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Modena Play 2019: a quiet board game weekend

With forty-four thousand visitors in three days (ten percent more than the previous edition) Play 2019 was reconfirmed as the home of board games and role in Italy . Among prestigious guests, initiatives of all kinds, workshops at all hours of the day and night and above all an avalanche of tables on which to have fun, Modena has thus returned to become the center of a movement that is becoming increasingly tangible. Because playing in the old way, sitting in a group around a bridge or something similar, is once again becoming a common and widespread habit, a pastime capable of uniting adults and children with intelligence and a purely social character. And so, in wishing long life to an event fortunately still on a human scale, characterized by a friendly and relaxed atmosphere, let's see the main innovations that we were able to experience on a quiet weekend of cards, dice and cards. Fasten your seatbelts, let's go!

ROOT

Duration: 60 '/ 90'
Number of players: 2 to 4
Ideal number of players: 4
Type: competitive
Complexity: high
Publisher: MS Editions
Language: Italian
Suggested price: 59 €
Released: June

One of great protagonists of the fair as well as a board game already become an authentic cult even before arriving on the shelves – suffice it to say that, in order to ensure the only Italian copy available in preview, many have agreed to have "ROOT" written on their faces to participate in a lottery that has actually been done turned into a brilliant marketing tool.

Following the award-winning asymmetric formula of VAST: the Crystal Caves, Leder Games returns to the fray with a highly tactical fighting game and subtle strategies for controlling a forest. Be careful, however, to let yourself be distracted by the adorable art direction, with a storybook children's aesthetic to say the least misleading, because the heart of ROOT encompasses a complex and demanding experience, absolutely not suitable for board game novices. For those who in any case know how to have patience and want to deepen the various mechanics, there are delicious rewards and games on the razor's edge. In addition to some of the most delicious meeple that history remembers. # TeamMarchesaDeGattis4Life

Nemesis

Duration: 90 '/ 120'
Number of players: from 1 to 5
Ideal number of players: 4/5
Type: Semi -cooperative
Complexity: medium-high
Publisher: Cranio Creations
Language: Italian
Suggested price: 140 €
Released: May

Directly from Kickstarter, the Poles of Awaken Realms ( already creators of Lords of Hellas ) return to the fray with Nemesis, a board game halfway between co-op and versus that brings all the major horror science fiction topos to our tables. From cryogenic sleep to the AI ​​of the ship that plots against humans, passing through betrayals, alien monsters lurking in the shadows and the inevitable lethal parasites, Nemesis actually represents the tabletop version of Alien, Dead Space and a certain kind of ski -fi.

To be particularly successful and intriguing is precisely the way in which themes and sensitivities so shared between cinema and literature are translated into the board game format: the variables are so many – from the correct functioning of the engines to the ship's course, passing obviously for the noise that will inevitably end up attracting the ravenous extraterrestrial predators – and every game really makes history of its own, especially considering that each player will have to complete a secret mission to win (often not exactly compatible with the survival of the whole team). Heart-pounding exploration, merciless fighting and a constant sense of threat are just some of the ingredients of a recipe with an undeniable charm, destined however to scare the most a little for a certain complexity of background and a little for the exorbitant launch price – € 140, only partly justified by the excellent materials

Bloodborne The Board Game

Duration: 60 '/ 90'
Number of players: 2 to 4
Ideal number of players: 4
Typology: cooperative
Complexity: medium-high
Publisher: CMON
Language: Italian
Suggested price: nd
Released: 2020

Bloodborne is the next big bet ( undoubtedly already won) of a giant like CMON: not to be confused with the enjoyable card game – always by a master of the tabletop world like Eric Lang – the board game taken from the lucky video game From Software is on the finishing line on Kickstart er, where it should land during the month of May. Lang was present in Modena to personally illustrate the workings of his last creature, a dungeon crawler that closely follows the dynamics of what is probably the best soulslike ever.

