Unexpected encounters of the board game kind… (Part 2)

Apparently, this time and day board games are the hotness. They seem to be so big „a thing“, they can now easily be used to promote huge international brands and keep them rolling nicely. Sometimes quite literally.

I needed a new set of summer tyres for my car. While I made myself comfortable on a Ferrari red sofa with a nice cup of coffee for the wait, I casually glanced across to the “kid’s corner“. I had expected to see toy cars and wooden building bricks, picture books and the like. They were all there, of course, and even that inescapable dexterity “game“ where the child entertainee has to navigate some (theft-and-nonsense-proof) ring or other device along twisting wires and all kinds of challenges towards some goal within the construction. I find these contraptions ever so enticing and am very temped to give it a go, but when all is said I always end up not to because squatting down on one of those miniature chairs with my ears next to my knees would be too embarrassing…

But the dexterity game was clearly outshone this time buy a total of three boxes with different games all produced for promotional purposes. There was a “family game for up to 7 players“ titled “I love my Doblo“ designed after “Snakes and Ladders” meets “Game of Life“, having event spaces like “Mom is sick. Move back 5 spaces.“, “First soccer training. TraTransporting half the team. Advance 7 spaces.“ und “Puberty. 3 spackes backwards. Have an argument.“ (NOT joking here.)

The winner is whoever gets on the new Fiat Doblo in the centre of the board first. If you can also ”beat“ the other player’s pieces and send them back to “start“ like in other games was not explicit in the rules. I have an idea that if you would like that, a little “house ruling“ would be in order. Sadly, playing pieces and dice were missing.  (Which proves the point regarding the self-defending precautions with any mobile components of the dexterity game.)

It is not just theme as such which is promoting the brand here, there are also promotional statements inserted in the details. You are informed there is a navigation system on board, or you stop on an event like “Summer vacation. Taking the surf board along. Plenty of room. Advance 1 space“, pointing out the advantages of the particular vehicle that is meant to be made desirable to you . To be fair, there are actually just 5 (or maybe 6 if you want to be a little more nit-picky) in a total of 19 event spaces that have any reference to a car and its uses, and not every one of them is positive Positives; there is one that tells you the car boot is too large and loading up therefore takes forever, so you have to skip a  turn. (That is, of course, a fairly see-through tactics, but I would still say it is “pretty clever“ – if that was not also some form of promoting a saleable item.) The other events cover a wide range of landmarks in a young person’s life like taking your very first steps, chickenpox, good marks at school, the very first kiss and love sickness. You are, however, left with the impression that as soon as you reach adulthood – and according to the editors of the game –  purchasing a nice large famlily cars should be high on your list of priorities. This adds a whole new dimension to the “family friendly“ attribute of a board game.

The card based game “Qubino“, a game  “For young unconventional and lateral thinkers“. Basically following the rules of  “Domino“ while playing, the future customers are training themselves to acknowledge all those reasons for buying the product that are being suggested to them from the sales catalogue, at the same time bonding to the company’s logo.

Some form of unconventional thinking may be happening to transfer the rules of “Domino“ onto “Qubino“, but there is no way the game  teaches any independent lateral thinking to the young gamers. On the contrary, this happens the less the more the game actually achieves to be fun.

The two copies of a memory game were also next to complete. I simply had to get down to sorting the cards into their boxes! One of the games appeared complete by all standards, the other one was lacking two cards, but this would not have impaired the playability in a significant way if all you wanted was to pass some time while u wait. All it would take was to remove those cards that were lacking a double from the game. I am not going to lie to you: That design was ever so cool! So cool, I was seriously tempted to buy a copy if at all possible.  (I even asked but was told the game was not available for purchse. Why was that, I wondered. Such a pity.)

The slightly abstracted images in black white and red colours all shared the same theme; in a wider sense they all depicted automobiles, racing and lots of things related (will not start contemplating the broken hearts and  lipstick prints, though).  There were only two motifs showing the photographic images of the company logo and actual car models. It definitely had something there…

Good play – better day!

Unexpected encounter of the board game kind… (Part 1)

I am pretty much sure that most of you people who read this have their own game collection with boxes neatly tucked away in you black or white Kallax, and you buy your games online, from the retailer you trust, a large department store, at your friendly local game shop or at conventions and fairs like Spiel Essen. You play at your own gaming table – or any large table in your house that doubles as such – and at your game club and other such obvious places. But have you ever bought a game at the supermarket and eaten it up even before you brought it to the table?

Alright, the latter concept sounds a bit extreme, but it is not entirely impossible. There are, in fact, edible games! Between boiled sweets, popcorn and chocolate bars, you can actually take a bite out of Rummikub, Trivial Pursuit and Twister, as this find in the sweets department of a large German supermarket chain gives proof of. The best time to look for such specialities is before Christmas, but you can come across them all year round.

