All posts by Leon Scheuber

Leon co-founded Sweet Lemon and likes to dance.

New Games from Latin America – October 2018 part 1

Argentina

The author collective Maldón is known for often designing their games rather spectacularly, which it releases under its publisher of the same name. So, I always instantly perk up my ears when there’s something new from Maldón. That’s why it nearly surprises me that I missed the release of El Camarero this summer – I really got to hand this in now. In this game, every player has a set of cards and loudly creates an order of a five-course menu. In the middle of the table you then have eight cards lying around, and you take turns being a waiter and either have to assign cards to customers, who ordered the corresponding thing, or you have to carry stuff back into the kitchen that nobody wants. However, there’s also a bell and whoever notices an error slams it incessantly, so that the waiter gets a complaint-chip. In the end you get points for fulfilling your own order (if it has been delivered back to the kitchen you should have complained) and point deductions for unfilled orders and complaint-chips. Sounds like an atmospheric party game. You can find a video with the instructions here.

I’m not entirely certain how dangerous a Pogo-hug can be. If I want to find out some day, I should probably play Nació Popular by Leandro Bortolussi and Julieta Vega, that has been released by La Jugandéra Magica. This two-player game is about snatching jewels, which you can do by playing cards. The cards that have been played are then compared according to a rock-paper-scissors system. Whoever has the most points at the end wins. Additionally, there are there further game modes. What does this have to do with a Pogo-hug? Well, the player that gathers the most jewels may throw a hug-die, that determines a type of hug. The Pogo-hug is just one of the possible variants. I’ve also never seen something like that before.

Colombia

From 11. to 15. October the SOFA, “Salon del Ocio y la Fantasia” (along the lines of: “Salon of Leisure and Fantasy”), will take place in Bogotá. There’s music, video games, cosplay and pretty much everything else you can imagine in a huge area. More than 200.000 people were there last year! Of course, that also means that board game publishers are there in numbers and there are a bunch of new releases to report on (probably in the next article as well).

Asedio means “siege” in English and is a card game by Manuel Jacobo Monroy, who also illustrated it (link to his illustrator page). The players brawl for the vacant imperial throne of the empire of Draboria. To do so, they first build themselves a small power base in the shape of houses, then villages, then towns, hire mercenaries and send them off to attack the others (in which case they of course shouldn’t neglect the defense of their own settlement). Since the cards simultaneously represent money, you always have to think about whether you need them for your plans or better use them to finance those mercenaries. The player who does this most successfully and reaches a certain number of points wins the game. Asedio has been released in self-publishing.

The publisher Ludo BrandTeller has a new release with Medieval Magic Market by Christhian Bedoya, a card game, in which different fantasy-figures go to a market and try to get a hold of items that are as valuable as possible… and then also keep them, since the other people are interested in them as well. The various characters have different abilities, of course, and you can easily lose the things you gained again. Additionally, you don’t know exactly when the market closes, so you always have to try to stay on top. The illustrations are also done by Christhian Bedoya. By the way, the publisher name does not have anything to do with burning dishes (Brand is fire in German and Teller means plate), rather it is the English brand and teller that is referred to.

Mexico

As an adolescent I went to the football stadium from time to time – it was less expensive than the movies and easy to get entertainment. Nowadays modern football has arrived… with all its commercial overhang. I haven’t watched the Bundesliga live in ten years and since there are no more free radio broadcasts anymore, I don’t even properly follow it anymore. It appears to me, that it’s the same with some games. In my youth I played Blood Bowl here and there, but then there were 27 different editions and a massive overhang – it feels foreign to me. Yet still I have pleasant memories of how I painted my team of dwarves back then and played a few hot matches. So, I can understand pretty well that it has its allure. So I want to call some attention to  Kings of the Pitch, a Kickstarter-campaign by Juan Montaño from Mexico, in which you have the possibility to buy a set of referees for fantasy football. It’s a niche-product indeed, but the financing goal is modest and I feel like it is interesting that miniatures don’t have to come from China (I had reported on a different miniature workshop here [German; he’s talking about this]). Maybe someone may find this of interest.

From Essen SPIEL to Tokyo Game Market

As of this writing we have less than 4 weeks until the biggest board game fair in the world, Essen SPIEL, open it’s doors to the public. Also as of this writing the BGG preview list by Eric Martin for that event has more than 1000 games on it and new titles are still added daily and there are many more games releasing at Essen which will never have a listing as publishers don’t know about the list or don’t care.

Like for many other publishers Essen SPIEL is the most important fair of the year for the Nice Game team. We can present and sell our games to a gigantic audience and since ‘everyone’ is there we  arrange meetings for game submissions and distribution (Note: If you want to pitch a game idea to us or if your are interested in distributing one of our games please get in touch).

This year we are presenting 3 new games at our booth at 4-E103. We are selling Das Geheimnis der Tempel, which is the German version for Mystery of the temples, a compact strategy game with a innovative crystal grid mechanic.  Furthermore we are demoing two titles:

In Dragon Canyon players competing in reigning over the canyon by battling the opponents and racing to to claim the different buildings in this gorgeously illustrated and quick playing game.

Vampire: The Masquerade – Heritage puts the player into the role of an ancient vampire building a bloodline through the centuries. In this quick-playing legacy card game players will experience a 700 year campaign, unlocking new challenges, characters, and rewards along the way. This game you can also play at Paradox booth 5-A104.

