Tag Archives: Taiwan Boardgame Design

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:

Moonlight Boardgame Festival 2018

When I first heard about the Moonlight Boardgame Festival in Kaohsioung I thought: “Neat, there is this local convention in Taiwan just one week after Tokyo Game Market, which I will be visiting anyway. But will it really be worthwhile to go, especially because I can already try out and buy many Taiwanese designs at TGM?”.

Then a few months later I saw the list of publishers Moaideas managed to invite to Kaohsioung and I knew I had to go. Not only most of the Taiwanese publishers agreed to have a booth there, but also many publishers from Mainland China, Hongkong and Japan.

Here I am: jetlagged and holding a sign with Citie and Tsai at the Tokyo Game Market.

Our last article was about the Tokyo Game Market, which has to be the biggest board game event in East Asia. That makes sense, since Japan is the biggest board game market in East Asia and the output of new games is very high (but only a fraction of those games make their way to Europe). Since a few years back now also games from other parts of East Asia getting more attention: For quite a few years now the Korean Pavillion is one of the biggest booths in Hall 3 in Essen and many successful games like Coconuts and Fold-it come from Korea. One thing you can notice about Taiwanese games is that the Taiwan Boardgame Design booth in Essen is getting bigger each year. So Taiwanese board games are on a rise, and I think everyone reading this blog knows about the great titles EmperorS4, Homosapiens Lab and SwanPanasia (to name a few) have put out.

From what I understand there are quite a few board game conventions in Taiwan. We never visited but know about SwanCon, which is organised by SwanPanasia and also Golden Donkey and a few others. But as far as we know Moonlight Boardgame Festival is the first convention in Taiwan attracting international publishers and an international audience.

So I was really excited going into this fair and I am happy to come back next year.

Totally off topic, but from Seoul to Kaohsioung I was flying EVA Air for the first time and I found it amusing that their safety video was very low on (visual) safety instructions and instead filled with Pina Bausch style dance choreography. In case of emergency, dance dance otherwise we are lost.

You can see the full video on Youtube.

The convention took place 12-13 May in the International Convention Center in Kaohsioung which is in the south of Taiwan. The pics above are from setup and showing pretty much all the booths that were in the hall (except for the booths that were right behind me). So the convention was not big, but it was still worth visiting for people hunting tabletop treasure because of the publishers exhibiting. There were quite a few new (to-me) games from publishers I did not hear of before.

One of those more unknown (to me) publishers was Boxed Lightning, based in Shanghai. They previously released Rescue Polar Bears, which was picked up by Taiwanese publisher TwoPlus and released as Rescue Polar Bears: Data and Temperature. At the Moonlight Boardgame Festival Boxed Lightning was showing 3 beautiful Ticket-to-ride size strategy games. I don’t know much about them for the moment, but the publisher told me that English rules will be available in the next months.

Kanga Games is mostly a distributor of European and North American titles to the Greater China region. Now they published a reimplementation of the classic O Zoo Le Mio, called Zooronga. This new edition is fixing the runaway leader problem and has all new artwork. If you like blind bidding games, this one is a game to check out.

Z for Zombie is a game from Hongkong and based on a popular HK-comic with the same name. The game was designed by Percy Chan who designed the successful Mage Craft and will be published by Time2Play later this year. In this game the players try to escape the approaching zombies while at the same time scavenging for resources. Goal of the game is to reach the ice cream truck to make it our alive. In a round we simultanously reveal one card and then take the actions on them, for example move, scavenge or looking secretly at the top card of the Zombie deck to check how many spaces they will be moving. If they move on a space with a player on it, that player is eliminated from the game.

 

Soso Games was showing two new games: Formosa Flowers and Strange Vending Machine. Formosa Flowers was playable as a production copy and is coming out very soon and Strange Vending Machine was still in prototype stage. Both games will be available at Essen Spiel where Soso Games will have their own booth.

Formosa Flowers is a gorgeous looking Hanafuda-style card game. Play 1 card and collect cards that have the same number. Collect cards with the different weather icons to score points, but watch out for the leaves as three leaves mean you have to discard those cards. This is an easy playing card game and as I never played Hanafuda before it felt fresh for me.

Strange Vending Machine is a push your luck game with a great gimmick: Little Vending Machines. Every player starts with a certain number of coins of which are 2 fake coins which are minus points at the end of the game. In a turn a player can choose 1 out of 2 different actions: Pay the price shown at the front card and take it out of the vending machine, thus revealing the lower half which is showing something different than the top half, or taking all the coins out of one vending machine. Goal is here is to set collect certain items depicted on both halves of the cards which will award victory points at the end of the game.

I think Soso has here a hit on their hands as the mixture of exciting push your luck gameplay and the great tactile gimmick in form of a vending machine made the game a pleasure to play.

Mozi Games was showing Garden of Gardens. This game has a fantastically beautiful presentation and is quite a bit heavier than older Mozi games. In the game we are drafting cards/resources with which we can build the palace and the surrounding garden. The game will be released later this year and is one to watch out for.

I have no clue what this game is about but I definitely want to learn more about it.

That’s all for now. As always there were many more games unknown to me and/or worth talking about and if you are interested please go to our Twitter, Instagram and Facebook channels where we posted many more pictures and descriptions.

Many of the games will also be available to buy on NiceGameShop soon, so make sure to subscribe to the newsletter.

We have also filmed quite a few of overviews and convention runthroughs which we posted on Youtube.

Now we are off to UK Games Expo. See you next week with a new edition of Global Boardgame News.