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card games, convention, publishing

Essen Spiel 2016 Preview


The Spiel ’16 in Essen, Germany is coming up in a couple of weeks. This is one of, if not the largest, board game consumer conventions in the world. Many anticipated games announced throughout the year are released at The Spiel every year and I have curated a list of my most anticipated games. I referenced Eric Martin’s Board Game Geek list in order to construct my own. You can find his preview list here: https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/193588/spiel-2016-preview


7 Wonders: Duel – Pantheon

The much anticipated expansion for 7 Wonders: Duel, a two player version of 7 Wonders that swept the gaming world. I really enjoyed the two player implementation from Antoine Bauza and Bruno Cathala and I look forward to the new mechanics and paths to victory provided with Pantheon. This is a game I did not think needed an expansion, but the content seems like a good addition.

pic3132164_mdDixit: Revelations
More cards for Dixit? Yes please! There is really not much else I need to know about this. Dixit has a great history of putting out beautiful expansions from many different artists. A must have for avid Dixit fans.

King of New York: Power Up!
Finally. The Power Up! expansion for King of New York. I have been waiting for this expansion for a very long time now. This expansion gives players variable powers for each monster. While I do enjoy King of New York, I am excited to have customizable options when I play! Which special powers do I go for?! How can I effectively destroy all the other monsters in New York City?! Oh, also, there is a new monster… a SHARK! 

Small World: River World
Days of Wonder continues to support Small World, which is a fantastic are control game with the theme of mythical creature colonization. I plan to write a post about the theme of Small World so I will save my thoughts about colonization to then. This expansion gives players new maps with rivers running through the lands, providing new challenges (and maybe new mythical races?). I really enjoy Small World and I think this expansion with be a great addition.

Spyfall 2
Spyfall was a huge hit last year and took the gaming world by storm with a new spin on hidden roles and ‘find the spy’ gameplay. With the innovative question mechanic, there has been no other game similar to Spyfall. Spyfall 2 promises more locations and rules for a second spy. I am torn on both of these developments. Adding more locations and combining it with the original will make it harder for the spy, over-saturating the possibilities. I hope a second spy does not make the game to complex either. I will be keeping an eye out for this one.

Board and Card Games

Beer Empire
From the designers of Dice Brewing and Piwne Imperieum, comes Beer Empire. I have not played either or their previous games and have not heard very positive reviews. But I am anticipating Beer Empire in hopes it will be a strong work placement game around producing beer. I really liked the game Brew Crafters but I have not been able to acquire a copy. Maybe Beer Empire will be a game I like more with a similar theme.

Bios: Genesis
This is a new cooperative, competitive, and solitaire game from acclaimed designer Phil Eklund. Players start as organic compounds with the goal of achieving sustainable life (“a metabolic cycle reproducing, yet not replicating, its own constituents” then “an Organism using a template to replicate in an RNA world”). This subject and theme is very complex and the designer has definitely taken on a huge task in this design. I am super excited to try it out and pretty stoked it has three game modes.

pic3159206_mdCapital Lux
Capital Lux is a fast card drafting, area influence game I happened across while searching Board Game Geek. I have not looked into it much but the artwork looks very diverse which always gets a plus from me. Additionally, I am always looking for lighter drafting games to add to my collection.

Cottage Garden
Uwe Rosenberg is coming out with two games this year: the more popular A Feast for Odin and this hopeful gem, Cottage Garden. I do not know much about the game besides it has a really unique theme and it looks to have a spatial, puzzle aspect like Patchwork. In that case, this game is a must play and a probably buy

Fields of Green
I love the game Among the Stars also from Artipia Games. The card drafting mechanics mixed with the spatial building of a space station makes for a very fun and tactical game! Fields of Green looks like more of the same with a different theme (farming), different card mechanics, and new two player specific drafting rules. The overall feel of the game looks the same – draft cards, and build a farm. I want to play Fields of Green to compare it to Among the Stars and see if this game is different enough to warrant owning.

