Essen Spiel

BGC in Essen Spiel 2013 – Day One (24/10) in Essen Spiel 2013 – Day One (24/10) Morning
By jack208

ESSEN SPIEL 2013.’s back to Essen for this 4-day SPIEL and this report covered the morning session of Day One where we checked out games like Patchistory, Caverna, Origin, Expedition NorthWest Passage, Concept, Coal Baron before we paused for our lunch break.


The month of October again saw in the town of Essen for the annual board game convention SPIEL (Internationalen Spieltage) for the 2nd time after 2012.

Check out our The Day Before (2012) sessrep for some tips on getting around Essen.


We’d dropped into Paris a week earlier for our usual Europe walkabout before the hardwork starts in Essen. To find out what we did in Paris, read our Running in Paris sessrep.

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We made the trip from Paris over to Essen on Wed 23/10, taking the THALYS and arriving in good time and duly checked into our accommodation at Moevenpick.

We’d stayed at the Inter-City last year but switched to Moevenpick Hotel this time. It’s much nearer to the U-Bahn station and just a throw away from the Post Office (which is where we send off all our loots!)

121017 Essen Spiel 2012 - The Day Before

We met up with Kaz (aka Kareem), Colin and his designer fren Derick who’s here to show some prototypes to publishers. Wandered around Essen before settling for dinner at one of the cafes.

Colin suggested we start-off with some pre-Essen gaming and said he already has his copy of CONCORDIA – the latest Rondel game from Mac Gerdts – with him. That’s an invitation we can’t resist! LOL

Moevenpick has upgraded ours to the larger Deluxe room so there’s some space for us to set up a 4-player session (after our 5th player waiyan opted out as she wanted to do an early nite).

First look at the CONCORDIA board raised our expectations though we did struggle a little with the scoring rules (we were reading the rules as we go – since Colin only received the game today).


The “Rondel” in the game.. the personality cards you can play – and rotate thru until you play the Tribune card.

Post-note: I’d asked Mac – when I met him at Spiel later – if the cards are indeed the “rondel” of this game, and he smiled, gave me some explanation but didn’t actually answer my question direct.


The sushi-like track where you can buy more Specialist cards to add to your starting deck of Personality cards to tailor your deck towards your own engine. Liked this engine – which is not present in Mac’s other rondel games – however the catch is that you may not know which specialist cards to get until you understand the end-game scoring (which is the more complex among all his rondel games).

Post-note: Concordia remained as the strong #1 contender in the Fairplay awards until the very last minute when it was trumped by Russian Railroad. We were glad we played one of this Essen’s finest on our Day Zero!

More pics from our Day Zero Concordia gaming here



Usually we do not “rush” to the convention hall early in the morning (having secured our tickets earlier) but this time, we’ve a “mission”! We were off early and already waiting outside the convention hall with the crowd before official opening hours.


As gates opened and we were slowly ushered in, Kaz spotted the crew from and not wanting to miss a photo opportunity, here we go.


This is Kaz’s first trip to Essen so it’s all smiles!


Our customary shot with the Cliquenaband crew as well.



As we made a beeline for the other end of the exhibition hall (remember: our mission!), came across this impressive Phantom of the Opera poster at the Hurrican booth.

Note: We were early – and went in before the mainstream crowd – hence you’ll see empty booths in some of our photos.


We also passed by the CONCEPT booth. All set up. Waiting for its first players.


The TAKENOKO Collectors Edition all stacked up, ready for customers to pick them all up! Except us. LOL.


CAPPUCCINO from Matagot’s booth.


Finally we arrived at Mission rendezvous point (above)….


… and already a crowd was forming the queue. Gosh… 50 units only?

While waiting for the publisher to bring the err… 50 units to hand-out to the already sell-out queue, I wandered around the nearby booth for some snaps.


An interesting way for a designer to promote his (or her?) games. At the Korean Pavilion booth.


