Wednesday, October 21, 2015

That Post-Essen Blitz

I didn't mention it this year, but Essen Game Fair was recent.  Even if I wasn't keeping track, I'd know based on the sheer number of new games suddenly appearing at the local game stores.

BoardGameGeek did their usual Essen Spiel Preview this year, and it was (and continues to be) a bit terrifying.  That's a 32-page GeekList of games that are debuting at the show.

Yes, a few of them showed up at GenCon in limited numbers, but now they're Widely Available.

Below are a few games you may have missed, and one you couldn't escape (and not all of them are Essen games).  As ever, I'm providing Amazon links to them, but I really would prefer that you support your local game store (if you have one).

Deus - This is not a new game for Essen.  Hell, it was a 2014 game that won a ton of awards. And it's good. Really good. It was even a Kennerspiel des Jahres Recommended game this year.  That's a big deal.

Discoveries: The Journals of Lewis and Clark - More and more, I'm learning that I like dice games. Especially if they do something interesting with the dice. This is a worker-placement game that uses dice as workers, and allows you to sabotage other players by recalling dice in your color from them.  It's cold, it's cruel, it's brilliant.

Starfighter - I talked about this game a lot at GenCon.  It's out, now.  This is the best two-player game I've played in a very long time. It's a combo-building game, but you need to be careful to make sure that your combos do something, otherwise your opponent will beat you.

Ultimate Warriorz - It's not the deepest game. It's not the most complicated game. To be honest, I might even be able to play this with my nephews! But it's fun. I work on a surprising number of games for Asmodee (surprising to them, too, I suspect). I don't request copies of everything I work on, either. I'm way behind on my Dixit expansions. I don't have any of the Timeline: Animals or Timeline: Dinosaurs or several other Timeline sets. Because - much as I like those games - I don't need more.  But this game is one I requested.  I think it surprised them when I did so, too.

Mysterium - You couldn't get away from this game if you're at all involved with Geek Social Media or blogs or podcasts.  This is the game that caused stampedes at GenCon this year and crazy lines. The game is sorta like Dixit meets Clue.  One player is using images to communicate with the other players in an attempt to solve a murder. There is quite literally nothing else like it on the market. If my shipment hits me in time, I'll be playing this at Game Night next week.

T.I.M.E. Stories - Oddly, I can't find the base game on Amazon, so that link takes you to the first expansion, The Marcy Case. This is the first "decksploration" game I've seen. It reminds me more than a little of Quantum Leap (the TV series) - players take the role of people who are jumping back in time to prevent paradoxes and the destruction of the universe.  It's sort of a choose-your-own adventure book with character skills and die rolls. And the game is structured so that you can put it away without losing your place.  Again: Nothing else like it on the market. And there are a bunch of expansions coming with a variety of themes. Zombie survival horror. High fantasy. Action. Adventure. Suspense.  I'm really looking forward to this one.

The Builders: Antiquity - I really liked The Builders: Middle Ages.  This one turns the complexity up just a hair. I can't wait to get it to the table.

7 Wonders Duel - A two-player only 7 Wonders game.  What's not to love? It's considerably different from the "main" 7 Wonders game - players are drafting tiles instead of cards, for example. And there's no passing back-and-forth in the draft. Players can only pick tiles that are available.  All-in-all, it's a completely different game with the same theme. This might knock Starfighter off of my "Favorite 2p Game of 2015" pedestal.  Maybe.  I'll find out soon enough.

Shakespeare - I'm a theater geek. And I'm married to a theater geek. I knew when I did a pass or two over the rules to this one that I was going to need to own it. Players need to higher the right actors and set dressers and costumers to put on the best possible plays. It's already drawing rave reviews, and most of the mention the strong theme.

As they trickle in and hit the table, I'll probably have more to say about these games.  I got a new toy for my camera, so expect photos, too.

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