Essen 2018 Preview


Essen 2018 Preview 1

In a little less than a month Spiel 2018 begins in Essen. It’s arguably the largest boardgame trade fair of the world where publishers from around the world will demo and sell their newest games. I’ve heard as many as 1300 new boardgames will be introduced this year. MeepleGamers is excited to attend Spiel again this year and show you as many games as we can!

It’s an insane amount of new boardgames to cover and we will start by sharing our list of boardgames we are most excited about. In no particular order…


Teotihuacan: City of Gods

We are builders in the great city of Teotihuacan. Our dice workforce will develop new technologies, climb the steps of the temples, build houses and ultimately build the Pyramid to the Sun. The  player who acquires the most fame wins the game.

A new worker placement game by Daniele Tascini – also the designer of Tzolk’in – is a must for me. Let us build the pyramid and don’t forget to have enough cocoa to feed your workers!

NSKN Games (1-G124)



In this deduction game we are cryptozoologists trying to find the elusive Cryptid. We all get one clue on the whereabouts of the Cryptid and in order to find it we need to gain as much information from our colleagues as we can. Share too much and you can not claim the glory!

The cover art by Kwanchai Moriya looks ominous. I will most likely fail to find the Cryptid myself, but I do like deduction games and this one seems right up my alley.

Osprey Games (5-G124)



We are farmers in Reykholt looking to make a fortune cultivating unexpecting fruits and vegetables. Tourist season is short and we need use the right people and have the right vegetables at the right time. Who will do everything right and win the race?

Really love worker placement games and I’m looking forward to check out the latest game by Uwe Rosenberg. Let’s cultivate some games… uh, fruits and veggies!

Frosted Games (1-D124) -> German

Renegade Games (1-C147) -> English



In this tile placement game we are Gods creating our own universe. Each turn we take one of the regions or God tile and add it to our universe. By taking a region the worshippers spread to the adjacent regions possibly making them more valuable for the other Gods. Restrictions apply to the regions you place in your universe making the choices harder each turn. After 15 turns the God with the most creation points wins.

Another solid Space Cowboys production and I really like building games too. I will be The Master of the universe!

Space Cowboys (1-F103)

Essen 2018 Preview 2

Carpe Diem

We are rich patricians in ancient Rome and we are trying to build the most lucrative district. You are drafting an placing tiles in your district. You’ve got a lot to consider as you need to to get the right resources and score the most prestige points. The artwork is not selling the game, but it promises to be a strategic game with lots of replayability. It’s a game I will definitely demo to see if I can “Seize the day” and be victorious!

Alea (TBA)

Essen 2018 Preview 3

Forum Trajanum

We are governing one of the Colonia founded by Emperor Trajanum. He wants to build a monument for eternity and  we need to support his project, but we want to develop our own Colonia as well. How do we balance the two and ultimately be admitted to the small circle surrounding the Emperor?

One of the new Stefan Feld games and it looks really intreresting. Let’s see if I can be the greates Governor of Rome!

Huch! (3-D120) -> English, French, German

Stronghold Games (3-O111) -> English

Essen 2018 Preview 4

Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra

In the Azul successor we are now drafting glass panes to complete our windows. The game will have lots of replayability by dynamic player boards. Don’t waste too much of your resources otherwise you will not be able to score as much for your window.

The artwork looks amazing and I cannot wait to play the successor by Michael Kiesling. Let’s see if I can build amazing windows with the beautiful components!

Next Move Games (TBA)

Pegasus Spiele (3-M110/3-M105) -> German

Essen 2018 Preview 5


We are influential citizens trying to develop the harbor city of Valparaiso in Chile. First you will have to acquire export goods and then trade them overseas. The planning is simultaneous and there’s a penalty if you want to change it later. Timing is everything and all actions have consequences. Will you be able to react and plan accordingly?

The game looks really interesting, especially the programming aspect. dlp never disappoints and I would like to see if I can help shape the city of Valparaiso!

dlp Games (1-F133)

Essen 2018 Preview 6

Architects of the West Kingdom

We are royal architects trying to impress our King. By sending out our workers we have to collect resources, hire apprentices and construct landmarks. By sending out more workers our actions become more powerful, but watch out for your fellow architects as they might have them arrested to foil your plans.  You can resort to the black market, but will you lose virtue temporarily or will you get stuck and get punished for your illegal dealings? It will all be clear as soon as a number of constructions have been completed and the virtue gets tallied.

