Dale Yu: It’s beginning to feel a lot like Essen… but first, GenCon!

Dale Yu:  It’s beginning to feel a lot like Essen…

Well, not quite yet.  But, the annual cycle leading up to the SPIEL fair in Essen, Germany has definitely begun.  How do I know this?  Well, GenCon is about to happen (this weekend), and that is the last major event on the gaming calendar for me prior to Essen.  Also, I just received my first letter missive from the organizers with some initial notes.  It appears that this year they are planning to have a full house again – the list of exhibitors looks to be as long as last year! There is one big change though – due to some much needed renovation in the “usual” location of the SPIEL fair, the convention will occupy different convention space this year.  The fair will be hosted in Halls 1,2,3 and the Galeria.

My preparations this year will be a bit different than usual as I have some pressing work issues in October, but the Opinionated Gamers will again try to bring you as much information as we can prior to the show, during the show, and then after the show when we get a chance to play the games!  One of our writers will be heading to Essen for his first ever trip, and I’m hoping to get him to write up his own story about his experiences.

News for Essen is slowly trickling in, and I’m sure that there will be a lot of stuff hinted at in Indianapolis this weekend.  More info when I return from GenCon!  I’m headed there today and possibly over the weekend for another day.

There’s a lot of pre-show excitement this year – a number of events that the press has been invited to, which seems out of the ordinary to me (from years past).  Thus far, I already have three invitations for tonight – Asmodee and IELLO are each having receptions to give us the chance to see their new games and hopefully get a chance to play some of them.  There is also a launch party for the Sundering (Dungeons & Dragons).  All three of these events sound fantastic, and I’ll do my best to see all that I can in the limited time of Thursday evening!

From the official Press release – a few notes about this year’s convention:

Show Notes:
·       11,000+ Events

·       360+ exhibitors

·       Last year’s unique attendance = 41,500+ (or 135,775 turnstyle)

·       Pre-show attendance is at an all-time record.

·       This year, the Georgia St Pavilion with a beer garden with Gen Con’s official beer- “Flagon Slayer” and more than 20 Food Trucks

·       Co-Sponsors: Mayfair Games, Paizo Publishing, Wizards of the Coast

·       Contributing Sponsors: Fantasy Flight Games, Konami, Rio Grande Games

·       Event Partners: Hostile Work Environment, Ubisoft

·       Promotional Partners: Asmodee, Sun King Brewing

·       Artist Guest of Honor

o  Brom

·       Author Guests of Honor

o  Mercedes Lackey & Larry Dixon

·       Media Guests of Honor
 Guests will be signing autographs in the Media Guest of Honor Autograph Area located in the Exhibit Hall.

o  Walter Koenig- “Checkov” from Star Trek, also key character in Babylon 5

o  Janina Gavankar- True Blood, Arrow

o  Peter Davison- Doctor Who Classic

o  Neil Grayston- Eureka, Warehouse 13


Just before I left, I did get this email from fellow OG writer Jonathan Franklin telling me what he was interested in —

Trains (AEG)
Prosperity (Asmodee)
Spyrium (Asmodee)
Relic Runners (Days of Wonder)
Eldritch Horror (Fantasy Flight)
Lewis & Clark (Ludonaute)
Pathfinder Adventure Card Game (Paizo)
Pandemic expansion: In the Lab (Z-Man)

One of these could be hot sellers, but less likely than those above:

Compunded (Dice Hate Me)
Shadowrun: Crossfire (Catalyst) – Mike Elliott’s game
Gravwell (Cryptozoic)
Impulse (Asmadi) by the guy who did Innovation and Glory To Rome
Steam Park (Iello)
Generation Hex (Third World Studios)

Matagot has three games that are all interesting, Origins, Expedition: Northwest, and a big box version of Takenoko. Not sure how good the two new games are.

Mayfair has a new one, Asgard’s Chosen. Might be a bit too much fighting for me.
For a physical game of stuff flying around, check out Rampage (Repos)
If you like Mr. Jack, check out Hurrican/Asmodee’s Le Fantom de la Opera
I don’t do minis or gore, so Zombicide, Tomorow, Kaosball, etc. are off my radar.

Now, admittedly, his tastes are somewhat different than mine… but that’s not a bad list of newer games to make sure I try to check out!  My own list is much shorter – mostly because I have not had the usual time to prepare for GenCon due to studying…

  • Relic Runners
  • Spyrium
  • Suburbia iOS
  • Steam Park
  • Renaissance Man (by a good friend, Anthony Rubbo)

Otherwise, I’m going with an open mind, a phone with a camera and a bunch of empty  IKEA bags!


Until your next appointment,

The Gaming Doctor

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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4 Responses to Dale Yu: It’s beginning to feel a lot like Essen… but first, GenCon!

  1. huzonfirst says:

    Nice to see that some of the European publishers are focusing on GenCon. Having played Spyrium at the Gathering, I know it’s great, so i’m definitely looking forward to its published debut. Trains is also very good; I’m curious to see what AEG did with its reboot.

    Of the unplayed games, I’m probably most interested in Prosperity, even though I know little about it. I’ll also be keeping an eye on Lewis & Clark, Relic Runners, and Renaissance Man. Mayfair has a new economic WP game called Global Mogul which I assume should be there and might be worth checking out. And hopefully there will be some new discoveries during the festivities.

    Looking forward to your reports, Dale. Tell us non-attendors what we should be buying!

  2. ianthecool says:

    The release which is standing out to me is Mascarade.

  3. Jacob says:

    I’m looking forward to reading people’s thoughts about Prosperity, Spyrium and Compounded. Please try to get some plays of these ones. Ah, one day I’ll be able to attend GenCon in person and not be begging for reports from others.

  4. Waiting on Compounded, as it’s a Kickstarter project I backed. After VivaJava, I’m optimistic for Dice Hate Me – they appear to have a clue on how to design and produce.

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