Expect then to find weapons that are transformed while fighting, sudden attacks to be used as defenses, providential excursions into the Hunter's Dream and above all deaths in bursts, with an ingenious system that rewards the risk-reward factor (why collect so many echoes blood could make you get valuable upgrades, but losing everything would end up turning out to be a terrible waste). With a strong explorative component, a sadistically high difficulty and a certain emphasis on narration – the structure is in the countryside, with a series of interconnected missions that are unlocked through the dungeons – Bloodborne, also thanks to the beautiful miniatures, could be the game just at the right time for Miyazaki fans. As far as I am concerned, however, the spark has not started at the moment, perhaps because I am not a lover of cooperative roguelikes (and because from Lang now I always tend to expect something extraordinarily over the top, type Rising Sun ).

Wacky Races

Duration: 20 '/ 30'
Number of players: 2 to 6
Ideal number of players: 6
Type: competitive
Complexity: low
Publisher: CMON
Language: Italian
Suggested price: ND
Release: summer 2019

The famous characters of Hanna-Barbera have remained in the heart of each of us, above all of those who already have a few springs in tow. This game wants to reproduce and bring back to memory the famous races of the famous cartoon: top-level models are the setting for a game with very immediate mechanics, especially suitable for board game newcomers.

The great simplicity, however, could upset the most assiduous players: there is in fact a good component of alea, which combined with the apparent shallow depth of the whole could soon bring boredom to the races with the protagonists Dick Dastardly, Muttley and Penelope Pitstop.

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Vampire The Masquerade: Heritage

Duration: nd
Number of players: 2-4
Ideal number of players: ND
Type: competitive
Complexity: high
Publisher: 3 EMME
Language: Italian
Suggested price: nd
Exit: nd (kickstarter campaign starts April 15, 2019)

The Vampire role-playing game puts us in the shoes of a high-generation vampire, most often just pawns bigger than him. Here instead we find ourselves impersonating one of the leaders of the Clans, intent on creating their own lineage. But we will not have to do "only" this: it will also be up to us to control the progress of mortal forces to conquer new territories, as well as to increase our personal wealth as much as possible.

Clearly being always careful to keep our humanity high, because the Beast is waiting for nothing but to drive us to madness. The management of resources is in pure German style, but the peculiarity is that the same goes to support a legacy component. What will happen to your victims after the Embrace is in fact a mystery, an enigma destined to remain so until its fulfillment. But bringing all subsequent games to live with this disturbing legacy.

Hexerei

Duration: 120 '/ 150'
Number of players: 3 to 5
Ideal number of players: 5
Type: competitive
Complexity: high
Publisher: nd
Language: Italian
Suggested price: nd
Released: 2020

Set in Bavaria of the 17th century , Hexerei is a board game with incredibly adult and dark tones, designed with attention to detail and a truly unusual philological reconstruction.

Arriving on Kickstarter in November 2019, the debut work of a small group of friends from Trento is a work that exudes a maniacal passion: everything revolves around the witch hunt, with up to four players in the role of inquisitors and one in the shoes of the Brotherhood, the supernatural forces of evil that are very real in the world of Hexerei. If to conquer on the first can only be the phenomenal artwork, sinister and deeply disturbing masterpieces of a Serbian artist that leave you speechless with incredible authenticity (as well as the splendid miniatures derived from them), even the game mechanics promise to make sparks: it will be necessary to interrogate the witnesses – certainly not with sweet manners – to empower their hunters and make delicate choices to avoid the triumph of nightmare creatures taken from the folklore of the time. With a decidedly peppery fighting system and a unique atmosphere, the meat on the stove – or rather at the stake – seems to be a lot. Kickstarter in launch ramp in November 2019 the premises are captivating.

Cryptid

Duration: 30 '/ 40'
Number of players: 3 to 5
Ideal number of players: 5
Typology: competitive
Complexity: media
Publisher: Playagame Edizioni
Language: Italian
Suggested price: 35 €
Exit: in coming

In the shoes of arrembanti criptozoologi the goal will be to hunt down a mysterious and elusive creature named Cryptid. Such as? Interrogating the other players from time to time to try to make the only clue available to everyone, up to defining – possibly before anyone else – the only box that meets all the requirements (such as "is found in a desert "but also" is a box away from the sea ").

