Time for another set of random previews based off the BGG Fall Preview list. As of this writing, that list was up to 309 items, and I am excluding expansions from this list (which brings it down to 256). Here are this edition’s randomly selected games!
Magnefix (Roberto Fraga, AMIGO) is a pattern building game featuring pieces they’re calling Magformers. These are basically square discs with magnets around the edge. There is a deck of cards with different patterns to make on them. When a card comes out, everyone tries to make the shape as quickly as they can. The first one to make it accurately wins the card, and whoever has the most when the deck runs out wins. This game is only available in a German edition right now, but English rules are available, and it seems pretty simple to grasp. Plus, magnets.
Meeple Land (Cyrille Allard/Frédéric Guérard, Blue Orange Games) is an amusement park building game. On your turn, you buy a tile and place it in your park – attractions, services, extension, or entrance. You could also get an advertisement, which gives you visitors. At the end of the round, visitors enter, you get money, and after four rounds, you see who won. You have to watch your reputation as you go, as a bad one will lose you points. I always love the amusement park theme, though I do tire a bit of seeing Meeple in a title of one of these games.
Monasterium (Arve D. Fühler, dlp games) is a game about rival monasteries. Your goal is to establish your reputation by sending out novices to gather influence, complete special missions, and build up your cathedral. The game has a dice placement mechanism that kind of reminds me of Alea Iacta Est – roll your dice, then put all dice of one number in a particular space. The big difference is that you have personal dice and neutral dice, and anyone can use the neutral dice when it comes time to do actions. I like the theme of running monasteries, though this being a Euro game, it probably could have been anything.
Shifting Stones (J. Evan Raitt, Gamewright) is an abstract pattern building game. There’s a 3×3 grid of double-sided tiles (stones), and each player is trying to make different patterns out of those tiles. On your turn, you can shift stones, flip stones, or score cards. You can do as many actions as you like, but shifting and flipping both require you to discard from your hand. At the end of your turn, you draw back up to four cards, but you can also pass and draw two extra cards. It looks like a good, simple to understand game, even if it might sometimes get complicated to make patterns.
Schotten Totten 2 (Reiner Knizia, IELLO) is a sequel to Knizia’s 1999 game Schotten Totten. Players are trying to trying to player poker style hands on their side of the line to try to win different locations. This version seems like it’s trying to add more of a theme than the original had, with one player as the attacker and one as the defender. I have played Schotten Totten online, back in the old days before Knizia forced Yucata.de to take their implementation down, and have played the physical version of Battle Line, which was Schotten Totten as reimplemented by GMT. And I didn’t like it. Like, at all. I know the original game has its proponents, but I’m not one of them. This is not a game I’m looking forward to.
Greenville 1989 (Florian Fay, KOSMOS) was published last year by Sorry We Are French, but now is getting a German edition. It’s a cooperative narrative game where each player gets a chance to be a character that has witnessed some supernatural event. Other players have to locate and save that character based on clues before the void surrounding the town devours everyone. It sounds a little like a Cthulhu version of Mysterium, though I’m sure it’s different than that. Don’t know how interested I am, but people seem to enjoy it.
The Shining: Escape from the Overlook Hotel (Jay Cormier/Sen-Foong Lim, The Op) is kind of an escape room game based on the very popular 1980 movie, The Shining. You, and as many other people as you like, take on the role of Wendy and Danny Torrance, trying to escape the Overlook and the deranged Jack Torrance. You have to unlock clues, and use the shining to make your way out. The system, which they’re calling “Coded Chronicles”, was previously used in Scooby-Doo: Escape from the Haunted Mansion. I like The Shining, but I’m not sure this is the kind of game I’d like.
Café (Costa/Rôla, PYTHAGORAS) is a game about the early 20th century coffee trade in Portuguese speaking countries like Portugal and Brazil. You have to produce, dry, roast, and deliver coffee beans to strategically placed shops around the world. I’m not a coffee drinker, so I feel a little attacked by the starting player condition that player who last drank a cup goes first. But the game looks pretty interesting all the same.
Break In: Alcatraz (Rebecca Bleau/Nicholas Cravotta/David Yakos, Schmidt Spiele/PlayMonster) is kind of a reverse escape room game, where you’re trying to break in to the famous “inescapable” prison. You have to solve puzzles and work together with your fellow players in order to be successful. It also comes in a weirdly shaped box that ensures you won’t be able to fit it on your shelf in any logical place.
Divvy Dice (Ulrich Blum/Jens Merkl) is a roll-and-write game, if you couldn’t tell that from the colorful rolling dice on the cover (which I think is a requirement for all roll-and-writes). You roll some dice, and can reroll up to two more times. If you do reroll, other players can enter a number on their cards. Once someone has a 3×3 display of scoring cards, the game is almost over, and you add up scores from completed cards on a final scoring card. It does look like an interesting new take on RNWs. I’d like to check this one out.
Seastead (Ian Cooper/Jan M. Gonzalez, WizKids) is a two-player game about competing for control of four flotillas. You either dive for resources (which must be shared with your opponent) or construct buildings. I haven’t looked very deeply into this one, but from the description, I likely will.
That does it for another random preview. Stay safe out there, and thanks for reading!