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.

It happened again.  Another small publisher was robbed at the Essen Spiel Fair.  You may remember that it was only a couple of years ago that LudiCreations fell victim to an unscrupulous thief who stole their cash box at Essen.  The silver lining to the whole event was the rapid creation of and overwhelming support on Kickstarter for Steal This GameSteal This Game was a tongue-in-cheek theme reflective of the incident inflicted on LudiCreation at Essen.

This time, the thieves targeted Artipia Games, ironically while they were running demos of their new game, A Thief’s Fortune.  Like so many outstanding game publishers, Artipia’s personnel were being ever attentive to their customers and fans.  The thieves took advantage of Artipia’s customer engagement to create a distraction while an accomplice stole the cash register.  Artipia acted quickly, resulting in one arrest but not the recovery of the stolen cash. Thankfully, no one was hurt.  Artipia Games reflected on the incident:

“Our shock and financial loss left a very sour taste in our mouth. Artipia Games is a family indie game publishing business and the sales we make at the Essen fair play an important role in our survival.”

To cut their losses, Artipia Games is running a Kickstarter Campaign for five specially designed promo cards for A Thief’s Fortune, Fields of Green, Kitchen Rush, The Pursuit of Happiness, and Whoosh: Bounty Hunters.  In what is becoming a tradition in our hobby, the theme of these promos is also a tongue-in-cheek reflection of the incident. There are no plans to reprint these promos; there were made only for this Kickstarter campaign to offset the losses from the theft.  The boardgame community has always pulled together in camaraderie and compassion in times of need. Whether you decide to back the Kickstarter for the promos or make a small donation, your support will be greatly appreciated.


Escape Tales: The Awakening by Board & Dice, is a card game that is based on the escape room concept, except that there are no time limitations. The focus of the game is on the story and player exploration.

“Players take on the role of Sam, whose daughter has been in a coma for over two months and whose doctors still cannot explain how this happened or what caused it. According to them, everything is fine with the girl; she’s healthy and shouldn’t be in this condition. Sam is desperate and looks for answers everywhere he can, which leads to a weird meeting with Mark.”

Once in a similar situation with his son, Mark offers Sam a book that he says contains a ritual called “The Awakening”, which might bring Sam’s daughter back. He also offers a warning that Sam needs to prepare himself mentally for the ordeal he will be put through – which involves traveling to another dimension. Sam is now ready to take on the challenge. Are you?

In the game, players will encounter engaging puzzles and will be required to make tough choices to proceed through the story. There are several different endings to the game. The puzzles solved, paths taken, decisions made – all of these interactions shape the story and have an impact on the ending that will be unraveled.


  • 130 x Riddle cards
  • 20 x Location cards
  • 10 x Dooms cards
  • 18 x Action markers
  • Game board
  • Story Book
  • Rulebook

For 1-4 players, aged 12+. The play time noted on the box is 240-360 minutes.

The game is now available for pre-order and should begin shipping with begin end-October. It is also available at Essen Spiel. (Yay! I have already made my pre-order and can’t wait to pick it up in Essen!)

Wizkids games has announced plans for an October release of their new Lancelot game.

Attempting to prove their worth in the Court of King Arthur, players take on the roles of the Knights of the Round Table and perform heroic deeds, quest for the Grail and obtain various Knightly Virtues all with the goal to be elected First Knight – Lancelot. Eventually as Lancelot you might even steal the heart of Queen Guinevere!

Undeterred by the recent global flop of a movie that was King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Wizkids will have you traveling to the land of ancient Britain to defeat enemy knights. Success when meeting the Lady of the Lake and she will gift you with the legendary Excalibur. Even with Excalibur in your hands and Merlin at your side, your enemy Morgana will still be a fearsome foe.

Though little information is out, we know you move pieces at your own pace but falling behind will have others grabbing the resources necessary to be successful in the game.


  • 90 Round Tokens
  • 16 Tiles
  • 1 Excalibur
  • 85 Cards
  • 16 Stickers
  • Wooden Cylinders
  • Wooden Discs
  • Rule Book

Last year WizKids announced that Zev Shlasinger, founder of Z-Man Games/F2Z Entertainment joined their team to expanded Board Game operations. Zev and Wizkids will continue to enter righteous battle in the board game market this October when Lancelot hits the marketplace.

