2013 Essen Preview SPECTACULAR!!!

My move last week knocked me out. I find myself way behind in my blogging, a bad thing with the annual Spiel fair starting TOMORROW. With that in mind, and since this is my 300th post, I’m making this my first ever

ESSEN PREVIEW SPECTACULAR!!!

Basically, I’m just going to run down some of the games I’m looking forward to hearing more about in the coming days. This list is by no means comprehensive…for that, you should go look at W. Eric Martin’s list at BGG. This just narrows it down a bit. This EPS is in no particular order.

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image by BGG user kreten

Top of the list for me is the new one from Vlaada Chvátil (big surprise), Tash-Kalar: Arena of Legends (BGG link). This is the only new game from Czech Games Editions (though they also have expansions for Dungeon Petz and Last Will, as well as some new ships for Galaxy Trucker). Tash-Kalar is a 2-4 player fantasy arena combat game. Summoning of beings is done by arranging your pieces on the board into specific patterns, and flares can be used once certain conditions have been met. It looks like it has your standard Vlaada puzzliness, and I can’t wait to try it out.

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image by BGG user evilone

Going, Going, GONE! (BGG link) is a real-time auction game from Stronghold. Normally, I wouldn’t look twice at an auction game, but this one is designed by Scott Nicholson, formerly of Board Games with Scott. He really knows a lot about games, and really tries to focus on the experience of play, so this might be a game I’m interested in.  It’s definitely interesting enough to catch my attention.

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image by BGG user Henning

Friedemann Friese’s Friday project is coming to an end this year with Futterneid (with an English title of Candy Crave) (BGG link), a game about dishing out candy during a game night. It’s a typically unique theme, and FF’s games are always worth a look, so it’s on my list.

image by BGG user W Eric Martin
image by BGG user W Eric Martin

Russian Railroads (BGG link) is a train themed worker placement game designed by Helmut Ohlney and Leonhard Orsler. It’s being published by Hans im Gluck in Germany, and Z-Man here. I’m not a big fan of train games, but I’ve been hearing some really good buzz about the game, so I’m looking forward to hearing how it is received.

image by BGG user edbolme
image by BGG user edbolme

After four games released in the Tempest series last year (with one megahit in Love Letter), the only game in the series this year is Canalis (BGG link), as designed by Philip duBarry. This one is about building canals in the city. I’m mainly curious to see how the game is received. I’m a little surprised that there aren’t more games in the series this year, but maybe more are in the works now that the concept is out there.

image by BGG user dicemanjr
image by BGG user dicemanjr

Every year, Gordon and Fraser Lamont produce a game that is talked about a lot. Last year, it was the overproduced and REALLY expensive Spellbound. This year, it’s Mush! Mush! (BGG link), the sequel to 2008’s Snow Tails. The original game was one of their biggest hits, and while I was not a fan, a lot of people did like it. We’ll see how this one does – since Asmodee produced the original, they may so so again.

image by BGG user dragonblaster
image by BGG user dragonblaster

One of the strangest themes at the fair has got to be Nate Hayden’s The Mushroom Eaters (BGG link). It’s all about having psychedelic experiences through the ingestion of mushrooms. We’re not talking about recreational drug use, but the ritualistic use in some cultures. It looks very odd, and it makes me very curious.

image by BGG user W Eric Martin
image by BGG user W Eric Martin

Ever since Agricola in 2007, Uwe Rosenberg gets a lot of press when he designs a new game. Along with Caverna (which is Agricola in a cave), he’s also coming out with Glass Road (BGG link), a game about a road in the Bavarian Forest where a lot of glass makers once plied their trade. While I don’t know of any other glassblowing games out there, the theme still sounds boring to me. But Rosenberg is one of the top designers at work today, so it should be worth a look.

image by BGG user henryjasper
image by BGG user henryjasper

Cornish Smuggler (BGG link) is a game by Henry Jasper that is being published by Grublin Games. It was a Kickstarter project, and is all about smuggling goods. I haven’t read up much about it yet, but the rules look really well laid out and make the game look fun, so I’m interested.

image by BGG user chanluise
image by BGG user chanluise

I love programmed action games, and a new one from Philippe Keyaertes and Flatlined Games is Twin Tin Bots (BGG link). This one is a lot like RoboRally in that you’re programming robots. The differences are that you’re trying to harvest crystals, you’re working with two robots at a time, and you can only change one order per turn. It looks very engaging, and I can’t wait to see how it works.

image by BGG user W Eric Martin
image by BGG user W Eric Martin

After the success of Eclipse, I think there is a lot of anticipation for Lautpelit’s newest game Nations (BGG link). It looks like a big heavy Euro, but I don’t know too much about it, other than the buzz is really rolling around it. We’ll see.  It’s certainly been advertised on enough podcasts.

image by BGG user Multidej
image by BGG user Multidej

Portal Games is coming out with a couple of games this year: Legacy, which I already covered, and Theseus: The Dark Orbit (BGG link). Theseus is a game by Neuroshima Hex designer Michael Oracz, and that’s enough to get people excited. It looks pretty cool – one of those dark science fiction things. (Thanks to elRojo for pointing out my spelling error here.)

image by BGG user Nekrataal
image by BGG user Nekrataal

Rogue Agent (BGG link) is coming out from designer David Ausloos (of Panic Station and Dark Darker Darkest). This one is more of a futuristic game than a horror game, so we’ll see how Ausloos does in that genre.

image by BGG user W Eric Martin
image by BGG user W Eric Martin

I’m not a big Reiner Knizia fan. However, I can see why his collaboration with Sebastian Bleasdale and Ystari called Prosperity (BGG link) is getting some preshow buzz – it’s been a while since he’s done a heavier Euro. Bleasdale was a co-designer on Keyflower, which was a big hit from last year, so Prosperity should be a hit.

image by BGG user cwali
image by BGG user cwali

Cwali is a publisher that does some pretty neat things, and this year, their offering is Leelawadee (BGG link), a game about butterflies. This seems to be more in the tradition of Tweeeet rather than BasketBoss or Factory Fun (which is getting a sequel). It looks cute.

image by BGG user Jiraman
image by BGG user Jiraman

Nowheresville: Bandit Paradise (BGG link) is an Old West game designed by Jirí Mikoláš that is being published by Jira’s Games. I don’t know much about it, just that you fling rubber bands around. I believe it’s based on a game from a few years ago called Nowheresville, but I don’t know much more than that. Sounds cool.

image by BGG user szafa
image by BGG user szafa

CV (BGG link) is a game from Filip Milunski and Granna Games (from Poland).  This is a lifetime game – CV stands for curriculum vitae (your resume), and you are building your life through the choices in the game.  I think the box looks pretty cool, and I’m very interested to find how this game plays – with Legacy also coming out, and Village not too long ago, we could be at the beginning of a new trend of these life games.

And that’s just a few of the eight million games being released at Spiel this year. I’m planning on covering most of these listed at some point (unless they turn out to be turkeys), plus some that I’ve missed in the pre-show buzz, so stay tuned. Thanks for reading!

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