Thoughts on upcoming Essen – Franklin, Huber, McJunkin

Last week, a few of our writers got together virtually to chat about the upcoming Essen Fair – I was supposed to post this last week, but it somehow slipped my mind.

Anyways, it’s still timely now as Essen hasn’t happened yet!

Sunday, October 13, 2013:

Jonathan Franklin – 5:11 PM
Joe and Ben, can you see this?

Joe Huber – 5:11 PM
I can.

Ben McJunkin – 5:12 PM

Jonathan Franklin – 5:12 PM
All three of us are heading over in about a weel

Joe Huber – 5:12 PM
Yup – week from tomorrow.

Jonathan Franklin – 5:13 PM
Where are you flying from/through?

Ben McJunkin – 5:13 PM
I leave Friday, stopping in Norway.
Seeing family for a couple days.

Joe Huber – 5:13 PM
Boston -> Chicago -> Dusseldorf

Jonathan Franklin – 5:14 PM
I’m Seattle-Frankfurt-DUS

Ben McJunkin – 5:14 PM
So it’s DC->Frankfurt->Stavanger->Frankfurt->Duseldorf

Jonathan Franklin – 5:14 PM
Stavanger has that amazing new oil museum

Joe Huber – 5:14 PM
I’m coming back through Frankfurt, but I prefer to enter a country at my final destination.

Jonathan Franklin – 5:15 PM
Do you have lists?

Joe Huber – 5:15 PM
I have lists of lists…
Already paid
already ordered
WIll buy
likely purchase

Ben McJunkin – 5:16 PM
I have a list, though it’s under 40 titles, I think.

Joe Huber – 5:16 PM
unlikely purchase
just looking
not available

Ben McJunkin – 5:16 PM
That’s impressive, Joe.

Joe Huber – 5:16 PM
and a list of folks to catch up with (7 added today for the math trade)
Really, it’s just a way of keeping track of things – and not eliminating games I want to see, even if I don’t want to buy them.
But – my first goal remains to see people.

Ben McJunkin – 5:18 PM
This is my first trip, and I only know a handful of people who will be there.  So I’m mostly just going to ogle the games.

Joe Huber – 5:18 PM
See, I couldn’t convince myself to go just for the games.

Jonathan Franklin – 5:18 PM
Ben, you will be surprised how many people you know.  If not physically, at least virtually.

Joe Huber – 5:19 PM
It was seeing the people that convinced me.
Without thinking too hard about it, I can come up with 30 people I’m looking to see again or meet in person.

Ben McJunkin – 5:19 PM
I thought about getting a shirt of my BGG avatar made, just to facilitate introductions on the first day.

Joe Huber – 5:20 PM
(Not including folks from the US)

Jonathan Franklin – 5:20 PM
There really are different modes – buying games, talking to people, playing games, etc.

Ben McJunkin – 5:21 PM
I’d like to be able to play some games in the evening, if I can make it work.  I was surprised when Dale said he rarely does that.

Jonathan Franklin – 5:21 PM
It is a bit like being in a casino – time passes unbelievably fast, regardless of what you are doing

Joe Huber – 5:21 PM
See, I’m not counting on playing more than one game total.
(Hilko promised me a game)

Jonathan Franklin – 5:22 PM
The current microgame craze means you can play far more games waiting in line to play one game than you will sittind down at a tablke.
Another cool thing is that everyone there loves talking about many of the same things you love talking about.
How did you two pick your hotels?

Joe Huber – 5:23 PM
(Atlantic Congress)

Ben McJunkin – 5:23 PM
I was going to stay at the Atlantic Congress, just to be close.
Then Dale convinced me that his hotel was cheaper but nearly as close.
So we’re at the Hotel im Giradet Haus.

Jonathan Franklin – 5:24 PM
Nice.  I’ve stayed down close but this year am at the Movenpick by the train station.
I’m with three Seattle locals, so we are staying at the same place.