You find all kids of old classics here: A candy version of Twister, Uno made of chocolates, Ludo (Mensch ärgere dich nicht!) and the “original” Monopoly. The latter might have been introduced to make the infamous sentence “I hate Monopoly!” practically unutterable, at least among chocolate lovers. Most of them have chocolate components with wrappers camouflaging them as playing pieces of some sort and printed edible “paper”.  

They are very playable, and if you have a good portion of self-restraint some are perhaps even re-playable, but it would be safest to avoid any AP, or the piece you want to place might melt in your hand. So much is certain: These games are not recommended for temperatures of 30° Centigrade or over, and they come with an expiry date.

They are very playable, and if you have a good portion of self-restraint some are perhaps even re-playable, but it would be safest to avoid any AP, or the piece you want to place might melt in your hand. So much is certain: These games are not recommended for temperatures of 30° Centigrade or over, and they come with an expiry date.

The idea to have a sweet review of the most positive moments like in this edible game could be a nice addition to your New Year’s Eve celebration. It is clearly reminiscent of „Trivial Pursuit“. A pity that the box with its dial of trivia questions has outlived its purpose when empty. Maybe it can be refilled for some re-playability.

In a few cases the game is not a high calorie re-make of an existing game, but has itself and what you are doing with the content of the box as a “theme”.

In this example, gummy drops in different colours and flavours – nice and not so nice – come with a custom die. You roll and have to face the “challenge” according to your result, namely eat the next gummy drop the die has assigned to you. That is the game, all of it, and it comes with a warning to stop playing well before you get sick.

Gosh and golly, when do you “play” such a thing? And with whom? Was it inspired by Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans from Harry Potter? In that case I would wish for a nicer box. I also did not buy it, so I cannot vouchsafe if there was or was not any ear wax candy in it.

I can imagine torturing children who come a-trick-and-treating on Halloween with this! Joke aside, it could work as a little Halloween prank for the occasion, adding some extra “spice” to all the gruesome special effects our home has been known for when it functions as the most popular Halloween House for the children in the neighbourhood. That would make some sense. Problem was, this beauty of a game only appeared on the clearing sale shelf in January, but then it might have been around on time for the start of November, who can say? I think I will actually keep my eyes peeled for this in October.

Would I twister myself around sweets and buy the chocolate Munchopoly or any of the others? Certainly not. An edible game may pass as a novelty gift from a gamer to a non-gamer and be considered original and funny, but I am tempted to add “in a warped kind of way”.  For somebody who does not normally enjoy board games, the special “theme” would not really add a lot to the enjoyment of the content. Maybe this would be different with an outright board game hater who would gleefully destroy the whole box (and no real live game hurt in the process…).

But what a cruel gift to give to any true board game lover, or worse, to any serious board game collector!

On the bright side, they are ideal for those of us who constantly face serious storage problems with every new game they acquire…

My suggestion: If you want to appease your sweet tooth with a game related treat, bake a cake with a board game theme! There are great examples of such cakes known to mankind, but however nice they are to behold, they do not camouflage as playable, durable games but are first and for all a cake to enjoy with a nice cuppa on the side – and then you can get out a real board game and play together with your friends!

Good play – better day!

The Dice & Mystics Fringe 2018 – Little Big TinyCon

It’s been quite some time now, but the memories are so bright, colourful and vivid, they have not dimmed or faded in the slightest. How could they? You people are – amazing! Do you know how “long” it had taken until the first guest registered for our 3rd Dice & Mystics Fringe after the announcement was put up on BoardGameGeek? Just 3 – in words: THREE! – seconds. We were booked full well before deadline. And the most awesomest thing of all, you all actually came along to play!

In its third year, our “Dice & Mystics Fringe “ had grown by a few places. But we are still the “TinyCon”, and will always be. Quite a number of hopefuls from our waiting list finally made it, some as late as on the day itself. So thanks to everybody who were so kind to tell us and gave others the chance. Our aim was to give all our guests a good time. Most had visited before. We do recognize many faces from past events; they are becoming like a large family to us.

We’re happy when we can welcome somebody we know or somebody new and we miss those we had been looking out for, like e.g. that wonderful nice couple who had been among our very first visitors ever and had told us they were certain to attend again in 2018, but did not. We do hope that only positive things have kept them away.

The coffee was just ready when – even before we officially opened – the first guests started arriving. Everyone was presented with a nice selection of special treats: The complete set of promo cards for Too Many Bones by Chip Theory Games, a complete set of promo cards for Folklore by Greenbriar Games – exclusive to Spiel Essen and the Dice & Mystics Fringe event – and a promo card for MireMarsh by Room 17 Games.

Gamers came, settled down, started gaming without further ado. Almost instantly the game rounds were in full swing. It did not take long until all spaces in the house were filled.

Most of our guests had brought games along right away, but some who were staying at hotels close by this year first scouted the situation before deciding what they wanted to put on the table, popping out and back again to bring their stuff.

