Essen, Essen, and More Essen
You must be hungry, because the big buzz on the Internet (at least in our small niche of it...) this past week was Essen. I, unfortunately, didn't get to go, but there are lots of great people who did. Check out the links below for some of their coverage. The biggest surprise for me from Essen? Escape: The Curse of the Temple topped the Geekbuzz list on Board Game Geek for the entire fair. Hands down. No real competition. Really...? My guess would have been Tzolk'in (which took the second spot).
- Matt Morgan posted a preview for Wired's GeekDad of Space Cadets from Stronghold Games, a cooperative space game of different challenges. This is one I'm very interested in, even more after this preview.
- James Sheahan of Metagames was at the fair and tweeted about many of the games he played. This was a great source of coverage, even if the reports only came in 140-character bursts. I'm not sure how the coverage holds up when it isn't "live," but it's likely worth checking out, as is James's blog.
- Meople's Magazine also chronicles their time at Essen (days 1 and 2, day 3).
- The Opinionated Gamers had their usual coverage of the fair this year, but I didn't find it as helpful as, say, last year's (maybe because I didn't follow the fair as closely). Still, I leave judgment up to the reader's discernment.
- The Board Roomers, none of them present at Essen, talk about Essen's relevance on their opinionated talk show.
- AEG's Tempest line of Euro-style games debuted at Essen, as did their super-secret new game Guild Hall (about which I've heard nothing more than the name--I'll keep you posted if I find out more). In the meantime, they posted a lite, print-and-play version of Philip duBarry's Courtier for trial.
VivaJava Shipped and Explained
One of the games I'm most excited about (and that has been sitting on my shelf almost a week--a week--without being played) is VivaJava from Dice Hate Me Games. Kickstarter orders have shipped, with preorders to follow that and store distribution copies to follow that. In the meantime, whether you have the game or not, check out this excellent tutorial video. I think more game companies should get on board with this idea.
Smaug Flies into Lord of the Rings LCG, Burns Lake-Town
Fantasy Flight Games has announced that the formerly GenCon-exclusive Battle of Lake-Town scenario for the Lord of the Rings LCG is now available as a print-on-demand product from their webstore. I just played the first scenario in the first Hobbit expansion yesterday (the one about trolls) and was thoroughly thrashed. I'm guessing I won't be ready to tackle Smaug anytime soon...
Kickstarters of Note
- Salmon Run: This game has already passed its funding goal and is swimming toward its stretch goals. (Check out our preview and interview with the designer.) $36.
- The Keep: This is for a game storage system rather than a game. It looks pretty cool, but the funding goal seems prohibitive. Still, if you want to contribute, you might be able to make this happen! Various buy-in levels.
- The Official Settlers of Catan Gaming Board: This is an officially licensed Settlers of Catan tile-locking board. It seems great if you play Catan a lot. (I do not, so my tiles will just have to slip around.) $25.
- Castle Dice: This dice-drafting worker placement game might interest you. It doesn't interest me because I've played Quarriors. But I'm sure it's better than that one. Still, it requires a hefty donation to secure your copy. $28 for the PDF, $65 for the published version.
- Eight-Minute Empire: This appears to be a super short civilization building game from the designer of Empires of the Void and City of Iron. This game looks interesting, it's already fully funded, and it has a cheap buy-in at $20.
- Dungeon Heroes: Crash Games has branded this as a "lunch-break dungeon crawl," which is an intriguing premise if you like that sort of thing. $25
- Twin Tin Bots: The designer of Small World and Olympos (two games beloved of the Dragon) has a new game up on Kickstarter. I'm not sure it's my cup of tea, but it might be yours. $55 (or $45, if you're fast enough).
Tom Gurganus of Go Forth and Game has posted the new question of the month, "Where are all the new game mechanisms?" To answer, head to his blog.