News Collider: Essen Spiel 2013

Board game news Essen Speil 2013
Guten Tag! Wo ist deine lieblingsspiele? No we haven’t gone mad (well we haven’t been certified yet) we are just celebrating the biggest table top gaming convention in the world; Essen Spiel, which most people just shorten to Essen. There’s a good chance if you’re reading this that you won’t be going to Spiel so we’ve picked out some of the best looking games that are either launching, or just making themselves known at the giant German games fair.

Tash-Kalar: Arena of Legends

Vlaada Chvátil may be a difficult name to pronounce but he’s one hell of a game designer. Responsible for such off the wall games as Galaxy Trucker and Space Alert when Vlaada makes a new game you take notice and Tash Kalar: Arena of the Gods is such a game.

Tash-Kalar is an abstract, arena based, combat system were the careful placement of troops allows the summoning of spirits and monsters. Try to imagine gladiatorial battles but with magic and I think you’ve got it. Admittedly it isn’t much to look at but with three different factions, objective based or free for all game modes and some thematic cards this could just be the business. With Essen already going on a friend of mine has already played this and for him it was an instant purchase, and he can usually be trusted with this kind of thing.

Board game news Essen Speil 2013 Tash-Kalar - Arena of Legends

Machina Arcana

Board game news Essen Speil 2013machina arcana
Cthulhu Mythos and steampunk you say, where do I sign up? Breaking my golden rule of not putting Kickstarter projects in News Collider is Machina Arcana, a Victorian steampunk horror mythos mash up.
“Machina Arcana is a cooperative horror adventure board game for 1-4 players. The most crucial rule is: survive. Players take the role of explorers who are investigating ancient subterranean complex of unknown origin. They face monsters inspired by works of H. P. Lovecraft in a steampunk setting. Explorers will collect gear, interact and utilize their environment, fight with monsters and immerse themselves into the rich narrative elements.”
Board game news Essen Speil 2013 machina arcana

Okay, I’ll admit that at first this just sounds like Arkham Horror all over again but this game looks dark, I mean black as an absence of light, so dark it makes Arkham Horror look neon lit. The buzz surrounding Machina Aracna is quite strong and if you’re at Essen you can get a chance to play the game otherwise you’ll have to keep an eye out for the Kickstarter launch, which of course we’ll be covering in our Kickstarter roundup.

The Rats in the Walls

Board game news Essen Speil 2013 the rats in the walls

Sticking with Mr Lovecraft esquire is the Rats in the Walls, a game about possibly my favourite, and one of the most disturbing of Lovecraft’s stories. Set in the ruins of an English Priory the story and game has the protagonist and his cat believe that the walls of the ruin are amok with rats and his investigation into the supposed rodent problem leads to even darker things.

The game works like a variation of liars dice, where a number of rats (faces on a dice) are hidden in the walls (a cup) and players have to guess the correct number of rats. Get it wrong and you start losing your sanity. Whoever stays sane the longest wins and although this is a simple game mechanic it already sounds better, and more thematic than, Cthulhu dice. If you fancy The Rats in the Walls you better be quick as the production run is limited to 994 copies, most of which will probably go at Essen Spiel, the rest you can order direct from Sphinx Games.

Roundhouse Kick

Board game news Essen Speil 2013 roundhouse kick.jpg
“It was a plan, as foolproof as it could be, for escaping the most secured prison in this country. And it worked. Until you decided to rest in an abandoned barn, without knowing it was the meeting place for all the nearby villains in their ultimate quest. The battle between you and them was short but fierce. It was a battle with no survivors... only legends.”
Board game news Essen Speil 2013 roundhouse kick.jpg

Do I need to say anything else? Escaped prisoners in a barn kicking the snot out of monsters! Silly it may well be and Roundhouse Kick sounds like a simple game of dice rolling and pushing your luck but so does King of Tokyo and that turned out awesome. It doesn’t look like much at the moment and a splash of graphic design could do this game wonders, but the premise sounds like a silly little filler that could be loads of fun.


Aliens are coming! Are they going to be nice and cute and share their vast knowledge or are they coming to destroy us? Why they’re coming to wipe us off the face of the planet of course. In Invaders from White Goblin Games, two players each take one side of the interplanetary conflict, the invading aliens and the defending humans.

What looks so fascinating is how the forces and tactics required by each side vary so much. The invaders have huge resources at their disposal but don’t want to spread their forces too thin. They also know that the defending humans have very limited resources and depleting these resources could be key to victory. The human defenders are playing a game of guerrilla warfare, building defences, anticipating attacks and setting traps for the invaders.

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