Like yesterday, I’m having a great time being a tourist and seeing the sights. As i mentioned earlier, started out Monday morning in the middle of a Monty Python skit – there must have been a church service in Cologne about every 5.2 minutes between the hours of 7am and 8am!
Since there was no sleeping in, I got up for a walk about the town. Unsurprisingly, not a lot goes on at 8am. We did have a breakfast date scheduled with Jens-Peter Schliemann, so we headed back out in the drizzle to his design studio. We were treated to a full-on German breakfast filled with hard rolls, multiple cold cuts, poached eggs, horseradish spread for the rolls, etc. I was introduced to a new food: some sort of aspic like meat, a clear jelly which had diced chicken and mandarin oranges suspended in it.
After breakfast, I had a chance to play a couple of games with Jens-Peter including a recent children’s game called Das große Kullern. This is a fun marble rolling race game that I think younger children (maybe 8 and under) would enjoy. I also got a chance to try out a few of his prototypes – many of which are quite nice, and I suspect many of them will find publishers in the next week. Jens-Peter’s prototypes are all meticulously created and beautifully done. Seeing his hand-made prototype of Nacht der Magier was quite impressive Sadly my picture of it did not come out, so you’ll just have to trust me on that.
Then it was time for a quick jaunt through town for some shopping and walking, and then we took the train to Essen. Once we reached the city, we ran into John Bohrer on his way to the store. Two years in a row, John has been the first gamer that I have met in Essen! Coincidence? Maybe not. Or maybe he’s stalking me. Blissfully, John was not wearing any Steelers gear (that I could see). Winsome Games will be in its usual space for the first 2 hours on the first day of the fair, and then all 80 copies will be handed out and then John will simply abandon the booth.
We then met up with Frank DiLorenzo from R&R games and designer Anthony Rubbo and we went downtown for a walk. R&R Games is doing well with Pluckin’ Pairs and 1st and Goal from Stephen Glenn as well as Hey Froggy from Anthony Rubbo. Much fun was had, a few ATMs were visited before we found one that would take a US bank card, and a couple of dirty jokes were shared. We also showed Frank that there are about 210 pharmacies in the downtown area (since he spent all afternoon looking for one unsuccessfully).
Finally, fellow journalist Frank Kulkmann invited us to his house for a nice dinner. We had some amazing food and lots of good game talk. It was nice to hear his initial thoughts on the upcoming games. Like me, he has had some opportunity to play some preview copies, but for the most part, his first real experience with the games will be at SPIEL.
As I mentioned last year, during the actual days of the fair, please take a look at Frank’s blog. I think he probably does the most comprehensive coverage of the fair as it happens. I will still try to post stuff daily, but to be honest, my reports will likely be more pictures and captions. I simply don’t have enough time to do more once the fair starts.
Sadly no more pictures for today.
Tomorrow is Tuesday which is the first of the setup days. I’ll try to take some pictures of the booths being setup and see if there is any early news. I’m also hoping to get my hands on my first copy of Suburbia in published form!
Until your next appointment,
The Gaming Doctor