Dale Yu: Essen 2014 – Final Thoughts from the Fair



Well, I think it’s time to wrap up the coverage from the fair itself… almost 20 posts from me and 5 or 6 from Liga… Now it’s time to play the games! Essen can be both exhilarating and exhausting at the same time. It’ll probably take most of the rest of the week to feel back to normal. It’s always a rough transition this first week back – I usualy fly out Sunday morning, and I return home later that night – but work starts again early Monday morning, and it’s back to the full schedule of activities for myself and the family.


This year was a very good year for me. I still think that there a lot of games that have potential to be long term keepers, though there is still nothing that seems to be gaining traction as a stand-out release. I have two or three games that I think may be elevated to that status, but I still need to play them more than once to see. I’ll also be interested to see what the other bloggers and BGG users have to say about the games as they make their way to the table.

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Dale Yu – Essen 2014 – News from my meetings

As the weekend progresses, I try to set up a number of meetings to sit down with some old friends – both to get a chance to look at the new games in quieter setting as well as to try to get some news about the current games and what is to come.


Zoch – as usual, Wednesday afternoon means yummy pretzels at the Zoch stand with a presentation of the new games. I do not have much information to relay about what is to come in 2015, but I did get a chance to look at the new games for this year. Mangrovia is a clever game which I very much like. The action selection mechanic is clever, and I look forward to my next chance to play the game as I think it has a lot of potential. Beasty Bar was an interesting card game, and it certainly seemed to by liked by many as it was consistently on the Playfair list during the weekend. The throwing socks into the laundry machine game

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Dale Yu – Essen 2014 – Themes from the show



Well, through the years, I’ve realized that it gets harder and harder to remember everything that you did/saw/ate at the show. It really just can be a blur – sensory overload, if you will. If you’re ever in Essen, come check us out at the BGG booth by Saturday afternoon. Lincoln, Beth, and I had this awesome conversation where we just sat in the booth (nearly drooling) watching Zimeon go thru 88 lines about 44 obscure Japanese games in about 20 minutes – and we were too tired to do anything else.   Pure exhaustion after 5 to 6 16-18 hour days really can catch up with you. We almost didn’t have enough energy to laugh about our collective tiredness.


I tried to jot down some quick notes during the fair to post, and I did take some cursory notes – but as I sit in the plane trying to decipher them, it does appear that I’ve inherited “doctor’s handwriting”. I’m sure I had some awesome things written down, but I can’t read what I wrote! So, instead – I am sitting here with the Lego movie in the background trying to remember everything.


Today – I’ll try to give my general impressions of the show. Obviously, with more than 200 exhibitors and 800 games, it’s impossible to have seen everything, but yet, that won’t stop me from making grandiose generalizations about what I did see.

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Design by Andy Hopwood
Published by Coiledspring Games
2 – 6 Players, 20 minutes
Review by Greg J. Schloesser


I am always on the prowl for a good “filler”; i.e., a game that is easy to learn and play, is easily transportable, and can be played in 10 – 20 minutes.  These games tend to get played repeatedly, as the opportunities for which they are perfectly suited arise frequently.  Got a bit of time before another player is scheduled to arrive?  A filler is perfect.  Waiting on another game to finish so someone can join your group? Reach for a fun filler.  Waiting for your food to arrive at a restaurant?  A quick filler is on the menu.  A bit of time before calling it an evening?  A late-night filler is in order.  Could Andy Hopwood’s Dodekka fall nicely into this category?

Dodekka is a light card game wherein players attempt to collect cards of one suit (color) while avoiding all other suits.  This concept will be familiar to those who have played games such as David & Goliath or Mit List und Tucke.  Unlike those two games, however, Dodekka is not a trick-taking affair.  Rather, it uses a light, take-or-reveal a card mechanism that has reminded some of Reiner Knizia’s Zirkus Flohcati.