The new game by Shem Phillips has the same artwork style as his previous games, but the gameplay is completely different. Let’s see if I can be the best architect of the West Kingdom!

Renegade Games (2-F138) / Garphill Games

Essen 2018 Preview 7


In this one vs many sci-fi dungeon craweler you have to uncover the truth and save your friends. You are the hero and the other players are working together to stop you. Only the area you’re in will be visible at the beginning of your turn. Will you be able to save your friends or get lost in the darkness?

Last year in Essen Horrible Games already told us about Alone. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to demo it then, but I’m really looking forward to play it this year. It promises to be a great experience as you either play the lonesome hero or the others trying to stop you from reaching your friends. Let’s go!

Horrible Games (4-A108)

Essen 2018 Preview 8


In this cooperative real-time board game we are all aboard a VIIC U-boat during WW2. Each player has his own role in the various missions: Patrol, ambush convoys, mine laying and many more. Gameplay is assisted by a companion app allowing for a complete immersion in the theme by music and assisting the various officers in their duties. Yet, the gameplay will mainly take place on the board. Will we make it back and successfully complete our missions?

Really like the WW2 theme and want to see how the mechanics and apps merge together. I’m aiming for several decorations and promotions for the four different roles: Captain, First Officer, Navigator and Chief Engineer. Our UBOOT is ready to hunt and is awaiting the orders of the Kriegsmarine!

Phalanx (2-B106)

Essen 2018 Preview 9

The River

In this tile placement game we all want to build the best pioneer settlement. We do this by developing land along the river, collecting resources and constructing buildings. Once workers settle down the other workers have to do more to achieve your goals and in the end the player with the most impressive settlement will win the game.

Really love all Days of Wonder’s productions. It’s a game I could play with different types of gamers and it plays fast too. Will I be able to build an impressive and thriving settlement?

Days of Wonder (3-B107)

Essen 2018 Preview 10


In an alternate reality following the Restorationists War the land of the northern hemisphere is poisoned and we are adventurers exploring new lands. Little do we know that the Old Ones and loyal humans also made their way to the outback of Australia. Time is the currency of the game and it’s limited, because as soon as the Old Ones awaken they are out to destroy us. We need to prepare by building railways and mine the resources. The latter will allow us to build up our military and call in the help of others with specific skills. Will we prevail and defeat the Old Ones or will they destroy us all?

It promises to be another great Martin Wallace game. At first I dismissed it because of the theme – inspired by his earlier game A Study in Emerald -and I wish I hadn’t. I love economic games and I don’t shy away from a fight. Let’s see how well I can prepare to fight the Old Ones once they awaken!

Stronghold Games (3-O111) -> English

Nuts! Publishing (4-D119) -> French

Essen 2018 Preview 11


The planet Solenia has lost its day and night cycle. One hemisphere is plunged in total darkness where the people crave food and wheat. On the other hemisphere they have eternal light and they want precious gems and stones. In the game we have to carry on our ancestors’ task and deliver essential goods to all inhabitants of the planet.

The game plays over 16 rounds and in each round you play one card to either gather or deliver resources. At the end of your turn the board changes as you turn the strip and night turn into day and vice versa. Whoever is most efficient will collect the most gold stars and win the game!

Really looking forward to play the newest game by Sebastien Dujardin. The cover by Vincent Dutrait is beautiful. Let’s see if I will I be able to fulfill the needs of all inhabitants on the planet!

Pearl Games (1-C101)

Essen 2018 Preview 12

Western Legends

The game is set in the American Wild West where we are historical figures of the era trying to earn a legendary status. It is up to you how you earn the desired status. You can reach it in various ways. Will you become an outlaw and rob banks or will you keep the peace and fight bandits?

Really interested to see how I would approach this sandbox style game. Will I keep my eye on the prize or try to do too much so others will run away with the glory and status?

Kolossal Games (3-E102) -> English

Matagot (3-E102) -> French


Dice Hospital

In this dice worker placement game we all have our own hospital and have to treat as many patients as we can. The more patients you cure and release, the more reputation you get and the hospital with the best reputation wins.

We can call in specialists to help us if needed. Immediately you have to make decisions. Will you be an all-round hospital or will you specialize in specific colors or injuries?

