Schlagwort-Archive: Mutant Crops

New games from Latin America, July 2017

(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)

Argentina

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.

In the small print run category, the winner was Star Warships by Gabriel Isaac Jalil. Again: Congratulations.

Magos y Tabernas
Image taken from this thread at BGG (with kind permission)

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

TsukijiBrazil 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:

LabyrinxIn 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.

MicropolisMicropolis 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
Box prototype

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.

Gekido

 

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.

PabloPablo 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.

Colombia

FocusXColombian 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!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.

 

Neue Spiele aus Lateinamerika – März 2017

Aus Argentinien habe ich ja schon mehrfach berichtet, und mittlerweile habe ich auch weitere Kontakte in andere Länder aufnehmen können. Schwer zu sagen, wie viele Leute sich hierzulande dafür interessieren, aber falls wirklich mal jemand danach suchen sollte, gibt es ansonsten ja kaum eine Quelle. Also schreibe ich hier einfach mal auf, was ich über neue Spiele aus Lateinamerika in Erfahrung bringen konnte. Kommentare sind willkommen.

Argentinien:

Eins der Spiele, die im Wettbewerb um den Premio Alfonso X stehen, ist Sebastian Koziners Cultivos Mutantes (“Mutierte Feldfrüchte”). Der amerikanische Verlag Atheris Games wollte offenbar nicht abwarten, ob es den Titel gewinnt, sondern hat schon mal eine englische Ausgabe unter dem Namen Mutant Crops angeschoben. Die Kickstarter-Seite findet Ihr hier. Es handelt sich um ein kurzes Worker-Placement-Spiel, bei dem man seine Pflanzen mit Wasser und Fleisch füttern muss, damit sie keinen Ärger machen und spezielle Fähigkeiten entwickeln, die man zum Spielsieg braucht. Gelegentlich hört man was von “Agricola light”. Sebastian Koziner hat schon eine Reihe von Spielen illustriert, bei dieser (seiner zweiten) Veröffentlichung stammen die Illustrationen allerdings von seiner Frau Rocio Ogñenovich.

Das Geek Out Festival in Buenos Aires am 6. Mai ist auch der Veröffentlichungstag von Corona de Hierro (“Eisenkrone”). Bei diesem Spiel von Franco Toffoli schlüpfen die Spieler/innen in die Rollen von Adeligen zur Zeit des letzten Karolingerkönigs Karl III. Das bevorstehende Ende des Reiches nutzen sie, um ihre Machtbasis auszubauen. Macht bekommt man in diesem kartenbasierten Spiel durch Belagerung von Burgen, Gesandtschaften zum Papst oder ausländischen Mächten oder durch prominente Gefangene. Außerdem hat jede/r noch ein verdecktes Ziel. Sobald jemand nach der Krone greift, gewinnt, wer am meisten Macht hat. Illustriert wurde das Spiel von Luis María Dumont und Emiliano Mariani, erscheinen wird es bei El Dragón Azul.


Brasilien:

Auch in Brasilien gibt es einen Spielepreis. Er heißt Prêmio Ludopedia und es gibt zwei Kategorien, nämlich eine für das Spiel des Jahres allgemein und nochmal eine für einheimische Spiele. In jeder Kategorie gibt es zwei Abstimmungen, nämlich einen Juryentscheid und einen Publikumsentscheid. Für die soeben erfolgte Preisvergabe war das aber egal, weil Jury und Publikum sich jeweils einig waren. In der allgemeinen Kategorie gewann Terra Mystica, das hierzulande ja hinlänglich bekannt ist, und bei den einheimischen Spielen lag Space Cantina von Fel Barros und Warny Marçano. Von den beiden hatte ich kürzlich mal ein schönes Stichspiel namens Sapotagem gespielt, das ich mochte (ähnlicher Ansatz wie Pi mal Pflaumen, aber mir hat’s viel besser gefallen). Beim von Lucas Ribeiro illustrierten Space Cantina versuchen die Spieler/innen, auf einer Raumstation einen gastronomischen Betrieb zum Erfolg zu führen. Ist wahrscheinlich eher schwierig, eine geeignete Speisenauswahl vorzuhalten, wenn die Gäste auch mal Roboter sein könnten.