There is a theme attached to the game, but it is quite superfluous:  players are attempting to harness the power of one element while avoiding the other elements.  That’s it.  The theme is only present on the cards, which have five suits (elements):  fire, water, air, earth and ether.  Each suit has 12 cards with values ranging from 0 – 4.  Card counters will want to know the exact mix, but mere mortals will likely just play and  have fun, with no attempt being made to completely remember the mix or each card that is revealed.

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Dale Yu: Essen 2014 By the Numbers


Well, I managed to survive another trip to Essen. It was a great trip, as usual – and I was glad to have had a chance to travel to Europe, spend some time with my brother, friends from home and friends from Europe. One of the best things for me about the trip is the chance to meet up with folks that I may only see once or twice a year. Of course, this year has been a bit different with a number of trips to Europe that I generally don’t make – but still, it’s nice to see old familiar faces and have a chance to catch up with them.


This year, there was a slightly higher number of things to do and people to see as a result of my Kinderspiel des Jahres nomination this year for Flizz & Miez. That has certainly been an amazing experience, and something I hope to be able to do again. It was also pretty awesome to see my brother be a rock star due to his winning the Kinderspiel prize. They definitely take the awards seriously over here!

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Father in the Messe: The Day After

Back to Modena and back to normality. Yesterday evening I finally got a real Italian dinner and this morning a normal breakfast and I must admit I feel really better.

Bringing Caterina at school we talked about our top 5 that will be the main part of this article. This year we don’t have a real outstanding winner and our lists are quite different.

We also talked about games played and missed: Essen is now so huge that you can have many different great Essen’s experience with almost nothing in common. Hundreds releases and if you are lucky (and enough motivated) you can play something close to 30 different games. Of course detailed pre-Essen readings, GeekBuzz and FairPlay, can help you to have an idea of what’s going on but it will ever much more what you are missing.

Before going on you can read our report of the Fair … here the links

Father in the Messe: Day 0 – Approaching the Messe
Father in the Messe: Day 1 – The War Begin
Father in the Messe: Day 2 – Deep in the Woodicon’s Valley
Father in the Messe: Day 3 – A Fierce Resistance
Father in the Messe: Day 4 – The Long Journey

I have reedited the articles trying to correct the hundreds misspelling and mistakes! I discovered my English is far below the needed and that I have an insane dependence from spellcheckers. I hope you will like the report and our top 5!


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Dale Yu – Essen 2014 – What’s in my bags (I think)


OK, so my record keeping system kind of failed me this year, and as I’m recounting the week on the flight back, I realize that I don’t necessarily know everything that I picked up. But, based on my memory and some of the pictures I posted earlier in the week – here’s what I think I have from this year:

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Father in the Messe: day 4 trying to miss the fly

We are taking time playing Small World 2 on tablet and preparing Caterina’s German oral test at the airport but it was not an easy task being able to get here.

We survived, in ascending order of difficulty/dangeourness a real German breakfast, the trains’ strike, 40 kms on a taxi and finally Burger King. What I mostly feel the after effects is burger king for sure. After 4 days I really miss my wife, my son Francesco and Italian food.

But it’s a sunny day and we are full of emotions and memories and we have games in the luggage and on a camper driving to Modena.


“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

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Father in the Messe: day 3


Essen Messe is a really engaging experience with something close to 10 hours/day of gaming: english rules, raining cubes, endless roads of crowled booths. And then out for a dinner and games again in the hotel room. So, in the morning, it’s not easy to wake up Caterina (actually is not easy to wake me up too!).

This is our last day in the Messe: tomorrow morning we will take the train to Koln and then the fly to Bologna. But you will be delighted by our “the day after” report and also something about the games played and bought.

“It is the time you have wasted for your games that makes your games so important.”
– adapted from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

Are you ready to follow us down in the land of games ?

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Saturday afternoon

Probably my last post from the Messe. A few more meetings this afternoon and then a last trip around the halls to see what is worthy of the last 2.7 lbs of weight that I have. 

Here is the stack from this morning, possibly the last games I get this year.


A little break for lunch – yummy yummy doner pizza. One of my favorite non blood pudding foods in Germany.  Continue reading

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