Stasia Doster


The 31st annual European Boardgames Championships [EuropeMasters] were held on October 26th, 2019, at the Spiel in Essen, Germany, with 38 teams participating from 12 different countries, a new record. Nine games were nominated for play in March 2019: Gùgōng, Solenia, Crown of Emara, Key Flow, Underwater Cities, Everdell, Coimbra, Carpe Diem, and Newton. From this nomination list, four games were selected for the tournament: Gùgōng, Solenia, Coimbra, and Newton. The committee stated that in selecting the games for play, they look for different gaming mechanisms as well as the play time for the games.

There is a complex schedule for the tournament with so many teams involved. According to the Championship’s Pressmap, “Per round each player individually can earn up to 5 points by winning the game at his table. The maximum team score is therefore 20 points per round. And a maximum of 80 points throughout the whole tournament.”

For 2019, the team Brettspielteam Hamburg from Germany was the overall champion with 67 points, followed closely by teams Das Team mit dem Paukenschlag (also from Germany) with 64 points and Za pet minut (from the Czech Republic) with 62 points. In addition to the team winners, there were individual winners: Ondřej Demel and Michal Konfršt, both from the Czech Republic, and Thomas Winheller from Germany.

If you are interested in learning more about the European Championships, be sure and check out the tournament’s website here.

Out of a field that included 12 finalists, Matchbox Cars, Magic the Gathering, and the lowly coloring book have made it into the National Toy Hall of Fame. The other nominees for the honor were Care Bears, Fisher-Price Corn Popper, Jenga, Masters of the Universe, My Little Pony, Nerf Blaster, Risk, smartphone, and the top. 

According to Chief Curator Christopher Bensch, “Matchbox Cars revolutionized the toy car industry after their introduction, and the name ‘Matchbox’ has become synonymous with miniature cars. It’s only fitting that they join the Toy Hall of Fame to sit in the winner’s circle alongside Hot Wheels, the other titan of the field.”

Perhaps of more interest to boardgamers is the induction of Magic the Gathering, which has now been around for 25+ years now, into the Hall of Fame. Per curator Shannon Symonds, “Magic: The Gathering changed the landscape of collectible card gaming . . . and it’s become a part of pop culture—leading to book series, electronic games,  and even a series on Netflix. The fact that it continues to maintain popularity is a testament to its revolutionary gameplay and constant evolution, making it engaging for beginners and experts alike.”

Finally, the coloring book has made it into the Hall of Fame. Whose childhood has been complete without at least one? The coloring book was originally introduced to America due to educational reforms in Europe transitioning over, but McLoughlin Brothers, a New York printing company, is credited as the coloring book’s inventor.  To no one’s surprise, coloring books are still in use for educational purposes today.

The National Toy Hall of Fame is part of The Strong National Museum of Play, which encourages “hands on” play in a collections-based museum, focusing on the history and the exploration of play. The museum is located at One Manhattan Square, Rochester, NY, and is open seven days a week.

For more information on the Toy Hall of Fame inductees, check out the press release here. For additional information on the The Strong, check out the museum’s website here.

PAX Unplugged, coming up December 6-8, 2019, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has announced the schedule for the convention. It will kick off with a Fireside chat between Penny Arcade co-founder Jerry Holkins and Eric Lang, who has designed such titles as Blood Rage and Rising Sun.

In addition to Eric Lang, this year’s special guests include bestselling author Patrick Rothfuss and podcaster Travis McElroy. The convention will feature live performances by The C Team and Acquisitions Incorporated. It will also have an escape room for attendees to enjoy and tournament plays of such titles as Catan and Rising Sun. There will be more than 250 exhibitors at the convention as well.

For additional information on the convention itself, check out the PAX Unplugged website here. For the convention’s schedule details, check them out here.

Alley Cat Games has launched a Kickstarter campaign for Tungaru, “a seafaring, culture-spreading dice-placement Euro,” designed by the team of Louis and Stefan Malz, who have designed or co-designed such titles as Edo, Rococo and Valparaiso. The artwork for the game is provided by Andrew Bosley, responsible for the beautiful artwork of Everdell and more recently, Tapestry.

In Tungaru, 2-5 players aged 14 and up, will spend between 60-90 minutes spreading their particular culture across the Pacific archipelago of Tungaru. The players will do this by building their engine, managing their resources, and placing their dice to best effect.

The Kickstarter campaign features both a retail and deluxe edition of the game. The deluxe edition of the game is a Kickstarter and Alley Cat Games exclusive. The game has already funded and multiple stretch goals have been unlocked. The campaign has about 3 weeks left to run, so if you are interested, check it out here.

