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.

Read more

Professor Evil and the Citadel of Time

Usually it’s safe to assume that the people entering somebody else’s house through the window are the bad guys. Usually. And it’s not an excuse that the dwellings owner is called Professor Evil, either! What was he supposed to do, not pursue an academic career because of his last name? There is, however, the little detail that Professor Evil has been using his time machine to steal priceless artifacts right out of history. The Mona Lisa is small fry in a collection that contains Excalibur and the Ark of the Covenant.

If some heroic individuals were to enter such an individual’s citadel to return those stolen items to their rightful place in the timeline they would most definitely be the good guys. But their mission won’t be easy. A man called Professor Evil, why, his security systems are bound to be more interesting than a blinking red light on the wall. Those heroic individuals would need some outside guidance as they make their way through the Professor’s home. Someone telling them were to go, what to do. Someone like… you. Welcome to Professor Evil and the Citadel of Time.

Read more
Kingdomino

Kingdomino

Bruno Cathala is one of those game designers who aren’t married to one genre or one game mechanic they keep coming back to. Games with his name on the box include Shadows over Camelot, Cyclades, 7 Wonders: Duel and many more. The only thing they really have in common is that they are great games. That list is now joined by Kingdomino, a kingdom building game using Dominoes-like tiles. It’s a light family game and has nothing in common with any of Bruno’s other games, mechanically speaking. It is nominated for the Spiel des Jahres 2017, usually a good indicator for a great game.

Read more
Bohemian Villages

Bohemian Villages

Ah, Bohemia, land of the dice, where the fate of whole families hinges on a few rolls of the metaphorical bones. The locals didn’t mention anything about that when we passed through on our vacation, but it’s probably one of those things you don’t discuss with outsiders. Being a village boy myself, I can relate to that. When someone passed through our village, we also didn’t tell him who’s life had been ruined by the dice. But in Bohemia, or at least in Reiner Stockhausen’s Bohemian Villages, the dice have a much more direct influence on the not-quite-meeple-people’s lives. The dice decide what career they can take and sometimes to which village they have to move.

Read more
Burger Up

Burger Up

Warning! Do not read this review while hungry. You’re about to read a many words about burgers, which will make you hungry to play Burger Up, but also to go out and eat at that grass-fed beef only burger place across town.

Read more
HOP!

HOP!

Marie Cardouat’s game illustrations have always been in a style fitting for beautiful children’s books, and that is still just as true in HOP!. Beyond the illustrations, the game’s story is equally made for kids. After finding a book describing a magical kingdom in the sky, the child heroes of HOP! decide that they have to see the realm of magical creatures living in the clouds for themselves. And once that decision is made, it is a matter of moments before they are floating into the sky, each carried by a handful of balloons. And just like that you’re in the middle of a dexterity game for the whole family, and prettier than pretty much any other game out there.

Read more
Kilt Castle

Kilt Castle

From haggis to caber toss, Scotland is full of traditions that seem odd to an outsider. But the oddest tradition has recently been discovered by Günter Burkhardt: when the Scots build a castle for their clan, it’s not a collaborative effort like you would expect. Every builder wants floors in his or her own color to top of all the tower. The resulting castle is neither very hospitable to live in nor does it have great defensive value, but it is a home for your clan, and someone made a lot of money building it.

Read more
Oceanos

Oceanos

Jacques Cousteau awakened the fascination for the submarine world in many of us. His film productions present the wonders hidden under the surface of the ocean, and yet they awaken curiosity for more. I think Monsieur Cousteau would approve of the way fellow Frenchman Antoine Bauza presents the underwater world in his game Oceanos: not as a place for warfare, like many games have done before, but as the object of curious discovery.

Read more
Undercover

Undercover

The life of a secret agent is tough. We know from James Bond’s biographical movies about the large number of people who to kill you while megalomaniac villains try to either kill everyone, enslave everyone or just take everyone’s money. But those movies gloss over the hardest part of the job: keeping track of who is who, and who they are working for. You think it’s easy, working with a bunch of double agents who all look the same because they wear stupid hats and trench coats and only meet in dark corners, anyway? Well, think again after you accidentally pass that briefcase to the wrong guy. He looked just like the right guy, but when he said “Thank you” you realized he was talking with the wrong stereotypical villain accent. But no more! With Undercover Doris and Daniel Danzer will help you understand just how hard the secret agent life is on your memory.

Read more
Sea of Clouds

Sea of Clouds

The right combination of two familiar game mechanics can create something new and fun. Sea of Clouds combines a drafting game with a press-your-luck mechanic. If you enjoy only one of those, then this game is definitely worth your time because it combines the best parts of them. And it does that while letting you loot the skies as a flying pirate, if you needed any more convincing.

Read more