Spielworxx is a small German publisher from Billerbeck near Münster. The publisher is aimed at frequent players and offers connoisseur and expert games. The head behind Spielworxx is Uli Blennemann. As a graduate historian, it is not surprising that historical themes can often be found in the publisher's board games. In a conversation with Uli, we found out how the publishing house was founded, how it is currently positioned and what can be expected for the future.

This article is the third in our series of publisher reviews. In this we introduce publishers and show their history, their current games and can also give a small preview of future projects of the publisher. 

Today's publisher is Spielworxx. The publishing house by and with Uli Blennemann is aimed at frequent gamers and offers challenging games for the "gaming gourmet". This offer is intended as a counterpoint to the playful “fast food”. Spielworxx games require time. If you take these, they reward gourmets with a playfully exciting taste experience.

Mise en place by Spielworxx

Spielworxx is not the first publisher Uli Blennemann was involved with. Already towards the end of his history studies in 1993 he founded the publishing house Moments in History. He sold it shortly before the turn of the millennium and withdrew from the board game world for a few years, working among other things in football. 

But soon he was drawn back to the board game world and started working for the Dutch publishing house Phalanx. In 2009, the idea of ​​founding his own game publisher again began to grow so that he could also work with games that he loves privately. These include above all wargames and card-driven games. The first title in the newly founded publishing house combines both.

Through personal contact with author Mark Herman and because GMT Games was looking for a German localization partner at the time, the first game released by Spielworxx was Washington's War. A moderately difficult 2-player game with a playing time of around 90 minutes, set during the American Revolutionary War.
As things progressed, the focus initially remained on German localizations of American wargames. Steel Wolves can be cited here as another example. This is a solo campaign game that easily takes several full days of gameplay to complete the campaign. 

The history of Spielworxx began with Washington's War. Image: GMT Games

Spielworxx then slowly changed from a localization publisher to a publisher with its own titles. At the beginning of this turnaround there was, for example, Thomas Spitzer's charcoal trilogy, Arkwright or La Granja. The latter by Andreas Odendahl and Michael Keller came directly “from the neighborhood”. 
With these innovations, the publisher also moved thematically in a new direction. Things moved away from the war issues and economic aspects came more to the fore. However, a historical setting connects almost all games that have been published by Spielworxx to this day. 

Of course, the setting of is also historical Pax Pamir. This is the highest ranked Spielworxx game on BoardGameGeek and listed in the top 50 there. Uli Blennemann maintains very close contacts with Leder Games and Wehrlegig Games. But more about that can be found in “in the oven”. at Pax Pamir it is also the first German localization of an English-language title at Spielworxx for many years. 

À la carte at Spielworxx

Spielworxx always offers its games in small editions of around 1.000 pieces. Depending on interest in crowdfunding or the pre-order campaign, more copies are of course also flexible. A huge range of games is never in stock, but always selected and small quantities of fine delicacies. Several novelties from the publishing house have gone through successful crowdfunding this year. A somewhat surprisingly very successful project Oranienburg Canal by Uwe Rosenberg. The project was financed in less than half an hour and over 1.500 supporters have joined the project. The game is expected in December. on gamefound there is still the possibility to secure the game as a Late Pledge. The game should also be available for testing at SPIEL if nothing unforeseen happens. 

Also at the SPIEL, if everything goes smoothly, a few copies of the successful crowdfunding game London Necropolis Railway to be available. The game is about the cholera epidemic in London in 1849 and thus only a few years later Oranienburg Canal. The players have to set up a new railway line between the capital and the new cemetery outside. 

A third title that went through successful crowdfunding this year and can currently be pre-ordered at Spielworxx is pilgrim. The setting of this game is one of the furthest back in time when you look at all Spielworxx games. In 14th-century England, players compete to succeed the cardinal. Piety alone is not sufficient for this. Money is (unfortunately) also an important factor. 

A German localization of Leder Games also appears in this section. The card game is currently already available in the Spielworxx shop cont. In this deck building game, everyone is a kid. Above all, children want lots of friends, pizza and toys and of course build the best fort. until Root Expected to be available in November, this is the only Leder Games title currently available. As already indicated, more is to be expected here. A detailed review too strong is found here

Currently is with Squaring Circleville an area control game with a rondel mechanism is also available in the Spielworxx shop. Here the players take on the task of city planners. You have to convert the streets arranged in a circle into a “normal” street pattern. Also still with some copies is the English second edition of Colonialism available. As the name suggests, the players take on the role of nameless nations oppressing and exploiting the populace and country in different parts of the world. The game claims to take on this difficult topic with the necessary historical awareness and to demonstrate the horror of this dark chapter in recent human history.

A special service from Spielworxx are the Vassal modules for most games (including the one mentioned above Steel Wolves). Vassal is a platform comparable to Tabletopia or the Tabletop Simulator. At 26, however, it is significantly older and, thanks to its two-dimensional surface, is somewhat “faster” to use. Here the games can then be played in real time or turn-based against any opponent from all over the world.

What else is cooking in the oven at Spielworxx?

Some of the titles mentioned in the previous section could certainly have been mentioned here. As already indicated in the first section, Spielworxx is involved after a long break in localization Pax Pamir another English-language title localized to German. Unfortunately, this one is currently sold out. New copies are already on the way. This cooperation laid the foundation for a future partnership. Spielworxx will publish the games from Leder Games in German. strong is already available. Oath has also been localized in German and will be available soon. Expected to be in November Root and Root The Riverfolk expansion appear. For Root there are of course many other extensions and other titles in the Leder Games program. Spielworxx wants to “catch up” here.

Spielworxx is responsible for the German localization of the Leder Games titles. Image: Leather Games

The origin of the cooperation with Leder Games was the good contact between Uli Blennemann and the Wehrle brothers Cole and Drew. Cole Wehrle is the author of, among other things Root. The two brothers founded their own publishing company Wehrlegig Games in 2018. Here, too, German localizations are planned. Pax Pamir was the first title of the publishing house in German and with the second edition of John Company the next title is already in the starting blocks for the beginning of 2023. Here players take on the roles of ambitious families all involved in the affairs of the East India Trading Company. The game is currently available for pre-order.

It is not possible to predict whether and, if so, which further localizations can be expected in the future beyond this cooperation. Especially for a small publisher like Spielworxx, Uli Blennemann would like to retain the necessary flexibility to be able to survive on the market.

Of course there are also some own Spielworxx titles that are already visible on the horizon. El Burro  is a game in the world of La Granja. It handles dice drafting and maps usable in a variety of ways. In addition, there are deliveries with donkeys, special donkey cards and a solo mode.
With Gentes there will be supplies for fans of another successful Spielworxx title. Here the players can expect a campaign game with currently eight planned chapters. All campaigns can be played independently. It is not a legacy game. 
Together with Skellig Games, Spielworxx brings early September Weimar – struggle for democracy into crowdfunding. This is a pure 4-player game with a playing time of 3-6 hours. The Kickstarter starts on September 6th. Under this Link you can already reserve the project.

Two other titles are already known, at least by name. For one, there is 1837-Saxonia a heavily remastered remake of the game by 18SX from 2003. The other title answers to the name Dolcissima Vita. 

Spielworxx will of course also be represented at SPIEL. It is definitely worth stopping by and taking a look at the titles available there. Maybe there will be more news about new games from the publisher by then.

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Last updated on 2.12.2022/XNUMX/XNUMX / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. * = Affiliate links. Images from Amazon PA API