Spiel

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.

Corax Games is venturing into something new with their new expansion for Half-Pint HeroesHalf-Pint Heroes: Happy Hour is more than your typical expansion to a trick taking game.  While the expansion now accommodates up to 9 players, what makes this expansion unique is the legacy features the expansion adds to the game.  The expansion adds predictions to 8 and 9 player games, and those predictions determine which set of stickers the players will receive for the game. Throughout the game, players have opportunities to change the value of the cards and sometimes the rules of the game by affixing the stickers. The changes remain in effect from round to round until the end of the game.  Another unique feature with this legacy game is that the stickers are removable so the game can be reset to its original state.

Half-Pint Heroes: Happy Hour plays 2-9 players, ages 9+, in about an hour. Contents include 8 Prediction Cards, 2 betting chips, 50 neon-colored sticker sheets, 5 reference sheets, and rulebook. Look for the game in Essen at SPIEL ’18 and in stores in December 2018.

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.

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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.

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  • 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.

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                                                                                                                                 (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.) 

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  • 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 diceandmystics@tidenreich.com.

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

ladybugs box

Selecta has released some fantastic children’s games over the years, including Viva Topo! (a favorite in my house!).  Now, thirteen great children’s games previously released by Selecta are now being published by Pegasus Spiele, featuring a whole new box design illustrated by Anne Pätzke.

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This new design features new, loving illustrations that will greatly appeal to children.  Additionally, a colored dots-scheme for the background of the game boxes will reflect the age-level of the game: green (from 3 years old on), blue (from 4 years old on), yellow (from 5 years old on) or red (from 6 years old on).  The games will still feature the same excellent wooden figures from Selecta.

Pegasus Spiele has announced the first four games of this new series release:

  • Viva Topo! 
  • The Ladybug’s Costume Party
  • the nominated Zoowaboo
  • Bouncing Bunnies

These new games from Pegasus Spiele will be presented at the Internationale Spieltage SPIEL in Essen from October 8 through October 11, 2015 at booth GA-31.

For more information on the new design and release of these children’s games, visit the announcement on Pegasus Spiele’s news page.

Stallioan canyon

F2Z Entertainment would like to announce the first expansion for Pretzel Games’ Flick ‘Em Up entitled Stallion Canyon.  In this expansion, horses are introduced into the game, allowing your cowboys to ride them to move faster and cross canyons.

This expansion will feature a booklet including five new scenarios and three practice fields to improve your abilities.  Additionally, new components will be included such as lassos, horses, and “high shot” ramps.

See a short video demonstration of the “high shot” ramps here.

Flick ‘Em Up is a cowboy-themed dexterity game by Pretzel Games and designed by Jean-Yves Monpertuis and Gaëtan Beaujannot.  The official release of this expansion will be at Spiel Essen 2015.

 

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“Really?  That game won?”

A recent article from Clever Move discusses the nature of the international Spiel des Jahres award and its importance to the international gaming hobby.  Due to the fact that many serious board gamers question the recipients of this award from year to year, Tom Felber, jury foreman for the SdJ jury, explained how the organization works at BGG Con 2014:

…The Spiel des Jahres is NOT for the board game geek. Not for the hobbyist or hard core player…Spiel des Jahres is for the general public. Games that EVERYONE can play.

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The Spiel des Jahres focuses on bringing the best games to the forefront that will encourage more people in the general public to participate in hobby games by highlighting lighter games that can be easily digested and played quickly, such as the 2014 winner, Camel Up.

Imagine sitting someone in front of Twilight Imperium when their previous game experience began with Monopoly and ended with Scrabble. They may or may not make it through the entire game, but, either way, they wouldn’t come back for more. Board games, they’d conclude, are not for them.

The article also presents, in a nutshell, the process for selecting the SdJ winner:

  1. There are 13 SdJ jurors.
  2. Each juror nominates 20 games.
  3. Each juror later narrows their list of nominees to 15 games.
  4. Jury meets in April, creates a list of 50-60 games.
  5. Jurors may veto games for any reason, one of the most common being poorly-written rules.
  6. They chop the list down to approximately 25 games.

