James Nathan: Almost Essen

I’m not at Essen. Well, not yet. Tomorrow. Tomorrow I will be.

This is my first and likely only Essen.

Typically I don’t worry too much about pre-Essen planning until the show is over. My Essen planning is more like BGG.CON planning, and so I usually can wait on various first impressions before mis-importing something or mis-prioritizing which rules to read.

That also means I’m not typically as thorough and current on titles on the BGG preview. With the new tool this year, I eagerly awaited Gen Con to be over, and have been perpetually up to date (though often with incomplete information, and sometimes making a declatory judgment.)

With the timeline shifted, so has the intention. No longer is it wait to see what Doug is able to grab for the BGG.CON library and I might want to play in November, but, rather, what can I fit in my suitcase? What isn’t releasing contemporaneously stateside? What will I regret passing on? Can I play Finished! on my tray table on the way home?

So I’ve studied Dale’s posts from previous years, and have a game plan, a spreadsheet, maps, and a luggage scale.

Here are some of the maps.

OK, @OpinionatedEaters break.

I’ve spent the last week in Norway leading up to Essen. Here’s something I had while in Flåm- they listed mustard as a side it came with, and it was delicious.

It was sorta like a KitKat and sold everywhere, including the train from Oslo to Myrdal where I bought this one.

At Smallhans in Oslo, there’s only one dinner option from 4-6, and proceeds go to charity. This was two orders, and it was delicious.

This meatmarket is Oslo had reindeer meat, and something’s eyeball in the counter. If you look closely there are also a few hearts.

I bought this thing of minty water (it also has a few blueberries) at the airport in Oslo and have been refilling it. It stayed refreshingly minty for quite sometime, but I did have to prune a few leaves at one point.

I spent a few days before that in London, and had this bacon and egg naan one morning for breakfast.

Cone of fancy ham?

But, halfway back to the task at hand, board games were well represented in the history I enjoyed the last two weeks.

Here, for instance, from the Viking ship museum in Oslo is a game that was found in a burial site.

I also ate at an astonishing restaurant in Bergen that largely amounted to an 83 year old woman’s kitchen. Mrs. Bjelland didn’t speak English, and I don’t speak Norwegian, but she was very proud to be from Lofoten- the archipelago where Nusfjord is.

Royal Game of Ur and its “rules tablet”.

No game at first glance… but if we look a little closer:

Security guards had contemporaneously carved a Royal Game of Ur board into the base.

And a rare use of hieroglyphics outside of an escape room context.

I don’t currently have a game plan for the tactics of Essen. I think I know my first stop, but I’m not sure yet what’s second (and I lack the ability to just enjoy myself without there being a plan). I have a layover tomorrow in Copenhagen where I’ll probably try to flesh it out.

While walking around Bergen, I did run across an LGS. I don’t have one to speak of at home, and so it had been awhile since I’d been in one.

Much of the game selection at Outland in Bergen.

I hadn’t realized MegaCiv was a thing you could buy off of the shelf.

Individual Lego pieces by shape and color.

I was mesmerized by a 33,000+ piece jigsaw puzzle in a wooden crate with wheels around the corner, but then I found this 40,000+ piecer. (Walking to dinner I also saw this same puzzle in a bookstore window, so maybe I missed the jumbo-piece count puzzle craze of 2016?)

Speaking of bookstores, the titles at Outland largely did not seem localized. This copy of telestrations at a local bookstore did, but I found it interesting that it still uses the doggy bag example of the domestic edition.

OK, making a plan for breakfast. Tomorrow Essen.

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