I did it for Gen Con, now here’s my random Spiel preview. If you don’t know, Spiel is held every year in Essen, Germany, and it’s THE big convention for the year. More new games get released here than at any other convention. It’s very difficult to wade through the BGG Spiel Preview list (which as of this writing, on August 18, is at 326 items), so I will let Random.org decide what I’ll talk about. As always, I’m not going to talk about expansions or games that are just previewing at Spiel, and I’m going to leave out any games talked about for Gen Con. And now, here are the first random picks:
Mi Tierra: New Era is from designers Alberto Abudinen and Diego Benavente, published by Aldebraan Games. This is a new edition of Mi Tierra, originally published in 2010. It’s a worker placement game where players are farmers trying to sow, take care of animals, and work the land in order to produce sellable goods. The game has personal farm boards that look a lot like Agricola, but the game seems to play out quite differently. There are a lot of resources to collect, and different ways to convert them in order to produce stuff you can then sell. Looks like a pretty solid medium weight Eurogame.
Meeple War is a game by Max Valembois, published by Blue Cocker Games. The game is billed as a kind of prequel to Carcassonne, where meeples are battling it out for dominance. Each player controls an army of meeples, and attempts to be the first to six points by destroying enemy meeples, destroying enemy buildings, and controlling tower territories. Players will advance their workers on buildings, possibly gaining effects, then move across the battlefield, exploring or fighting along the way. It’s a kind of area control, worker placement, wargame mix that looks cool, but ultimately doesn’t interest me. I’m just not that fond of combat, and this game looks like it really encourages it.
Sherlock 13 is from designer Hope S. Hwang and published by BoardM Factory. It’s a pocket deduction game consisting of 13 cards. One card is dealt out face down and the rest are distributed to the players. On your turn, you can ask all players who has a certain type of symbol in their hand, or you can ask one player how many of a particular symbol they have, or you can make an accusation. If you successfully deduce the face down card, you win. It seems like a light, simple game that is reminiscent of Clue without the dice rolling and multiple weapon/location options. It was originally published in 2013 as Holmes 13. Looks cool to me – art by Vincent Dutrait is a major plus, as well as the pedigree of the designer (Hwang designed Guildhall).
Candy Time is a children’s game from designer Manu Palau and publisher Brain Picnic. It’s a tile placement puzzle game where players are trying to match up candy halves in order to make full candies. On your turn, just play a tile and claim whatever candies were made. Some score points, some give you an additional placement. There are no pictures of the game so far other than the box and rules. It sounds cute, I just want to see how it looks.
Chimère is a game by Roméo Hennion and Clément Leciercq, published by Game Flow. The idea is that players are magicians trying to become the Court Magician for the King by holding a magic tournament. You will make four chimeras, each consisting of three parts drawn from different decks. Each chimera will compete in a different contest, and players will vote on who won each. After three rounds of this, the player with the most winners wins. It seems like an OK game, certainly with nice art. I like making animal combos, I just don’t know how replayable it would be in the long run.
Art of War: The Card Game is a game by designers Souya Naito and Takashi Sakaue that is being published by Gigamic after initially being released in 2015. This is a fighting game for two players where each player has a king and a deck of 20 cards. On your turn, you’ll either put units into your battle area or attack. This attack could result in destruction of the other unit or capture. You could alternately play cards as Logistic Support, meaning they go into a standby area. There are five types of units (plus the king), and each has its own ability. You win if you have the most units in the Kingdom, or if you capture/kill the opponent’s King, or if you have more of four types of units in the Kingdom, or if your opponent can’t conscript two units. The game looks very nice, but it’s probably a pass for me since I tend to shy away from combat games.
Flamme Rouge is a bicycling game from designer Asger Harding Granerud and publishers Lautpelit. Each player gets two biker minis, and you build a course with provided tiles. On each turn, you’ll play a card for each rider, then reveal. Beginning with the front rider, move forward the exact number of spaces chosen (you can’t land on another bike). Each pack that is exactly one space behind another then moves forward a space (slipstreaming), and exhausted riders (those with an empty square in front) get an exhaustion card worth two energy. Cards that are played are removed from the game, so exhaustion cards will stick around until used, and you may end up with less choice the more you get. As you might guess, the goal is to get to the finish line first. Seems like a pretty straightforward racing game. I like cycling as a sport, so I’m glad to see another game with that theme.
Million Club is a game by designer Arnaud Ladagnous and published by Playad Games. You are a mogul in late 19th-century England, trying to profit off of the new Industrial Revolution. In each of the nine rounds, you’ll be placing pawns on action tiles to take advantage of their benefits. Lobby allows you to improve a company or tax it (thus reducing its value). Intrigues gets you an intrigue card, which is immediately played. Colonies allows you to draw and possibly buy Colony cards. Stock Market earns or loses you money. Companies allows you to buy a company. After nine rounds, the player with the most points wins. I see this game has been out since May, and I know it’s been playable on boiteajeux.net for a while, but here it is. It looks very nice – I’ll have to give it a try online sometime.
Tempel des Schreckens is a game by Yusuke Sato that is being published by Schmidt Spiele. It’s a reimplementation of the 2014 game TimeBomb (also released as Don’t Mess With Cthulhu). I’m not sure what this one does, but the other versions have players with cards out in front of them, and you’re supposed to try to figure out where the good cards are without killing everyone. It’s a push-your-luck/bluffing thing. I’d like to here more about this one because it seems more like a theme I’m interested in, rather than YACG (Yet Another Cthulhu Game).
Sola Fide: The Reformation is a game from designer Jason Matthews and Christian Leonhard that is being published by Spielworxx and Stronghold Games. This historically based game is set during the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century, and comes from the design team that brought us 1960: The Making of the President, Campaign Manager 2008, and Founding Fathers. Not a whole lot is known about it at this point, except that it uses the engine from Campaign Manager. Still, a very interesting theme from a pair of designers with a great pedigree. I’ll definitely be eager to hear more about this one.
Ominoes is a game by Andrew Harman and YAY Games. It’s an abstract dice game with a loose Egyptian theme. On your turn, your roll a die. If one of the four colors comes up, you move a matching die on the board three spaces. If the serpent is rolled, you reroll another die on the board, and if the man is rolled, you move any die. Then you place the die that you rolled. If you ever have four dice of your color all adjacent, you remove them and score points. The first player to a predetermined point value wins. Seems like a pretty straightforward game. I like abstracts, and while this one may not be as deep as some, it still seems solid.
That’s the first random 2016 Spiel preview in the books. Look for more in the coming weeks. Thanks for reading!