As we do every year, the writers of the Opinionated Gamers will preview some of the new games to be presented at the SPIEL fair in Essen, Germany. Sadly, as the number of games at the show rises every year, that generally means that the percentage of games that we can cover in advance of the show shrinks ever smaller…
However, as I have mentioned in a few different blog posts, the nature of beast seems to be changing a bit. In the ancient days (say 2007 or so) – the bulk of the new games in the hobby came out at Essen. Even for many American companies, new games showed up in October in Essen, and then the race was on to try to get them back into the retail channel for Christmas. That timing has always worked in Germany, because the games are already ready to go in Germany, and they will definitely be ready for gift giving!
In today’s game market, the timing seems to have switched. Many games now debut – often in super small quantities – at GenCon – an August convention here in the US. The games will still have their full debut at Essen, but the production and supply chain fulfillment can already be in progress from late summer.
As a result, my job in covering Essen releases has changed. No longer am I resigned to reading over 100 rulesets and then writing up my thoughts on them… now, I get to play some of the games starting in August! So – a lot of the Essen preview on the OG will be more substantive – actual comments on game play rather than theoretical wonderings on rules and thought experiments about strategies that might come into play…
I am in the process of going back through the games we’ve already written about this year, and if they are going to be at Essen, they will be tagged with the Essen 2016 tag
You can look here to see the list of all such tagged games – https://opinionatedgamers.com/category/essen-2016/
(I am going to use the awesome BGG Essen Preview list, curated by our own W. Eric Martin, as the determinant of what “is” an Essen 2016 game. If WEM puts it on the geeklist, then it’s an Essen game!)
That being said, there will still be a number of true preview pieces, as there will be plenty of games that will truly debut at the show. But since there are plenty of the games to be played, we’ll write stuff up now – even if it’s a first impression – and then give those games the full review treatment later in the winter. (Because many of these games will have only made it through my local game group, and we cannot give our usual group review slant on things.)
For the time being, the blog will stick to its arbitrary rule of one piece per day, but probably starting in the last week of September, we’ll go back to our usual relaxed policy of having any of our writers post freely as there is just simply too much going on in the weeks surrounding SPIEL to limit stuff to just once a day.
Come along for the ride – there are over 800+ new games to be explored this year! Surely, we can’t touch on them all, but we’ll do our best to make mention of the ones that catch our collective eye.
Until your next appointment,
The Gaming Doctor