The idea is fundamentally that of a puzzle to be solved by having only a single piece of the whole available: it will take a spirit of deduction, the capacity for analysis and a mathematical mind to be able to decipher in the dark an enigma that at first appears impossible. The concept is curious and the functional materials, but the end result is not for anyone (and the impression is that it works better as a one shot rather than as a game to start several times).

Villainous

Duration: 60 ' / 90 '
Number of players: 2 to 6
Ideal number of players: 3/4
Type: competitive
Complexity: media
Publisher: Ravensburger
Language: Italian
Price: nd
Released: September

Here is another game that leads us to dress the role of villains. Not bad " common " but, rather, those of the most famous Disney fairy tales. You will have to choose between: King John, Ursula, Captain Hook, Maleficent, Jafar and the Queen of Hearts. The structure of the game is that of an asymmetric, with each character having to reach a specific objective while trying to put the sticks in the wheel of the others. Such as? Of course sending them against their respective heroes! The basic idea and game mechanics are simple but not so much as to be suitable for too young audiences. Unfortunately the test at the fair made me find a problem of duration : in six the turns are really eternal!

Victorian Masterminds

Duration: 60 '
Number of players: from 2 to 4
Ideal number of players: 4
Type: competitive
Complexity: media
Publisher: CMON
Language: Italian
Price: nd
Released: late spring 2019 [19659004] What's better than to be a super-villain in a steampunk universe? Do it thanks to the new CMON game! As a crime lord your job will be to gain more power than your opponents. To do this you will have a large group of loyal servants, ready to travel the world with the aim of stealing monuments and materials to build your super weapon. The recall setting is based on a good gaming system, which includes positioning mechanics and resource management that are never too cumbersome; in this way even novices of the genre can approach this board game with ease.

Mysterium

Duration: 60 '
Number of players: from 2 to 7
Ideal number of players: 4+
Type: cooperative
Complexity: low
Publisher: Asmodee Italia
Language: Italian
Suggested price: 39 € (buy it on Amazon.it)
Released: available

This game the merger between Cluedo and Dixit can be considered . A player interprets the ghost who must make the other players "understand" who the murderer is, where the crime and the weapon used was committed. But what is the difficulty? Simple, the specter cannot speak and to communicate will have to use cards to suggest clues.

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These represent abstract and dreamlike designs (like those of Dixit), and therefore the investigators will be forced to interpret the suggestions in order to arrive at solving the case. A title recommended to those who want to spend a light and fun evening, especially in the final phase – when you will invariably ask for explanations about the cards used by the ghost to give "clues".

Black Rose Wars

Duration: 90 '
Number of players: 2 to 4
Ideal number of players: 3+
Type: competitive
Complexity: media
Publisher: Cosmic Games
Language: Italian
Price: 120 euro
Released: available

Here we talk about a game of a certain weight both in terms of materials and monetary cost. High quality miniatures are the heart of a ruthless duel between wizards, with sorcerers intent on colliding with spells for the control of a powerful artifact called the Black Rose. In spite of a clear American imprint, the style of play is very tactical: it is necessary to always choose carefully which spells to store, since a right balance between attack and defense is essential. Fortunately, death is not permanent, but it does lose precious shifts, leaving the field open to the opponents: be careful not to be too hasty!

Shy Monsters

Duration: 10 '
Number of players: 2
Ideal number of players: 2
Type: competitive
Complexity: low
Publisher: GateOnGames
Language: Italian
Suggested price: 15 € on Amazon.it
Released: available [19659004] An exhilarating head-to-head rigorously for two players: one wears the Mephistofelic clothes of the Dark Lord, trying to build a dungeon in which to trap the opponent, the other those of the valiant Knight who must do everything to get out alive. At the disposal of the forces of evil a series of tiles with which to compose the (tiny) labyrinth and above all six fierce monsters but not exactly lethal: to be able to overcome their innate shyness and attack the Heroes dragons, manticore and kraken must in fact be positioned in a certain way, besides being always far from each other.

The result ends up being then an exciting game of asymmetrical deduction, a subtle duel of logic fought one tile after another in just ten minutes . Superb graphics, unbeatable portability and unparalleled immediacy: highly recommended, one of the undisputed surprises of the fair (where an exhilarating XXL version was also available in with human-sized tiles to play on the floor instead of on the table.

