The SPIEL in Essen is approaching. On BoardGameGeek, the new releases list now includes over 1.000 titles. Last month we already presented five titles that we are particularly excited about. Now we have collected more titles here that have also caught our attention. At SPIEL we will definitely visit the stands of these publishers or, in the latter case, even work there and play the titles presented here. 

There are now a four-digit number of innovations announced for SPIEL in October. Last month we presented five titles that we are particularly looking forward to. There are (fortunately) many more interesting titles that are worth at least a look and a test game. While the "danger" of blind buying was still very high for the titles on the first list, it is (hopefully) a bit more rational for these five titles.

Horizons of Spirit Island - Surprisingly available

Provides easy entry into Spirit Island. Image: Greater than Games

Provides easy entry into Spirit Island. Image: Greater than Games

To Gloomhaven Another expert game from BGG's Top 20 gets a beginner's version. Originally should Horizons of Spirit Island will be available exclusively from Target in the United States for two years. These plans were in favor of the large fan base of Spirit Island changed for the non-US market. The game should also be available in Germany from winter. A few copies will already be available at the Greater than Games stand at SPIEL. 

How much the game differs from its more complex big brother cannot yet be estimated without rules. The standalone title is marketed as an “entry” into the world of Spirit Island. The five new ghosts with low complexity are central for easy entry. These are compatible with the base game and the expansions.
Another argument for the game is the low entry price. In the US, the title is available for $30.

It also contains a lot that is already known from the original. Ghosts, weak and strong abilities, elemental abilities, fear and wasteland. Nations are not included. Almost all materials (invaders, wasteland, Dahan) are included as cardboard tokens. This contributes significantly to the low price. 

To what extent this novelty is interesting for people who already own the original and have spent a lot of time there on the island will only become apparent after a few games. Who likes the theme of the game, but the big one Spirit Island too complex, should have a good opportunity to get started here. 

On the double-sided game board, 1-3 people can face the challenge in 90-120 minutes. 

The Fall of the Mountain King - Prequel to In the Hall of the Mountain King

Successor plays before the predecessor. Image: Burnt Island Games

Successor plays before the predecessor. Image: Burnt Island Games

The successor to In the hall of the mountain king takes place before the events of the first game in the series. The dwarves invade the mountain. You already know from the starting position that the defense is hopeless In the hall of the mountain king. As a troll leader, the players must still do everything they can to fend off the dwarven hordes. Aside from the theme, this game doesn't have much in common with its predecessor. Of course, this does not speak against the game.

With the troll pyramid there was in In the hall of the mountain king a very successful resource mechanism. If you take a look at the rules the fall of the mountain king, so you can quickly see that a mechanism that is at least as unique is hidden here. By overlapping the placement of four cards in each of the three rounds, the line of ancestors grows and the players improve their options for action.

Now comes the area control part of the game. This is the central mechanism. With two weak or one strong action per turn, the players move their trolls through the mountain and attack the dwarves. You can add or acquire new troll units or champions. The dwarf wheel allows you to gain advantages over the dwarves (and also your fellow players).

Whether the game for fans of In the hall of the mountain king suitable is probably more difficult to answer than whether it is a good game. A false expectation of the novelty as comparable to In the hall of the mountain king may lead to disappointment because of the fundamentally different mechanism. Nevertheless, the quality of the predecessor is reason enough to be at least curious about this novelty from Skellig Games.

The game is suitable for 1-5 people aged 14 and over. Each person needs about 30 minutes of playing time.

Beer & Bread – The start of the Deep Print Games series for two

Beer and bread for 2 - Image: Deep Print Games

Beer and bread for 2 - Image: Deep Print Games

Currently number one in the "Hotness" on BGG, this game is also worth at least a look, if not even a purchase. Beer and bread are made here from the five resources of water, wheat, barley, rye and hops. In the end, only the goods that were produced less count.

The ingredients for beer and bread are grown on a shared plan. As neighboring villages to these fields, set on the fertile lands of a former monastery, the two players compete against each other in a peaceful economic contest. This extends over six years. Fertile and dry years alternate here. Both consist of a seed, card, action and mill phase.

In the seeding phase, resources are replenished. In the card phase, five cards are drawn, which are then played in the action phase. They allow harvesting and storing, producing and selling or expanding and cleaning. When both have played a card, they exchange their hand cards and play cards again. This goes on until all cards have been played.
In the dry years, the card and action phases work a little differently. You pick up the cards you played from the previous fertile year and fill up to five if necessary. In the action phase there is no exchange of hand cards. Instead, three general trading cards are available, which can be exchanged for a hand card and then used immediately.

Both goods markers move up during the game. The person who has the higher lower marker wins. The pure 2-player game is recommended for ages 10 and up and takes 30-45 minutes to play.

Astra – Mindclash Games but simple

Impresses with its simplicity. Image: Mindclash Games

Impresses with its simplicity. Image: Mindclash Games

Mindclash Games are actually a synonym for highly complex expert games. Should already be the current Kickstarter project Seventh be the publisher's most accessible, the new Mindclash Play series aims to make it even more accessible. The players discover the stars of the night sky and mark the newly discovered stars on the constellation cards for star dust.

The game runs in simply structured moves. There is an optional skill phase, the action phase, and a discovery phase that can be triggered in either of the previous two phases.
In the skills phase, abilities of your active constellation cards can be used. After that they are exhausted. However, they can be made available again during the course of the game. At the end of the game there are only points for active constellation cards. 

In the action phase you have two choices: observe or rest. When observing, you can mark an undiscovered star on the constellation cards for every stardust you spend. If one of the stars is the brightest of the respective constellation, one gains additional wisdom.
If you choose “Rest” as an action, you fill your bag up to the limit with stardust. In addition, all cards corresponding to the element the sphere marker is on are activated again. At the end of the rest, the sphere marker moves one space.

If the last star of a constellation was marked in the course of the turn, this is considered to be discovered. The active player is the discoverer of this constellation. The players who have also marked stars on this card receive one of the bonuses of their choice printed on the card for this “help”.

The first title in the new Mindclash Games series is recommended for 2-5 people aged 10 and over and takes 40-90 minutes to play.

Starship Captains - Star Trek inspired game

Part of the ship, part of the crew - even in space. Image: CGE

Part of the ship, part of the crew - even in space. Image: CGE

The list begins with a title for which the rules are not yet public. For a round conclusion, it also ends with such a novelty. 

The players take on the role of the newly promoted Starship Captains. The ship is not the newest and the crew is still quite inexperienced, but the stars are calling you and adventures are waiting to be experienced. The game mixes action selection and engine building. Its own crew of cadets, ensings (lowest-ranking officers), androids and officers fulfill different roles and possess different abilities. These can be promoted through medals and thus work even more effectively. Similarly, own ship can be upgraded.

There are many ways to improve the ship and the crew. The players have to decide which way to choose to become the best captain. Along the way, they navigate an ever-changing galaxy filled with dangerous pirates and interplanetary missions that improve their relationships with three factions in the galaxy, earning lavish rewards from them.

The author's great source of inspiration was Star Trek. Starship Captains should never become a licensed Star Trek game, but above all put the thematic focus on the cooperation of the crew.

The game for 2-4 Starship Captains should play in 40-100 minutes. It is recommended for ages 12 and up. 

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