(Slightly updated translation of an older article of mine, originally planned for BGG news where it remains in the queue/leicht aktualisierte Übersetzung eines älteren Artikels, die ursprünglich auf BGG News erscheinen sollte, dort aber noch immer in der Warteschleife steht)
The third „Geek Out!“ Festival was celebrated in Buenos Aires in early May, and from what I read, it seems to have been great. Anyone who has ever organized a con like this will probably know that 2400 people the third time around are a huge success, especially when they are the first in their country trying something like this at all. I assume that many people who were there are looking forward to the 2018 event already.
For the second time, the King Alfonso Award was handed out. The winner is Conejos en el Huerto (Rabbits in the Orchard) by Luis Marcantoni, published by Ruibal Hermanos. Congratulations! While at it, the game also won „Best overall presentation“ (gotta love the letter „J“ in the title. Congratulations to artist Celeste Barone as well). I am curious whether we will hear from the rabbits outside of Argentina in the future. I just got a copy of the game on Friday and hope to be able to write more about it in the future. Co-finalist Mutant Crops has an upcoming English edition already.
A candidate for next year’s award is scheduled for release in July. It’s Magos & Tabernas (Mages & Tavern) by Adrián Novell. Three thirsty mages enter a pub which only has one beer left. Unsurprisingly, fireballs start flying. Players are working their way towards said beer by removing obstacles on the way. Why can’t there be a good brewing spell instead?
Brazil seems to have the largest gaming and publishing scene in Latin America by far – that’s not too surprising, I guess. I have a feeling that I am still just scratching at the surface. But I am planning to explore more of it, and am always happy to discover new things.
Still rather new on the boardgame scene is publisher Redbox from Rio de Janeiro. After a couple of fairly successful RPG publications, they started localizing foreign publications and are publishing four Brazilian games this year:
In the short economic card game Tsukiji by Leandro Pires you are a fish trader and try to manipulate the Tokyo fish market prices in a way that lets you earn more money than the other traders.
Labyrinx by Daniel Braga and Thiago Matos just finished its crowdfunding campaign. As the name suggests, you move through a labyrinth. The labyrinth is created from cards during the game and you have to make sure to remember your way home, as there is a fog of war mechanism that obscures most of the labyrinth. While you are trying to remember which way was the way out, you collect treasure, dodge traps and mess with the other players.
Micropolis by Rodrigo Rego is a tile laying game with rhombic tiles. All players try to expand a city by adding houses, parks, factories and so on. When placing certain special buildings into the city, you can add influence markers on them. The goal is to be the first player to put all your influence in.
Copacabana is by Rodrigo Rego as well. At the beginning of the 20th century, players transform the sleepy beach into the mixture of glamour and chaos it is known as today. Achieve this by placing tiles and getting into the most valuable streets to build the most valuable buildings.
In March I had mentioned Space Cantina by Fel Barros and Warny Marcano. Fel Barros now works for CMON which just released a new edition of Gekido: Bot Battles, a game that he had designed (together with Romulo Marques) and that was first published in 2014. With the new edition, this should become a lot more available outside Brazil. Gekido is a dice roller, in which robots smash each other in an arena.
Pablo by Marcos Mayora is one of those rather unusual games, it seems. There are 140 cards with words and categories (in various difficulty levels). Some you hold in your hand, some are on the table. One player starts to sing any song and tries to insert as many words or categories from their cards, for which they get points according to the difficulty. When someone else has a card which might fit the current song, they can start to sing along and push in their own words. You can also throw tomatoes (in the form of cardboard counters) if someone sings wrongly. If you want to have an impression how such a game works, you can see it (in Portuguese) here. Pablo is published by Mandala Jogos, and there are promo packs for different musical styles. It was named after a Brazilian music show of the Eighties and sounds like one of those games which gets you kicked out of your appartment if you play it too often.
Colombian publisher Azahar Juegos had released the well-noticed game Xanadú in 2012, which was re-published by Quined games three years later. Now there are two new games by Azahar:
FocusX by Guillermo Solano is a card game in which you try to find matching characteristics between three cards (there are animal categories, numbers and colors). You can play it by speed or more quietly, and according to the publisher, it is suitable for players five years and up.
Hot-Pota-toH! is from Xanadú designer Javier Velasquez. A stack of cards makes the rounds, and you either have to draw a card from this stack or play a card. While doing this, you try to get certain cards and avoid drawing the exploding potato. While this description might sound similar to Exploding Kittens, Hot-Pota-toH has no player elimination, but a round ends when someone explodes and everyone else then counts their points. Therefore there is a motivation to take a risk and draw cards, or sacrifice expensive carsds to avoid losing everything.