Games Aktuell Podcast 653: Little Nightmares 2, Roller Champions, Nebuchadnezzar

Games Aktuell Podcast 653: Little Nightmares 2, Roller Champions, Nebuchadnezzar

Games Aktuell Podcast 653

With the Games Aktuell Podcast 653 we welcome you again this week to our video game talk. This week Matthias the Maci and David loaded himself into the (virtual) sound booth. As the first big topic of the week, Maci enthusiastically reports Little Nightmares 2. In his test it was again shown what a special indie adventure the developers have put together here. Then David introduces the upcoming Roller Champions from Ubisoft, which he was able to play last time. Matthias also reports on Nebuchadnezzar, a building game in the style of the classic Caesar and Pharaoh. The test revealed the strengths and weaknesses of the indie title, a Czech two-man team. As always, the whole thing is rounded off with your community contributions.

Hear the new episode right here!

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Topics of the GA podcast episode 653:

00:00:00 - Intro and On my own behalf

00:07:21 - Little Nightmares 2

00:33:20 - Roller Champions -
00:51:52 - Nebuchadnezzar

01:08:52 - Community posts

Little Nightmares 2 now at Order Amazon:

All information about the Games Aktuell podcast

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Impressions from previous podcasts:

Escape games in your living room

Tired of playing Monopoly during the COVID lockdown? The blockbuster board game Exit brings escape room strategy into your home. A German couple is behind it and hundreds more games. But where do they get their ideas?

The study in the home of Inka and Markus Brand is lined with shelf upon shelf of games, colorful boxes of all shapes and sizes, as well as numerous prizes and awards. This is not where they work, however — that takes place at the kitchen table.

'Gaming is not kids' stuff,' Inka says. Markus adds, 'When you play games, you immerse yourself in whole new worlds.'

The couple in their mid-forties are among Germany's most successful game developers. Their Exit games, which they have been developing for five years for Stuttgart-based Kosmos publisher, are trendy. They just published a new escape room title, 'The Cursed Labyrinth'('Das verfluchte Labyrinth').

Creative problem-solving

Just like players in 'real' escape rooms, the Exit players on the board solve puzzles and riddles to get out of an imaginary locked room. Sometimes, they need accessories and or have to decode hints; writing, folding, cutting and thinking are required. Mysterious settings, intricate riddles — just the thing for a games night with friends or family.

 2020 was a particularly good year for German game manufacturers. Plays and concerts were canceled for weeks on end, and movie theaters and restaurants were closed, so many people rediscovered game night. Demand for games and puzzles skyrocketed, with games for adults particularly in demand. Ulrich Brobeil, managing director of the German Toy Industry Association, was pleased with a good year for the industry.

 A photo shows the contents of an Exit game box, including game board and card

The Exit games have been translated into 24 languages

From the kitchen table

The Exit games have been selling like hot cakes for years, but Kosmos described the situation as 'exceptional'; 1.5 million copies were sold in 2020 alone. Exit even became the most successful board game brand, relegating long-time leader Monopoly to second place.

Kosmos now considers itself the eighth-largest toy supplier in Germany and the leader in family and games for adults. 'An incredible success,' Kosmos spokeswoman Silke Ruoff said, adding the company partly owes that to Inka and Markus Brand.

Paper and pens are always ready on the Brands' kitchen table in the western German city of Gummersbach — they say that's all it takes to start a new game.

'Of course, we also brainstorm, but we draw inspiration from our everyday lives,' Markus said, adding that this can be a YouTube video or a doctor's waiting room.

Inka said the ideas for the games take shape as the couple discusses them. 'We write them down and maybe even sketch out an initial game plan.' If the idea works, she creates a prototype.

Daughter is 'most honest tester'

The next step is important: 'Our daughter Emely is the most honest tester. Anything the 18-year-old doesn't like ends up in the trash can,' Markus told DW.

Normally, six test players gather around the Brands' kitchen table every Tuesday. The Brands also go to kindergartens to test games for the younger age group. Because of the pandemic, the test gatherings currently take place online, with the Brands watching closely for reactions.

When is a test successful? 'The most important thing is replayability, and of course for the target group to have fun,' Markus explained.

A decorated escape room

The Brands' Exit game tries to bring tee popularity of escape rooms into players' the living room

A marriage of similar game minds

'Without games, Inka and I might not be together,' Markus said. The two met at a wedding in 1999. She worked for a lawyer, he sold insurance. They quickly found out that they both really enjoyed board games. Eight months later, they married.

 At the invitation of a publisher, they attended a game workshop where they tested prototypes and were encouraged to try and develop a game of their own. 'We found that fascinating, and on the way back home, we were already batting ideas back and forth,' Inka said. Seven years later, the couple's dream came true: Toy stores were selling a game with their name on it.

Since then, Inka and Markus have invented 470 games. Many have won awards, including four German Children's Game Awards. 

Played in homes around the world

Today, the Exit games are sold in more than 20 countries and have been translated into 24 languages. Each Exit game can only be played once, because at the end you know the solution. It's a clever business idea, because game enthusiasts are bound to come back for more titles.

For each game sold, the Brands receive a royalty.  That alone would be enough for the family to live off of, Markus said. But neither he nor his wife want to invent games full time: 'I can't imagine having to produce ideas all the time,' Markus said.

Nevertheless, the couple is currently working on an anniversary edition for the fall, when the Exit series turns five. As always, they're working at their kitchen table in Gummersbach.

This article has been translated from German.

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