Back from Essen 2012. My Day 1 pictorial…

My friends and I have the attitude that Essen is a great opportunity to pick up Indie games and unusual games that might be hard to get for a while back in Blighty. There is also the challenge of 1 suitcase and 20 kilos max weight or get surcharged by Easyjet

Essen 2012 was brilliant. My 5th Essen, it was certainly the largest and I think I covered a fair amount of mileage as I tried to squeeze in as much as possible Thursday and Friday. It was a great opportunity to make new contacts and friends, and meet virtual friends in the flesh and that’s what I enjoy most. I had a great time and would recommend a trip to Essen to any gamer for sure.

Some observations –

1) The amount of Indie game companies was astonishing. I think this bodes well for our great hobby.

2) It seemed to me that most of the creativity was coming from the Indies as opposed to the established heavyweights. Can’t measure this but it just seemed that way.

3) Germans make the BEST pastries!

4) Small games may be the new BIG (there were were quite a few)

ok, 5) I was thrilled by the reception of my Wrestling Dice  game that I’ve designed and am hopeful that I’ve found an interested publisher or 2.

Now how many games could I pack and not go over my weight limit?

We started out early on Thursday for a 6:30 flight from London, Gatwick airport to Dusseldorf. Tired, but pretty excited, that’s for sure.

Geeks ready to board for the world’s biggest and best games fair 🙂
First day of Essen 2012. The mass of gamers is growing in the countdown to the opening!
One of my earliest stops was to welcome Victory Point Games to Essen. One of my favourite game companies, I chatted with co-founder, Vince about the latest upgrades to VPG components and art as well as boxes for their games. Exciting times ahead. Prediction – Darkest Night will become of their top sellers! Watch this space for a revie of Darkest Night and VPG games I received before going to Essen 😉
Steve Jackson’s OGRE, much trumpeted as a massive Kickstarter success story. You know what? It looks no where near worth the money it earned. Yes, it is much better than the original which was painfully cheap and cheerful but it still looks cheap and cheerful by today’s standards. This blogger’s opinion is that this was a case of crazy Kickstarter hype over common sense.
I’m not knocking Steve Jackson games nor anyone’s choice to back this project. More power to all of your collective elbows. Enjoy! Now maybe I saw a prototype, but even having seen that in the flesh, I’m not impressed at all.
Tony at Surprised Stare Games was doing a roaring trade in his new game, Snowdonia.

Eric from Flatlined games was a great guy. I picked up copies of Rumble in the House and his latest, Rumble in the Dungeon. I also got a peak at Twin Tin Bots, which looks like a lot of fun and has amazing minis.
Go to the Twin Tin Bots kickstarter page and have a look –
The halls were very busy!
David of Backspindle Games teaching Guards, Guards!
And here is Leonard teaching Backspindle Games’ newest game, and Aztec abstract called Codinca which I will review in due course!
The AEG stand was always jammed as there was a lot of interest in their Tempest series of Euro Games. I’m not a Euro fan but I managed to play a little card game set in the Tempest universe called Love Letters and it was a hoot! Review to follow. I also picked up a copy of Smash Up which I am really looking forward to playing and reviewing.
A cool looking Gotham City game on was unveiled by Wizkids but not available yet…
The Boardgamegeek crew were there doing live streamed game demos
Beth from Boardgamegeek and our friend Max, all the way from Malaysia
Ticket To Ride, the perennial favorite, was played
Had a go at Ragami, an interesting game about Angels and Demons but I found it too “mathy” for my tastes which I thought detracted from the theme.
yes it was busy, but manageable. So cool to see so many people interested in games 🙂
Stronghold Games were there as well, although they didn’t have any releases that interested me.
Star Wars!
The Ravensburger stand was very busy with their family games and puzzles
Iron Sky demo games. Looked interesting but I was trying to watch my luggage weight allowance 😦
In the evening I watched as Michael Fox played Ace of Spies with some new friends. They loved it I’m happy to say.
We also played Love Letters from AEG and my latest prototype, Wrestling Dice and other new friends who loved that one too. Great to see them laugh and carry on, enjoying my game. I hope that I may have found a publisher too. Fingers crossed.

Well a very busy and productive day at Essen, Day 1!

6 thoughts on “Back from Essen 2012. My Day 1 pictorial…”

  1. Thanks for the notes and great photos.
    (1) I’m a little disappointed (but not astonished) to read your impression of the re-release of OGRE. For all the anticipation and Kickstarter backing, I would have expected a really polished final product.
    (2) I’ve been reading about the AEG “Tempest” series with excited anticipation, so I’m glad to learn that you had a good early impression of Love Letters. I think that series will be at the top of my wish list for 2013.
    (3) Good luck with Wrestling Dice.


    1. Cheers Paul,
      I hope for the sake of those who backed the OGRE project that the photo I’ve taken was still a prototype. If not, it was unimpressive. Yep, there was huge buzz about Love Letters and Dominaire in particular at the AEG stand. Fingers crossed about Wrestling Dice. I will put more news up as things hopefully develop.


  2. My husband and I were playing Ogre on the picture you took and talked to the line editor, so we can state that these are the prototypes. And we had fun!


    1. Thanks so much for confirming that Susanne. Glad you enjoyed it. You heard it here folks. It was a prototype. Hopefully the complete version will be worth the investment.


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