#5 – Mines of Ōlnäk (Morning Players)
Mines of Ōlnäk is an economic, worker-placement, area-influence game designed by Jonathan Frenay and Raphaël Helaers and published by Morning Players. This game puts each player into the role of a clan of dwarves. These clans have been charged by their king to reconvene around the mountain of Ōlnäk in order to find and rebuild their ancient city. Each of these clans wants to become the richest and most powerful clan in order to gain the rights to rule the city. The players will use their workers to exploit the city’s resources, sell the resources, and complete projects all while trying to steer the political climate of the area. This game really appeals to me due to the theme and the amazing looking art. I am a sucker for great artwork and theme that is placed onto a Euro-style boardgame and this appears to be no exception. I believe they are planning to do a Kickstarter for this game in the near future although I’m not completely sure about that. Regardless, I’ll be keeping a close eye on this one to see how it turns out.
#4 – Anachrony (Mindclash Games)
Anachrony is a worker-placement, economic game designed by Richard Amann, Viktor Peter, and Dávid Turczi and published by Mindclash Games. This is another Kickstarted game that puts players in the role of a Path who has their own objectives during the game. This game has a very interesting worker-placement mechanism where the players will place the workers either onto the action space alone or place them into a mechanized suit where they can go out into the world and find resources or complete missions. I love the post-apocalyptic and time-travel themes that are placed onto this Euro-style boardgame. This is a very big game and seems to have a lot of decision points and routes to victory and I almost backed it when it was up. I was able to say no however and now I’m content with laying back and seeing how the game turns out when it is released.
#3 – Dice Forge (Libellud)
Dice Forge is a dice-rolling, dice-crafting, resource acquisition game designed by Régis Bonnessée and published by Libellud. This game puts players in the role of a character who is attempting to gain victory points by getting resources and fighting monsters. This is all done by a clever dice-crafting mechanism that is somewhat like deck-building but with dice that use interchangeable faces. You will start with two weak dice and can make offerings which will give you the opportunity to improve these faces to get better resources. Bonnessée’s Seasons is one of my favorite games of all time so this game is interesting just on that fact alone. I love the idea of being able to craft the dice and make them better as the game goes on. Besides the mechanisms which just look like a ton of fun, the artwork is by Biboun and is quite lovely looking. All in all this is a game that I’m massively interested in and can’t wait to see how it plays!
#2 – First Martians: Adventures on the Red Planet (Portal Games)
First Martians: Adventures on the Red Planet is a worker-placement, adventure, cooperative game designed by Ignacy Trzewiczek and published by Portal Games. This game puts players in the role of explorers on the planet Mars. This game is based on the mechanisms that are in the game Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island and adds to them. This game has an app that is required for it to be played. It will take the card decks that were in Robinson Crusoe and totally automate them so it can remember from game to game what is going on. This means that the game could be played as a campaign or as a single mission where they are playing in a “sandbox” and just trying to survive as long as possible. I think this sounds like an absolutely great addition to an already amazing game and I can’t wait to see what Ignacy does with it! Sadly, we won’t be able to find out until Gen Con 2017, but I have plenty of other games to play until then!
#1 – Gloomhaven (Cephalofair Games)
Gloomhaven is a cooperative, campaign-style, hand-management, adventure game designed by Isaac Childres and published by his game company, Cephalofair Games. This game puts players in the role of a mercenary/adventurer who is traveling in their world for reasons of their own. Each character is different and their skill set is represented with a deck of cards that can change through the many plays. This game is an easy choice for my top anticipated demo-only game out of this year’s Essen Spiel. The game uses heavy hand-management mechanisms as the players will choose two cards from their hands to play one with a top effect and one with a bottom effect. They can then lose these cards and become exhausted. The game then continues on as players will make choices which can last. I also love the idea that you choose a character and they will retire after about 10ish games as they’ve completed their goal. Then you open up more boxes which give you different character classes and opens up the game even more. I can’t wait! Sadly it has been delayed a little but hopefully it will be available in January or February of 2017. Bravo Isaac, the game looks amazing!
Other demos of note:
– Beer Empire (Board&Dice)
– Peak Oil (2Tomatoes/Leder Games)
– Pixie Queen (Game Brewer)
– Rising 5: Runes of Asteros (GARYKIMGAMES/Holy Grail Games/Mandoo Games)
Well, it has been a long run due to our move and a busy month, but I am finally finished with my Essen Spiel 2016 series. Thanks again for taking time to read and I hope you all enjoyed the series. Next up on the docket will be either my Kickstarter 2016 series or my Top 10 2016 edition series. Until next time, game on!