The games selected for this prestigious award may not appeal to hardcore gamers at first sight, but that is not necessarily the focus of the award.  “The chosen games might be bland, edgeless, and simple — but that’s a good thing once you understand why.”

You can read the full article HERE.

flatlined games logo

Below is the newsletter that Flatlined Games has put out for their loyal fans.  Having looked at what they are announcing I have to admit I am rather excited to play Robin when it comes over to the US market.  This might have something to do with the fact that I love the story of Robin Hood and the slew of Robin Hood themed games that are coming out this year are scratching a unique itch for me.  But I also like the proposed length and the fact that this appears to be a game which should be fairly easy learn initially and to teach to others after that as well.

Toward the bottom of the post you will see links to the publishers blog posts about the making of the game.  If you are an aspiring designer or publisher I would strongly recommend you check that out.  It gives you some nice insight into how their process works.


Hi everybody!

Essen is nearing and a newsletter update is long overdue, so here it is!

Flatlined Games ‘as it happens’ report

Flatlined Games is doing well, and it is now over one year that I left my consulting job to manage Flatlined games full time. It’s still a one-man-shop, and I still don’t have that Ferrari in the garage. Yet I’m still in business, so I must be doing something right. I am boot-strapping the company (i.e. no bank loans, and all profits gets reinvested as we grow) so it’s a slow growth operation but this is a sound business model and I have complete freedom, a rare luxury nowadays. It also means our product sometimes get out of print for a short while as we print in small batches and reprint often.

The current trend nowadays seems to publish and forget, and let new releases obsolete the previous ones. At Flatlined Games we strive to keep our games in print for as long as there is demand, and we try to make games that have a shelf live of several years, not just six months. This allows us to better recoup the development cost of a new game, it is better for our designers as they get royalties for a longer period, and it is better for retailers as they can do demos and work on advertising our products without risking that they become unavailable when demand actually follows their efforts. So if you are looking for our products and they are not available, ask your retailer to contact our distributors and they will get supplied as soon as possible.

Being an indie publisher is only possible thanks to your support, so thank you!

Most of 2014 has been spent preparing our international expansion. Thanks to our distributor Iello we have been in contact with their worldwide partners and our games are beginning to appear in their markets.

Our best-seller, Rumble in the House / Rumble in the Dungeon is now widely available in the U.S. and Canada, and will shortly be released in Chinese and Russian. We will pass 50.000 copies sold this winter, an incredibly huge success for that cool little game!

The first print run of Twin Tin Bots, the robot programming game from Philippe Keyaerts (SmallWorld) is almost sold out. Most Twin Tin Bots copies sold in Europe, so we are preparing a reprint that will make it widely available in the U.S.

Essen 2014

We will be attending Essen Spiel’14 from Oct.16 to 19, and our booth number will be 1D139, as last year.

Make sure to come pay us a visit, and check out or new release, Robin.
Illustrator Quentin Ghion will be on the booth most of the time, and designer Frederic Moyersoen will be there every afternoon from 14.00 to 15.00.
We’ll also be present at the BGG livecast Friday 17 at 15.00 for those of you who can’t make it to Germany.

New release : Robin

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At the Essen Spiel’14 fair, Flatlined Games will be releasing Robin, the new game from Frederic Moyersoen (Saboteur).

http://www.flatlinedgames.com/Games/robin

In Robin players join Robin Hood’s merry men as they steal from the rich and give to the poor. Robin revisits the happy families classical game with a fun and clever movement and trade system that keeps all players engaged during the whole game.

Robin has very high production values, with 100% plastic cards that are very resistant and easy to shuffle, and a cool magnetic lid box that looks like a castle when opened.

Robin plays with 2-6 players aged 8+ and lasts about 30 minutes.

We published a series of articles highlighting the process behind the creation of Robin :

You can find a full description, pictures and the rules book on our website : http://www.flatlinedgames.com/Games/robin

Essen preorders

We flew 700 copies of Robin in advance for Essen Spiel’14, to make sure the game is available during the fair. The main production is still on the boat from China, meaning it will reach distributors only after Spiel’14.

You can make sure you will get a copy by pre-ordering the game using this form : http://www.flatlinedgames.com/essen_2014

All pre-ordered copies of Robin at Spiel’14 will come with an exclusive art print with room for autographs from the artist and designer