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:
Only two more weeks until Essen, time to ramp up the preparations for the busiest time of the year. A useful instrument to get a feeling for the interest in the new games presented at Essen are Youtube videos about the most anticipated games of the board game show.
I watched a few during the last couple of days and made notes which games where mentioned. The result is an aggregated Top 5 which in most parts is not very surprising:
1) Charterstone: The only game that was mentioned in every video. But not everybody is convinced that the game will work, but the combination of Legacy game and Eurogame has too much lure.
2) Nusford: After last years A Feast for Odin there are high hopes for another special Rosenberg game.
3) Altiplano: A new bag building game from the team behind Orleans? Count me in and it seems like I’m not the only one.
4) Meeple Circus (the only real surprise in the Top 5, I didn’t hear anything about this games before I started watching the videos, but I can see why people like it: stacking Meeples? What’s not to like?) and Gaia Project (Terra Mystica still has a lot of fans and the promise of a streamlined experience secures this heavyweight a Top 5 spot)
5) Clans of Caledonia (Radho called this game the Terra Mystica killer, so let’s see if Clans or the Gaia Project will be the bigger hit) and Photosynthesis (an abstract game with beautiful artwork and components which got a big boost in popularity after a pre-release at Gencon)
Honorable mentions of games that were mentioned quite often, but didn’t make the cut for the Top 5:
September is the month between the two biggest board game shows: The UK sees some of the GenCon releases arriving and at the same time the pre-orders for Essen releases start to go online.
All of the games in the Top 5 Sales have been presented at GenCon and were available in the UK shortly after the show.
1) Terraforming Mars: Hellas & Elysium
2) Wasteland Express Delivery Service
3) Whitehall Mystery
5) This War of Mine
Unfortunately quite a few games have been delayed this year, because the trend goes more and more to a US release in August at GenCon and a Europe release in October at Essen. This is not an evil plot against European board game geeks, but more a result of cost savings because this way you can split your stock and delivery part of it directly to GenCon and afterwards to US distributors and part of it goes a bit later to Essen and from there to European distributors. Which makes perfect sense, especially for smaller publisher.
And here are the Top 5 Pre-Orders which are dominated by the first big hitters we added to our Essen section:
3) Terraforming Mars: Venus Next
5) Raiders of the North Sea
Here are some of the board game news of the last few days:
Isle of Skye will get an expansion: Journeyman adds new personal player boards to track progress in strength, prosperity, and popularity. (Source: ICv2)
Wizkids keeps on growing their board and card game line and has announced Time Barrons : “In Time Barons, 2-4 players take on the roles as the time barons, shadowy figures who have shaped mankind’s destiny since the dawn of time. The world’s entire population are simply pawns in their quest to defeat the other barons and become the ruler of a unified human race.” (Source: Wizkids)
FFG has posted the rulebook for the upcoming Star Wars: Rebellion expansion Rise of the Empire (Link: FFG)
Renegade Games has announced Clank: In Space!, a new Stand-Alone game using the game system of the highly popular Clank. (Source: Renegade Games)
Capital was a surprise in April and despite an ugly graphic design the gameplay was a big success with our customers and we received a lot of great feedback. Yamatai is a success like all the big box releases from Days of Wonder, but this one is especially interesting for fans of Five Tribes. Clank! Sunken Treasures is the first expansion for Clank and after the success of the base game a Top 5 spot for the expansion was to be expected. Rounding up the Top 5 is Barenpark, the newest game of Cacao designer Phil Walker-Harding.
The two player version of Caverna took the top spot in the pre-order Top 5 easily. Charterstone and Terraforming Mars: Hellas & Elysium kept their Top 5 spots from last month and are still going strong. After the disappointment with the cancelled retail release of Gloomhaven 1st edition a lot of customers jumped on the chance to secure a copy of the reprint. And the Anniversary edition of In the Year of the Dragon is a game quite a few of our customers have been waiting for.
This was my fifth play of the game and I still like it. This time it was a 3 player game, after all the others so far had been 5 player games. And it makes a big difference: the game was much faster, even with two new players. Whereas with 5 players, especially new ones, the game tends to drag a bit, which is annoying because there isn’t much to do on your own turn and you are always keen to get your next action in. I really would like to play it with 4 players the next time, to see if this is maybe the sweet spot for the game.
This was the first game of Isle of Skye for me and I was very keen on giving it a go. The result: similar to Spice Road it is perfect for me at the moment: short playing time, easy to explain but still a lot of options to play and win the game. It took me two turns to understand the buying process of the tiles and what you need for your little island, but afterwards, the turns flow by and I enjoyed it a lot. Can’t wait to play it again.
The last game of the night for me was Arboretum, a great looking little card game about creating paths in the players’ gardens by planting trees. I had heard about the game before, but I didn’t know what to expect. Like BGG says it is an interesting mix of “set collection, tile-laying and hand management” with an interesting scoring mechanism at the end. After not being so sure about the game after I had heard the rules explanation, I started to like it more and more while the game went on. I can recommend it to everybody who is looking for a shorter, but not too light game to end an evening.
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