Must-Buy Hidden Gems of Essen 2018
Lucky Dragun
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Hello and welcome to my hidden gem list of Essen 2018.


This list will contain boardgames you can find at Essen 2018 and stick out of the crowd.


My friends know me as a zombie loving boardgamer. As long as there are zombies in the game, you can suppose that I like that game (mostly).

But when it comes to my taste of boardgames, I always try to get out of my comfort zone to surprise myself with hidden gems. So I set this three constraints for my serach after new games in the Spiel 2018 preview:

- there has to be a strange/curious topic for the game that makes it special
- the game should not received much attention in advance
and the most hardest constraint:
- no zombies in the game

Now, let's go and start with the list!

PS: I'm happy if you comment on my list. Please always consider that the constraints refer to my personal perception.

PPS: I will continuously add new titles to this list until the beginning of the convention.


24.11.2018
Now it's getting personal. I sort the games according to my personal taste. Number 1 to 6 I'm going to buy for sure. The following places I have to try out before I make my decision. I'm really excited about the convention starting tomorrow! Maybe I see some of you there or even sit with you at the table and play some games. Tomorrow I will wear a t-shirt that says in big letters: Zombie Hunter. If you reckognize me, talk to me
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1. Board Game: Silk [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:9642]
Lucky Dragun
Germany
Bochum
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Silk is also a Must-Buy for me. When you look at the upper half of the cover you could expect a game about a shepherd. And what does a shepherd? Right, he tends sheep. But not in this game. In this game the shepherd tends this alien-like creatures in the lower half of the cover, the so called Imomushi silkworms.

You have to guide the sensible creatures through the Akaishi Mountains and produce more silk than your opponents. Milking silkworms could be so easy if there isn't a mysterious wolf-like creature with the name Ookami around.

A dice determine what actions you can perform. I'm very very interested in this game and excited to try and buy it.


You can take a look at the game in this video: https://www.beastsofwar.com/liveblogentry/devir-start-farmin...
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2. Board Game: Counterfeiters [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:7672]
Lucky Dragun
Germany
Bochum
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When I saw the cover I had to think of the video game Hotline Miami. But as I gathered more and more information about Counterfeiters the game itself got my attention.

Counterfeiters is about four henchmen who try to print and laundering as much fake money as the can. The odd thing in this game is that there ar no humans. As a player you can choose between a crocodile *alligator, a sea lion *manatee, a crane or a reindeer *deer (not sure about that).

Normally, I'm not so much into worker placment games. But this seems kind of interesting because of its short playtime of 45 minutes. After you finished the game you can play another game or claim a rematch! Also the paper money got me.

All in all this is definitely a title I will buy at the Spiel 2018!

Gameplay: https://youtu.be/2GMfBaAfDQA
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3. Board Game: カゲロウ (Mayfly) [Average Rating:6.77 Unranked]
Lucky Dragun
Germany
Bochum
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Mayfly is by far the strangest game on the Essen preview list 2018! It's all about accompany a mayfly until its adulthood and finally find a partner for mating.

The best thing is you are not by your own. You can team up with up to four players to support the little mayfly during the day.

This little gem is my personal temporary favourite for Essen! Must-Buy


Quick overview: https://youtu.be/JiUnOaF9Zw0

PREORDERED
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4. Board Game: Wurst Case Scenario [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:9576]
Lucky Dragun
Germany
Bochum
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Have you ever watched the movie Sausage Party? Now you get the chance to replay the movie! Well... kind of at least.

Chaos at the Wurst Factory! The goal is to be the last Wurst standing before the meat grinder dispose of you. The author describes the game as a lightweight family game. (Maybe it's a little disturbing for kids to see personified sausages die in the meat grinder, but I wouldn't bet on it )

Every player is dealt an identity card and keep their wurst identity secret. That's an interesting part of the game because I like the idea that you don't know whos poor sausage life you will end if you play your cards. This mechanism also comes in handy if, for example, your girlfriend is mad at you and she doesn't know which sausage you are

Instant buy for me. I plan to throw this game on the table especially when there are many non boardgamers around. I'm sure this game convert them.


Video Teaser: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfJwJ4Wc4c0
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5. Board Game: Math Cat [Average Rating:6.50 Unranked]
Lucky Dragun
Germany
Bochum
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I don't expect that everybody will love this game. But I like cats and I like to exercise my brain with math from time to time.

In this game you have to attract cats. Instead of meat and milk you use numbers. I see many rules I can add to this little gem. If I'm fast enough, I will grap it at my first day at the convention as a no-brainer.
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6. Board Game: Tokyo Highway (four-player edition) [Average Rating:7.49 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.49 Unranked]
Lucky Dragun
Germany
Bochum
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There needs to be a great dexterity game in my collection. So I struggled between two games: Meeple Circus and Tokyo Highway. It was a really hard decision but I finally have chosen to get Tokyo Highway.

I liked the table presence a bit more than in Meeple Circus. Although Meeple Circus has a draft mechanism and various expansions in the pipeline, Tokyo Highway is more minimalistic. It is a dexterity game, nothing more nothing less. Also the highway at the end of the game is a result of all players whereas in Meeple Circus everybody build for him/herself.


A nice short video about the game: https://vimeo.com/292334274

PREORDERED
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7. Board Game: Noises at Night [Average Rating:7.29 Unranked]
Lucky Dragun
Germany
Bochum
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Remember games like clue? You are suspecting and accusing like crazy and get paranoid because everybody could be the murderer?

