Shortly after Essen, I host a small weekend event where my game groups gather and play all of the titles I brought back from Essen. This is our fifth year hosting, and I call it Essen West, although we’ve looped it into a small gaming convention at the Lake of the Ozarks in mid-Missouri called 5C.
We have a big rating spreadsheet, and everybody rates games on a 1-4 scale (similar to the OG scale), though everybody is also allowed to give one 5 to their favorite game.
So what were the most popular games?
The two winners of what we call the Essen West Prize were Die Crew and Silver. This was the first year we had a tie in the voting. (And in many ways, this is a three-way tie, as we grouped Silver and Silver Bullet for voting purposes.) To win, a game had to have more than five ratings.
Attendees loved the fast-paced and engaging gameplay of Silver and Die Crew. For Die Crew, players thought the different challenges presented novel and interesting takes on trick-taking. For Silver, gamers loved the interactivity of the game, and they preferred Silver over Cabo, which also had solid ratings.
Our game group trends lighter in tastes, and they have a pretty good track record of predicting big game awards at our post-Essen event, with previous favorites Just One and Azul going on to do great things. So best of luck to Die Crew and Silver in the coming year.
Rounding out the top 5 were: Glen More II, Letter Jam, and First Contact.
You can often tell favorite games by who gets the “5” votes. (Although many attendees don’t rate games, and even more don’t give a “5” vote.) Here are the list of games receiving one, listed in order of how many they received:
- Silver (5)
- Letter Jam (3)
- Azul: Summer Pavilion (2)
- Die Crew (1)
- First Contact (1)
- Glen More II (1)
- Obscurio (1)
One of the bigger surprises of the weekend to me was Nova Luna. I thought it’d be highly rated, but it ended up getting slightly better than a 3 rating on average. It was, however, one of the most-played games.
The highest rated expansion was the Ganz schon clever: Challenge I sheets.