Spellbound – First solo play

I tried a solo run-through of Spellbound this evening. I didn’t get very far – the solo game seems really hard. You are really punished during the end-of-deck phase with only one mage covering cities/wilderness. My lazy city watchman turned up too late to help so I lost one spell book during that phase and once the witch encounter was completed, I drew the one witch card I didn’t want to, and lost my second spell book. Phooey!

Overall, I found the game quite interesting and reminiscent of Friedemann Friese’s Friday, although my initial impression is that this is more of a deck-thickening game rather than deck-thinning (to lengthen the time between witch encounters). It will be interesting to see how it plays multi-player.

Board Game Reviews By Josh

Received an email today from Josh Edwards inviting me to link to his game review blog. I’m happy to oblige as he covers the same sorts of games as we play and his review style is pretty good with good justification for why he does or doesn’t like a game. The link is in the Other Game Blogs section to the right or you can simply click here.

Essen Haul – Supplementary

Four more additions to my stack of games from Essen. This evening, I dropped in at Gameslore and picked up Suburbia (which to my horror was sold out by 10.30am on the Friday at Essen), Tzolk’in and Goblins Inc. (both of which were cheaper from Gameslore than at the fair) and Amber, as I recall someone giving it a recommendation late on the Friday, just before I left.

Essen Haul 2012

Well I’m back from another two days at the Spiel game fair in Essen, Germany and had a good time as usual. I’ll post more information about the trip later but, for now, here is the traditional photo of the 27 games I brought back with me. The games are Spellbound, Tokaido, Rondo, Gauntlet of Fools, Keyflower, Copycat, The Palaces of Carrara, P.I., CO2, Le Havre: The Inland Port, Air King, Food Chain, Hooyah, Saint Malo, Pluckin’ Pairs, Spectaculum, King of Tokyo: Power Up, Shadows Over Camelot: The Card Game, Get Bit, Central Market, Construction Zone, The Hobbit: The Card Game, Dragons, Hanabi, Drecksau, Love Letter and AttrAction.

Essen Buzz

With only 36 hours to go until the doors open at the world’s biggest game fair, I’m starting to get my act together in terms of preparation. Obviously, the flights and hotel were organised some while ago but I only today sorted out some Euros and the car park at BHX was only booked yesterday. As far as the games go, I published my list of must haves a couple of weeks ago but I’ve now gone through Eric Martin’s excellent preview on BGG to tag the games I’m most looking forward to exploring while I’m there. So, sort-of alphabetically by publisher, here are the titles I’m most interested in:

  • Love Letter (AEG) – tiny card game that looks good
  • Smash Up (AEG) – This is out in the UK but I like the sound of making up army combos from Dinosaurs, Ninjas and Aliens. I’ll only buy out there if it’s 20 Euros or less
  • Heimlich & Co (Amigo) – Fabulous game that’s being re-released and I’ve never owned a copy. Maybe that will change.
  • Suburbia (Bezier) – This looks an interesting city development game and it’s getting lots of buzz with both Doug Garrett and Tom Vasel recommending it. I’ll go and talk to the designer Ted Alspach before deciding
  • Mutant Meeples (Bezier) – Surely I can’t be tempted to buy a version of Ricochet Robots where each robot has super-powers? Nige is sure to love this.
  • Tokaido (FunForge) – Antoine Bauza is a good designer but is a zen race game going to be any good?
  • CO2 (Giochix/Stronghold) – By the designer of Vinhos, this has an environmental theme. This might be my heaviest game purchase, although it might be more one for Nige.
  • Lady Alice (Hurrican) – Another deduction game from the Mr Jack company
  • Gauntlet of Fools (Indie Boards & Cards) – A new Donald X game where everyone dies. It’s all about how big a blaze of glory you can go out in.
  • Legend of Andor (Kosmos) – Not sure if there’s an English version going to be there. As cards look to be text heavy, I’ll wait if not.
  • Hey Froggy (R&R) – Light game by Anthony Rubbo, designer of Hey Waiter. Need to see a demo
  • Home Stretch (R&R) – Horse racing game. Is there anything to make it different enough from Long Shot?
  • Pluckin’ Pairs (R&R) – Stephen Glenn game that is likely to be my party game pick-up of the year.
  • Rondo (Schmidt) – Another Knizia abstract that I need to try out
  • Space Cadets (Stronghold) – Intriguing concept with everyone playing a different part of the game based on which character they’re playing
  • Snowdonia (Surprised Stare) – Tony Boydell’s game of building a railway up a Welsh mountain. What’s not to like?
  • Vampire Empire (White Goblin) - A two-player bluffing and deduction game. Is this anything like Kosmos’ Dracula game?

International Gamers Awards 2012 – The Winners

The winners of this year’s International Gamers Awards have just been announced. In the multi-player game category, the winner was Trajan designed by Stefan Feld and published by Ammonit-Spiele. (That should please Nige!) In the two-player category, the winner was Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small by Uwe Rosenberg and published by Lookout Games.

Both of these are well deserved winners so congratulations to both designers and publishers. The awards will, I’m assuming, be presented as usual at Essen – less than two weeks to go now.


Escape: The Curse of the Temple

I arrived home yesterday fo find a parcel had arrived for me. Inside was the result of my very first Kickstarter participation. This was backing Queen Games’ production of Escape: The Curse of the Temple. For my support level, I received the game itself, the first expansion (Illusions), a new copy of Roma plus assorted goodies. There are still a few bits to come in December but, having gone through the rules today, I am very excited to try this.

A La Carte Preis 2012

The German magazine, FairPlay, has just announced the winner of the 2012 German card game of the year. The winner by a large margin – it scored twice as many points as the second placed game – was Targi by Andreas Steiger and published by Kosmos. The full list was as follows:

Targi by Andreas Steiger: Kosmos 
Glory to Rome by Carl Chudyk: Lookout Games 
Rapa Nui by Klaus-Jürgen Wrede: Kosmos 
The City by Tom Lehmann: Amigo 
Friday by Friedemann Friese: 2F-Spiele 
Die Tore der Welt – Das Kartenspiel by Walter Schranz: Kosmos 
Drecksau by Frank Bebenroth: Kosmos 
Mogel Motte by Emely und Lukas Brand: Drei Magier 
Kleine Fotosafari by Tanja Triminek: Abacusspiele 
Bullenparty by Wolfgang Kramer: Amigo