Joe Huber – 5:24 PM
For me, the fact that I don’t plan to make a habit of this made the choice easier.

Jonathan Franklin – 5:25 PM
Well, Joe, you picked the one year where Atlantic Congress is further from the entrance than ever before.

Joe Huber – 5:25 PM
Yeah, that I did realize.

Jonathan Franklin – 5:25 PM
The Messe -the building where Spiel! is held, is being remodeled

Joe Huber – 5:26 PM
Still looked to be closer, and from what Dale said, it still appealed more to me.

Ben McJunkin – 5:26 PM
I’m also bringing my wife and dog, so it was important to be somewhere nearby (in case one of us needed to go back to the room) and around nice restaurants and stuff (for the evenings).

Jonathan Franklin – 5:26 PM
So they are using different spaces from the past.  It will be exciting for old hands as well as new ones.

Ben McJunkin – 5:26 PM
I’m curious about the new layouts.  I’ve seen the maps, but I have not printed them out yet.

Jonathan Franklin – 5:27 PM
I have not printed the maps either.

Joe Huber – 5:27 PM
I’ve printed them, and have them loaded onto my iPad and iPod.
Can’t see _much_ on the iPod, but figure at least I can easily carry it with me.

Ben McJunkin – 5:28 PM
Any particular booth that you all will be running to on the first day?

Joe Huber – 5:28 PM
One question – should I plan to bring bags?
Ben – not for certain.
Patchistory tempts – but not too much.

Jonathan Franklin – 5:28 PM
I have two ikea bags, but also a rolling bag.  At the same time, I don’t buy nearly as much as many do.

Ben McJunkin – 5:29 PM
Someone else suggested that bags would be helpful.  So I was going to bring one or two light cloth bags.

Jonathan Franklin – 5:29 PM
I am not really running anywhere right now.  I will likely go to Feuerland first, both to pick up Glass Road and also see if there are any Terra Mystica bits.
I bring one checked bag and am bringing it full of games to trade/sell.

Ben McJunkin – 5:30 PM
I’m hoping to convince them to give me the Terra Mystica bits on Wednesday.

Joe Huber – 5:30 PM
I think my lack of interest in promos / expansions will help me quite a bit.

Ben McJunkin – 5:30 PM
I’ve been testing their expansion races, so I want to see them in person anyway.

Joe Huber – 5:31 PM
(I’ve still not played TM – still doesn’t sound like my thing.)

Ben McJunkin – 5:31 PM
My first stop on Thursday might very well be the Cranio booth just to get a Steam Park copy signed by the artist.

Joe Huber – 5:31 PM
Hadn’t heard about that…
I can see that.

Jonathan Franklin – 5:32 PM
Marie, who did the first Dixit cards, also illustrated Steam Park

Ben McJunkin – 5:32 PM
Like Joe, promos are less interesting to me than more personal touches like signatures.

Joe Huber – 5:32 PM
See, even signatures aren’t high on my “need” list.

Ben McJunkin – 5:32 PM
Come to think of it, I think I sold Joe my signed first edition Snow Tails.

Joe Huber – 5:32 PM
I don’t think I own a single signed game that I asked to have signed.

Jonathan Franklin – 5:32 PM
Agreed.  I also think the era of the promo is in decline.  Between the geekstore and the paucity of promos announced, I don’t think that is as big a part of Essen as it once was.

Joe Huber – 5:33 PM
BTW – definitely check out Falter at 2F.
Very, very cool puzzles.

Jonathan Franklin – 5:33 PM
Falter is a set of 8 labryinths – as such, they are not in BGG.

Joe Huber – 5:34 PM
No – and they shouldn’t be – but they’re wonderful.

Jonathan Franklin – 5:34 PM

Joe Huber – 5:34 PM
Best stocking stuffer I’ve seen in years.

Jonathan Franklin – 5:34 PM
Are there certain games that you are most excited about that are being released there?

Joe Huber – 5:35 PM
(I’ll get a set for each of my sons – in addition to a set for me.)

