spielbox December 2010

spielbox 7/2010 cover Although I have received this issue long time ago, I only got round to read it yesterday. The highlight of the year's final issue is of course the almost 30-page long report on SPIEL'10, the world's largest game fair, in Essen, Germany. I was very pleased to see Caravelas and Vinhosamong the games reported and photographed by the spielbox journalists. Not only are both games designed by Portuguese, their themes are also related to Portugal. If we add to that Navegador (also reported in this issue), Portugal certainly had a very strong trio representing it in Essen. I especially like that all those games have Portuguese names, and Portuguese words on their boards, without any attempt to translate them.

The report on Essen also includes a short profile on Jussi Auto and his Finnish company, Tuonela Productions. Moreover, I couldn't help notice a 2-page advert for Korean games in this issue. One of the reviewed games (K2) is Polish. And past reviews include Czech game, for example. Boardgame design and publishing is definitely becoming global and (sometimes, as in the case of Caravelas and Vinhos) multi-cultural.

Apropos Vinhos, its failure to be sold at Essen due to production delays was apparently not a single case. This issue's editorial notes that more than a dozen (!) of the games bought for the spielbox office had production problems: defective boards, missing pieces, etc. The editorial notes how many publishers (especially new ones) are pressing themselves to present one or more novelties at each SPIEL and thereby run into all kinds of quality problems (e.g. rules with errors and omissions) to the point of having no game to present, in the extreme cases. Why gamble on quality when there is so much competition nowadays?

The issue's contents is as follows, with underlined games getting high scoring reviews.

  • News: the Asmodée/Staupe conflict and the role of publishers in defending designers from copycats
  • Long reviews: Asara, Pillars of the Earth - The card game, Safranito, K2, LEGO Harry Potter Hogwarts, Thunderstone, Dominant Species
  • Short reviews: Chicago Express expansion, Hexenflug, aufRuhr!, Perpetual-Motion Machine, Sticht oder nicht, Stich-Meister, Cinco
  • Children’s games: Die kleinen Zauberlehrlinge, Kleine Froschmusik / Karla Kuchenfee, Mit Felix durch Deutschland, Käse Kaos, findevier
  • Profiles:
    • interview of Wolfgang Kramer about Asara
    • interview of Michael Rieneck about Pillars of the Earth - The card game
  • Reports:
    • SPIEL'11 in Essen (over 20 pages!)
    • a new series of classic games from around the world, chosen by children
  • Edition spielbox: Christmas Tree, an expansion for Zooloretto
  • History:
    • oldie: Tyranno Ex!, the not so serious game about evolution
    • word games, part 2: some curious word games, which e.g. combine mechanics from other types of games

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