The gates to Spiel Essen 2018 was opened again at 10 AM the next day. The queue alone has built up since 9 AM on that windy Friday. With our 45 vigor, we entered Hall 3 to cover other board games and pick up review copies that had been assigned to us. On this day, our activities were gravitated in Hall 4 and 5 to meet with publishers that had spared some time to meet us, without forgetting other interesting games in the other halls. We also got a pleasant surprise from one of the kind designers.
We started the day with visiting abba games‘ booth located in Hall 4. The Spanish board game publisher showcased two titles released this year, Dôjima and Oziland. We had the opportunity to try the first title. Besides those two, there was Justice League: Dawn of Heroes that will really captivate the hearts of DC Comics fans.
One of the designers of Dôjima, Julio Romacho, also took part in managing the booth and became our game coach. Basically this game took place in Osaka, Japan, a city filled with rice cartels during the era. Players compete to manage fields to sell rice produced from it. The money earned will be counted as points at the end of the game.
Combining dice rolling, deduction, and card drafting, we were very excited to give a more in depth view about Dôjima. Seeing our enthusiasm, Julio was kind enough to share us one review copy as a surprise. We also took the liberty to take a photo as a momento with him at the booth. He even signed a copy for Mour team. ¡Gracias, Julio!
After bidding farewell to Julio and other staffs at the booth, Meeple Eksyen crew made a detour to Hall 5 and headed immediately to Barpig ‘s booth for a quick interview regarding their newest game released during the third quarter of 2017. We were greeted by Jon Franklin (Johno), one of the designers over there.
Barpig had been posted in Kickstarter which was closed on the 5th of August 2017. Players enthusiasm can be counted as high regarding its fully funded status in just 33 hours after being posted in the world-known crowdfunding platform.
The game play is quite simple since Barpig was meant as a party game enjoyable for people anywhere and in large amounts, approximately 3-7 players. Enter a world where pigs have fun in a bar and each player competes to raise their level. Whoever reaches the highest level first is the winner before he/she is taken over by bottomless alcoholic drinks.
Very light and compatible to be played as a gateway game, the Barpig sold in Spiel Essen 2018 follows an array of other bonuses including exclusive dices, coin as a beer cap opener that might be consumed during the game, and a small pig that will follow wherever the Barpig box goes. We were very fortunate that Johno gave us a complete set to review.
Johno also said that the expansion titled Barpig: After Hous will be filled with new characters playable as a stand-alone game. The expansion will be released during the first-third quarter of the following 2019.
Still around Hall 5, we had compromised on an appointment with Black Box Adventures thanks to Johno’s recommendation. Their sidekicks in yellow shirts was run by Bart, Baas, and Alina. All three’s headquarter is located in The Netherlands. The board games that they brought had a comical theme. Such as Frutti di Mare that carries a war between seafood in a plate of spaghetti and also Itchy Monkey : A Battle of Lice where players become lice invading a group of monkeys.
Meeple Eksyen was entrusted to review Itchy Monkey. We managed to try a session with one of the visitors and game coach. Players battle to create a colony of lice invading the body of the monkeys on the board. Players can make the monkey move to then infect other monkeys with new colonies. It’s surprising that this cute game requires quite a lot of strategy.
The launch of Licence to Kill joined the base game brought to Spiel Essen this year. With this expansion, players have other types of lice to be played, along with new playing mode that is no less interesting than the existing one.
Still in the same hall, one of the board game from Sun Core Games‘ booth caught our attention after seeing the explanation from this Swiss company’s game coach. Titled Dice War: Rise of Xeladron, this component is the newest expansion of Dice War: Light of Dragons that was first released in 2015.
Although using dices, this game does not contain any element of luck! Dice War is more like chess, the difference is using dices as pawns since each roll of the “pawns” is very flexible and can change depending on its condition and situation. The first player to score a certain amount of point becomes the winner. Points can be obtained through a few ways, such as eating enemy’s pawns. The area where you attack enemy’s pawns is also important since it gives bonus point.
This is the reason that made us want to review this game so bad. We immediately contacted one of the people from Sun Core Games via Instagram.
Bujar Haskaj and Adrian Bolla agreed to give us a demo copy at the end of Spiel Essen on Sunday. We were delighted to hear the news. Await our next rubric discussing about this game even further.
