October – this will be a strange month for preorder previews as it coincides with Spiel in Essen, where another 1000+ games will be hitting the market. However, not all of them will be available in October itself unless you go to Essen and pick them up, so let’s take a look at what might be available for those of us unfortunate not to be going!
The Castles of Burgundy: Special Edition
With all the amazing looking games coming out during October thanks to Spiel at Essen it’s somewhat of a shock to me that the game I chose to highlight is a game I haven’t, until now, truly appreciated.
The first time I tried Castles of Burgundy it was so brown and beige that I couldn’t tell what I was doing half the time. Under protest a few weeks ago I then played it again at a friend’s house, he had a newer edition with slightly more obvious colours and much to my shock, I enjoyed the game!
It does the rare thing with a Stefan Feld game for me and is actually quite elegant and trimmed back – it’s not one of those typical overblown point salad games, like Bora Bora, but a much more refined affair more akin to Puerto Rico. If it wasn’t for the amazingly expensive price I’d be quite keen to add it to my collection, I think!
This months pre-order list is quite big, that’s not a surprise seeing as Spiel Essen show is just round the corner and most of the games that I would put on this article are on my Essen list to hopefully collect while I am there. If I was to pick one game, I will pick Forbidden Jungle, as I hear it’s really good and Forbidden Island holds a special spot in my heart as it is at the minute the best of the series. I will definitely pick this up as soon as I can.
The Cathedral of Orléans
A cooperative family-weight game, set in the world of the classic game Orléans, using a similar bag-worker-chit-draw, but cooperatively from 2 different bags. A shared worker board is used to place the workers on, which let you gain resources, find blueprints, complete orders, and eventually gain cathedral pieces to hopefully collaboratively complete the cathedral within 3 rounds.
What I like the sound of most here is that the workers are distributed across 2 bags, and you pick which bag to draw 1 worker from on your turn, then pick one “side” of the main board to place the worker to perform an action. Once the round ends, the tokens go back in the bag matching the respective side of the board – so you are influencing the makeup of the next round’s bags during the current round, whilst also trying to do the actions you need. An interesting way to do bag-building!
It sounds like an intriguing twist on the original game, packed into a quicker, co-op, game, from the original game’s designer, Reiner Stockhausen (with help from Wolfgang Dirscherl and Markus Müller) and artwork once again from the wonderful Klemens Franz. Here’s hoping it’s got just enough meat on the bones to make it an interesting co-op experience!