My mid/heavy euro list for Essen Spiel 2018
Alessandro Mongelli
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My list of (mostly) mid-heavy / heavy euro games I would like to try/buy at Spiel 2018 in Essen.

Not all titles are strictly Essen releases and some of them will probably not be available to buy so I'll try to keep this list updated as I get more info on the upcoming games.


This list does not include games that should be available at Spiel 2018 but that I have already preordered/backed. I am listing them below for completeness sake:

Root
Tokyo Metro
Founders of Gloomhaven
Vindication
Brass: Birmingham
Mysthea
Railroad Rivals
Tramways Engineer's Workbook

This is the second time I use a geeklist to track my interests though I have been a Spiel regular for 18 years. You can find the previous one here:

My mid/heavy euro list for Spiel 2017

29.06.2018 Just a quick clarification on my rating system. Games that will be available to buy in Essen get a higher priority as my main objective is to "try before buying". That means that games available only as demo will have a rating of 'LOOK' even if my interest in them is higher.

3.1.2018 I have just created a geeklist with my impressions of the games I have played this year at Spiel.
You can find it here


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1. Board Game: Blackout: Hong Kong [Average Rating:7.51 Overall Rank:482]
Board Game: Blackout: Hong Kong
Alessandro Mongelli
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Designer: Alexander Pfister
Publisher: eggertspiele
Location: 3-D110
Price: EUR 45.00

Mechanisms: Area Control, Deck Building, Hand Management
Players: 1–4
Length: 75-150 Mins
Age: 14+

As with other Alexander Pfister big games, it is difficult to pin this in a specific category. There is a bit of deck building, area enclosure, resource management, order fulfilling, and hand management. The deck building mechanism has some similarities with Mombasa, but here again Mr. Pfister came up with a new idea. New cards you acquire are not added directly to your hand but start as objectives you put on your personal board. Once you fulfil them they either go into your hand or into your tableau where they give you bonuses if you activate them when you refresh your hand.
My main concern is about player interaction which seems to be minimal. There is some competition for the cards on display and to be the first to enclose an area on the map (but multiple players can enclose the same area in the same turn).
It's not a big concern as GWT also doesn't have a lot of interaction (but still more that this IMO) but it's still one on my all time favourites.

PREORDERED
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2. Board Game: Gùgōng [Average Rating:7.53 Overall Rank:311]
Board Game: Gùgōng
Alessandro Mongelli
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Designer: Andreas Steding
Publisher: Game Brewer
Location: 4-D109
Price: EUR 50.00

Mechanisms: Action Programming, Deck Building, Hand Management, Set Collection
Players: 2–5
Length: 60-90 Mins
Age: 12+
Weight: 3.67

Not much info available yet but the publisher said that it's of similar complexity level as some of their other titles like Gentes, Chimera Station and Pixie Queen despite the short playing time. I have played end enjoyed other games designed by Andreas Steding like Hansa Teutonica, Noremberc and The Staufer Dinasty so this goes in my to-try list for now.

28.04.2018 I have watched a preview and read the rules and this has become a must buy for me. I like the different interconnected mini-games (a bit like Trajan) and the way the gift cards work made me think of Ra (you start with a set of numbered cards and every time you play one you get another one back which you will use in the next round). Lots of variability, interesting decisions, different strategies and it plays up to five which is always a plus. I want it now.

09.05.2018 I have now backed the Deluxe edition on KickStarter for Essen pickup. I didn't back it immediately because I could have bought the retail edition in Essen at the same price (or maybe a bit more but I doubt it) and the Deluxe was not worth the extra 15 Euro for me. That changed when the custom insert stretch goal was reached.

PREORDERED
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3. Board Game: Tudor [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:3198]
Board Game: Tudor
Alessandro Mongelli
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Designer: Jan Kirschner
Publisher: Corax Games
Location: 2-B145
Price: EUR 50.00

Mechanisms: Set Collection, Worker Placement
Players: 2–4
Length: 90-120 Mins
Age: 12+
Weight: --

There is not much info available on this game yet but the short description hints at a worker placement with a high level of interaction. Waiting for more info

17.05.2018 It's on Spielschmiede right now and it appears it's going to reach its founding goal. The English language edition is also available. I skimmed through the first draft of the (German) rules and it looks like my kind of game: worker placement with lots of interaction (your courtiers/workers may be bumped out of the queue or fail to activate if nobody places a Lord in the same room) and variable scoring conditions. The signet rings are another interesting feature though the hand-shaped player screens look a bit creepy.