Content after trying new board games and publishers in Hall 5, the Meeple Eksyen crew took a short lunch break before exploring Hall 2 next. Here, we visited one of the publishers known as every board gamer’s go-to all around the world. Hans im Glück released yet another series of Carcassonne Around the World this year.
The Continent of Africa became the next destination. Carcassonne: Safari still uses tile placement and city building mechanics. This game does not count as an expansion from the classic title designed by Klaus-Jürgen Wrede. Carcassonne: Safari can be enjoyed as a stand-alone board game.
The apparent difference lies in the goal of the game. In this title, players are invited for a safari sightseeing the beauty of nature there. This game will really complete the board game shelves of families putting into consideration that this game is easy to understand, play, with a capacity of 2-5 players.
Besides seeing the meeple that has become Carcassonne’s gameplay’s trademark from each series, players are also given car tokens that will take their colorful meeples for a ride.
Knowing that Façade Games played a part in this year’s convention, we also paid a visit to their booth to take a final look at Deadwood 1876 that they had released in Kickstarter. One of our members had backed the project, so the review of the third product of the Dark Cities Series will be up later when we receive our copy in the mail.
Before that, we also invested in their other two board games: Salem 1692 and Tortuga 1667. Besides the interesting social deduction mechanic, they way they package their board game also became one of the reasons we were tempted to back this project up till now. Take a look at how Deadwood 1876 is presented nicely like a book.
Still colored with bluffing and deduction, players this time is asked to collect gold. Your friend from the beginning might turn out into a traitor, there is no cooperation at all between players until the end of the game. Besides that, players must also survive till the end to become the winner.
Cards will help players to find gold and defend themselves from enemies of the same team. For that, players must be smart enough to manage which cards to stay in hand until the last round of the game. We are very eager to try this game once it reaches our door steps.
One of the board games that got into our Spiel Essen wish list this year is Tales of Glory released by Ankama Games who happens to also be in Hall 2 too. We were pessimistic at one time for not getting a table, then we saw an empty chair and finally got to taste the fun board game released by this French company.
Tales of Glory can be played by 2-5 players. Each takes roles as heroes going on an adventure to become the most victorious. For every square taken that becomes the journey route counts as points at the end of the game. Each tile will decide what what the hero character will do. There are bonuses that can be collected once a player manages to fulfill the requirements. Overall, this game is very satisfying and exciting.
After finish touring around Hall 2, we headed back to Hall 4 to take a look at 2 Tomatoes Games‘s booth who came all the way from Spain. Maybe you all might know them more for their Oil Peak. This year, we would like to see New Corp Order, their newest piece. Sadly, the table was again full. Luckily, we had the chance to try out their other title, Upstream, released in 2017.
Just from a glance, this unique artwork is already enough to capture your heart. After setting up, we went straight to try it. Upstream is a racing game with an unique theme. Each player controls salmon tokens and try to get to the end of the stream to then lay eggs.
It’s no easy feat to reach the finish line since there are many predators trying to prey your salmons. Starting from eagles to bears, the salmons have to survive to continue their line.
Winning is also not as simple as reaching the finish line first. Each player has to bring a salmon token until the incubation area. If left out, player will lose his/her salmon. Upstream is playable for 2-5 players.
Alvaro as the manager of 2 Tomatoes Games was also kind enough to give us a demo copy of Upstream to be reviewed at the end of the week. Thanks, Alvaro! We will write the review in the following article. Follow our article for those who are interested to try Upstream.
Summarizing our journey on the second day of Spiel Essen 2018, the visitors were still as crowded as ever. We were told that on the third day (Saturday) it will get awfully crowded so we decided to head home early to have more time to rest.
As for the second day, we were very glad delighted that unexpectedly a lot of publishers and designers also had interest in Indonesia’s board game community and contributed by giving us review copies to be discussed. Besides Barpig and Itchy Monkey which we had originally contacted, we also secured Dôjima and a few other games that we will pick up at the last hours of Spiel Essen later such as Dice War: Light of Dragons and Upstream.
Curious with the amount of board games that we’ve collected during Spiel Essen 2018? Follow our series of report till the end.
I am a full-time food technologist during weekdays. However, when the calendar hits weekends, I transform into an avid board gamer. I am a hardcore Legend of the Five Rings (L5R) LCG player from Fantasy Flight Games (FFG). Current hobby: buying board games. My shelf of shame’s list is getting longer, thanks to you, Kickstarter.