The following article was written by Martina Frohme & Alexander Urbanek, from the Dice & Mystics Board Game Guild, to recap their experiences at Spiel Essen.

Our Dice & Mystics Board Game Guild host game nights every Wednesday at the Parish Centre St. Engelbert in Bochum (right next to Essen).

At the Spiel Essen 2015 we had heard complaints that there were few opportunities to play and meet other gamers, so – being just 15 minutes away from the Spiel (by car) – we wanted to help out. We sought to provide gaming space free of charge for Spiel attendees, and a chance to unbox and punch tokens in a safe environment and lighten the luggage for the journey home.

Our motivation? We do everything we can to promote board gaming as the best of all hobbies because it is intelligent, communicative, social, peaceful (no-one dies, they just go back in the box), cooperative (even “one against all” requires a group working together), there is no age limit and all ages fit at one table. Those who can afford cool games can share with those who cannot (and thus need not spend any money at all), and all have lots of fun together. We also fight the common misconception that board games are “just for children”, and at the same time get children into board gaming by hosting an annual event during our parish festival and raffle off quality games donated by our guild members.


From plan into action: What followed still appears to us like a miracle of biblical dimensions. We asked the parish if we could have a room – and they said they wanted to be open and welcoming and hospitable, especially to Spiel attendees from abroad, and gave us the entire building completely free of any charge whatsoever. The janitor even rebooked her family holiday in order to be able to give us the keys and be there for us if we needed her!

Thus we were able to create our Dice & Mystics Fringe. We had up to 140 spaces  at our dispoal. We advertised on Board Game Geek and were invited to advertise on the site of “NRW Spielt” and other forums.  Two game designers  offered to demo their prototype, a guild member from Finland promised to demo two games from his Spiel booth.

We asked our online retailer for advice on coffee we could buy for our guests– and he simply sponsored us an unlimited flow of free Italian speciality coffee for everyone! Our caterer volunteered to offer us reduced prices. When looking for presents for some friends and helpers people we had not formerly known came up with brilliant ideas, and on hearing what we needed them for, miraculously produced sold out gift packages they had had reserved for themselves and now offered up willingly; in one case somebody organized two boxes of original “Maßkrüge” (the famous Bavarian 1 litre beer glasses) directly from the Oktoberfest in Munich for us to give away, just like that. Everybody simply wanted to say “Welcome to Germany!” We believe in the kindness of strangers.

What was it like? Was the Fringe a success? Judging by what we were told on the event and by mails we received after, it was. The basic data:

  • The Dice & Mystics Fringe took place Saturday October 15th. We were open 8 hours from 16 p.m. to midnight.
  • 38 from 42 people on our guest list came, about 1/3 of our maximum capacity, which is not at all bad for a first time off. Some more had missed our deadline (October 8th), but as there is just 2 of us doing the logistics, this could not be helped. We needed to state the number of attendees by Oct. 11th because the heavy tables needed to be transported and assembled accordingly.
  • People started arriving at 16 p.m. sharp (1st wave). There was another wave at 19.30 p.m. Everyone had been able to easily find us, following the instructions we had given them, and told us the times (just 15 mins. by car, 1 hour by public transport) were accurate.
  • We were able to welcome guests from Great Britain, Iceland, the Czech Republic, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden and, of course, Germany.
  • The huge and very well-lit tables and the nice room were much admired. People were eager to choose their favourite table and settle down comfortably.


  • Nearly all attendees came with big backpacks and trolleys and were only too happy to unbox, punch tokens and discard the spare weight into the bins provided.
  • There were groups and also solo travellers, and everyone immediately started to communicate. At 16.15 p.m. the first game with 3 nations at one table was launched. From that moment on, there were game rounds until midnight and everybody was enjoying themselves immensely.
  • Everybody was, indeed, very grateful for the free hot coffee (over 70 cups!).
  • What everyone saw as a great plus was that our caterer, a Turkish/Italian/German delivery service, came directly to the tables to take orders (at 18.00 and again at 21.00 p.m.), and that the food took only 30 minutes to arrive.


                                                                                                                                 (Yes, we do have permission to publish their picture.)

