Essen Spiele 2014
I attended Essen Spiele for a few days to promote and sell Luchador! at the Backspindle Games stand. Make no mistake, it was hard work and not as much fun as previous visits when I attended with friends and as a member of the gaming media.
Manning a stand is all about endurance. With a bad back, its not easy and the worry of losing my voice after doing so many demos was with me. Last year it took me 3 weeks to recover my voice…
It was a very intense few days as the crowds were massive as usual. It was lovely to meet to many awesome gamers and in particular gamers who were excited about my game. Very gratifying and humbling.
I did get a few chances to look around the 4 halls at Essen and they are huge. Apparently there were around 600 games and expansions on display which is ridiculous as it sounds. I am all for new games but that kind of number makes it impossible to do the fair justice. You just can’t get around to see everything. You need a plan and a pretty narrow list of games to check out.
My list was very small as for me, there just wasn’t all that much to be bothered about. I think I’ve gotten over the new shiny hotness thing as I feel like Id rather look at a few games that suit my interests and game style. As luck would have it a couple publishers had games for me (Mage Company gave me 12 Realms and Hoyuk and Fryx Games gave me a copy of the Space themed Fleets: the Pleiad Conflict) and as I had a small suitcase, I had room for little else. I managed to pick up Choson and Heroes of the Three Kingdoms from Korea Games and Coup: Guatemala 1958 from LaMame Games which are all small card games. At some point I want to get Yardmaster from Crash games actually as it looks fun.
Looking through the BGG listings, I just didn’t see much else of interest I have to say. I’m not a Euro game fan so that ruled out a lot of games anyway and even the historical games and American style games weren’t much to get excited about. I think that the truth is there are few really interesting new games. An awful lot of retreads of tired themes, as seems to happen on Kickstarter. So to be honest, the vast majority of new games are boring at first pass. And I know a lot of gamers that feel the same. And of course there are simply crap games being released and bottom of the list this year has to be Drinkopoly and Lap Dance. Please, if another gamer justifies Lap Dance as not being sexist by saying it has male dancers… who are you trying to convince? Really? The audience for Lap Dance is men who see women as sex objects, end of story.
I mean how many zombies and vampires and Cthulhu games do we need really? Fantasy as genre is really tired. 12 Realms looks a bit different and fun and you can play solo so I am interested to play. Space as a genre is tired as well. Having said that, Fleets looks a bit different too.
It was really great to meet up with friends in the hobby and industry from around the world and the guys from Backspindle Games are a blast to work with.
So overall, a fun experience although not a stellar year at all for new themes or solid games I fear. Particularly in Euros which are just retreads of the same old tiresome mechanics for the most part with a thin coat of new paint of a slightly different colour. I reckon the vast majority will disappear from our radar pretty quickly. Thankfully, Luchador! 2nd Edition seems to have hit a sweet spot for is dynamic and original theme so fingers crossed!
Here are some photos for you to enjoy, or not…