A few little changes to last year were noticeable: People liked that we had been able to open up two more rooms with more tables and seating upstairs, thus creating more wiggle room around the same number of tables on the ground floor. As time flew by – as it does when you are having fun – it got “wiggly” all the same. Every single table in the house was well occupied with games and gamers, but since we put in more seats, although we were still limited to a set number of tables and guests, there was even a rare free chair that got used as a coffee tray, and people could move about more comfortably.

The buffet with the drinks and biscuits was located in the lobby, which made things so much more convenient (also for the lady who, unseen by most, magically made the coffee fill up and dirty dishes disappear). And you people made yourselves comfortable, as we could see by the coffees, teas and biscuits consumed this time: nearly twice as many! Having more freedom of movement and putting the buffet in the centre of the building obviously helped you to enjoy yourselves.

The generosity of so many people, institutions and companies was overwhelming.  There is, of course the Parish of St. Engelbert, who once again let us use the building free of any charge, Kaffeestore24.de (who, once again, gave us all the coffee), Taxi Bednarz  with their special taxi rates for the “Fringe”, and a number of unnamed Dice & Mystics who donated numerous this and thats.

At the time of the raffle at 10 p.m. the Fringe had been in full swing for some time, but the busy gaming community present was instantly silenced by what was later murmured to have been a spell made available by a certain wizard authority from abroad. (You need to have been there.) Next the many prizes attracted the attention of everybody.

Our sponsors who so generously donated for the raffle (in alphabetical order) found that their kindness was very, very much appreciated:

  • Chip Theory Games  who attended for the first time, donated the last available copy of their brand new “TMB Undertow”.
  • Again there were many, many vouchers from Fantasywelt.de, the large German online game retailer, with a total value of € 50.
  • Our old and new friends from Greenbrier Games gave us a copy of “BarBEARians: Battlegrounds”, “Ninja Dice” and a copy of their brand new game “Helios Expanse”.
  • It was our special pleasure to once again welcome King Racoon Games with “Tsukuyumi Full Moon Down” which they had first presented at the 2017 Fringe (now getting issued in a copy with playable miniatures, brought to Kickstarter March 2019 by Grey Fox Games: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kingracoongames/tsukuyumi-full-moon-down-a-strategic-board-game/posts/2393332) who could now enjoy it with the many fans of the game, who in turn were happy to meet the makers again. This time they brought two signed copies of the luxury hard cover art book for their game to raffle off.
  • Mythic Games were graciously contributing a whole full pledge of their  grandiose  “Time of Legends: Joan of Arc” (which will be shipped to the lucky winner on release) including game mat, Dragon plus an incredible extra: a unique mounted canvas art print of the dragon attacking which had been made especially for the Dice & Mystics Fringe :

  WHOA!!!

(Thank you for letting us use the picture.)

  • There was Restoration Games, with Justin Jacobsen spontaneously throwing in a copy of “Fireball Island” (to be shipped to the lucky winner on release) into the raffle because he had so much fun with everybody.
  • There were the good people from Room 17 Games who contributed not only their “Museum Rush” and also not one, but two full pledges of their great game “Miremarsh”, on kickstarter at that time and now well-funded and in its production phase, and as if this was not enough also two “freshly caught” Miremarsh goblins (minis professionally painted for the occasion by one of the Dice & Mystics: our great thanks to Andreas Mertin).

They were demoing a pre-production copy of the game and also their coming Kickstarter, “Tenfold Dungeon”, during the event. (This project is live on KS right now: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/room17games/tenfold-dungeon-modular-dungeon-crawling-terrain).

  • Second Gate Games presented us with their big success “Monsterlands” for the raffle.
  • There were some fun little and larger games by Spieleparadies Wagner, the local toy and games shop. There were, of course – spinners! Wouldn’t be a Fringe without them now, would it…? We raffled off a box full of creative activities/projects with play dough which went to a bearded gentleman who is going to, we are sure,  either build up a steep and spectacular art career on it or find a child who will be glad of the present.

And last but by no means least we once again welcomed

  • The Dice Tower, who were bringing along not only themselves – which was already an absolute treat for us – but also an attractive selection of their brand new acrylic dice towers featuring the unique “dice characters” of themselves and their popular contributors.

The strangest thing about this raffle was that so many people won such prizes as if they had been previously singled out for them. One example: One winner had on arrival told us we needn’t even put his ticket in the box for the raffle: “I’ve never won anything in my whole life.”  And – got a game he had just put at the top of his current wish list. Well – never say never, right? Another very surprised winner went home with the one specific game he had wanted to get at the fair and had found to his chagrin that it had been sold out already. There must have been a lingering Dumbledore effect in the air…

The last game of a long eventful day was a high raging epic Ragnarök battle: Ever played Blood Rage with the Viking Cat Clan and meowing players? It got a teensy weensy bit weird at that late an hour, admittedly, but totally in style with some deeply engaged vikings heroes raging on towards Wallhall and glory.

And as if not enough goodness had been showered down on us that night, you had brought us presents: We happily nibbled and drank up the gifts you had brought us, still bewildered that you had somehow promoted us into the illustrious league of stroop waffle recipients:

There was even some lavender you could dab into hot water to calm down your nerves.
(You have to know in order to get that one…)

Did you ever taste handmade red banana candy?