  • After 3 whole days at his booth and with Sunday yet to come, Jalmari Ruokojärvi, CEO of Dragon Dawn Productions, demoed their flagship Perdition’s Mouth – Abyssal Rift until mid-night till he was ready to drop. It is a heavy story based dungeon crawler full of thinky strategy , with impressive artwork and great minis that scream to be painted, so it was an eye catcher on the table. He had also brought Black Hat, but the dungeon crawler soaked up all the attention. (We are very happy and proud to have Jalmari as our guild member.) 



  • The brothers Francois and Simon Pirson from Belguim demoed their prototype of Canyon Cup, a kind of stock car race through difficult terrain where you score points not for being first but for giving the most spectacular show to the audience by overtaking, shooting at other cars or even yourself for effect, exploding oil barrels or colliding with them and setting your own car at fire. They were glad to try it with an international audience for the very first time. People had fun playing and happy to give their feedback to the designers. 


  • We were being told that our Fringe event was a better quality than other events around the Spiel and nearly everybody begged  us to make this a regular event; (quote) “What you’re doing is great. It really fills a gap. If there is another Fringe next year, we will be there.” 
  • Our guests were impressed by the hospitality and generosity of the Parish St. Engelbert, and the Parish were impressed that a large group of people left the building even cleaner and more orderly than before. Nearly 40 people unwrapping, punching cardboard, eating  – yet tidying up was a piece of cake. Another miracle? Apparently, board gamers are a very special brand of people.


  • Hosting our event was exhausting, but also immensely rewarding, and when we fell into our beds early in the morning, we were happy, happy, happy!!! And yes, of course we want to do it again! We already entered the planning phase for 2017… 


P.S.: The Dice & Mystics Eat & Greet

On Tuesday, Friday and Sunday, always half an hour after the Spiel, we have our Eat & Greet at a nearby diner. We usually book the tables about 2 months in advance, as the place is so immensely popular they only accept bookings by personal contact (no online bookings possible).

It is ideal to grab a bite of really nice food (at very fair prices) and wind down after the Spiel over lovely burgers, spare ribs, steaks, salads, pizzas, onion rings etc. and exchange experiences, meet people, get into contact, make plans together… There usually are going to be guild members, other gamers, and often enough designers, publishers etc. to form a happy international English speaking crowd, and many a new friendship or cooperation of board game guilds have started here.

Anybody is welcome to the Dice & Mystics Fringe and Eat & Greet,  just contact us via






After going without expansions for two years now, Small World  is back with another new map for 2 to 5 players.  Aptly named Small World: River World, this new map features rivers running all over the map, making capturing water areas vital to any strategy.  In addition to the new maps you now have pirates to contend with as well as your opponents, so you will have to be extra careful.  Toss in some new event tiles themed around the new map and you have a decent expansion for this evergreen game.  Check out Days of Wonder’s blog post for more information, and look for it to hit stores in November, or you can pick up a copy while at Essen.


At the Essen Spiel 2015 this past fall, many attendees, especially those from abroad, expressed some frustration at not having enough designated gaming areas, tables, or any open area in which to game.  Many resorted to playing in their hotel rooms on their beds, hoping not to lose too many pieces from the games.

Dice & Mystics, a prominent German board game guild, has discussed this issue amongst its members and has decided to come to the aid of Essen Spiel-goers this coming fall of 2016.  The guild is offering their gaming space in Bochum, 15 to 20 minutes away from the Spiel, to anyone who needs space to try out their newly-acquired gaming treasures.  The facility is well-lit, and provides table and an atmosphere conducive to comfortable gaming.  Food and soft drinks may be consumed on the premises as well.

The guild requests that anyone interested in using the facility to please contact them to make an appointment in advance, as space is limited.  The gaming hall will be open from 4:00 PM to midnight, and use of the facility will be free-of-charge.

Registration for use of the facility is open until August 10, 2016.  To contact the guild for more information or to register for facility use, visit their guild page here.

Who Dice & Mystics are

Dice & Mystics are a constantly growing board game guild on BoardGameGeek and are listed on NRW Spielt, a German platform which provides information on gaming events in North Rhine Westphalia. We are not a club but an informal group of board game and RPG lovers without membership fees, officials or obligations and no rules except those of common courtesy and open-mindedness. Our aims are good games, good company, and lots of fun. We hold game sessions on a regular basis. Our core group meet in Bochum, NRW, Germany. All ages are welcome. We speak German and English.

