Meople News: Dice on a Train


Christophe Boelinger, designer of Dungeon Twister, Archipelago and more, has a new game coming these days from Ludically (distributed by Asmodee). The publisher’s website describes Illegal as a party game, but by the description I would go with negotiation and bluffing game. All the players are dealers in illegal commodities. They have one that they sell, and another one that they want to buy. All players leave the table in pairs and start bartering, trying to acquire as much of their wanted resource as possible. But they have to be subtle about it, because in phase two of the games, everyone gets to guess what the other players were trying to buy and sell. Each correct guess costs a lot of points, easily enough to outweigh the points gained for product if you’re not careful. Due to the theme of trading arms and alcohol, the game is labeled 18 years and up, and it seems to need a game master who doesn’t play himself. Those are two downsides, but I still like the sound of Illegal.

Spiele aus Timbuktu

Spiele aus Timbuktu is Michael Schacht’s own micro-publisher. The designer of a long list of games, including Zooloretto and Mondo, is celebrating 25 years designing games by publishing a new game through Spiele aus Timbuktu: Hellweg westfalicus. The Hellweg is a very old trade route in Germany’s Westphalia region, and Hellweg westfalicus will give players the chance to trade salt, beer and iron along that route. For twelve rounds, you can buy goods from a dwindling supply and supply it to distant towns through coach routes. Hellweg westfalicus will be available at the Essen fair from the Spielbar booth at 1-F103 in a bilingual English/German edition.

Hans im Glück

Andreas Steding’s (Hansa Teutonica, Firenze, …) newest game Die Staufer will be an auction game around the Hohenstaufen Emperor Barbarossa. As you accompany him in his travels through the empire, you compete in hidden bid auctions against the other players to win action cards, seats in the council and money – that last one seems a bit fishy, but the description says that money is auctioned off. BGG lists it with a release date of October 13th from Hans im Glück, just in time for Essen.

Update: as you can see in the comments below, Andreas Steding kindly took the time to correct us about this game: Die Staufer is not, in fact, an auction game. Thank you for your correction, Andreas!

Fantasy Flight Games

This week’s preview on Fantasy Flight’s Star Wars: Armada explains the games command system. There are only four basic commands, but you can’t just issue commands and expect things to happen. The ships you command have crews that number in the thousands, getting them to do anything takes time. And so your commands have to go through the command stack first. Each round, you perform the command at the top of the stack and add a new command at the bottom. The bigger the ship, the more commands are on the stack and the longer you have to plan ahead. Creating coordinated attacks with ships of different sizes will take some serious planning – and some memory because it doesn’t say anywhere that you may check your own fleet’s commands.

Casual Dragon Games

Casual Dragon Games’ first Kickstarter project is a strategic game with a bunch of dice. Sounds almost like they involved Stefan Feld in the design. Seriously, though, in Island Dice players want to bring peace to the island they all landed on, either by capturing four native bases or by kicking all other players of the island. You do that by rolling different dice. Three are mandatory to roll every turn, the other three are picked from a pool of eleven and have different actions available, like earning gems, spending them on stuff, moving natives from one of the four tribes, moving your own explorer and more. It seems that picking a die mostly makes sure you get the action you want, but the roll decides just how much of it you get. So you’re not likely to be completely screwed by bad luck, but you have to adapt your strategy to what exactly the dice give you. Sounds great, in my book. One warning to the pacifist gamers: you can and must attack other players directly, and I know some people aren’t into that, so consider yourselves warned.

The Possession (Image by Gen X Games)
The Possession (Image by Gen X Games)

Gen X Games

The horror game The Possession is the boardgame version of movies like Cabin in the Woods or The Evil Dead: the players went for a relaxing weekend in a cabin in the middle of the forest, and of course someone had to awaken an ancient evil from before the dawn of time. Now the evil is out to possess everyone and then go eat the rest of the world. Players have to search the house for pages from The Book of the Dead, because burning them will defeat the evil. But as time goes on, players become possessed and turn against their friends. If you can’t guess what happens then, look at the picture to the left for a hint.

Mage Company

At the Mage Company booth in Essen you will not only be able to buy 12 Realms: Ancestors Legacy and Hoyuk, you will also have the chance to try their latest game Raid & Trade before it goes up on Kickstarter in November. Raid & Trade is set after the next world war, the world is mostly destroyed and the only remnants of civilization are behind the high walls of the Golden City. You are an outsider who wants to become a citizen, either as an Expert with enough skill points, a Nobleman with enough Character points or by serving the city and fulfilling secret quests. If it sounds good to you and you are going to Essen this year, why not give it a whirl before you decide if you want to fund it? You can find Mage Company in Hall 3, Booth 3-O103.


This year’s Essen release from Ludonaute takes you to the Wild West, but not as one of the white hat guys. Players in Colt Express are train robbers, intent on stealing gold, jewelry and the salary coffer of the Nice Valley Mining Company. Each round, players start by playing action cards into a common pile, the rules for the round telling you how many cards and if they are face up and face down. Then actions on the pile are taken one by one, players can move their bandits through the train or on the roof of the driving train, punch or shoot other players or lure the Marshal out of his spot. By anticipating how the situation will develop, you should be able to grab the most valuable loot without being caught by the Marshal or shot by the other players. Colt Express will have bandit meeples (!!!) moving through a 3D train, but that doesn’t make it a kids game, it actually sounds like it has a nice amount of strategy and bluffing.

I don’t think I have to tell anyone what is the subject of this week’s featured photo, nothing else looks like the moai of Rapa Nui: Easter Island, which is an province of Chile’s Valparaíso region. The photo was taken by David Berkowitz and kindly shared with a CC-BY license. Thank you, David!


  1. Hi
    Your information about Staufer is wrong. There is no auction in the game. Where do you get your informations? May I give you the advice to wait until the game is published or any official information will be published?

  2. Hello Andreas,
    thanks a lot for your correction. This particular bit of information came from the game’s BGG entry at Of course we’d like to wait for a game’s release or official information, but German publishers still tend to keep information much closer to their chests than their international counterparts, so we rely on usually accurate 3rd party sources like BGG as well as direct information from publishers. Unfortunately, that carries the risk of getting bad information every once in a while, which is why I’m thankful that you took the time to comment and correct it.

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