Well, in this game the topic isn't that brutal. It's more about who makes the scary noises at grandpa's spooky house. The theme seems to be for kids but I think you can have a lot of fun with this game as an adult too. The artwork is lovely and the game mechanism sounds interesting. You have to put clues around the house to get points. But if you put down to many clues, it is easier for the other players to guess your identity.

I need a good deduction game in my collection and this games seems like something special to me. I hope I can test play and buy this deduction gem at the convention in Essen!


A quick overview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sn1mzWwnu_Q
 
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8. Board Game: Senggal-senggol Gang Damai [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Lucky Dragun
Germany
Bochum
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After smashing thousands of zombie heads, conquering various realms and fighting several fights in the colosseum it's time to do something quite and peaceful. And that is where the Indonesian game with the accessible name "Senggal-senggol Gang Damai" comes in.

Gang Damai means Peace Alley. We as players have to keep the peace in this little neighborhood. Every Player gets an amount of action points and from now on we have to work together and solve different issues in Peace Alley.

I don't know very much about the game. I watched a tutorial video on Youtube but as i don't understand a single word of the Indonesian language (execept Gang Damai) it wasn't very helpful for me. Otherwise, the theme really catched me and I love the fact that you play this game cooperatively. I hope the publisher have enough games to test and buy at the convention in Essen!
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9. Board Game: Blackout: Hong Kong [Average Rating:7.82 Overall Rank:2191]
Lucky Dragun
Germany
Bochum
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My friends not only know that I'm into zombies. They also know that I'm not the biggest fan of euro games. Don't get me wrong. It's not that I don't like to tease my brain. But in my opinion many euro games have no soul and the topic is very boring (!my personal opinion!). And a grain of luck in games makes the thrill, doesn't it?

To make a long story short, I found a game in the preview that seems to have a very big part of strategy (euro game), a grain of luck and very interesting and modern topic. The game is called "Blackout: Hong Kong".

Hong Kong suffers from an unexpected blackout. The players have to manage this crisis to claim a position of power in post-blackout Hong Kong. I like that the game contains a drafting mechanism and besides all the strategy aspects also comes with dice rolling. That means that you have to deal with the dice results and you have to react with suitable short term strategies.
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10. Board Game: Flipeek: Medieval [Average Rating:7.33 Unranked]
Lucky Dragun
Germany
Bochum
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At the Spiel 2017 I played the game "Are you Human" with a good friend of mine. I realized that I like the challenge to train my memory. But an ordinary memory game is boring. I need a real brain burner.

When I went through the list of games in the Spiel18 preview, this little gem got my attention. Basically it is a memory game. The topic is Medieval. What makes it different to other memory games is that the cards change their position during the game and you have to fulfill quests to get points. The first player with 10 points win. There are also three different ways to play the game, even solo.
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11. Board Game: Alice [Average Rating:7.85 Unranked]
Lucky Dragun
Germany
Bochum
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In the card game Alice, based on the novel "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" by Lewis Carroll, players have to put the crazed characters back into their respective chapters of the book. To do so, players have to find and collect the characters first as they are hiding in two different card decks! If you complete a chapter card with all the demanded characters, you score its points!

It may sound easy, but there is a problem: some characters don't fit into the chapters! You have to shrink them with a drink or increase their size with a cake to complete the story. The character's special abilities help you to do all of that, but watch out for the mischievous Cheshire Cat!

—description from publisher
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12. Board Game: 老師敬服 (Master of Respect) [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:7932]
Lucky Dragun
Germany
Bochum
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老師敬服 (Rohshi Keifuku) in English would be 'Master of Respect'.

In the game of Master of Respect, players are old masters of martial arts, and their goal is to expand their dojo, their training school, by assigning actions to their students, such as inviting a new student, training a student, and mastering a skill.

Each round, players secretly assign actions to their students. Then they take turns revealing and executing an action. When a player executing an action, other players may give a respect to that player to take the same action.

At the end of the game, players score victory points from respects given, resources remaining, students invited and trained, and skills mastered.

This is a resource management game with action programming mechanism. You need to plan several turns ahead, but sometimes you need to modify your plan in response to other players' actions for better outcome.
 
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13. Board Game: Hasp [Average Rating:6.90 Unranked]
Lucky Dragun
Germany
Bochum
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I don't know much about Hasp. It's a small card game about children who have to collect several ingredients and give them to different people.

I like the fact that there is an option to play 2 versus 2. Also the betting mechanism sounds nice. I would like to see pictures from the game material. But on the other hand, it only costs 8€ and you can't do something wrong for this price, right? I probably buy this little one together with Zura as a special offer for 15€.
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14. Board Game: Fuji [Average Rating:7.33 Overall Rank:4805]
Lucky Dragun
Germany
Bochum
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After my vacation the list will continue with Fuji
Adventurers try to climb mount Fuji in Japan. Suddenly the earth shakes and they realize that the volcano is going to erupt.
The players have to reach the save village in time. To do so they have to wirk together. The mechanism that you are not supposed to talk about your dice results reminds me a little of "The Game".
I'm curious to try it at the boardgame convention in Essen!
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15. Board Game: The Table Is Lava [Average Rating:6.62 Unranked]
Lucky Dragun
Germany
Bochum
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First of all, I do not own any dexterity games. Maybe I missed out on something. To close the gap I was looking for I dexterity game in the preview. What I found was the little gem "The Table is Lava".

I think... no... I'm sure this game is not meant to be played homelike at a table. This game probably is a blast when you regard it as a party game. You have to throw cards on the table to create a save space for your little meeples because you already know: the table is lava. On the other hand you can try to toss the opponent meeples from save spaces.

Can't wait to give it a shot. Maybe I'm all into dexterity games.

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