All the games we play are privately owned. We operate exclusively by our Game Host System (nicknamed the GHoSt) which means you can bring your own game and play. You are expected to allow anybody to join you and you are very welcome to join in at any other game, provided there is still room for one more player. If you do not have a game to bring along, you can simply come and watch and maybe join in anyway. Our Dice & Mystics group will always be present.

We have spacious well-lit rooms with large tables, generously made available to us free of charge. You can bring your own food and (soft) drinks and borrow cutlery etc. from the kitchen (provided you also wash up). There are a small pizza parlour and a kiosk for drinks, sweets etc. practically next door and delivery services nearby.

Blick in die Halle 3. --- 08-10-2015/Essen/Germany Foto:Rainer Schimm/©MESSE ESSEN GmbH --- Verwendung / Nutzungseinschränkung: Redaktionelle Foto-Veröffentlichung über MESSE ESSEN/CONGRESS CENTER ESSEN und deren Veranstaltungen gestattet. NO MODEL RELEASE - Keine Haftung für Verletzung von Rechten abgebildeter Personen oder Objekten, die Einholung der o.g. Rechte obliegt dem Nutzer. Das Foto ist nach Nutzung zu löschen! --- Use / utilisation restriction: Editorial photographic publications about MESSE ESSEN / CONGRESS CENTER ESSEN and their events are permitted. NO MODEL RELEASE - No liability for any infringements of the rights of portrayed people or objects. The user is obliged to seek the above rights. The photograph must be deleted when it has been utilised!

Every year in October, gamers from all over the world descend upon Essen, Germany for one of the world’s largest board game conventions. Last week they came again, and in greater numbers than ever before. According to the final report issued by organizer Friedhelm Merz Verlag, Essen Spiel 15 boasted crowds so big that the convention was forced to open the doors early every single day, overall an incredible 162,000 visitors, 910 exhibitors from 41 different countries, an exhibition space of 63,000 square meters and more than 1,000 new games being released. In other words, bigger and better in every category.

Game designer Klaus Teuber was also on hand – with over a thousand fans from all over the world of his global hit game Catan – to break the world record for the largest game of Catan ever played, playing on a game board of almost 500 meters in length!

Take a gander at the full Essen Report below and be sure to mark your calendar for next year’s SPIEL, scheduled for Oct. 13 – 16, 2016.

Sunday 11 October, 2015

Essen –

Final Report from the international games event SPIEL 15 with COMIC ACTION

SPIEL 15 in Essen – the world’s biggest fair for board games came to an end today, this year setting five incredible records: More visitors, more exhibitors, more exhibition halls, more new games and a CATAN world record to boot!

Inspired by the motto: “The whole world’s playing – and its playing in Essen”, 162.000 games fans, licensees and buyers came to the world’s biggest fair for board games thus breaking last year’s record of 160.000 visitors. Contrary to every on-line trend, board and card games are more popular than ever before. This year’s SPIEL provided an impressive picture of that fact.

Spread over an exhibition space of 63,000 sq. meters, an increase of 9% in area, 910 exhibitors from 41 different countries – that’s more than ever before, even more than last year’s 832, all presented their companies and products at this year’s international games event SPIEL ‘15. Over four days it was possible to put thousands of board and card games to the test, amongst them more than 1,000 new releases (850 last year) which were being presented to the public for the very first time just ahead of the Christmas sales period that is so vital for the sector.

Early in the mornings the crowds at the box office and in the exhibition foyer were so large that the hall doors had to be opened 20 minutes before the official fair opening time every single day.

On Saturday 10 October 2015, 1,040 players set a new CATAN world record at SPIEL ’15 in Essen. To achieve this, CATAN Fans from 25 different countries played together at a game board of almost 500 meters in length, smashing the previous record of 922 players. Alongside CATAN inventor Klaus Teuber, former German national football star and board game fan Jens Nowotny, amongst others, took part in this very special game. This event was designed to mark the 20th anniversary of CATAN’s release. Even ahead of SPIEL 15 the German board games industry had reported a buoyant increase in sales of 8.4% across all product sectors in the first two-thirds of the year 2015. This roused hopes of strong Christmas business sales.

