SPIEL 2021 Day Zero: Looking at the new releases [News]

At last, the Internationale Spieltage has drawn its curtain, starting at SPIEL 2021 Day Zero. On Wednesday (13/10), all the press media and content creators were welcome to have a sneak peek for all the new releases. The pre-opening occurred in another part of the exhibition space. Just like last year, we were not yet allowed to get inside the halls.

Before I went down deeper, let’s take a loot at the two important prizes they awarded this year pre-SPIEL 2021 Day Zero: Deutscher Spiele Preis and innoSPIEL.


To recall your mind, Deutscher Spiele Preis is an annual prize awarded during this Internationale Spieltage in Essen. This prize has been a tradition since 1990. It is granted via votings, and divided into two segments: the best game for family and adults, and for kids. There is another special category (Sonderpreis) for exemplary merits.

The Lost Ruins of Arnak seized this year's prestigious award. I have highlighted my attempt to play this game during last year's Castle Tricon with the crew member from Czech Games Edition (CGE). The game from the duo Michal Štach and Michaela Štachová stood up the most among the other nominees, such as the notable Paleo from Peter Rustemeyer and Martin Wallace's Anno 1800.

Meanwhile, Dodo acquired the other category of the prize for children, Deutscher Kinderspiele Preis. Marco Teubner and Frank Bebenroth created this cooperative game for children. I'll take a better look at this game at Kosmos Verlag's booth tomorrow.

You can take a look at the nominees and the previous winners of this award on Spiel's website. These games are already circulating in retail, so you don't have to worry about the current availability.

THE innoSPIEL 2021

While Deutscher Spiele Preis is awarded via an open voting system, the innoSPIEL has a board of juries to pick the winner. They grant this annually to the most innovative game in the growing and expanding board game market.

This year's innoSPIEL went to Ghost Adventure, an innovative game from Wlad Watine, and published by Pegasus Spiele. Instead of using several meeples as the figures, we go in an adventure with a spinning top.

The game requires a set of dexterity skills. Players will coordinate and steer the top over the board, and while doing so, sometimes they need to flip the board as well! This is an excellent choice if you are seeking a family game.

In short, the top is not a mere cosmetic in this game. It becomes an essential part in Ghost Adventure.


The SPIEL 2021 Day Zero was not only about the prize winning games. There are several excellent games showcased today. While I was writing this article, I also realized that I couldn't really show it all. Thus, what you read and see below were some games I hand-picked personally. Let me know if I missed something or when your most-waited games were missing below!

DV Giochi's Wonder Book

A campaign-based, dungeon-dwelling game with tiles is a common sight. Some similar games also use a book as their board. DV Giochi, an Italian publisher, went an extra mile to come up with a nice idea. They utilize a pop-up book to be the board of their latest game.

As the title imposes, Wonder Book is definitely full of wonder. There are a couple of campaigns all players need to run, and some decisions alter the endings, too.

The pop-up is not for aesthetic purpose only. They also serve some functions, and sometimes open up the path you'll never think about. What's more wonderful, this game comes with some miniatures as well!

Devir with their new title and an expansion of Paris

Bitoku is the latest release from Devir. It has been topping the Hotness in BGG for a while now. I haven't had the chance to delve deeper about the game, but I have secured a copy to review after the event.

The board looks pretty and busy at the same time. Was it safe to assume that Bitoku is a heavy-euro game?

Besides a new game, Devir also brought the expansion for their previous two-player game, Paris: La Cité de la Lumière. Thanks to this new addition, now we have a complete Paris. You will never have Paris without the Eiffel Tower. It brings a set of eight new postcards, and they promise it will bring more variability into the game. Let's see.

New Kickstarter project, a trick-taking game for two, and a new title from Portugal

The new releases in SPIEL 2021 Day Zero were not only something already circulating in the market. For example, we also found out Tindaya, a game from Red Mojo, a Spanish publisher. This game will seek for funding through Gamefound.

I was happy to see a new game from Mandoo Games. Jekyll vs Hyde is a trick-taking game pitting two players against two famous personalities from the famous novella by Robert Louis Stevenson. Dr. Jekyll will try his best to keep everything in balance, preventing him to succumb into the darkness. Meanwhile, Mr. Hyde will relentlessly attack with the tricks to lure Dr. Jekyll into the insanity.

Mebo Games, the publisher who released Carrossel in 2019, showcased their latest piece: Lisbon Tram 28. This is another game I am really interested in reviewing in the near future, too. How to play and so on will follow, as I haven't had the chance to try it today.

New games from our old friends

We also met Ren from Dragon Dawn Productions. They are pretty well-known with their horror games. Maeshowe, with the same vibe, leads you to another nightmare. Can you survive this time?

Cranio Creations' new game is Golem. I haven't researched deeper, but definitely will try the game during the fair.

Other notable new releases from the big names

There were some new medium to heavy euro games on the table as well. Pegasus Spiele brought Corrosion this year, where players need to cleverly manage their gears before they rust and become useless.

The new series for the best-selling card drafting game, It's a Wonderful Kingdom, was also an interesting sight. What differs this series with the predecessor?

Game Brewer and their Hippocrates brings us back to Greece in 370 BC. All players compete to be the successor of Hippocrates, bringing his legacy in the medical world.

Schicht Wechsel (the change of working shift) is the new game from Spiele Faible. It is a worker placement taking place in the golden era of coal mining in Ruhr region. It looked like a heavy euro game, so I will take a look deeper during the fair.

Before concluding, let me show my appreciation to you readers. Thank you for staying and reading up to this point!

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