Apart from showing our own games Essen SPIEL is equally important for acquiring new games for our Nice Game Shop.  Since we are based close to Essen we can easily get new titles for our shop directly from the many publishers which are present.

But which games to choose? Obviously we are looking for obscure games published outside Europe or North America. But this is a broad term, the BGG preview list alone has over 120 titles which fit that criteria.

Let me show you some of the games that piqued our interest.

Eco-Links by our partners at Korea Boardgames is a frenetic tile laying game with great theme: restoring natural habitats of various animals and help them reconnect with their families. In the game you are making paths connecting all the animal markers as fast as possible, first player to do so takes the 1st token and flips the sand timer, now all other players have little time to finish. Depending on speed and if you build all paths correctly you score points.

Wangdo is the new game by Korean publisher Mandoo Games, who brought us Rising 5 last year.

In this East Asian themed game we play as anthromorphic bears trying to reign the lands by placing strategically steles on the board, thus securing items and dragon seals. Steles can only be placed adjacent to other steles, but have to have another color than neighboring steles. Then you pay steles equal to the steles surrounding you to the supply. If you manage to get 3 copies of the same item you get to draw one dragon seal card which can change the rules for you if played. The game ends when a player collects all the 4 different items 3 times, thus filling the player board. Theme and illustrations are top notch here and it is one of those games that is easy enough to play with casual gamers or with kids, but gives some tough decisions for the most hardcore gamer, too.

Mayfly is a cooperative game about a fly trying to find a partner. The game is seperated in two parts. First we feed the grub so that it grows into a big and healthy fly. Then, as a fly we have to overcome several obstacles like frogs and birds to find our partner. There are several different endings and the stories at the end of a game are just heart-melting.

Scientia is a game I have played three years ago as a rough prototype and I enjoyed my play of it a lot. The card turning mechanism felt very fresh at the time and the theme is still great. Now it has been illustrated by the magnificient Vincent Dutrait and got a lot more development so I am very excited to try it out. The game is sadly not for sale at Essen but you can test it at the Korean Pavilion.

Mizo/Teenage Riot has to be one of the publishers pushing the boundaries of board game theming the most these days. Last year they presented at Essen Raid on Taihoku, a coop game about the people living in the city during the bombings in WW2. Then they followed up with Zoo of Depression in which they players take the roles of animals native to Taiwan in their struggle for survival against all odds and the urbanization of the island.

Now they are bringing Dare to Love to Essen, which was crowdfunded very successfully in Taiwan earlier this year. Dare To Love is as far as I know the first game called LGBTQ friendly on the box. In this one vs. many game one player assumes the role of Asomrof who tries to stop or kill the lovers of the people he imprisoned. The other players acting as those lovers trying to stop Asomrof and free their friends.

The presentation is absolutely spectacular with a cardboard dicetower, transparent plastic standees and great artwork all around.

Eye my Favourite things is actually an older game now coming back in a new edition and seems to bring some innovation in the trick taking genre. Quoting from Board Game Geek:

Each player asks some topic of the next player, such as favorite movies, cartoons, animals, etc., and that neighboring player writes down their top five favorites on cards in sleeves. Behind these answers are hidden cards numbered from 1 to 5 and one non-favorite on a card numbered 0. These six cards are now your hand for playing tricks.

You don’t know what card answer corresponds to what rank number, so you have to guess the next player’s preferences and tendencies, and play one card based on your judgement of their tastes. Once cards are played to the trick, the hidden numbers are shown. Your neighbor’s preference rank is the card’s strength. Card 5 is highest, 0 is lowest, but if 5 and 0 appear in the same trick, 0 wins.

In short, understanding your neighbor is the key to winning the game.

Strange Vending Machine is flying a bit under the radar which is a shame because it is a game that many people will enjoy. Essentially it is a push-your-luck set-collection game in which you take cards you can only see one half of it and add them to your collection. According to the symbols you have gathered at the end of the game you will score points.

Now, the cool part is that the game comes with little cardboard vending machines in which you put little cardboard coins and then you get to draw a card. If you don’t have coins you could also take all coins out of one vending machine (ideally the one with the most coins in it) but beware of the false coins with which you can pay, but which are minus points at the end of the game.

Last but not least I would like to give a shoutout to APIBGI, the Indonesian association for board games which will have a big booth at Essen this year. They will bring a total of 24 games of which 12 are for sale. Some of them we could also try like Acaraki and The Festivals, and now we are very curious to see what new games are brought to the fair. Hilko wrote a nice overview article about the games which are for sale, which you can read here.

While Essen SPIEL is still on the horizon and we are still busy finishing up everything we want to show there, we already started the preparations for Tokyo Game Market, which will be taking place November 24-25 at Tokyo Big Sight.

Many publishers already announced their games on Twitter and we went ahead and created a Preview list on BGG with all the new important releases.

We will go into full TGM mode after Essen but already it is easy to say that especially the new Yokohama Duel by Okazu Brand will get a lot of attention. Also, there is a new Shun/Studio GG release called Mystery Homes and a new game by Ayatsurare Ningyoukan called Jumble Order which we are looking forward to. On the more quirky end of the spectrum there is Masala Magic which is a cross between Poker and Incense smelling (a la The Perfumer). The components just look insane especially considering the price of just 4000 yen. Then there is Mech Maker by Proto Craft, which is a crossover of mech dueling game and modeling kit.

Definitely a lot to look forward to at the next Game Market.

As already discussed in previous edition of the Global Boardgame News Iranian publisher Houpaa Games will be bringing Dej, the Persian edition of the classic Citadels, to Essen SPIEL.

