Waking up at 5 a.m. for SPIEL 2021 day one was a breeze for me. I was so excited, I hardly slept. Riding the train from Bonn to Essen with some delays was not bad today. After waiting for two years, SPIEL Messe was once more opening its curtain.
THE EARLY BIRD CATCHES THE WORM
The gate opened at 9.50 a.m. for the visitors, but I had the privilege to roam around before they entered. Around 8 a.m., I already arrived and checked in. Nevertheless, some early visitors were already there, waiting for the gate opening for them. I assumed they camped in front of the building, maybe.
Bitoku — Devir Iberia
Before the official opening of the first SPIEL Messe after the pandemic messed up the schedule, I made my way to Hall 3. Devir Iberia was my first destination of the day. Bitoku has been staying on the top trending board games on Board Game Geek's (BGG) chart for a while, and I assumed it would be sold out like hot pancakes.
In Bitoku, all players compete to become the next great spirit of the forest. It is not an easy feat because these spirits need to help the yōkai, kodama, and other pilgrims.
Engine-building feels dominant in Bitoku, and the busy board consists of several paths to victory. I really appreciate the thematic choice and the beauty of the artworks surrounding this game.
A few hours after I acquired my copy, Bitoku was gone. Just like what I predicted. Should this be my first review from SPIEL 2021?
Devir's proven track record reassured me to purchase Bitoku. I didn't expect it to be so heavy, both in gameplay and the actual weight. I almost sprained my wrist attempting to lift it only with one hand. No wonder my picture was quite blurry.
THE OTHER TOP NEW GAMES I COULD WATCH AND TRY
Messina 1347 — Delicious Games
Some long lines and queues discouraged me to do the transaction today. I didn't expect today to be so crowded. Hence, I only tried Messina 1347 from Delicious Games. As the Black Death spread, the important families in Messina fled to the countryside. While they retreated, they still attempted to rescue the other inhabitants and fight the plague.
As a member of traders and merchants, our objectives included securing some districts post-plague. When the blight subsided, we need to once again prosper.
The Siege of Runedar — Ludonova Games
Reviewing a game from this Spanish publisher will not be our first time. They have two releases this year, and the other one is as interesting as the one we pick. The Siege of Runedar takes place in a gold mine conquered by the dwarfs. Little they know, this gold mine is neighbouring with an orc lair. Dwarfs and orcs are never friendly in the first place.
A co-operative game by Reiner Knizia, The Siege of Runedar needs all players to defend the wall and the treasures they keep within. With the deck building mechanic, we will attempt to hold the line and build a tunnel to escape the raid.
Tabannusi: Builders of Ur — Board & Dice
The latest T-series from Daniel Tascini and David Spada brings us to the ancient Mesopotamia. The board depicts the Ur and its five regions, and each dice's colour tightly to the district's colour.
With most of all T-titles in my collection, I would definitely buy this one tomorrow, if the stock is still available.
SOME UPCOMING CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGNS
SPIEL Messe will never be complete without the showcasing of some prototypes and upcoming projects. Today, three of them were attractive enough to make me spend my time on their booth.
One of them was Voidfall from Mindclash Games. Just like their previous projects, they keep the aesthetic quality exceeding expectation.
The board and components look beautifully intimidating, as always. No wonder, its complexity rate is quite astronomical on BGG.
Pachamama on the other hand, looks more family-friendly. After the first game, I found it similar with the Minesweeper. We explored which terrain we were standing on and guessed what cropped was there. The game will be on Kickstarter by Sit Down!
Tindaya will be on another crowdfunding platform, which has been growing significantly since its launching. Red Mojo brings out this semi-competitive game into the market soon. The game mostly revolves around surviving through the harsh environment, invasions, and the wrath of gods.
WHY YOU NO ACCEPTING CARD?
No, seriously… This has been my problem with SPIEL Messe since forever! I think some publishers need to offer the possibility to pay with cards or other non-cash option. Anyway, I had fun today! See you tomorrow.
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.