6.6.2018 Backed on KS.

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4. Board Game: Crisis at Steamfall [Average Rating:6.45 Overall Rank:8675]
Board Game: Crisis at Steamfall
Alessandro Mongelli
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Designer: Tom Stasiak
Publisher: Beautiful Disaster Games
Location: 5-C108
Price: EUR 55.00

Mechanisms: Action Selection, Area Movement, Co-operative Play, Modular Board, Variable Player Powers
Players: 1–4
Length: 60-120 Mins
Age: 13+
Weight: --

From the same publisher as Assault on Doomrock (which I played in Essen 2015 and found interesting but too long) this one can be played both co-op and competitive. I am mainly interested in the competitive mode but it would be nice to have a game that works equally well in both modes though I still have to find a game that manages it. I like the way you build up the action columns of your character and I hope there is no 'optimal' way to do it (hopefully it will depend on how the game is setup and evolves).
Not sure if there will be copies available in Essen other than the 150 that can be 'reserved' on KS so I'm probably going to back it and sell it to someone that likes co-ops if the competitive mode doesn't work well.

17.05.2018 I caved in and backed on KS before they ran out of copies available for Essen pick-up.

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5. Board Game: 18Lilliput [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:2197]
Board Game: 18Lilliput
Alessandro Mongelli
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Designer: Leonhard "Lonny" Orgler
Publisher: Fox in the Box
Location:
Price:

Mechanisms: Route Building, Stock Holding, Tile Placement, Variable Player Powers
Players: 2–4
Length: 60 Mins
Age: 12+
Weight: 3.00

18xx: the card game by the designer and publisher of 18CZ? I'm intrigued.
The main mechanism is action card drafting which is unusual but is seems to have most of the other features of a proper 18xx game in a very short time frame. It's going to KS soon so I hope it will be ready for Essen.

29.06.2018 I have organised a group pledge on KickStarter so I'll have the game delivered home with minimal shipping costs.

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6. Board Game: Pasaraya: Supermarket Manager [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:9897]
Board Game: Pasaraya: Supermarket Manager
Alessandro Mongelli
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Designer: Seh Hui Leong
Publisher: Boxfox Games
Location:
Price:

Mechanisms: Deck Building, Set Collection
Players: 1-4
Length: 60-90 Mins
Age: 14+
Weight:

A deck builder with a couple of nice twists and a real economic engine underneath from an indie Malaysian designer/publisher.
The publisher will not be at Spiel but there will be a limited amount of copies for sale through the BGG marketplace. I have already bought mine.

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7. Board Game: Captains of the Gulf [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:3580]
Board Game: Captains of the Gulf
Alessandro Mongelli
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Name: Captains Of The Gulf
Designer: Jason Dinger
Publisher: Spielworxx
Location: 2-D128
Price: EUR 70.00

Mechanisms: Hand Management, Pick-up and Deliver
Players: 2-4
Length: 75-120
Age: 12+
Weight: --

25.06.2018 CotG has its own entry in the BGG database now.

21.9.2018 I have preordered it on Spielworxx website after reading the rules. It is basically a pick-up and deliver game based on a rondel mechanic and with multi-use cards that you tuck under your payer board (which represents your fishing boat) in a way similar to La Granja and give you either fishing licenses for a certain type of seafood, crew members or boat upgrades.
There are a couple of other interesting bits like how the combination of licenses, storage and card played affects the type and quantity of seafood you get when you fish or the way fishing areas are depleted and repopulated.
All in all it looks like a medium complexity euro with a lot of well known mechanics that seem to fit well together with a couple of new ideas.
I'm not completely sold but I guess it will not be hard to sell if I decide I don't like it enough.

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8. Board Game: Teotihuacan: City of Gods [Average Rating:7.95 Overall Rank:62]
Board Game: Teotihuacan: City of Gods
Alessandro Mongelli
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Designer: Daniele Tascini
Publisher: NSKN Games
Location: 1-G124
Price: EUR 45.00

Mechanisms: Area Movement,Set Collection,Tile Placement,Variable Player Powers, Worker Placement
Players: 2–4
Length: 75-120 Mins
Age: 12+
Weight: --

NSKN has still to publish a game that I like (Simurgh, Progress and Dragonsgate College were good but not enough for me to buy) but this is from Daniele Tascini (and David Turczi is also involved in the development) so I'll keep an eye on it.

