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Dragon’s Peak #5 – Dream Essen Shopping Spree (Part 1)

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Dragon's Peak - Logo

I’m not at Spiel right now.  But that’s not going to stop me from pretending that money and time aren’t barriers. I’ll imagine at I’m there looking at, playing, and buying everything that I’ve been reading about for the last month.  And while I’m at it, what if I could magically play everything that I got before next year’s Essen?  Let’s do it!  Here’s my dream Essen 2014 shopping spree. (I promise to continue my Essen coverage next week once I’m done pretending to unpack all these games) Quick note: This post was so long or had too many or something silly that it broke WordPress so I had to split it up into two parts.  There’s a list of all the games (with links) from both parts right below this and a link to part 2 at the bottom. Enjoy!

Here’s my imaginary haul:

Top PicksDeus and Orleans

 

I Must Have It!

I was going to pick just one game that I absolutely must have but I couldn’t do it, I had to pick two.  Even then there are so many more that could have ended up here depending on my mood or impulse at any given moment.

Deus

Deus - PreviewDeus - Cover

Pearl Games
Sébastien Dujardin
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Icon - website Official Site
Rules - Icon Rules

Coverage: First Impressions, Dragon’s Peak #2

Why Buy? There are so many things that get me excited about this game.  Starting off you’ve got hand management with the irresistible multiple-use for cards mechanic that provides a wealth of options and minimizes draw luck while maintaining variety.  Then you’ve got a fascinating take on tableau building that encourages specialization with chaining actions and variety with big end game scoring cards.  It’s all tied together with a central board where development mirrors the building of your tableau and allows for interaction with the other players.  On top of that it looks beautiful.

Orleans

Orleans - CoverOrleans - Preview

dlp Games
Reiner Stockhausen
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Rules - Icon Rules

 

Coverage: Dragon’s Peak #4

Why Buy? I’m really intrigued by bag-building. Hyperborea was my favorite game from Gen Con this year and coincidentally there are two more bag-builders on the way (this one and King’s Pouch).  But unlike the eerily similar deck-builders that entered the scene around the same time these games have drastically different implementations of the core concept.  The neat twist that Orleans puts on things is there are tracks representing what you have in your bag (how many of each type character you have).  Adding a new token (character) will not only let you use it to take specialized actions but advances your position on that character’s track.  You’ll strive to balance what’s in your bag while racing for position on the tracks with the other players.  I’d call Orleans the euro gamer’s bag-builder.  That’s more than enough to win me over.

 

Buy All The Games!

Yeah, I’ll get all of these too thank you.

7 Wonders: Babel

7 Wonders Bable - Cover7 Wonders Babel - Preview

Repos Production
Antoine Bauza
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Icon - website Official Site

 

Coverage: 7 Wonders Review, Shelf Wear #1

Why Buy? 7 Wonders is a great game. I could play the base game (and first two expansions) for a long time without feeling like I need more.  And it seems like FarmerLenny agrees.  Still, I enjoy variety and Babel seeks to combat expansion bloat by introducing modules that can be added and removed easily.  They also introduce more interaction for experienced players and bring more variety to the game.

The Ancient World

The Ancient World - CoverThe Ancient World - Preview

Red Raven Games
Ryan Laukat
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Icon - website Official Site

 

Coverage: Preview

Why Buy? Back at the beginning of the year I helped to playtest The Ancient World.  Getting to actually play the final version of a game that I was involved in seems like reason enough to list this.  Fortunately I’ve got it here because I think that it’s an excellent mix of tableau building and worker placement with beautiful artwork.  If I didn’t have a copy on the way (or have backed it during the Kickstarter) I would be itching to pick it up now.

Artificium

Artificium - CoverArtificium - Preview

Lifestyle Ltd.
Timofey Shargorodskiy
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Icon - website Official Site
Rules - Icon Rules

Coverage: First Impressions, Dragon’s Peak #3

Why Buy? This is another one that’s here because I’ve actually had the chance to play the game and I can attest to its excellence.  In fact, I just received my copy earlier this week and it’s the game that I’m looking forward to playing the most at the moment.  Artificium is resource conversion distilled to its core and fueled by drafting and clever card play.  It plays great with 2 and scales up to 6 players with little down time due to simultaneous card play.

Aquasphere

AquaSphere - CoverAquaSphere - Preview

Hall Games
Stefan Feld
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Icon - website Official Site
Rules - Icon Rules

Why Buy? I adore Feld. He’s got an exceptional back catalog of games and is absolutely cranking them out in the last couple of years.  He’s known for his inventiveness and this year is no exception. We’re getting one heavier offering and one light one from him.  Aquasphere is the heavier one and looks about as crazy as it sounds (both thematically and mechanically).  I’ve tried to wrap my head around the rules but much like Bora Bora or Trajan I’m really looking forward to just sitting down and seeing how it all fits together.

Bruges: The City of Zwin

Bruges Zwin City - CoverBruges Zwin City - Preview

Z-Man Games
Stefan Feld
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Icon - website Official Site

 

Coverage: Bruges Review

Why Buy? Oh yeah, Feld’s also got an expansion coming out too.  This one is for the excellent Bruges and adds support for a fifth player (always nice), and more options (also nice).  I really enjoy Bruges and adding variety sounds good to me.  I probably don’t even need this expansion yet but what if I have four buddies that want to play it too?  Better get it just in case.

Cargotrain

Cargotrain - CoverCargotrain - Preview

Game Fabrica
Krzysztof Matusik
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Rules - Icon Rules

 

Coverage: Dragon’s Peak #3

Why Buy? I love card driven games.  I also enjoy pick-up-and-deliver games.  But I’m not sure there’s a game that combines the two in a satisfying way (that I’ve played or read about).  Cargotrain takes some of my favorite aspects (simultaneous action, flexibility in card play, engine building, planning actions efficiently) and mixes them in an incredibly straightforward game play.

