Three amazing under-the-radar Essen games (and why I love them)

4 points

Hi I'm Calvin. These are 3 of the best games I played at Spiel 2019.


Kung Fur Fight

A two-player dueling game about cat ninjas throwing down against doggy monks, Kung Fur Fight is a tense, richly illustrated game by Taiwanese designer Yunus Hsieh.

Whether competing to push down your opponent's spirit points, increase your victory points, or recruit new furry friends to your side, overcommitting (or undercommitting) will leave you far behind in this tight-rope of animal-on-animal combat. 

Don't sleep on Kung Fur Fight. This is my pick for breakout hit of the convention. The rules are super simple and the combat is six-beats-five, but the level of yomi and interplay between abilities is well deep. It'll be so easy to do expansions too, as each animal deck is just 9 cards. Woof, what a game.

Geometric Art

Has immediately become my favorite drawing game. Attempting to interpret what your friends are drawing as 'At Christmas Time' using two triangles, a squiggle, and a dot is always hilarious. Geometric Art comes with both competitive and co-operative modes, and is an absolutely perfect 'two wines in' game.

This is what my partner drew for 'Electric.' Can you guess what it is?

Given that the scoring mechanism is super simple and the game is limited to how creative you are when using the shapes rather than raw ability to draw, Geometric Art has won my own personal Turner Prize.

Anyone who hasn't got a drawing game in their collection should look into getting this - and anyone who likes drawing games in general should get this for sure. Highly recommended.

Feelinks Revelations

Finally a co-operative party game. No more having to outdo everyone by trying to be the most embarrassing, or worrying about counting score after three drinks. Feelinks Revelations poses questions and gets you to share how you'd feel in those situations.

After selecting responses from several randomly selected emotion cards, players will score higher if they can guess what their friends put down - that is if you care to score at all.

Feelinks had a very Fog of Love-esque vibe, in which you're trying to guess what your fellow player's response is, but is taught in 10 seconds and plays until you decide to put it away. I love it and will be hunting down a copy as soon as I can.

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If you'd like to see more of what I got up to at the world's largest board games convention, you can read my photojournals (2) (3) (4). Thanks for reading!

philryuh 21 days ago | 2 points[-]

Thanks for sharing these with us Calvin! They all look awesome. I'm especially interested in Kung Fur Fight, but I really like the concept of Geometric Art. Would love to get that one for the family.

ithayla 21 days ago | 1 point[-]

Thank you for reading. Yeah Geometric Art is a concept that's been 'done before' but this one really executes it so well from the category cards to the art on the drawing boards. Top notch game. SdJ worthy.

HooperGirl 16 days ago | 2 points[-]

Kung Fur Fight sounds amazing!!!

ithayla 14 days ago | 1 point[-]

It's a ton of fun. Wish it supported more than 2 but it is really good nevertheless.

HooperGirl 14 days ago | 2 points[-]

I haven't checked at BGG but maybe someone has or will come up with a variation for more players. For example, I know Jaipur is a 2P game, but I tried it with 3P and then saw on BGG that others had done that too. Or you could get two copies like Spirits of the Wild, another 2P that is fun to try 4P with two copies.

ithayla 13 days ago | 1 point[-]

I have no doubt someone will.

trentellingsen 21 days ago | 2 points[-]

I actually laughed out loud when I saw the people looking at the art you drew. That's brilliant!!

ithayla 20 days ago | 1 point[-]

Not enough board game publishers consider the instagrammability of their titles, tbh


BenjaminK 21 days ago | 1 point[-]

Seriously though. Brilliant bit of art right there. People examining your geometric drawing like its the best thing since the Mona Lisa haha

philryuh 21 days ago | 1 point[-]

I can really appreciate the humor behind the game's art haha. Are all games at Essen this good looking or do you happen to be drawn to games with great art Calvin?

ithayla 20 days ago | 1 point[-]

I have a very strong bias towards good aesthetics, yeah. There's thousands of games so the ones that look amazing are the ones I'll gravitate to first.

HooperGirl 14 days ago | 2 points[-]

Same! I am a sucker for great game art and brightly colored games too.

Skurvy5 20 days ago | 1 point[-]

I’m jealous that you actually got to go to Essen, let alone play cool games. 

ithayla 20 days ago | 1 point[-]

It's the one con I get to do each year

and the other 11 months the fomo is real...

Marshwiggle92 21 days ago | 1 point[-]

I think the Geometric Art game looks interesting. 

ithayla 21 days ago | 2 points[-]

I love the heck out of it. Wish I'd bought it.

elclarkey 20 days ago | 1 point[-]

Cool.  I love under the radar games.

ithayla 20 days ago | 1 point[-]

So do I! I love finding cool things to share with people.

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