Going…
… going…
…gone!

Simply delicious! Thank you all so much again for all your kindness! It has been much appreciated.

October is long past and we are already in 2019 now, but fond memories linger. At a late hour, somebody told me we had “lit a beacon for world peace”. Whoa! I would like to express our deep-felt and most sincerest thanks for such a huge compliment. The truth, I guess, is more like this:

But in the dark even a little candle can make a difference. And again it was always you, our guests, who lit the candle, we just handed you the matches. So we hope you all had fun, felt welcome and took home some extra happy and bright memories from your visit.

Again, you wonderful people from everywhere on this planet filled the rooms of the community center that was so generously opened up for our event by the parish of St. Engelbert in Bochum! They let us have the entire house for our Fringe every year, out of hospitality and kindness, and because (I quote) “gamers are such wonderful people who look well after things, so our house is in good hands”. We tidy up, collect our posters and paraphernalia, dismantle those extra tables, empty bins; but what we do not need are cleaning cloths or brooms. Not the tiniest scrap of paper or shrink wrap on the floor. Our Fringe is the largest event taking place in the center by far – and the only one that leaves no traces except good memories.

We are not an organisation or even a “club”. We neither have nor accept any money (with the single exception of the donations which go directly and to 100 % to the parish for charity and the upkeep of the house, for which we thank you very much). Everything else is, quite literally, a gift.

The unconditional kindness people show to each other is what enables us to have our weekly game nights and also the “Dice & Mystics Fringe”. All raffle prizes are gifts. The coffee is a gift, teas, sugar, milk, biscuits, time and work power are gifts from a number of people who come to our game nights. They come to the Spiel and to our Fringe for the same reason as everybody else: They love and want to play board games. And yet – they volunteer to help, go shopping, translate, organise, wrestle with food orders, they repeatedly use their private cars as taxis for those good people from friendly publishers and reviewers who do not have a car at their disposal.

There is the kitchen lady who does not get to play or for the most time not even see a game the whole night. There is the guest from our “Frankfurt branch” who drove hundreds of kilometres to go to the Spiel and to play games and fills in for another “driver” who had called in sick: “How often do you need me? I’ll go.”

Good play – better day!

It is for you all that we are hosting this event, and we are richly rewarded for it by getting to meet people like you!

See you all in October 2019!


Miremarsh Nights 2018

There is something spooky out tonight. Well, most of the time it is just some creepy-crawly looking for some toes to bite. But this night, this night it was different. Because it was the Miremarsh Night!

All the goblins in their settlement in the midsts of the Miremarsh knew, they felt it in their bones and teeth. A chill that the burning bone fire could not ease, a whisper in the shadows like the ancestors calling your name. All the birds hid, silent during daylight before this particular night, and all the snares were empty as nothing has moved around in the marsh.
Under the disconcerned gazes of the elders all pointy sticks were sharpened with many goblin fingers harmed in the process.
And now all the goblins were waiting for the return of their scout. The only one brave enough to venture out into the darkened swamp under the low hanging sky. Well, they more or less just pushed one unlucky goblin out of the gates and pointed him – with quite some harsh words and threats to spit roast him – into the deep marsh.
Nevertheless they were waiting, all bulwarks manned and the gate closed, just the little porch remained open, ready to grant entry to the returning scout.
And then there came a screeching noise as if all the humans sacrificed by their tribes, bound at wrists and ankles, drowned by their priesest of old, were trying to scratch with their fingernails through the gates of the Undermire to find a less dark and dampen place to rest till the end of times. The noise punched into the goblin ears with thorny fingers, pulled at their bare teeth and blew icy cold in their staring eyes.
But the goblins did not leave the bulwark, they did not give up their posts at the gate and with a grin and a last pull at their hair the screeching sound danced off deeper into the marsh.
Out of the empty silence that followed the screech the small figure of a goblin grew into sight. The goblins at the gates and the porch screamed and cheered the returning scout to be faster, to reach the settlement before the source of this awe bearing sound could reach the gates. And they noticed that the scout held something above his head, something round, glazed deep blue. With eyes wide open and gasping breath the goblin reached the porch and all the goblins gathered around him eager to hear what he has found, what he has brought.
Shivering he holds up a blue potty! And with trembling finders he pulls out a rolled parchment. On it is written: Come to me in the Miremarsh. Signed Mellekai.

We gather for the Miremarsh Night at Gemeindeheim St. Engelbert, Kassenberger Strasse 94, Bochum on Saturday the 17th of November from 05.00 PM to 11.00 PM. There you will have the opportunity to play a shiny pre-production copy of the game Miremarsh and test Museum Rush, too, before the pledge-manager for Miremarsh by Room 17 Games closes on December the 07th. And for all guests there will be a promo card, too. We can host 15 brave goblins (we are planning three rounds, first come, first served). You will only gain entrance to the Marsh if you reserve your seat here.

