspelknecht will be published in the Masterprint Series as number 15."
The game will be released internationally on Spiel in Essen, October 2015 and it will be published in a Multilanguage edition: English, German, French and Dutch
After a rules read through: I'm impressed. With a few basic options available to you each turn there seems to be considerable depth the the gameplay here. I'd dismiss the abstract accusation as the game does seem to be all about raiding and pillaging. A lot to balance and a need to monitor your opponents actions. Yes there is a random treasure tile option but you all start with the same three and the facility to trade them in for special actions offers a tangible dilemma over on board presence vs end game points. I need to move this up my list. Yes I'd love a demo but at this stage I 'm pretty sure I'll buy this.
Last years contribution to the Planes Trains and Automobiles trilogy, (Planes) really didn't raise the pulse and as the last part of the trilogy this looked to be similar. However I have read a reasonable review;
After a read through of the rules, I'm impressed. This is a hand management game that uses coloured cubes in place of cards. The cubes are linked to a specific car feature for the entire game so using a certain cube, gives you that corresponding benefit and the car rumbles around the track. As there are many cards to choose from a race may be tailored specifically with cards that complement each other, or it can be random giving considerable replayability. Such a feature is similar to the card decks in trains but achieved in a more economic fashion.
This was originally launched by Treefrog as part of a three game pre-order subscription in May 2014 along with Mythyopia and Onward to Venus. As at least two of these titles were sight unseen and no one really knew what they were about, the idea of investing blind really didn't appeal especially as Martin's games have a real Marmite tendency for me. Add into the mix that the handling of ASiE (which I did back) left a very bitter taste in my mouth seeing how people were able to buy it at Essen cheaper than I paid 6 months earlier and got their games a month before I did, I was feeling less than charitable toward Mr W.
Well so far my decision not to back has proved correct. Mythyopia and Onward to Venus really don't look like games I'd enjoy but with regard to ships, it looks like the 'good' identical twin has escaped the dungeon that 'evil' Martin locked him in and produced a game that might be right up my street.