Advance ticket sales for SPIEL in Essen started yesterday. Reason enough for us to present a few titles that we in the editorial office are particularly looking forward to. We start with these five titles, all of which, with one exception, are also suitable for solo playing. 

Every year the SPIEL in Essen is the meeting place for many new board games. Again this year, the new releases are so varied that no one has to go home empty-handed. From quick solo games to more complex expert games, here is a first selection of five games that we at the editorial team are particularly looking forward to. The five titles could hardly be more thematically different.

Aleph Zero – Frosted Games new solo game

aleph zero

New and solo - from Frosted Games. Image: Publisher

It starts with the new solo game at Frosted Games. aleph zero comes from the same team, that already Eternal Light released. The connection between the two games also quickly becomes clear in the material. For Eternal Light there is a new incident here that is from aleph zero is inspired and aleph zero contains one of Eternal Light inspired card.

In this game we try to summon Baphomet. Unlike Eternal Light you don't play for real time here. At the beginning of your turn you draw five cards. When the deck becomes empty, the hour (the game timer) is advanced and the discard pile is reshuffled. Cards in hand cannot be used immediately and must be summoned first. Most cards have "Magic Power" as a summoning cost. But some also have special costs. Any number of cards may be summoned per turn.

Once a card is in play, the card action specified on it can be used. Here, too, any number of effects can be used per turn. If you don't want to carry out any further actions on your turn, you go to the next round. All remaining hand cards must be discarded beforehand.

Gaining the third damage token, advancing past the sixth hour, or sacrificing a key for anything other than summoning Baphomet, you lose immediately. If you manage to summon Baphomet beforehand, you might have won. Here the final score provides information on whether you survived the summoning. If the score is not negative, you win.

There is a soundtrack created specifically for the game, which can be accessed via a QR code in the rules. You can even find the sheet music for one piece in the rules booklet.

The pure solo game takes 15-30 minutes and is recommended for ages 10 and up. The price should be around 25€.

Clockworker - Wall-E the board game?

clock worker

Clockworker by Asmodee. Image: Publisher

Some definitely have the Kickstarter transmission supports and owns a copy of the game. The Asmodee novelty seems to be thematic clock worker to go in a very similar direction, just with a much broader topic. Complexity and playing time seem to be comparable, with Clockworker being the slightly more demanding game.

Humans left Earth and left their robots on it. So far, so Wall-E. But the task in this worker placement game is not to clean up the earth. Whoever collects the most drive points becomes the leader of the new robot civilization. Restarting the Artifacts of Mankind grants these Drive Points.

A turn in this tableau builder consists of two phases. In the first phase, the topmost robots return from the locations of the person whose turn it is. In this return there are the resources that the robot has collected. 

The second phase is the action phase. One of six possible actions can be carried out here. For example, you can bring another robot back from the top spot of a map and thus get more resources or send any number of robots to a location and fill this location from top to bottom. Players can also purchase new locations, artifacts, or records by paying the appropriate cost. As a last resort, you can take two gears.

The game ends when, after revealing a new record, the end tile is revealed or when a person has twelve location cards in front of them. Whoever has collected the most points from victory point tiles and victory points from artefacts and records wins the game.

The novelty plays with 2-4 people in 45-60 minutes. The recommended age is 12 years. The recommended price is 33 euros. 

Lacrimosa – Devir's next hit?


Lacrimosa: A board game with hit potential. Image: Publisher

Devir had with him last year Bitoku one of the highlights at the SPIEL in the program, which was sold out long before the end of the fair. Also this year the publisher has a challenging game in its luggage. In terms of subject matter, it is certainly one of the outstanding titles at this year's fair. No mystical forest or the endless expanses of space are the setting of this novelty. The players want to finance the completion of Mozart's Requiem.

In addition to this task, everyone also wants to appear in a good light as Mozart's most important patron. Unlike the above novelties are too Lacrimosa no rules published yet. 

The game is to play in two time levels. In the present, the players try to contribute the missing parts of the Requiem. In the past there are a total of five different locations. The aim here is to buy and perform Mozart's pieces and to support the composer on his travels around Europe, thus gathering the resources needed to support the musical genius.

According to the publisher's description, player actions are controlled using a limited number of hand cards that can be improved during the game.

Lacrimosa is a game for 1-4 people that takes about 90 minutes to play and is suitable for ages 14 and up. The manufacturer's recommended price is €70.

Unconscious Mind - A pleasure to play?

Unconscious Mind

Unconscious mind – psychoanalysis played. Image: Publisher

About 100 years after Lacimosa plays unconscious mind and this novelty is also set in Austria. At the beginning of the 20th century, the first theories of psychoanalysis dealing with the subconscious emerged. As members of the Viennese Psychoanalytical Association founded around Sigmund Freud in 1908, the players try to improve their therapeutic skills and establish a well-run practice with enough patients.

If the players treat their patients well, they can lead happier lives. New psychoanalytic insights can be published and hopefully cited frequently. This increases one's own influence on psychoanalysis.

Unfortunately, there are no rules for this novelty either. In your turn, a figure can be placed on one of the action locations on the main game board. As a result, various effects can be triggered on the personal tableau and dream cards and one of the resources (these are called insights) can be used to treat patients in your own practice. 

With the professor figure, places in historic Vienna can be visited that allow further actions. You can also increase your reputation or unlock bonuses.

At the beginning of the year, the title was on many top lists of this year's novelties. At SPIEL there finally seems to be more detailed insights into the game before it should start crowdfunding. The game is recommended for ages 12 and up. It is suitable for 1-4 people and should be played in 45-90 minutes.

Woodcraft – The new game by Vladimir Suchy


Woodcraft by Vladimír Suchý. Image: Publisher

Woodcraft by Vladimír Suchý. Image: Publisher

In this game by Vladimír Suchý (Underwater Cities, Pulsar 2849, Messina 1347) the players try to make the best wooden products. This is represented in the game by dice, which can be manipulated – i.e. edited.

Even if it is not very meaningful with very few entries, it will woodcraft rated the most complex on this list by BoardGameGeek. The game runs over several rounds and in each of these rounds all players carry out an action. 

In the first step of your turn, the trees grow. An action is then carried out on the action wheel. You can buy wood, manipulate cubes, buy materials, choose orders, choose an assistant, produce or plant a tree or improve your workshop. In addition, there are six possible free promotions and the option to buy a bonus promotion. At the end of the turn, points can still be bought. At the end of certain rounds there is an income phase.

The heart of the new game is definitely the exciting mechanism with the shared action wheel. The game ends after 13 rounds and a final income phase. In addition to the points collected during the game, there are then further points for completed contracts, other resources and completed orders depending on your own reputation marker. For unfulfilled orders you lose two reputation points. As always, the person with the most points wins.

woodcraft is a game for 1-4 players aged 12+ and takes 60-120 minutes to play.  

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