All posts by Leon Scheuber

Leon co-founded Sweet Lemon and likes to dance.

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.

New Games from Latin America (July 16)

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

My overview today turns out a bit shorter (and I also couldn’t get a hold of pictures to all games), but I did warn about that earlier already. I researched diligently, but at the moment I’m finding mostly stuff for August and September. I’m guessing it’ll pick up the pace a bit by then. And then there’s already the convention…

Argentina

Piensa Palabra (Think of a Word) is the first game by the publisher Multiverso, but further games are already in print (more on that soon, I guess). It’s a simple word game, in which three cards are flipped, one of which shows an initial, one a content category and a third a further description of the word. Whoever finds a fitting word shouts it out and and may take one of the cards, which will then be replaced. The player that has first gathered 10 cards wins the game. The author of the game is Shannon Conly.

Brazil

Coisinha Verde (Small Green Thing) is the name of a publisher, who fittingly released a game called Card Goblins, and this in 2012 already. Since this game by Tiago Junges is the most successful card game of the Universe, according to the publisher, he’s now going one better and has started a crowd-funding campaign for a new edition, which will contain at least a Pirate- and a Ninja expansion (depending on the success of the campaign even more). The players send their pirate armies against a city that houses piles of treasures. To get one of the three coveted victory points, you need to gather a certain combination of treasures, which is sadly the same goal as that of the other armies. This of course means conflict, which you try to decide for your side with the individual abilities of your own army.

Chile

Entre Juegos is a well known games shop in Santiago. Juan José Fernandez developed a game for this shop that is also called Entrejuegos. This about translates to “between games” and is a reaction game for two people, in which they smack cards onto the table to get rid of them as fast as possible. Whoever manages to do so first gains a whole lot of points. If the contestants pay attention to whether the enemy, or enemies, plays a card between two of the same cards, they can gain extra points, so on the one hand it’s about speed, but on the other it’s about observation. The game doesn’t just get into the name of the shop with its own name, but also its concept. For the release of the game there was support by the relatively new agency Caldero de Juegos (Games Cauldron), that helps small publishers with printing (in China). The design of Entrejuegos has been done by Pablo Céspedes.

Peru

After humanity was able to be contented by Yahtzee for decades,“Roll and Write” has lately established itself as its own genre of games and enjoys great popularity. And this isn’t just the case here (in Germany), but also in Peru, where Inkarumi by Javier Orejas has been republished recently (the original is from 2011). Inkarumi roughly means “Stone of the Inka” on Quechua and it’s about building a pyramid, in which the bottom stones are made of sixes, the five stones above it made of fives and so on. You throw your dice around to start with and fill out as many boxes as possible, although you can only build the upper levels, if they’re already standing on two built stones below. As soon as someone has built it all except for six or less stones, the game gains a speed component. Whoever rolls in a way that would make them capable of finishing the pyramid, has to shout “Inkarumi” to be able to fill out all the stones. If someone else calls out first, the turn is lost. If you wrongly shout Inkarumi, however (whether it’s your turn or not), you lose stones on your own board.

Global Boardgame News (July 9)

With no convention we have attended in the last month, this Global Boardgame News is filled with new games, crowdfunding campaigns and other announcements we discovered in the last few weeks. Let’s start with a big one:

Many companies were trying to get the distribution license for Tokyo Highway, but in the end it was the biggest of them all to get it. Asmodee will be distributing itten’s smash hit worldwide. People reading this blog will already know all about this game but if not, please take a look at our review. All people looking for the 3-4 player expansion can rejoice as Asmodee’s version will be playable with 4 players right out the box. Barry Doublet made a video at the recent Paris est Ludique Festival which you can check out here:

Great to see this game finally getting the attention it deserves. Off to SdJ!

Mandoo Games announced their lineup for this year on their Facebook page. Many of those are localizations for the Korean market, but there are also a few original designs: Seals, Spring Rally and Wangdo.

We especially like the description of the 2-4 player area control game Wangdo, but read for yourself.

Long long time ago, before age of human, there were four bear clans who help the king to reign over Northeast Asia. The time has come for the king to decide who will be the heir to the throne. The clans send their princes to the world to acquire all the qualifications to be the next king. They travel from town to town and build sacred bear statues; they inherit knowledge of religion, education, military, and commerce in return. The new journey is about to begin. Who will succeed to the throne? 

There is one more game coming from Mandoo Games this year.

Papering Duel is kind of like a perpetual Tic-Tac-Toe for gamers. In this 2-player abstract game by veteran designer Martin Nedergaard Andersen the players try to make lines of three of the same style or color, while also hindering the other player in doing so, all that with decks of transparent cards. If you manage to make a line of three you will get to draw 1 card from the deck, if you make 2 lines you get 2 cards. If you managed to make a line you have to put your markers on the other board, which means the other player can not use these colors and symbols.

Let’s stay in Korea for a moment. The BoardGameCon took place in Seoul last weekend, which is one of the biggest board game events in the country. The pictures are by Yoshiyuki Arai who was showing the Korean edition of Speed Clay Maker, published by Happy Baobab.

