Tom: …and with a flourish of scarlet ‘twixt the layers of briny blue, a beautiful painting I shall perform into existence: With palette in hand, brush outstretched – and a open expanse of canvas still to tame, all that is left is for me to fetch…
Ava: No. Tom. Don’t do it.
Tom: … The Games… Hues?
Ava: There aren’t enough sighs in the world. There’s a short report on Digital Spiel, the un-physical version of what would normally be Europe’s biggest games convention/market/noisy-warehouse. The headline figures are Tabletopia doubling its user base, 148,000 people checking out the website, and 400 companies from 41 different countries showing off their bits.
Matt: ALTHOUGH I feel I’d be remiss not to mention that little old AwSHUX was just a week before Essen, and considering it was a tiny thing we’ve heard Behind The Scenes that it had a pretty remarkable impact across the board! Some of those Essen Kudos-Coins are ours, basically, Ava – and I’ll fight to the death for a handful of those beauties. Quick, say something positive about somebody else before I crush us all beneath the weight of my ego.
Ava: OK! So it wouldn’t be fair to continue this week without shining a light on the superb work of the boardgamegeek news blog – they’ve really been putting everyone else to shame when it comes to sifting through this year’s conventions for new info.
Ava: Dorehami games keep cropping up in these pages, thanks to Mr Martin, who’s done a little round-up of games that would’ve been at Spiel from Iran.
Gendarmery from RealityGame has you cataloguing evidence against an array of suspects, and doing so with a little tower. It’s a game of deduction, with arrows functioning as clues to the identities of various suspects. You’ve got to try and pull together a hand of cards that points to just one suspect, without accidentally wasting the Chief’s time by matching two different people. Basically it’s another one of those policing deduction games that make it absolutely clear that a police’s job is to competently frame someone.
Tom: I love that the tower you referred to earlier isn’t just an ‘abstract tower piece’, but in fact resembles a kind of open-air filing cabinet? And one of the main actions in the game is just ‘archiving’ cards directly into said cabinet – plummeting them into a bureaucratic void from which they can never return? That’s the kind of stuffy, office-core thematic nonsense that I can seriously get behind – and is something we’ve seen super-nailed in the physical edition of AwSHUX favourite ‘Inhuman Conditions’ (incidentally also a morally gloomy suspect-appraising-sim).
Ava: The Tokyo Game Market is live streaming next weekend, and will presumably need you to know Japanese to get involved. Boardgamegeek are as ever doing a lovely job of picking out highlights, including a cute tile laying game.
Sheep and Garden has players laying tiles in a classic landscape building style. Players are building a map that will hopefully fill their own objectives, but at more than two players you have one objective of your own, and you share a second and third with each of your neighbours – meaning someone else will be helping you out! That’s a lovely little touch. Just a sweet bit of collaborative mischief to wrinkle up something simple.
Tom: This looks like a slightly better version of game I played ages ago called ‘Wooly Wars’ – which took the tile-laying core of Carcassonne, but each player had a secret colour that they alone wanted to emerge victorious. It was wrinkled with shotgun-toting hunters and ravenous wolves to snarf up sheep, but ultimately felt like everyone just knew what colour everyone else was going, for pretty much instantly? It was good! Not great, but good. And this looks good too! And it has sheep. But will it be great? Maybe. Those cooperative objectives do seem cool. But I don’t know! I haven’t played it yet. And I’m not a psychic. Or good at my job. But I do like sheep!
Ava: Expert reporting as always, Thomas.
Ava: Meanwhile, in ‘expert’ reporting, please can someone find me more information about the spoon bending game?
It’s called Uri Geller, and has players attempting to be spoon bending psychics. The trick is not getting caught out by skeptics as a mere illusionist. I have no idea how bendy the actual spoons are but that box is gorgeous and it’s just got a load of spoons and bags in. This might be the most excited I’ve ever been about a game.
Tom: It’s such a breath of fresh air to see a game finally do Uri’s legacy justice. Trying to be an honest-to-god SpoonBend in a world of naysayers trying to call you out as a ‘fraud’? It’s a story that certainly needs more coverage. Make sure you keep your keys away from the box, lest they curl like rusty quavers.
Matt: Oh, and if you’re at a loose end this week or bored and stuck in another wave of lockdowns – some mildly good news: we’ll be back live-streaming on Twitch on Tuesdays, starting tomorrow evening! What are we playing? I actually don’t know yet! I’d better leave the news doc and get my chickens all in order – but we’ll hopefully see some of you tomorrow eve!
Ava: And finally, some sad news, with Satish Pillalamarri, of North Star Games, passing away. There’s a lovely photo retrospective and memorial, including a crowdfunder to raise money for his newborn son Om’s scholarship fund, which is lovely. It’s particularly heartbreaking as Satish will never meet his son, who was born while he was in intensive care, so please give generously if you can. I’ve been dealing with my own loss this weekend, and cried my way through Coco yesterday, so all I can really say is that I’m glad we will always keep telling stories that hold up the memories of the people we love and lose, so that we never entirely lose them. We carry the marks of all those we love, and we pass them on to the people we love, forever.
Matt: Beautifully put, Ava. I’ll also point out that the remaining 1,000 copies of Satish’s last game – Dude – have effectively been donated to the fund. Any copies bought through North Star’s website will see 100% of the purchase price going towards the scholarship fund. Our thoughts go out to anyone affected by the passing of Satish, and indeed anyone dealing with grief during this especially difficult year. Solidarity and love from us all – we hope you have a good week.