Quest for El Dorado

Welcome to the jungle we’ve got fun and games. It’s a little known fact that Guns N’ Roses recorded this song in just one take, with no written music or lyrics, after trying an early prototype of Reiner Knizia’s The Quest for El Dorado. Yeah, those guys are gamers, too.

The Quest for El Dorado packs everything the lyrics promise. There’s quite a lot of jungle, because that’s where the fabled city of El Dorado happens to be. And there’s a lot of fun and games for the whole family, because El Dorado is a family deck building game with enough fun in the box to earn a nomination for the 2017 Spiel des Jahres.

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Bronze

The Bronze Age was the beginning of empires on Earth. Political and cultural units larger than just one settlement started appearing anywhere people can live. Larger cities happened. Trade between them became essential. And with trade the empires spread further.

With Bronze you get the chance to spread your own Bronze Age empire, not in a big, complex civilization builder but in a quick, streamlined game with simple rules but complex decisions. Everything you do seems trivial, but there are many consequences attached to your choices.

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Bunny Kingdom

In the Year of our Hare 1492 Bunstoph Columbun, an acute listener even among bunnies, heard sounds of life from the other side of the Atbuntic Ocean. A New World thus discovered, the rush for colonizing it began. Up to four Rabbit Lords go to make this new world theirs in the name of the great Bunny King. The most successful of them will earn the coveted title of Big Ears plus all the golden carrots their ships can carry.

Bunny Kingdom is a card drafting and area control game by the illustrious Richard Garfield, inventor of such things as Magic: The Gathering and Robo Rally. This new game has a deceptively cute theme and design, but don’t let that fool you. The contest for the new world is fought with all the cunning a bunny can muster.

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Luxor

I thought I’d seen every possible way to use cards. Keep them in your hand. Put them on the table. Facing you. Facing everyone else at the table. Turning them every which way to change what they do. And then along comes Luxor, a Spiel des Jahres nominee by Rüdiger Dorn, with a way to use cards that is all new, and yet super simple.

There isn’t much of a story to Luxor. Each player controls a group of adventurers as they make their way through the legendary temple of Luxor to the pharaoh’s burial chamber. It’s not so much what you’re doing or why that makes Luxor interesting. It’s the how.

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Die Quacksalber von Quedlinburg

The Quedlinburg Quacks are not the east German town’s hockey team. Neither are the Quacks of Quedlinburg a family of celebrity ducks living in the area. I would love if they were, though. No, The Quacks of Quedlinburg (original title: Die Quacksalber von Quedlinburg, no official English title yet) is one of Wolfgang Warsch’s games on this year’s Spiel des Jahres shortlists. We already reviewed the others (Ganz Schön Clever and The Mind), so today we’ll talk about quacks and snake oil salesmen.

The players in Die Quacksalber von Quedlinburg are charlatans selling their potions and tinctures at the annual fair in Quedlinburg. At least, they will sell them if they manage to make them without blowing up their kettle. Spoiler: they won’t. Not reliably. The possibility of your kettle exploding is the fun. And the best part: when it does explode you have no one to blame but yourself.

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The Mind

This is probably our shortest review ever. At least I can’t think of a game that would have an even shorter one. The Mind is one of Wolfgang Warsch’s games nominated in the Spiel des Jahres awards this year (the others being Die Quacksalber von Quedlinburg and Ganz Schön Clever, both nominated for Kennerspiel). I hope you’ll enjoy our very brief video review!

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Ganz schön clever

This year, the third seal of the apocalypse has been broken: A roll-and-write game is nominated for Kennerspiel des Jahres. Or was that the fourth seal? How did that happen? Has the world gone mad? Did the Yahtzee mafia threaten the jury? Take their children hostage?

It’s something much less sinister. I didn’t think it could happen, but Ganz schön clever might be a roll-and-write game that deserves to be on that list. There’s something about it that sets it apart from other games where you roll dice and write numbers on your score pad. In this game, the dice have different colors.

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Flee

As a reviewer, games where you discover new content and new rules while you play are frustrating. On the one hand, they are awful. How do you review a game with a Legacy or Fast Forward mechanism without giving away all the good bits? On the other hand, they are great, simply because discovering new things while you play works that fingerboard that is our brain’s reward mechanism so well. Or, in plain English, they’re one hell of a lot of fun. And we love to talk about fun games. So be warned, ahead you will find very mild spoilers for the first few rounds of Friedemann Friese’s Flee.

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DIG

Anything worth doing is worth doing as a contest. Running? Sure. Jumping? Certainly. Rolling dice? Well, duh.Throwing typewriters? It’s been done. Digging? I’m not sure if it’s been done before, but now there’s DIG, so you can do it in the comfort of your own home. It should have been obvious that there would be an annual digging contest somewhere in the multiverse. This one is only for the bravest of adventurers. The Hill has treasures aplenty, but it also has monsters, cave-ins, and your competitors.

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