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.
The expected booming amount of visitors at the end of the weekend has been anticipated by coming earlier. Sadly, a lot of visitors were also on the same page. In the end, Meeple Eksyen crew were stuck in a queue tailing from the main gate. To reduce the wasted time, we circled to another site entrance. Not as much as the main gate, but the queue is already lined up in a tidy manner. No other options, we eventually got in after being hit in the face by the autumn wind for 30 minutes.
This morning we already had an appointment to meet with Pat Piper, a Hong Kong designer, to try his board game, Crossroads of Heroes. This 2-5 players game has successfully been funded by 664 supporters by the end of March 2017. After missing the chance to get this game, we didn't waste another minute and headed straight to Hall 5.
This game requires strategy and tactic. Each player receives a role as a master of martial arts from one of the famous clans during the era. Players must manage the cards in hand to become The Grand Master of Wulin and win the game. The interesting thing is that the master of martial arts role controlled by the player can take the wrong path and become evil. The winning conditions then changes too. Want to know more? Pat gave us a copy review to be picked up at the end of the event. Wait our special rubric for Crossroads of Heroes.
After talking with Pat Piper, time to head to Hall 4 for a visit to Japon Brand booth. In this booth, we saw a number of designers and publishers from the The Land of The Rising Sun. We specifically met Nishikawa Kenichiro from Librage Game. This year they brought Family Trade that had just been released.
Family Trade is a card game combining financial elements and Mahjong, a traditional Japanese game. In this game, players roll dices to decide the price of the commodities for each new round. Then players collect four set (three cards per set) to win the round and get their payout. Players will draw and discard cards to reach this goal. One of the cards can used to heighten or lower the price of the commodities. Game takes place in three rounds, whoever has the most money becomes the winner. Kenichiro-san gave us a review copy personally autographed on that day. In the future, we will give an in-depth review. どうもありがとう!
While walking around Hall 5 again, we caught a familiar stand at the corner of our eyes. Inside the Box's logo that we have been familiar with since backing Sub Terra's project was right smack at the center of the hall. We stopped by for a bit to give our greetings and to take a look at their newest prototype, Newspeak. As we thought, the combination of a hot game and the weekend results in a fully packed table.
After exchanging name cards with the staffs of Inside the Box, we spared some time to ask the Backer Pack sent via post without tracking. They told us that they had Backer Pack in stock in this event, we then got one that we'll play immediately once we reached home. Yay! Flash news, Sub Terra is a board game with modular boards that takes up an adventure theme. Players are asked to work together to find an exit from the cave before their flashlight's battery run out. Getting out of the cave is no easy feet, loads of obstacles in the way, starting with the difficult playing field to the scary beings hunting down our characters. It comes as no surprise if Sub Terra is funded by more than 6.000 backers in Kickstarter. We already wrote about Sub Terra previously over here.
Strolling around the corridors of Spiel Essen is a task on its own. Next, we tried walking around Hall 1 before heading back to Hall 4 to meet other publishers around lunch hour. Our attention was again stolen by two Brazilian publishers who shared location: Geeks n' Orcs and Redbox. When will you get a second chance to check out board games from the continent of South America?
For Redbox, we tried their board game titled Tsukiji. Released last year, this Leandro Pires designed game takes place in Tokyo year 1930. Each player is a restaurant owner competing to get the best seafood ingredients for their own establishment. Players will try to manipulate the prices, join auctions, and in the end collects the most money to win.
Three to eight players compete to survive to the end. Players who ran out of cards first will be eliminated. Each round, players must put one card face down in the middle pile; when revealed, if the card is the same as the previous one, the fastest player to slap the gem pile can take two cards. At the end of the game, players compare the collected gem. The one with the most wins. From Renato representing Geeks n' Orc, we were given a free review copy that we will try later. While Fabiana from Redbox gave us a demo copy that we can pick up at the last minute of Spiel Essen. Obrigado!
While heading towards the rest area for a lunch break, we passed by Asmodee Group's gigantic booth again. 'Tis a pity, we did not get a table to try the newest board game from the biggest board game company in the world. One of the must see board game includes Orbis (Space Cowboys), Tokyo Highway (itten), Discover: Lands Unknown (Fantasy Flight Games), and others.
Besides Tokyo Highway designed by itten, the other two titles is released this year and distributed at the start of Spiel Essen 2018. Tokyo Highway itself has been released and became a hot item since 2016. Orbis and Discover: Lands Unknown used a modular board system that differs each play. Tha last title really stole the spotlight and even graced the cover of Spiel Guide this year.
Having some free time until the appointed time to meet with itten's crew, we detoured to Hall 5 again and met with Mackerel Sky Games. Travis as the designer introduced us to Doxie Dash, a card game that puts forward the press-your-luck element.
Doxie Dash is really simple to play and learn. Players pick one of the dog characters to be used throughout the game. In each round, players must draft cards in front of the playing area, then give the rest to the player beside him / her. The stack of cards give combos that results in points. Press-your-luck system shows at the end of each round. Players can discard cards in front of him / her and change it with a new card drawn from the face down deck. If you're not careful, you may be rewarded with a penalty.
This game is perfect as a gateway game or filler. Our excitement for this game gave away to Travis who then handed us a review copy which we will present the review to you guys later on.
After lunch hour, more group of visitors flooded the exhibition area. We hastily headed to Hall 4 to fulfill our appointment with itten. We met Nozomi who welcomed us in a Japanese hospitality manner. The team showcased Tokyo Highway (distributed by Asmodee), Here Comes the Dog, Hatsuden (which we already covered here), and Tribe.
Itten's booth is small, but always crowded with visitors curious of their compact sized board game with cute components. We talked for a bit before given a review copy of Here Comes the Dog. Besides the board games brought by itten, they also brought along one of the prototypes that will be published soon in Kickstarter. This game called Stone Henge and The Sun is in the dexterity category where players try to build structures from "stone" and then swing the pendulum while maintaining not to hit the other structures.
Approaching 7 PM, the amount of visitors start to recede and we had to leave the exhbition phere. There's still a load of other interesting board games to try, but we only had so much time in a day. On this day, we manage to bring home a number of board games for our next content. One of which is Crossroads of Heroes and Tsukiji to be picked up on Sunday, Family Trade, Melvin vs Kronk, and Doxie Dash. Follow our string of journeys that will end on Day 4. Don't forget, we will announce all our loot from Spiel Essen this year.