Chile:

Ein viel beachtetes Projekt ist D.50: Las redes del Reich (“Das Netzwerk des Reichs”), ein semi-kooperatives Spiel über Nazi-Spione, die während des zweiten Weltkriegs Chile infiltriert hatten. Ein/e Spieler/in spielt so einen Spion, während die anderen die Polizeieinheit D.50 spielen und versuchen, die üblen Machenschaften zu beenden. Es beruht also auf wahren Gegebenheiten und wurde von der Fondo Nacional para el Desarrollo Cultural y las Artes (FONDART) mitfinanziert, was sich etwa mit „Nationale Stiftung für kulturelle Entwicklung und Kunst“ übersetzen lässt. Durch die ziemlich massive Verwendung von Hakenkreuzen wird es sich in Deutschland nicht ohne Weiteres verkaufen lassen, aber vielleicht ist Deutschland ohnehin nicht der Zielmarkt Nummer eins. In Chile dagegen scheint der Veröffentlichungstag (der 15. April) heiß erwartet zu werden. Der Verlag besteht aus drei Leuten (Diego Aravena, Isadora Cárdenas und Wladimir Gárate), trägt aber den schönen Namen Cuatro Quesos („vier Käse“). Als viertes im Bunde sind laut Diego Aravena „Spaß und Kreativität“.

Careta („Maske“) ist ein Spiel von Nico Valdivia, das am 30. März bei Niebla Games erscheinen soll. Niebla Games arbeitet zur Zeit an einem Computerspiel namens Causa, und Careta ist im gleichen Fantasy-Szenario angesiedelt. Es ist ein mathematisches Stichspiel mit Bluff-Elementen, dass man in Teams oder auch im Einzelmodus spielen kann. Laut Valdivia entstand es mit dem Wunsch, das Spielgefühl traditioneller Kartenspiele zu transportieren, und es sei von Spielen wie Truco, Schummeln und Bluff inspiriert. Als Illustratoren werden Thomas Heim, Victor Peña, Julio del Río und Sebastian Rodriguez genannt.

Kürzlich erschienen ist außerdem Los Tesoros del Rey Pirata („Die Schätze des Piratenkönigs“) von Pablo Céspedes und Victor Hugo Cisternas. Hier laufen die Spieler/innen über einen Spielplan mit Inseln und sammeln Schatzkarten, die natürlich möglichst wertvoll sein sollten. Da die anderen Spieler/innen das Gleiche vorhaben, empfiehlt es sich, sich mit ihnen zu duellieren oder sie gleich zu beschießen (um Schätze oder Handkarten klauen zu können). Um die Aktionen nutzen zu können, braucht man Zahlen, die auf den Karten aufgedruckt sind. Wer eine bestimmte Zahl braucht, kann eine Karte mit der entsprechenden Zahl abwerfen, wer bereit ist, ein bisschen ergebnisoffener zu agieren, kann auch ein Karte vom Stapel ziehen und muss sich dann mit der zufällig gezogenen Zahl begnügen. Die Illustrationen stammen von Dan Rodriguez und der Verlag heißt Ludoismo.