Always ready to serve you! We have coffee, tea and biscuits for free and there will be the opportunity to order food and drinks.

Mellekai

And there ist even more to experience if you follow the honorable goblin Kehlenschnitt. He is organising another great Miremarsh Night. I am happy to present you his message:

Imagine you are a Goblin in a deadly swamp, filled with terrifying monsters, vicious traps and a lot of unlucky, unruly and reckless fellow Goblins, each vying to be the next Goblin King. Do you have what it takes to become a Goblin King ? Can you beat the odds and are you clever (or reckless) enough to survive the many deadly challenges that can be found in the Miremarsh ? Now is your chance to heed the call and accept the challenge to become the new Goblin King of Miremarsh. I will host demogames of Miremarsh (with a shiny, new prototype copy) at my local gaming store on Saturday, 24th November from 3pm-7pm. Don’t miss this opportunity to get a first glimpse at this wonderful game and the highly detailed Goblin miniatures.
Event location:
Brave New World

Brussels Games Festival 2018

 

Summer, sunshine, scouting for board games!

Our Belgian Dice & Mystics member had invited us to come along to the Brussels Games Festival 2018. We had never been to the Brussels Games Festival before, nor – to tell you the truth – had we ever even heard of it. We had no inkling of an idea what we had been missing out on! On arrival early in the morning, our anticipation reached a climax when we saw how large an event we were looking forward to.  No entrance fees. Does that mean…? Yay! You can keep all your money for the games. And: Location is not everything –  but a setting  like that certainly takes some beating!     

Located in the “Parc du Cinquantenaire” (Park of the Fiftieth Anniversary) on 40,000 square metres there were rows and rows of mostly white tents, booths of so many publishers with games of all colours and for all tastes, speciality shops, clubs and associations… The park is the site of a former military parade ground. In the course of the 50th anniversary of Belgium’s independence in 1880 it was used to stage a World Exhibition. So, the annual games fair takes place in a very prominent and also beautiful part of Brussels.

During the last weekend of August, the Brussels Game Festival had a bit – or rather a lot – of everything: three days of board games, party games, miniature games, educational games, wooden games for inside and outside, role play and LARP, international games, casual and hard core games, children’s games, game prototypes, tournaments and a game night, and also the people who design, make, and sell the games for our wonderful hobby.

Right at the foot of the imposing Triumphal Arch at the entrance to the grounds- 50 metres high and illustrating the history of the city – there was a huge sales area for second hand games with a sizeable queue forming. (The sky abuve was dramatic.Early in the morning the air was still a bit nippy, but soon it was turning into a lovely day altogether, with just a few clouds every now and then.)

If you expect to find some musty worn around the edges thrift store quality when you hear the term ”second hand“, you will have to re-think your ideas.

For any French speaking gamer the second hand area must be like a big toy shop at Christmas to a little child because, not surprisingly, about 80 % of the offers are in French. (Don’t sue us if we don’t get the percentage right but that is how it felt.)

Quite a large number of games were language independent or copies in many other languages and it would have been easy to come out the other end of the second hand area with a pile of excellent games in excellent next to new condition, and in German, too. There were choice titles from recent years, from all the old and new classics to the multitude of Star Wars and other IP games and a whole kaleidoscope of enticing games we had never seen or heard about before. We very nearly bought “Yggdrasil”, even though it had a French rule book, but it looked all new and shiny and the price was hugely tempting; I personally felt my resolution to just look around and not buy anything at our firs visit slowly but constantly dwindling…

Just behind this wonderland of budget  board games there was another most attractive feature of the Brussels Games Fair: the Protozone. No – not “protozoon” like one of the early organisms that preceded the later more developed species; the prototypes of still unpublished games proudly presented by their designers and artists were all of them well advanced, looked good on the table and, judging by the fun everybody appeared to be having, will eventually find a publisher and an eager international audience that will buy these many creative products.

Everything is fresh, and the sheer variety of game ideas and mechanisms just swoops you off your feet and makes you sit down and play, play, play…The empty space is deceptive; the tent was huge, and there were dozens of rows where games could be sampled. On entering you could collect a list of the games present, and when you played a round of a game, you received a stamp on the space of the game you participated in. On leaving, you could circle up to three games that you liked best and put your vote in a box as a feedback.

I got a chance to play Canyon Cup, a fun and exciting racing game with a tongue- in- cheek twist, by the brothers Pirson, again. It was a surprise visit. I remembered an early version of Canyon Cup from when it had just been finished and was presented and tried out on “real, live gamers” for the very first time at the Dice & Mystics Fringe 2016.

The refined and polished game with its modular board proved to be really popular with the visitors who were already queueing up behind me and our Belgian friend while we were racing our cars along the parcours through the desert canyon, outmanoeuvring and shooting at each other, exploding barrels and collecting popularity with our fictitious audience of the ranks. There are any numbers of racing games about, but apart from all the good things that can be said about Canyon Cup there are the original winning conditions and different ways of fulfilling them by which Canyon Cup elegantly avoids a problem that is frequent in other games: You do not have any runaway victors, the race remains fairly open and unpredictable to its very end. There are people I know who cannot wait to lay their hands on Canyon Cup when it finally comes out, me being one of them. (If it comes to choosing the driver – I play crazy eyes Walter! So hands off him!)

