The biggest source of information in preparation for the onslaught of new games coming in after the end of the Essen show is always the superb Essen preview list on BGG.
But another way of trying to find out what the hot games after Essen could be (and with the number of games coming out we have to be selective), is to have a look/listen and some videos/podcasts talking about their most anticipated games for Essen. It worked quite well for me last year, so I did it again this year. I’ve watched a total of 13 videos on Youtube and made notes about the games that are being mentioned. Sorted by the number of times a game got mentioned, here is my totally non-scientific Top 20 of the most anticipated games for Essen 2019 (in case of a tie, I used the thumbs up on the Essen preview list as a tie-breaker):
Teotihuacan: City of Gods (English edition)
Azul: Stained Glas
Shadows in Amsterdam
Camel Up (2nd Edition)
Here is the playlist with all 13 videos:
Most of the games in the Top 20 are no surprise because they are the “common ground” between all those videos I’ve watched. But watching all these videos it was interesting to see that the common ground seems to be smaller this year (= a lot of the Top lists included games only mentioned once or twice in the videos) compared to the last two years which indicates for me that we are looking at a good Essen year with a wide selection of interesting games. As always with Essen the trick is to find the games that have staying power beyond the initial hype about nice looking components, interesting themes and a well-known designer (these seem to be the most often used criteria to select games of interest in the preparation for Essen).
Last year’s Top 5 of the podcast summary list was Charterstone, Nusfjord, Altiplano, Meeple Circus and Clans of Caledonia. All five turned out to be really good to solid games and also did quite well in regards to sales (besides Charterstone which for some reasons didn’t do very well).
With Altiplano: The Traveler, the planning of moves in Altiplano becomes more important and accessibility to resources becomes more interactive. Above all, the assets that may be purchased from the traveller open up completely new ways to increase one’s own wealth. But unforeseen fortunes sometimes demand spontaneous decisions which influence planning.
Yesterday afternoon two new games from Matagot arrived:
After the initial print run sold out at Essen, it took a while for the reprint to arrive in the UK, but it is finally here: Meeple Circus. Pre-orders have been shipped and the remaining stock is now available to order from our website.
Xian is the second new arrival and it was co-published by Matagot with Pendragon.
246 BCE: The future first emperor of China, Ying Zheng, orders the construction of the Terracotta Army. It will be part of the “Great Mausoleum”, a monument built to celebrate the Qin dynasty’s endless glory and also to protect him in the afterlife. As a delegate of the Emperor, you will be asked to fulfill his wish by leading a team of workers and helpers to obtain resources, craft and decorate the warrior statues, and supply them with fine wood and bronze weapons.
We are getting closer and closer to Christmas and still, quite a few of the Essen releases haven’t arrived with us. But for this week a few more have been confirmed and it also looks good for next week.
Here are the games/expansions con arrive arrived this week:
Matagot has announced Sonar, a 4-player-version of Captain Sonar:
Time for an underwater game of cat-and-mouse, with each of the two teams in ””’Sonar””’ competing to be the first to deal two points of damage to the other. Do that, and you win the game instantly.
In detail, ”Sonar” includes four pairs of maps, and each team takes the same maps in their color. A team can be one or two players, and with two players on a team, each player takes a different role: Captain or Radio Operator. (A one–person team handles both roles.) A divider separates the teams, and each Captain marks their starting location on the map.
On a turn, the Captain calls out an action, typically moving their sub one space north, south, east, or west. When they do this, they call out a direction, mark their new location, and add one energy to their ship’s register. The Radio Operator on the other team notes the movement of this sub on a plastic sheet, and through deduction and trial-and-error tries to determine exactly where the opposing sub might be on the map.
The game has been developed as a simplified version of Captain Sonar and in the US it will be available exclusively in Target stores. It is expected to be available in the 4th quarter, no news yet about an UK or Europe release.