Marble Bobsleigh by Gemblo is a wild design of marbles and a giant plastic board. It’s a speed game in which each player in turn order shoots a marble in the middle and if a color comes up twice all player remove their flag of that color as fast as possible and blow their marble to try to get it first into the hole in the middle. The winner takes the marbles who came up double and puts them in their queue. If a player wants to shoot but can’t the game ends and the player with the most marbles wins. You can watch the setup and the gameplay in Korean here:


 

This is a promo picture for Formosa Romance Tan which will go live on the Taiwanese crowdfunding platform zeczec July 16. In the game capybaras are visiting Taiwan to bathe in hot springs. At least that is one part of the game. Sadly, there is not much info on the gameplay yet, but everyone loves capybaras right? It will be published by Soso Games and Mizo Riot and will be playable at Essen.

Another game which will be playable at Essen is Dej, which is the Iranian edition of Citadels by Bruno Faidutti. We were showing a picture of this game in a previous edition of the Global Boardgame News, but now there is a website on Houpaa Games for it as well as a blog entry on Bruno Faidutti’s blog. Gameplay wise nothing has changed, but the artwork is all new by the Iranian artist Hassan Nozadian.

We are happy to see that Fukuroudou’s Familiar’s Trouble will be released in German as Trick’n Trouble shortly by Frosted Games, especially because we helped a tiny bit by establishing the contact between the two parties.

This cooperative trick taking game for exactly 3 players comes out this month and thus should be available at BerlinCon which takes place in Berlin July 21-22. It is the next convention we will be visiting and also exhibiting at. If you are around please come to our booth and say hello. We will only bring selected titles of the NiceGameShop so if you have any specific wishes please let us know in advance.

The next big convention on the horizon after that is GenCon and we scoured the excellent preview list by Eric Martin for games for the Global Boardgame Lover. There are some older titles on the list which are just getting an English edition or are just introduced to the US like Crabs, Hanamikoji, Rising 5, Dice Fishing: Roll and Catch, Galaxy Wrestling Federation, The Legend of the Cherry Tree that blossoms every ten years, Minerva, Circus Puppy and Paper Tales and it’s expansion Beyond The Gates. Many of those titles we were already showing in previous editions of Global Boardgame News or we are selling them in the shop.

However, there are also a few new games of (our particular) interest releasing at the show. AEG is adding 2 new titles to their Big in Japan line, which both originated at the Game Market.

Magical Treehouse is the new edition of One Draw’s Village of Familiar from 2015 and is featuring all new artwork. The rules of this card drafting game seem to be untouched from the original Japanese edition. In this worker placement and drafting game 3-4 players attempt to build the best treehouses while also gathering resources.

Players are wizards, whose skills will be judged by how well they craft potions. To do that, a treehouse must be built to remove the potions from the forest floor. So wizards build a treehouse, and have their familiars bring them supplies.

This new edition of the cult hit Greedy Kingdoms however is featuring also new rules ato the all new artwork. The new rules by Bruno Faidutti make this rather a reimplementation. It is fitting that Bruno Faidutti is making the new rules as Greedy Kingdom had a Citadels feeling. As fans of the original game we are excited about trying this one out soon.

In this bluffing game for 2 the players deploy their heroes to attack and defend their kingdom, while collecting resources and building two Royal Palaces first.

We saw Fortune City by BigFun Games now at a couple of conventions but never got the chance to try it. In this design by Chih-Fan Chen for 2-4 players is based on a popular app of the same name.

It combines purchases and city development. Each kind of purchase helps you to build a characteristic building in the game, then make your city more and more stylish.

Last but not least there is Symphony No.9 by Moaideas. We could already play the game as a prototype and liked it quite a bit. In this 2-4 player strategy game you take on the role of a patron of different famous composers.

Can you become the most prosperous patron during the age of musicians? Will you work them to death and hold on to their final masterpiece? Or will you have to sell your belongings to provide for their talents? Enjoy showing off your wealth in the musician sponsoring & investing game of Symphony No.9.

That’s all we have for now. If you are at BerlinCon please come to our booth to say hello.

Hilko’s Hoard: New Games from Latin America (July 2)

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

Argentina

The first edition of the game Bariesus by Marcos Mignola had already been released in 2014, now there’s a second edition at juegosdemesa.com.ar. The Bariesus are mighty wizards that can manipulate the elements. They are trying to conquer a set number of provinces by summoning armies of water, fire, air and earth and sending them against each other, which happens by playing cards. They gain taxes from the conquered pieces of land with which they can hire mercenaries. If no one can decide the war within twenty turns, the god Kasdail destroys the universe, which has rather unfavorable repercussions. This prelude to the apocalypse has been illustrated by Samanta Armonelli.