Ben McJunkin – 5:35 PM
I think it will be a down year for the kinds of games I’m most excited about.
The top of my list is Tash-Kalar, by Vlaada and CGE.
Which is not within my typical wheelhouse.

Joe Huber – 5:36 PM
You know, I wish I could define “the kinds of games I’m most excited about”… B^)

Ben McJunkin – 5:37 PM
Good point.  Like most people, I have varied tastes.  But in general my top games are all 120-150 minute heavy euros with some interaction and decent theme integration.

Joe Huber – 5:38 PM
Whereas that’s a genre I enjoy a few games of – but can’t at all count on.

Ben McJunkin – 5:39 PM
I don’t really see the next Dominant Species or Terra Mystica on my list just yet.  Maybe Russian Railroads?  Maybe Caverna?

Joe Huber – 5:39 PM
Caverna’s a look-only for me.
Russian Railroads is a must buy.

Ben McJunkin – 5:39 PM
Caverna is low on my list because I think it will be too familiar.

Jonathan Franklin – 5:39 PM
I’m not great at defining what I am looking for either.  I am excited about some unusual games – Concept, CV, Glass Road, and Yunnan.  I used to be in the Ben zone, but games like Kohle & Kolonie will likely gather dust in my house.

Joe Huber – 5:40 PM
Yunnan interested me until I read the designer preview – which suggested it wasn’t for me.

Ben McJunkin – 5:40 PM
Russian Railroads got good feedback from the folks at the Gathering, which is pretty much the only thing driving my interest.

Jonathan Franklin – 5:41 PM
Cafe Melange is on my list because I like the Clicker games.

Joe Huber – 5:41 PM
Another automatic buy.

Ben McJunkin – 5:41 PM
I’ve tried to give Café Melange a look, but I’m having trouble getting excited by it.
I don’t have much experience with Clicker.

Joe Huber – 5:42 PM
In the math trade, I got Nauticus (which I was on the border about), Galapagos (which I was leaning against) and Wein Catan (which I was planning just to look at).

Jonathan Franklin – 5:42 PM
For those interested in heavier economic games, Wildcatters caught my eye.

Joe Huber – 5:42 PM
I have tried nearly all of Clicker/Reidel’s games.
Wildcatters sounded too familiar to be on a top list for me.
Jonathan, you showing any designs?

Jonathan Franklin – 5:44 PM
It will depend a bit on when I get feedback on one title.  Otherwise, everything I have is either submitted or too raw.
How about either of you?

Joe Huber – 5:44 PM
I’m showing one game to Amigo.

Ben McJunkin – 5:45 PM
I’m not a designer.  I would love to one day, but I’m far better at critiquing things than creating them.

Joe Huber – 5:45 PM
Considered more, but really wanted to focus on the people.

Ben McJunkin – 5:45 PM
I think I would be much better as a tester/developer.

Joe Huber – 5:45 PM
If only publishers used those.
(Other than Stefan & Bernd, at least.)

Jonathan Franklin – 5:47 PM
Some publishers are proven developers, but there seems to be a desire to contain costs.  I wonder if designers would give up a percentage point to a developer before submission?  That is the direction I am tempted to go.

Joe Huber – 5:48 PM
I suspect most designers would prefer not to work with a developer at all, actually.

Jonathan Franklin – 5:49 PM
It is probably a case-by-case basis of how secure you are with the design.
I know several of my designs could be vastly improved by someone else.

Ben McJunkin – 5:50 PM
At this stage, I am largely just happy to work for free in order to help see a game move forward.  I think you would have to be a pretty established name to merit compensation.  (Dale should really be here for this conversation).

Jonathan Franklin – 5:50 PM
Are you considering whether a game is domestically released when deciding what to buy there?

Joe Huber – 5:50 PM
I suspect my designs could all be improved.  But other designers I’ve talked with are less willing to cede that control.
Jonathan – it’s a consideration, but not generally a determining factor.
I won’t wait for Russian Railroads, for instance.
(Even though I don’t expect another Pallaces of Carrera.)