12.07.2018 I've watched the MvM review and read the rules and this has become a must buy for me. Lots of interesting ideas and a level of forward planning comparable to Tzolk'in (if not higher) plus a lot of variability

MUST BUY
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9. Board Game: Great Western Trail: Rails to the North [Average Rating:8.52 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.52 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.52 Unranked]
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Designer: Alexander Pfister
Publisher: eggertspiele
Location: 3-M110/3-M105
Price: EUR 25.00

Mechanisms: --
Players: 2–4
Length: 75-150 Mins
Age: 14+
Weight: --

I don't buy expansions usually but Great Western Trail is a game I have played a lot and keep playing. It's not a big expansion but it changes the way deliveries work with the city track converted into a tree with different branches plus a couple of additions like a new auxiliary action, new private buildings and station master tiles that will add variability.

MUST BUY
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10. Board Game: Tybor the Builder: At the King's Behest [Average Rating:7.75 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.75 Unranked]
Board Game: Tybor the Builder: At the King's Behest
Alessandro Mongelli
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Designer: Dennis Rappel
Publisher: Österreichisches Spiele Museum e.V.
Location: 2-D121
Price:

Mechanisms: Card Drafting
Players: 2–4
Length: 30 Mins
Age: 8+
Weight:

Expansion for Tybor der Baumeister which adds three new modules and also includes a scoring pad. I don't even need to read the rules to include it in my "must buy" list.

MUST BUY
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11. Board Game: TOKYO WASHI GAME CATS [Average Rating:5.72 Overall Rank:16304]
Board Game: TOKYO WASHI GAME CATS
Alessandro Mongelli
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Designer: Jordan Draper
Publisher: Jordan Draper Games
Location: 1-D122
Price: EUR 5.00

Mechanisms: Area Enclosure, Grid Movement, Modular Board, Paper-and-Pencil, Pick-up and Deliver
Players: 2–6
Length: 10-30 Mins
Age: 8+

A paper(or washi tape)-and-pencil game you can bring with you and play anywhere for 5 EUR? I want a copy (or maybe two)

MUST BUY
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12. Board Game: Key Flow [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:1558]
Board Game: Key Flow
Alessandro Mongelli
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Designer: Sebastian Bleasdale, Richard Breese, Ian Vincent
Publisher: R&D Games
Location: 3-O101
Price: EUR 50.00

Mechanisms: Card Drafting, Route Building, Set Collection, Simultaneous Action Selection, Worker Placement
Players: 2-6
Length: 45-75
Age: 14+
Weight: --

Keyflower: the card game. Nuff said

16.08.2018 After reading the rules I am not so sure anymore. The auction has been replaced with a 7wonders-style card draft. The good thing is that, like 7 wonders, you can discard the card you have chosen to get a keyple token so you don't have to play a card you don't need just to avoid passing it to the next player. The rest is pure KeyFlower with a couple of differences which I am not sure I like. Like the restriction on where to place your keyple cards and the fact that you can only interact with your neighbours. Lowered my interest level to 'try before buying'

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13. Board Game: Magnastorm [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:2962]
Board Game: Magnastorm
Alessandro Mongelli
United Kingdom
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Designer: Bauldric & Friends
Publisher: Feuerland Spiele
Location: 4-C116
Price: EUR 50.00

Mechanisms: Area Movement, Worker Placement
Players: 2–4
Length: 60-100 Mins
Age: 12+
Weight: --

The new Essen release from Feuerland is always worth a look and it's from the same designer as Power Struggle (Maximilian Thiel) which is an underrated game in my opinion. Waiting for more info.

09.08.2018 I have just finished reading the rules and I quite like what I've seen. The main mechanism is interesting and not the usual worker placement (though you move workers from one board to the other and may block a spot that someone else wanted) or action selection/drafting. I really like the fact that moving a worker to a spot will not only determine your current action and decrease the cost of the 'take over a commander' action for the other players, but also set up the board for the next round. There is also more interaction than your typical medium weight euro as everything you do will have impact on the other players either by increasing/decreasing the cost of taking actions or by threatening their control of an area or their leadership of a research track. I like the fact that claiming objectives forces you to lose research points or labs. The rotating center tile is also a nice idea as it changes the income of your labs every turn. My main (small) concern is the 'race' aspect as the game ends when a player reaches a certain number of points or after 4 rounds if nobody reaches the required reputation.
All in all it looks like a solid medium weight euro with a good level of interaction and enough depth and variability to make you want to play it again.