Have you ever navigated a Zeppelin in an air fight? Ever been engaged in a deadly ball game? Here are “Zeppelin Crasher” (left) and “Mortal Basket” (right).

      

The Protozone was easily the most fun part of any games fair we had ever been to. It was like an excellent “game night” with friends old and new. The languages used at the table were French and just as frequently English as a lingua franca to communicate with numerous visitors from abroad. The time spent at the Protozone was surely one of the best gaming experiences you can have, take our word for it.

There were Games of The World.

There was an outdoor game going on that reminded me of Kubb. People in the park were playing Cricket. And there were strange things…

Talking about meeting friends and acquaintances – we had last seen video reviewer Barry Doublet at Spiel Essen. It was his first time at the Brussels Games Festival, too, he admitted, and he was just doing his first round along all the booths.  He was a good sport with getting Eric-Lang’ed (ever had your picture taken together with Mr. Lang? Then you will know) and told us he would also be at the Spiel Essen fair in in Germany, October 2018. We will make sure to drop by at the Bombyx booth where he will be demoing Imaginarium, Abyss and Catch The Moon and say hello.

There were so many activities and animations going on, we simply could not take our time to really appreciate them at our first visit. We decided to leave that for the next time and concentrated on board games and their makers only. In the vast expanses of the park, we counted 74 publishers. One look at the poster shows you how long a list it is and how spacious an event, too.

Outside in the different parts of the park you could find all kinds of publishers great and small.

 

We were expecting to see Mythic with their upcoming “Solomon Cane”, and there they were.

 

 

 

 

We expected to see ”Perdition’s Mouth”  by Dragon Dawn Productions from Finland again, and there they were.

 

 

 

Matagot – yep! Just to think how hard it often is for us to get one of their fascinating games in Germany.

 

 

 

 

Iello? Why, sure!

Some Quidditch? Apparently yes. (Although we did not see anyone flying around on a broomstick.)

And someone somewhere would surely be playing “Azul”, and – yes, found them at it!

“A” as in “A-smodee”? Have a guess. Nearly an entire row, tent after tent, red and white and mostly larger than those of other publishers, sported the Asmodee flag.

After several rounds and discovering something new at every twist and turn, we needed some rest. Time for a break. The drink of the day – unless you preferred soft drinks altogether which is fine – was “Cave Troll”.

You have a choice of a variety of food trucks: Belgian fries, roast and fried cheeses, sweets… Have a pick.

When we had just grabbed our lunches a sudden but brief shower (and the only one the entire day) drove us to seek shelter under one of those large chestnut trees and we ate, well protected from the rain, until with the last bite the sun came out again. Excellent timing!

The afternoon was a time of new discoveries. We totally fell in love with “Bourpif”, which we understood (or misunderstood) means as much as “getting one on the nose” (in all friendship, of course) or maybe “Nasenstüber” in German, and …

… were also enamoured on first sight with some very special trolls that looked fun and came with a set of luxury  limited art prints (in the game the lovely young lady does wear a brassiere!). Of course, “Trôl” had to come along!

There went the last shred of our original resolution not to – oh, bother!

So much for “not buying any games”… The best was yet to come. We ran into graphic artist Naiade/Xavier Gueniffey Durin who was on his way to the Lui-même  booth where he and the game designer of “Snow Time” were to meet for signing copies, because this was the very first day the game was sold to the public. He was surprised because normally people recognize his name, but not necessarily his face, especially not people from abroad.  It so happened that we were the first to buy and got a brand new copy, stamped and marked as as # 1 and signed by Frank Meyer  and “doodled” by Naiade, if “doodle” is appropriate a term for an original full drawing by the artist while we waited.

On the whole we were impressed by the colours and beautiful designs of all the French language games and often enquired whether there were also rules in English or German available. Sometimes there were, sometimes there were not, and sometimes there was no imminent answer to the question and both the people at the booth and we needed to check together on the internet. A whole new gaming universe was spreading out before us, if only we knew the magic words to unlock its secrets…!

What was best about the Festival? The games you could buy, old and new, of course. Playing games and having such fun, of course. Spending time with our friend. The people we met. The location. The fact that, unlike at other – meaning indoor –  fairs, you also enjoy the sun and fresh air and lots of space and nice views and all the things you see around the Brussels Games Festival. The fact that you get to see games and prototypes you do not that likely to see anywhere else. The fact that it is for free. What was best? Why, everything was!

And then there is Brussels itself, with its sights, parks, beautiful architecture, and that lovely Pâtisserie just round the corner. So then was it worth it, visiting the Brussels Games Festival 2018? Well, we have been thinking back on it every day and enthusiastically telling everybody who did not make it up a tree fast enough about it, and we are firmly set on going again and again and again!

