Thursday, October 20, 2016

Obligatory 2016 Essen Spiel Post Part III: Honorable Mentions

Alright, two posts in my Essen Spiel 2016 series down and four to go.  This particular post will start moving into my most anticipated original games of the convention.  This one will focus on the honorable mentions.  These are the games that just missed my top 10 most anticipated games that are coming out at Spiel this year but still warrant a mention as they look very interesting!  Before I start the list feel free to check out the previous couple of posts which look at my most anticipated expansions and my most anticipated re-prints/re-implementations at the links below.

Well there you have it.  Now that you are all caught up it is time to move on to my honorable mentions of the games I’m most anticipated for.  These are the games that may have just missed my top list but still warrant being mentioned as they all have something that caught my eye, whatever it may be.  After trolling W. Eric Martin’s wonderful Essen Spiel list on BoardGameGeek I’ve completed this and every other list in my posts.  Read on, ponder my choices, but most of all enjoy!

The first game to make its way onto my honorable mentions list for this year is Meduris.  This game is designed by Stefan Dorra and Ralf zur Linde and published by HABA.  It is a worker placement and resource management game where you take on the role of people settling at the base of Mount Meduris in order to earn favor of the gods.  Players will place their workers in order to gain resources that will let them build huts and temples to the gods.  Timing appears to play a large part as you want to build on sites at the correct time and collect rune stones all while appeasing the local druid who may help you along the way.  This makes it onto my honorable mentions for a couple of reasons.  First of all, HABA did a FANTASTIC job of creating their newer line of family-style games last year by releasing two well received games in Karuba and Adventure Land.  They are working with some fabulous designers on this line and getting Dorra and Linde is no exception.  Also, the game just looks beautiful!  These reasons move it up to a place on my honorable mentions and it will probably find a way onto my shelf soon!

The second game to move its way onto my honorable mentions list is Solarius Mission.  This game is designed by Michael Keller and Andreas “ode” Odendahl and is published by Spielworxx.  It is a dice-drafting, dice-manipulation and resource management game where players take on the role of a group under a mission attempting to explore the outer planets to take some pressure off of an overpopulated home planet.  Players will use their ship to explore planets, send settlers into space and develop new and more impressive technologies in order to do these missions.  This game is made by the designers who also created La Granja which was/is a highly regarded Euro-style game which was a mash-up of many great mechanisms.  Because of that and the pulp, sci-fi setting which I find quite interesting, this game makes it onto the list.

The next game to make it into my honorable mentions is Ulm.  This one is designed by Günter Burkhardt and is published by HUCH! & friends and R&R Games.  It is an action selection game where the players will use card play and pawn (river boat) movement in order to gain the most victory points by the end of the game.  The players take on the role of a wealthy family who is attempting to gain prestige in the city of Ulm by influencing different city districts.  The main mechanism of the game is a 3x3 grid of action tokens.  Each player has a token which they will use to slide into the grid thus moving one of the tokens off of the other side.  The player can then use the actions of the three tokens on the board while the one they slid off will be the basis of their next move.  This is a brilliant idea and is the main reason I have moved this game onto my honorable mentions list.  I love the idea of the action selection grid and am really looking forward to seeing how well it works.

The next game up on my list is Tramways. This is designed by Alban Viard and published by AV Studio Games. This one is deck-building game with tile-placement and auctions where the players take on the role of a recently fired manager of a Clinic who is now taking on a job as the head of a team of engineers who are looking to build the most efficient tram network for Small City. The game is somewhat split into two halves. During the first half of the game the players will build a deck of cards while using an auction mechanic to determine turn order. The second half of the game finds the players using their (hopefully) efficient decks to creating their tram network without stressing the system. This game makes it onto the list simply by the reputation of the designer. Viard has created some amazing sounding games (unfortunately none of which I’ve played yet!) and this one seems to be a culmination of his designing chops. I hope to pick this one up when it is more widely available and that it is as amazing as it seems!

The final game to make my list, and thus the game that just missed my top 10 list is La Granja: No Siesta! This game is designed by Andreas “ode” Odendahl and is published by ADC Blackfire Entertainment and Stronghold Games. This one takes the dice-drafting mechanism of La Granja and creates a full, standalone game around it. The players will roll dice and draft them in order to cross resources off of their scoring sheet to gain the most victory points. They can hire helpers, build a barn in which they can store goods, and take some time off to siesta as needed! Once the siesta track reaches its conclusion the players will score their victory points. I haven’t yet played La Granja (although it’s high on my list to try!) but this one seemed like a really fun dice-rolling/drafting game which will really appeal to my wife especially. Because of this, La Granja: No Siesta! makes it onto my honorable mentions list and just misses my top 10 anticipated games of Essen Spiel 2016.

Other honorable mentions of note:

And there is post number three in my Essen Spiel 2016 series completed!  My next two posts will round out my top anticipated releases with the next one being games 6-10 on my top 10 and the one after being games 1-5 on my top 10.  As always, feel free to comment below, I’d be interested to know what games have people frothing to get them in their hands and on the table ASAP!  Thanks so much for reading.  Until next time, game on!

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