Tag Archives: spiel

Back from Essen 2012. My Day 2 pictorial…

Day 2 was another good one at the Essen games fair, although I did need to leave for my return flight.

The guys from Greater Than Games promoting their huge hit, Sentinels of the Multiverse. They have more games coming apparently…
I really enjoyed playing Wilderness from Fryx Games of Sweden. 5 brothers were there showing off their more mass production version, compared to their hand-made version which was on show last year. A very nice race and survival game with a nice mix of events, risk and reward, player interaction and looming threats to survival. A review will be coming right here.
Outside of Victory Point Games, there were few other war games there. Euro game designers attempting to do Euro war games, don’t seem to understand that yet another strategic game about rather distant times, with the Mediterranean in the middle of the map have been done to death, New ideas are needed guys.


Woohoo! My favourite racing game, Rallyman!
Metro 2033, a post-apocalyptic game set in the Moscow Metro. Interesting theme, but reports seem to indicate its a rather tedious affair…
There were a few miniatures games set up but hardly any


Angry Birds, the table top game.
AEG’s Smash Up. Can’t wait to play and it review it here!


Even the age old classic GO, was at the fair.
The very popular Euro Game Village was in evidence. Not my type of game really.
A Dungeons & Dragons diorama


By the end of the day, I had a pretty good collection of games to take away, and stay within my luggage weight limit. A pretty eclectic mix of mostly Indie games which I shall play and review right here at Boardgames in Blighty.




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 – http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/flatlined/twin-tin-bots?ref=live
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!

There and Back again. My third one-day trip to Spiel at Essen…

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…