Chris Wray: My Essen 2017 Most Anticipated List

Spiel (Essen) 2017 is less than two weeks away, and I’ve been reading rulebooks and combing through Eric Martin’s oh-so-amazing Spiel ’17 Preview on BGG.

As in past years, I’ll be doing coverage from the fair for The Opinionated Gamers and other media outlets. I do a post or two each day, offering quick reviews of games I’ve played and what’s hot at the convention. I also do (written) reviews of games in the weeks following Spiel.

Here’s what I’m looking forward to trying, maybe buying, and possibly reviewing in coming months.  I list promos/mini-expansions first, then full-sized expansions, and finally games.   



7 Wonders Cities Anniversary Pack and Leaders Anniversary Pack – I’m a big fan of 7 Wonders, and it is one of the few games in which I unleash my completionist tendencies.


NMBR 9 Extra Tiles and Starting Tiles – NMBR 9 is my most-played game of 2017 so far, and though these small promos don’t look like they’re going to change much mechanically, I’m still going to try to grab copies for me (and friends).



In November and December last year, I played 27 amazing games of Fabled Fruit.  Since then, I’ve been eagerly awaiting more Fabled Fruit, so hopefully this 2F/Stronghold release will satiate my craving for more fruits and juices.


My second most anticipated title of the entire convention is an expansion!  Power Grid is in my top 10 games.

I loved the “Fabled” system of Fabled Fruit. 2F is one of my favorite publishers, and Friedemann Friese is one of my favorite designers.  I’m eager to see how Friedemann introduces the Fabled concept into Power Grid.

I can hardly wait to give this a try!


I’m a huge Terraforming Mars fan, and the last expansion was excellent, so I’m excited to see Venus Next, which will be giving us new cards.

TTR France

I’m a Ticket to Ride completionist, and a huge fan of the series, so I was naturally looking forward to this, even before I started reading about it.

Now my excitement is at a peak: on the France Map, you’ll be choosing what colors the routes on the map will be.  That’s an exceptionally clever twist on the series, switching up one of the most fundamental TTR mechanics.

On the reverse side of the board (I presume), you’ll have the Old West map, which I haven’t studied, but that’s a theme that naturally works with train games.



DLP is one of those publishers where I’ve liked all of their games. Altiplano is their new bag-building game, in the style of Orleans. The game looks attractive, and the theme is clever, so I’m excited to try this one.


Behind the scenes here at OG, we have a rating spreadsheet where anybody who has played a game can rate it.  So far, Azul has great ratings, and Dale has already released his review, which praised the game.  I’ve preordered my copy, so I won’t be picking it up in Germany, but I want to get Azul to to the table ASAP.


A 2-player trick taking game from Scott Almes. I’m a trick taking fan, so naturally I’m intrigued.


I love worker placement, Stonemaier Games, and legacy-style games, so Charterstone is a must buy.


This is the latest trick taking game in the Wizard, Wizard Extreme, and Witches line from Amigo. It has a mechanic whereby you form a stack for each color and score the value of the topmost card (each suit goes from 1-12).  If you collect all five colors, though, you get negative points.  I’m expecting it to play similar to Null & Nichtig, a trick-taking game I really enjoy.


This was one of the most-praised games at the Gathering of Friends, but unfortunately, I didn’t get to try it.  The Opinionated Gamers that have tried it have really enjoyed it, and the artwork looks awesome to me, so I’m probably heading to eggerspiele to pick this one up.


Another Uwe Rosemberg title that has me intrigued!  (The other is Nusfjord, which is listed below.)  This is in a series with Cottage Garden, which I reviewed last year.


This is probably my most anticipated game of the convention. But sadly, Z-Man hasn’t even confirmed if they’ll be selling English copies there, so I may have to buy a German copy.

I tried an early prototype of this when it was called “Middle Ages” and loved it. It has the “micromovements” of Splendor, but it felt like it had really interesting decisions.

Come on, Z-Man, tell me you’re going to have this on hand!


I’ve heard this described as “wheel building,” so I’m intrigued. It looks beautiful. I flipped through the rulebook, and this looks both clever and deep.


I always buy Uwe Rosenberg’s titles, and Nusfjord will be no exception.  Plus, first impressions on BGG are pretty positive so far.


Bezier is one of my favorite publishers, and Castles of Mad King Ludwig is one of my favorite games, so I’m naturally excited to try this spinoff.  This might be the consensus most anticipated game in my game group, who are fanatics for Castles of Mad King Ludwig.


I’m a big fan of Kingdomino, so I’m eager to try the first spinoff.   My initial fear is that it’ll add complexity/time without adding much joy, but given the ability to mix this with Kingdomino (one of my favorite games of the year), I’m probably buying it either way.


A deduction game out of Asia. A fellow writer here (Lorna) that has tried it really liked it, and the first couple of ratings here on BGG are decent. Given my love of deduction games, this was a natural preorder for me.


I try most trick taking games that are released these days, but I kind of go in expecting mediocrity.  I’ve hyped VooDoo Prince in my mind, and that’s because of its designer: the legendary Reiner Knizia.  I’ve often enjoyed his card games, and I’m hoping VooDoo Prince lives up to how much I’ve hyped it in my mind.

That’s it!  My next post will be from Germany!

I’ll do one or two posts per day over there, reviewing what I play and offering thoughts on it each night.

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1 Response to Chris Wray: My Essen 2017 Most Anticipated List

  1. Pingback: Charterstone (Game Review by Chris Wray) (Spoiler Free) | The Opinionated Gamers

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