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14. Board Game: Underwater Cities [Average Rating:8.12 Overall Rank:42]
Board Game: Underwater Cities
Alessandro Mongelli
United Kingdom
London
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Designer: Vladimír Suchý
Publisher: Delicious Games
Location: 5-C111
Price: EUR 45.00

Mechanisms: Modular Board, Route Building,Worker Placement
Players: 1–4
Length: 80-150 Mins
Age: 12+
Weight: --

New game by Vladimír Suchý from a new publisher. There is nothing particularly exciting in the description here, just the usual collect resources, build stuff, make points, ...
You play a card on a slot to execute the action of the slot but you also get the action on the card (but only if you match the colour of the slot? Or maybe you get additional advantages if you match the colour?)
Sounds like one of those worker placement games with specialised workers but with cards instead
Waiting for more info

24.9.2018 After reading a preview my interest level has raised. My initial guess was right about the main mechanism but with one interesting bit: if the card played matches the colour of the action space you claim the card (unless it's an instant effect card) an put it beside your player board. Cards you claim give you additional actions, permanent effects or end game points.
It's a city/network building game with a short number of turns so it's probably a tight game where you need to stick to your initial plan. It also has advanced rules that include asymmetric payer boards.

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15. Board Game: Newton [Average Rating:7.61 Overall Rank:348]
Board Game: Newton
Alessandro Mongelli
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Designer: Simone Luciani, Nestore Mangone
Publisher: Cranio Creations
Location: 1-A118
Price:

Mechanisms: Worker Placement,Variable Player Powers
Players: 2–4
Length: 60-100 Mins
Age: 12+
Weight: --

I have actually played an early prototype of this but I think much has changed since then The main mechanics are still the same though, including the interesting spatial aspect of the library. I quite liked it and I'm looking forward to trying the final version at Spiel.

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16. Board Game: Imperial Century [Average Rating:5.10 Unranked]
From gallery of BoardGameGeek
Alessandro Mongelli
United Kingdom
London
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Designer: Rôla, Costa
Publisher: What's Your Game?
Location:
Price:

Mechanisms: Action Point Allowance System
Players: 2–4
Length: 80-160 Mins
Age: 8+
Weight: --

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17. Board Game: Smartphone Inc. [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:571]
Board Game: Smartphone Inc.
Alessandro Mongelli
United Kingdom
London
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Designer: Ivan Lashin
Publisher: Cosmodrome Games
Location: 4-G114
Price: EUR 60.00

Mechanisms: Action Programming, Area Control, Network Building, Simultaneous Action Selection
Players: 1-5
Length: 60-90 Mins
Age: 12+
Weight: --

An economic game about producing smartphones where all players plan their entire turn secretly at the start of each round. I like economic games and it seems there is also some network building which is a plus in my book and maybe also some kind of tech tree. On my radar

3.10.2018 Going through the draft rules has been a struggle: bad translations, not enough illustrations and very few examples, hopefully the final version will be better. Some parts are not clear but the game looks good. It's an economic game with an interesting planning phase where players use two tiles with a 3x2 grid of 5 different symbols on them representing the following 5 phases.
In the first phase (planning) the players secretly arrange the two tiles with one of the two covering at least one space of the other. The number and type of symbols visible on the two tiles determines the "power" of the action executed in the corresponding 5 phases (2 to 6). It also determines the sale price of the products produced which will affect the turn order for phases 4-8 with the player setting the lowest price going first.
The other phases include 'production' where player produce goods equal to the number of symbols shown plus the number of spaces covered by the tile placed on top, 'improvement' where players can acquire new tiles to place over the initial 2 in the planning phase, 'technology' where players can research new tech (which gives special powers and also allows selling to specific customers) and acquire patents and 'logistics' where players open new offices on the map to reach new markets.
It looks like a kind of game I would really like so it goes straight to my 'try' list

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18. Board Game: Tales of the Northlands: The Sagas of Noggin the Nog [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:4189]
Board Game: Tales of the Northlands: The Sagas of Noggin the Nog
Alessandro Mongelli
United Kingdom
London
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Designer: Nick Case
Publisher: A-Muse-Ment
Location: 4-J107
Price: EUR 70.00

Mechanisms: Action Point Allowance System, Set Collection, Tile Placement
Players: 2–4
Length: 90-120 Mins
Age: 8+
Weight: 3.50

17.05.2018 I have backed it on KS and then watched the Heavy Cardboard play-through and now I'm not so sure about it anymore. It looks like a solid game but I like games where I can try different strategies every time and I also love engine building. There is a bit of it here with the inventions and the counting house but I'm not sure it's enough for me.

6.6.2018 I have cancelled my pledge but I'm still interested in trying it in Essen. I'm not interested in KS exclusive content in general so no problem for me to buy the retail edition if I like it enough.

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19. Board Game: Prehistory [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:2128]
Board Game: Prehistory
Alessandro Mongelli
United Kingdom
London
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Designer: Attila Szőgyi
Publisher: A-games
Location: 4-F101
Price: EUR 65.00

Mechanisms: Area Control, Set Collection, Tile Placement, Worker Placement
Players: 2–4
Length: 60-120 Mins
Age: 12+
Weight: 3.75

Skipped the KS campaign as I would like to try it before deciding to buy. Last year's Ave Roma was interesting but too long for what it offered.

