Report from the Messe – Saturday Morning
OK, finally taking a little break from the hustle and bustle on Saturday morning. This year has been a great fair for me, lots of new games in my bag, lots of old friends chatted with, and a couple of meetings that will hopefully turn into something good.
It is has been kind of an “opposite day” sort of Essen. First, the crowds have been backwards of the normal pattern. In my opinion, the busiest day was Thursday – the halls were jammed packed with gamers as well as families and children. Today, on Saturday, which is usually a day that the halls feel like a Tokyo subway, the crowds are much less packed than expected.
Another shift this year is the movement against Essen specific promos. In years past, there were usually at least 20 different Essen only promos that would take up a great part of my Thursday trying to track down. This year, I can think of less than 10 promos – this had the nice effect of easing up my Thursday schedule. I think I picked up more games this year on Thursday than ever before. Though I haven’t checked my records to be sure, I think I brought home 45 games during the day – I know for sure that I made 5 trips back to the hotel to drop off stuff.
The last difference this year is the weather. It has been unseasonably warm this week. Well, maybe not early in the week when it was raining, but yesterday and today has been mid to high 70s. While this sounds awesome, it’s really not. The Messe must be the least ventilated convention center I’ve ever been in. I would not think that it is an exaggeration to say that the still atmosphere in the Messe exceeds 90 degrees at times. Especially here in the BGG booth where we’ve got extra lighting to make sure that the videos look good.
As far as games go, there has not been anything with overwhelming buzz – no game that everyone is flocking to go buy as soon as they hear about it. There are many games (many more than usual) though which have very positive buzz: Terra Mystica, Spellbound, Tokaido, Suburbia, Snowdonia, Escape, Al Rashid, Palaces of Carrara, City of Horror, Myrmes, Tzolkin just to name some off the top of my head.
Both of the ranking systems are busy, but the actual numbers of votes still is low. I think the leader in both the Fairplay (Terra Mystica) and Geekbuzz (Escape) both have fewer than 100 votes at noon on Saturday. So, they are proving to be a useful tool, but the results still can change quickly. As usual, reading both polls has brought my attention to games that were on the borderline (Il Vecchio and 1969) – they are both now in the suitcase!
There are the usual sellouts: Tokaido sold out Friday as did the English version of Suburbia. Spellbound appears to be sold out though there are still pre-orders to be collected. Unlike last year, there isn’t a huge list of games that didn’t make it. Nieuw Amsterdam is still somewhere in China, and Guildhall from AEG was MIA until Saturday morning. But, lucky for the gaming community, most of the announced games were available at some point at the fair.
OK, I’ve got to move around a bit to find some cooler air as well as head back to the hotel for one last round of luggage tetrisn.
Hopefully one more post today with some pictures!