It’s that time again, when thoughts of board gamers everywhere turn to Essen, Germany. That’s where the annual International Spieltage (Spiel) is held every year in October. This year, it will be held October 26-29. This is my third year doing a random preview, where I randomly select the games to talk about rather than doing the work of picking through all the entries on the BGG preview. BGG has recently introduced a new format for their convention previews, which means I’m going to have to change my previous way of doing it (getting random numbers from random.org), but I think I can still make it work. As of this writing, there are 176 entries on the list with many many more to come.
Fast Forward: FEAR (Friedemann Friese, 2F Spiele/Stronghold Games) is the first game is a new line of games that utilize the Fable system from Fabled Fruit, now referred to as Fast Forward games. The idea behind these games is that you play without reading the rules ahead of time, and discover them as you play. The games evolve as you play, so each game is different than the last. There are three of them coming out at Spiel this year – FEAR, FORTRESS, and FLEE. I typically enjoy Friedemann Friese games, and Fabled Fruit has been a favorite this year, so I look forward to seeing what else he can do with the system.
Destination X (Bård Tuseth/Kristian Amundsen Østby, Aporta Games) is a deduction game where players are trying to figure out where a spy is hiding. That spy is played by one person who chooses a location from six possibilities. Players then have to figure out where he is by playing cards to narrow down location, capital, population, etc. It’s kind of an educational game – you’ll learn stuff about the different countries of the world. But there are also 197 countries included, which probably offers a little too much variability. Not one I’m really looking forward to.
Gaia Project (Jens Drögemüller/Helge Ostertag, Feuerland Spiele) is a sci-fi themed sequel to Terra Mystica. In the game, players are trying to terraform neighboring planets so that they are hospitable to their own factions. You can improve skills in Terraforming, Navigation, Artificial Intelligence, Gaiaforming, Economy and Research as you go. The English rules for the game are not yet up, and I’ve never played Terra Mystica so I can’t really speak to the differences. TM is very popular (#6 on BGG), so I’m sure this one will do quite well.
Majesty: For the Realm (Marc André, Hans im Glück) is a new game from the designer of Splendor. In this game, there are six characters laid out in a line. You’ll take one (the first is free, the rest cost progressively more meeples) and add it to one of seven locations in your tableau. These characters will give you points, with some characters giving you points for having other characters, and some characters sending other people’s characters to the infirmary where they will lose points. The only overview I’ve gotten so far is someone’s thoughts from a demo at Gen Con – Hans im Glück isn’t planning to release the official rules until Spiel. But it sounds interesting so far.
Feuville (Udo Peise, HUCH!) has the following description on BGG:
In Feuville, the player-builders construct a city and must then use spells to defend it against the regular attacks of a dragon.
That’s it. One sentence. That’s all I know about it. That, and that it is purportedly a dice rolling worker placement game. The description does sound like it might be cool.
Arkham Noir: Case #1 – The Witch Cult Murders (Yves Tourigny, Ludonova) is a solo game inspired by Lovecraft. In the game, you are trying to solve cases by adding cards and creating lines of investigation. You need to score five puzzle clue cards before you go insane (naturally) or run out of time. As someone who enjoys solo games, this catches my attention. Thematically, I like it – not so much because of Lovecraft, but because it’s looking at it through a different lens. It’s like if the Maltese Falcon had Cthulhu in it.
Keyper (Richard Breese, R&D Games) is the latest in the Key series of games that started in 1995 with Keywood. It’s a worker placement game where the keyples can be used twice (lay them down when you have nothing left to get more resources). You can also match another player’s placement with an identical keyple to the benefit of both. The game features a foldable board with different configurations for the four seasons. Richard Breese always does a good job with these games, and this one seems like it has a lot of innovation going on with it. It’s one I’ve been watching since the Kickstarter project last November.
That’s it for the first random preview of Spiel 2017! Thanks for reading!