165 – KOSMOS games w/Tom Wetzel – The Family Gamers Podcast
Hi everybody! Because it’s an odd numbered episode, we have a guest. We are celebrating all things KOSMOS with Tom Wetzel. Tom is the Marketing Coordinator for Games at Thames & Kosmos. We love talking to him because he’s enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and simply interested in games in general.
But first! We ask Tom about what he’s been playing lately.
What We’ve Been Playing
Tom played Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective expansions – really tough, because all material from previous cases is still in play!
We watched our 5-year-old teach a bunch of adults to play Dirty Pig. Very entertaining.
TAGS – a word game with a twist. Come up with words that meet the restrictions and the categories, in 15-second turns.
Tom also played several Halloween-themed games. His favorite of the bunch was Horrified – a cooperative game where players team up to take down classic-movie-monsters like Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Each monster has different abilities and feels very thematic.
We Tried a New KOSMOS Game or Two
We also tried out a new release from KOSMOS: Adventure Games: The Dungeon.
If you’ve ever played an EXIT box, the Adventure Games box feels a lot like that to start, but quickly becomes much more like a high-quality point-and-click computer puzzle game. There’s no timer, and it’s more about the story you uncover than the riddles (although there are riddles). Combine “items” together or use them at “locations” to find 4-digit codes. Read the text with that code in the play book, revealing more of the story and open up more options for playing.
The Adventure Games box is reusable! Play as different characters or make different decisions… or play with a different group of friends!
We loved the lack of time constraint, and can’t wait to play more – but thankfully, could also easily “save” our game and unpack it again at a later time.
These are a crossover between the “game” and “educational toy” parts of the company. Originally developed in Germany for brain stimulation for the elderly; a joint effort between neuroscientists and game designers. Once it came over the US, the US company decided to drop the “elderly” branding and market it for all ages.
They’re simply “fun memory-based games” and suitable for any age. Each of the three games touches different parts of your working memory.
Tom’s favorite is “The Astute Goose”. Partly because it doesn’t look like other games.
We like all three, which access your working memory, not just your static memory. And of course, it’s an “educational game” that’s fun without the educational strings attached. Simply play, enjoy, and then realize afterward that your brain is getting stronger! :)
EXIT: House of Riddles & The Haunted Roller Coaster
We’ve resisted writing reviews of EXIT boxes before because they just didn’t seem very family-friendly. But, two new ones out seem to be very do-able with kids 10+ (or younger). Look for our reviews soon of EXIT: The House of Riddles and EXIT: The Haunted Roller Coaster. They’re more linear and the riddles are a bit easier. (The themes are less creepy as well.)
We ask if there’s any news on EXIT Kids: Codebreakers – an EXIT series for kids that was announced at Essen last year. It’s still possible, but not currently scheduled for 2020. While we’re waiting for it, we’ll look for more kid-friendly boxes from Clever Kids Mysteries instead.
Moving away from the “narrative experience”… KOSMOS releases a lot of well-crafted abstract games! Anitra’s favorite is Imhotep.
How does KOSMOS find these games that fit their catalog?
Short answer: a strong editing team and a great acquisitions team in Germany. Thames & Kosmos in the US “get the luxury of looking at the final product and deciding whether it’s going to work for the US market or not.”
Imhotep – It’s an interesting game that seems like it has a lot of rules, but for most players, it “clicks” pretty soon after they start playing. Imhotep: The Duel seems to flip the play structure in reverse. “It’s a really interesting game of chicken.”
Drop It – we have to mention this one. It’s our favorite game of 2018, and a huge hit at our cafe game nights. Tom reveals that giant Drop It might get made if they sell 1 million copies of the game.
Tom, what is your favorite game of all time?
There are a lot of KOSMOS games in his top 40, but his absolute favorite is Las Vegas.
Where to find Tom & KOSMOS news
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Or email Tom directly: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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