Essen by Proxy: News from the Livestream (Saturday, part 2) (Melissa Rogerson)

More stream of consciousness from the livestream.

  • Pixie Queen – another unscheduled dropin. A fantastic green shirt that would rival the Queen’s green screen outfit. The board for this looks gorgeous & very practical – chatter Andy describes it as “sensible graphic design so that the art doesn’t get in the way of the game”. Nice tradeoff between using your pixies to earn resources and using them to gain points.
  • Papa Paolo – Fabrice Vandenbogaerde is nearly a nonstarter when Katherine is stumped by his surname. There is hilarity in chat, but it’s loving hilarity. He says hello to us, so we like him. Katherine hiccoughs. The tension builds. A new game is proposed where all presenters are labelled with their D&D Character class. Fabrice is a Lawful Good Monk.
    This is a game about delivering pizza, with little tokens that look like every pizza box ever, and pizza delivery person eeples. Fraser & I have Mamma Mia, Order up & Food Chain Magnate, do we need another pizza game? “Can you ever have enough pizza,” asks a chatter. It’s a good point, and worthy of serious consideration.
  • La Cosa Nostra – Paul from Quined Games – it’s currently on Kickstarter. Not 100% final components, but the artwork looks great. There’s a lot of backstabbing, a lot of negotiation, a lot of fun. Go now and support it!
  • Vanuatu – 2nd If you liked it but don’t have it, get it. The graphics have been updated & the box includes expansions.
  • Flamme Rouge – Danish designer, French title, Finnish publisher, demo in English. No tie, but schmick cufflinks. “Is it OK with you if I speed talk?” asks Asger. This should be fun! THE ENTIRE INTERNET CAN HEAR YOU, says Katherine. No pressure.
    This is a family bicycle racing game for 2-4 players, with a card mechanism. Asger is a minis player so he has painted the demo minis and they are rather gorgeous. So is the game. Everything is gorgeous. I want to make jokes about the winner being the first player to cross the Finnish line, because is from Finland, but I suspect I am the only person in the world who finds that funny. Some chatters disagree, but they might just be being kind.
    Bicycle racing isn’t about blocking. See, boardgames are educational. The game has a rather nice slipstreaming mechanism. Unfortunately, it’s somehow become about breaking wind. Chat has a meltdown. Fart jokes aside, though, there’s serious interest in this game.
  • Dungeon Rush – “It seems like so much fun,” says Katherine. We’re looking forward to this already. Rustan is a livestream demo veteran. There is a card called “pumpkin head” which someone once told me is a really rude thing to call someone in Hungarian. They then taught me to say it (tökfej?) so maybe it’s not quite that rude & they were distracting me from the other words. The game looks quick & fun.
  • Honshu – Lots of interest in this from chatters. I have a total crush on all things Finnish, so I am predisposed to like anything publishes (btw their shop is amazing! Great range, lovely staff.). There’s an interesting overlapping card mechanism. Honshu looks like a lot of game in a small box; I’m keen to get a copy.
  • Dokmus – There was a recent unfortunate incident chez nous involving lemon meringue cupcakes and a kitchen blowtorch. I am totally up for sacrificing meeples to a volcano. Players can rotate parts of the modular map, which is an interesting terrain change.
  • Kingdomino – by some new young designer called Bruno Cathala, for Blue Orange games. We are all about the portmanteaux. Short, 15 minute game in a smallish box. It looks fun. I’d like to try it.
  • You are the Hero – these are choose your own adventure-style comic books. They look rather lovely – really nice production values, hard cover, good art, glossy pages. Hidden clues on some pages, with teeny tiny numbers. “Captive” is the darker story, “Knights” the lighter one. They have been available in French for several years and are just being released in English & in other languages; there are already 10-12 titles in French. Weird side discussion in chat about whether children still read books.
  • Single Card Game – a single card, with rules on one side and a yellow mouth on the picture. The person with the card needs to work out whether they are smiling or not. The game is free and seems fun. Motto: Never trust Beth. (Later addition from TOG’s Dale Yu adds concern about hygiene and card sharing. He’s a doctor, he has to do it.)
  • Pecunia non olet – this is a reprint of the game about Roman public toilets. I have a copy of the first printing; this has some expansions included. The tagline is “A big pile of fun for the whole family!” (snicker). “did you catch there are new modules in the game so you have to buy it again Melissa?” asks a chatter. I hate them a little bit. Pecunia non olet kind of means that money isn’t tainted by its source. I don’t always agree with this idea, because drug money and gun running and stuff, but making money from toilets doesn’t somehow contaminate the money. Apparently public public toilets in France (maybe just urinals?) are sometimes called Vespasiennes after the Emperor Vespasian, who put a tax on urine (which was resold for chemical processes like cleaning laundry – apparently it makes your whites whiter).
  • Mars Needs Toilets – ok, this game doesn’t actually exist (yet) but we think it needs to. There are Mars games and Toilet games and really why not combine them? Meanwhile, Eric starts taking a Periscope image or some other kind of selfie at the booth.
  • Rhein River Trade – “What are we trying to do?” asks Beth. We’re trying to build toilets on Mars – oh wait. Surprising nobody, we’re trading things, on the Rhein. I would like to play games with the people who are demoing this, they seem like fun. Consensus is that the game also looks a lot of fun. One chatter’s friend playtested it and has recommended it.
  • More Bloody Nights – a vampire survival game. Technically, it’s a standalone expansion for Bloody Nights. I’m not a big vampire game fan, so this is not for me.
  • Destroy BCN! – BCN is short for Barcelona. Players choose from a range of monsters including some based on Gaudi & Columbus, and try to destroy the city. Movement is based on dice, which you turn as you move them. It’s quite clever. So you can move as many spaces as there are pips on the top of the die. As you move, you tip the die over. The only game I remember this mechanism from is Kingdom Quest, which implemented it differently.
  • Dragons – it’s a 4 in a row game. The artwork is nice, the box is really hard to read. This seems to be a bit of a pattern this year – there have been quite a lot of games with box text that was really difficult to make out.
  • Sugi – named after the Yaki Sugi (cryptomeria / Japanese cedar) ancient forests in Japan. Some lovely whimsical art on some of the tiles.
  • Mi Tierra – This looks rather lovely. Lots of agricultural wood: sheeples, chickens, water, farmers, wheat, cows, horses that might be donkeys, and more. I nailed this as a mashup of Agricola and Stone Age. I like one of those games a lot, and could definitely be tempted to try this. By now, it’s 2:15am so this much enthusiasm is pretty overwhelming for me.
  • Dream Home – there is cheering and cat meeples in the chat stream; people have been looking forward to this. When Beth asks Maciej his surname, his face falls in some kind of horror. Jesiovowski rivals Fabrice’s from earlier. This is a game about fitting out your dream home. “You can eat a pizza every day but it’s better to have a kitchen in your house.” << lessons for every student ever. I have not heard of another game with an ice cream maker. The game is pretty light & firmly in the family spectrum. For those looking in that space, this looks pretty interesting.
  • Who Soiled the Toilet? – not an on-air demo but we got Beth and Travis talking about it. Apparently its nickname is “Toilet Resistance”. This just gets better.
  • Aeon’s End – meaty meaty meaty. It’s a deckbuilder but don’t change the channel, it’s the deckbuilder to end all deckbuilders, designed by a professional Starcraft player. SO MUCH EXCITEMENT in chat. Travis is a great presenter and has oodles of energy. It’s 2:30am for me but it’s 5:30pm for him on Essen Saturday and somehow he is still going. The game is a co-op, it solves all the co-op problems too, and it has 27 ratings on BGG and an average of nearly 9. That’s amazing! Travis points out that it has more female characters than male, and doesn’t have a Caucasian male on the cover. It even has nemeses! I am not convinced that this game is for me, but I think it’s going to have so very many legs.
  • Camel Up Cards – a standalone. Mini cards, wooden camels, a foxeeple and a palm treeple. The camels have the same stacking mechanism as in the boardgame (like the pigs in Piggy Back). The treeple speeds up the camel; the fox scares it back. Very similar to the original game, but without the rubber band pyramid.
  • Coal Baron: The Great Card Game – so much anticipation. It’s a pretty big box for a card game. The German name for Coal Baron is Glück Auf – which is the way that people in this (Essen) coal mining region of Germany traditionally say hello, meaning good luck, come back up safely (alive) – and also, I hope you open a new (coal) seam. Wikipedia may not be a reliable reference, but it’s actually super interesting. I’m not quite sure about how the gameplay works, but this looks very worth a try.
  • Jolly & Roger – Hi, Abacusspiele. Last publisher of the night, and things have got relaxed. Chat loves it. This two-player game has great artwork, nice components. I split, you choose mechanic, pirate theme. You’re trying to bank points, but you can only bank points when you have control of a ship. (An aside: I routinely hear “Kraken” with the a short as in cat, like crack-n, but I would pronounce the a like the ‘ar’ in ‘car’.)
    Quote of the demo: “You can’t bank a parrot.”
    Playing time is about 20 minutes. This game should do well.
  • Cacao Expansions – continuing the Australian theme. Phil Walker-Harding won Boardgames Australia’s first Best Australian Game award for Archaeology: the card game (in 2008). He also won the same award for Dungeon Raiders in 2013 and in 2015 for Sushi Go. This year, he cracked an SdJ nomination for Imhotep. Abacusspiele didn’t actually demo the Cacao expansions but we can pretend that they did and that there is an Australian games take over the world thing happening.
  • On that note, not demoed was Burger Up. If you’re in Essen & haven’t already tried it, go and do so. The good people at Rule and Make will gladly show you their wares.


