Italians at Essen Messe

I remember the first time I was in Essen, many years ago. The fair was really smaller than now and not so many foreign publishers (foreign means non German) were there. Italians, both publishers and gamers, were isolated. StudioGiochi, with Leo Colovini, dV Giochi (actually DaVinci) and few others. I remember Emanuele Ornella first debut with Fantasy Pub and the first time for Angelo Porazzi, with me in an epic travel across the alpes with the caravan full of Angelo boxes. Mik Svellov Brett’n Board was one of the fews lights for english speaking in the darkness of great number of German publishing available only in German and, It seems impossible nowdays, BGG was just moving the first steps.

It seems I’m talking of other ages but it was just less then 10 years ago …

Now, walking along the halls, it happens to me often to listen Italians gamers speaking about the novelty and almost all Italian publishers attend the fair as long time veterans. Almost all publishers are releasing English version of the rules and, anyway, it seems a deadly sin produce a game with language dependant components. Non German companies are now much more than German ones and the game world has now border that extend far away from the black forest.

I’m just gone to ask a short comment about the fair to all Italians publishers I was able to contact (for Italians publishers the post Essen is always really busy since few days after there is Lucca Comics & Games, Italian greatest event alongside PLAY: The Games Festival, that, luckily, it is in March).

Angelo Porazzi Games

Angelo were in Essen with its last release Assist (read my pre Essen article to know something more about this project) and with the usual pack of Warangel expansions for the fans that years after years are waiting Essen to look and get the last races to fight! Angelo booth was, as usual, a crossroads of international routes: a nice place were meet friends.

Well, just take a look to the video about “Assist”, the Family, Pokery Card Game I had the pleasure to play with Scott Alden of BoardGameGeek:
Everything is as usual in my PhotoReport: Nick Medinger of Funagain played Assist too, had fun, and took this game for US distribution.
In the picture you see the Jersey of BGG that Derk and Scott gifted me last years, now used in all main Italian Fairs that host Area Autoproduzione: LuccaGames, PLAY Modena, Ludica Milano and Roma … Our booth Area Autoproduzione in Essen was like usual “international”: authors from Italy, Spain, Holland, collaborations with Cartamundi Belgium, Spielmaterial Germany … And in the pictures you’ll find Liga too!;)

[Angelo Porazzi himself!]

Cranio Creations

Cranio Creations were in Essen with their last release, Dungeon Fighter, a really innovative Dungeon Crawl with a sprinkle of party game and a good pinch of dexterity. Also new edition of Horse Fever were there and Sake & Samurai from Albe Pavo. This small company is playing better years after year.

After a massacre of heroes (especially heroes) and monsters, the Cranio Creations is delighted with the results achieved in Essen. The game is sold out in less than 4 days and we have received enthusiastic opinions about the game. Soon will come the French, English and Italian editions.

[Aureliano, Dungeon Fighter designer]

dV Giochi

dV Giochi is on of the Italians Veterans and this year was celebrating in Essen the 10th anniversary with a nice cocktail party Saturday. Unluckily I was not able to attend but I have seen a lot of happy gamers, designers and publishers there.

Essen 2011 has been a tremendous success for dV Giochi. We were able to show all of our new games, and many of our fans purchased copies to take home. The tables in our booth were always full of players, and our new titles were sold out during the second day of the fair. We did notice that there were fewer families and children at the fair than previous years, but that is likely due to the fact that there was no school vacation this year. Nonetheless, the enthusiasm that we encountered in Essen was, as always, very gratifying for us!

[Barbara Rol, Marketing & Communication at dV Games]

Ghenos Games

This year Ghenos was releasing Hell of the North, a new version of Leader1, Lamborghini, a car race game and Lupin the 3rd: boardgame.

I think that this Essen has been as the first time we saw it, back in 2008. I have seen joy and enthusiasm I have not been seeing in the last years. People moving from one booth to the other looking for the games they wanted to put in those rucksacks and big supermarket bags. I guess it was a hard work: so many new games, so many games at very low prices …it would have made me dizzy. As from a Ghenos point of view, we are satisfied of the fair. I am moderate in my comment: things can go well in Essen but back at home things could be different. Yes, Essen certainly gave us the right enthusiasm to plunge back to work. Another fair was waiting for us in Lucca and Lupin The Third, in spite of many turned up noses, is attracting many people. Now, we have tucked-up our sleeves also to project next year’s games. See you soon…

[Anna Genovese, Ghenos Games Project Manager]

Giochi Uniti

Giochi Uniti is probably the Italian greatest publishers nowadays with licenses for Italian version of many important publishers including Fantasy Flight Games. This year they were presenting Ventura and 4 new games to be released: Bookmaker, Dungeon Venture, Goblin Epic Death and Il mistero dei templari. You can find more info about this games on publisher web-site

We can say that Essen has gone very well. We have demonstrated Ventura, in the FFG edition, and we have shown our next releases. Needless to say that Il Mistero dei Templari has been the game that gained most interest both for the subject and the artwork. It ‘was a really interesting test and we are confident for the next sales results.