This game will be exclusively available at our booth 4-E103 and if you want to make sure that you get a copy you can fill in the reservation form we have created. On Friday and Sunday at 1 PM there will be also the author Bruno Faidutti at our booth to sign the game.

We will also be bringing the whole Li He x Facio lineup to Essen. If you make a reservation here, we can add those sweet cat dice bags!

And that’s it for this edition of Global Boardgame News. If you are in Essen make sure to visit us. We will bring the whole Nice Game Shop. If you don’t come to Essen and like the look of the games here, then don’t worry as we will have all of them in the online shop after Essen.

New games from Latin America (September part 2)

This is a guest post by Hilkman translated from the German article originally published on his blog Du Bist Dran!

Brazil

This weekend the Diversão Offline in Rio de Janeiro is about to take place, an event that is sometimes called the “Brazilian Essen”. With about 5000 visitors on each of the two days it of course isn’t comparable in size, but it is definitely one of the biggest board game events in Latin America. Many publishers showcase their more or less new games there. While I announced some things in the last weeks here already, there is still a lot more to go. Sadly some of the publishers only announce their new games on site.

At least I have found this:

It doesn’t seem as if you could announce a merger in a more charming fashion… the new publisher Diceberry Editora of Iaggo Piffero, who just prepared to launch his first micro game, was taken over, before doing so, by Potato Cat (who we talked about here already). That’s something you don’t see every day. Diceberry will continue as a separate studio, though, and will likely be responsible for micro games at first. It begins with three releases:

Jetpack Lhama sounds gloriously quirky. The paths on which the Lamas transport goods have been destroyed by natural disasters and now they need to think of something new. What would be more appropriate than jet packs? So they strap them on their backs and get going. On the way they sadly have to get through city ruins and take care not to hit old stone pillars and, this is very important, not to get hit with a curse, which can happen easily once in a while. It sounds like it is right up my alley. Jetpack Lhama is a micro game, in which the racing track is put together with cards.

Magic Flow doesn’t seem to be a lot less absurd to me. Here the players take the role of magical rappers, who have to fight monsters with their rhymes. Each monster has a certain verse length and the card back determines a specific way of death. You have to find fitting rhymes very quickly, so that the other magical rappers don’t get it first. It sounds rather bizarre to me and apparently it’s even language independent. I’d like to take a closer look at this as well.

The big Sudoku wave is possibly over already again, but sometimes you still see someone fill squares with numbers at a bus stop. If that’s not interactive enough for you, you might want to try Sudokiller. A detective and a serial killer circle around each other here in 1880s London. The killer owns one of the numbers, while another belongs to his next victim. The detective then has to find out which of the numbers these are, before the Sudoku has been completely solved.

All three games have been developed and illustrated by Iaggo Piffero. And when I take a look at these unusual descriptions, I’m not surprised by Potato Cats interest.

Mine has definitely been sparked, and I’ll see that I can get my hands on them soon.

Vitor Cafaggi is a Brazilian comic artist, who seems to be relatively popular. At least that’s what I inferred after the game he illustrated, Valente – O amor em jogo („Valente – The love in the game) had been swarm-financed within three quarters of an hour.

Valente is a dog, who is split in two between two women (a cat and a panda lady). The players are now trying to get Valente onto their side by releasing comics. Those consist of three cards each (pictures), and once a strip is finished, he becomes a part of the overall story and influences Valente’s decisions. Valente is a comic character made by Cafaggi, that has existed for a while already and hasn’t been created specifically for this game. The author of the game is Renato Simões and the game will be released by Geeks N‘ Orcs.

Mexico

Cat aficionado Ramón López releases his games through his own publishing house called Guerras Gato Games and most of them revolve around cats. His first game, Guerras Gato („Cat wars“), was first published in 2016 and is now being released in the second edition. What it’s about is hardly hard to guess: Leaders of cats send their subordinates at their enemies – and you only have nine lives. When you’re defeated for the ninth time, you leave the game and the last living cat wins. It has been illustrated by an artist that can be found under the name Shengolia.
Shengolia has also illustrated another one of López‘ games, namely
Miaurcenarios. It is a bit hard to translate it, this time around – mercenarios means mercenaries and miau means miau. Here the cats are ninjas and have to beat, among others, evil rats. The illustrators of Bakenoko: Soul Reaper, which is the third game in the series, come from a comic event called Draw Break. This is the only game of the three, in which the cat pictures aren’t the focus. Whoever is capable of speaking Spanish and wants to take a look at the games, you can find short explanation videos here. For October there’s already the next cat game announced. I’ll report on it then.

Peru

Years ago I got the assignment to develop a game on the subject of “fair trade in communal procurement policy” together with Reinhold Wittig. This was quite a challenge, but in the end we kind of managed to put something reasonable together, even on such an un-sexy sounding subject. Working supposedly boring subjects into games is something that occurred to others as well, for example the team of Anevi, with their new release “En Busca del TeISOro Perdido”. The title actually means “the search for the hidden treasure”, but there’s the word ISO woven into the word treasure. Why? Well, because the game is about the ISO-45001-standard, that describes requirements for worker protection management. It has been published together with Ludo Prevención.

Games from Indonesia at Essen SPIEL 2018

This is a guest post by Hilkman translated from the German article originally published on his blog Du Bist Dran!

