Essen was a new adventure. A new country, with new culture, language and expectation. My boss and I ventured toward Essen through France, landing in Dusseldorf at 1pm of Wednesday. Our original plan was to hop onto a train heading into the city, but the trains were striking that day. One 60 Euro taxi later and we pulled up to our weirdly-modern hotel. We dropped off our bags, readied our tired brains and set out to find the Mecca, I mean Messe.
The part of town we stayed in is less central, more auto shops and homes. We will later discover the town center where most visitors stay, but not until our last day. We cross the town in 45 minutes and land upon a largely-abandoned Messe. We tracked down our compatriot inside the massive hall. There many companies had set up their wares, some were preparing demo areas, others were completing interviews. Very exciting stuff. I tried really hard not to linger too long at other’s booths… that time would be the rest of the week.
We headed uptown where an annual ‘Warm up day’ was taking place. This is the day before the fair begins. Many participants gather for the day to play games and interact with publishers and designers. We were walking in the direction we thought we had to go… and we didn’t see the correct street… and we walked… and we walked… the part of town changed… there were more cars. Brig’s phone couldn’t find us.
We were feeling lost.
We decided to walk up one more block, and then. FREE EFFING WI-FI COURTESY OF A STARBUCKS. Right in the middle of Essen. Warm up day was a measly block from where we stood! We were two Americans in Germany, saved by Starbucks.
So I’m back in the land of tasty water and fast wi-fi!!
Let me tell you, do not expect to easily upload from major conventions. I need a press badge next time(my coworkers had them and told me of the magnificent wifi in their lounge)… and yes, now I know that press badges exist, ha!
This is a mini I-swear-i’m-still-alive-post. I’m currently writing up some thoughts on the rest of the con!
Foretold: Rise of a God was surprisingly fun. It’s a card game, multi-player experiences and dungeon crawl. yep. Speaking with the designer he wanted to create the same feeling you get from a great game of EDH(a style of MTG– it’s okay, you can unfollow now).
He did that very thing! It had an interesting balance of set collection and timing. A little negotiation, and because it was made by Legion Supplies… very pretty accessories available. Will be picking this up when it’s out.
Coup Reformation is something I had backed on kickstarter. We played a pickup game with a table that got a lot more than they expected. Brian and myself are not the most casual of negotiators… so they were taken aback when the deals started flying around the table.
We didn’t get to finish our game of Equinox, though we got through 2/3 before the room closed. It’s going to be a fast-paced game until the last 10 moves, when you really want to maximize your impact on the board. Knowing the tiles will also help immensely… in your first play everything is such a surprise!
Next I’ll try to put together a 5 things to do and not to do for a convention… until then? sleeeep
There are so many neat Kickstarters out this week! I’m sad about some of the timing as I am keeping my budget back for GenCon. Maybe getting the word out is payment enough?
Florenza I had to look twice as my first impression was of a stuffy, overused theme. Then looking deeper the game flourishes in low random nature and the theme doesn’t matter!
Fidelitas is just beautiful, tongue-in-cheek card game! They really knocked this out of the park.
Lift Off is coming along really well for a new designer. The campaign is polished, thorough and it seems that he really did his homework.
Redacted is super intriguing! I love hidden identities, negotiation and the minimalist cover is just perfect.
Wizard Dodgeball is silly, quick and the card mechanic works really well!
GenCon is two weeks away, so I compiled a list of the things I will not miss! It’s kinda giant though so I’ll understand if you skim it! I can’t imagine I’ll have time for all of this, but I’m going to try! I’ll follow up my time at Indy with a video top 10.
Because of the nature of GenCon I would imagine FFG will have very cool stuff not listed here that they have not yet announced. I didn’t link to the Haba/r&r type kids stuff but I’m sure those are worth a look or two.
Fief: France 1429: This is a classic game in France getting a big fancy update for the states! Made a heck of a lot of money on kickstarter.
Doomtown Reloaded: This is the LCG remake of this immensely popular game. It’s a territory control game with a poker feel.
Consequential: I do not have words to explain the interest this game holds for me. It has world-building aspects, a companion app that is required and the base game comes with 4 acts. This could be the next iteration of technology mixed with legacy-style gaming. I originally tried to kickstart this project before they held it back to further design work.
Abyss: This is power-grabbing card/draft game with amazing art!!
The Witcher Adventure Game: This is based on the books/games/comics and retold through a game by Ignacy Trzewiczek This is story-telling with asymmetrical character-driven decisions.
Five Tribes: This is Days of Wonder trying to break into the heavier space of gaming. This is worker manipulation? You move your tribe around a bit, so you don’t remove them like regular worker placement. I couldn’t be more excited about this one.
40K Conquest: This is the next in the LCG line to follow up the Star Wars card game. Players will battle (somewhat brutally) over planets until they can claim the prize! Yeah, I know that this is only going to appeal to a certain demographic, but I’m excited none the less.
Epic Resort: fun-looking casual worker placement game about running a resort. I missed the Kickstarter for this one, but Ben Harkins(the designer) is one smart cookie. Cannot wait to see it in person.
Nautilus Industries: Beautifully designed with a very unique market system. Supposedly works well even with two players. Yay stocks!
Argent the Consortium: I wanna be a wizard! Very unique worker placement game. Opponent’s abilities are changing constantly. Do want.
Chaosmos: This space game looks mean and fun. You drop cards off around the universe as you hop from planet to planet.
Imperial Settlers: This is one I have ordered for pickup. This is the farming/pillaging take on the 51st State Engine from Portal Games.
Panamax: Very heavy, lots of actions. Shipping. Dice that aren’t rolled. Yesssssssss
Temporum: Time jumping game from Rio Grande. Almost no advertisement… so I guess I’ll just see it for myself.
Operation FAUST: Lets all hide precious art from the Nazis, and each other!
Dead of Winter: This is the first of Plaid Hats’ new series. It is a “meta cooperative” and that term is not my favorite thing… but the game couldn’t look cooler.
This week I received a kickstarter reward for Elevenses from Adventureland Games! This is a small card game with a fun teatime twist…
Aquasphere from Stefan Feld has hit kickstarter from TMG to be funded within 10 days!
Played my first game of Vinhos this week. I found it to be fun and complicated… but I mostly wanted to play more CO2 afterward!
Magnum Opus’ components are a total turn off. I love alchemy themes and fun mad-scientist stuff, but the rules need some editing to take out some of the randomness.
lastly though… just avoid the Archer board game. just no, don’t.
Spent some time thinking about the recent winners of the Spiel Des Jahres and Kennerspiel. Played a little Praetor. Went 2-2 in an M15 prerelease this weekend!
Also talked a little about running a game lounge for a museum event and chatting with folks I wouldn’t otherwise meet!