Now that Origins and Gen Con are over, the next big convention in the gaming circuit (and let’s face it, THE biggest) is Spiel in Essen, Germany, which will be held from October 24 to 27. Gamers from the world over will descend on the ninth largest city in Germany to discover and buy new games. It’s the biggest release convention out there – last year’s BGG preview ended up with 1208 items, and probably didn’t even hit everything that was there. This year’s preview is up to 499 as of yesterday, so expect that to go up. Rather than sift through everything, here’s a random selection of games that will be for sale at the fair for those of you who are going to check out!
Atelier: The Painter’s Studio (AEG) is a game where players are painters in the 19th century. You’re managing an Atelier (workshop), and the goal is to create masterpieces and earn the most points. It’s a dice allocation game, where you’re rolling and using the dice for different actions, including managing your students, collecting paint, and painting. The game uses a lot of classic art, and looks gorgeous. I love the art theme, so this is one I want to check out.
Crimson Company (Fabian Fischer/Dario Reinhardt, Crimson Company) is a two-player game where you’re playing as nobles, trying to build up a band of shady characters to beat your opponent. Basically, you’re bidding on cards, then placing the ones you win in different lanes in order to try to control castles. It looks like a base attack style game, where players are competing for common locations (a la Balloon Cup or Smash Up), but the auction element makes me think twice about it. I’d be interested to hear what others think.
Deep Blue (Asger Harding Granerud/Daniel Skjold Pedersen, Days of Wonder) is an underwater treasure hunting game. On a turn, you’ll be recruiting crew members, sailing, or diving. There’s engine building and push-your-luck elements in the game, as well as the production value you’d expect from a Days of Wonder game. The company usually only puts out one game a year (if that), so they’re usually pretty solid, even if they’re not everyone’s cup of tea. Definitely one to look out for.
Nova Luna (Uwe Rosenberg/Corné van Moorsel, Edition Spielweise) is an abstract tile laying game that follows the phases of the moon. As the moon goes around, you’ll be taking tiles that complete and add to your tasks. I’m not entirely sure what that all means as there’s not much information about this one yet. But my interest lies in the designers – I’ve heard that this game is a mix between Rosenberg’s Patchwork and van Moorsel’s Habitats, and that seems pretty cool to me.
Aqua Mirabilis (Alessia Luce, Gotha Games) is a game where you are a perfumer presenting your scents to the king and his court. You go through the process of processing the flowers, mixing solutions you need, learning new techniques, and influencing the tastes of the court. It’s a fairly unique theme – it’s at least different than your standard trading of furs or spices, so that makes it look more interesting to me.
Die Befreiung der Rietburg (Gerhard Hecht, KOSMOS) is a spin-off of Michael Menzel’s Kennerspiel des Jahres winning Legends of Andor, complete with Menzel’s art (even though he didn’t design this one). Players each control a hero, and are heading out to complete quests. It all sounds fairly generic fantasy, but there’s not much (English) information about this game yet, so I couldn’t tell you. I also haven’t played the original, so this is one I’m just mildly interested in at this point.
So, You’ve Been Eaten (Scott Almes, LudiCreations) is a game where you are a space miner who has been eaten by some giant hideous monster. Fortunately, it has also eaten crystals that you want to mine. You can either play as the Miner, trying to collect 8 crystals, or the Beast, trying to digest the Miner. Or you can play as neither – this is a game for 0-2 players, which is an interesting gimmick. I kind of want to check this out.
Outback Crossing (Bruce Whitehall, Mücke Spiele) is a tile laying game where you’re putting tiles out to try to create trails. You’re trying to get lots of tiles of the same type on the same trails, and can change things with action tiles. It doesn’t sound incredibly interesting to me from first glance, but I’d be willing to learn more about it.
Rune Stones (Rüdiger Dorn, Queen Games) is a deck building game where players are druids trying to collect crystals in order to forge artifacts which then may be combined into Rune Stones. The game has an interesting culling mechanism where you always are playing two cards together if you’re taking advantage of their powers, and the higher numbered card of the two is then removed from your deck. Looks interesting – Rüdiger Dorn games are always worth a look.
Clank! Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated (Andy Clautice, Dire Wolf Digital/Renegade Game Studios/Penny Arcade) takes the popular game Clank!, and turns it into a legacy game. There’s an (at least) ten game campaign involved, and players are building their decks for the campaign to suit their adventuring party. While I am a big fan of the original, seeing as this one is done by a completely different team makes me more hesitant about it. I’d probably check it out.
GrandBois (Frédéric Guérard, The Flying Games) is a game where you’re a clan of woodland creatures trying to gain control over the forest. Your clan is secret, and you’re placing tiles before placing a tower to score points for adjacent clan members. It seems kind of interesting – I want to know more. The theme is very in vogue right now, however, and I’m getting a little tired of it.
That’s if for the first random Spiel preview for the year. Thanks for reading!