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20. Board Game: Carpe Diem [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:355]
From gallery of Photodump
Alessandro Mongelli
United Kingdom
London
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Designer: Stefan Feld
Publisher: Alea
Location:
Price: EUR 40.00

Mechanisms: Tile Placement
Players: 2–4
Length: 60 Mins
Age: 10+
Weight: --

Alea big box games from Stefan Feld are always worth trying. Play time of 60 minutes seems to suggest a lighter game than his previous designs.

7.9.2018 Watched a preview video and it is indeed a medium/light game. Someone compared it to Isle of Skye because of the way the scoring works (and is different in every game). I think I like the tile acquisition mechanism of IoS better than this one but the way you claim the scoring tiles in Carpe Diem makes it a bit more interactive and adds an interesting timing aspect. I like tile laying and variable scoring so this is definitely one to try.

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21. Board Game: Pax Emancipation [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:2902]
Board Game: Pax Emancipation
Alessandro Mongelli
United Kingdom
London
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Designer: Phil Eklund
Publisher: Sierra Madre Games
Location: 4-D124
Price: EUR 40.00

Mechanisms: Deck Building?
Players: 1–3
Length: 120-240 Mins
Age: 14+
Weight: --

The new Eklund game using the Pax system. This time it's about the abolition of slavery and it can be played either cooperatively, competitively or a mix of the two. I'm interested though I have never played a Pax game enough times to understands what I'm doing and why

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22. Board Game: Symphony No.9 [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:3768]
Board Game: Symphony No.9
Alessandro Mongelli
United Kingdom
London
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Designer: Frank Liu, Hung-Yang Shen
Publisher: Moaideas Game Design
Location: 4-A104
Price: EUR 40.00

Mechanisms: Betting/Wagering, Commodity Speculation
Players: 2–4
Length: 45-60 Mins
Age: 14+
Weight: --

A new game from Moaideas Game Design in the same vein as last year's Mini Rails. This time players are investing in famous compositors while trying to increase their reputation and also gain ownership of their compositions.
Another one to try if possible

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23. Board Game: Pandoria [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:3709]
Board Game: Pandoria
Alessandro Mongelli
United Kingdom
London
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Designer: Jeffrey D. Allers, Bernd Eisenstein
Publisher: Irongames
Location: 2-B103
Price: EUR 42.00

Mechanisms: Area Control, Hand Management, Tile Placement, Variable Player Powers, Worker Placement
Players: 2–4
Length: 90-120 Mins
Age: 10+
Weight: --

09.08.2018 I have just read the rules once and I hope I am missing something. The basic flow of the game is: place a tile, optionally place a meeple on the tile, if you close an area remove all the meeples from it and score it, draw a new tile. Sounds familiar?
OK, I have oversimplified, there is also another phase when you can play a card as a spell or a building or erect a monument. And also scoring a region gives you resources: crystals to cast spells, gold to buy new cards and wood to build. I was expecting a bit more from a game described as a "gamer's game" but again I may be missing something. I'm still looking to try it but my interest level has dropped significantly.

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24. Board Game: Epoch: Early Inventors [Average Rating:6.49 Overall Rank:10335]
Board Game: Epoch: Early Inventors
Alessandro Mongelli
United Kingdom
London
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Designer: Martyn F
Publisher: Rio Grande Games
Location:
Price:

Mechanisms: Area Movement, Dice Rolling, Modular Board, Trading
Players: 2–4
Length: 90-150 Mins
Age: 12+
Weight: 2.50

It seems Rio Grande Games is finally publishing this game. I don't know if it will be available to try/buy as RGG doesn't have a booth at Spiel though.

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25. Board Game: Escape Tales: The Awakening [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:1172]
Board Game: Escape Tales: The Awakening
Alessandro Mongelli
United Kingdom
London
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Designer: Bartosz Idzikowski, Matt Dembek, Jakub Caban
Publisher: Board&Dice
Location: 2-B106
Price: EUR 25.00

Mechanisms: Card Game, Deduction, Puzzle, Real-time
Players: 1–4
Length: 60-180 Mins
Age: 12+
Weight: --

I haven't played many escape room games but I enjoyed the few I have managed to try. This looks like more story-driven and without time constraints. May be worth a look, I hope a demo version will be available to try in Essen

12.06.2018 The first impressions from the UKGE seem very positive and it looks like the game is different enough from the other escape-room-in-a-box to make it worth trying.

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