Ben McJunkin – 5:52 PM
Not quite.  I usually import games directly after Essen from European retailers.  It’s faster and cheaper than Funagain, and I’m too impatient to wait for a true domestic release.  I’ll still import whatever I can to make room in the luggage for more obscure stuff.

Joe Huber – 5:52 PM
I’ve come to the conclusion that, in the end, stuff can be shipped.

Ben McJunkin – 5:52 PM
So I’m paying attention to what might be available for import.
But I’m also going to be sure to buy the games I most want to play the day I get home.

Jonathan Franklin – 5:53 PM
That is a fair balance.  We have a local gaming event in Seattle, Sasquatch, with all the shinys from Essen, so tend to get what I think will have lasting interest or will be impossible to otherwise get,

Joe Huber – 5:54 PM
I’m hosting gaming on 11/2.
Then going to Great Lakes Games the following weekend.
And Lobster Trap the week after that.

Jonathan Franklin – 5:54 PM
As a host, do you feel the obligation to get certain titles, even if you are not that excited about them?

Joe Huber – 5:54 PM
(I’m buying for Lobster Trap, but those will mostly be shipped, I expect.)
Jonathan – not at all.
Never have.
I don’t own Dominion – because I don’t need to own Dominion.

Ben McJunkin – 5:55 PM
I will likely get together with Tom Rosen, Larry Levy, and some other locals for the few weekends between Essen and LobsterTrap.

Joe Huber – 5:55 PM
But – I’ll happily play any game in my collection.

Ben McJunkin – 5:55 PM
I agree with Joe that I won’t waste time buying games just because others might enjoy them.

Jonathan Franklin – 5:56 PM
Joe, you are one of the most disciplined gamers I know.

Joe Huber – 5:56 PM
Derived from need.

Ben McJunkin – 5:56 PM
I’m pretty bad at predicting my own enjoyment, however.  So I buy a lot more than I end up liking and I just sell the rest.

Joe Huber – 5:56 PM
I really don’t have room to grow my collection.
Ben, I’m _sure_ I’ll buy games I don’t care for.
But I expect all of the games I buy will prove worth playing, at least for me.

Ben McJunkin – 5:58 PM
Hahaha, good point Joe.  I more meant to emphasize that I’ve moved away from “researching” games.  I just buy anything that seems promising and play through them.

Joe Huber – 5:58 PM
So – how full are your suitcases going to be on the way out?
(With games, that is.)

Jonathan Franklin – 5:58 PM
Has the release of  rules affected that balance?

Joe Huber – 5:58 PM
Rules?  Who reads rules?

Jonathan Franklin – 5:59 PM
Joe – I am not sure – I have one open-ended trade and it depends on what he can get.

Ben McJunkin – 5:59 PM
My success rate hasn’t gone down much, if any, and I’d rather spend time playing games I don’t like than reading about games I may or may not buy.
I have started reading rules for this trip
Because of the suitcase limit
But I usually don’t.

Joe Huber – 5:59 PM
I’m up to 16 games going with me.

Jonathan Franklin – 5:59 PM
How do you two get your information on which games to investigate if you don’t read rules?

Joe Huber – 6:00 PM
Eric’s Spiel preview.
+Ratings (for some games)

Ben McJunkin – 6:00 PM
Word of mouth.  BGG News.  OG Previews.  Big name publishers and designers are my primary starting point.

Joe Huber – 6:01 PM
See, where small-name publishers catch me.
After Circus Grandioso, Downtown is nearly a must-buy for me.

Ben McJunkin – 6:01 PM
Mac Gerdts has a new game.  I’ll probably try it even if I know nothing beyond that.

