Germany is full of many board games and groups of militant fans. Not only they love playing the board games, they also like to organise exhibitions and conventions dedicated for it. No wonder people say that Germany is the paradise for board game lovers. Besides the renowned Spiel Essen, here you can find many other board game conventions. One of them is held annually in the heart of Berlin, Germany's capital city. This was my first time to visit Berlin Brettspiel Con and here I'd like to share my experience.
What is Berlin Brettspiel Con?
This was their fifth Berlin Brettspiel Con. The event was held for 3 days, starting on Friday (19/7) and lasted until Sunday (21/7). They opened their gate on Friday at 7 p.m. with an opening party. What's interesting is they open from 10 a.m. to 12 a.m. on Saturday! Well, next year I'll visit them again for sure! You can visit their website here.
Berlin Con Awards 2019
In order to spread and push board games to the next generations, the organisers also prepared four categories of Berlin Con Awards. These categories are for the designer, publisher, best new designer, and best new publisher. Here's the list of the winner for each Berlin Con Awards 2019's category:
- Best Designer: Wolfgang Warsch
- Best Publisher: Portal Games
- Best New Designer: Elizabeth Hargrave
- Best New Publisher: Starling Games
Wolfgang Warsch is the designer of Die Tavernen im tiefen Thal. Elizabeth Hargrave designed the winner of Kennerspiel des Jahres 2019, Wingspan. You might have heard Portal Games through Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game. Starling Games is also popular because of their latest game, Everdell.
Board games in Berlin Brettspiel Con 2019
Although it was not as big as Spiel Essen, there were varied games and publishers coming to Station Berlin to showcase their products. I was there only for a day and it was not enough to see all of them. There were several big famous publishers, too. I saw Pegasus Spiele and Game Brewer having their spots crowded with many visitors. However, the smaller publishers and designers who self publish their games were also interesting.
Marcel Kraatz is a designer for Sunsmile Gaming. He showcased his prototype for Star Renegades. This war game was inspired heavily by the Android: Netrunner LCG with the faction and 'influence' system. However, instead of using cards, you will play this game by using board full with hexagonal area and miniatures.
It was a very strategic game with combination of area control and resource management. You have to destroy your opponent's HQ. In order to do that, you need to build factory and produce vehicles and tanks. In this prototype, Marcel even 3D-printed the miniatures for Berlin Brettspiel Con 2019.
Currently, the game is still in the development phase and he's still pitching his idea to many board game publishers. It might also be self-published. Nevertheless, he mentioned that he planned to release Star Renegades via Kickstarter. Perhaps, there will be stretch goals and deluxe components. Good luck!
The Wood Games
Next stop was The Wood Games, a 'legion of one' publisher based in Germany and managed by a Taiwanese, Citie Lo. He showcased many games here but the spotlight went for Board Game Cafe Frenzy. He stated that this game will be available in Kickstarter around mid August.
Despite his busy and crowded stand, Citie was so kind to explain his new game to us. Board Game Cafe Frenzy is a card game with trick-taking mechanic. This game is playable from 2-5 players. Just like other trick-taking game, you will need an AI to run as the third player. You will be competing with the other players to manage board game cafe. Whoever gets the most money/coins at the end of the game wins the game. The full review will be available soon because we got our hands on it already.
Besides Board Game Cafe Frenzy, The Wood Games also brought A Pleasant Journey to Neko. You can see Citie was holding it in the picture. Sadly, it was sold out and the copy in the picture was needed for demo purpose. The game looked quite intriguing, though. We'll definitely get it next time. By the way, Board Game Cafe Frenzy was almost sold out as well during the last day of Berlin Brettspiel Con 2019. Really cannot wait to try this game.
Citie Lo shared his spot with his partner company, Quality Beast. I met Dylan, the founder and the Head of Game Development. For your information, Quality Beast is responsible for the German's localisation of Roots. They also have their own games. One of them is Seize the Bean. This game was released in Kickstarter a while ago and they are still opening the pre-order window here. Dylan was the designer of this game. Have you backed it?
You become an owner of a cafe in Berlin and you will compete with other baristas who quit their jobs in order to be your direct competitor. In order to succeed, you need to manage your limited actions to win the game. You can start by attracting customers and decorating your cafe. Then, you can also expand your products' portfolio and restock material. It's worthy to note that your customer is not always a patient chap. Make sure that you will not let them leaving bad review for your business!
Another game they brought to Berlin Brettspiel Con 2019 was Tower of the Sun. The artwork really stood and the crowds gathered near the table. I didn't get any chance to try. My short investigation through BoardGameGeek told me that this game is an abstract game; more reasons to push myself to get it! You can check it here.
I think Tower of the Sun was also brought in Spiel Essen 2018 along with the German's version of Root. Correct me if I'm wrong. Nevertheless, this game is quite breathtaking because it involves a three-dimensional area controlled by the players.
This German-based company brought two games from Nürnberg to Berlin Brettspiel Con 2019. One of them would be reviewed soon, Dodoresque. It is a set-collection card game for 2-4 players. One gaming session needs around 20 minutes maximum. The artwork is quite funny and quite, I think because mainly Dodoresque targets family and younger audience.
You will be a Dodo who competes with the other birds to build the most beautiful nest. You have to gather the resources to build your nest from the three card stacks. Dodoresque was released in 2018. However, Tetrahedon Games also released a reprint of the second edition with different artwork, Dodoresque: Cherry Blossom. If you have the first edition, do not panic. There's no difference in game mechanics whatsoever, though!
