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Bare Essen-tials

JW reminded me that Essen Spiel is going to take place at the very beginning of October this year, so I went through the BGG preview list and picked the games that piqued my interest. I ended up with 27 titles, of which only 6 made the final cut. If I had the chance of visiting the convention, these would be the ones I'd consider purchasing or demoing.



Image source: BGG

This is my most anticipated game of the lot. In case you haven't heard of it before, it is a solo card game designed by Tony Boydell in which you are a magician trying to summon Baphomet by using all your ritual cards. I have played the PnP and liked it. I was somewhat disappointed at the final artwork because it looks too modern; I prefer the medieval images of the prototype. Nevertheless, I will get a copy when it hits the stores.


Image source: BGG

This is a simple, abstract strategy game about saving fish from a fishing boat's net. You lay the fish cards down in a grid, and then play action cards to flip them, switch their places, and take them out of the grid. You lose if 7 cards pile up in a column. If you win, your score depends on the number of fish remaining in the net. As I said, simple. But it looks like easy fun. I believe it's already available through the Helvetiq online store.


Image source: BGG

I don't know much about this but the fact that it's a cooperative deck building game is enough to draw my attention. Your goal is to create biomes and populate them with animals. The description says that you start with plenty of resources but they become scarce as the game goes by, which may spark some interesting tension. It is going to Kickstarter sometime in 2023, so we'll see when it launches.


Image source: BGG

I'm so-so on this one: I like the theme and the components but I'm not sure how exciting it is to play solo. It may be nice and relaxing though. On your turn, you either meditate or cultivate. I guess it doesn't get more Zen than that. You are laying tiles to create a bonsai tree in your pot and score points, and the solo mode comes with a set of challenges.


Image source: BGG

I'm waiting for an English playthrough of this to decide whether I want it or not. I know I'm in the minority but I don't like Elise Plessis' artwork so I'll only get it if it's a good hand management game. I saw an unboxing, it's basically just a deck of cards. We'll see.



Honourable mention: Unconscious Mind

Image source: BGG

I suspect this will have an AI opponent in solo which means I'm out. I appreciate the originality of the theme, however, and some of the artwork (mostly Dutrait's). Worker placement and engine building mechanics are right up my alley but it is probably chiefly a multiplayer game. It's going to Kickstarter in November.

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Zerbique
Zerbique
19 de mar. de 2023

I couldn't find a launch date, but I think the KS for Ecosfera should happen pretty soon. On their website, they basically have all the contents of their future KS page already on display - including Early bird bonus, pledges, stretch goals, and shipping fees.


It's looking very much affordable, so if the rules interest me (not available yet!), I should back it pretty confidently.

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Wouter Cordewiner
Wouter Cordewiner
25 de set. de 2022

Thank you for pointing out Aleph Null. I hope to find an english copy at Essen (Frosted Games sometimes has there). Stellarion will be auto buy.


Fish 'n' Flip might also be a candidate.

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Zerbique
Zerbique
21 de set. de 2022

To plagiarize Hana, here is my own selection.


Evergreen

A pretty game about planting trees on a planet to cover it with a big forest.


Dorfromantik

A tile-laying game where you want to build a large territory. It plays across a campaign.


Dice Conquest

Because I just enjoy throwing dice in a Fantasy setting.


And two games I had already mentioned in "Freshly added" posts:


Featherlight

A light card game with a Fantasy Realms feeling to it.


Town 66

A puzzle game with rules reminiscent of sudoku. Portable and pretty, as one can expect from a Oink game.

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SnowDragonka
SnowDragonka
22 de set. de 2022
Respondendo a

Good choices. To be a bit reactionary, there are some I looked into, but decided to pass/probably pass.


Evergreen is one of those that is probably a pass. Not because of how it plays though, the gameplay is very attractive to me. You draft cards (in the solo you get random cards taken from you from the selection) and based on them can use your actions in the biome you drafted and you upgrade your actions and use the familiar Photosynthesis principle of trees shadowing each other and change the score based on the cards not chosen. So much goodness. But I'm trying to stick to my rules more and more and sadly this is above the box size that…


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SnowDragonka
SnowDragonka
21 de set. de 2022

I too have been going through all the Essen releases with some overlap with your choices. So first about the overlap: Ecosfera got me interested due to its coop nature and the theme, however deck building put a pause to my enthusiasm. I'm one of the weird people who actually dislikes deck building (though I do like deck construction). So we'll see. Stellarion will be part of my collection 100%. I like/love and play all of the Oniverse games to this day and also weirdly like the art. Will get it asap (and the rest of the Oniverse games in the next years as they come in).


Unconscious Mind is one where I also expect AI for solo, so that would be…


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SnowDragonka
SnowDragonka
22 de set. de 2022
Respondendo a

From what I saw about Fog over Carcassonne it's very much the original game in a different coat. Though obviously not compatible with the original since the "timer" (aka the ghosts in the mist) is not present in the original tiles.

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Zerbique
Zerbique
21 de set. de 2022

Bonsai grabbed my interest, and I'm likely to get it. Ecosfera triggers my curiosity as well, but less so.


As for Fish'n'Flips, it turns out that I already own it! But I haven't had the time to try it.

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