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The Essen Games You Need To Try: Part Two

Posted Saturday, 19-Nov-2016

We talk about the games we saw, played, and brought home at the world’s largest board game convention!

 

Prepared by Calvin Wong

1,200 new games released at Essen in 2016, along with thousands of older games. We took a look at some of the hottest titles of the con – and some hidden gems.

 

Inis

A ludicrously beautiful area control and card drafting game based in Celtic myth.

 

Winner of Best Box Art ever. The box is even spot glossed.
Winner of Best Box Art ever. The box is even spot glossed.

 

A follow up to the myth-based games of Cyclades and Kemet, Inis (Celtic for island) takes a turn for the accessible, but is no less tense and strategic.

 

And has components to match. Look at that board!
And has components to match. Look at that board!

 

Illustrated by art icon Jim Fitzpatrick, most famous for the Che Guevara poster, Inis gives its players multiple paths to victory, a slower, more thoughtful pace, and card effects taken from the Celtic tales of old.

 

Inis is in stock from $51.29

 

Ice Cool

High school student penguins race around the halls trying not to get caught by the hall monitor in this all ages dexterity game.

High School. Ice Cool. Get it?
High School. Ice Cool. Get it?

Twist, jump, slide, and race around the three dimensional board as you try your best to avoid the hall monitor!

 

Jump and a slide turn = sooo awesome.
Jump and a slide turn = sooo awesome.

It’s a fast playing, visually captivating game for all members of the family. Mastering a trick shot is incredibly satisfying, and there’s plenty of room to improve.

 

Ice Cool! is in stock from $25.99

 

Nefarious

Perform espionage, fund your nefarious plans, and perform the best science of all: mad.

There's no science like MAD SCIENCE.
There’s no science like MAD SCIENCE.

 

Nefarious is a game by Dominion designer Donald X Vaccarino and is a colorful, playful game of racing to get your inventions off the ground.

 

The new USAopoly edition spruces up all the bits.
The new USAopoly edition spruces up all the bits.

With kooky effects on the mad science projects and elaborate twist cards that change how every game is played, Nefarious is an accessible card game with cute art and is a lot of laughs to play.

Nefarious is in stock from $22.99

 

Pinata Party

A logic puzzle game in incredibly cute wrapping.

Sweeties!
Sweeties!

Pinata party is like a game of checkers where the pieces come in 6 colors, move differently every game, and you’re trying to collect sets to score points at the end.

 

Harder than it looks.
Harder than it looks.

 

This initial observation belies a game of surprising depth and diversity of play. It does come with modes for more inexperienced players, so that younger children can be roped into this pretty game of movement and positioning.

Pinata Party is in stock from $27.99

 

Star Trek Ascendancy

Trade, explore, research, and conquer on a galactic scale.

Ever wanted to control the entire Federation?
Ever wanted to control the entire Federation?

 

Play as one of three iconic races in the battle for hegemony over the galaxy. Bend other civilizations to your will through warfare or diplomacy. Research new technologies from unique asymmetrical decks and assemble fleets to defend yourself against your friends.

 

The dynamic board and unique factions make for some really fantastic moments.
The dynamic board and unique factions make for some really fantastic moments.

With different board layouts, different tech trees every game, and more faction expansions already in the pipes: Cardassians and Ferengi, Star Trek Ascendancy looks like it will have serious legs to come for a long time.

Star Trek Ascendancy is in stock from $64.99

 

Terraforming Mars

Make the red planet suitable for human habitation with clever card play and economic management.

 

Eat your heart out, Mark Watney.
Eat your heart out, Mark Watney.

 

Smart gameplay based on real science; plant algae to increase oxygen levels, crash meteors into the planet to raise the temperature, and melt ice to flood the surface with oceans.

 

It's getting there, but it needs your help.
It’s getting there, but it needs your help.

 

Layer on smart systems involving resource management, card drafting, and asymmetric faction powers, and you can see why Terraforming Mars was one of the smash hits of the convention.

Terraforming Mars is in stock from $45.00

 

The Fog of War

A World War 2 strategy game with no units, The Fog of War focuses on the intelligence and deception level of operations.

 

"...and all the pieces matter."
“…and all the pieces matter.”

 

The central conceit (or deceit, if you will) is the operations wheel. Players must plan in advance where they will attack, with facedown cards representing their targets, how many forces they will commit, leading your opponent to guess at potential invasions in the future – but it could be a ruse.

 

Strategy on a grand scale.
Strategy on a grand scale.

From the brain of veteran designer Geoff Engelstein of Space Cadets and Survive: Space Attack, The Fog of War is a unique take on conflict that has the potential to be truly great.

The Fog of War is in stock from $39.49

 

The Perfumer

Use your nose and your wits to fulfill orders and become the Perfumer.

And now for something completely original.
And now for something completely original.

 

The Perfumer is a game where you must gather ingredients from around the world and combine them to fulfill your customer’s demands, but you won’t know which scents are which until you smell them.

 

A multisensory treat.
A multisensory treat.

Featuring gameplay that can cater to those without advanced senses of smell, The Perfumers looks like it has the makings of something really special.

The Perfumer is in stock from $62.99

 

They Come Unseen

Asymmetrical submarine warfare in the Cold War. Hunt and be hunted.

What a great name.
What a great name.

 

Designed by a submarine commander, players command either NATO submarines or the Soviet destroyers chasing them. Drop commando teams at the designated attack points while maintaining your battery levels, or hunt the hidden threats with sonar and depth charges.

 

Every moment drips with tension in this cat and mouse of huge proportions.
Every moment drips with tension in this cat and mouse of huge proportions.

With tactical, tactile gameplay that draws deeply from the well of realism, They Come Unseen is one of the most unique games ever made.

They Come Unseen is in stock from $32.95

 

They Who Were 8

A card drafting, area control game where the cards are stories and the areas are gods.

Evocative. Breathtaking.
Evocative. Breathtaking.

Once there were 9 gods. These are their stories.

 

As stark as it is elegant.

As stark as it is elegant.

 

Each player is a storytelling trying to invoke the glory or condemn the infamy of their patron gods – but it’s not as simple as extolling their virtues, for humility is a virtue too, and so naming your opponent’s good works and besmirching your name is a valid avenue of sabotage.

As mind bendingly beautiful as it is difficult to play, They Who Were 8

 

They Who Were 8 is in stock from $17.12

 

https://www.boardgameprices.com/articles/essen-spiel-2016-photojournal-day-one

https://www.boardgameprices.com/articles/essen-spiel-2016-photojournal-day-two

https://www.boardgameprices.com/articles/essen-spiel-2016-photojournal-day-three

https://www.boardgameprices.com/articles/essen-spiel-2016-photojournal-day-four

Published by BoardGamePrices.com



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