So: YES. We strongly recommend the Brussels Games Festival. Definitely.

If you can, do go!

 

 

TSUKUYUMI – Full Moon Down @ Fringe 2017

We are very proud to present a fresh and brand new game that is on KS right now. And the best thing is that you will be able to play the game at our Fringe Event!

Tsukuyumi – Full Moon Down is a boardgame without any elements of luck or chance, that demands specific strategic skills of its 3-5 (6) players. The modular battlefield represents the dried out ground of the former Pacific Ocean: Up to 40 hexagonal area tiles circle the moon panels, providing score points, blockades and contaminations. The goal is to gather as many score points as possible, through conquering and occupying areas – thus becoming the most dominant species on the board. Tsukuyumi – Full Moon Down’s particular appeal lies in the clash of diverse, asymmetrical factions. At the beginning, each player picks a faction. Each faction comes with their own respective abilities, units and strategies. The game therefore changes depending on which factions meet on the battlefield. You may decide between wild boars, whales, marines, battle mechs, cybersamurai and many more.

STORYWOLD

The world has changed – and with it the creatures who are fighting for survival. Whether human survivors, mutated beasts or human-machine hybrids – every faction wants to seize power, in order to finally face their greatest enemy: The white dragon Tsukuyumi.

As the moon hit the earth, it had an effect which usually takes thousands of years: land masses were moved, pushed down and raised, water was displaced, and down appeared to be up. Creaking and groaning, the face of the planet was changed. The moon however came to a standstill amid massive earth walls in the muddy floor of the former Pacific Ocean.

The moon sliced up stretches of land, broke continental tectonic plates, splintered mountains and broke its own stone hull on the icy summits of the Himalaya. Wherever Tsukuyumi’s pheromones touch life, a rapid evolution takes place. But his original plan failed. While humans who get in his way fall victim to his influence and become highly intelligent and destructive Oni, the other creatures have resisted. Thus his own creations turn against him, and become his most powerful enemies. These include the insect swarms of the Dark Seed, the pig herds of the Boarlords, the beasts of the Children of the Lion and the massive land whales of the Lords of the Lost Sea.

 

Are the Dice & Mystics a Church Club? OR: How to Start Your Own Board Game Café

Our board game guild, the Dice & Mystics, play every Wednesday night at the “Spieletreff” (which roughly translates as “Gamer’s Meeting Place”) at St. Engelbert’s Parish.
On occasions the question has been asked: Are you a church club, some Christian thing?
The answer is: No.
But…​
Actually, the whole D&M enterprise was set off by a Jewish engineer named Howard Wolowitz…
Three supposedly non-gamer friends were sitting on the sofa watching that Christmas episode of “Big Bang Theory” where Howard introduces Santa into a Dungeons & Dragons session. Suddenly one says, “That seems like a lot of fun to me. Couldn’t we play D&D, too?” The other one says, “Well, now you mention it, I’ve always wanted to try that out, you know.” Says number three: “Actually – I used to be a D&D dungeon master once, but no one has been wanting to play with me for ages!”
And so it began. The new 5th edition of D&D had just come out – back to the basics – and we found a fourth party willing to venture to the Sword Coast and into our first roleplaying campaign with us. We met regularly at a local board game café, where we alternatively played some D&D and Descent and board games with similar mechanisms to get used to the concept of character sheets, stats, campaigning etc. to better train us up for the “real thing”.
The question if we are a Christian organisation may have been prompted by the “Saint” in “Spieletreff St. Engelbert”.
We know very little about the religious beliefs or disbeliefs of our members. Three or maybe four Dice & Mystics are clearly Christians, one is known as a regular church goer. There may be more, there may be practitioners of other religions or atheists among us, we have no idea. That is all we know and more than we need to know.
What we all believe in, however, is openness, tolerance, kindness of the heart and having more fun through sharing it. We want to be together, play, laugh, have a good time and invite anybody to come along and join in. Our idea was the following: We own a large board game collection and give people the chance to play games they like, or a place they can take their own favourite games to and find others to play with. Thus we also give access to great games to those who maybe cannot afford to buy them for themselves or a place for gamers or role players who do not want to be forced to keep buying drinks in a pub in order to have a large enough gaming table. And we want to be open for everybody, no matter which gender, age, ethnicity or religion or whatever. Really everybody can come and indulge in the hobby regularly at least once a week without having to spend a single penny.
We were told this attitude goes very well with Christian beliefs and values, so when our board game café suddenly closed down next Christmas, it happened that it was a Christian parish that helped us out.
We were looking for a new friendly location to meet and play. As it was, there is no other board game café anywhere in these parts. Playing at pubs turned out to be fairly disastrous, and things were beginning to look dismal. But we did not think of giving up.
One day we simply went to the parish of St. Engelbert and asked them if maybe we could play board games and D&D at their parish center. Yeah, and why not – there were nice rooms with nice tables (and central heating in winter) and it was easily accessible for everyone. Most days of the week some of the rooms were empty, it seemed. Originally we had been hoping to rent a room for a few hours every week and share the costs if they were not too high.
To cut a short story even shorter: They listened to what we wanted, asked whether we were some official club (no), whether we were commercial in any way (no), and why we were playing together (see above). They liked what we did and why, and said this was something that went very well with their ideas of a peaceful community. We could provide a great creative, intelligent, communicative, socially interactive hobby in a safe environment for free for whoever was looking for pastime and good company! And they nonplussed us by this very generous offer: We could come and use any room we needed and all facilities for free from 5 to 11 p.m. once a week. As a “payment” they would take us by our word: Anybody can come and join in, and we do tidy up after ourselves. The room and date were made known as “Spieletreff” to tell the parishioners what we were doing at their place.
Everybody can bring their drinks and sandwiches from home along if they like, and we have glasses, plates, cutlery etc. at our disposal. We bring teas, coffee and biscuits along for everybody, and often our guests bring milk, sugar and other things – even a penguin shaped gateau for sustenance during a game of Ice Cool! Thus we have drinks and snacks just like our former board game café, and we also adopted their idea to have warm meals on the premises: We have a caterer just round the corner where we can place a collective order and have food delivered right to our tables, and everybody pays individually. If the order is large enough, we even get free drinks with our meals.
We have been the “Dice & Mystics” at the “Spieletreff St. Engelbert” for a few happy years now, and what had started with three friends dreaming of the Sword Coast has evolved into an international, fairly large but still completely informal and non-commercial game club with a growing number of members and events.
So, if you want to play board games or role play, or if you are looking for nice people to play with, get creative! Look around you. Don’t be too shy to approach people and tell them your ideas. Sometimes the solution lies closer than you think. Who would have thought we could run a board game café at a parish center, and for free, too? And all it took was the asking.
Every year at the parish festival we host game rounds and raffle off a fair number of quality games donated by the D&M to all participants, to say THANK YOU to the parish, loudly and from our hearts, and – sssh! – hopefully also further increase the number of enthusiastic gamers…