Brazil

A game that could be right up my alley (minimal rules and a lot of interaction) is 6 Pandora by Flávia Barreto and Roberto Lago Lopes. The players are mages who want to gather the elements for their spells. To amass the corresponding resources, you throw two colored dice, the small box serves as a seal-able dice cup for this purpose. Afterwards you claim something about the result of your throw and steal the resources to reach whatever individual goal you have, but you shouldn’t be caught lying, of course. 6 Pandora has been released in small numbers in an edition by 4touché.

Just released is Macacos me Mordam! (Monkeys are biting me), the first game of the new Brazilian publisher Curió Jogos, who wants to specialize on games for three- to ten-year-olds. The players are monkeys who want to climb a tree to grab as many bananas as possible. The tree is explored during the climb, meaning it’s built from trunk and treetop cards in three dimensions. Whoever first manages to gather 6 bananas wins the game. Macacos me Mordam was made by Isabel Butcher and was illustrated by Taline Schubach.

At the moment a lot of people are watching the football world cup, but if you ever tried to offer a sports game to a publisher, you’ll know how little interest you’ll often be met with. Sports games are seen as poison for sales. That of course doesn’t tell you a thing about the quality of the games, there are definitely quite a few out there that are exciting. Some of them are released by self-publishing. We’ll be talking about football multiple times in this article. We’ll start in Brazil with the game Futboard by José R. Mendes, who has also done the illustrations. His publisher is called MUNDUS and is apparently not just busy with football, since another game called Mundus Imperial has already been announced.

Futboard is a strategic board game, in which you create a team from players with different characteristics and then alternate taking three actions each, where you’ll have to decide between the typical football actions of moving, passing and shooting. Whoever scores the most goals within 45 minutes wins. Yesterday a crowdfunding-campaign for the game started, that met the funding goal within the first day.

Chile

I’ve never been to Chile, but when I look at a map it dawns on me how important the sea is for a country with a shape and location like this. It stands to reason that you can release a game about the ecosystems of the Chilean coast once in a while. That’s what the publisher Within Play has done with Toskasi (by Chilo and Dani Varela). The players move, driven by dice, through various landscapes of their choosing and gather cards in the process, which depict different organisms, which in turn interact with each other. Skillful play of the cards gains points, that can lead to victory at the end. Toskasi is the name of a certain type of conger eel, by the way, who occur in waters of the Chilean coast.

Colombia

Nivia Weizman usually creates elaborate games made of wood with his company Doubble Six. Now he has risked a foray into a ‘normal’ board game and it is about football as well, it is called Fútbol Dados (football dice). You have a lineup of 11 meeples on a football field, of course, try to move the ball into the direction of the enemy goal. To do so you throw four dice. The result of just one dice roll can be used to pass the ball to a free player, but only orthogonally or diagonally. When rolling doubles you can also pass over enemy players. With a triplet or quadruplet you don’t even have to play the ball in a 46° angle, but can play surprising far passes. To score a goal you have to reach the net with a specific number of pips.

Peru

Anevi Corp specializes in educational games. The publisher consists of Mariam Aranda, Ottoman Silva and Christopher Merino. Lately there have been three new card games released by Ottoman Silva, namely Bio Maniac (about the human body), Smash Molecules (about elements and molecules) and Super Training Football (you’ll be able to figure that out yourself), apart from those a game called Sembrando Agua (about water as a resource. This game has in fact been published ordered by the government) has been released in February already. The games, that Anevi publishes under the term of ‘Serious Games’ are designed in a comic style, despite the motto (the illustrator is called Bryan Silva). As Christopher Merino has told me, the publisher is aware that the brain doesn’t learn without being emotionally stimulated. So they’re trying to walk the line between enjoyable gameplay and imparting knowledge onto the players. Something like that doesn’t always work well, but when my currently eight year old asked me what I would do, and I said, that I’m writing something about games from Peru, which is in South America, she answered: ‘I know that, Peru appears in Länder Toppen.’ (link in German). There we go.

Games about food are (just like those about football) apparently popular in the whole world, as is the case in Peru. In a game called Perú Cocina by Javier Zapata Innocenci you gather ingredients for well known Peruvian dishes. You have cards on your hand in that depict two ingredients each. There are recipe cards on the table. You gradually play the ingredients for the recipes, but always have to take care of the order and decide, which ingredient on each card you want to play at what point of the game. If you can’t play something, you put it in a pool that everyone can access. Whoever can add the last ingredient to a dish gets that dish and the points for it at the end of the game. Perú Cocina is published by Malabares.

 

Hilko’s Hoard: New games from Latin America (June 17)

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

Well, here I was just finished patting myself on the back for my good idea of releasing these kinds of overview articles on a monthly basis, when I suddenly realized that not even that is enough. At this point I find so many games that the articles are threatening to become endless. First off, it would mean that nobody would read them, and secondly it also eats so much of my time that I’d be incredibly stressed if I wanted to write other meaningful stuff in the meantime. So it seems as if I’m going to publish my “New Games from Latin America” – articles on the 1st and 3rd Monday of a month. Among other dates, this means today. We’ll see if it proves successful.

