OK, so I did this for GenCon and had a lot of fun with it, so here we go again. This time, I’ll be covering Spiel, the annual gaming convention held in Essen, Germany that is the largest in the world. The concept here is that I don’t want to do a big massive preview like I usually do. I inevitably miss good games, and it becomes a huge undertaking with all of the games coming out (the BGG Spiel Preview has 468 items as of this writing). So, instead of going through every single item to see if I want to talk about it, I’m going to let fate decide. Random.org will generate seven numbers for me, and I’ll take a look at those items. I’m excluding expansions and games I’ve already talked about, so let’s see what we’ve got this time – 33, 68, 109, 164, 236, 246, and 460. Here we go!
Jolly Roger: The Game of Piracy and Mutiny is a game from Ares Games and designer Fréderic Moyersoen (designer of Saboteur, Nuns on the Run, and Ninja: Legend of the Scorpion Clan, among others). This is a pirate themed game (obviously) that lasts for ten rounds. Each round, the captain decides on a target for the ship. If the ship then defeats the target, the pirates collect treasure. The captain gets first pick of the loot, and the rest is divided up between the other players. If you ever don’t like a captain’s decision, you can declare a mutiny. If it succeeds, you are now captain, and get to make all the decisions and collect more loot.
This game is interesting because it’s a little cooperative (attacking the target) and a little competitive (mutinies and splitting the loot). In that way, it seems a little like Saboteur, which is one of Moyersoen’s more popular designs. I’m interested to know more about this one. For more, here’s the BGG overview of Jolly Roger from GenCon.
Casting is a game from Blue Cocker Games and first-time designer Romaric Galonnier. This is Blue Cocker’s second game, after the popular Medieval Academy. Casting is a party game where a director is trying to cast a movie, and agents are trying to get him to cast their clients. Seven actors are dealt out, one for each letter in CASTING, and each agent gets a random letter. The director then asks three questions from a card, and the agents write their answers. The director is trying to guess who the agents represent, and the agents are trying to get him to guess who they represent, as well as bet on how many correct guesses he will have. The director rotates from round to round, and the player who scores the most points wins.
Kudos to this game for trying something a little different with the standard voting mechanism found in so many party games these days. It still doesn’t look like something I’m terribly interested in, but maybe I’ll change my tune after more information. There are no videos for the game, and only a few pictures, so we’ll see.
Chronicler is a game from Korean publisher Deinko Games and first-time designer G B Kim. The entire BGG description is as follows: “Chronicler is a card-based civilization game.” There are a couple of pictures, but no other information. The art looks nice. This is the problem with doing a random preview – every once in a while, you’re going to stumble across a useless entry. Ah well.
Bellz! is a new title from Game Factory (no credited designer on BGG). It’s a dexterity game where players are trying to pick up jingle bells of varying sizes with a magnetic wand. The pouch that holds the components folds out to be the board, and players take turns trying to pick up only bells of their color. If you get any of another color, your turn is over. The first player to collect all ten of their bells is the winner.
I’m a sucker for games with magnets. This one looks like a fun, if slightly mindless, dexterity game. It’s at least unique. Check out the promotional video here.
G.Nome is a game being published by La Mame Games and designed by James Dickinson. This is another game where there is not much information – just the above picture of some concept art and a vague description: “You are a soon-to-be-famous gnome scientist helping to map the gnome GNA. Teamwork is the best way to advance your research, but gnomes are naturally grumpy and uncooperative, and besides only one scientist can win the Gnobel prize. G.Nome is an innovative partnership game in which you have to balance working together to beat the other teams, while staying ahead of your partner.” It apparently only takes ten minutes, and La Mame is the original publisher of Coup. I have been keeping my eye on this one, but I would like more info.
…and then we held hands is a game being published by LudiCreations that was designed by David Chircop and Yannick Massa. It has one of the most unique themes I’ve seen in a while – players represent a couple trying to find balance in their relationship. It represents a conversation about feelings, and the goal is to reach the center of the board within one turn of each other. If you ever make a move that causes your opponent to not have a move, you lose and break up.
I’ve been watching this game since it was a print and play. The theme kind of fascinates me, though I don’t know how eager I am to try it out. I am very interested to hear how it plays, and I would like to hear someone’s perspective on how it is with three players. This seems like it should just be a two player game, but BGG says it plays from 2-3. Here is Rahdo’s run-through of the initial version.
Pandemic Legacy is a new game from designers Rob Daviau and Matt Leacock that is being published by Z-Man Games. It’s a game that is based on both the wildly successful Pandemic franchise as well as the wildly successful Legacy concept (i.e. Risk Legacy). Basically, the theme of Pandemic has been expanded into a much longer campaign, where the game changes from play to play. Some characters will be lost forever. Places on the board will be damaged. Events that occur will trigger new events that you can’t know about until they happen.
This game is going to be huge. I kind of wish they had premiered it at GenCon – it feels like a better environment for this type of game – but it’s still going to be huge. We don’t have any rules yet, but it doesn’t really matter. The combination of a game like Pandemic and a concept like Legacy will fascinate everyone. Here’s a video overview from GenCon 2014 and a written preview by W. Eric Martin.
That concludes this Random Spiel Preview. More to come as we build up to the fair in October. Thanks for reading!