First, I would like to apologize to everyone for the blinking text. I was overcome by the excitement of receiving the news about Game of the Year in such a timely manner and my aesthetic sense (meager as it is to begin with) was overwhelmed. It won't happen .
If I may climb aboard my soapbox for a moment, I would like to take exception to the prevailing English opinion that the round of releases from Nuremberg have been a resounding success. Thus far, with the notable exception of Die Siedler, the games appear to be very weak and, to top things off, not much fun.
The Goldsieber releases are messy, unfinished designs. Linie 1 is a passable tile laying game but the race at the end doesn't even begin to work. Stuart Dagger has made the best stab at a fix so far. He suggests that players declare when they complete a route (or, at least, when they complete the first route that pleases them). First to declare scores the length of their route. All other players incur a 3 point per turn penalty until they declare. Lowest score wins. But surely this problem could have been worked out before release. Sternenhimmel is so dry that it sets off my wife's asthma. I must admit that I've only peeked over shoulders at the Gathering of Friends as Galopp Royal and Backscisch were being played but I was so intrigued that I managed to avoid them for the rest of the Gathering.
Medici fails to excite me as I'm already burnt out on Mercator. High Society looks like fun but there's not much there.
Well, I could rail on here all day but to sum up: Die Siedler saves the day but as Essen approaches I look to the small games companies to save us from a bad year.
You'll find announcements from White Wind and Doris & Frank elsewhere in the Cabinet. Warfrog also promises two new games to follow on the success of Lords of Creation. Stockers is a card based stock car racing game. Sixteen Thirty Something is also card based game that seeks to capture the complex interplay of political factions and individual interests in Europe during the Thirty Years War.
If Moskito and Walter Müller show up with strong releases then Essen may yet conform to the Siggins Hypothesis - alternating weak and strong years. Cross yer fingers, lads.
On the American front, Sierra Madre Games reportedly have Lords of the Renaissance on offer. Unlike the now legendary Lords of the Sierra Madre, this one is still available. For now.
Gamesmiths are trying to start a new collecting craze: collectable dice. They have Throwing Stones, a fantasy roleplaying/duel game, as their initial offering. The release of another dice set, Dragon Dice, is imminent (I believe, from a different publisher).
This looks to be a slow month for articles. Perhaps its the heat. If you've completed a translation, want to review a game, or just have something to say, drop me a line.
The Game Cabinet - firstname.lastname@example.org - Ken Tidwell