Argentina

 

I had noted here on several occasions that I learned quite a bit about South American history from games. The game Maipú also falls under this category, in which, in 1818, the Spanish colonial troops lost against a Chilean-Argentinian army and had to retreat from Chile. The hug of the two victorious leaders is seen as the hour of birth of the independent state of Chile. In honor of the 200. anniversary of the battle there’s now the gaming simulation Maipú 1818 by Miguel García and Gerardo Montenego, which was published by Alquimia Creativa. The players move around with various troops and then fight each other with 2d6, whereby they get different kinds of modifiers according to the troop type and leader. It is designed by Sabina Mangiavacchi.

Brazil

Released in March already, but I seem to have slightly missed, is a game with the weird name Melvin vs. Kronk. In the end I want to report about it also due to the fact that it will be one of the Latin American games that will likely be available at Essen in October. Melvin vs. Kronk is penned by Renato Simões and is a reaction game. You play cards with faces (of Melvin, the Geek and Kronk, the Orc) on your personal card pile. But the cards show varying facial expressions – if you notice that there are two similar cards lying face up, you hit the pile of jewel cards in the middle. Whoever manages to do so first, draws the two topmost cards, keeps one of them and gifts the other. The player who has gathered the most juwels by the end of the game wins. The game has been published by Geeks N‘ Orks, a publisher, who despite having a name very much tailored to this one, also has other games in store.

Very close before the end of a successful crowd-funding campaign stands Orbs, by Raubher Borba, which is supposed to be released by Usina Studios. A bunch of Alien peoples have the small problem, that their sun has exploded, which of course does lower the life expectancy and quality drastically. Now they don’t just want to escape the explosion radius, but also take an artificial planet with them. Sadly there exists an old prophecy, that says that this will only work out for one of the nations. Whether this could be connected to a certain game from Chile (see below)? Orbs was illustrated by José Serrano.

Chile 


The sun of the earth seems to be fairly well, and still it’s not all just fun and games. In the cooperative game Earth’s Last Stand by Ignacio Gonzalo Paz Cornejo the oblivious players cruise around the earth in their small spacecraft, when suddenly a dimensional portal opens and a gigantic alien vessel appears and conquers the earth. The last hope now rests on the shoulders of the players, that need to destroy the strange spaceship, before it rings the end of humanity.

Oh, you’ll be thinking, that all sounds nice and all, but I’ll never get my hands on a game this exotic. Far from it, you can download a (graphically downgraded) print and play. You can find the rules (in English) here and the game materials here, Although you’ll also need 34 dice in three different colors, which already tells quite a bit about the game mechanics. Sooner or later the game is supposed to hit the shelves with full graphics.

 

Peru

I can remember vividly how my local football club Werder Bremen signed a completely unknown player from Peru in 1999 and I had some reason to have higher than average hopes, that he would become a hit. Well, he did, because it was Claudio Pizarro, who returned every couple of years and stayed a popular figure until the end. I don’t know what happens in Peruvian football nowadays. But like elsewhere it seems to be a popular pastime, since LEAP Game Studios, a publisher for computer games, has for the first time ventured into analog entertainment and released the football card game Supercards – Perú Campeón, by Luis Wong, which is available since mid-May in kiosks in Peru. The illustrations are by Edward Torres and Christian Magán. Two players compete against each other and try to combine the most successful game moves with their five hand cards. If the opponent can’t block them you score a goal. There’s also a solitaire mode, in which you can play through a world cup final. Computer gaming firms often think a bit bigger, which is the reason why LEAP Game Studios has gotten together with depor.com, a bigger sports website. If you know Spanish, you can look at a short video explanation here.

Venezuela

So far I hadn’t found anything from Venezuela. Now this has changed. As might also be known in these parts through the media, Venezuela is embroiled in a massive economic and currency crisis. In such an environment games are of course a luxury. Despite that – or exactly because of that – a publisher by the name of SBMjuegos has decided to release a game. It is called El Infiltrado (English: The Infiltrated) and is a sort of political Werewolf variant. The story is hereby told through both the lens of the extreme right (that valiantly fights against a corrupt regime) as well as the extreme left (that fights the terrorists, that want to push the country into the abyss). Meanwhile not even everyone knows their own roles (some might be controlled by the opposition without their knowledge) and the roles get merrily switched during a play. I have a preview copy of it lying around here, but sadly couldn’t find a group for it yet.

Currently there is a campaign for El Infiltrado on Kickstarter, in fact it is in Spanish and English. Since there aren’t many people in Venezuela who can afford games right now, the campaign is also supposed to make sure that the local price will be manageable and of course that it will also be produced there – due to this it is relatively pricey with 13 euros for a micro game. Whoever may have some euros spare may very well think about whether or not to back this project and in turn also support the economy in a crisis-ridden country.