A lighthearted hospital game where we treat dice. I’ve also heard there’s an expansion adding experimental treatment as well. Let’s find us some colorful dice patients to cure!!

Alley Cat Games (4-D111)



In the scientific revolution we play young scientists who want to become one of the greatest of the period. Following in the footsteps of Sir Isaac Newton.

By playing cards from your hand you travel Europe, visit universities, study to discover new theories, build new tools and work to earn the needed money. At the end of each round you get to take back your cards except one. It’s one less opportunity to take the action, but it will be stronger when you do. In the end the scientist with the most points wins.

Another challenging game by Cranio Creations and I’m looking forward to see if I can be the Greatest scientist Of All Time!

Cranio Creations (1-A118)


Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig

Mad King Ludwig returns in this collaboration between Stonemaier Games and Bezier Games. This time you are paired up with another builder to design King Ludwig’s castle. It’s a competitive tile drafting game where both castles need to be pretty awesome in order to be crowned the Master Builder.

Really enjoyed my plays of Castles of Mad Kind Ludwig and Between Two Cities. I’m interested to see how Ben Rosset & Matthew O’Malley have combined the two games.

Stonemaier Games (1-G139) & Bezier Games (1-G139)


The Estates

We are investors in new urban development and we we want to have the most valuable portfolio when construction ends. Competition gets fierce as the zoning commission approved 2 rows of buildings and we start building in 3. Only the buildings of the 2 completed rows will have a positive value. The mayor’s mansion will double the value of all the houses in the row, either positive or negative when the buildings of the incomplete row get torn down. Bid and build wisely!

The reimplementation of Neue Heimat by Klaus Zoch was succesfully kickstarted earlier this year. I have so enjoyed my plays of Neue Heimat that it was a insta-back for me. I cannot wait to play the new edition. This is the only game as far as I know where you can win with a negative score 🙂

Capstone Games / Simply Complex (5-G108)


Tales of the Northlands: The Sagas of Noggin the Nog

In the game by Nick Case we must come together and prevent Nogbad from taking Noggin’s crown. We can help Noggin by completing adventures. However, Nogbad is never far behind and we cannot afford any mistakes or take too long. The game ends whenever Nogbad or Noggin takes the crown.

A special theme and the artwork by the late Peter Firmin is striking. Don’t let the artwork fool you tho. You can play the family friendly version or the deeper strategic game. In the latter you’ll find Nogbad on your path more than once. The reason I backed it on kickstarter earlier this year.

A-Muse-Ment (4-J107)

Essen 2018 Preview 13

Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game

We are all detectives of the Antares National Investigation Agency team and we solve mysterious crimes. Five seemingly unrelated cases will have to be investigated by using every resource available, including the big wordwide web.

Really looking forward to see if this deduction game by Ignacy Trzewiczek will live up to the hype. Will we find all the clues and solve the case before a new crime has been committed!

Portal Games (3-O118)

Pegasus Spiele (3-M110/3-M105) -> German

Essen 2018 Preview 14


This strategic card game is all about 10 types of trees.You place the trees in your garden. By placing the the trees in sets, you will have the opportunity to show visitors your beautiful garden, but only if you have the highest value of that type of tree in your hand. Whoever has the most visitors wins.

The game has been out of print for years. Now that Renegade has picked it up with new artwork by Beth Sobel it a must have for me. Let’s plant some trees and see what happens!

Renegade Games (2-F138)

Essen 2018 Preview 15


It is summer again and time for the traditional Portuguese celebrations. We are all hosting an Arraial in our streets and we have to get the best drinks, food and decorations to get noticed. You do this by selecting and turning same color tiles so they connect and create rows. Who will spend their actions the best, attract the most visitors and host the best Arraial?

It’s great to see a fast tile selection and placement game from Nuno Bizarro Sentieiro and Paulo Soledade. A different type of game we are used to from them, but I love the change in pace. It brings back memories of an older video block game I have played a lot. I’ve got a feeling many more blocks will be dropped so we can host an awesome and vibrant party!

MEBO Games (5-E120)


Captains of the Gulf

In this nautical themed economical game we are all captains of a shrimp boat in the Mexican Gulf. You have to maintain your boat, hire crew, catch and sell seafood by using multi-purpose cards. The captain who has made the most profit wins the game.

