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It’s the Essen show! Matt and Dave play the “events action” to spend the entire episode discussing Internationale Spieltage SPIEL’14, or “Essen.” Held in Essen, Germany every year, it’s a massive board gaming show that attracts publishers, designers, artists and of course, customers from all over the world. As Matt mentions, there are many European families who go to Essen to discover and often buy the games they’ll play for the year.

So many games are introduced and/or released at Essen, that it’d be impossible to cover them all in an hour, so Dave and Matt have selected a few that grabbed their attention. Some are new, some have been anticipated for a while and others are expansions to pre-existing titles. If you want a complete lists of what was introduced, take a look at this comprehensive post from Board Game Geek. In the meantime, here’s what the guys found.

Matt’s list:

  • La Isla by Stephan Feld. Capture animals on an uncharted island. Plays 2-4, ages 8 and up.
  • Hyperborea by Andrea Chiarvesio Pierluca Zizzi. Matt calls it his “hex board dream.” Take actions by drawing cubes out of a bag. There are also minis! Dave loves minis. Plays 2-6 ages 12 and up.
  • Owacon by BakaFire. Robots wake up after all the humans have died in the world, and you must recover your memory of what you purpose was. It’s a worker placement game with deduction and hidden win conditions. Plays 3-4 ages 10 and up.
  • Carla Cat by 3-6 players ages 6 and up.
  • Mit Mist und Tücke by Helmut Ast. You play as a dung beetle (yep) who must roll his “stuff” (yep) to the proper place. Plays 2-4 ages 5 and up.
  • Lords of Xidit. By Régis Bonnessée. Whoever has the least amount of resources is eliminated. Who ever then has the least amount of the remaining resource is eliminated next and so on, until there’s one person left.
  • The Magic: The Gathering Strategy Board Game. We don’t know much about this but OMGGGGG (PS – If you like Magic, come back to our podcast every Friday for an all-Magic episode).
  • Castles of Mad King Ludwig. A castle’s rooms are divided up and assigned a value. Everyone gets a chance to buy them and then the master builder buys his piece. You then attach the room to your castle. Plays 1-4 ages 10 and up.
  • Arcadia Quest by Eric Lang. Your heroes have special abilities that move around a town and complete the current scenario’s quest. For 2-4 players ages 13 and up.
  • The Battle at Kemble’s Cascade by Anders Tyrland Olle Tyrland. A shoot-em-up in space that plays like a side-scrolling arcade game from the 1980’s. The board actually moves! For 2-5 players ages 13 and up.
  • Colt Express by Christophe Raimbault. A game about robbing a train that gives you an actual 3D train as a game piece. WE ARE SO IN.
  • Bucket King 3D by Steffan Dora. Knock a color out of a bucked that was played from your pyramid. Just don’t knock the thing over. It ends when one person’s pyramid of buckets has been eliminated. Plays 2-6 ages 8 and up.
  • Balla Balla by Dennis Kirps and Christian Kruchten. Kind of a variation of Gnip Gnop. For 2-4 players ages 6 and up.
  • Wash Dash by Amanda Gruzdiņa and several others. Put wet clothes on a clothes line. Huh, when we were kids that was called “chores.” For 2-6 ages 6 and up.
  • Drecksause by Gunter Baars.  Flick hogs around a circular cardboard track, get dirty, get clean, and win the race. Plays 2-4 ages 6 and up.
  • Lift It! by Per Gauding. Construct a building by using a crane of sorts that’s attached to your head. It’s sillier than it sounds. For 1-4 players ages 8 and up.
  • A Dixit expansion is coming, adding many new cards.
  • Carcassonne 2 has new art one side of the tiles, and older art on the back, so it’s compatible with existing sets.
  • Coconuts Duo expands on the original and can play as a stand-alone.
  • Ultimate One Night Werewolf Daybreak by Ted Alspach adds a whole slew of new roles. For 3-10 players ages 8 and up.

Dave’s List:

  • Haru Ichiban by Bruno Cathala. You play as a gardener who is trying to make blooms appear upon his lily pads in harmonious patterns. It’s a two-player game for those 8 years old and up.
  • Pinocchio: True or False by Edward Chan. It’s a combo story telling/dexterity game and it looks so darn cute. For 4-10 players ages 10 and up.
  • Cat Tower by Aza Chen. It’s kind of Jenga with cardboard cats. Help them get the fish that’s out of reach! A fun, silly kids game for 2-4 players ages 4 and up.
  • Alchemists by Matúš Kotry. Produce all sorts of potions and gain professional reputation among your peers. The game culminates in an “exhibition” of what you produced. Plays 2-4 ages 13 and up.
  • Samurai Spirit by Antoine Bauza. You play as a Samurai who must defend a town. A Samurai who can turn into an ANIMAL! Need we say more? It plays 1-7 ages 9 and up.
  • Luchador! Mexican Wrestling Dice by Mark Rivera. Both competitors roll their wrestling dice, see what cancels out and then see what move hits! Four people can also play for tag-team action. For ages 6 and up.
  • Spider’s Web and Royal Bonus are expansions for Small World that adds new races and powers.
  • BANG! The Valley of Shadows is a nice expansion that adds new characters and threats.
  • Terra Mystica: Fire & Ice/Feu & Glace by Jens Drögemüller Helge Ostertag. New creatures and functions. For 2-5 ages 14 and up.

Other games the guys mentioned:

Non-game references:

The characters in Brian’s book provide a rich experience for the reader. We also share tips on playing One Night Ultimate Werewolf successfully.

Finally, game night isn’t game night without pub cheese.