There and Back again. My third one-day trip to Spiel at Essen…
Well again I was fortunate enough to go over to Essen for the DADDY of all board game conventions that is SPIEL for the third year running. Yes, I went for the day as I am close enough, just. I went with my brilliant friend Alan and this year we decided that we would fly from our local London, Gatwick airport rather than drive as we did the last 2 years.
Of course, there was a certain advantage in flying – it took about an hour from Gatwick to Dusseldorf and another 20 minutes by cab to Messe Essen. This compares well with the 6-7 hour drive each way. As a result we were able to spend a very full day this year which was very nice indeed. Another difference for us was that we went to the first day on the Thursday rather than on Saturday as in previous trips. Although the crowds were there, it was so much more comfortable with plenty of room to move around with our suitcase trolleys.
The only downside to flying, other than I don’t like flying, was that we had a luggage space and weight limit which meant that I had to be very selective in terms of the games I picked up. So I decided to choose games that might be harder to get a hold of from smaller publishers. Also, I wanted to avoid just running for the latest hotness just because of the buzz, but look for games that seemed really interesting and fun. Make no mistake, there were far to many to choose from and many more games that I wanted to get and hopefully will get myself to do reviews for all of you.
So here’s my haul…
I started out by going to the White Goblin Games stand to collect their new releases which are – Dragon’s Gold, Revolver, Panic Sation, Rattus Affricanus, Lost Temple, Singapore. I was very interested in these as some of the most interesting of the fair. I would say that for me, White Goblin Games have really scored this year with a really nice, creative and diverse selection of games. At least on the face of it. Of course the playing will be the proof and I will get reviews posted for you. Along side of these, I picked up Sake & Samurai from Albe Pavo, Stalag 17 from GenX, Rallyman Dirt from Rallyman, Venture Forth from Minion Games, Let’s Take a Hike from Stratamax, and The Resistance from Indie Boards & Cards. That pretty much filled my case. A bonus was that almost all of these came with special Essen promos cards and bits which is certainly a benefit of going on the first day. The wooden chest promo you see there was from Patrick Ruedisueli designer of x610z: Living Card and Board Game which unfortunately wasn’t ready for Essen but should be out next month from Quantuum B.V.
The games that I wanted but didn’t have a chance to get yet but hope to include:
Eclipse, Kingdom of Solomon, Manhattan Project, Mage Knight Board game, Dungeon Fighter, Mare Balticum, Pergamemnon, X610z: Living Card and Board Game, Kairn, Space Maze, Flashpoint: Fire Rescue, and Core Worlds. Should be enough eh?
Any disappointments? Well 011 was a big one for me as I was very excited about it as it sounded so cool with its steampunk theme, even though I’m not fond of deduction games. Why? It has player elimination which I think kinda sucks. Oh well.
Bart from White Goblin Games is so typical of the enthusiasm and energy that pervades Spiel. It was so fun to be with thousands of board game enthusiasts and Bart and the other Game company owners I met were all friendly, enthusiastic, happy to answer questions and just fun to be around. I visited with a number of game companies in the limited time that I had and spoke to great people including James from Minion Games, Seth from Mayday Games, Travis from Indie Boards and Cards, and Martin Wallace from Treefrog.
The White Goblin Games stand had a good supply of new releases but Panic Station sold outwith 30 minutes of the opening of the fair. Lucky moi snagged my copy!
There were demos a plenty all over the fair. I sat in on a couple and really enjoyed the demo game of Space Maze from Wacky Works. I hope to get a copy later. Of most interest for next year is Star Wars X-Wing from Fantasy Flight Games!
There were plenty of gaming media guys there and I had great fun meeting up with Michael Fox of the Little Metal Dog show, Paco Jean of G*M*S Magazine and Richard Bliss from Game Whisperer where we had a long discussion about Michael and my game, Ace of Spies, which we hoped to promote at the fair to hopefully find a publisher. Richard is an expert on Kickstarter and gave us lots to think about.
The guys from the Spiel finally made it to Essen! My friend Alan in the back right looks like he is thinking, “nice” jackets… This photo cries out for a caption. Any suggestions?
Yep the big boys were out as expected with the curious and obvious exception of Rio Grande games. What the hey? Poor form I’d say.
Of course, the BGG crew was out in force doing the demo thing. It was a pleasure to meet Scott “Aldie” Alden in the flesh as we had recently interviewed him on the GMS Magazine podcast – here – http://www.gmsmagazine.com/page/podcasts
I thought the 2nd hand stalls were pretty disappointing really. Oh well, just means I had to buy new stuff…