Joe Huber – 6:01 PM
(Racky Spiele)
Gerdts game appeals – though I’ve not had enough success with his designs to be more than interested…

Ben McJunkin – 6:03 PM
I wish I were better at finding hidden gems among the small publishers, but I am very picky about art and components, so I often get turned off before I get around to trying the game.
I plan to pick up some Japon Brand games and a few smaller things – Jeff Allers’ Citrus from dlp games, for instance.
But I really don’t know any off-the-radar stuff.

Joe Huber – 6:03 PM
Citrus is on my look-at list.
(And I ordered 5 from Japon Brand)
(Looking forward to meeting Tak!)

Jonathan Franklin – 6:04 PM
Yes, all but one of my prepaid games are Japon Brand.  The other one is the Polish game, Outcast Heroes.

Joe Huber – 6:05 PM
I’ve paid for (besides Japon Brand):
Rats in the Walls
and Kohle & Kolonie

Jonathan Franklin – 6:05 PM
How about Ben?

Ben McJunkin – 6:06 PM
I have a lot more pre-paid games.
Bruxelles 1983 & the Ginkgopolis Expansion.
Legacy: The Testament of Duke de Crecy

Joe Huber – 6:07 PM
Bruxelles is on my Lean Pass list.

Ben McJunkin – 6:07 PM
Japon Games.  Madeira (though I’m having that shipped).

Joe Huber – 6:08 PM
I considered having Madeira shipped, but it’s being shipped too late.

Ben McJunkin – 6:08 PM
I preordered based exclusively on my trust in Pearl Games, but Bruxelles looks good upon my read of the rules.  I like some of its odder elements.

Jonathan Franklin – 6:09 PM
The idea of Kickstarters with free shipping is interesting, as it frees up luggage space.  I saw Buccaneer Bones and City Council both have the buy at Essen options or they do shipping.

Ben McJunkin – 6:10 PM
I’m still very leery of Kickstarter games.

Joe Huber – 6:10 PM
I’m still waiting for a game original funded via Kickstarter which I need in my collection.
Though – I did preorder Twin Tin Bots

Jonathan Franklin – 6:10 PM
Any other topics we want to cover?

Joe Huber – 6:11 PM
Trying to impose order on rambling?

Ben McJunkin – 6:12 PM
Haha.  Yeah, I fear we did not do such a good job of providing readable content.  But if was fun sharing.  I can’t wait to be in Essen in a little over a week!

Jonathan Franklin – 6:13 PM
Given all the rules, geeklists, podcasts, vlogs, etc., I think this is a great discussion of how people approach making this trip.  Maybe the three of us can have a follow-up afterwards about what surprised us.

Joe Huber – 6:13 PM
OK, how about this – game you’re most interested in seeing, but which you don’t expect to buy?

Jonathan Franklin – 6:13 PM
Patchistory for me – I like the idea and the visual aspect, but think that Nations is way more my speed.

Joe Huber – 6:14 PM
For me, Mayday! Mayday!  Not likely to be my thing, but I want to see it in action.

Ben McJunkin – 6:14 PM
Great question.  Probably Nations.  I am not a civ fan, and TtA was just “okay.”
But I’m drawn to the buzz.  I want to see what it’s about.

Joe Huber – 6:15 PM
Any older games you’ll be looking for?

Jonathan Franklin – 6:15 PM
I have to go, but will keep the hangout open.

Ben McJunkin – 6:16 PM
My wife tells me I need to walk the dog.  So I’m with Jonathan here.

Joe Huber – 6:16 PM
I’ve got requests for 5 copies of the original Flaschenteufel.
See you guys soon!

Jonathan Franklin – 6:16 PM
We can do another session some time

Ben McJunkin – 6:17 PM
Take care!

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.
This entry was posted in Essen 2013. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Thoughts on upcoming Essen – Franklin, Huber, McJunkin

  1. Wish I could have joined you guys – but since I’m not actually going to Essen, I’d have been like the kid at the candy store window with a longing look on his face.

    Of course, you can tune in tomorrow here on the OG to see my letter to Essen Santa.

Leave a Reply