Essen by Proxy: News from the Livestream (Saturday, part 1) (Melissa Rogerson)

Scattered notes today, as games are demoed. I’m not sure what the timeframe is, but these video demos WILL be posted to Boardgamegeek so if a game sounds interesting please go and look it up. Continue reading

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Essen by Proxy: Wednesday to Friday (Melissa Rogerson)

Another October, another Essen … Thank goodness that Boardgamegeek is once again streaming game demos direct from the fair to keep all of us addicts feeling connected! It’s great to see the same people (and the same jokes about FLAGGO!) every year, and to welcome people who are new to the livestream.

I’ve not seen as much of the feed this year as I would have liked, due to teaching load / school concert / game night, not to mention needing to actually work on my research during the day, but I’ve caught the middle of the last couple of days. Tonight, I’m settled in the living room with the TV showing the feed, my MacBook showing the backchannel chat, a sofa blanket keeping me warm, and a good supply of snacks. Doing the feed properly requires planning. Continue reading

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Essen Day Two: What’s Hot, and What I Played, Plus Other Updates (Chris Wray)


This is my first big post of Essen 2016, as I spent a lot of time playing games today.  This posts covers several topics: (1) what’s hot, (2) the International Gamers Award ceremony, (3) pictures of jumbo games at Essen, and (4) scenes from the Messe.  Lastly, I cover four games I played today, including 7 Wonders Duel Pantheon, Cottage Garden, Eternity, and Fuji Flush. Continue reading

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7 Wonders: Duel wins a la carte award!

I know we’re all excited about the goings on at Essen.  But this is the time of year in which Fairplay announces the winner of the a la carte for the best card game of the year, so I wanted to spread the news.

Every year since 1991, the readers of Germany’s Fairplay magazine have helped choose the a la carte award.  The list of winners is long and prestigious; in my opinion, no other gaming award may have gotten it “right” so often.  In most years, there is a dominant card game and the a la carte unerringly picks it out.  This year, though, there were two outstanding, world class games played with cards:  SdJ winner Codenames and 7 Wonders: Duel, the acclaimed 2-player version of 7 Wonders.  In what is probably a mild upset, the award went to the latter game.  When the vote totals are released a bit later, I’ll be very curious to see how close this contest wound up being.  Congratulations to designers Antoine Bauza and Bruno Cathala, and consolations to Codename’s designer Vlaada Chvatil (who must be satisfied with the oodles of extra sales the SdJ brought him).

Here are the top 10 vote-getters, together with their designers.  I’ll follow the list up with some fun facts about each game.

  1. 7 Wonders: Duel  (Antoine Bauza, Bruno Cathala)
  2. Codenames  (Vlaada Chvatil)
  3. Die Holde Isolde  (Nicolas Poncin)
  4. Oh My Goods!  (Alexander Pfister)
  5. Die Fiesen 7  (Jacques Zeimet)
  6. Agent Undercover  (Alexandr Ushan)
  7. The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game  (Stefan Feld)
  8. Kobayakawa  (Jun Sasaki)
  9. 3 sind eine zu viel!  (Reinhard Staupe, Christoph Behre)
  10. Die Portale von Molthar  (Johannes Schmidauer-Konig)

Continue reading

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No Friday part 2 from Essen 

Walked around the halls for an hour.  My back is starting to get fired up so an early trip back to the hotel to drop off a load of games 

Walked back to the show with Eric Lang,  who is always full of funny stories. It sounds like he is working on a game that “is like Chess, but good” . Which is more likely just a way to get me to leave him alone. :) 

The first Fairplay sheet is up. Still no rankings 

And its very crowded for a Friday. Here is an example of one booth, IELLO at 1105. 

David parlett is in the house 

Jay Cormier standing alone 

Had a nice meeting with Pretzel Games.  I’m pretty excited about the plastic version of Flick em Up. $35 msrp, and the box is filled with bits – same quantity as in the wood version.  The plastic may actually Flick and topple better. Now I will await plastic Junkart. 
A new food to me. Kurtos kalacs. A Hungarian rolled pastry. Here it is in the oven. 

It’s like a cinnamon roll without the frosting. Yum. 

Now at 1pm, the International Gamers Awards takes over the BGG booths.  As a new jury member, this is the first time I’ve helped in the awarding.  

A bit hard to read. They’re still all wrapped up.  

Made a new potato convert this year. 

Clue: 1, yummy

Addendum. Look at the line! 

Gotta get there early 

Ok gotta go back to the room for a while to repack and see what the space situation is

Until your next appointment 

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Friday Morning at Essen

Just getting ready for breakfast. Spent a good portion of last night opening boxes, repackaging boards/cards, nesting boxes, and trying to get it to all fit in my cases.  I think that I have maybe 30 to 35 more pounds worth of weight before I’m done, though I haven’t done any drastic weight reduction measures yet.

I have a few meetings today to continue checking out the new games, and now that I know how much space/weight is left, I will be taking my time figuring out which of the new games makes the cut in the remaining weight limit.

This would also be a good time to give you my annual direction to  Frank Kulkmann’s blog – no one does Essen coverage quite like him during the fair itself.

I’ll try to write more this morning, but now it’s time for breakfast!

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Father in thE Messe 2016: day 1

The first time you enter in the Messe is something you can’t forget. Something you know will change your life for ever like the first day of school, the first kiss or the first time you eat Tortellini (for people from Modena something usually will happen around the first year of life).

Francesco first time was, as usual, a big “wow”, just entering the hall, than games games and games and than another “wow” for the first twisted potato.



Caterina is now attending a language high school and she is able to understand english rules and catch a bit of German and french too. Francesco doesn’t speak english but knows almost all the usefull words like “tank”, “hit”, “score”, “move”, “resources”, “card” and so on … so we are really ready to dive into the most hard core euros despite the fact that most of the demonstrators are considering us a typical casual family …

Continue reading

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Essen Day One: What’s Hot, Plus General Thoughts on Day One (Chris Wray)


As with my past coverage, I’ll be posting each night about (1) what’s hot, (2) what I played, and (3) general thoughts on the convention.  I didn’t get the chance to play any games today, but I did get 90+% of my shopping done, so I’ll spend the next three days playing games.  Unfortunately, that means I don’t have any snap reviews tonight.

Below I talk about what’s generating buzz, plus I walk through my experience buying Japon brand games.  If you didn’t see my post early this afternoon, I gave initial thoughts on the convention there, plus did a reveal of the DSP Goodie Box.   Continue reading

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Thurs at the fair 

Way too busy to write now. I will mostly have to let the pictures do the talking 

Lunch time. Spiral potatoes. 

We had killed brian’s step goal by lunch. I think we’re around 18,000 steps now 

Went back to the hotel twice. Here’s the loot stack for the day at 1500

More demos and meetings, so no writing now.  Perhaps tonight. But I might be busy punching and packing. For as slow as weds was yesterday, today has been packed with activity 

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Essen Day One: The Convention So Far, Plus the Morning Haul (Chris Wray)


A picture is worth a thousand words, so this will be a short post, mostly to update on what is hot so far at the convention.  I also crack open the 2016 DSP Goodie Box below.

By 10:30, the convention crowd was in full force.  While it is hard to tell what’s standing out — people haven’t had that much time to play the games — I do know what seems to be selling well.  Feuerland Spiele sold out of their English allotment of A Feast for Odin this morning, although Z-Man might still have some (I didn’t check).  Japon Brand’s games were as hot as ever (more on that tonight).  And Stronghold appears to be one of the most crowded booths, with several of its titles being high on people’s buy list.

Continue reading

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