Dale Yu: Essen 2013 Picture Post – Part 2 – The Press-show

Each Wednesday, there is an official press conference where the show kicks off for the media.  German print, radio, TV press are all there as well as journalists from all over the globe. There is usually a nice presentation (all auf Deutsch) while we sup on yummy mushroom soup and sandwiches.  I often don’t go to the press conference because of the language issues, but this year, my feet already hurt and I wanted to get some of the soup, so in I went.  My brother accompanied me to the event, and we were both surprised to see that his games were actually featured in the intro.


Sorry, the close up is unfocused.

The other big news in the intro was that it was officially announced that Mayfair Games had bought out Lookout Spiele.  Hanno and his crew will still do all the things they used to do as far as game selection, development, artwork, etc – but Mayfair will take over the distribution, etc.  It looks to be a good fit for both companies, and I hope that this is a partnership that allows both companies to make better games.

After the 45 minute presentation which included a short skit by an apparently well known comedian, Kaya – who is on the box of a Huch! game – the press was released to go see all the new games.  The new game exhibit is a huge room set up in the upper floor of the convention center.  Publishers are able to reserve space and display their games there.  These displays stay up for the duration of the fair, though usually the publisher and/or designer is available at the initial press show on Wednesday, so that tends to be the best time to look at the games.


Right as you walk in, there is a humongous mockup of Terra Mystica, the 2013 DSP winner.  The DSP winner always gets front row billing at the press show because the company that organizes SPIEL is also responsible for running the Deutscher SpielePreis competition – and naturally, they want to toot the horn of their own awardee…


Mauna Kea, a tile layer for Touko T. – whose last name I can’t spell, and who you more likely recognize as the designer of Eclipse or Walnut Grove.  I ran into Touko on the Saturday of Essen, and he had his hands full of prototypes that he was pitching to companies at the show.  Nothing concrete yet, but the scope and variety of his designs is pretty amazing.  I would expect new games from him in 2014 and beyond.  Oh, and off to the right, you can see that comedian guy.  I never got any of his jokes. 


Another Huch! game, Ka-Boom.  This one involves smacking the table to try to knock the towers down while other players are trying to build them up.  I can’t wait to try this one with my boys.


One of the other neat things about the press show is that some of the companies go all out – with costumes and theatrical setups.  Here, you see what much be a typical merchant in the dockside town where the ships in Nauticus are being built.  I spoke briefly with the Kosmos press representative after the show, and they are still looking for English language partners for Nauticus and Kashgar.


Origin from Matagot.  IN the back right, you can see the box with the multiple pawns that you need for the game.  I got a demo of the game at my meeting with Matagot, and I must say, the theme of evolving the human race from a starting point in Africa -all within 45 minutes of gameplay- has me fascinated. 




Pelican Bay – a beautifully done game be a newish company – Drei Hasen in der… – This is one of the games that I simply never got around to checking out.  I also walked by their booth a number of times, but the game was always being demoed at that time, and by the end of the show, I just ran out of time.



My brother and Phillip from Eggertspiele.  Their displays at the press show were next to each other. You can just barely see the signs for Rokoko to the right.


And like I said, the companies often like to do it up – here you see some demo monkeys dress up in Rococo-style dress. Fancy.


Citrus from Jeff Allers (an OG writer)


L’aeropostale would be another game on the list of games that I never demoed to learn more about.  Their stand was fairly small – only two four-player tables if I remember correctly, and they were always busy with people waiting when I walked by.  It sure looks neat.  This is one of the games I will try to keep an eye out for reviews from other writers.  I’m not sure if anyone else from the blog took this one home or not.


The super-expensive Whacky-Wit. Yes, it’s a Pac-Man board.  No, I don’t think it has an official license.  Each of the pellets is a wooden cylinder than falls down flush with the maze when it is eaten. It’s kind of a roll and move.  Pacman rolls a d12, and then moves that many spaces.  Then the ghost player rolls a d12 and a die which tells him which ghost he must move.  If PacMan eats a power pellet, he gets three extra rolls to move and eat pellets – he does not eat the ghosts.  Pacman has 3 lives to eat all the dots – otherwise the ghosts win.  That’s it.  But it’s fun. Just ask Aldie or Joe Huber.  I think the cost of these is 300 EUR.  Look for at least one at BGG.con though.


A view from the corner of the room – this only shows about 40% of the available space in the press show room.  I know it’s not a great picture, but heck, electrons are mostly free… and since my SD card ate some of my pictures, I’m pretty much posting what I can get.


Here is KMW from spielbox.de doing his own journalistic thing.  It’s always nice to run in to old friends like this in the halls – we can have a quick chat for a few minutes to see if either of us has discovered some news or an unexpected game to go check out.


OK, so I never found out what this was. It honestly just looks like a box full of tongue depressors (or popsicle sticks).  You just build stuff with them.  This was the largest display at the press show, took up the whole end of one of the two rooms.  Easily 500 square feet.


More press show cos-play – I had heard all about the “Love Letter dress” from my contacts at Pegasus – and I must say, it looks way better in person than the emails had suggested.


Skip-Bo the card game, the other new Mattel release that I looked at the show.  I may or may not be related to the designer of this game, but I guess we’ll never know because the designer’s name isn’t on this box.


Kronen fur den Konig – it’s a worker placement game.  The name translates into Crowns for the King, but I’m going to start calling it Crows for the King at home.  There was a typo on some of the shipping crates – though inconsequential because the game is for the German market only…


not even sure why there ever needed to be English on the box.  The only version around is German!


For completeness sake, Geister Geister is a family oriented cooperative game.


Doctor Hrubec, a game from Czech Board Games that is a party game working in an awful hospital.  I have actually had fun with the other CBG party games, most recently Infarkt – but I couldn’t make the funny tall rectangular shaped box fit in my bag.  Well, I didn’t think I could make it fit – so I didn’t get one.


Caverna – the new Uwe Rosenberg game from Lookout/Mayfair.  (Remember that it was just announced that Lookout was bought out by Mayfair.)  The sad thing here is that you don’t see the other 3 inches of punchboards and player boards that are hidden in the box.  The amount of stuff included in the game (both cardboard and wood) is hard to believe when you see it all splayed out on the table.  This is another game I am anxiously awaiting to get to the table as I am a big fan of Agricola.


OK, this doesn’t really have to do with the press show, but this is the bundle of games that I brought back to the hotel room at the end of the day on Wednesday.  As you can see, my mind was already starting to mentally play Luggage Tetris because the show hasn’t even offically started yet!


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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1 Response to Dale Yu: Essen 2013 Picture Post – Part 2 – The Press-show

  1. In the Rokoko pic, demo monkey on the left is actually game co-designer Matthias Cramer, the woman in the Love Letter pic is Katharina, who works in the Pegasus Spiele marketing department, and I also failed to get back to the Drei Hasen in der Abendsonne stand, although I was trying to get a rundown of both nullern and Talo. Gah! Maybe at Nürnberg 2014…

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