By Raymond "DuMeeple" Dumee on April 2, 2019
A beautiful monastery in the Southern Dutch woods, nearby our very own city of light, Eindhoven, serves as the backdrop for a two day board game convention, filled with a lot of board game pleasure. The biggest publishers of the Benelux, smaller board game creators, friendly local game shops and other board game entertainment are all part of the festivities. Welcome, dear reader, to ZuiderSpel!
Together with my wife, I travelled to the town of Veldhoven; a nice place in the South of the Netherlands, where Zuiderspel was held. In the middle of the woods next te Veldhoven, there is a big old monastery, which has been converted into a hotel, complete with a number of conference halls. A few of these halls now housed ZuiderSpel and its visitors and exhibitors.
We started our day at the Game Brewer booth. I was really hyped to try out their new game, which was about to hit Kickstarter. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls; the creators of Gugong brought with them to Zuiderspel a really cool Japanese styled game called Fuji Koro. Now if you want to know all the ins and outs of this game, you can read all about it in our Fuji Koro Kickstarter preview. Besides this upcoming game, Game Brewer brought a bunch of their other games with them, which were all available to try out!
At the stand of Dutch publisher 999 Games, you could play and, if you were fast enough, buy the Dutch version of a game called Wingspan. I actually wanted to try and see what the whole hype is about, but the tables were all full all the time and the game itself was sold out in no time, so I guess I'll have to give this game a try some other time.
The "Kiddy Corner" of Zuiderspel was hosted by two developers: Smart Toys & Games and Sunny games. Especially Sunny Games managed to draw our attention with big versions of two of their games: "Max the Cat" and "The Secret Door". Sunny Games are specialized in making cooperative board games, aimed especially at children. In The Secret Door, you must try to find out which valuables are hidden behind the secret door. The game features several pairs of valuables cards. Three valuables cards are placed under a secret door, after which you must collect the left-over pairs, just like in the game of memory, but with the three hidden cards missing from the game. By simple elimination, you must try and find out which three cards are under the secret door. This twist on the classic memory game and the table presentation of the board made us childishly happy right off the bat.
After this, we went to the booth occupied by Quined Games. I was really eager to play a few rounds of a game of theirs, called La Stanza, which is their latest Kickstarter success. Unfortunately, it seemed that I was not the only one who was anxious to play this game, so I didn't actually get a chance to do so, but I was lucky enough to get the general rules explained to me while I watched as others were playing La Stanza.
Next on our list was Grumpy Owl Games, who were showcasing their card game: Untamed. I really like the direction they are taking with this cool game. The artwork on the cards looks absolutely fantastic and the gameplay is truly solid. We are going to schedule a meeting with Grumpy Owl Games to see more of the prototype somewhere in the near future, as their Kickstarter is coming up soon.
Our friends of Black Box Adventures were also present at the Zuiderspel convention and brought prototypes of not one, but two of their upcoming games: Adventures in Neverland and Climate Oasis. I was especially thrilled to see the progress they made on Adventures in Neverland, an adventure board game designed by Vicky Swers. I also got to see a lot of the concept for this upcoming title, which is created by Frederick van der Bunt and looks absolutely amazing! My wife and I also got into the swing of things as part of the Black Box Adventures demo team. We just love their games and were more than happy to show games like Itchy Monkey and Frutti di Mare to other board game enthusiasts.
My most precious moment of ZuiderSpel has to be meeting Bastiaan Nox, creator of Nox Spellenzolder. For those among you that are not yet familiar with Nox Spellenzolder, it's a Youtube channel on which Bastiaan explains all about and reviews board games in Dutch. He is single-handedly responsible for the highest number of Dutch board game video reviews out there. Plus, he just happen to be a very nice guy!
I can only say that Zuiderspel is a really nice board game convention and has a really beautiful location. There was so much more to do and to play, yet so little time. Also, wandering thought the stands of the game shops, is another thing we could just do for days. We actually found a second-hand Twister game in very good condition, which we took home for some good old-fashioned laughter. I'd like to thank everyone I met for making it a truly memorable day and I sure hope I'm able to visit ZuiderSpel again next year!
March 23 - 24, 2019 Veldhoven, the Netherlands