Spotlight on Games > Ludographies > Essen 2010
Essen 2010 Game by Game

Warlike Games

Ulrich Blum; Adlung; 2-4; 20-45
In the Caribbean of 1717 island pirates search islands for treasure. There are five different roles – movement, discovery, firing, recruiting and a meta-one. The reason for the meta is the real innovation of the game. Each three-part card shows a crewmember in one of five colors (as well as a treasure value and a combat value). Each color is tied to one of the five roles so that the more crew members of a color, the more the player can do that role. But meta-role is to swap two of these role-to-color correspondences. Cards are used to form a playing area and are flipped to discover islands (two of the cards being just empty sea). When an island is discovered the player draws a card to determine what kind of treasure is found there. To resolve combat, pirates at the same location draw an extra card for each cannoneer. The higher total steals a treasure. The artwork is pretty cool, ships are formed via folding cards in half (might be nice to get some stands for them) and each island is named and appears to resemble an actual Caribbean venue. [more]

Le Donjon de Naheulbeuk
Antoine Bauza & Ludovic Maublanc; Repos Production; 3-6; 60
Dungeon-crawling quest in which each player has a character having skills and personality, one of: stupid barbarian, belching ogre, haughty sorceress, dumb elf, cowardly thief, ever-singing bard, cranky dwarf or ranger wannabe. The heroes must survive 14 of the 56 dungeon rooms to defeat a powerful sorcerer. There are 8 kinds of skill checks and most use Destiny Tiles (16 thick cards, which also represent monsters) and a special timer (with 3 difficulty levels). An example: Balance Check: the player must put a Destiny Tile on the top of his head, walk/run around and sit down again without letting the tile fall. Battles are also timed and are played with Letter Cards, that can be exchanged between two players. They are used to spell special words (several different words for each character) as blows to the enemy. Every time a player plays cards to spell a word, he draw 3 new cards and continues to play. If there are enough hits the enemy is defeated. For example, the sorceress can cast a spell by spelling "wazaaa" with any number of "a"'s at the end, wounding the enemy with each extra "a". The barbarian can misspell a letter in each of his word. The bard and the ranger can make other players draw cards. [more]

Earth Reborn
Christophe Boelinger; Ludically/Z-Man Games; 2-4; 60
Miniature combat in a post-nuclear war world between scientists/engineers and occultists who bring the dead back to life. Includes 9 scenarios with many travel missions and written using a programmed learning system in which new rules are introduced in each. There is also a scenario generation system. Miniatures are programmed using tiles. Radio scrambling rules can mess up opponent orders. There is no text on the board; rather instructions are given by icons. There are also rules for line of sight, shooting and close combat. Of course characters differ in their attributes. By the inventor of Dungeon Twister. [more]

Escape From the Aliens in Outer Space
Luca Francesco Rossi, Mario Porpora, Nicolò Tedeschi, Pietro Righi; Riva; CranioCreations; 2-8; 20
Card game set on a badly damaged deep space research ship. On-board systems have failed and the ship is dark. If that were not bad enough, a mysterious alien plague has crept aboard and is transforming the human crew into monsters, which hunger for human flesh. The board represents the spaceship and is overlaid with a hexagonal grid. Each player is given a map sheet and pencil. In turn each makes a move on the map sheet. Entering the areas marked dangerous requires a card draw which force players to reveal their position or lie about it, depending on the card. Humans try to get out the escape hatches while aliens try to hunt down the humans. Nobody knows who is playing which other piece. Available in two editions: Black and Limited, which can be combined. [more]

The God Kings
Julien Bonnard; Compass Games; 2-4; 240
War in the Near East 15th-13th centuries BC. Protagonists are Egypt (New Kingdom), Hittites, Mitanni, Babylonian Kassites and Assyria. Card-driven system inspired by Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage. Participating characters include Rameses II, Queen Hatchepsut, Thutmosis III, Akenathon, Tutankhamon, Suppiluliuma and Muwatalli II. Notable concerns include gaining regions that provide timber and dealing with sudden barbarians. A wide selection of scenarios is provided. [more]

Guided Lands
Helge Landmesser & Jörg Weseloh; Smiling Monster Games; 2; 60
Fantasy miniatures battle from a new publisher takes a universal approach, supporting minis of about 28 mm. Rules permit creating races and equipping soldiers. Small skirmishes to epic battles. Features a card-driven initiative system. [more]

Interstellar Mayhem
Alexander Ommer; Soylent Games; 30-60; 2-6
Science fictional space battle over control of an asteroid field. Each player controls one spaceship. Optimize speed, shields and firepower. Anticipate enemy maneuvers. And avoid running into the asteroids. Includes six ships, eighteen actual stones to represent asteroids, forty dice, eighteen technology cards and six ship sheets. [more]

