Category Archives: News

Essen 2018

Last week was The Internationale Spieltage, the largest games fair in Europe and, arguably, the world, known to Gamers worldwide simply as “Essen”.  The fair runs Thursday to Sunday in mid/late-October every year and is the one of the biggest and most significant of all the boardgame conventions with many new releases and timed to coincide with the end of October.

– Image from

This year several of the group went, and despite a lot of games selling out really early, they came back with expansions for well-loved games like Kingdomino (Age of Giants), Isle of Skye (Druids) and Altiplano (The Traveler), some new games like Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra, Solenia and Key Flow, and some old classics like Mississippi Queen.  It will be exciting to see how these new toys go down with the group over the coming months.

Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra
– Image used with permission of boargamephotos

Now We Are Six – Happy Birthday to Us!

BoardGOATS is Six Years Old Today!

Yes, unbelievably boardGOATS is still here after six years, still meeting fortnightly in the Horse and Jockey in Stanford-in-the-Vale.  Of the six people who were present at the first meeting so long ago, five are still coming; the group has grown, but still has the lovely, friendly, social feeling we cherish.  We would like to thank to everyone who has come along in the past and in particular, all those travel regularly from further afield.  Without you, boardGOATS wouldn’t be the success it is, so we really appreciate it.  We’d also like to thank the folks at the Jockey who have always been so supportive, and let us have so much fun in their back room.

Boardgames in the News: Stop that Goat!

Yesterday, a young female West Caucasian tur, a kind of mountain goat, made her Great Escape from Paignton Zoo in Devon.  Just like Steve McQueen (but without the aid of a motorcycle), she jumped a fence and disappeared into a nearby dense wooded area.  Staff and police have so far failed to catch her, but despite her horns she is a naturally timid goat and is not thought to be dangerous.  Apparently she is not making her way to Oxfordshire to join us for out 6th birthday party on Tuesday as she has been seen and “herd” in the local area and zoo staff are trying to entice her back with a few tasty morsels.  Maybe they should just try smiling at her…?

A West Caucasian Tur
– Image from


Deutscher Spiele Preis – 2018

This week the The Deutscher Spiele Preis, or German Game Prize list was announced with first prize going to Azul.  Typically the Deutsche Spiele Preis rewards a slightly heavier game than the the Spiel des Jahres awards, but for the first time since Dominion in 2009, one game took both awards.  This year we haven’t played many of the games on either list, but our first game of Azul was shortly after it’s release at Essen last year and our local groups have played the spots off it since.  So, it is no surprise to us that it has been recognised by both the Spiel des Jahres Jury and the voters from the industry’s stores, magazines, professionals and game clubs, as well as taking the French award at Cannes, the As d’Or and the Origins “Best Family Game of the Year”.

– Image used with permission of boardgamephotos

Other games that featured on the top ten list included the winner of the Kennerspiel des Jahres award, Die Quacksalber von Quedlinburg (currently only available in German) and one of the runners-up, Heaven & AleThe Mind, which received a nomination for the Spiel des Jahres Award, also featured in the top ten, as did the inevitable Pandemic Legacy: Season 2.  Other than Azul, the only game we’ve played is Altiplano, and that squeaked in at number ten, but Rajas of the Ganges and Clans of Caledonia may feature in the not too far distant future.  The Deutscher Spiele Preis for Best Children’s game went to Memoarrr!.  The prizes will be awarded at the International Spieltage, Essen.

– Image used with permission of
BGG contributor Vacabck

Boardgames in the News: How to attract a Goat

It has been shown previously that dogs and horses have the ability to discriminate human emotional facial expressions.  This is thought to be a by-product of their close working relationships with humans during domestication.  Because dogs and horses are required to work together an understanding of human emotional facial expressions is actively an advantage making the attribute self-selecting.  In contrast, goats have been exclusively domesticated as production animals and as such are less likely to have been selected for reading subtle communicative cues from humans.  A study carried out at the Buttercups Sanctuary for Goats, suggests otherwise however.

A Goat
– Image from

A total of twenty goats were tested (eight females and twelve males), receiving a total of four test trials each.  Each trial consisted of a pairs of greyscale still human faces of the same individual showing positive (happy) and negative (angry) facial expressions and over all the trials, the goats’ first interactions were more often with the positive image.  They also tended to spend more time with the positive image compared to the negative one, indicating that goats can distinguish between human faces conveying different emotions.  These results suggest that goats are attracted to “happy faces”, and have been reported by McElligott and co-workers in the Royal Society journal Open Science.1

A Flock of boardGOATS
– Image by boardGOATS

1 Nawroth, C., Albuquerque, N., Savalli, C., Single, M-S., McElligott, A. G., R. Soc. Open. Sci. (2018), 5, 180491; doi:10.1098/rsos.180491.

Boardgames in the News: Who are PAI Partners and what do they want with Asmodee?

A couple of months ago, Reuters reported that according to un-named sources, investment bankers had been hired to run the sale of Asmodee.  The claim was that the sale “could value the company at over €1.5 billion”, but there was no credible information as to who the potential buyers were.  This mystery has now been solved with the announcement that PAI Partners have entered into exclusive discussions to acquire Asmodee, a company with an enterprise value of €1.2 billion.  So, who are PAI Partners and what do they want with Asmodee?  Well, PAI is a European private equity company, that grew out of the merger between the French banks, BNP and Paribas in 1993, with a management buyout completed in 2001.  They have invested in a wide range of companies covering everything from yoghurt (Yoplait) to tyres (Kwik Fit) to cargo handling (Swissport).  Obviously PAI are interested in making money from Asmodee, but at this time there is no evidence to suggest that would by by asset stripping.  Price increases would be almost inevitable however, as the Studios would be under pressure to provide a good return on the investment.

PAI Partners
– Image from

Spiel des Jahres Winners – 2018

The 2018 winner of the coveted German Game of the Year or Spiel des Jahres award is Azul.  This has been a very popular game within the group and to us has been the stand-out game this year since Essen.  It is very easy to teach with a surprising amount of depth and is beautifully produced, making it a game we are always happy to play.  The Kennerspiel des Jahres was awarded at the same time.  This honours more challenging games and this year was awarded to Die Quacksalber von Quedlinburg.  So far this has only been released in German, so we have not been able to play it yet.  In addition, there was a special award for for Pandemic Legacy: Season 2, which the jury felt was the benchmark against which all other legacy games should be judged.  The Kinderspiel des Jahres award was announced last month and went to Funkelschatz (aka Dragon’s Breath) which is dexterity gem collecting game.

– Image used with permission of boardgamephotos