Hermann Hutter, chairman of the interest group “Die Spieleverlage e.V.” (Association of Games Publishers) in which all of the leading German board games publishers without exception are members, was highly delighted with the way the games event had gone. “SPIEL 15 has been a great success. The wide-ranging activities staged by all of the games publishers have been enthusiastically received by the visitors and the queues at the booths were indicative of the massive interest in the exciting new releases being presented by the publishers. Lively buying and ordering gave the exhibitors reason to be cheerful. Games are becoming ever more popular and sought-after. In the weeks to come, the new games on show here are certain to become a major talking point amongst gamers and in the shops and they are sure to bring exciting evenings to many, many people. The prototypes being exhibited during the event by the hundreds of games writers in attendance are a sign of how creative the sector continues to be and even today, 2016’s range of games promises to be a very successful one indeed!”

The COMIC ACTION event, which is incorporated as part of SPIEL, was also extremely successful. Steffen Volkmer of Panini Comics reported, “The event went wonderfully and again was better than the previous year. We were delighted to be able to welcome thousands of enthusiastic fans at our booth. There were long queues for the signing sessions by our comic artists and the artists themselves were more than happy.”

The next SPIEL with COMIC ACTION will take place from 13–16 October, 2016 at the Messe Essen. Please find press photographs attached!

Event Organizer: Friedhelm Merz Verlag, D-53173 Bonn, Bismarckallee 8. T: +49(0)228/342273,


YAY Games, the makers of last year’s hit Kickstarter Frankenstein’s Bodies, have successfully completed production of their latest project and are ready to set it loose upon the world. Debuting this week at the Essen Spiel game fair in Germany, Sandcastles is a card/tile placement game for 3-7 players, with rules variants included for 2 player or solo gaming. Each player must use the cards available to the them to build the best Sandcastle they can before the tide rolls in – but be careful: the other players will do their best to steal bits away from your sandcastle or even siphon off your bonus points!

Sandcastles plays in about 30-40 minutes and is designed by Andrew Harman. For more detail, read the full press release below:

“Bringing out the naughty child in you!”

Media release (Oct 3rd, 2015)
Embargo – Immediate
Sandcastles set for International launch

Gamers sometimes complain about games having the same old themes (don’t mention Zombies) or that a theme has just been plastered onto a game. These are not statements that could be laid at the feet of up and coming British board game publisher YAY Games.

Following on from the cult success of Frankenstein’s Bodies, a highly thematic game about building your very own “creature” out of spare body parts, YAY are set for the international launch of Sandcastles.

“We are hoping that folks at Essen really take our latest brain child into their hearts. In Sandcastles you are on a beach trying to build the best sandcastle you can before the big wave comes crashing in.” Says Andrew Harman YAY Games chief creative.

He goes on to warn in a tongue in cheek way. “Don’t get too comfortable playing in the sand though because the other players could be planning on using crabs, seagulls of their own buckets to kick over your glorious creation and steal your sandy glory!”

Sandcastles is a very portable tile placement game for 1 to 7 players and lasts around 30 minutes. If you’re looking for a game to take on holiday to play with your family, look no further

YAY Games are getting a reputation for producing games with interesting themes that are easy to learn and pack in a lot of interaction. They can be found at booth 2E-121 at Essen.

You can also keep up to date with this fresh and exciting company on Facebook here or Twitter here.

flatlined games logo

News came in just this week of the imminent Kickstarter campaign for Argo, a sic-fi game from Bruno Faidutti and Serge Laget and published by Flatline Games.  Here is the official announcement:

Flatlined Games will soon start the Kickstarter Campaign for Argo, the new game by Bruno Faidutti and Serge Laget.

In Argo, you are astronauts trying to escape a space station before the Aliens get you. The spots in the escape pods are limited so you will need a good balance of cooperation and competition to win this game!
The campaign for Argo will start in a few days, do not miss it!


Argo has been in development for over two years and originally hoped for an Essen 2015 release, but due to delays the game is hoping for a successful Kickstarter campaign and a 2016 release.

For more information on Flatlined Games and Argo, visit the company’s website here.