by W. Eric Martin
• Etienne Espreman’s Bruxelles 1893, which debuted in 2013 from Belgian publisher Pearl Games, is a well-loved game that’s been off the market for a little while, with prices starting to rise for copies on the secondary market.
In 2019, fellow Belgian publisher Geek Attitude Games worked with Espreman to release Bruxelles 1897, a card game based on that earlier board game, and in 2022 the two will work together again on a Kickstarter project for Bruxelles 1893: Belle Epoque, this being a new version of Bruxelles 1893 that features new artwork and includes an expansion. This item will be released in 2022 or 2023.
Your immediate question might be, “Will this expansion be available separately for those who own the original game?”, and my immediate answer is, “I don’t know, but since GAG is going with new artwork for its edition of the game — which is understandable since they don’t have a license for the original art and probably want to make this design their own thing — then I would imagine not, which makes sense given that they want as many people as possible to buy their version of the game, and while I realize that approach might frustrate those who already own the game, those people can pretend that this edition doesn’t exist and ideally be happy with their fully complete copy of the design, similar to how I’m not going to complain that, say, different publishers have released short story collections from Jorge Luis Borges that contain mostly the same stories, but not exactly the same ones because I understand that they’re businesses trying to give me an incentive to buy the thing they’re publishing. My obsessiveness is entirely on me, and I need to account for that on my own end.”
Oh, wait, I heard back from the publisher: “The expansion won’t be available separately, only included in the box of this new edition. Explanation is very easy: the artist is different and artwork will be different. So this version will reimplement Bruxelles 1893 and add the Belle Epoque expansion.” So pretty much what I wrote above, but more concise.
• German publisher AMIGO Spiel opened a U.S. branch of business — AMIGO Games — in 2018, and as of August 2021 AMIGO Games has reclaimed one of the flagship titles of its parent company: Uwe Rosenberg’s Bohnanza.
Bohnanza debuted in 1997 with a player count of 3-5, with the Bohnanza Erweiterungs-Set released that same year allowing for play with up to seven people. The English version of Bohnanza was released in 2000 by Rio Grande Games, and it included all of this material, but not the extra material that Amigo released in 2001 in the revised edition of Bohnanza Erweiterungs-Set. Those field beans and order cards wouldn’t be released in English until 2004’s High Bohn Plus expansion, which also included 2000’s High Bohn, which introduced building cards related to specific bean types.
Hmm, maybe I should have used Bohnanza as my example above instead of Jorge Luis Borges as each publication line is equally convoluted. (For an overview of all Bohnanza releases, go here.)
In any case, AMIGO Games is now the publisher of Bohnanza in the U.S. and to keep things consistent — or consistently inconsistent, as it were — its version of Bohnanza will retain the 3-7 player count of the earlier Rio Grande Games edition with the “Bohnus Expansion Pack” mentioned on the front cover being the cocoa, wax, and coffee cards needed to adjust for varying player counts.
Alex Yeager, who became the head of AMIGO Games in April 2021, tells me that other titles in the Bohnanza line will be transitioned into the U.S. AMIGO brand over time, with 2020’s Excalibohn likely to be released next, followed in 2022 by a 25th anniversary edition of the game.