For the more serious players, Tetrahedron Games also showcased Valhal. This game will bring you back to the dawn of the Viking era. You have to earn the gods' favour by expanding your settlement and pillaging other ships.
Gentes, Gugong, and their latest, Fuji Koro. Those fine gems were published by Game Brewer. Anyway, I backed Fuji Koro! Although I didn't see any copy yet, I tried their demo copy. You are a samurai that want to please the shogun. His command was to preserve the antiquities and relics before the Mount Fuji fully errupted. This game can be played cooperatively or competitively.
You might have seen this game in Kickstarter: Copenhagen. Queen Games released the deluxe edition through Kickstarter and several backers can even pick it up during Gen Con 2019 already. However, in Berlin Brettspiel Con 2019, they brought the retail edition plus several small expansions you can buy to add variety to the game. The tables were full and the visitors looked like they enjoy this game so much.
This publisher is based in The Netherlands. They brought La Stanza as their flagship in this convention. In La Stanza, you were the patrons who sponsored the most brilliant artists to gather favour and wealth so you can rise your social status and prestige. La Stanza was also in Kickstarter this year.
Underworld Kingdom is a board game publisher from Poland. I saw their stand in Spiel Essen 2018 and they brought Stworze. This game was also available for demo and purchase in Berlin Brettspiel Con 2019. Besides, they also bring another game called Stolemë.
Stolemë tells a story about the ancient giants who lived along the Kashubian coast in Poland. They have their families and they liked to throw huge stones to each other. Through the game, the giants would then reshaped the Kashubian coast. You will win the game by proving that other giants are wrong.
The artwork looked promising. It was so simple yet the impact was so huge. Stolemë is a game for 2-4 players. The way it looks, I think Underworld Kingdom is targetting kids from 8 years old and above. Wait for more details from us!
Dario Reinhardt and Fabian Fischer are two designers from Germany who designed Crimson Company. This game is playable for two players. Yes, this is a duel game. You and your opponent will try to secure two castles out of three in order to seize the control over a magical island. In order to win the castle, you will have to 'hire' creatures to help you win in a strength showdown. Each creature has its own strength and effect. The effect can be triggered based on its triggering window.
There were three castles and it created lanes on each side of the castle. When one player controlled four creatures on a castle then the scoring could be done by comparing the strength of all creatures on that lane. Whoever got the highest strength would take control over the castle. The game was quite fast and it still had a strategy aspect on it. We took one for our collection and of course, to review it.
One of the reasons I went to check Berlin Brettspiel Con 2019 was also because of Cranio Creations' new creation: Mystery House. This game looked really interesting. They managed to combine puzzle, escape room, and unlock into one game. Not to mention that this game would also offer a 3-D experience during the gaming session.
Mystery House would be released during Spiel Essen 2019. They brought a demo copy with a demo puzzle. I tried once and it was quite fun! They also opened a pre-order for this game including two expansions and one flashlight for the game session.
If you see the picture above, there were a lot of codes and holes. We had to put the board on the eye-level so we could see through inside. Cranio Creations' crew, Elisa, told me that this game should be played in a well-lit room because we needed to peek to see the clues. Both expansions, Family Portrait and Lord of the Labyrinth would be available in Spiel Essen 2019. If you want to know how it looked inside the holes, here I have several more pictures below.
So how does Mystery House work? Well, you will play with an app companion. A pencil and a sheet of paper to note every clue will be really helpful, too. There are clue cards that will help you to open the doors and places.
When you get the right clue, you have to input it to the app. Also, when you see something, you can note it down; it might be really useful later on.
Will there be any time limit later on? I can't tell. Even if there's time limit imposed, I would say it would just add the fun!
Board and Dice
This publisher will be publishing a reprint of Yedo in a deluxe edition. During Berlin Brettspiel Con 2019, they brought only demo copies. Besides Yedo's new deluxe edition reprint, they also brought Trimesgitus which looked as interesting as Yedo. They also mentioned about the new expansion for Teotihuacan, which was a boom during Spiel Essen 2018.
The deluxe edition for Yedo is not only getting upgrades for the components. They also add new mechanics into the game.
The new modular components will be introduced in order to bring this new mechanic into the game. The winning condition is still the same: you get the most prestige points. This can be achieved mostly by completing missions. The artwork looked better in this deluxe edition. I would really like to see this new reprint available in the market as soon as possible.
Hush Hush Project
This is an exciting game, Fog of Love. The company also brought three expansion during Berlin Brettspiel Con 2019. It is a game for two players who would try to make the unorthodox relationship works. Both of you will create a character and during the game, you have to make sure the relationship works. It is kind of a story-telling game, though. Well, I always wanted to play this game. Let's wait until we unbox and review it for you guys!
It is worth to mention that if you have seen the other cover, yes, you can see that they also have another artworks for the core set! I really like how they took gay couple into account for their game. It really brings diversity.
Well, Berlin Brettspiel Con 2019 was definitely not my last convention from Berlin. I mean, for sure it was not as big as Spiel Essen. But it did really have its own advantage. You see, because the crowd was not as massive as the other one, I got more time to talk with the publishers and the designers. It means that I didn't have to wait in a long queue to try some games, too.
There were several other publishers and designers I have never heard and it turned out that their games were actually great. It was really a good experience to get to know more small publishers with potential games to be big. I will definitely come again in 2020. Kudos!
An avid board gamers who plays hardcore Legend of the Five Rings (L5R) LCG from Fantasy Flight Games (FFG). Current hobby: buying board games. My shelf of shame’s list is getting longer every damn time.