The Internationale Spieltage SPIEL 2019 of Essen (known popularly as Essen to board gamers) is Germany’s answer to UKGE and other events across in the US. It’s iconic for being the location where grand unveiling’s take place. Many games are announced, rumoured to be announced, and appear out of the blue here, so it’s no wonder it’s so popular! Whether you’re a gamer or a developer, it has clearly got something for everyone. Speaking of reveals... Sit Down! Games have announced an astonishing five new games for Essen, and an expansion!
Sit Down! - What’s On the Way?
We’ll kick off with the expansion. Hidden Roles is a new expansion for Magic Maze and does exactly what it says on the tin. And more! Now, your “communication” is even more purposeful, and there is a surprising amount added in such a small expansion. You could now be the traitor, a burden on progress with a secret agenda. It also comes with a new card to let them know you’re on to them, and warning cards.
Following the Magic Maze theme.. Magic Maze on Mars! Ironically, you’ll no longer be the heroes, but you’ll be doing good this time. Not just conducting petty theft! Working together, you need to build a space base that can sustain the lives of colonists. As a team, you’ll have to build routes, gather resources and ensure the base functions before they arrive! This sounds like a wonderful twist on the classic, but with the same hilarity that silence causes!
Sit Down! Games’ other titles being unveiled are House Flippers and WormLord. Both are simultaneous action games with unique themes. House Flippers requires players to work against the clock to gain income by collecting sets of cards. They then use that income to "flip a house" (renovate it to us common folk). They then need to sell it back at a higher price and eventually reach comfortable retirement.
Whereas in WormLord, you need to deploy worms to command and conquer a battlefield. In a unique, unexpected twist, worms deployed are represented by strings with loose knots in them. This game will no doubt look undeniably eye catching and unique against other games, so is one to watch out for!
The final two revealed by Sit Down! are Palm Reader, a co-operative social game, and Space Bowl, a pattern recognition game. Palm Reader sounds like a lovely party game with the aim to be as in sync as possible. One player draws a symbol using their index finger on another's palm. Then they draw it on another's, and then so forth. Everyone then guesses it and votes on it. Points are cumulative and victory is determined by how many agreed correctly. This sounds very versatile and could be adapted easily, potentially having multiple rule sets within!
Finally, we have Space Bowl. This is a racing game of sorts where everyone gets a 5x5 grid of constellation cards. The ship's computer generates a 3x3 grid for players to find. This sounds like it would be great fun for families and easily accessed so long as you've got a keen eye!
What To Watch For
Of course, these aren't the only releases as Essen this year. There are going to be lots of developers, publishers, retailers and more showing off their goods. But to announce five games and an expansion is incredible. I'll be keeping my eye out for Magic Maze on Mars and House Flippers for sure. The madness of Magic Maze with a new theme sounds incredible, but House Flippers' different style and pace sounds equally as fun!