Hilko’s Hoard: Game author’s fair in Göttingen 2018

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

Among the many very good gaming events of a given year, there are three events that I only miss under the most dire of circumstances. The Nuremberg International Toy Fair in February and the Spiel in Essen in October seem to be self evident. The third of these is the game author’s fair in Göttingen, which since time immemorial, takes place in the city hall in Göttingen on the first weekend of June. I have written something about this (German) on my Blog already, which I don’t want to rehash right now (editor’s note: we have published an English article by ourselves last year).

This being the oldest and still biggest event of its kind world wide was extremely well-attended, with about 350 people this Saturday (the tables were sold out for the first time, even though some tables stayed empty due to cancellations in the end). The city hall hit its capacity limit, but it’ll be renovated next year so we’ll have to move into the notably bigger Lokhalle anyway (which is the reason why the meeting will be moved to July – at least it probably won’t be running parallel to the UK Games Expo then, which most likely has forced some publishers to do a split this time around).

This year I could especially enjoy the meeting, due to the fact that I didn’t have any prototypes ready that I would have wanted to present. So I had quite a bit of time to look at exciting stuff from other people and even play quite a bit. Of course in one and a half days there’s never enough time to try everything, but it’s a bit like in Essen: It’s mainly about getting to know new people and meeting old friends again, which you only get to meet during such events. Naturally it was a special treat for me, that there were even two authors from South America who took on the long journey. I had invited both of them to come to the open game circle on Friday to be sure to have enough time to play their games. Up first was Corruptia, designed by Fernando Casals Caro together with Camila Muñoz Vilar (who sadly couldn’t be there herself). Corruptia is, unsurprisingly, a game about politics. As a politician you try to use the mood of the people to get your projects through the parliamentary votes as unimpeded as possible. The game scores with some clever and new mechanics, and went down very well in our group of five people. For me personally three rounds instead of the five would have sufficed (I am a fan of very short games), that aside it was gripping until the end. Corruptia is scheduled to be released in Chile in September, and judging from how many people attended Fernando’s table on Sunday, I can very well imagine that it might land over here as well some day (editor’s note: it will be available at NiceGameShop before Essen).


Leandro Maciel from Brazil even brought a whole cabinet of games with very appealingly designed prototypes. Sadly we only had time to play one of them, more specifically Loony Races. The name is telling, it’s a race, where you can never be too sure of your success. It is a back and forth with foul play involved, in which I mainly only got second place due to the fact that I sneaked up too close to the finish line. A little more restraint would have been smarter, given the cards I held. So I learned something again. On Sunday I then got the opportunity to play a bit of Fire in the Hole, in which a team of rabbits and a team of moles literally undermine a farm and work towards getting the carrots to tumble down. If you’re not careful though and drill into the cowshed less appetizing cow droppings will fall down into your own hole. Since both teams are intent on manipulating the labyrinth in their own favor there are nice take-that moments. Leandros’ games are easily accessible and make you laugh – his table was also well-visited and he was not only able to just gather interest from publishers for pretty much all of his prototypes, but may possibly be sitting down to finish others right now, to send them as well.

I experienced some relief there, since of course it’s never the case that every author can garner that much attention. That being the case, I’m pretty happy that at least the ones with the longest journey managed to do so brilliantly.

Apart from that I still managed to play prototypes from Michael Luu, Sophia Wagner and Torsten Landsvogt, which were in different stages of completion and included some clever ideas all around that I would definitely like to play again. We’ll see which of those will end up on the market.

Another small treat was that I had a talk with Michael Kiesling just at a time where there was nobody else at his table and he instantly invited me to play a game of Azul with him. It’s probably not a surprise that it wasn’t a very close match. What mainly fascinated me, was the fact of how quickly he took his decisions as a veteran player, while I of course had to think way longer. Azul is just an awesome game, that only very few people that I know don’t like.

In the evening we sat in a jolly circle with Reinhold Wittig and found out, that three of the five people in our room had never played The Mind. Since we didn’t have a copy with us, we improvised a game of five with Take 6! cards, some screw-nuts as lives and something else as throwing stars. It was really, really great, there was tons of laughter and legendary scenes and we really managed to clear level 6 first try. I think that the three newcomers didn’t really understand why I was so excited (third win in my 52th game). On the next day one of them told me, that they later played some more and only then realized how hard the whole thing really is.

When I look at those two gaming experiences in the space of a few hours, I get reminded why I keep my fingers crossed for The Mind as choice for game of the year so much. Azul is a cool game, very balanced and with a nice level of interaction, that’s neither too confrontational nor too much of a hug box. I would play it again any day. The Mind, however, brings up emotions and that’s what I especially wish to get in a game.

On Sunday evening I hosted Rustan Håkansson as a guest. At least his game Nations should be known to many of you. We sadly didn’t try any of his games, but it was simply a very stimulating evening with a bit of gaming and good conversations. That’s also a strength of the meeting in Göttingen: I take more time for individual people.

So, overall a really fantastic weekend for me and I’m very much looking forward to next time.

Global Boardgame News (June 13)

Welcome back to a new edition of our global boardgame news!

