spielbox August 2009

spielbox 4/2009 cover Returning from holidays last week, the usual pile of mail awaited behind the door. It's mostly junk mail, of course, but there are two nuggets among the pizza ads, credit card offers, and local newspapers: Developing Games 2008, the proceedings of the 3rd German Game Designers' Days, and spielbox issue 4/2009, which comes with two extensions.

Interestingly, almost all games reviewed in this issue, even those by experienced designers, have rather average scores. I guess it's just a sign that far too many games are published, which decreases the quality: there is a limit on truly good games that designers can come up with. Sadly, there is a lack of reports and interviews in this issue, two of my favourite rubrics. So, the contents is as follows, with games in italics receiving great reviews:

  • News:
    • Spiel des Jahres ceremony: the winners are Dominion and Das magische Labyrinth
    • Friedemann Friese is the new chair of the Spiele-Autoren-Zunft
    • Ulrich Blum gets from the Spiel des Jahres jury the 2009 stipend for young authors (3000 Euros)
    • 23rd Hexacon of the GHS eV, a society for historic simulations
    • 28th game authors meeting in Göttingen, with over 160 participants
    • 20th anniversary of the Heidelberger Spielverlag, celebrated with a game convention in the Stahleck castle
  • Long reviews: Dominion: Intrigue, Eine Frage der Ähre, Cartagena - Die Meuterei, Dixit (As d'Or winner), Maori, Die Goldene Statdt, Einauge sei wachsam!, Fast Flowing Forest Fellers, Cities, Heads of State, Cavum, History of the Roman Empire
  • Short reviews: Tiku, Ice Flow, Fruit Fair, Händler auf dem Forum Romanum, Schweine Bammel
  • Children’s games: Die Burg der 1000 Spiegel, Land in Sicht, Buteo (three innovative games that fascinate adults more than children), Kofferdetektive, Das magische Labyrinth (Kinderspiel des Jahres 2009)
  • Reports:
    • Tom Felber plays around the world: a week in the Bay Area, including a visit to Endgame, one of the best game shops he's ever seen, and Kublakon
  • Edition spielbox
  • History:
    • oldie: Tactics, the first cosim (conflict simulation game)
    • the roots of: Finca (nominated for Spiel des Jahres 2009)
    • for collectors: the games of Diana Spiele-Verlag, a Frankfurt publisher in the 1940s and 50s
    • mechanics: price setting in financial and economic games (part 3)
    • abstract games: connection games (Hex and others)
  • Variants: Dixit for teams, Zack & Pack for 2 players, errata and extensions for Livingstone

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