The French publisher will have some new games in Essen this year: a quick abstract game, an interesting thematic one and an expansion. Take your pick, one of those should interest you.
Origin is the thematic game. You lead your tribe of people from the heart of Africa, cradle of human evolution, to wherever you think they should go, pushing other tribes out of the better regions if necessary. Along the way you’ll discover new technologies to make life easier for your people. Origin is for ages eight and up and plays in about 45 minutes, so it’s nowhere near as long or complex as Matagot’s flagships Cyclades or Kemet.
But if you want to play those, there is an expansion for you. Really, this expansion is for you if you want to play Cyclades and Kemet. At once. C3K – Creature Crossover Cyclades / Kemet allows you to use the creatures from Cyclades in Kemet and vice versa. So, technically, there are only seven cards for Cyclades and six tiles for Kemet in the box, you have to own both games for the miniatures, but this does sound fun.
And then there’s the abstract, Cappuccino. With coffee to-go cup pieces – I approve already – in four colours, you start stacking: the owner of the top cup in a stack controls the whole stack and may use it to capture other, smaller stacks. When a group of stacks is all controlled by one player and isolated from the other stacks, the owner may take them from the table. Whoever captured the most cups this way wins the game. Quick, easy, involves coffee – I think I will own one of these.
Backspindle Games / Game Salute
After a long waiting time, the Kickstarter campaign for Codinca is finally happening. If you’ve been following us for a while, you may have seen our review of this beautiful, quick abstract game. Nothing has changed about the game, it’s still abstract, quick and awesome, but with those engraved playing stones, it now looks even better than the version we reviewed. Take note that the Kickstarter campaign only works for the US and UK, but everyone else can preorder the game at Game Salute.
The many people suspecting that Futterneid would not be the only release by Friedemann Friese in Essen this year were right. Besides the light game for chocolate – much better than a game for light chocolate – there will also be a new Power Grid map pack. This one will include Australia and India, both with their own unique challenges to consider: Australia does not have one connected network but several smaller ones, India suffers from its very limited resource market and frequent blackouts.
There will also be a new edition of Friedemann Friese’s very first game from way back in 1992. Landlord didn’t really fit with the newer 2F-Spiele Games any more, for one it didn’t have an F anywhere in its name. The new edition is going to fix that and rename it to Friese’s Landlord, and it comes in a much greener box, too. I mean the color green, not necessarily more eco-friendly. But it might be. The game itself hasn’t changed much, it’s still comes with a lot of black humor when, to maximize your profit as a landlord, you can’t shy away from killing some of your tenants and blowing up the occasional building.
The sad news for fans of heavy, awesome games first: there will be no new Splotter Spellen game in Essen this year. The good news, however: there will be a new edition of Roads & Boats, one of the most famous and popular games by the Dutch publisher. There appear to be no major changes in the heavily logistical game compared to earlier editions, you still transport tons of different goods to different factories trying to score points. But common consensus is that Roads & Boats did pretty much everything right, so “no changes” is not a bad thing. Together with the base game, there will also be a new edition of the expansion &cetera that gives you everything for up to six players and includes trains and planes in your transportation plans.
Libellud / Asmodee
Are you getting bored with your utterly gorgeous picture Dixit cards after playing with them for a few years? A solution for that is coming in November under the name Dixit 4 in Europe and Dixit Origins in the US. Despite the different names they contain the same 84 new, beautiful cards. This is an expansion, not a stand-alone game, so you’ll need Dixit or Dixit Odyssey to play.
Billions of boardgamers worldwide have been waiting for it: the announcement of this year’s game by the Lamont brothers. And billions were not disappointed that this game turns out to be a sequel to their 2008 release Snow Tails. Just like the popular original, Mush! Mush! – Snow Tails 2 is all about husky racing. Basic mechanics remain the same, you still control your dog-drawn sled with cards, trying really hard not to drift off-course too much because hitting obstacles will add useless Dent cards to your deck. But Mush! Mush! will come with new options, of course, this is not a remake, and it will be bigger: a huge board with multiple race tracks for up to eight player, polyresin buildings and trees – and no brakes, just as advertised. If you want to preorder – and we learned that it’s a good idea for Fragor Games – you can do so by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Czech Games Edition
Here’s a first preview card for the coming Vlaada Chvátil game Tash-Kalar: Arena of Legends. The ability to “place a new common piece” doesn’t really say much about the game, but I do like the art.
You just can’t get the trains out of some people. Helmut Ohley and Leonhard Orgler are two such people. Even when they’re not making classical train games (they have a few 18xx games to their names) they’re making a train-themed game. Russian Railroads is a worker placement game where you get to expand your network and improve your railroad in various ways and, as far as I can tell for now, there appears to be no big map game board to build your rails on, tracks are handled in a different way.
Lookout Games will be in Essen this year with a very awesome looking collection of games. Number one is Caverna: The Cave Farmers by Uwe Rosenberg, a follow-up to his ever-popular Agricola. Some elements are taken straight from Agricola, so you’re still farming with the family and have kids to have more workers, but other parts are changed or all new. The card decks are gone, replaced by a set of buildings. You will be able to make weapons and send your farmers on quests to gather resources. And you’ll be able to mine for rubies in the caverns from the title. Donkeys and dogs also come into it at some point. Those are enough news to count as a new game in my book, not just a new skin on an old one.
Robert Aurochs’s Bremerhaven almost fooled me into thinking it was a sequel as well, the design is exactly like Le Havre. But while you’re doing the same things – trading with goods, constructing ships and and buildings – the mechanics in the new game about the German port city are very different. To activate buildings, you now have to have the highest influence on them. That’s handled by influence cards in a hidden auction, keeping an eye on your opponents’ needs is essential.
Third from Lookout is Karnickel (Rabbits), a small racing game where rabbits hunt for carrots on a circular track of rails. You use dice to move any rabbit, your own or an opponent’s, around the track to collect carrots, but when all dice show the train symbol, the train will move and scare all rabbits it encounters from the tracks. I’ll admit it’s a kid’s game, not what we’re usually looking for. But it might take the slot of Pickomino sometimes late at night.
Without any prior knowledge of the game, just looking at the Kickstarter page for The Amityville Project: Phobos, you can immediately tell one thing: CREEPY! Those ghost minis are creepy beyond anything I’ve seen in boardgames. And it gets worse from there, here’s the story: Detective Ed Sullivan was investigating the Syndicate, a criminal organization that messes with the minds of people to bow them to their will. Of course, Sullivan is discovered and stuffed into the mindrape machine, and that’s where it gets really freaky: the experience destroys his mind and leaves him with four personalities that now struggle for control. Those personalities are the players. You fight the other personalities by discovering their fears, guessing them from the player’s actions on the central board. It’s been a long time since I saw a horror movie with that creepy a story, in boardgames it’s a first.