Dale Yu – Essen 2014 – What’s in my bags (I think)


OK, so my record keeping system kind of failed me this year, and as I’m recounting the week on the flight back, I realize that I don’t necessarily know everything that I picked up. But, based on my memory and some of the pictures I posted earlier in the week – here’s what I think I have from this year:

  1. 5 Minutes
  2. 7 Steps
  3. 7 Wonders Babel
  4. 7 wonders coasters
  5. Abraca-what?
  6. Alchemists
  7. Bania
  8. Bloder Sack
  9. Catan – Berlin x 2
  10. Catan – Spain x 2
  11. Ciub
  12. Click and Crack
  13. Clinic
  14. Colors of Kasane
  15. Colt Express
  16. Cubo
  17. Dead Drop
  18. Deus
  19. Die 7 Zwerg
  20. Doodle City
  21. Dungeon Bazar
  22. Edo Yashiki
  23. El Gaucho
  24. Essen the game
  25. Evolution
  26. Flatcube
  27. Fresh Fish
  28. Fungi
  29. Funkenschlag deluxe ed
  30. Gaia
  31. Grog Island
  32. Hellweg Westfalicus
  33. Hook
  34. Jager und Spaher
  35. Kaleido
  36. King of New York
  37. King’s Pouch
  38. Kobayakawa
  39. Lap Dance
  40. Machi Koro
  41. Madame Ching
  42. Mangrovia
  43. Marchia Orientalis
  44. McJohnny’s
  45. Moscow to Paris
  46. Murano
  47. Nations the dice game
  48. Nehemiah
  49. Neptun
  50. New Dawn
  51. Orleans
  52. Orongo
  53. Pandemic the Cure
  54. Panthalos
  55. Patchwork
  56. Patiti
  57. Pints of Blood
  58. Planes
  59. Port Royal
  60. Realm of Wonder
  61. Rolling Japan
  62. Royals
  63. Secret Moon
  64. Soqquadro
  65. Spellcaster
  66. Spexxx
  67. Spike
  68. Spyfall
  69. Staufer Dynasty
  70. Tash Kalar upgrade kit
  71. Tash Kalar: winter expansion
  72. TetMithra
  73. Time Masters
  74. Uruk II
  75. Valentina
  76. Versailles
  77. Viceroy
  78. Villanex
  79. Witness
  80. Yardmaster
  81. Yardmaster Express


I have taken a peek at the top layer of games in the ATL baggage area between customs and the TSA line, and the top level of games appears unscathed. It remains to be seen how many crush injuries were sustained by the boxes in the middle. Also, we’ll have to see if the rails in the traditional suitcase caused any damage. That is the most common source of broken boxes – and I was usually willing to put up with that gven the ease of the rolling suitcase. Of course, that suitcase is now missing a wheel, so I’m just dragging it across the linoleum.


The new automated passport system in Atlanta is completely awesome and it worked flawlessly. I was in the middle on the plane on the way back, and I was anticipating about a 30 minute wait to get processed thru customs. If you’re a US citizen, you don’t fill out any forms on the plane anymore – you get off and walk to a bank of about 50 passport scanners. You answer the questions online and you’re thru in about 90 seconds total. You do have to subject yourself to having a picture taken, so that’s one more image of you that the government has – but the machine works quick. It looked like some people were randomly chosen to go thru te more rigorous line, but I only saw 2 in the time I walked thru. Everyone else just breezed thru and went to the baggage carousel.


The total time it took me from getting off the plant to standing at the carousel was 11 minutes. And if you’re ever been to ATL, you know how long that walk can be from the gate to the customs line. My bags came out first (hooray for sky priority) – and the customs guys asked no questions – simply took my form printed from the passport scanner machine, and I was thru. Total of 23 minutes to rechecking my bags. No line at TSA, and out the other side in less than 30 minutes from getting off my plane. Unbelievable. I normally budget 90-120 minutes to get thru everything in ATL; 120-150 to get thru Detroit…


We’ll compare this list to the final unpacking – once I get around to that. I’m currently in the ATL airport awaiting my next flight to get home, and hopefully for a nice relaxing night with the family. I will admit that I don’t normally watch the NFL Red Zone channel, but for someone who has been away for a week, it’s like crack. If there were only some way to distill boardgames down so that you got nothing but the highlights…


More thoughts each day for the next 3 or 4 days. Depends on how much I think I have to say. (Usually, I’m not at any shortage of things to say).  Unpacking may take awhile – possibly up to a week.  I’ve got games nesting within games within other games.  Rules and boards in one place, wooden bits and cards in another.  I tried to label everything, but every year I find two or three ziplog baggies full of stuff that I have to put aside until we try to play a game and something is missing!  Also, I think I’m missing all sorts of single promo cards and bits that I never logged while running around – though I might have left a ziploc bag with them in the hotel.  We’ll see!


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.
This entry was posted in Convention Report, Essen 2014. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Dale Yu – Essen 2014 – What’s in my bags (I think)

  1. Jacob Lee says:

    I can’t believe you only picked up one game I had on my wishlist: Staufer Dynasty. You really said no to: KanBan, ZhanGuo, Mythotopia, Among the Stars expansions, The Convicted and Historia? I guess I won’t be seeing you do reviews for any of these games soon. But I have to ask: how do you base your game buying decisions at Essen?

