Still no pictures – but I plan to work on that this afternoon
Some Dominion news – a new German distributor (ASS) this year, and there is a new version to go with the change. The new special edition is the base set with the new artwork laden coin cards. The Black Market promois also included in this set.
Had a nice meeting with the folks from Filosofia/Z-Man today. They have a great lineup this year with a combination of their own games (Blueprint, Pandemic, etc) as well as co-productions (Glass Road, Russian Railroads, Tash-Kalar, Bruxelles 1893). Though I’m told there is no “official” strategy, it appears to me that they are clearly focusing on doing fewer games and concentrating on the higher quality games. Sales of Pandemic are rising and rising, due in part to their inclusion in the US Mass Market, and the company has had a great year where they have move to bigger offices and almost doubled the workforce! As far as future plans go, they are hoping to increase the number of games they do on their own while still doing quality co-productions. They have at least 3 of their executives roaming the halls trying to look at new partners to work with.
The halls definitely feel more crowded today than yesterday. Lots more waiting shoulder to shoulder to pass through the halls now. There also seem to be a lot more kids here than yesterday. The overall noise though seems less as the ceilings are much higher in the three bigger halls this year. The only complaint I have noise-wise is the overhead announcements on the PA system – they are always initiated by a high pitch siren noise that was probably also used during the air raids in the war. The siren is so shrill, it wouldn’t surprise me if glasses were shattering in the halls when this goes off. Of course, after the super loud siren, the voice of the announcement sounds like the teacher in Charlie Brown when she is trying to talk through cellophane.
The boys from Funagain are busy as always – the list of games that Nick is looking at is ginormous. Muchos pre-orders this year. I’m glad that I’m not going to have to be the guy who’s going to have to do the customs itemized report for that shipment. According to Nick, all of the prices are already posted on funagain.com, so you can go and reserve/pre-order now. I am assuming that Nick still has the capability to increase his orders here if the pre-order demand jumps today/tomorrow. But, don’t try to pre-order Cards against Humanity. He still can’t get that one.
It was nice to sit in on the designer/artist signing session at Mattel – my brother, Brian Yu and the artist, Piero, were there to sign Geister, Geister, Schatzsuchmeister. The game has been well received here. It got mention in the official press conference slide show, and it has been selling so well that they had to ship more copies in. The other game, Crowns for the King, also needed a restock today – so it looks like both of his games, and Mattel’s attempt to rejoin the strategy game market are doing well. During the second signing session today, the booth sold 15-20 copies of the game in that hour.
As far as an update on the other Opinionated Gamers’ at Essen… Suburbia Inc is doing well – lots of preorders as well lots of walkup sales. The surprise game at the booth is One Night Werewolf, and it has also received high marks from the folks who like that sort of activity. Jonathan Franklin’s deduction game, Plunder, is getting a lot of play at the R&R booth, and Frank D., the head of R&R said that sales of the game were exceeding his pre-show expectations. New Haven, designed in part by Brian Leet, is nearly sold out! Citrus by Jeff Allers is doing well. There was apparently a small issue with the
One game did show up unexpectedly, Continental Express (Bombyx). All reports prior to the show was that it was not going to make it, but it’s here at the Asmodee Booth. Corto also finally appeared late Friday afternoon. The Dungeon Fighter expansion was supposed to be in at some point on Friday, though I have not been back to Cranio to check on this. The rest of the shipment of Caverna arrived on Friday as well – and now the general public can buy the game too. Cheaty Mages is supposed to arrive late Friday also, though when I last passed by AEG, it had not come in.
22,700 steps on Friday. 13ish miles. It was a little rainy today, so I’m glad to have two pairs of shoes.
Touristy notes – finally made it back to my favorite turkish Pizza place, and once again, I had the Doner Pide. The amazing this is that as soon as my brother and I walked into the restaurant – a place where we had not been in at least 360 days, the nice guy behind the counter recognized us and immediately asked us, “Doner Pide?”. Gotta love that service. Other than the street that my hotel is on, I haven’t seen anything else of Essen since Tuesday night. Pretty much, when the fair is going on – all I do is go to the fair… well until my bags are full…
Interestingly, my hotel now provides free wifi, but the signal is not great and it is extremely spotty – so even if my camera were not having technical difficulties, I still likely would not be able to post pictures as I can’t keep the Internet up for more than 30 seconds at a time…
At the end of Friday, I think I have capacity for one or two more games. Not yet sure what will make the cut as I have picked up almost everything that I was interested in prior to the show. I have three or four pounds left, and I think I have the volume available for a 30cm square box (a Kosmos square) – so almost everything is still in play. Well, not everything – Nations, Amerigo and Dark, Darker, Darkest cannot fit – but all three of those should be available in the US in a few weeks/months, so that’s no big deal. I will try to repack the games one more time on Friday night and see if I can get another pound or two out of the bag to make sure I can handle the last game or two.
This year is definitely the year of the heavy game! Leading the list is definitely Caverna – that game must weigh at least 4kg! Next on the list might be New Haven. The game has a butt-ton of tiles, and that means the box is filled with a butt-ton of punch boards for those tiles! The other (annoying) thing that I’ve noticed is that most of the games this year are only in standard boxes – the 30cm square and the normal rectangle. The downside to this is that nothing frickin nests inside another game! This is making the usual fun game of luggage Tetris be a seriously aggravating experience.
OK. Gotta go pack the bags.
Until your next appointment,
The Gaming Doctor