Father in the Messe: day 3


Essen Messe is a really engaging experience with something close to 10 hours/day of gaming: english rules, raining cubes, endless roads of crowled booths. And then out for a dinner and games again in the hotel room. So, in the morning, it’s not easy to wake up Caterina (actually is not easy to wake me up too!).

This is our last day in the Messe: tomorrow morning we will take the train to Koln and then the fly to Bologna. But you will be delighted by our “the day after” report and also something about the games played and bought.

“It is the time you have wasted for your games that makes your games so important.”
– adapted from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

Are you ready to follow us down in the land of games ?


We started our day in Romania, hosted by the welcoming staff of NSKN Gmaes that served a good starter: Versailles.

The game is an usual “get some resources to build some staff giving you victory points” but with a really nice mechanic of “worker movement”. Actually your workers are already on the map and you simply decide which one move activating the area where you land. Workers can move just one area and the number of workers in the area tell you how the action will be performed. A single worker is not enough to get gold but with two workers you get one and two with three workers. The second good idea is that you can’t activate the same area twice in a row. Finally you have “technologies” improving your actions and also letting you use your workers during other players turns, in the activated areas. We played a 4 players game (just half game actually) and Caterina was leading. Is sometimes incredible how quick she is in getting into the game: I’m, for sure, slower.



Time to move just two meters and we are involved in Progress the main dishes from the Rumanians. It is a card game where you have to play the technologies cards in the right order (if you have the needed prrequisites you don’t need to use resources) to get the needed improvement and resources to pay stronger cards. Some technologies offer you advancements in three areas. In the end of the game you will score points mainly according to your position in these areas.

Your empire runs from the age of stone to the modern Ages. Your empire has some “abilities” that improve during the game: how many actions, how many cards you draw, how many cards you can have in your hand and so on. After two games (me and Caterina played Versailles and Progress again in te afternoon in the press-room) it looks like improving actions is actually needed to win. It is actually a sort of multi-player solitaire with the only interaction limitated to the cards other players are using and to the position in the scoring areas. Anyway is a game I liked, more as multi-pleyer game than as 2-players.


A quick glance to the GeekBuzz and we decided to offer a chance to Doodle City. I’m always attracted by dice games (I would have also tetsted the one from the Queen Games but at 19 a “please let me go home” demostrator prevented us the experience). The game idea is nice. You roll a blue die and some white dice and have to draw a road in the corresponding box in a 5X5 grid with the 6s used like jokers. In that way you connect parks, hotels, buildings and taxis that will get you points in many different ways. The player rolling the dice could choose from all the whites: the other players taking the leftovers. It is a nice and quick dice game with randomness but also some choice. I Liked it much more than Caterina that found it not so good.


After a break in the press-office for another Versailles and Progress session, and after a meeting with the Blue Orange people concerning the possibility of their presence at PLAY: the games festival, we listen Pinocchio rules, a nice narrative party-game where you have to tell a story and other players have to guess if it is true or false. Caterina really liked it, thinking to play with her friends at parties but there was some text in the cards and so we didn’t bought it …



We ended our Essen 2014 experience playing the new german map of Concordia: it is the usual solid fantastic Mac Gerdt’s game with just a new rule. We liked and we wish to try the Britain map. Caterin won with something close to 15 points more than me but was a really good match.

After dimmer we played Nehemiah, a game remembering me Splendor. You have cards arranged in a 5×4 grid and you have workers. During your turn you decide to play a new worker in the topmost free card in one of the column or to use one already in the map, actually laying it down and activating the effect on the card. You have two resources, gold and wood, and three scoring area. The nice idea is that activating a worker let you activate also all the workers laying down in cards of the same column above the just selected one. Activating the last card in a column will clean all the cards and workers in that column. There are actually three diffrent decks of cards that will mark the three scoring phases. I liked it (i think it will run better with more than just two players) and Caterina disliked … but it was late and she was tired.

Tomorrow I think we will make our top 5 (but there are a lot of game we skipped because imgot it before Essen or I know i’ll get in italy from Italian publisher in the next month).

Good play
Caterina and Liga

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.
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5 Responses to Father in the Messe: day 3

  1. Jacob Lee says:

    I hope to see some of the games I preordered make it on someone’s – anyone’s – top 5 list.

  2. Jacob there are gamss I played before Essen (like Imperial Settlers, Hyperborea and Five Tribes) that really deserve a position in a top10/top5 of Essen releases. I have already at home Abyss, Lords of of Xirit and other nice games still to play. I not tried Alchemist, Antike II, kingsoort festival and many others I’m sure are getting their way to Italy in the next week … Essen now is so huge that I think every attenders will live a different Essen, testing different parts of a really big cake. I thnk only some week after se will be able to have a global picture. Last year I have played some of the outstanding Essen’s releases just in june!
    Good play

  3. Hi Liga & Caterina,

    I really enjoy reading your experiences at Essen. It reminds me of wandering around the halls with our daughters when we were there back in 2009.

    Thanks for your posts and pictures.

  4. Hi Fraser we are happy you enjoy our reports. We really think Essen is an excellent choice for a parents+kids holidays, better of als the kids are a bit gamerish!

    Good play
    Liga & Caterina

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

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