The title is very unassuming. But when I clicked on the game page and images, I had to put it on this list! This is a tile laying/placement game where players are building their own wildlife park. With each additional animal, they must ensure the animals have what they need to survive and thrive. For example, an otter needs to have an adjacent water tile. Looks great and I cannot wait to give it a try!

Okay, the concept here is what intrigues me about this game. Honshu is a trick-taking, city building card game set in feudal Japan. What?! Trick-taking and then city building?! I HAVE to play this game and it sounds unique enough where I could see this being a part of my small card game collection. Excellent idea that is hopefully published in the United States soon.

Mr. Cabbagehead’s Garden
I need to give credit to the Low Player Count podcast for putting the word out about this game. As soon as I heard it mentioned on a podcast, I looked into it and built my own print and play version. This is a very quick card laying solitaire game where the player is trying to plant the best garden to win the highest award in gardening! However, Mr. Cabbagehead has pesky neighbors that come into his garden and eats his vegetables. This game is very fun and I love pulling it out when I only have a little time and want to play a game. I look forward to a fully produced version!

pic3138512_mdNorth American Railways
Auctions, route building, and stocks. There is really nothing else to say about the new title from Spielworks. Not a lot of information out about North American Railways but I will almost always try the new Spielworks title. I am hoping for a hit!

The Oracle of Delphi
The new Stephan Feld game. I know a lot of folks are not to enamored with Feld games because of his decisions to make everything a player does earn points. But I remain with the group that likes Feld games. He has not released a game recently – in fact, I think his last big box game was Aquasphere which came out in 2014. I enjoy Aquasphere and look forward to his next creation.

Railroad Revolution
There is literally nothing about this game released. A thread on Board Game Geek popped up with some previews of Railroad Revolution. This is the new release from What’s Your Game? And it is suppose to be a deck/pool building game mixed with route building (more like a traditional train game). What’s Your Game? tends to make quality heavy games and I hope this one is no exception.


pic2796255_mdRound House
Round House immediately caught my attention because of the theme. Round houses or Fujian Tulou are “unique rural dwellings that can be found in the mountain areas in southeastern Fujian, China.” These houses traditionally housed entire clans. In the game, players take on the role of a family moving around the house performing a myriad of tasks with the goal of gaining the most family honor. It looks like a mixture of worker placement/movement and resource management. I think it is awesome to see such a diverse theme coming from a Taiwanese designer.

Another game with a very generic name, but it uses a theme I have not seen before. I really like the artwork in Scuba and mechanically, this is suppose to be an action point, set collection, push your luck style game. It looks like a light-medium weight game and I am always looking for more games in at category with unique themes.

I decided against the Kickstarter for financial reasons and as resistant of the culture of the new and unreleased. Tramways is the next game from designer Alban Viard who creates very heavy and thinky games. Tramways is a mix of auctions, deck building, pick up and deliver (passengers), and tile laying to create tram routes throughout the city. This game looks very interesting and a lot of fun. I hope to play a copy eventually!

Like Tramways, I decided not to go in on the Kickstarter for similar reasons. Yokohama is a game by Hisashi Hayashi all about the economics of a fishing village in Japan during the Meiji period. Each player takes on the role of a merchant trying to build a successful business through storefronts, improving their knowledge and techniques, and widening their distribution channels. The board is modular, so never the same layout twice in a row! It looks like a lot of fun and I am hoping to pick this one up from Tasty Minstrel Games.


4 thoughts on “Essen Spiel 2016 Preview

  1. How cool that’s like 1-2 away from me! I’ll have to watch out for this in the news!😃

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Bina | September 26, 2016, 1:15 PM
  2. Cool, yeah this is close to Bina!
    I hope you can make the trip to Germany one day and attend. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Posted by Read Diverse Books | September 28, 2016, 10:16 PM

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