Orbis

Duration: 45 '/ 60'
Number of players: 2 to 4
Ideal number of players: 4
Type: competitive
Complexity: low
Publisher: Asmodee Italia
Language: Italian
Suggested price: 29.99 € on Amazon Italy
Released: available

As a almighty deity you will have to build a kingdom that it reflects you by joining a series of hexagonal tiles (not too different from the always excellent Unearth meta game). But beware of the land you are going to choose and above all of their positioning, because your decisions will end up making all the difference in the world: the goal is in fact to assemble a real pyramid from bottom to top, and each of the your catches will end up influencing the next ones.

Between followers to be conquered / sacrificed and combos to be triggered – always keeping an eye on opposing maneuvers, to prevent someone from taking off – a climb awaits you that should not be underestimated, for an intelligent, measured and profound title. The materials are also very pleasant, with a nice colorful and amusing comics feel.

Tokyo Highway

Duration: 45 '/ 60'
Number of players: 2 to 4
Ideal number of players: 4
Type: competitive
Complexity: low
Publisher: Asmodee Italy
Language: Italian
Suggested price: 39.99 € on Amazon
Released: available

When the immortal formula of Shanghai meets the minimal taste and the innate elegance of Japanese design: Tokyo Highway is a skill and dexterity game in which you'll be busy building a real highway, positioning your cars in balance on a series of stick-roads. The goal will be to pass below or above the lanes of the other players, creating a tangle that, thanks to the pastel colors and wooden materials, can only make a sensational figure on the table. [19659054] The mechanics of reconstruction of the roads made by mistake – basic, if you make something collapse it is mandatory to put everything back as it was before you could make your move – it adds a bit of stress to an immediate but much less simple game of planned, however, intended to entertain the whole family. Especially when, after minutes of patience and effort, you eventually enter Godzilla mode and destroy the entire structure!

Schönbrunn

Duration: 60 '
Number of players: 3-6
Ideal number of players: 4+
Typology: competitive
Complexity: high
Publisher: Giochi Uniti
Language: Italian
Suggested price: 50 euro (on sale on Amazon.it)
Exit : available

1 November 1814 : the Congress of Vienna begins, and your task will be to lead one of the six delegations available so that you can bring home the conditions most favorable to your state. Schönbrunn is a complex and multi-faceted game, but if you can get to know all the possibilities offered by the regulation, I assure you, you will have fun.

The important thing is to be able to bluff as much as possible in order to divert your opponents, so you can sign increasingly advantageous contracts. It is not a title suitable for everyone because it requires a lot of strategy, yet the experience will be satisfying and able to give good moments to anyone who decides to invest dedication, time and effort.

Gnomeland

Duration: 60 '/ 90'
Number of players: 2 to 4
Ideal number of players: 4
Type: competitive
Complexity: media
Publisher: Giochi Uniti
Language: Italian
Suggested price : 45 € (Amazon.it price)
Released: available

From the author of very lucky Explosive Potions (Stefano Castelli, a name that you have probably heard of even in the videogame field …) comes a resource management game that wants to place itself, according to its creator, as a sort of reinterpretation in a key puzzle of the classical mechanisms of a German title. The clans of Gnomeland challenge each other for a run-up to wealth and glory: it will be up to you, over the course of five rounds that with the progress of the game they become more and more rapid and immediate, understanding how to best manage the throwing of three dice, converting the results obtained into resources to be invested to build new buildings, to hire mercenaries or to carry out missions.

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There are so many possibilities of action, the means available are much less: it will be necessary to sharpen the ingenuity to find from time to time once the best strategy, adapting and exploiting their gnomes to copy some of their rivals' maneuvers. A special and curious experiment, to which I would gladly grant a second chance.