Since a few years the presence of Asian publishers at the convention in Essen is growing. The Korean Pavilion has been well established by now, Japon Brand is a veritable legend already (I reported on it here [link in German]) and Taiwan Boardgame Design (TBD) has also blown up in recent years. A ton of smaller publishers gather at the three booths, who probably wouldn’t be able to sustain a presence in Essen otherwise. At least Japon Brand and TBD each have their own central preordering system and are helping the smaller publishers with public awareness (apparently its similar with the Korean booth, but I’m honestly not that familiar with them). Off and on one of those publishers gets big enough to become independent, figuratively speaking, as is the case with, for example, EmperorS4 from Taiwan, who will be having their own booth this year. So it seems that the collective booths as a steppingstone for further presence on the European market have paid off.

The Logo of the APIBGI. See the note at the end of this article.

This year, there’s another country that wishes to tread this path, and it is Indonesia. The procedure there was partially comparable to the other Asian countries, it does include some new characteristics though. 2014 was apparently the first time that an Indonesian publisher was present in Essen, and it downright led to a boom, a country wide number of events, where about 300 authors participated and finally released four games, published by one of the biggest media companies in Indonesia. Other submitted games also found publishers, or the authors published them themselves.

Last year another small Indonesian booth was there, all the way in the back of Hall 8. I was able to play a prototype there which constituted one of the highlights of the convention for me, and so I tried to find out again and again whether it had been published or not (so far it hasn’t). The two publishers that were present there sent a report to the Indonesian creative economy agency (BEKRAF) and founded the Indonesian board game union (APIBGI). The BEKRAF has now financed a massive booth for APIBGI, an impressive 66 square meters in Hall 3.

There was a kind of submission contest for it, in which 46 games took part. Of those, 24 were chosen that will now be presented in Essen in multiple variants. 12 games have already been released, you’ll also be able to buy those in Essen. The other 12 are finished prototypes, that can be played and whose authors are also hoping for contacts to publishers abroad. 8 games will be spotlighted specifically, those are basically the main winners of the selection process, those are four published games and four unpublished ones.

I quickly want to introduce the games that are already available for purchase here. Given the amount of what is being offered I’ll be brief – in the end you guys need to have something to discover for yourself as well.

In Acaraki: The Java Herbalist the players are in a competition to find out who can deal with herbs the best. They gather herbs and try to heal the sick village population with them. When a village is completely healed, the person that was able to heal the most people will become the chief herb person. Acaraki was made by Erwin Skripsiadi and has been published by Hompimpa Games (€20)

Aquatico is the only one on offer that I’ve already had a chance to play. Its about building an ecosystem consisting of various types of environments. You try to play more of the different types than the others to gain points. Sadly environmental pollution sometimes gets in the way – a leaking oil barrel and the whole landscape is counted as a zero. You’ll have to decide on a case to case basis, whether you play new cards or first try to repair the damages. Aquatico isn’t strictly speaking my kind of game, but it looks fantastic with the spectacular graphics by Rezza Rainaldy. The author is called Brendan Satria and the publisher is Manikmaya Games. (€24)

The Art of Batik comes from Adithya W. Purnama and has also been published by Hompimpa Games. The players assist the owner of a Batik workshop in her work and, of course, try to stand out. The Batik work is apparently done by multiple people together and you’re given points based on your contribution. (€22)

A student of mine once had a sadly wise answer to the question of when someone is poor: “You’re poor, if you have less than the neighbors.” In reverse, you might also be rich if you have more than the people around you. This is tested in Bluffing Billionaires by Darwin, Desyanto Lie, and Nata Chen (in self-publishing). The players are billionaires and want to show, that they’re the richest among the rich. To do so, they play one of their starting cards face down and try to guess who has played smaller cards than them. Whoever wins such a challenge gains a random card from the loser. Whoever is the richest in the end, wins. (€20)

The Festivals by Isa R. Akbar has also been published by Manikmaya. The players try to take part in several festivals on the different Indonesian isles. The one who reaches a certain festival first gains experience points, that are needed to win the game later on. It comes with fancy traveler meeples. (€24)

Flipeek: Medieval is a Memory-based game, in which you have to find objects to complete missions. In the solo variant, you have to fulfill as many missions as possible in five minutes (which is always a nice length for a game for me – even though I’m not really a solo player). The whole thing takes place with the background of a dispute between the Dragon King and the Human King. Flipeek: Medieval is made by Lovita Darwin and Febndy Kwik and is published by Coralis Entertainment. (€20)

Math Cat is a small card game, in which you want to adopt cute cats. But first you’ll need to gain their trust, and to do so you’ll need to do math. The cats have numbers and you have to make a calculation with the displayed cards, which has to result in the number of the cat. The player who adopted the most cats in the end wins. Math Cat comes from Senno Adi and Ergiena Tria Siani; it has been released by Hompimpa Games. (€10)

Oktet is apparently a weird party game for 3 to 9 people. I couldn’t find out more so far – except, that it was made by Elbert Santosa and Sammael Candra Setiawan and is published by Morfosic Studios. (€10)

In Orang Rimba – The Forest Keeper the players have to protect the jungle from destruction through unscrupulous over-exploitation. Sadly I don’t know much more than that about the game. It was developed by Anggreini Pratiwi and Alvian CB. It has been published by Hompimpa Games. (€46)

You don’t have to have studied Indonesian to see an interaction between the title Roket Raket  and the words Rocket and Racket – in fact, it is about badminton rackets. Roket Raket is indeed a Badminton-Simulation. We’ll have to see how big the market for something like it is. The game comes in a small card game box, guess it makes sense to give it a try then. It stems from Dio Al Sabah Akbar Zain, Kamal Ikmal, Ara Kurniawan and Brendan Satria and has been published by Manikmaya Games. (€10)

