Father in the Messe: Day 1


Today we play! No excuses, no regrets. We will take no prisoners! We were at the Messe enough time before the opening to be able to let our jackets in the press-room wardrobe. As usual all the lockers were already taken and locked … I start to think that someone is reserving the lockers an year before … Maybe one year I’ll be able to get one and discover what is inside!!

We passed the exultant gamers waiting the opening of the gate and get a 30 minutes trip inside the almost empty halls. Time to say hello to some friends and decide where to stop.

Then like a lava from a Vulcano running gamers entered the halls trying to reach, like anger lions, tables full of colored wooden cubes. It was great!

We, as usual, started with an heavy dishes served on a 4-players table: Imperialims: road to domination from G3.

The game is nice and it’s the kind of game we like. You have to build your Empire getting lands and colonies with a nice “if a take that i get the needed resources to pay that and then i can …”. Actually you take your turn doing one of this actions: conquering a territory (land or colonies), developing (usually getting money and some bonus), playing cards (bonus for you and/or malus for opponents), or going to war. One nice things is that you can’t do the same actions twice turn in a row; the second great things is that conquering territories is possible with fleets and/or armies and gold and you have to develop your troops step by step. There is interaction but it is mot a war-game. You have territory cards and not a map-board. Fleets seems to be really important and you have to not let anyone take too much advantage otherwise it will become very difficult to fill the gap. We really liked it and so decided to take it and played again (2 payers now) in the evening in the hotel. We really liked it. Caterina got 2nd and I last. In the evening session I won!



At 1PM we attend traditional International Gamers Awards ceremony. BGG booth was full of jury members, designers, publishers and curious interested in what so many middle-aged, over-sized gamers are doing. Actually it is a nice opportunity to meet old friends, like Mik Svellov, and say hello to people I’m used to “talk” during the year just by email. It is also an anticlimax looking how the years are passing.


The ceremony was great: all the invited designers and publishers were there and it was really nice to see Ferdinand in good shape make the presentation and prizegiving. That was really a good news, better than the release of a new great game!


I asked Caterina to take some pictures and I’ll pay its weight in gold to think what was passing in her head looking this old-guys (including me) playing the “ceremony of the Oscars” game! Or it is better, again, to be unaware ?


Than we take lunch (hot dog and the nice spiral fried potato) and it was time for a good party-games. Something can help us to digest food we are not yet used (but I know just tomorrow we will perform better).

We stopped at CBG to play Mcjohny’s. Up to 6 players compete trying to do their best in preparing food for customers. Every player has a different minigame to play in the 1 minutes time scaned by an hourglass. All payers but one collaborate trying to please 3-4 customers. The “volunteer” try to make other players fail. The master chef instigate.

The game is fine: every turn there is a new master chef and a new volunteer. The 5 minigames are all good and very different and you really have to play fast. A good party-games. I bought it and I’ll probably try again tomorrow evening in the hotel.


Then we land at Ares Games. Galaxy Defenders was too much sci-fi (and I already have it) and The Battle of the Five Armies too long so we decided to play Dino Race. It’s a game I was really curious about, hoping to find something good to use with schools.

The game i fine and simple. You have two dinos to run on a 12 tiles road. During your turn you play cards to move your dinos and/or obstruct opponents. In the end of turn you roll a dice: it could happens you (or someone else) get cards or the vulcano erupt penalizing dinos too much close to the lava. One players is also carrying an egg that could offer some points in the end but it with some risk. There is also a nice scoring system. The game is, for theme, rules and materials, a kid’s game but it is not trivial at all. I probably liked it much more than Caterina but I hope to play it again in the hotel tomorrow.



After this nice Dino race (in one of the pictures you can see Caterina after Volcano’s lava hit one of her dinos) we stop to try Dark Tales : what a nice surprise! Really, really a good game. We played a 2-players session but it could be played up to 4 (i think). The rules are really simple: draw a card, use an object (if you want), play a card (if you like). Cards have outstanding illustrations and how the game works is fantastic. You have monsters, heroes and princesses; fantastic places and creatures; days and night. How objects are used and the final scores change from game to game according to a combination of two different kinds of final cards. The game is really fine and it looks perfect for expansions: so perfect that the first one, Snow White, is already available!!! Thank you Pierluca Zizzi for this small jewel and thank you dV Giochi for publishing it!!


Then we played Royale at AbacusSpiele: a well done majority game with a nice scoring system. Using cards you have to get control of different nobles in 4 different countries. You will get bonus points being the first controlling a noble and, in the scoring phases (3 during the game) you will score for majorities in each country. You will get bonuses for controlling each noble in a country and for having at least once of each of the 7 different kind of nobles. In the end the player controlling more nobles of each kind will get points too. We took less than 45 minutes to finish a 4 players game.


We ended our journey playing Lentisko, a simple card game. You have to build houses to lodge students, citizens and rich aristocrats arriving in the countryside by trains. During the turn you have two actions and you can bring passengers from the trains to your houses or build new ones.

Every turn you will reveal a weather card that can change what’s really happening. You have forecast so you can program your moves but, as usual, are not always perfect. I was not really shocked by this game but I must admit it is not bad. I got a copy of another game from the publisher, Nehemia, I hope to try and review soon.



After dinner we played Imperialism again and than Primiera with Martin Wallace and some other friends trying to teach and export “Scopone”, one of the greatest Italian traditional card game.

The last picture is Caterina with Dark Tales: a game I sure i’ll take and play as soon as it will be available also in Italian


Sorry for my misspellings (but I’m writing from my iPad without the support of a dictionary. See you tomorrow in the Messe. Caterina is already sleeping and I’ll reach her soon … It is a long day for Fathers in the Messe!

About Andrea "Liga" Ligabue

Andrea "Liga" Ligabue is a game expert contributing to many games related international projects including Gamers Alliance Report, WIN, ILSA Magazine and Boardgamenews. Member of the International Gamers Awards Committee is coordinator of Play - The Games Festival and founder of the project Ludoteca Ideale.
This entry was posted in Essen 2014, First Impressions, Preview, Reviews and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Father in the Messe: Day 1

  1. That’s an impressive amount of playing to fit in especially when taking time for the IGA awards too.

  2. > Then we played Royale at AbacusSpiele

    Royals (for those searching BGG for it)

  3. Pingback: Father in the Messe: The Day After | The Opinionated Gamers

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