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10 Promising Developments of 2003

RANDOM MUSINGS on the fin-de-millénaire games scene . . .

6 Feb 2004 . . .

Plenary Games, Days of Wonder, Überplay, Face 2 Face Games et al.
Reason: The new game publishers bring fresh thoughts, energy and creativity as well as more availability to the American scene.

Oriol Comas, Pitt Crandlemire, Liesbeth Bos, Bernd Eisenstein, Jep Ferret, Stephen Glenn, Tobias Goslar, Roland Goslar, Amanda Greenvoss, Zach Greenvoss, Kory Heath, Claudia Hely, Joe Huber, Jens Kappe, Keiji Kariya, Stefan Kögl, Stefano Luperto, Roman Pelek, Richard de Rijk, Candace Weber, Hitoshi Yasuda, Kemal Yun and the rest
Reason: Likewise all the game inventors published in 2003 for the first time bring fresh ideas and perspectives to our hobby.

Bewitched Spiele, Bambusspiele, Jolly Roger Games, MOD Games, 2F-Spiele and others
Reason: The independent self-publishers continue to bring some of the most playable and innovative ideas.

Affentempel, Affenzahn, Alhambra, Ana contre Corax, Auf & Ab, Asia Crossroads; Avis de Tempête Die Brücken von Shangri-La, Buddel-Wuddel, Chaos in der Geisterbahn, China Moon, Coronets, Counting Zzzzs, Crocodile Pool Party, Dante's Inferno, Emil und die Detektive, Fantasy Pub, Fliegen, Hoppla Llama, Ideology: The War of Ideas, Der Kleine Prinz, New England, Not An Island Real Dumb Laws, Santiago, Schwarzarbeit, Scream Machine, Spank the Monkey, Vanished Planet, You Need Drew's Truck, Zendo and others.
Reason: Hurray, for new themes that allow us to escape the all too trite medieval, business and other frequently visited worlds.

China Moon Flaschenteufel, Fresh Fish, High Society, Message to the Czar, Murder in the Abbey, O Zoo le Mio, Rome, Zendo and others.
Reason: It was great to see these worthy games which had only limited releases, some of them long ago, receive new life in larger print runs. Look forward to more of this in 2004.
Reason: This year the online gaming website really seemed to come into its own, even pre-releasing games from Attika to Yinsh before they premiered in physical form as well as popularizing a number of more obscure titles that many had never seen before. "Need 1 more for Tichu. Anyone? Anyone?"
Reason: A number of great new features really made this the place to be for board gamers this year, if it wasn't already.

The Gathering of Friends, Gulf Games, etc.
Reason: German-style game only events are gaining more and more popularity. This should be the way in America that society games escape the "ghetto" in which they are currently lingering, tagged with guilt by association with RPG's, CCG's, LARP's and war games at the traditional game conventions.

National Do Not Call List
Reason: I don't know what's going on in other countries, but in America the new restrictions on telemarketers sure leave a lot more time of uninterrupted game designing and gaming.

Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals
Reason: In 650 pages the authors attempt nothing less than the first course book for a scientific study of game design, both the computer and tabletop varieties. This is not the usual light read, but an analytical book truly of use to the would-be game inventor, more like a text book in fact. Among the contributors are Reiner Knizia, who it was nice to see here in the San Francisco Bay Area during 2003.
Best wishes for enjoyable gaming in 2004!


by Rick Heli