SPIEL 2016 Preview
W. Eric Martin
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SPIEL, held in the town of Essen each October, is one of Germany's two major game conventions, the other being the International Toy Fair in Nürnberg each February. While Spielwarenmesse is a business-only trade show, SPIEL is open to the public, drawing roughly 150,000 people over four days. Hundreds of new games will be introduced at SPIEL 2016, which takes place October 13-16. This preview covers games that publishers plan to release at SPIEL or in the months leading up to it; listings for some smaller publishers show all titles released since SPIEL 2015.

Details about the SPIEL 2016 Preview:

-----• This Preview is organized alphabetically by publisher, with games ordered alphabetically under a publisher's heading. In most cases, if a game appears in multiple versions, typically due to it being released in multiple languages, each version will appear under its own publisher.

-----• If you subscribe to this Preview, you'll receive update notices whenever an item is added or edited.

-----• If you don't care to read about a game and are logged in, click the red X to hide the game listing for both now and future visits. Choose "Personal" for the reason when doing so. You cannot hide a publisher due to this Preview's special set-up.

-----Please refrain from posting "Which booth?", "What's the price?" type of comments since they trigger subscription notices. Publisher booth numbers, preorder information, game designer and artist signings, and more will be added as that info comes available.

Note that this information has been cobbled together from dozens, nay, hundreds of sources, so inaccuracies may have crept in despite my best efforts. I will update game pages as I receive additional information, and your fellow BGG users will undoubtedly do the same, thereby keeping this Preview as up-to-date as the BGG database itself.

If you're a designer or publisher with information to share – or if you have details about an upcoming SPIEL 2016 release – please send me email (wericmartin @ gmail.com). I'll respond as best as I can given the tidal wave of data flowing through the game world in anticipation of the most exciting game convention in the world: SPIEL!
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Board Game Publisher: Zoch Verlag
• Booth 3-J108
776. Board Game: Gämsh Alpin [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:11064]
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 4 − 6
Playing time: 15 minutes
Suggested ages: 8 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
English
German
Description:

Description from the publisher:

Gämsh Alpin is a fast card game for teams of two whose communication is on point. Thus, the game works only with 4 OR 6 players, not 5.

Before the game starts, each team of two players secretly agrees on a signal — a wink, a gesture, a word, whatever — they will use in the game. This signal should be clear enough for the partner, but not something that can be identified by other players.

Now the actual game starts, with partners sitting opposite one another. All players simultaneously exchange cards in hand with cards on the table. As soon as any player has managed to collect four of a kind, that player tries to let their partner know by giving that team's secret signal. If the team partner identifies the wink, the nudge, the code word, whatever, that team can score points. However, a vigilant opponent might just be faster and counter in time by announcing that this particular team has sent the signal. The opponent does not have to tell the group the signal. Special cards spice up the whole procedure.

Gämsh Alpin is a further development of a public domain game.

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777. Board Game: Kilt Castle [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:5802]
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 4
Playing time: 45 minutes
Suggested ages: 10 and up
Categories:
Mechanics:
Language:
English
French
German
Italian
Description:

Description from the publisher:

Kilt Castle adds a simple and highly interactive card mechanism to the classic Euro game genre of outbuilding one's opponents in an attempt to control the largest territory.

The game board shows a grid of 5x5 squares. Ten cards are placed beside the first four rows in stacks of 4, 3, 2 and 1 card. On their turn, the player picks up an open card from one of the stacks next to the game board and places it in another row — always in a clockwise direction. All players whose colors are on that card (one or two) are then allowed to build a new tower or build on top of an existing tower in this particular row. Building on an open space is free, while building on top of somebody else's tower costs as many ducats as the number of "floors" already built. A player can decide to trigger a general round of scoring simply by moving the last card of any stack. High towers are a good way to claim a large, connected territory and collect a lot of ducats.

Other Information: • MSRP €30, discounted to €25 for sales at SPIEL 2016.

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778. Board Game: Mea Culpa [Average Rating:6.22 Overall Rank:6163]
Designed by:
Published by:
Number of players: 2 − 4
Playing time: 90 minutes
Suggested ages: 14 and up
Categories:
Mechanics: Show More »
Language:
English
German
Description:

As soon as a coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs" —Johann Tetzel, 1465-1519

Mea Culpa is a paradise-and-pandemonium gamer's game that’s all about sins and sinners. Be it at the brothel or at the market, men such as the Pope or the Emperor can be seen hard at work at any time of the day. Even the most miserable miser, though, would be well advised to also strive to get hold of enough precious stones and wine to make sufficient donations towards the Lord's cathedrals. After all, it is through pious generosity that a poor soul can gain the all-important letters of indulgence and be pardoned for a life of greed and lust. When all is said done, what matters is to have sinned just enough to have achieved all goals and gotten away with it, while others took the fall.

In more detail, to win, players have to end the game with their "poor souls" closer to heaven's gate than their opponents. Alas, throughout the game these poor souls pretty much exclusively move in the opposite direction, i.e., towards Hell. Only at the very end of the game might players climb back towards heaven, depending on the letters of indulgence that they managed to collect up to that point.

The accumulation of these letters of indulgence is each player's primary goal. To this end, they take on the roles of different people: the Pope, the Emperor, the Merchant, or the Little Sinner. Each round, these roles in turn grant them access to different special actions. On their turn, players buy or sell goods on the market, visit the brothel to benefit from personal connections, or secretly donate money and goods to the church. Meanwhile, the construction of the game's three cathedrals proceeds. As soon as a cathedral is fully erected, the church will hand out the all-important letters of indulgence. However, only those who have donated the most in either of three categories will actually receive anything.

Many perks that can be used during the game require the players to "sin". Sins are tracked by means of a tally stick and will move the player's poor soul closer to hell. The player who strikes the right balance and picks the right roles at the right time will be able to collect the most valuable letters of indulgence and might stand chance at winning the game. If a player has burdened themselves with too much sin, though, all will ultimately be for naught.

Other Information: • MSRP €45, discounted to €38 for sales at SPIEL 2016.

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