Overseers

Duration: 20 '/ 30'
Number of players: from 3 to 6
Ideal number of players: 5/6
Typology: competitive
Complexity: media
Publisher: GateOnGames
Language: Italian
Suggested price: 25 € (you can find it on Amazon.it in Italian edition)
Release: available [19659004] Chinese-themed card game embellished with winking oriental-style pin-ups: beyond the cured shape anyway, it is in any case the substance that inspires enthusiasm, for a challenge in which it is so important to adapt in running their own strategy (the composition of the deck has a mechanic identical to that of Fairy Tales / 7 Wonders, that is holding a card and passing the rest of the hand to the next player) and above all bluffing, reasoning out loud, concealing the own plans.

Very little is needed to learn the rules, but the beauty is that once learned the mechanics it will be almost impossible to give up a second game. And then to a third, a fourth, etc. etc. I, with my group of friends, I literally pulled two in the morning.

7 – The Sins

Duration: 20 '
Number of players: 3 to 5
Ideal number of players : 5
Typology: competitive
Complexity: media
Publisher: GateOnGames
Language: Italian
Suggested price: nd
Released: October

Valuable illustrations with gothic taste – with seven deadly sins portrayed in an animal version – they serve to give personality to a non-trivial card game, entirely built around the number seven.

The principle is to draw a certain number of cards of the same color from the table, choosing from time to time whether to add them to one's reserve (which however can never be consulted during the game) or whether to sacrifice them in the common Well of anime. Your memory skills will make all the difference in the world, because to win you will need to count and remember both the cards in your possession and those of your opponents. Without forgetting those that ended up in the well, since at the occurrence of certain conditions the count at the end of the game may be a run-up to the hand that will total the greatest or the least number of points. Perhaps not particularly long-lived but still interesting.

Volfyirion

Duration: 45 '
Number of players: 2
Ideal number of players: 2
Type: competitive
Complexity: media
Publisher: Tabula Games
Language: Italian
Suggested price: nd
Released: June

Set in the same suggestive universe of Mysthea (a board game in style Rising Sun that after getting a good response on Kickstarter has been reconfirmed also at the fair), Volfyrion is a deck building style card game that takes a careful approach to say the least – the inspiration is so obvious from trespassing almost in plagiarism – the main mechanics of Tyrants of the Underdark, a very valid mix of card game and board game set in their Dungeon & Dragons that remained inexplicably unknown in our parts.

Unlike the Wizards of the Coast title, Volfyirion in any way renounces the scoreboard and the control of the territories to investigate the pure card game component: the end result is an exciting and layered two-player head-to-head, which seduces thanks to the rich illustrated cards with an unmistakable style. Initially available only for backers, the game should have a limited distribution on the Tabula Games site: a little cult on the horizon? We'll find out in the coming months.

Dragon Ball Super Card Game

Duration: 45 '
Number of players: 2
Ideal number of players: 2
Type: competitive
Complexity: media
Publisher: Game Trade Distribution
Language: Italian
Suggested price: 20 euro (Base Set on Amazon.it)
Released: available

In this "classic" collectible card game every player plays one of the iconic characters created by Akira Toryama, and will have to face off against an opponent with assorted Kameameha and Big Bang Attack. The title takes up the basic structure of the other exponents of the genre, namely playing resources / paying costs / activating cards.

So far nothing new, except that the combat part is very dynamic: it is in fact possible to "sacrifice" any paper from the hand to be able to upgrade its units, thus always creating a certain unpredictability in duels. As in all TCG the creation of the deck is the fulcrum of the victory which goes hand in hand with the purchase of expansion packs in search of the best card.

Saint Seya: The Knights of the Zodiac Deck Building

Duration: 30 '/ 45'
Number of players: 2 to 5
Ideal number of players: 3+
Type: competitive
Complexity: medium-low
Publisher : 3 EMME
Language: Italian
Suggested price: 35 euros
Released: summer 2019

Each challenger plays the role of one of the five famous "bronzini" and must defeat as many opponents as possible for gain the favor of Athena . The game mechanics is very simple: each card played has values ​​with which it is necessary to exceed those on the table.

If you succeed you can conquer it and then you can use it later to defeat more difficult opponents, or to hinder your companions. The beauty is that you don't need to buy expansion bags, because the package already contains everything you need, including a beautiful magnetized sundial marking time.

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