Dale Yu: Essen 2013 – On the Road

Well, the annual trip to Essen if officially underway.  At the current moment, I’m sitting the the Atlanta Airport waiting for my flight to take off.  THe international terminal is bright and clean, but it may have the most uncomfortable chairs ever designed.   My luggage was pretty full for the trip over, nearly 45 pounds – though the one luggage was filled with gifts for friends, the IGA plaques, and most importantly, my other empty piece of luggage that will come back filled to the brim with games.  My layover was long enough that I was able to snag one of the seats near a charging pole, and right now, I’ve got everything I brought plugged in to be fully charged for the trip: Ultrabook, iPad, Kindle2, phone (serving as my MP3 player), fitbit tracker, and my camera battery.  Luckily, it’s not crowded, because I’ve monopolized every AC and USB spot on the stupid pole!

Not much time for sightseeing this year.  Oftentimes, I get free from work long enough to travel the weekend prior to Essen, but this year, I’m there for the fair itself – just Tuesday to Saturday.  While this only gives me three “official” days at the fair, I’ve found that I can schedule a number of my meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday – so I don’t mind missing the Sunday.  Also, by leaving early Sunday morning, it allows me to get back and work a full week next week – which it is necessirt to being able to go at all.  Yeah, the jet lag truly sucks that first Monday back, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

My prep for this year was much less than usual, as I had a number of real-life things filling up my September/October schedule.  Nevertheless, I’ve done the best I could, getting in some plays of preview games, reading up as much as I could about the games, etc.  The iPad is filled with downloaded rules – about 90 at last count – and I’d guess that I’ve read 40 in detail and maybe glanced at another 20.  I’ve got a long 9 hour flight ahead of me today, so I imagine that I’ll be able to truck thru another 15 or so rulesets before I fall asleep.

Just yesterday, I managed to finish my personal Essen spreadsheet – and the list this year encompasses about 150 titles.  There’s also two blank pages of entries that I can write down info for games that didn’t make the printed pages.  I use this list both to organize myself while at the fair as well as once I get home.  The columns that I keep are:

  • Game Title
  • Publisher
  • Location
  • Desire level (must have, want, unsure, do not want, unavailable)
  • Notes (my thoughts on game, personal notes, contact info for people)
  • Rules (available online? have I downloaded? have I read?)
  • MSRP/cost

There are also a few columns that I fill in as I go

  • Have I been to booth to look at game? (which day)
  • Do I need to go back?
  • Did I get game/cost?
  • Pack (where packed, split up?, punched?)

Once the spreadsheet is made, then it is shrunk down to fit into my little Levenger notecard case – this is what I carry around during the fair.  I am blissfully analog during the show.  I do not have a European SIM card for my phone, so I don’t bother with cell (or SMS) service.  As a result, my list is still a pen-and-paper affair, but I’ve been doing it this way for so long, I don’t even know if I would ever want to do it electronically.  At some point, I won’t be able to do this because my eyesight won’t be good enough to read the printed words, and my soon-to-come senile tremor won’t allow me to write in the spaces I’ve left myself.  I’m guessing that the text ends up being around 5 point.  Super tiny, but all the info I need for 150 games ends up on 4 notecard sized pages.

(Oh, and I kinda lied – I do have some Internet access at the show, but it’s really just for email.  The free 3G on my Kindle 2 allows me to get online for email, etc – but it’s not the sort of thing you can use to post on the blog.)

OK, running out of hotspot MBs – so I better upload this to the blog server.  I’m not sure what my day is like Tuesday (we arrive in DUS about 8am local time), so I’ll probably set this to run Tuesday morning.  I will try my best to upload pics/comments during the week – but this will likely happen at the end of the day as I will likely not have internet access during the day at the show.

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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1 Response to Dale Yu: Essen 2013 – On the Road

  1. Jacob says:

    Can you try to get in a play of Nations by Asmodee? That would be #1 on my list.

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