Welcome at the Dice & Mystics Board Game Guild

Dice & Mystics are an international board game guild, in other words, we are a group of people who enjoy playing board games together.

We meet regularly on Wednesdays (except during school holidays) at our „Spieletreff“ in the parish center of St. Engelbert, Bochum, in rooms with large, well-lit tables generously made available to us by the parish. In the holidays we also gather for game nights at various locations if possible. Our members find us via information on the Dice & Mystics Board Game Geek guild, Meetup and Facebook or are invited along by those who already enjoy gaming with us.

We are not a club but an informal group of board game and RPG lovers without membership fees, officials or obligations, and no rules except those of respect, common courtesy, tolerance and careful handling of the facility and individual property. There is no flow of money whatsoever involved.

We think that board gaming is an intelligent, creative, cooperative and highly communicative hobby which allows many and very different people of all ages and backgrounds to socially meet and have a good time together. Our aims are good games, good company, and lots of fun. Our games can be hilariously simple and funny or really thinky, heavy theme-based games and – depending on their length and complexity – they are for adults and kids. We save the galaxy, swat orcs, raise monsters or kingdoms – or simply watch the bamboo grow. The game rounds are truly international; the Dice & Mystics speak English and German (and often enough simultaneously, too).

We cherish the idea that really anybody can simply come to us and play and share our great hobby.
We bring anything from old classics to modern thematic board games, e. g. of the SciFi, Fantysy and Hoorror genres, and RPGs on the table.

Monopoly, Tokaido, Lords of Waterdeep, Mysterium, Descent 2nd, Battle of Five Armies, Star Trek Panic, Dungeons and Dragons, Codenames, Zombicide Black Plague, Arcadia Quest, Blood Rage, Time Stories, Twilight Imperium 3rd, Arkham Horror, The Others: Seven Sins, Massive Darkness, Takenoko, Space Hulk, Silver Tower, Gorechosen, Lost Patrol, Abenteuer in Mittelerde, Shadows over Hammerhal, This War of Mine, Heldentaufe, Perditions Mouth: Abyssal Rift, First Martian, Adrenaline, Cry Havoc, Gloomhaven, … … …? Why, sure!

Eurogame oder Amerithrash – there are endless varieties!
All our games are privately owned. Many hundreds of different games are at our disposal.

We operate exclusively by our Game Host System (nicknamed the GHoSt) which means:

You can bring your own game and play. You are expected to allow anybody to join you and you are very welcome to join in at any other game, provided there is still room for one more player. If you do not have a game to bring along, you can simply come and join in anyway. Thus we give you the opportunity to regularly share a great hobby without any payments or costs involved.
Our Dice & Mystics group will always be present with different games from their own collections.

We are listed as “Dice & Mystics Board Game Guild” on “BoardGameGeek” (internationally) and on “NRW Spielt” (a German internet platform on gaming in North Rhine Westphalia).

Have fun gaming!