In May we were travelling to East Asia and you can read our reports from Tokyo Game Market and Moonlight Boardgame Festival here on the blog. In early June we were also travelling and in fact three important board game events were happening around that time: UK Games Expo in Birmingham, the Game Author’s Fair in Göttingen and in Tokyo the art/board game event Is This A Game? So let’s get ready for a world tour of board games.

At first let’s start with the show we did not attend by ourselves: Is This A Game? in Akihabara, Tokyo.

As per the title this exhibition was not so much a regular board game event and more like an art event all about the question what a game can be. There is an article up on Sugoroku’s Blog with many pictures to look at. Seeing many of the designs you can tell that the games were made specifically for the show and are not meant for daily use. Our friend Jason Franks from Games For Gaijin also visited the show and recorded an excellent runthrough. The show saw new releases by several famous Japanese companies, most notably Void by Oink Games and a Yeti in the house by itten.

Yeti in the House is a team game. One team hides the yeti and two footprint pieces anywhere in the house and gives clues in form of photos to the other team. The other team wins if they find the Yeti. However if they find the two footprint pieces before the actual Yeti they lose the game. If you want to find out more about the new Oink game Void look for #voidgame in social media where many people already posted pictures of the game.

Games for Gaijin is giving away one copy of the extremely limited Void when his Youtube channel hits 500 subscribers. We have already subscribed and if you are interested in game overviews of Asian games we can recommend the channel!

At the same weekend on another island at the other side of Eurasia the UK Games Expo took place. We visited last year for the first time and boy has it grown since then. This year you could play, buy and learn about all the new hot games in two halls for three full days. We were mostly there for scouting for new game ideas to publish and found a many at the excellently organized Playtest UK booth, but of course we also checked out what other publishers showed at the Expo.

First I would like to give a shout out to Osprey Games. I (Leon) have been a Osprey fanboy since the last expo (you can read the report here) and that has not changed this year. Osprey was showing Wildlands, an entry level miniature skirmish game. Okay, you might say there are tons of that out there already and you may be right. What makes Wildlands stand out is the following: It is designed by veteran designer Martin Wallace, it is illustrated by Yann Tisseron who did also the artwork for our Fantasy Defense and there are no dice in the game. We are looking forward to the release in Essen later this year.

Moaideas had a booth for the first time at UKGE and with good reason, since their clever train game Minirails was nominated for the UKGE awards. Moaideas were also showing their next clever game – Symphony Nr. 9

The theme is quite unusual. The players take on the roles of patrons investing in different famous composers of the baroque and classical era like Bach and Mozart as they are composing their 9 symphonies. The legend has it that every famous composer dies after their 9th symphony as all their life juice is used up so to speak.

The gameplay is a fascinating mix of composer influence tile drafting and blind bidding in order to find out which composer will give a concert this round. As the blind bidding basically dictates how much money you will make in a round you really have to get into the heads of the other players at the table.

Athens is the new game by Korean publisher Baccum which was shown at the Expo in a pre-release form. Athens is a kind of reworked version of Baccum’s own Azuchi Castle and will be released at Essen with English, German and Korean rules.

In this worker placement engine building game players try to thrive in Ancient Athens by investing in different trades and solving events which award victory points. The artwork is funky and there are a lot of different strategies to pursue.

Taiwanese publisher EmperorS4 did not have a booth at UKGE but we met Johnson during the show, who showed us 2 prototypes of games coming later this year from EmperorS4.

The first is Discovery: The Era of Voyage which will be coming out very soon. It is a new edition of the Japanese game Era of Voyage by AI Lab which was well received in the BGG community. In this quick playing engine building game the players are sailing the ocean in a rondel and trading on the different islands three types of goods. If they invest on an island they can get more out of one island when trading. EmperorS4 added rules for 2 players and gorgeous new graphics to the game.

Realms of Sand is a quick playing pattern building game in which the players build houses and palaces with tiles on their player board only to destroy them like sand castles in order to score points. The artwork is once again by the talented Maisherly, who also did the illustrations for the smash hit Hanamikoji.

UK Games Expo became bigger and also more international: Our friends from Oink Games and Smiling Monster Games (showing the German edition of Tofu Kingdom!) had a booth set up once again. We spotted Spy Tricks by Wizkids and Pocket Pharma by Alley Cat Games which both were Game Market releases originally. Then for the first time Smoox and Taiwan Boardgame Design had a booth at UKGE and had a successful fair with their new title Dice Fishing Roll and Catch and other hot new titles from Taiwan.

We will definitely come back next year to the Birmingham for the UKGE!

And then there was also the Game Author’s fair in Göttingen the same weekend. We will have a report by Hilko Drude up on the blog shortly but until then you can read our report from last year if you like.

