Essen Preview #11 A funky Robot, News about the Fair and more

OK, this week’s installment of my Essen preview might be a bit short.  Mostly because real life has intruded it’s ugly head and has kept me super busy this past week.  Additionally, I’ve had a chance to play a few of the new Essen games, and I’ll be writing those up to appear here in the next few weeks.

As always, you can check here for the previous installments of the Essen Preview…

First up, news about one of the new 2F games – Funkenschlag:Robots – an extension of the game which should help you add virtual players to your games of Funkenschlag /Power Grid.  While I’m not entirely sure of the final name of the project, I have been allowed a chance to see the early artwork.  I don’t think that all of the robots have been illustrated, but it looks like the project will be done in time for Essen!

Below is an example of one of the robots:


Rough translation (courtesy of Melissa and Fraser Rogerson!)

  • First city: Random choice
  • Phase 2: Buy Power Plants
    Buys the first offer for minimum bid
  • Phase 3: Buy resources
    All resources
  • Phase 4: Build
    All cities, never more than the “first player”
  • Special ability:
    Phase 1: Always the “worst” in player order.

So, it looks like you’ll be able to install some of these robots to act as players in your Funkenschlag / Power Grid games!  I’m not sure what the other robots will have as their programmed actions, but I’d guess that each will provide slightly different play to give you a lot of variety.  I can’t wait for this… It looks like SPIEL 2011 will completely invigorate the whole Power Grid / Funkenschlag franchise for my game group!

Other News from the fair:

Rio Grande Games: Though I haven’t been able to confirm this 100% yet, it looks like the Rio Grande experience at Essen will be a bit different this year.  It appears that RGG will be sharing space with – still in Hall 10.  Games should still be for sale at that location.  However, it does appear that there will not be many (or any) demo tables for the RGG games.  This will be a fairly substantial change from previous years as the RGG area was always a nice space to try out some of the new games in my native language.

Update from Friedhelm Merz Verlag (the organizers of SPIEL): The most recent newsletter arrived from the convention organizers and they have announced the current count of exhibitors at over 800 (from 34 different nations)!  Plenty of games were specifically mentioned in this update including:

  • Aktienrausch (Isensee)
  • Machtwechsel (heptagon-Verlag)
  • Global Warming (Muecke)
  • Feudalherren / Feudality (Lookout)
  • Linq (Bewitched/Kosmos)
  • Schokoly (Steffen Spiele)
  • Das Elektronik Labrinth (Ravensburger)
  • Riskio Revolution / Risk:Legacy (Hasbro)
  • Loopz (Mattel)
  • Die Siedler von Catan: Aufbruch der Handler (Kosmos)  – this is the German adaptation of Mayfair’s Settlers of Catan: Trails to Rails

Other companies that have interested me this week:

Ghenos Games: This Italian firm will be there again in Hall 9 with their usual collection of licensed sports games.  The two this year include an officially licensed Lamborghini race game as well as Hell 1: Leader of the North, which is a standalone expansion to the great cycling game, Leader 1.

The Lamborghini game appears to have two versions – a short version where you simply have a single race (either at Monza or Hockenheim) as well as a longer version which simulates a full season of racing.  The game includes five 1/87 miniature models of cars…


Leader 1: Hell of the North is a realistic simulation of the one-day races over cobbled streets that are famously difficult for the riders…  The components and rules here are compatible with the original Leader 1 game, but additional rules have been added to allow for racing on the different types of surfaces, weather conditions and special rules for the peloton and support riders.


Coming in the near future: dedicated previews for On the Cards (Surprised Stare), Nefarious (Ascora), Risk:Legacy (Hasbro) and New Era (Portal).  These should all be up in the next 2 weeks hopefully.  There will likely be a rush of these specific game pieces in the next 2-3 weeks, and then a lull as I’ll be traveling Europe for a few days before the fair.

About Dale Yu

Dale Yu is the Editor of the Opinionated Gamers. He can occasionally be found working as a volunteer administrator for BoardGameGeek, and he previously wrote for BoardGame News.
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2 Responses to Essen Preview #11 A funky Robot, News about the Fair and more

  1. David Reed says:

    Based on the “newsletter” email Jay Tummelson sent out over the weekend, it does not look like we should be expecting many new Essen titles from Rio Grande. He may be hedging his bets and not announcing some things, but some things that were not announced were pretty surprising to me.

    (For those who missed the email, he announced that they intended to ship the following titles in late October or early November: Friday, Power Grid: First Sparks, Power Grid: the Robots,
    Salty Dog, South Pole, Stone Age: Style is the Goal, and Puerto Rico Anniversary

    We can safely assume that the Dominion expansion is left off because everyone knows about it, but this still leaves out some that I expected were obvious like the second Galaxy Trucker expansion and Last Will. Dale, have you been able to pin anything down on these two titles?

  2. Dale Yu says:

    David – when I last chatted with Jay, he mentioned that he was doing the “new Czech game” but did not specify further. my guess is that this “new Czech game” will be Last Will, but I do not have confirmation on that. I will see if the nice folks at CGE have any info in that regards.


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