I love economical games and I cannot wait to play the first boardgame by designer Jason Dinger. Let’s go find us some seafood!

SpielWorxx (2-D128)

Essen 2018 Preview 16


We are pioneers developing the Ceylon tea industry after a deadly fungus killed off all the coffee plantations. You have to win the favor of the counselors of each district to build plantations and get bonus tiles, produce and sell tea. You will score points for having built plantations in all districts, meeting demands, reaching levels of development and money earned. The pioneer with the most points will win the game.

The game looks gorgeous! I love my tea and I would like to see if I can control the tea industry of Ceylon!

Ludonova (5-F106)

Essen 2018 Preview 17


The game is set in 1570 where Emperor Longqing resides in the Forbidden City. We are powerful families trying to gain influence and ultimately receive an audience with the Emperor. You do this by exchanging gifts with the Officials of the Forbidden City. You always give away more than you receive to make sure it isn’t seen as corruption. Which actions do you want or are you able to take to ensure the Emperor will receive you instead of one of the other families?

Unfortunately I missed the kickstarter, but I will definitely demo the game. I just want to help construct the Great Wall and meet the Emperor!

Game Brewer (4-D109)

Essen 2018 Preview 18

Blackout: Hong Kong

We as players try to take control and restore order after a large blackout has struck Hong Kong. Life’s challenging enough and now it’s even harder without electric power. Who will manage the situation the best and claim their position of power?

The newest Aleander Pfister game is a must-have for me. You have to manage specialists and resources the best you can and at least better than your rivals. Let’s go and restore order in Hong Kong to claim the postion of power we all seek!

EggertSpiele (3-M110/3-M105) Pegasus Spiele

Essen 2018 Preview 19


In a future Utopian society we are part of a team trying to realize the utopian ideal of developing completely self-sustaining homes. If we succeed, the residents will not have to work anymore and have free time to do whatever they want!

A new big box game from Friedemann Friese and it’s a luck free economic game. That’s something I cannot pass on as I will be so happy if I can play boardgames with my friends whenever and for how long we’d like. Let’s start and build some homes!

2F-Spiele (3-L104)

Stronghold Games (3-O111)

Essen 2018 Preview 20


In the late Stone Age we have split up from our original tribe due to lack of food and resources. Our only way to survive is to go our own way. We have to explore, find food and resources and found a new strong tribe. The action selection and resource management looks really interesting. Payment for actions can become resources for others.Will I be able to use it to my advantage to found and manage my tribe the best?

A-Games (4-F101)

Essen 2018 Preview 21


On planet Magnastorm we find an abundance of resources and signs of a lost civilization. As the explorers we want to reach a set amount of reputation to win the game. We do this by exploring the planet further, completing objectives, buy influence over one of the commanders and building transmitter stations. You need to find the right timing for your actions, resource management and logistics. Do not lose sight of your opponents otherwise they might just cost you your reputation!

The game is a spinoff of a bigger game Feuerland Spiele plans to introduce within the next 2 years. Really want to demo the game as I like the mechanics and I also like the addition of the reward cards. In later games you can use these cards and where the winner of previous games doesn’t get a bonus, the others do to give them a leg up at the start. Will I be able to earn the reputation I need to win the game?

Feuerland Spiele (4-C116)

These games I will be checking out for sure in Essen. Please let me know in the comments below which games you are looking forward to, which games I might have overlooked and the games you want me or one of the other MeepleGamers to review!

See you in Essen!


  1. Awesome list. I’m really looking forward to Detective and Alone. Western Legends also looks really nice. A couple of other games that will be there that look good are Chronicles of Crime,

    I’m also very curious about Holding on: the Troubled Life of Billy Kerr. It looks really fascinating and possibly one of those board games as art contenders.

    And of course, Fireball Island kicks me right in the nostalgia.

    • We did a write-up of Billy Kerr, it is the strangest feeling, knowing that the characters goals may not be your goals as the healthcare provider. If you play it with a group of empathic people, the feelings will be real, and you will make real decisions over a fictional representation of a person, that could feasibly affect your real life relationships.

      I love fireballs, they are cinnamon-y.

  2. I am really excited for Orbis and The River. Tile laying games are some of our favorite games at our house. Alone has me intrigued. Solenia also seems like it has great potential.
    So many great games, it is hard to be excited for only a few.
    Great article Mira!


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