Costa Rica:

There She Is!! ist der Name einer fünfteiligen koreanischen Serie kurzer Filme über die Liebe eines Häschens zu einem Kätzchen, gegen alle Schwierigkeiten und allen Rassismus (kann man sich hier ansehen). Ziemlich schräges Zeug, aber es hat seine Fans. Unter anderem auch in Costa Rica, wo nun der Verlag iN’sanity Games sein zweites Spiel dieser Reihe widmet. Die Spieler/innen versuchen gemeinsam, dem ungewöhnlichen Pärchen zu helfen. Im April soll die Crowdfunding-Kampagne auf Kickstarter beginnen. Ich hatte bis vor ein paar Tagen noch nie was von dieser Filmreihe gehört und kann die Größe der Zielgruppe überhaupt nicht einschätzen, aber thematisch finde ich das Ganze so ungewöhnlich, dass ich ein Auge auf das Projekt zu haben gedenke. Immerhin wird das Spiel auf Spanisch, Koreanisch und Englisch veröffentlicht. Der Autor heißt Yo Leiten und die Facebook-Seite für das Spiel ist hier

 

Alle Bilder mit freundlicher Genehmigung der Rechte-Inhaber/innen.

How to turn a country into a gaming nation.

König Alfonso X
König Alfonso X., as depicted in the Libro de los juegos

(Deutsche Version hier.)

What does Alfons X. of Castile, Galicia and León (1221-1284) have to do with gaming?Well, he commissioned the “Book of Games” (Libro de los juegos), which contained game rules, chess problems and other things and is considered one of the most important medieval books on the subject of games. Some 730 years later, Laura and Ezequiel Wittner decided to create a game award and called it Premio Alfonso X. In 2017, it will be awarded for the second time. The submission deadline was on January 10th, and the jury has started its work.
What’s special about this prize, you may ask? Aren’t there game awards in countless countries? Every once in a while we hear that one famous game or the other is now also game of the year in Finland, Portugal or San Marino. These awards usually aim at recommending the best games to gamers who aren’t spending all their free time on BGG anyway. It is rare that a game wins a national award which the community hasn’t heard about before.
But when I tell you the titles which compete for the Premio Alfonso X this year, I will assume that hardly any of you has even heard of a single one of these games. Here we go:

Premios Alfonso X
King Alfonso at the advanced age of approximately 800 years.

– Chernobyl
– Ciudadano Ilustre
– Código Enigma
– Conejos en el Huerto
– Cultivos Mutantes
– Dinosaurus
– La Macarena
– Venecitas
– ZUC!

There is a simple reason for this: The Premio Alfonso X will only be awarded to Argentinian designers (or those who have lived in Argentina for at least two years). The point is therefore not to introduce the best of the international gaming scene to an Argentinian audience, but to promote local design and publication efforts so Argentinian games can compete with those from the outside world. Before, domestic games often went entirely unnoticed, partly caused by the fact that production quality and artwork was decidedly mediocre. One geek wrote to me that if I saw the component quality of the Argentinian edition of Catan, I would cry. For those who want to have a look themselves, here is an unboxing video. You can admire the sturdy box at about 7:45 and later the precision of the tile cutting.
This needs to improve, so there is a special award for overall production value as well. And lastly, only games are admitted which state the names of the designers and artists. Somewhat reminiscent of the situation in Germany 30 years ago (but the SdJ jury didn’t mention the designers in the first years, either).
So if there is a prize aimed at promoting domestic games, it doesn’t seem like some nationalistic nonsense, but like an honest effort to make gaming more popular in Argentina. If I wasn’t from Germany, a country with a strong gaming scene, I might be grateful for something like that over here.

You might get an idea about the size of the Argentinian gaming scene when you hear that the nine titles competing for this year’s prize aren’t the finalists or anything, but they are the entire field of contestants (well apart from four submissions in a separate category; games with a circulation of under 50, so essentially prototypes). In other words, that’s more or less what was published in Argentina by local designers in 2016. I assume many of you have purchased more than nine games in 2017 already…
It is probably still a long way to go until the vision of one Argentinian publisher comes true and gaming becomes as popular as football. But you have to start somewhere.