  2. Dale Yu says:

    Jacob – I would like to think that I pick games on the same criteria that everybody else does… All based on what I’m interested in and what I think my game group would like! Of course, that oversimplifies it a bit – I do have some games offered to me for review purposes, and that changes the situation a bit. Also, at Essen, there is always a constant calculation as far as: which games will I be able to easily get in the US, and in what time frame?

    One of my strongest sources is Funagain Nick, who I’ve been hanging out with at Essen for years. I can often find out from him how many copies of a particular title they are planning to bring over, which will give me a good feel for its immediate availability. Further, knowing that a game is going to get US distribution through the regular channels may also make the difference when push comes to shove.

    Based on your list though, it seems that you lean towards the heavier end of the spectrum. I, on the other hand, have moved a bit away from that. That’s not to say that I won’t play the long games, but they are less likely to hit the table. I took a full demo of ZhanGuo at the Asmodee event, and it seemed like it was going to be more complex than what my group normally plays.

    That being said, there are a few games that I did not get at Essen due to other arrangements made prior to or at the show — namely that they would be shipped to me from the US. If a game is selling well at Essen, oftentimes the publisher would rather wait until we both got home and send me a copy from here rather than give one which likely had a high transport cost to get to Essen (and then I, in turn, have to figure out how to make it fit in the already full luggage case!)

    FWIW, Historia was the game that actually landed on the bubble this year. If I would have had space, it was the one game that i was going to go back to get. But, the baggage weight gods were against it, and I’ll have to try to get it over the winter. The Giochix games can usually be had around here, so that’s why I passed on that one.

    Does that help?

    • Jacob Lee says:

      Thanks for your response, Dale. I was partially joking when I asked my question, but your explanation got to what I was wondering (availability, connections to certain retailers, etc).
      This year it’s been hard for me to get info from people at the fair on what games people really liked/disliked. The Geekbuzz doesn’t really mean a whole lot. I would like to have read, for example, people’s thoughts on Mythotopia after they sat down and played it, but playing it is more fun than writing about it, I suppose!
      Great work to all the OG writers for sharing their thoughts. I love discovering more coverage of the fair has been posted here.

      • Dale Yu says:

        Yeah, I got the joke – but I figured a real response would still help!

        As far as comments as you go, I’ll be honest – I’m not the best guy for that. Mostly because I play very few games at Essen. Less than a dozen all week (and probably 2/3 of those are games that are under 15 minutes: Villanex, Spellcaster, Flip 9, Flatcube, Zombie Mania etc). Normally less than 5. Most of my time there is consumed with talking with folks, meeting with people, demoing my own games, picking up games, learrning enough about games to decide if they are spongeworthy or not…

        With 800 new games at the fair – there simply isn’t enough time to play everything or even see everything. I try to learn as much about a game as I can in as short a period of time. As the years have gone by, pre-preparation is more and more important. I try to read as many rules as I can prior to the show so that I can better absorb a quick presentation about it when I’m there. I probably downloaded/read over 200 rulesets prior to leaving – with constant internal commentary with other OG writers (Jonathan Franklin, W. Eric Martin, Lucas Hedgren, Jennifer Geske, etc) about what each of us thinks is good. I distill it down to a list of about 200 and hope to have enough time to get to it all!

        So… I reserve writing about the games for the winter when I get a chance to actually play them! I know that others are different – Liga and Caterina spend much more time playing games than I do at the fair, and he usually writes about them as he goes.

        Hopefully you’ll be able to make it to Essen one of these years and see it for itself! It is definitely something that I wish every gamer could experience once.

  3. Maybe I missed it in the articles, but HOW do you get 81 games on a plane? Do you need some special contract? How expensive is it? I am somehow puzzled…

    • Dale Yu says:

      Well, I have stopped recounting my bagging process as I thought it was becoming repetitive. From my 2010 piece:

      After weighing my luggage before I left, I found out that my total baggages actually weighed more than I did! Both of my checked pieces of luggage were at 49.8 on my baggage scale – and these were mostly filled with the bigger game boxes with what few smaller ones I could nest inside. The majority of the boards and punchboards from my games made it into my small carry-on which came in at a hefty 44 pounds. The rest of the stuff, including a lot of card decks and wooden bits were in my backpack (28 lbs). I did get a bit of an evil eye from the gate attendant as I claimed a 28lb backpack as my “personal item”, but it all managed to make it on the plane! Now when I get home, I will have the fun meta-game of reassembling all of the games with the boards in one back, the cards in another and possibly the wooden bits in my jacket pockets!

      This year was the same. My small carryon was top to bottom filled with punchboards and cards. I think it weighed 20kg. My backpack was close to 15kg. No comment on my jacket as I didn’t weigh it, but it wasn’t comfortable to wear. So, my bags were essentially filled with only empty boxes. I have learned to pack extremely light for this trip, and my clothes only weigh 5kg for the week. I am a standard flier – so I get 2 bags at 23 kg to check. I would have easily made it if I were a first class ticket (or a higher loyalty class) – those passengers get 3 bags at 32 kg.

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