Vengeance: Director’s Cut is an expansion to 2017’s Vengeance, a game in which the players are downtrodden heroes seeking to get revenge against those who have wronged them. In Vengeance: Director’s Cut, the players are movie directors, shooting a film about the heroes attempts to confront their nemeses – in fact, the expansion is billing itself as “A revenge movie in a box.”

In the Vengeance: Director’s Cut expansion, a new gang is introduced as well as a new hero. The expansion also introduces Hero Perks and Story Missions, which are specific to each hero and add more narrative to the base game.

Through the currently running Kickstarter campaign, which has funded, those interested can get the base game as well as the expansion. For further information, be sure and check out the Vengeance Kickstarter campaign here. The campaign only has about a week to go!

Chronicles of Drunagor: Age of Darkness has now been launched on Kickstarter. The game is designed by the team of Daniel Alves and Eurico Cunha Neto, who are also responsible for such titles as Masmorra: Dungeons of Arcadia and The Towers of Arkhanos. Chronicles is being published by Creative Games Studio.

Chronicles of Drunagor: Age of Darkness features a campaign mode with around 40 hours of game play for 1-5 players, depending on the player count. If the players do not or cannot immerse themselves in the campaign, there are also adventures that can be played as one offs. The game is a fully cooperative strategic game with a 60 page adventure campaign book and a 30+ page adventure interactions book so there is plenty of material to choose from!

Chronicles of Drunagor: Age of Darkness has about 3 more weeks left in its campaign. It is already fully funded with many stretch goals already unlocked. For further information on the game, including game play videos, be sure and check out the Kickstarter campaign here.

Cosmodrome Games has announced a new family game coming soon, Squire: The Collector of the Glorious Rarities. The game is designed by
Pavel Atamanchuk, who also designed 2018’s Architectura. The game is for 2-4 players, ages 12 and up, with a 40-60 minute play time.

In Squire: The Collector of the Glorious Rarities , the players take on the roles of anthropomorphized animals in the world of Victorian England who are buying relics, holding exhibitions and participating in auctions all with the goal of achieving more success than the other players.

One of the features of the game is variable difficulty with an easy mode designed for players new to the game and a hard mode for those with more experience. The game also features an interesting take on engine building and dynamic pricing in its market.

For further information on the game, a look at the artwork and the rules, check out the Cosmodrome website here.

In one of the first big announcements coming out of Essen 2019, Portal Games has announced that Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game is being reimplemented as Detective: Season One. Like the original game, Detective: Season One is a fully cooperative game for 1-5 players.

However, unlike the original game, Detective: Season One is more family friendly, featuring only 3 cases (the original game features 5), and has a shorter play time of 90 minutes, as opposed to the 2-3 hour playtime of the original game. Portal is billing the game as “perfectly tailored for a mystery game night” with each of the three cases set in a different setting.

Detective: Season One will be hitting your friendly local game store’s shelves in the second half of 2020. For those who are unfamiliar with the original game, more information can be found on the Portal Games website here.

Races of New Era, otherwise known as Rone, is a post-apocalyptic card game for 2-4 players which plays in less than an hour. The game was designed by Štěpán Štefaník with artwork provided Rastislav Kubovic. The latest edition of the game, Rone: Complete Edition, contains the base game and its previous expansions. The new Kickstarter project features not only the Complete Edition, but a new expansion, Last Stand, as well.

Rone is a strategic card game that prides itself on being easy to learn, but hard to master as players join in a global war, recruiting soldiers, battling machines, and equipping their troops, all in an effort to become ruler of the new order. The new expansion to the game, Last Stand, introduces 2 new game modes, Radiation Mode and Environment Mode. Radiation Mode adds more cards to each players deck and Environment Mode introduces new environments to which the players must adapt.

The Kickstarter campaign for Rone has about 3 weeks to go and at the time of this writing, is about 1/3 of the way to its funding goal. If the game or the new expansion sounds good to you, be sure and check out its Kickstarter page here.

Scott Almes is adding to the “Tiny Epic” series from Gamelyn Games, this time with Tiny Epic Dinosaurs, a worker placement/resource management game for 1-4 players which plays in about 30-60 minutes. The game is funding on Kickstarter now.

In Tiny Epic Dinosaurs, the players are ranchers trying to run the most successful dinosaur ranching farm. They do this through 6 rounds, each of which contains several phases during which they will harvest resources, put their ranching team to work buying new dinosaurs, tending those dinosaurs, improving the ranch for those dinosaurs, and hopefully breeding those dinosaurs. The player who most successfully accomplishes all that – scoring the most victory points – wins the game.

Tiny Epic Dinosaurs has already funded and unlocked several stretch goals. The game has about 3 more weeks to go in its Kickstarter campaign. If you are interested in further information about this campaign, check it out here.