Ciub

Ciub - CoverCiub - Preview

AMIGO Spiel
Thomas Lehmann
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Rules - Icon Rules

 

Coverage: Dragon’s Peak #3

Why Buy? If there is one designer that I would blind purchase games with their name attached it would probably be Tom Lehmann.  And this year he’s big into dice games.  That’s perfect, I don’t own very many dice games and I really want some good ones.  Ciub sounds like it will serve as an accessible option that still offers plenty of interesting gameplay to gamers.  That’s no small task when it comes to the fickleness of dice.

Dice Brewing

Dice Brewing - CoverSAMSUNG CSC

Board&Dice
Filip Głowacz, Ireneusz Huszcza
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Icon - website Official Site
Rules - Icon Rules

Coverage: Dragon’s Peak #4

Why Buy? I’m on a quest this year to find one really good dice game.  As it turns out I may end up with more than I bargained for because there is a solid offering of dice games between now and the end of the year.  I’m talking about games that push the boundaries of what you can do with dice.  Games that give you options after you roll them bones rather than sticking you with what fate handed you.  Dice Brewing sounds to be a solid offering that also happens to be about brewing beer (a novel theme indeed and one that I love).

Fields of Arle

Fields of Arle - Preview

Fields of Arle - Cover

Z-Man Games
Uwe Rosenberg
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Icon - website Official Site
Rules - Icon Rules

Coverage: Dragon’s Peak #3

Why Buy? I’ve had a shaky history with Rosenberg as of late.  It seems that he has started to make his designs more and more open.  This provides players with more freedom to do what the want, injecting variety into the game by overwhelming players with possibilities.  I noticed this with Ora Et Labora, a game that I wanted to love but just couldn’t commit to how much work it would take to learn the optimal paths up the conversion tree.  Caverna followed along the same lines by swapping out Agricola’s cards (constraining players to certain strategies) for a tile system that gave the players access toevery single option (as long as they could grab it first).  Glass Road also overwhelmed players with roles to choose from but after suffering through my first play I grew to love it (I mean LOVE it).  I’m not sure where Fields of Arle is going to end up on the spectrum but I will keep playing Rosenberg’s games because even the ones that I ultimately gave up on were very enjoyable to experience.

The Golden Ages

The Golden Ages - Preview 2The Golden Ages - Cover

Quined Games
Luigi Ferrini
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Icon - website Official Site
Rules - Icon Rules

Coverage: Dragon’s Peak #1, #2

Why Buy? Civilization games are notoriously fiddly, rules heavy, and long.  I have a soft spot for Sid Meier’s Civilization but otherwise haven’t found one that is worth the commitment.  The Golden Ages may just meet me in the middle and offers a more accessible and quicker playing formula.

Green Deal

Green Deal - CoverGreen Deal - Preview

Karma Games
Juma Al-JouJou
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Icon - website Official Site
Rules - Icon Rules

Coverage: Dragon’s Peak #4

Why Buy? Green Deal is an economic game that has lots of interconnected pieces.  You’re presented with options from the investment cards that let you compete on many of the games’ fronts while also appeasing your investors and the public.  It’s an abstraction of the challenges that come along with running a modern company.  Card driven and economic, those are two of my favorite things.

Hansa Teutonica: Britannia

Hansa Teutonica Britannia - PreviewHansa Teutonica Britannia - Cover

Argentum Verlag
Andreas Steding
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Rules - Icon Rules

 

Coverage: Dragon’s Peak #3

Why Buy? One of the big selling points for me of Britannia is that it comes with improved two-player support for Hansa Teutonica.  But they put the rules up for us to use ahead of the expansion’s release and the two-player variant is compatible with previous maps.  But that shouldn’t be a selling point because they already gave us everything we need (the rules).  So should I buy Britannia on principal or for the really awesome map in place of the extremely hard to find East expansion?  Probably both.

Hexemonia

Hexemonia - PreviewHexemonia - Cover

Pendragon Game Studio
Fabio Attoli
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Icon - website Official Site

 

Coverage: Dragon’s Peak #1

Why Buy? Ever since it was announced I’ve been waiting to hear more about Hexemonia.  Conceptually it sounds like an incredible blend of tile placement and resource management.  How wide can you stretch your empire and still use your limited resources wisely.  Unlike other tile placement games, you’ll actually need to keep your resources around to fuel your tiles.  This means the placement of your tiles and the allocation of your resources (not spending of them) is incredibly important.  I really hope the design lives up to the potential that I envision.

Isaribi

Isaribi - CoverIsaribi - Preview

Japon Brand
OKAZU Brand
Hisashi Hayashi
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Rules - Icon Rules

Coverage: Dragon’s Peak #4

Why Buy? Sail To India was the game that sold me on micro games.  Or perhaps it showed me that you could actually pack a reasonable amount of depth into a micro game.  Isaribi is from the same designer but feels like a more fleshed out version of Sail To India.  Almost as if you lifted the micro game restriction and let it explore what was possible with a few more cards, bits, and concepts.  There are certainly more difference between the games than complexity but I could immediately identify the designer from reading through the rules and I’m really interested to see how a more developed game by Hisashi plays.

 

Yeah, that’s right. My bags are only half full! Catch the rest of the list in Part 2!

I love optimization and engine games with tableau builders and card driven ones being my favorite. This usually means medium-heavy euros and medium-light card games.

Discussion1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Dream Essen Shopping Spree – iSlaytheDragon | Roll For Crit

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