Essen Spiel 2018

Catan GmbH is debuting a new CATAN release at Essen, which will not only add new game elements to Klaus Teuber’s award-winning fan favorite but will donate all proceeds from the scenario to the Global Crop Diversity Trust (Crop Trust). CATAN – Crop Trust is a collaboration between Crop Trust and Catan GmbH, introducing a new semi-cooperative way to play the classic game as well as teaching players about one of the greatest challenges facing the planet today.

Players’ must balance their individual need to harvest crops against their collective goal to store and preserve seeds in the Seed Vault. Players who harvest too much endanger the seed diversity, and in doing so, threaten the land with mass extinctions and a collapse of the food supply.

“As a part of our mission to support the conservation of natural resources, Catan GmbH will donate all proceeds from the scenario to the Crop Trust. Catan Studio, the publisher for the English-speaking market, will also donate a portion of their revenue per printed copy and will offer support to organizations who want to use the scenario for educational or charitable causes.”

CATAN – Crop Trust contains educational information in addition to the board game. A specially-produced almanac which explains the history of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, Frequently Asked Questions, and examples of the importance of crop conservation are also included.

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CATAN – Crop Trust will debut at the Essen Game Fair and will be available in stores and online on November 8, 2018.

Fantastic news for anyone lucky enough to attend the Essen Spiel Game Convention in Germany at the end of the month – Board game publisher Pegasus Spiele is once again hosting a fantastic game night, this year taking place Thursday October 25 and Friday October 26, from 7pm – 1am. The event will include a library of over 50 games for lend, including such hits as Azul, Reef, Sagrada, and many more. Additionally, new and notable games from associated publishers Plan B Games, Eggertspiele, Frosted Games and Portal Games will be available to play, such as Blackout: Hong Kong, Camel Up 2nd edition, Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra, Monolith Arena, Detective, Men at Work, and several others. Guests of honor this year include 2018 Spiel des Jahres winner Michael Kiesling (Azul), Roberto Fraga (Captain SonarDr. Eureka), and Yohan Lemonnier (Captain Sonar). For more information and schedule of events, check out Pegasus’ announcement here.

Euro Game fans rejoice, for publisher Eggertspiele, artist Chris Quilliams, and designer extraordinaire Alexander Pfister (Great Western Trail, Mombasa, Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King) have announced their new game for Essen Spiel 2018, Blackout: Hong Kong. In Blackout, 1-4 players work to restore order from chaos in a future Hong Kong, where the electrical grid has been massively overstressed to the point of failure. Players start by rolling dice to randomly select which 3 of the 6 resources in the game will be available for the round. Next, players select 3 (or 4 with an upgrade) cards, which are placed facedown on their player board. These cards are revealed, and can place control cubes on the board, gain resources, spend resources, give abilities, or provide objectives. Objective cards are then scored, after which players can scout neighboring territories. Scouting is dangerous work, and gives an alternative way to collect needed resources, but players need to assemble cards from their hand to form a team with the required qualifications for the scouting token. Regardless of the outcome, one of the team will be injured, and will end up in the hospital, taking that card out of action. After scouting, players can use money to purchase new cards from face-up lines next to the board. Finally, in clean up, extra cards are discarded from the side of the board, and excess food and water are sold for money. Players score points for territories they control, and can refresh their hand of cards if they have 4 or less. When refreshing, players take back into hand whichever pile on their board is the largest. At the end of the game, money converts into points, and most total points takes the victory. Blackout can be played traditionally, solo, or as a 5 chapter campaign.

For more details, check out Eggertspiele’s website. Look for Blackout: Hong Kong at Essen Spiel 2018 October 25-28.

