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Dragon’s Peak #5 – Dream Essen Shopping Spree (Part 2)

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Dragon's Peak - Logo

Welcome to part 2 of my dream Essen 2014 shopping spree!  Let’s keep cranking through my wishlist, shall we?  If you accidentally skipped part 1 I’d recommend you go check that out first.

 

Here’s the list of games again in case you want to skip ahead or jump back to part 1:

Top PicksDeus and Orleans

 

Buy Even More Games!

Keyflower: The Merchants

Keyflower Merchants - CoverKeyflower Merchants - Preview

R&D Games
Sebastian Bleasdale, Richard Breese
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Rules - Icon Rules

Coverage: Keyflower Review

Why Buy? Keyflower has jumped into my top ten games over the course of this year and I haven’t taken the plunge into picking up an expansion yet.  I’d eventually like to pick up both of them but I’m strongly considering starting with The Merchants.  Where The Farmers was designed to add “width”, this expansion aims to add depth.  Rather than introducing new categories to score it adds flexibility to the existing options.  I’ve also heard that it was designed to better support two players, always a good thing in my book.

King’s Pouch

King's Pouch - CoverKing's Pouch - Preview 3

Korea Boardgames
Keewoong Kim
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Icon - website Official Site
Rules - Icon Rules

Coverage: Dragon’s Peak #2, #3

Why Buy? I really had a hard time picking between this one and Orleans for my must have bag-builder (I already own Hyperborea so it wasn’t in the running).  Based on the rules I’m still not sure which one I will end up liking more.  The main thing that I imagine King’s Pouch does well is presenting a transition from deck building.  If I wanted to introduce someone to bag building I’m guessing this would be the game (of the three currently available) that I would go with.  Orleans seems like it will pack more punch but King’s Pouch appears to be more streamlined so it’s anyone’s guess which will end up on top.

La Granja

La Granja - CoverLa Granja - Preview

SpielWorxx
Michael Keller, Andreas Odendahl
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Rules - Icon Rules

Coverage: Dragon’s Peak #4

Why Buy? I first became interested in La Granja when I learned that it borrowed the card-tucking system from Glory To Rome/Innovation.  But where those games are entirely card based, La Granja uses that mechanic as part of a bigger whole.  Almost in the same way that games have started incorporating deck-building as one of several mechanics in play.  I’ve heard it’s already sold out but I’m hoping to try out La Granja at some point in the future.

La Isla

La Isla - Cover

La Isla - Preview
Image credit: Daniel Danzer (duchamp)

Alea, Ravensburger
Stefan Feld
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Rules - Icon Rules

 

Coverage: Dragon’s Peak #3

Why Buy? We’re finally getting around to Feld’s lighter offering for the year.  This is his take on multiple-uses for cards concept but with a forced variety concept.  In other words, you have to use the cards equally for all their intended purposes rather than being able to specialize.  The scoring reminds me a bit of Biblios where players determine how well the different categories score.  The game appears to be largely tactical but with enough flexibility to allow players to work around what they were dealt.  I’ve been a bit hit-or-miss with Feld’s lighter offering but I’m really hoping that I’ll love La Isla.

Nations: The Dice Game

Nations Dice - CoverNations Dice - Preview

Lautapelit.fi
Rustan Håkansson
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Icon - website Official Site
Rules - Icon Rules

Coverage: First Impressions

Why Buy? When I hear that a game is getting a dice version it doesn’t exactly get me excited.  This may be in part because the games that get dice variants are somewhat light to begin with.  But what happens when you make a dice version of a heavier game?  Nations was one of my favorite games of the past year so I actually took notice and was intrigued at the idea of a quicker, more accessible game.  Plus I’ve really wanted a civilization dice game after getting a taste of what was possibly with Roll Through The Ages.  I was lucky enough to try it during Gen Con and what I experienced really got my hopes up.  Unfortunately, getting a taste of the game meant I would have to wait several months before I could try it again.  It’s been a difficult wait but I can nearly envision rolling those wonderful dice once again.

Patchistory

Patchistory - CoverPatchistory - Preview

Deinko Games
Yeon-Min Jung, Jun-Hyup Kim
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Icon - website Official Site
Rules - Icon Rules

Why Buy? This one actually debuted in limited quantities last year but it is finally seeing a wider release and that means perhaps I’ll get a chance to try it out.  I was sold on Patchistory the moment I heard about it.  Innovation introduced me to the concept of an abstracted card-driven civilization game and Patchistory immerses you even further.  The patching mechanic sounds a bit gimmick at first but it is seamlessly woven into the gameplay.  I don’t even care how good of a game Patchistory is, I just want to get the chance to experience it and judge for myself because I want it to be amazing.

Patchwork

Patchwork - PreviewPatchwork - Cover

Lookout Games
Uwe Rosenberg

BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek

 

Coverage: Dragon’s Peak #1

Why Buy? I was first introduced to Rosenberg’s two-player line of games with the comically titled Agricola: All Creatures Big And Small.  Although Agricola is a perfectly playable 2-player game I bought into All Creatures because it was much more accessible and, more importantly, less stressful.  Patchwork is the third offering in this series and sounds to be the most accessible not only in terms of gameplay but also theme.

Power Grid Deluxe: Europe/North America

Power Grid Deluxe - CoverPower Grid Deluxe - Preview

Rio Grande Games
Friedemann Friese
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Icon - website Official Site

 

Why Buy? Power Grid is a masterpiece.  I don’t always get to play it but it will always have a place in my collection.  I’m not often swayed at the idea of an anniversary edition but this may be the one game that I’ll make an exception for.  Part of the reason is that Power Grid Deluxe is more than just a repackaging of Power Grid.  They have taken steps to improve the game in several ways including the coveted two-player variant which I cannot wait to hear about.