By now, all contestants have their own BGG entries. So let me give you a quick introduction:
Chernobyl is a cooperative game in which you try to rescue survivors from the destroyed reactor. To win the game, you’ll have to bring them to the helipad. There is a competitive mode as well. Chernobyl was designed by Gonzalo Emanuel Aguetti and published by Yamat.
Ciudadano Ilustre

 

Ciudadano Ilustre (“Famous Citizen”) was crowdfunded, easily breaking its modest target of $737. It’s a trivia game with geography questions mostly about Argentina, but apparently also about some other places. The designers are Vera Mignaqui and Eugenia Pérez, with the latter doing the artwork, too.
Código Enigma (“Enigma Code”) is set in WWII and of course it’s about deciphering German codes. For that, the players collect card sets and try to prevent others from doing the same. Apparently the Germans are also interfering at times. Designers are Joel Pellegrino Hotham and Silvina Fontenla, who also did the artwork. It was published by JuegosdeMesa.com.ar.

Conejos en el HuertoIn Conejos en el Huerto (“Rabbits in the Orchard”), the players move their two rabbits through the variably set up garden and try to collect valuable vegetables. Their position determines which type of vegetable they can reach. A watchdog is doing its best to stop them. This game was designed by Luis Fernando Marcantoni, with artwork by Celeste Barone. It was published by Ruibal Hermanos S.A.

Cultivos MutantesCultivos Mutantes (“Mutant Crops”) is a short worker placement game by Sebastian Koziner, illustrated by Rocio Ogñenovich. You use your actions to plant and harvest mutant crops and collect points. It was published as a cooperation between El Dragón Azul and OK Ediciones. An English edition has been announced by Atheris Games already. The kickstarter campaign is scheduled to start on the 21st of March.

Dinosaurus

 

Dinosaurus is a microgame with just 36 cards. Dinosaurs from different eras run around on a fantasy island and fight for food. Their favorite snacks are plants, mammals and each other. It was designed and illustrated by Amelia Pereyra and Matías Esandi and published by Rewe Juegos.

 

La Macarena is a witch or magician looking for a new apprentice. The players collect cards with four elements, and whoever has most of one kind can eventually exchange them against amulets with which they can gain La Macarena’s favor. The game was designed and published by five people under the group name Maldón, with illustrations by Chilean celebrity Alberto Montt. Two of the designers were at the Nuremberg toy fair, so this is the only candidate game that I have actually played myself.

VenecitasWith Venecitas, Joel Pellegrino Hotham has a second game in the race (and he did the illustrations together with Silvina Fontenla as well). Venecitas are some kind of Venetian mosaic tiles, and the goal is to collect colors. You roll a color die, may turn it by one edge, and then everyone gets the color facing them, while the active player also gets the color on top. Certain color combos can be exchanged against victory points. Venecitas was also published by JuegosdeMesa.com.ar.

ZUC!Zuc! is a party game designed and self-published by Agustin Carpaneto, in which you try not to draw a bomb card (because if you do, you lose). When it’s your turn, you can play cards to shield you from an explosion, force others to draw additional cards or avoid drawing any yourself. Illustrations are by Mariana Ponte.

Those of you who would like to know more about the small print run category can check out the respective bgg entries for Arte de Batalla, Cerrojo, Kallat and Star Warships.

 

Who will win?
Premios Alfonso XThere are several votes taken into consideration for determining the winners. A jury of eight people has the biggest weight in the decision. It includes a few well-known BGG users like lolcese, Mos Blues and Pastor_Mora as well as last year’s winner Bruss Brussco (whose game KINMO has become a family favorite in our house). 13 Argentinian gaming clubs also cast their votes (ensuring that the games get played by many people in the first place), and there will be some kind of public facebook vote as well.
The award ceremony will take place at the Geek Out Festival in Buenos Aires on the 6th of May, where more than 1500 people are expected.
If you read Spanish, you can learn a lot about the Argentinian gaming scene on the Geek Out website. I find this initiative very impressive and commendable.

Note: If you have anything to share about new games from Latin America, please contact me. I will try to write about these games once in a while.