Something should be ready for Nuremberg.

[Silvio Negri-Clementi, Stratelibri and Giochi uniti Publishing Director]


Scribabs was presenting in Essen 011, a real interesting project/game.

My Essen this Yar was really really fantastic. This “011” project asked me a very full immersion and looking the booth (mine and of my ElfinWerks partner) full of players was a real big pleasure. As I say during this year of work, “011” is not only a boardgame, is a visionary project that want to connect different forms of arts.
Artwork is very different from the standard bardgame style, music, cinema, litterature. The boardgame is the first step of this travel. around the complete project worked more than 50 persons, for the short movie, for the game, for the set of the movie.
So looking in essen people from all european countries (and more) that have appreciated this project for me is a big pleasure. Believe me, I’m not speak only about the “sold out” that we realise in Essen; I’m speaking about the interest that this project promote. Play listening music; listen looking the short movie; look imagining the work about the sets of the movie… This was really appreciated. I would like to thanks all people that have spent his time to listen my eplanation about this, and I would to thanks also the Luccagames Jury that has understand my project. I must do left the fair on saturday to partecipate to a music Festival in Belgium with Therion to explain the project also to the music fans of the band and the results about the interest in this boardgame also was impressive. So music fans that don’t play… now will start to play… and players that dont know Therion music probably will start to listen his music… For now my goal is reached! Thanks to Marco Valtriani to have create the perfect game for my vision!

[Paolo Vallerga, Scribabs Owner]


Studiogiochi actually is not really a publisher but a design studio that every year collect an incredible number of releases. Dario de Toffoli and Leo Colovini are the two most-known designers behind the curtains of Studiogiochi.

To be optimistic the global market is stable, but the number of products released is growing and growing: more than 700 new games just in Essen.
So we – I mean, studiogiochi – adapted our strategy accordingly, trying to license a lot of games. And succeeded! In fact in Essen have been presented 8 new games licensed by us to different companies. And some of them were really in the spotlight and very appreciated by the public. We also signed some agreements for new games, so… not bad at all!

[Dario de Toffoli, Studiogiochi]

Here the list of games licensed by Studiogiochi that are been published in Essen 2012:

– AQUILEIA by Cielo d’Oro (Premio Archimede 2010), Zoch
– KALIMAMBO by Antonio Scrittore, Zoch
– SCHNAPP’S by Carlo Rossi, Zoch
– HOL’S DER GEIER by Alex Randolph, Amigo
– IKARUS (Atlantis expansion), by Leo Colovini, Amigo
– TUAREG by Francesco Berardi, Adlung
– DOBBELDUEL by Leo Colovini, 999 (in Essen were only the Dutch edition)
– POKER CARRE’ by Dario De Toffoli and Giuseppe Baù, Winning Moves (WM were not in Essen, but the game has been published)
– URBANIA by Simone Luciani, published by Mayfair (delayed to the beginning of2012)

About Andrea "Liga" Ligabue

Andrea "Liga" Ligabue is a game expert contributing to many games related international projects including Gamers Alliance Report, WIN, ILSA Magazine and Boardgamenews. Member of the International Gamers Awards Committee is coordinator of Play - The Games Festival and founder of the project Ludoteca Ideale.
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3 Responses to Italians at Essen Messe

  1. Jonathan says:

    Pierluca Zizzi’s Arte was also there:

  2. And of course there were many other Italians game in Essen, like Pierluca Zizzi and Andrea Chiarvesio Arcanum (I have already wrote a lot about Arcanum, still one of my Essen best hits!) … in this quick article I just collected Italians impressions and wrote around … as I mentioned in the beginning for many Italians the days after Essen are really busy (with Lucca Comics and Games) and than some other interesting event like GiocaTorino (in the beginning of November) and G Come Giocare (the next week-end). Unluckily not all the people I asked a comment were able to give me answer in time.

    But I’ll post my usual recap article of all what is happen (big events, games published, and so on) in Italy in 2011 just in the first months of 2012.

    good play and best wishes

  3. So. it will not to be intended as a complete report of what Italians publishers and designers are able to show up in Essen but just a quick and fresh collection of impressions about Essen Fair that, years after years, is becoming a “must” also for Italians companies, big and small.

    In this report miss many Italian companies like RedGlove (Ristorante Italia), Giochix (The Forgotten Planet, Upon a Salty Ocean), Placentia Games (Florentia), Lo Scarabeo (Arcanum), Ares Games (Wings of Glory and the 2nd edition of War of the Rings) and others. Luckily the Italian scene is growing years after years in complexity and variety and Italian designers are releasing games for foreign companies.

    I’ll be back on this topics with a (I hope) complete report in the beginning of 2012

    good play

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