In other links:

Hilko’s Hoard: New games from Latin America

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

 

Since the last article had gotten rather comprehensive, I decided to dedicate a recurring column titled “New games from Latin America” towards this theme (there’s indeed always quite a bit of research to be done on this). Until further notice I’ll reserve the first Monday of a month towards it. We’ll see whether this works out or not, most likely these articles will vary greatly in length, depending on what I stumble upon. It’s something I’m quite excited about myself. For now I’ll just start like this. A pointer to begin with, towards the overview page I made concerning the Latin American publishers (German description). It was a lot of work, but if someone is coincidentally on their way to Latin America, he might want to take a closer look at the publishers of the corresponding country and think about what could be worth checking out. Additions and corrections are welcome, if someone happens to know anything, otherwise I’m always finding more myself as well.

Argentina

I don’t know whether it’s different today, but in my time at school in the eighties Latin American history was nearly a non-issue, especially the time after the spanish colonial rule. How nice is it then, that it’s possible to learn a great deal from board games. For example, that on the 20th of November 1845 a joint British-French fleet tried to break a blockade on the Paraná River to force open trade routes to the interior. They broke through in the end, but with so many casualties, that the intruders had to distance themselves from further attempts. Whats only a footnote in German perception is of great importance for South America. Since 2010 the 20th November is a holiday in Argentina.

Where I got all this from? I read up on it after I stumbled upon the game Soberanía (Sovereignty) by Julian P.L. Bracco, which he published (with Illustrations by César Carrizo) with his publishing company EPICA JUEGOS. Soberania is a cooperative historical simulation in which the players fight together against the invasion.

Not long after I learned of this game the publisher put another one out there: Just released is Cruce de los Andes (Crossing the Andes). It’s about the Argentinian hero of the fight for independence José de San Martin and his campaign to expel the Spanish colonial troops from Chile – this’ll be a topic for the next article at the beginning of July again. The current game wears the subtitle “Vol. 1: Gobernación” (Part 1: Government). A second part is being prepared. Cruce de los Andes mostly consists of cards, with which you can reenact the life of San Martin, but also entails two relatively freeform short RPG’s by Benjamin Anibal Reyna and Martín Bravo.

 

The publisher Tinkuy has released another literature game, this time in cooperation with the Chilean author María José Ferrada. It is about Haikus, those minimalistic poems in a japanese style. Invención de Haikus is once again not what purists may imagine a game to be, since it is just about creating Haikus – there is no point system or other victory conditions. Instead you draw cards with seasons, natural phenomenons, first letters, beginning or end verses and you craft Haikus. I myself have no idea about Haikus, but I’m gladly lured in by tasks such as these and would therefore like to try it. But before I do it in Spanish I’ll probably have to practice a bit more.

Brazil

Two years ago already, Eduardo Guerra has released his game Crop Rotation by self-publishing. In March it has now been released in a new version by Legião Jogos, sporting the title Crop Rotation: Bug Plague. In this farming game you have cards with tasks in your hand that require a certain order of the three crops in the game. You plant something and try to get the corresponding order. Sadly the others can ruin your plans. If you instead decide to play cooperatively, there are locusts that will intervene. The game was illustrated by Jonatas Bermudes.

Also planned for publication under Legião Jogos is Eleições 20XX (Elections 20XX), which is currently vying for support on the Brazilian crowdfunding platform catarse.me. It is about elections in a fictional land, in which – just as fictitious of course – smear campaigns, abuse of power and buying votes are the order of the day. The game includes voter cards with certain preferences and the players try to steer the voters that are inclined towards them into the right direction, and try to keep the ones that wouldn’t vote for them anyway from voting at all. The game originates from the pen of Bruno Carvalho and was illustrated by Rogério Narciso and Thiago Ramos.

The game Vossa Excelência – O Jogo Político (Excellence), announced under self-publishing by Fernando Augusto C. Prado and Marcelo S. Dias was illustrated by Douglas Duarte and also concerns itself with dirty politics, and this game can be found on catarse.me as well. In this scenario the players are already representatives and have to try to consolidate their powerbase until the next election. A little abuse of power is very convenient for that. Sadly, there are some annoying forces among civil society, that have their eyes on representatives exactly like these and who could potentially put a spoke in their wheel. Two crowdfunding campaigns about dirty politics at once – apparently the people in Brazil have a lot on their mind.

Games that are called Uga-Uga Bufapum are fascinating to me in a certain way. I’m not sure whether I would have felt differently if I could really speak Portuguese. What does one need again, to become the new biggest boss of a stone age tribe? The biggest club? The most fancy loincloth? Far from it – it’s mostly about being able to most impressively fart. To this end you play cards with, small up to catastrophic, farts and this of course into the general direction of your opponents. As soon as they become unconscious, the succession dispute is resolved. All of this is conceived by Mário Sérgio, the illustrations are by Victor Cavalcanti and the publisher is called K & M Jogos. A nice side note: The portuguese words for “fart” and “wordplay” are identical, so that when I first approached the game with google translate I still had the assumption that the game was a stone age era corny joke contest. Maybe that’d also be an idea for a game.