Senggal Senggol Gang Damai by Erwin Skripsiadi is a cooperative games, in which the peaceful coexistence of the various people in a street has to be secured. If there are problems anywhere, the players have to rush over to solve them. In the best case it works, in the worst case they make everything even worse and the problems escalate. Like Acaraki by the same author, the game has been released by Hompimpa Games. (€32)

Stockastic comes from the same team as Flipeek: Medieval and it is about the stock market. The players try to trade as successfully as possible on the market, but also want to make life difficult for the others. In advanced mode there are characters that come into play who try to influence the stock market with different abilities. (€30)

Alright, now you guys already have a first overview about what’s in store for you. Don’t forget, another whole 12 games will be presented, which you just can’t buy yet. There will surely be something exciting to find there – among other things they are about food, coffee, carnival and the travels of  Ibn Battuta. At any rate, I’m hoping that there are gems hidden among the Indonesian games the same way that there are among the Japanese, Korean and Taiwanese games that can be found in Essen.

Note: I kind of just asked what the logo of the APIBGI represents. The answer was way more extensive than I expected, so I don’t want to keep it from you:

If you look closer to APIBGI’s logo it looks as if 4 people (indicated by those circles) holding hands and at the top lit/holding fire. API in Indonesian means fire, those 4 people holding hands represent the usual sight of people playing board game together in a table. The torch sized / relatively small fire (compared with the people in the logo) indicates warmth since we’re trying to bring the best thing in play culture to Indonesian people, especially to its families, through the board game. The position of fire looks like it’s being used like a torch to light the way, it indicates we’re trying to go nowhere but up, we are committed to grow the industry to always looking forward the great things and do good things especially to the industry itself. API, the fire, is the tools, the vehicle, the way to get to somewhere as it is shortened from Asosiasi Pegiat Industri which is translated as the association itself. BGI in the otherhand is the people, the passenger, the object being carried by the API, it is shortened from Board Game Indonesia (quite self explanatory)).

I think I should ask such questions more often.

All pictures © boardgame.id.

New games from Latin America (September 3)

This is a guest post by Hilkman translated from the German article originally published on his blog Du Bist Dran!

Argentina

Apparently political games are popular in Argentina as well, as can be seen by the example of Ballotage by Diego Barderi and Francisco Rossetto. In Ballotage, the players put together a list for four candidates of their party. Then they throw their ballot into an urn. With a specific number of votes, one candidate of a list ranks up on the game board. This doesn’t however mean that whoever leads the corresponding party gains any points. Rather it depends on the secret goals you have – so you don’t necessarily always want to push for your own people. Furthermore you can always only cast your vote for a list, never for a person, which could require some serious tactics to make the right people get to the top. A nice gimmick is the actual voting via an urn, which is very stylish for a political game. Ballotage has been illustrated by Guillermo Taylor (TAY). If you’ve got some knowledge of spanish you can look at a video here (which you should be able to understand to a degree even with less than perfect understanding of Spanish. The game itself is language independent.)

Most Germans probably have no clear notion of rugby (although I have to exclude myself from that: I was lucky enough to have once experienced the semifinal and final of the german collegiate finals in rugby sevens, that was definitely impressive). In Argentina, however, its a bit of a different case, since Argentina has a very strong rugby national team that once made it up to rank 3 of the world rankings and still today represents a true challenge for teams from the traditional rugby strongholds. So it shouldn’t be that surprising that there are also games about rugby from there.

Tercer Tiempo is a rugby deck-building game. The cards either represent abilities, with which to try and get ahead on the field. Other cards are tactics cards, with which to either combine ability cards to more complex plays, or interfere with the enemy team. The game comes from Ariel Mennucci and has been released by 2 Creativos. It has been illustrated by Matias Iribarren.

Brazil

Meeple Heist by Thiago Bonaventura and Emivaldo Sousa seems to be an unusual game. The players lead a specialised gang that wants to rob a Casino. To that end, there are 16 meeples in four colours walking around in the Casino (meaning on the game map). Then you try to get them to the best positions. For each specialist there is a position to get the most money. Sadly there are two problems with this. First off, every player has a stack of cards that decides which meeple colour represents which person – the meeples that represent my safecracker could be the muscle for someone else. Now this would be a wonderful occasion to bluff, but therein lies the second problem: For each person in my team I have to play an escape plan card, in order not to leave empty handed in the end. While the others still may not know who makes up my team, during gameplay it becomes clearer and clearer who is a part of it. The more information is available on the board, the more accurately the others can interfere with my plans. This is one I’d really like to play some day. Last year there was a crowdfunding project for Meeple Heist, now the release by Papaya Editora is imminent. The illustrations have been made by Matheus Astolfo.

Columbia

In Animal Warriors humans are locked in battle with animals. I’m not sure if I understood everything correctly (understanding videos in Spanish is still hard for me), but I’ll try to describe it like this:

The cards represent figures that are part of different clans. They have attack and defense values, but can also support each other. The goal is to break through the enemy lines and rob your opponent of all of his hitpoints. There’s a kind of game board, on which cards, but also bonus chips, are laid out, which can upgrade your own cards. The whole thing is shipped as a core box and there are several extra card decks that can be bought separately. Animal Warriors is made by Jhon Edicson Cárdenas Hernández.

