Saturday, October 22, 2011

TIMELY TOPICS - ESSEN release games that look interesting to me & why

It must be that time of year to write up an Essen list of interesting games seeing as it's Essen week this week. Of course, I haven't done such a thing before. And, there really isn't a point to it other than sheer interest. Why? Because I'm not going to Essen and likely won't be picking up most of these - at least not for a while if I do.

My friend Lorna will be attending and she always brings back a good pile of interesting games and I usually get to give some of them a go, so I'll just be getting my fix that way.

Anyhow, my interest for games release Essen has generally been pretty low this year up until last week when I finally got the bug to peruse the Essen 2011 Canonical List on BGG. After I spent a few hours doing that my interest was starting to increase quite a bit - I was expecting to not find too many games to be excited about but as I read through I kept finding interesting items.

Then, as I started to prepare writing a blog entry about my findings, I ran across the Board Game News list: Spiel 2011 Preview on BGG which purportedly had even more games listed and seems to be a more 'official' list, if there is such a thing. Ok, time to spend a few more hours perusing. The interesting thing about this list is it uses a new headings feature that is being added to Geek lists in the impending site redesign; these headings are then designated as publishing companies and their games are then grouped together under them. So, if you like particular publishers you can easily find their newest games.

I then tore through this list and found a majority of them were the same items from the canonical list (there were some I hadn't recalled seeing before), plus some other more obscure titles and/or non-English titles. Ultimately, this seems to be the go-to list this year.

So, as I went through the lists I decided to tag each with an Essen2011 tag so that I could then have a compiled list to work from later. Here's a link to the list in case you're interested. I find tags OK as a feature, but you can't do too much with them as the entries aren't sortable in any way. But, there it is at least.

So, here's my rundown. I have organized them in categories of my interest or into logical groupings by type. The primary grouping is what drew me to them and then secondary either just a property of the game or the element that seemed to grab me. It's hard to explain but you'll see what I mean.

This section is THE BUZZ - games that were buzzworthy that I also found some interest in. There are OTHER buzzworthy games but the didn't interest me as much (despite looking like good games overall)

The Buzz - Deck Building:
  Deck building in space where you work your way from the outer reaches to the inner core of civilized space - terrific graphics, improved gameplay from other deck building games, ability to keep cards in play until needed…

The Buzz - Different:
  Co-op saving people in a burning building. Great graphics and interesting gameplay with good amount of variability. I'm not much into co-op play, but I really love the theme and the potential for excitement in trying to save people.

The Buzz - Different:
  Some say this is actually similar to Drum Roll - but putting on a fashion show instead. This one is more economically grounded (in fact was designed specifically that way) but both this and Drum Roll sound interesting for different reasons. I would say this one seems more 'serious' where Drum Roll is more 'fun'

The Buzz - Family Fun:
  You are the owner of a Circus and working to put on the best shows - the higher quality shows require better performers. You try to acquire equipment to let your performers perform at their highest. Once you have a successful show you have to decide whether to gain the prestige points or re-invest in making future shows even better.

The Buzz - Village Building:
  New game by Donald X Viccarino - NOT Dominion although perhaps feels similar. The theme seems even thinner than in Dominion as this looks to be thinly veneered abstract with cardplay for the actions and more cards for the victory conditions. Lots of variability should still change it up a bunch but it's one I'll want to play before buying I think. Some elements look similar to Strasbourg.

There are different reasons for MUST HAVE games for me - mostly these are expansions/additions to ones I already have.