Attention EssenSpiel Shoppers! Here is the Boardgames in Blighty “Check it out” list to save you time and money!

Attention EssenSpiel Shoppers! Here is the Boardgames in Blighty “Check it out list” to help save you time and money!

742 listings on the Boardgamegeek Essen 2015 list means it will be difficult to choose won’t it? With Kickstarter, our hobby has exploded and although that’s a good thing, it also creates a huge problem in terms of sifting through to find where to spend our money. Well here is my list of those chosen few which truly have attracted my attention because they stand out as being original and interesting rather than the same old rehash of tired old themes and mechanics.

My criteria:

  • needs to be refreshing to me. Probably pretty different then what I’ve played before including mechanically so probably not worker placement, pick up and deliver, spreadsheet-like (ugh) or just pushing cubes with the theme pasted on
  • more likely to be somewhat Ameritrashy or Wargamey as that’s where my interests mostly lie so forget about farming, mining, stock trading, politics, trading in the Mediterranean (or anywhere for that matter), civ-building (yawn) but also unlikely to be a dungeon basher or a tactical combat thing either
  • needs to be a refreshing theme so unlikely to be fantasy, horror, cthulhu, sci-fi, pirates, spies, etc. and probably not a big box game with lotsa Minis
  • I lean towards small publishers as they take more risks

Yeah I’m biased but that’s the spice of life! Feel free to take it or leave it. But I know what I would consider buying…

Hope this helps, even if it steers you away from these to what you do like! Just have fun at Essen without me will ya!

Sad Panda…



Lembitu is a co-operative board game inspired by the events of the Livonian Crusade in Estonia. Definitely worth a look because its a refreshing take on a Euro wargame and an unusual theme.

Price €25

2D6.EE Booth 7-E106



In a distant future, scientists were able to build small alternate Earths. Exactly 504 such Earths have thus far been built. The scientists programmed each of these Worlds with an individual set of laws and rules which the residents strictly follow and consider most important for their lives. These may be exploration, consumption, economics, military, etc., and each is unique. You can visit all of these 504 alternate Earths to experience how the people are living, and decide which of these worlds harbors the best civilization. On which World do you want to live? Explore them all and decide!

This looks really cool, very different and heck, you have 504 game options!

The English-language edition of 504 can be found at the Stronghold Games booth (3-M107)

Price €65 for sales at Spiel 2015



In Aya, you have to cooperate to connect as many landscape tiles and animal photo tokens as possible to arrange a chain of dominoes placed upright one after another. At the end of the game, they will fall onto each other, each one toppling the next – in a cascade effect – to reveal the ultimate number of landscapes and animals and bring back the greatest photos. Working as a team, the players try to score as many points as possible.

This could the one I’m most excited about. Sounds like cooperative and social fun!

Booth 3-P104, which is the location of Blackrock Games

Price – €27



Clacks: A Discworld Board Game is based on the “Clacks” semaphore messaging system — the fastest (non-magical) messaging system on the Discworld — featured in Sir Terry Pratchett’s novel Going Postal.

Play against your friends and claim the title of Fastest Clacks Operator on the line, or play together as a team to win the race across the Discworld and prove that Clacks is here to stay. In more detail, Clacks: A Discworld Board Game contains rules for a player vs. player game, a co-operative race game against the Post Office, and a children’s introductory game.

Clever game and a must for Discworld fans!

Backspindle Games – Booth 1-F148

Price €40


Race to Berlin

Race to Berlin game portrays the last months of World War II in Europe. In the West, after the landing in Normandy and forcing German troops to withdraw from France, the armies of the Western Allies stand over the borders of the Reich, being ready to get across Rhine. In the East, mighty Red Army preparing itself to final offensive, which goal is the capital of Nazi Germany, Berlin. Both Allies are set for the race to ultimate victory.

Looks a bit different from the usual wargame fare.

Gry Leonardo Booth 1-G137

Price €25


Raid & Trade

Raid & Trade is a post apocalyptic game of negotiation and resource management for 3-5 players. From the ashes of a devastating third World War, a precious few golden cities emerge offering hope to those who struggle for survival in the wastelands. Players explore the ruins of the modern world completing quests, honing their skills and maneuvering for social status in order to claim a precious spot as a citizen with a Golden City.

This one appeals to me and looks like fun. Its got a few minis and that is fine.

Mage Company Booth 3-P103

Discounted to €45



Planned for release in Q4 2015 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the cult TV show, the co-operative game Thunderbirds will feature the iconic Thunderbirds machines and a high octane world full of disasters for players to come to the rescue.

Set in the year 2065, Thunderbirds follows the exploits of International Rescue: a secret organization committed to saving human life, secretly founded and funded by the millionaire Tracy family, with the motto: ‘Never give in, at any cost!’. International Rescue has a host of technologically advanced land-, sea-, air-, and space-rescue vehicles and equipment ready to launch at a moment’s notice.

A criminal mastermind known as “the Hood”, operating from a temple deep in the Malaysian jungle and in possession of strange powers, often engineers events to allow him to spy on the Thunderbird machines with the goal of selling their secrets to the highest bidder.

Players will work together using Thunderbirds characters and vehicles to complete rescue missions and save the day. For instance, to help complete the ‘Attack of the Alligators’ mission card, players will try to assemble Thunderbird 4 and Virgil in North America. All the time, being mindful of the influence of The Hood.

It’s pricey but how could I not want Thunderbirds designed by Matt Leacock? I mean really!

Modiphius Entertainment Booth 2-A126

Price €63


Stronghold 2nd Edition

Stronghold is a two-player game telling the story of a siege. Players take opposing sides: one has to defend the stronghold, and the other has to break into the castle as soon as possible. The game board represents the stronghold itself as well as the surrounding terrain, where enemy forces are placed and whence they proceed to the walls.

The defender has a small number of soldiers manning the walls, while the invader has an infinite legion of attacking creatures. A desperate fight takes place every single turn. The invaders build war machines, equip their soldiers, train them, and use black magic rituals to achieve victory. Meanwhile, defenders repair walls, build cannons, train soldiers, and do everything they can to hold the castle as long as possible.

If the invader manages to break into the castle before the end of seven rounds, they win; otherwise the defender wins.

I was intrigued by the 1st edition of Stronghold but never got around to playing it. This edition sounds better and shorter in gameplay so I am very interested.

Portal Games – Booth 3-N113

• Price €60


The Last Spike

In The Last Spike, players must cooperate to build a continuous railway from St. Louis to Sacramento. Different routes are possible and some towns never get a railway link. Each player competes to accumulate the most money from land speculation before the “last spike” is laid.

I’m a fan of Columbia Games so this one is on my list. It sounds family friendly which is a key factor for me in these kind of games.

Booth 2-D150, which is the location of UGG, which will be selling the title listed below, along with older releases, for Columbia Games.

Price €35


Rattle, Battle, Grab the Loot

Take to the high seas as the captain of your very own pirate ship. Seek out valuable merchant ships and raid them for their goods! Hire new crew, upgrade your ship, and give your treasure to the Pirate King for fame and glory!

I don’t have a pirate game and this is one that seems to put the fun into being a Pirate! Arrrgh!

So Portal Games’ Ignacy Trzewiczek scores again!

Portal Games – Booth 3-N113

• Price €50

Ok so out of all those games at Essen, these are the one’s I would be seriously interested in. Good luck to you all in finding games for you amongst the veritable treasure trove that is Essen!

4 thoughts on “Attention EssenSpiel Shoppers! Here is the Boardgames in Blighty “Check it out” list to save you time and money!”

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