Peru

Already released in spring, but having gone slightly under my radar, is Kontiki’s Adventure by Roberto Ballón and Cristina Frisancho (who also did the graphic design). The game is about the adventures of Tikis, little ghosts from old Peru, in a labyrinth of hidden cards. The players have to find altars and their fitting sacrifices, and whoever reaches the exit in the colour of the altar that has been activated last wins the game.

Of course there are spells and traps as per usual in a proper labyrinth, and the ghosts are trying to use this to their advantage (or to the disadvantage of the others). Kontiki’s Adventure is intended to get the Peruvian audience closer to pre-Columbian history, but also to the modern world of board games. The publisher is called KON Juegos.

Venezuela

Chess is called Ajedrez in Spanish. And three means tres. When a game is released that is called Ajetrez, you can already imagine that it is a variant of chess for three players, and that is exactly right. But Ajetrez is apparently not really the official name of this venezuelan game, because it is actually called Los Tres Reinos (The three Kingdoms).

It amounts to the same thing though. The leaders of three kingdoms meet on a round game board. The goal is, of course, to become the ruler of all three. Partially the rules of chess are utilized, but there are 57 instead of the expected 48 figures and negotiations also play a part here. Additionally, there is quite a bit of background story to explore. Los Tres Reinos was developed by José V. Morillo I. and is published by the author.

New games from Latin America (August part 2)

This is a guest post by Hilkman translated from the German article originally published on his blog Du Bist Dran!

September is an important month for publishing new games in Brazil. That’s where I’m headed right now – this time there are mostly new releases from Brazil to discover. Although in the end I’ve also got a small treat from Peru for you. Have fun reading!

Brazil

With twelve published games since 2011, Marcos Macri is one of the more successful Brazilian authors. His game Dogs may be known to some people here as well. Now a card game called Chicago (with illustrations done by Diego Sanchez) is being released by his publisher MS Jogos, in which the players fight for power as bosses of the Mafia in Naratetmalwo. You build businesses in the city, keep the police at bay and use the special abilities of the generations (grandfather, father and son) to consolidate your power. Despite the announcement by Macri, that the game would be ‘small’, the game has a described game length of 90 minutes. In a language independent card game. I’m definitely curious.

Sir Holland o Bravo („the Brave“) is a comic by a an artist called Zambi. The titular Sir Holland is a knight and seems to be renowned enough in Brazil to base a game upon. It is called A Fuga da Torre (“Escape from the Tower”) and is made by Eurico Cunha Neto, Alexandre Reis and Daniel Alves. I haven’t found out much about the mechanisms, but apparently the players have to try to get to the roof of the tower, in which they’ve been locked into by an evil wizard, to fly towards their freedom from there. A Fuga da Torre is intended to be released this month by Taberna Jogos and Conclave Editora.

The Brazilian publisher Sherlock S.A. did nothing half-arsed when naming its new Ameritrash game Yuzen: Essência do Mundo (Yuzen: Essence of the World). With a game length of about two hours the card based war game is a harder nut to crack. The players take over a nation and their heroes and try to defend their own interests and bloody the competition. Yuzen hails from the trio of authors Guilherme Vasconcelos, Renato Morroni and Thiago Ferri. It has been illustrated by Manoelo Boianovsky da Costa and Bruno César. Despite quite significant early praise in the Brazilian scene, the Crowdfunding campaign has been rather sluggish.

In the past you’ve thrown around numbers like “From 0 to 100 in 6,3 seconds” while playing car quartet games. Nowadays you could do a Kickstarter quartet:”From 0 to funded in 6,3 hours” or something of the sort. Two Brazilian games just had an interesting head to head race in that regard. One of them is RPGQuest: Dungeons by Marcelo del Debbio, which is a new game in his successful RPGQuest series, that’s been around since 2005. After a longer pause it continued with RPG-Quest: A Jornada do Herói (Journey of the Hero) and now he put Dungeons, which is compatible, to the swarm for financing. The game series is a type of hybrid between role playing and board game and surprisingly does without elaborate miniatures. Since it still financed this quickly and is chewing through the stretch goals right now, seems to indicate that there’s a faithful fan community out there. The illustrations are done by Ronaldo Barata, Douglas Duarte, Caio Monteiro and Ricardo Souza and the game will be published by Daemon Editora.

What’s also been nearly immediately financed after the recent listing was Grasse – Mestres Perfumistas by Bianca Melyna and Moisés Pacheco de Souza (illustrated by Orly Wanders). In this worker placement game, we’re thrust into the french town of Grasse (that you may remember from the french novel “Perfume”). In the role of competing perfumers we buy ingredients and mix the best fragrances, whether solid classics or extravagant specialties. Whatever we end up with, we also have to exhibit and sell, so different strengths can come to play. The game is intended to be published by Ludens Spirit.

Peru

When I take a look at how many political games are released in Latin America, I get the impression that there might be some kind of desire for something of the sort there… as, for example, in Peru, where Javier Zapata Innocenzis’ game Presidente, which had its first release in 2001, just got its fourth edition by Malabares. In this small card game you lay down cards from your hand in your playing area, sorted by votes, money and influence. Whoever gets the most votes at the end wins the game, but to be able to play the cards with the most votes you need money and influence, and when you have too much money and influence you can be accused of corruption by others.

 

New Games from Latin America (August 6)

This is a guest post by Hilkman translated from the German article originally published on his blog Du Bist Dran!