We’re wrapping up with Beth chatting with The Opinionated Gamers’ own Dale Yu as well as Shelley Ganschow. I’m interested that the press passes only get you in half an hour early these days – it used to be a whole hour. Lots of discussion of numbers on BGG jerseys, and Why Is It So?

Regular readers will be unsurprised to hear that there’s also extensive discussion of potato spirals. Also the Hungarian things that sound a bit like funnel cakes. And chocolate Döner? It’s nearly 4am and I am getting hungry.

On which note, good night all. See you tomorrow!

About Melissa

Melissa lives in Melbourne, Australia, where she plays games with her husband Fraser and their two adult daughters. She works as a lecturer in Human-Computer Interaction and researches tabletop games. Find out more about her research at
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4 Responses to Essen by Proxy: News from the Livestream (Saturday, part 2) (Melissa Rogerson)

  1. Dale Yu says:

    The wrap up section was clearly the best EVAR

  2. huzonfirst says:

    Ah, I’ve missed your reports from Essen, Melissa! But this is almost as good.

    My group has ordered Papa Paolo, so hopefully I’ll be able to try it soon. Also, I’ve played the prototype of the Coal Baron Card Game and it’s good; it actually feels deeper than the original. It uses the same worker placement mechanic as the boardgame. It’s very well constructed, just as you’d expect from K&K.

    Can’t wait to see that demo by Moritz of First Class!

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