Likewise an unusual, and presumably a far better smelling story, tells Café Express by Kevin and Samanta Talarico. After the eruption of a terrible plant disease, the last three healthy coffee beans are transported through the land to plant them in uncontaminated soil and secure their survival (Coffee bean or humanity? Your choice). Of course unscrupulous gangsters aren’t far, with the intention to grab the precious cargo for themselves. In this game for two to four people, law enforcers play against criminals – although the roles are often switched. According to the publisher Potato Cat it is one of the first Brazilian games that make use of transparent cards. The illustrations come from Jéssica Lang. Café Express was successfully financed on catarse.me, meanwhile Potato Cat already has the next campaign under way.

This time it is about New Eden Project, that stems from the same authors, but has been illustrated by Tiago Sousa. In a dark future there is war and since more and more city are destroyed, the hour of the corporations that can build entire cities within weeks has come. The players compete to plan the best city of all time, that can then be built somewhere in a wasteland. You build with cards.

A publisher that’s still young is Dijon Jogos (yep, it’s really named after the mustard). I like their website even just due to this idea – other publishers should do this (even though such numbers are subjective. But 0% is definitely a pretty clear call).

The first game of the publisher comes from Diego de Moraes, it has been released in April and is called Os Incríveis Parques de Miss Liz (The unbelievable Parks of Miss Liz). It’s about the popular theme of amusement parks again. Every player builds their own park with all kinds of attractions on a tableau – so it is mainly a tile placement game, in which you try to puzzle together the most amusing park, but you’ll also have to be economical to be able to afford it in the first place. The illustrations are done by João “Raulex”.

Azzelij from Rodrigo Sampaio Rodriguez has been published in a small series by Zuzu Board Games. It’s a tile placement game, in which you have to place the tiles in such a way, that the circles that are created in the corners are a majority of your own color. The base game, that was already released in 2017, is a simple and rather relaxed old school game. Meanwhile there’s an expansion with which you can play with notably more complex scoring, so that the game feels more interactive and should resonate with a broader audience. At least to me it’s way more fun with the expansion than without.

When I first came across the fantasy pirate game Pélaghos on the net, I racked my brain over what the name could mean. Online dictionaries didn’t help, so I asked: It is the name of the game world, and the name leans on the greek word pélagos, which means sea, and is also found in the word Archipelago. Learned something again! Pélaghos comes from Ney de Alencar and Roice and Thiago Mello and is the debut game of the publisher Tiki Games. It just finished a successful campaign on catarse.me. Herein you play one of four human nations and try to gain supremacy over a variably constructed archipelago in which not only other beings like fairies and minotaurs, but also a great deal of dangers lurk in itself. You can gain victory points with different methods, whether trade, adventure or others. The game is steered by a massive amount of cards, that you’re supposed to take on your hand in the right combination. The illustrations come from Guilherme Rodrigues Soares. The game looks big and ambitious anyway, but the publisher adds one on top regardless: In the near future a novel by Pedro Ricardo Piccini is supposed to be released, that takes place in the Pélaghos world.

Tá na mesa seems to approximately mean about as much as “It is served!” There’s again another cooking challenge, but this time it is about the top chefs making the best traditional fare. The players gather ingredients, prepare their meals and have to present them as well in the end. Whoever does this the best wins. Anyone who wants to know more can take a look at their current crowdfunding campaign (the rules are in Portuguese, but the game is nearly not language-dependent, according to publisher Mamute Jogos).

Chile

“The 11” (“La Once”) is actually a small snack in the late afternoon, but in Chile the term has changed its meaning and refers to a meal in the afternoon that can also take on a slightly bigger scope. Despite this I first had problems to understand the game title “La 11 Coffee & Tea Party“, yet it’s still about coffee and cake. In a (fictitious) café called La Once there’s a promotion each year where the guests have to play for their food. Only the winners get served the best food, while they play out the finale. Now the café has released the game to the public. Its a tight scramble for the best combination of three of the six treats (Set Collection and Take That). Recently I had written that the coolest game boxes are from Columbia. But this novelty from Chile is a real competitor here, since it is reminiscent of a cookie bag. That instantly whets the appetite. Author Carolina Baltra wants to speak to a public beyond Chile with this sweet theme, but is also thinking about releasing a version in the future, that orients itself more on Chilean customs. The illustrations stem from Paloma Amaya and the publisher has the nice name Juguemos+ (“Let us play more!”).

In the last moments, so to speak, I stumbled upon a crowdfunding campaign for Art Pieces that just started. A Chilean drawing game, of which I don’t even know who made it. The game seems to get released bilingually (English/Spanish), but the campaign is completely in Spanish, so that I just have to hope that I approximately understood the concept. The group draws three cards on which a single element of a picture is given, and an encompassing theme. Everyone now has 90 seconds to draw something according to these guidelines. Only after the drawing has been done a card is revealed, that determines which factor is relevant for the rating of the pictures. Those aren’t always the most artistically valuable portraits, but rather it could also be the most boring or the most simple.

All pictures with the gracious permission of the right holders.