Argentina

Fast Food is a very simple game by Joel Pellegrino Hotham, which he published with his publishing house juegosdemesa.com.ar. It consists of eight big cards that display seven plates each. On each plate there’s a different combination of ingredients. A player throws three dice and now everyone has to find the plate on which the exact combination of ingredients shown on the dice is displayed. Whoever has found the plate has to quickly look for the wooden salt shaker on the table and put it onto the plate. For doing this you gain a hamburger chip. Once all the hamburger chips are distributed, the player with most hamburger chips wins the game. An expansion has also quickly been released, that includes new rules and a fourth die. The illustrations have been made by the game author as well as Silvina Fontenla.

Claudio Fabian Piccone has released his first game after 14 years since the development of the first version, Carrera de Palabras! (Word race!), by self publishing, in two versions at once, a Spanish version and an English print on demand version. In this game you can find a parcours from A to Z. The player whose turn it is, draws a category and has to say a word that fits that category and begins with A, then one with B, C and so on, until the sand timer has run out. In the next round you start on the space you ended up on. Some of the spaces have special properties and action cards complicate matters even more.  Whoever first reaches Z wins the game. If you want to know details and own a bgg account, you can read the rules in english there.

Brazil

Asmodee still wants to grow after the sale to PAI. On Wednesday (August 1) it became public knowledge that they would acquire the biggest Brazilian hobby-game publisher Galápagos Jogos.  Galápagos Jogos was founded in 2009 and its portfolio mainly consists of licensed foreign games, but does include some of their own publications. For German players this might be a side note, but in my eyes it does show that the Brazilian market garners enough interest to gain investments. And maybe it also shows, that the new owner of Asmodee wants to continue with the expansion concept.

Sérgio Halaban and André Zatz are surely part of the most successful and well-known Latin American authors. Hart an der Grenze (Close to the Border) was also successful in Germany and became a successful hit internationally after a rework under the name of Sheriff of Nottingham. Since some time I’ve been chasing one of their games, that originally came out in 2011 with the title Ouro de Tolo and was published in 2015 then under the name of Quartz. To my not all too small delight, the game has now found larger circulation, as an again reworked version with the title  Snow White and the Seven Dwarves: A Gemstone Mining Game, which is supposed to be released by Passport Game Studios and USAopoly, and is also intended to be presented at GenCon this month. The game is a Push-Your-Luck Game, in which dwarves want to gather as many precious gemstones as possible, before an accident happens. The rules were just changed in details, but the new theme is intended to draw new audiences.

Mexico

Its always said, that the secret to a successful crowdfunding campaign are pictures of cool plastic miniatures – the rules then become of secondary importance. A Mexican campaign has now elevated this concept to the top. A whole group of publishers and producers has announced a new universe called  Eldritch Century. Planned are a “Skirmish Game” for October, a board game and a role playing game for 2019, as well as a TV-Show for 2022. But even now its possible to get the first miniatures via the campaign, to get really fired up for whats in store in the future. This can only be a success! And indeed, the funding goal has already been reached. I myself don’t really have a feel for miniatures – but if someone likes it, you can look at it here.

Peru

Rome wasn’t built in a day, Carlos Campos Aboado has to have told himself. That’s why he released

CopaGol, whose first prototype he already made in 1984. He then named his publishing house, fittingly, Area 84 Games. The game consists of a game plan with a football field that is surrounded by a parcours. The two players then move markers around the field and do the actions that are displayed on the spaces they land on. Added to that are a bunch of cards with which to influence the game. The goal? Of course, to score a goal. CopaGol was illustrated by Roberto Ballon.

Global Boardgame News (August 4)

We were at BerlinCon last month, which is on it’s way becoming one of the biggest board game events in Germany. Partly due to the fact that it is held the weekend before the Spiel des Jahres award ceremony, which traditionally takes place in Berlin and means that many publishers are in the city anyways. But also because the hosts of Hunter & Cron do an excellent job of making an enjoyable show for exhibitors and visitors alike. In fact, we were debuting our game Das Geheimnis Der Tempel and people liked it quite a bit. If you enjoy quick playing strategy games with gorgeous illustrations, it will be available at NiceGameShop soon 😉

We were busy demoing our games the whole weekend. Nevertheless we got around picking up a copy of Trick’n’Trouble by Frosted Games, which is the new edition of Fukudourou’s cooperative card game for exactly 3 players Familiar’s Trouble, and also get a sneak peek at A Pleasant Journey to Neko. This dice strategy design by Citie Lo and Wood Games will be coming out at Essen this year.

Of course there is Gen Con happening right now and this comes with many interesting game releases. You can read about the games we are most interested about in our last Global Boardgame News. There is however one game we did not talk about back then…

We’re making Vampire: The Masquerade – Heritage, By Babis Giannios, in cooperation with the nice people at White Wolf Publishing!

It’s quite different from the games that we usually make or cover in these news but there is a thin thread connecting it to everything else we are doing: We first saw the original (unthemed) game by Babis Giannios when he submitted it to the Korea Boardgames Design Contest in 2014!

The elevator pitch is that it’s a quick-playing legacy game about vampires and history with an epic campaign and an innovative vampire turning mechanism. If that sounds like your cup of tea, find out more/subscribe to the newsletter at: vampire-heritage.com

Also at Gen Con you can buy two new titles by Oink Games, which were just announced last month: the trick taker Flotsam Fight (which is actually a new edition of Bye Bye Lemming) and the tongue-twisting party game TomaTomato. The velocity with which Oink is releasing new games is mind boggling. At this rate they will have a new game at Essen and then another one at the Game Market in November, if they want to release a game at every show they are attending.

