På besök i Essen
The Essen hangover is basically over and I'm here to give you my impressions of this year. First impression: our industry and hobby could not be in a better position. With board games at a staggering high and roleplaying games having a new renaissance publishers are ever more confident to take risks now and then on weird games because their evergreens or big releases of the year will catch the flack anyways. There are also far more independently produced games with higher quality than ever that I found myself enthralled with and hope to work diligently with these producers to get them the help they need to get into the retail market.
We tested the Spil des Jares winner to see what the fuss was. In recent years it seems SdJ has really changed its focus, looking at Just One its strange to think this is the same award given to 7 Wonders and Turn und Taxis. Just one is a very light party word game where people take turns trying to come up with word associations in order for the active player to correctly guess the word the other players are trying to discribe without outright saying the word. After one game and heavy drinking I was a big fan of it the first night of the conventions, we played with 7 players and it was a highlight of the weekend. However, after a second and much more sober game did I realise how much this games enjoyment depended on the energy of the group and as such I found it to be far less repayable in my personal circumstance.
Stop me if you heard this one before: One player is a ghost and the other players are trying to solve the ghosts murder. They have a limited number of rounds to do it or else all players will lose the game. Yep, Paranormal Detectives rests on the shoulders of Mysterium but replaces it fully in my collection, personally. Better and more engaging game play, fun and unique ways to give and interpret clues and a final round and end game that is not clunky and creates ludonarrative dissonance. Playes several games of this and had a blast, so much so that the table next to us at our hotel game room asked to borrow our game after we played it.
A realtime co-op where players play as doctors and nurses running a hospital. game play is a worker placement mechanic but the gimmick is that your pawns are sand-timers and you can't move it until your time runs out. Players have only 4 minutes to get serious patents into their rooms and tests as fast as possible while clearing the waiting room of less serious patents. Each round those patents who did not get the treatment they needed get far worse and may even die by wrong treatments or neglect. A vast improvement over Kitchen Rush, Rush MD manages just the right level of convolution to distract you and stress you in a real time co-op.
I loved this game. Its not a perfect one and will turn off so many people, including some who work in the company but its in every way adorable. In our instaragm post this weekend I described it as the definition of mysigt, its light mechanics and a pleasant theme. Players are building a flower garden and are populating their garden with butterflies. There are a bunch of 3d flowerbeds around the table and players will clip their butteries based on the garden they re building by placing tiles they draft every round. Did I mention there were gnome tokens for extra points? Ghomes are awesome and I'll fight anyone who says otherwise.
Thats about it for the games I SHOULD be talking about because I know we will get them in but quickly I want to talk about some titles its still rather unsure if we will due to distribution, licensing, or other issues.
Ocean Crisis/Frontline Defense
A co-op board game about building environmentally neutral cities and cleaning the ocean and a smaller game just about cleaning the building garbage in our oceans. An adorable environmentally conscious co op with great theme and challenging game play, like a good co op it should be hard and it was descriptively hard. Loved them both will work hard to get them into the stores.
A great engine building game that had strong buz at the fair. Great theme, cool components and a trick or two my jaded ass hadn't seen before.
The Last Station
I am so bored of social deduction games. It takes something very very special in order for me to care anymore. The Last Station is remarkable. A hectic, tense and chaotic game that is two parts Murder on the Orient Express and one part Hateful Eight. Loved every minute of it. The publisher is having huge issues importing into Europe from Iran. Time will tell if we can get it or not.
AV Paranormal Investigations:
Holy shit I haven't crushed this hard on a game in my life. I don't know where to begin to talk about this game nor am I sure I want to because it's still up in the air as to when/if we get it. You play as paranormal investigators in the 1970s, you instigate creepy houses, ghost might attack you, its app integrated, and you play fully in the dark, the only source of light being built in lights in the minis and the first player marker. Everyone whos asked me about Essen is probably sick of me talking about this game but this is everything I've ever wanted in a game and personally I think its better than Mansions of Madness 2ed Edition.
Thats all for me for today, till next time.