Welcome to Ars Cardboard, our weekend look at tabletop games! Check out our complete board gaming coverage at cardboard.arstechnica.com.
For four days each year, the German city of Essen becomes the center of the tabletop gaming universe. The annual Internationale Spieltage fair—better known simply as “Spiel”—sees publishers from around the world unleash their most anticipated new releases.
This year, more than 1,200 exhibitors from 53 countries showed off their games across 86,000 square meters of floor space. With so much to see, it’s impossible to take in more than a tiny fraction of the games on offer. But for the past few years, I’ve been wandering the halls on behalf of Ars readers, hunting for clever, cool, innovative, and entertaining new tabletop titles. So once again I took a deep breath and dove head first into a maelstrom of cards, dice, meeples, and miniatures. And here are my picks from the games I managed to play.