Speaking of Essen SPIEL there are already some news coming in regarding that show.

Swan PanAsia showed some of the games they are planning or have already released until Essen on Facebook. Kittys and Talk’n Guess are new editions of games from Japanese publisher Little Future, but Island Project is an original design.

Due to global warming the world as we knew it was flooded. Scientist use underwater volcanos to create new land, but better don’t stand on the tile where the volcano errupts! In Island Project 2-4 players create new land and race to the highest peak to score points. The illustrations are by veteran artist Cyril Bouquet who did also the artwork for games like Kindomino and Okiya.

On their website they are also mentioning Xuanwu Gate Accident 2, but our understanding is that this is only a new edition of the older game with the same name.

The game agency Japon Brand just announced their lineup for Essen and will be bringing 17 titles to that show. Some of them are already available at NiceGameShop, like Monster Empire or Richest Rascal, which is the new edition’s name of Strongest Bully. Others are brand new releases debuting in Essen like analog lunchbox’s new Airship City and 2 new titles by Manifest Destiny. All around it is a good overview of Japanese designs of the last year and we are excited to have them at NiceGameShop and see if a publisher is picking them up for wider distribution in the West.

Two games for which that recently happened are passtally and King of Frontier.

passtally was released by analog lunchbox at the Tokyo Game Market in May this year and it was just announced that Pandasaurus will distribute this title next year in the US. It looks like theme, graphics and gameplay will stay the same from the rulebook which was uploaded.

King of Frontier on the other hand was changed drastically – at least judging by these graphics- and is more of a reimplementation now. The new game is called Skylands and Queen Games will be bringing it to Kickstarter on August 24th and then release the game at Essen SPIEL. Campaign mode certainly sounds interesting and the inevitable Queenies could give this title a lot of replayability in the years to come.

But there are games even further off than Essen and these are the new games for the Tokyo Game Market in November. Publishers are starting to announce their lineup for the show and posting pictures of prototypes on social media.

This is the list of new titles by Manifest Destiny at Game Market. Two of them (Forwarder of Xanadu and ハロウィンパーティー!(Halloween Party)) will already be shown at Essen and two more are reprints of older games (SimNovel and Alicematic). That still means that  there will be 5 new games at Game Market! It is interesting that there will be reprints of older titles, something that did not happen before with Manifest Destiny titles as far as we know. If a title was not picked up by a Western publisher, a sold out game was gone. Maybe that means that we will see other games getting reprinted in the future? Garden of Minions anyone?

This is one of two new games Okazu Brand will be selling at the next Game Market. This game has no name yet and is tile placement game in which the players build their cities simultaneously.

Crowdfunding links:

  • We are interested in boardgaming scenes from all over the world and that is why we are very interested in the crowdfunding project by Kenechukwu Ogbuagu at Indiegogo about opening the first board game café in Nigeria. It is amazing to see a board game scene develop from the ground up and that we all can contribute. The campaign is not merely a donation, instead as a reward you can choose from 14 different games designed in Nigeria. If you are at all interested in obscure board games you should take a look at the Indiegogo page.

 

  • Nunami is an interesting looking 2-player game which takes around 15 minutes and it is the first Inuit designed boardgame. Please check out Hilko’s article (link is in German), which has additional information on the game. It is still a bit off to the funding goal, but we hope that this will suceed. We are oddly drawn to the expensive “Visit the beautiful Ivujivik” pledge level. But with a price tag of 13000 CAD (+ travel to Canada) it is just a dream.

  • The Tales of Ki-Pataw or the (Google) translation of Chinese “Want to have a Capybara? Formosa Romance Tan: Fuxin Beitou” is a game by Soso Studio currently looking for funding at Taiwanese platform zeczec. It is a Gateway style strategy game for 2-4 players, taking 30-60 minutes to play. The real stars here are however the capybaras and the hot springs.  The player will play one of the characters, including a capybara, going to the 1937 New Beitou Hot Spring Township (which is a part of Taipei), while roaming, collecting energy materials and completing task. The game comes with English and Chinese rules and can be shipped overseas. The publisher told me that the game will be demoed at Essen.

That’s all for today. Please note that the Nice Game team will be on vacation until the end of the month, so please be patient with us if you place any orders at NiceGameShop or send any messages our way, as it might take longer than usual.

Finalists of Korea Boardgames Design Contest 2018 announced

Thanks to all who participated in the design contest by our friends at Korea Boardgames. We received many interesting submissions by authors from Korea and all over the world. After reading the rules of all submitted games and some difficult decision making we chose the following finalists in the KBG Design contest 2018:

Antasia – Otto Jensen
Four Gardens – Martin Dolezal
Fruits Rush – Romain Caterdijan
Global Towers – Julio Nazario
Morf – Jørgen Brunborg Naess
So full – Tim Schilstra
The Madhouse – Walter Vaes
Sau(g)clever – Jean Claude Pellin
눈대중 생선가게 – 최재오
두근두근 회전초밥 – 슈어팀
레드 저널리즘 – 이성원
보석 탐험대 – 박준영
비포 선 라이징 – 이현지
시궁쥐 항구의 밀수꾼들 – 박정상
캐셔 – 조영후
팀몰라 아무도 – 배정수
프리라이더 – 장한솔
히어로레이스 – 이교운

We will contact each finalist individually to arrange the shipping of the prototypes to our office.