2020 Non-Random Summer Preview

As summer draws to a close, I’m going to take one last look at the BGG summer preview list and see if there’s anything else that jumps out at me. This is not a random list as I usually do.

image by BGG user W Eric Martin

Alma Mater (Acchittocca/Flaminia Brasini/Virginio Gigli/Stefano Luperto/Antonio Tinto, eggertspiele) is a game set in 15th century universities. You’re the headmaster of one of them, and you want to recruit the best students and teachers to build up your reputation and become the best. It’s very much a Euro style game, with lots of resources to keep track of and many ways to score points. I don’t know precisely when Euro became synonymous with overloading you with options, but this seems to be in that category. However, I like the theme, and I would like to try this one out.

image by BGG user W Eric Martin

Dragomino (Bruno Cathala/Marie Fort/Wilfried Fort) is the latest entry into the Kingdomino universe, but this one is specifically designed for kids ages 5 and up. Each player is drafting domino tiles and lining up terrain types, as in the original. However, in this one, you’re not limited to a 5×5 grid (I don’t think), and you get eggs for each terrain you line up with another of the same type. These eggs turn into either broken shells or dragons. When all tiles are placed, the player with the most dragons wins. Kingdomino was already a pretty simple game, but this one takes out the math. Looks cute.

image by BGG user Henning

Feierabend (Friedemann Friese, 2F-Spiele) is the latest title from the mast of F-titled games and the color green. The English title is going to be Finishing Time, and the game is basically about your time of relaxation after work. In fact, it’s being billed as an after-worker placement game. Relaxation costs money, however, so you have to balance your work and your time off. So you have to decide between having a drink at the bar or getting a second job there. You want vacations, so you have to convince your boss that this is a productive idea. It’s a great idea for a theme, and I look forward to seeing how the game actually plays.

image by BGG user Korea Boardgames Dev

Four Gardens (Martin Doležal, Korea Boardgames Co) is a 2-4 player set collection game with a rotating 3D pagoda. Each turn, you choose one of three actions – play a card to lay the groundwork for a pagoda, rotate a floor of the pagoda and collect resources, take a wild, or reallocate resources at will. In the end, you win by completing landscapes. It looks like a cool game – I like the tower mechanism particularly. It may be a fairly simple set collection game, but with nice visual appeal.

image by BGG user AEGTodd

Mariposas (Elizabeth Hargrave, AEG) is the latest game from the designer of Wingspan. In keeping with her tendency to explore the natural world, this game is about migrating butterflies. Basically, you have some movement cards and you’re moving around a very abstracted map of North America, trying to collect sets of flowers and new butterflies. My initial impression is that this game will not be nearly as big as Wingspan, but it still looks like an interesting game.

image by BGG user nan3000

New York Zoo (Uwe Rosenberg, Feuerland Spiele) is the latest polyomino game from the designer of Patchwork (and others). This one has his usual drafting method of moving clockwise around a kind of rondel to get your polyominoes, but this time, there are also cute little wooden animals to collect. Your goal is to fill up your board, and filling up tiles with animals can help you get bonus tiles that help you to fill in those little spaces. It seems like a cool take on a polyomino game, but man, there are a lot of pieces.

image by BGG user uweeickert

One Small Step (James DuMond/Gunter Eickert/James Schoch, Academy Games) is a game about the space race between the US and the Soviet Union in the 1960s, and ultimately the race for the moon. It’s a worker placement game where you’re trying to develop the technology, gain advantage in the media, recruit astronauts, and launch missions into space. The game ends when someone reaches the moon, but the winner is the player/team with the most points. I love the theme, and want to check this out.

image by BGG user W Eric Martin

Pan Am (Prospero Hall, Funko Games) is yet another nostalgically licensed from the team behind Horrified, Bob Ross: The Art of Chill, and Monster Crunch: The Breakfast Battle Game (among others). In this one, you’re building a fleet of airplanes and expanding your route to reach the farthest corners of the earth. Prospero Hall does do some interesting games, and it’s cool to see where they’re going next. I really want to see them do a Mr. T game, but in the meantime…

image by BGG user W Eric Martin

Sonora (Rob Newton, Pandasaurus Games) is a roll-and-write game, except instead of rolling dice, you’re flicking discs. So, I guess it’s more of a flick-and-write game. Basically, you’re flicking discs onto a shared board and trying to get them into different sections so you can fill in spaces. So, of course, you can try to knock players out of their spots, there are special bonuses to use, and it looks fun. Crokinole: The Roll-and-Write. Or something.

image by BGG user W Eric Martin

Stick ‘Em (Klaus Palesch, Capstone Games) was published as Sticheln in 1993, and has not had a purely English edition since then. It’s a trick-taking game where your goal is to collect as many cards as possible. The twist here is that you select a pain suit at the start of each hand, and each card you collect of that suit gets you negative face value points. Every other card you collect only gets you one point. This is a MEAN game. I played it a couple of times many years ago, and enjoyed it, but don’t remember very many people having positive scores.

image by BGG use GalaGalaxia

Tekhenu: Obelisk of the Sun (Daniele Tascini/Dávid Turczi, Board&Dice) is a game about an ancient civilization from one of the creators of Tzolk’in and Teotihuacan (a pattern is emerging). This game has an action drafting system that revolves around a giant obelisk that casts an ever-rotating shadow around your choices. I don’t know precisely how the gimmick holds up to something like the gears in Tzolk’in, but I want to give this one a try sometime.


And that’s it for my various summer previews. I am getting a little behind in my posting, so you may see a flurry of activity over the next few days. Stay safe out there, and thanks for reading!

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