Portal Games has announced that Monolith Arena, from designer Michał Oracz (Neuroshima Hex, Cry Havoc), will be available on October 24, at Essen Spiel 2018. Monolith Arena is a fantasy, hex based, arena combat game for 2-4 players. Players pick one of 4 factions, The Harbingers of the Forest, the Guardians of the Realm, the Dragon Empire, or the Lords of the Abyss, each of which come with 35 unique hex tiles. The tiles are drawn into a “hand” of 3 each turn, at least one of which much be discarded, while the others can be saved or played. Tiles represent banners, units and runes, placed on the hex board to fight or modify nearby units, or represent orders, allowing already placed units to move, fight, or push others. Tiles vary greatly in which direction they can target, how many targets they can affect, how fast they enter battle, how hard they hit or how tough they fight. Advanced players can play with Monoliths, comprised of 3 stacked, hidden tiles in a plastic structure, which can unfold into the component tiles, given enough space on the board. If a player manages to destroy their opponent’s banner, they emerge victorious. Otherwise, game play continues until the last tiles are drawn, which can trigger a final battle, and the end of the game. Read more about Monolith Arena on Portal’s website, and look for the game at Essen on October 24.

Foxmind Games has announced The Potion, a light fast bluffing and bidding game from designer Kaspar Lapp (Magic Maze) about alchemists creating the coveted potion. In The Potion, 3-7 players each start with 2 beetles, 2 mushrooms and 2 vials. Each turn, players roll custom dice, which show symbols for the three ingredients on each face. After considering the dice, players secretly select an ingredient type from their stash. The players then reveal their “bid”, and if the total number of one ingredient held by all players equals the number and type of symbols on one of the dice, involved players can discard that ingredient into the potion bottle. If a player picked an ingredient that does not appear on any dice, and no players were able to discard as above, then they are allowed to discard their ingredient. Finally, if all players qualify to discard ingredients into the bottle, then no players may discard into the bottle. The winner is the first player to be left with only one ingredient type in hand. Expect this fast microgame to release at Essen Spiel 2018, October 25-28.

Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG) has announced Scorpius Freighter, an interesting hand management, rondel driven, space game from designers Matthew Dunstan (Elysium, Pioneer Days) and David Short (Automobiles). 2-4 players each select one of 7 factions, taking the 4 crew members specific to that faction, each with unique abilities. Each turn, players “assign” 1-2 of their crew member cards, tucking them underneath their player board. They then move one of the 3 motherships on the board in its dedicated orbit/rondel, a number of spaces equal to the number of assigned crew cards. The final landing space of the mothership determines the player’s action for the turn. However, unassigned crew still in hand give that action better, more powerful options, necessitating a balance between assigned and unassigned crew cards. If a player only has 1 unassigned crew card left, all crew are refreshed, otherwise assigned crew remain assigned for the next turn. Possible actions include upgrading crew, upgrading your ship, using your ships abilities, expanding storage space, picking up cargo, selling cargo on the side, or fulfilling government contracts. When a mothership makes a full orbit around its rondel, it confiscates cargo from the freighters, and the number of confiscated cargo cubes in motherships determines the end of the game. The player with the most victory points emerges victorious. Scorpius Freighter features beautiful artwork by Víctor Pérez Corbella (Champions of Midgard), Jay Epperson, and Matt Paquette (Mystic Vale), as well as multitudes of cards, tiles and pieces. For more details, including the full instructions, check out AEG’s website here. Scorpius Freighter will have a pre-release at Essen Spiel 2018, October 25-28.

Thundergryph Games and designer Jordy Adan have announced Rolling Ranch, a new Roll and Write game, coming out at Essen Spiel 2018. In Rolling Ranch, a hurricane has hit your ranch, knocking down the fences and releasing all the animals – it is your job to gather up the livestock, put them in pens and rebuild your ranch. The players roll 2 custom dice, each with a variety of symbols on each face, and all players (2-20 of them) use the same pair each turn. Players can couple an animal (pig, cow or chicken) on one die with a pen number on the other to place that animal type in that pen on their score sheet. Alternatively, players can take the summed resources (wood and nails) on both dice, and work towards building structures on their farm, giving extra abilities. Finally, if two hearts show up on the dice, any pairs of animals in a pen breed, adding one more to the pen. At the end of the game, players score points for animals in pens, scoring more if the pen contains only one animal type. Achievement cards distributed at the start of the game add secret goals for each player. For more details, including the full instructions, check out Thundergryph’s excellent webpage on Rolling Ranch here. Rolling Ranch is due for release at Essen, October 25-28.