Tag Archives: APIBGI

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.

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.