Junta: Viva el Presidente!
Sebastian Resl, Christoph Reiser; Pegasus; 3-5; 45-60
Not the classic Junta, but a new version employing mechanisms similar to Roll Through the Ages. The setting is still satirical though as players are members of a corrupt government trying to get power and thereby money to stash away in Swiss bank accounts. But now private militias rather than the army is the source of power. Includes 20 dice, 25 building tiles, 45 cards and 1 pair of presidential sunglasses. [more]

The King Commands
Magnus Esko; Z-Man Games; 2-6; 30
In a post-Camelot setting, Knights attack one another using various card combinations, trying to steal gold. Card typess include: sword, shield, gold, crown, crystal ball, glass eye, Excalibur. 114 cards included. (Just kidding about the glass eye). The hand size is six and two cards are drawn at the start of each turn. On a turn a player must attack by playing a set of swords or discard. An attack with two swords of different colors can be blocked by a shield in either color. One of three swords in the same color needs two shields of that color. Etc. A five sword attack is unblockable. [more]

King of Tokyo
Richard Garfield; IELLO; 2-6; 30
Mutant monsters, gigantic robots and other aliens attack one another to become top monster in Tokyo. Each turn a player rolls six special dice up to three times trying to achieve the ideal combination. Results are things like destroy, restore energy, heal, attack, etc. There are also special cards which offer temporary or p ermanent effects, e.g. growing another head which grants an additional die. Victory is by destroying Tokyo with 20 destruction points, or by being the only surviving monster. [more]

Piero Cioni; Devir/Heidelberger/Nexus; 2; 60
Fantasy battles at the level of armies and sorcerers. Various armies, sorcerous characters and scenarios are included. [more]

Mars is Ours!
Daiki Kobayashi; B2FGames LLC.; 2-4; 90
Players are CEOs sending out robots to exploit Mars and are determined enough to battle for the resources. Mechanisms are majority control, worker placement and combat via dice. The board is assembled and will tend to be different each time. Maintenance rules regularly take the last acting robots out of play and bring in new ones from reserve. There are laboratory spaces to be controlled, which provide special abilities such as re-rolls, reduced attack cost, defensive bonus, etc. Passing on taking one's turn permits taking any one robot out of commission. This hybrid game hails from Japan. [more]

Mousquetaires du Roy
aka Mylady und die Musketiere

François Combe & Gilles Lehmann; Ystari/Rio Grande; 1-5; 90
The latest of many inspired by The Three Musketeers. This one appears to simulate matters rather literally as a one vs. many game with the musketeers (a team of one to four) fighting Milady (but why not Richelieu?) find the Queen's pendants and also foiling the plots in the Louvre, La Rochelle, etc. Each turn the Milady player plays plot cards and chooses a secret destination. Then, each musketeer performs a few actions, e.g. move, draw a card, get equipment, fight the Cardinal's Richelieu's guards, reinforce La Rochelle, surprise Rochefort, etc. Duels and some situations are resolved via dice/to-hit rolls. Cards also play a significant role. [more]

Munera: Familia Gladiatoria
Matteo Santus; Albe Pavo; 2-4; 90
Each player represents a lanista, i.e. manager of a gladiatorial team. Activities include recruiting (via auction, trainers, armorers, medics, prostitutes, training (free men, slaves, criminals and prisoners), have them fight and place bets on the outcomes. Successful gladiators gain skill and and popularity. Includes three boards, i.e. a map of Italy's regions, the arena and the gymnasium. There are four types of cards: gladiatory, minister, munus and event(um). Gladiators contain seven different ratings, e.g. cost, salary, courage, charisma, valor, obedience and origin. Ministers are assistants. Minus cards represent occasions for which a gladiatorial show is required. Events are played to gain some special advantage or alter the expected course of events. Duels are resolved via a combination of attributes and dice. [more]

Cédric Joint; Pavillon Noir Editions; 2; 15
"Ordeal" is a game of medieval duelling. Rather than the musketeers idea, the cover shows two knights in heavy armor. Both players have a deck of cards 1-12 and to fight they each choose one simultaneously and reveal. The higher card wins except for two special cases. Upon scoring a hit, the player chooses his target by specifying left or right and also head, torso or legs. At the same time the defender decides which part he will try to defend. If he guessed exactly right, the defense is successful; otherwise the less he matched the more he gets damaged, which is toted up on a score track until one side or the other loses. [more]

