Dale Yu: Essen 2014 – Final Thoughts from the Fair



Well, I think it’s time to wrap up the coverage from the fair itself… almost 20 posts from me and 5 or 6 from Liga… Now it’s time to play the games! Essen can be both exhilarating and exhausting at the same time. It’ll probably take most of the rest of the week to feel back to normal. It’s always a rough transition this first week back – I usualy fly out Sunday morning, and I return home later that night – but work starts again early Monday morning, and it’s back to the full schedule of activities for myself and the family.


This year was a very good year for me. I still think that there a lot of games that have potential to be long term keepers, though there is still nothing that seems to be gaining traction as a stand-out release. I have two or three games that I think may be elevated to that status, but I still need to play them more than once to see. I’ll also be interested to see what the other bloggers and BGG users have to say about the games as they make their way to the table.

From the Fairplay Scout Aktion List:

  1. AquaSphere
  2. Orléans
  3. ZhanGuo
  4. Alchemists
  5. Deus
  6. Murano
  7. The Staufer Dynasty
  8. Patchwork
  9. Five Tribes
  10. Beasty Bar
  11. Abyss
  12. Colt Express

The BGG Geekbuzz is a little different


  1. Alchemists
  2. Historia
  3. Deus
  4. Five Tribes
  5. Hyperborea
  6. Imperial Settlers
  7. Castles of Mad King Ludwig
  8. ESSEN The Game: SPIEL’13
  9. Colt Express
  10. Age of Soccer
  11. Frankenstein’s Bodies
  12. Abyss
  13. Progress: Evolution of Technology
  14. Pandemic: The Cure
  15. AquaSphere


(As I look at the GeekBuzz list, I definitely think that there is a significant proximity confounding factor…  Of the top 10, the following games were all located within 100m of the BGG stand:  #1 Alchemists, #2 Historia, #3 Deus, #6 Imperial Settlers, #7 Castles of Mad King Ludwig, #8 ESSEN The Game — To be clear, this is not to take anything away from the merit of these games – and many of them are also found on the top 10 of the Fairplay list.  Just an interesting observation…)


For some of the Opinionated Gamers, it’s time for the fall con season to start in earnest which should give folks a lot of opportunity to play the new games. Among the events include: Sasquatch, EuroQuest, BGG.con, Great Lakes Games, Lobster Trap, Dallas Games Marathon, BasementCon and probably three or four that I missed…


In addition to the games that were brought home from Essen, there should also be plenty of games entering the domestic distribution chain by Thanksgiving (at least according to the meetings I had in Essen), so the list of new games to play should continue to slightly grow!


I know that there were a bunch of games that we previewed or did first impressions on prior to the show (or during the show), and we’ll try to get back to re-visit those and give our traditional group reviews come December or January.


In the meantime, expect some session reports and more first impressions as we get some time to play the games!  We’ll also try to return to our usualy once-a-day posting schedule now the excitement and immediacy of the SPIEL is gone.

The next SPIEL fair is only 350 days away!  It starts even earlier next year (10/8/15) – hich also means only 350 days until my next spiral fried potato… and hopefully 349 days from my next Doner Pizza.

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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2 Responses to Dale Yu: Essen 2014 – Final Thoughts from the Fair

  1. Barbasol says:

    Thanks for all your coverage! I didn’t watch any of the BGG video feed this year so it was my main source of info. Great to get an insider’s view. Thanks again!

  2. Jacob Lee says:

    Dale, your coverage rocks. Thank you for posting as often as you did.
    I really wish there was a super convenient way to have everyone who tries out a game to rate it (the OG 4 point scale is perfect for this). My tastes seem to align more with the Fairplay poll than the Geekbuzz. I wonder what that means?

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