Progress: Evolution of Technology

Progress - PreviewProgress - Cover

Passport Games Studios
NSKN Games
Agnieszka Kopera, Andrei Novac
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Icon - website Official Site
Rules - Icon Rules

Coverage: Dragon’s Peak #2

Why Buy? Ever since I played Innovation, card driven civilization games instantly get my attention.  Progress sounds like a meatier version of what has been done so far. And from the designer diary it sounds like they even had to scale things back significantly to make the game play in a reasonable time.

Roll Through the Ages: The Iron Age

Roll Through The Ages Iron Age - CoverRoll Through The Ages Iron Age - Preview

Gryphon Games
Thomas Lehmann
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Icon - website Official Site
Rules - Icon Rules

Why Buy? Hey look, another Tom Lehmann dice game.  When I first tried Roll Through the Ages I was so excited and enthralled by the possibilities.  But eventually I felt that the game just didn’t live up to its potential because there just wasn’t the depth that I hoped for.  Fast forward several years and the introduction of a sequel by one of my favorite designers is practically a dream come true.  I got the chance to try this out at Origins and have been looking forward to it since then.

Spellcaster

Spellcaster - PreviewSpellcaster - Cover

R&R Games
Aaron Weissblum, Norman Woods
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Rules - Icon Rules

Coverage: Dragon’s Peak #2, #3

Why Buy? I’m not going to say that this is the next Star Realms but it certainly seems to fill a similar niche to me.  That is a tactical, quick playing, card-driven game.  Much like with Star Realms I expect this one to work the best as a light two-player affair where you set aside enough time for several addicting matches (or perhaps squeeze in just one).  The four schools of magic and variety of cards challenge players to work with what’s available and adapt to different strategies from game to game.  I’m really looking forward to how much game this one can pack into the short playing time.

Terra Mystica: Fire & Ice

Terra Mystica Fire And Ice - CoverTerra Mystica Fire And Ice - Preview

Z-Man Games
Jens Drögemüller, Helge Ostertag
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Icon - website Official Site
Rules - Icon Rules

Why Buy? Truth be told I don’t actually own Terra Mystica (though I have played it).  But that isn’t going to stop me from getting excited about this expansion!  In this dream world where I’m attending Spiel I would pick up both the base game and this expansion at the same time.  In a game that already boasts a lot of variety through the double sided races and different development paths, adding in even more races and a new board is excellent news.  If nothing else, this expansion has increased my likelihood of finally picking up the fantastic base game.

Time Masters

Time Masters - CoverTime Masters - Preview

MushrooM Games
Pierre-Emmanuel Legrain
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Rules - Icon Rules

Coverage: Dragon’s Peak #4

Why Buy? I was pretty much ready to call it quits on trying out new deck building games several years ago.  I had three that I liked (Dominion, Thunderstone, Ascension) and wasn’t impressed with any of the new offerings.  It seemed like there just wasn’t much room left for innovation.  Then all of a sudden my faith in what could be done with deck building was restored (perhaps with Valley of the Kings) and I once more look forward to seeing what is possible.  Time Masters is the latest offering that takes deck building and really challenges the way that we’ve come to understand it.  There are two big changes that I’m most excited about. First, you can save up actions for later rounds which means that you can build up combos more easily.  Second, there isn’t a currency system in place that you have to balance with your actions. Rather, the actions are the currency. Both ideas have me excited for a game that is focused on executing exciting turns rather than simply building a deck.

Versailles

Versailles - PreviewVersailles - Cover

NSKN Games
Andrei Novac
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Icon - website Official Site
Rules - Icon Rules

Coverage: Dragon’s Peak #2

Why Buy? Moving along to another mechanic that has been reinvented time and time again, worker placement.  Versailles takes the idea of worker placement but keeps the workers hard at work throughout the game rather than needing to reassign them each turn.  Although it’s different than what we’re used to, it does conceptually seem to make sense.  Combine with the puzzly castle construction and you may have a formula for an innovative and accessible worker placement game.

Viceroy

Viceroy - CoverViceroy - Preview

Hobby World
Yuri Zhuravlev
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Rules - Icon Rules

 

Coverage: Dragon’s Peak #4

Why Buy? Viceroy approaches the concept of multiple uses for cards by giving cards different abilities based on where they are placed in a player’s “pyramid of power”.  Each card has a different power for each level of the pyramid with the powers getting more powerful but with an increasing cost as you get higher up.  You’ll need to decide which characters to place in the lower rungs so that others can take advantage of their higher tiered powers.

ZhanGuo

ZhanGuo - CoverZhanGuo - Preview

What’s Your Game?
Marco Canetta, Stefania Niccolini
BGG - Link Icon BoardGameGeek
Icon - website Official Site
Rules - Icon Rules

Coverage: Dragon’s Peak #1, #2, #3

Why Buy? This might be the heaviest game in my list but it’s one that reminds me of a game that I really enjoyed last year, Madeira.  Coincidentally that was also by What’s Your Game but unlike Madeira, ZhanGuo is card driven which appeals to me immensely.  Cards provide players with a wealth of options both on the board and in their personal tableau.  There are so many options but everything seems to be so tightly connected that you still feel some semblance of direction.  I expect ZhanGuo to be a daunting experience but one that I am very much looking forward to.

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.

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