The Phantom League
Timo Multamäki; Dragon Dawn Productions, Tuonela Productions Ltd.; 2-6; 90
Each player is captain of a merchant spaceship trying to build a career through trade, piracy, exploration and eliminating rivals. The board is modular and play card driven. Inspired by David Brabenís video game Elite. [more]

Popular Front
Patrick Stevens; Numbskull Games; 2-6; 90
Spanish Civil War. Politico-military game with point-to-point movement. When there are more than two players, they simply join one team or the other as there are three factions per side and and an identical 20-card deck for each faction. Combat resolution is via cards, some strong and some weak. They must all be used before they can be re-shuffled and drawn again. There are no dice, odds or terrain. [more]

Quest: Zeit der Helden - Angriff der Orks
Alexander Dotor; Pegasus Spiele; 2-5; 60
"Time of Heroes - Attack of the Orcs" is the standard RPG setup: a game master vs. a team of heroes. There isn't just one quest, bu a series, each building on the previous. The game master reads paragraphs from the adventure book, the team chooses an option which goes to more information on another page. Replayability is increased by checkboxes in the rules to the effect of "check this box; if you have already check this box, go to this other number". Uses 10-sided dice and includes 18 characters and wipeable character sheets and one pen to use. All of the text is so far only in German. [more]

Rio de la Plata
Michele Quondam; Gamesinitaly/ Grande Games/Matagot; 3-5; 90
In the late 1500s Juan de Garay has led an expedition to re-found the city of Buenos Aires. But there are difficulties in the form of limited resources, hostile natives and English privateers. Thus players need to work together, but also try to be the first in prestige and take the most valuable offices. Worker placement to create buildings and ship goods back to Europe is the method used to build up an income and points engine. When war breaks out, players try to destroy what others have created; you might even try to destroy your own. Players must decide whether to go for the advantage of first player or be the last player and thus take control of the raiding natives or privateers. A raid works by having the attacker place tokens around the city perimeter. Then defending players also place tokens inside their city, being able to purchase extras if desired. When attacking tokens try to outnumber defenders the underlying building is destroyed and earns points for the attacker; otherwise the defenders get points for destroying attacking tokens. It's unclear how possible kingmaking is controlled, if at all. [more]

Denys Lonshakov; self-published; 2-4; 180
Eastern borders of Europe from the 6th to the 11th century. Although the Huns have already passed, other nomadic hordes pass through on their way to central Europe. Slavs move south into the steppes. The Bulgars, Khazars and Kievan Rus contend with one another, the goal being to capture the largest amount of territory and keep it loyal. Non-player factions are controlled by the rules. Movement is via simultaneous written order. Combat is rather elaborate. The type of battle depends on the overall strategic situation, i.e. offensive, defensive or encounter. Then players place down 3 cards which represent two lines of troops. There are a series of rounds in which the cards are revealed, any special abilities applied and then individual attacks alternate, which employ dice. [more]

Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game
Kevin Wilson; Fantasy Flight Games; 2-4; 180
Inspired by the video game. There are now four paths to victory. [more]

unknown; jcgames
Free space opera role-playing games in German. [more]

Jaro Andruszkiewicz, Waldek Gumienny & Michal Ozon; Los Diablos Polacos/Phalanx Games Polska; 2; 90
Tactical wargame on the battles of the Teutonic Knights includes four battles: Lake Peipus (1242 AD), Plowce (1331), Tannenberg (1410) and Konitz (1454). Card-driven with historical leaders, cavalry charges, crossbow fire, etc. The usual cardboard counters are replaced with wooden components. [more]

Total Rumble
Óscar Arévalo; Gen-X Games; 2-12; 20
Card game on wrestling. Players use cards to attack and defend, being able to deploy special skills, weapons, chairs, ladders all with the goal of running out opponent life points. The winner is the last wrestler standing. [more]

Van Helsing
Frédéric Moyersoen; Sirius; 2-5; 45-60
Many vs. one game of hunting Dracula. The board shows the three floors of Dracula's castle, each room numbered. Four of the players are vampire hunters and the fifth the vampire; they differ in their health levels and starting equipment. More equipment can be picked up in various rooms. Dracula's starting location on the ground floor is not known to the hunters, who begin outside and enter via the main gate. Possible actions: move, search, fight, use equipment. On his turn Dracula reveals where he has just been, but not to where he has moved. There are also ten brides of Dracula in the castle and after hunters find them (by turning of equipment tiles) they are moved by the Dracula player as well. Fighting is resolved via "to hit" dice rolls and bitten players join Dracula's side. [more]

War of Edadh
Ash & Nigel Pyne; World oF Twilights; 1-4
Card-based boardless war game set in an imaginary fantasy setting includes 120 cards, 22 counters, 10 score sheets and 2 rules books. [more]

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