Ben McJunkin – An Essen First-Timer: Day 3

Yesterday was my final day in the great city of Essen.  Unfortunately, due to the need for packing and sleep, I didn’t manage to post last night and I am soon going to be frantically rushing around this morning trying to get ready for our flight back.  So I will skip the life lessons this morning, instead just jump into the day that was.

Yesterday featured gorgeous October weather, which almost made it a shame to be inside.  Our hotel is just a short walk from the Messe, and the path to the halls is very serene, especially if you are early enough to beat the crowds.

As you can see to the left, this will soon become a parking lot.

I used my first hour at the halls to get some one-on-one explanations of games that I was aware of, but unfamiliar with.  I prefer to simply have a game explained to me (perhaps with a sample turn or two), than to sit down and start playing an unfamiliar game that I might end up regretting.  Perhaps I was in a good mood this day, but I found the morning’s games promising.

Florenza: The Card Game seemed like a clever little engine-builder. My wife wisely vetoed the purchase, but I may try to acquire it at a later point.I got a personal tutorial on Byzantio/Nekken by one of the co-designers.I’m not one for Werewolf games, but this iteration seemed harmless enough (though I was unjustly slaughtered by panicked and coffee-deficient townspeople).

After about an hour, my wife joined me and we feasted on several delicious SPEIL delicacies.


Potato chips on a stick!I don’t know what these were (don’t believe the sign), but they were delicious!Mmmm…cheese pretzels.

Despite what Dale says about the halls being less crowded this year, Saturday crowds still present a major logistical issue.  It seemed no matter which direction you headed, you were bound to get stuck in a mass of people just inching along.  (I took a 30 second video of me stuck in traffic, but I don’t know how to import it right now.)

The demo tables were hopping, as usual.  We tried some dexterity games and observed players attempting a few eagerly anticipated titles.

Caverna in play.Some sort of slingshot flicking game that was great fun.

In the afternoon, I went off to meet up with some people I knew to play a few of the games I had purchased.  It was a great time.    We broke out Wildcatters, which was quite interesting despite having a few vague rules that left us scratching our heads.

I thought I was surely going to win, right up until the time I didn’t.

We also broke out Yunnan, which had some inter-player aggression that I rather enjoyed.  I don’t expect it to have the longevity of something like Hansa Teutonica, but it is another solid medium-weight design from Argentum Verlag.

In the evening, I knew what I needed for my last meal in Germany: more pork knuckle!

I don’t know where the “knuckle” is, and I don’t care.

The I also went for German-style ice cream with the Yu brothers (for the second consecutive night).  The Germans seem to know how to do dairy right.  The cheeses have been delicious and the ice cream is outstanding.  I got the Whiskey Cream, which was more whiskey than cream I think.

We finished the night with a quick game of Bombyx’s Continental Express, a rather simple card drafting game.  This one fell flat for me, and I wonder whether the rules need another good pass through by a translator.  Some of the mechanics just seemed odd given the game’s weight and length.

That’s it for now, as I have to pack the computer.  I saved many of the most-anticipated games for when I return home, since I know I’ll have to play them with my game group anyway.  Nevertheless, I’ll try to post some final thoughts on the Fair in the coming days. Thanks for reading!

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6 Responses to Ben McJunkin – An Essen First-Timer: Day 3

  1. Fraser says:

    Those doughnuts are the standard cinamon sugar doughnut in Australia, at least if you are not having the more spherical one with burning hot jam inside.

    A bakery near us used to have one of those machines. Yum.

  2. woodnoggin says:

    The flicking game is called Le Passe Trappe. They’ve had it at every Essen I’ve been to.

  3. Canales says:

    Thank you for this great series of articles! Loved your comments and pictures.

  4. huzonfirst says:

    Outstanding job all week, Ben. And you’ve sold me on the pig knuckles–that looks amazing!

    Hurry home safely, my friend. Oh, and bring a few games with you, if you don’t mind. :-)

  5. Yoki says:

    My friends and I play a single elimination tournament in Le Passe-Trappe each year, and I’m still undefeated. I have no idea why, but dexterity games seem to click with me. :)

  6. jeffinberlin says:

    Great job with the reports, Ben! I felt like I was there, and my stomach wished I was!

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