As a POWER GRID fan myself, I stopped for a while at 2F-Spiele booth to have a quick chat with one of the helpers who seemed very knowledge to the design ideas behind these two maps – Australia and India. Always interesting when you get to chat about designs with them. Makes you appreciate the game at a different level.

And yes of course, I bought a copy of these maps for the OTK Library.


Didn’t manage to wander too far when I was called back… the SALE has started!! Anti-climax though… all sold out within 30 minutes.


This chap got the “last copy” of PATCHISTORY! Bravo!


Err… unboxing madness? šŸ˜›


When you come so far and lined up so early for a limited copy, you need to get the designers’ signature on your copy!


Me & Kaz both happy campers! To read my full sessrep for the first play of PATCHISTORY in Malaysia, check out our BGC Meetup Report 4/11/13.

We also picked up a few likely-sold-out stuff mostly Korean games (Lectio Black), and those from Japon (which always sell out every year!)



Beside checking out designers’ latest Euro games, Essen Spiel is also a good time to shop for that OOP games you wish to add to your library. Plenty of retail and speciality stores everywhere.


We stopped by the CHESSEX booth early this year as we’ve some requests from gamers for special dice.


CHESSEX: It’s FUN to deal with these guys



One of the early booths we stopped by LOOKOUT, to take a peek at CAVERNA and why it’s so special as to be known as replacing Agricola.


At this time, the halls were starting to fill up with gamers. Most of them would just seat themselves at any table with games they fancy… and started reading rules on their own.


waiyan @ Caverna. That mule didn’t look too pleased with waiyan, it seems. hehe.


CAVERNA – all laid out and ready for you to play



This – KARNICKEL – was an interesting game (also from Lookout) – but we didn’t stay to learn it. Perhaps next Spiel (ie this year’s 2014) we should spend a bit more time on the lesser known games.

Note: The game was displayed on the SHRIMP table but it’s not the Shrimp game from Asmodee / Blue Orange.


Above: Hmm.. snapped this in the Lookout booth but can’t ID the game. :S




GLASS ROAD at Feuerland’s booth. This is Uwe’s second game in 2013 (beside Caverna).


But I think what’s on the wall was the more interesting game from Feuerland – TERRA MYSTICA, the hit from 2012’s Spiel, and i still think a solid game contending with 2013’s crop. We managed to grab the 2013 Essen promo (town tiles) for this game.


Matagot’s booth was next. They’ve four new titles in 2013 – Origin, Expedition: Northwest Passage, Corto and Cappuccino.




This game looks smart and pretty, but alas I think unless one is familiar with theme, you can’t get into the game.


This game appeared abstract – but it’s not – and looked one of the stronger games in Matagot’s new line-up. Apparently one of our past OTK gamers who’s based in Shanghai now has had the opportunity to playtest this game, and liked it.


They brought out a giant sized ORIGIN at Spiel and here’s (below) a picture of the giant set with human players next to it for size comparison. šŸ™‚


This game was indeed a hit, and has been one of the more frequently played games in OTK from this 2013 Essen batch. In fact, if one of our OTK regulars is present in OTK, you can bet he’ll bring this game out to the table. tsk tsk.


There’s not much “race” games especially one involving ships so this one looked promising. It’s based on a real event of an expedition led by Sir John Franklin back in 1845. This game was first released as a PnP back in 2010 before Matagot picked it up as one of their 2013 titles.


We played this in our BGC Retreat 2013 – I didn’t – so I’m definitely keen to get this to the tables when we come around to recapping Retreat Game Three theme nite at OTK.



Of the four Matagot 2013 titles, two were arguably medium or light-medium, and Cappuccino was the game to fill the light category.


Rather big box for a light game but that’s becoz it has to keep all those nice coffee cups.


In this game, your objective is simply to stack your coffee cup on top of others – and avoid getting stacked on. At the end of the game, all the coffee cups under yours (if you are still on top) counts as your points.


It’s a really simple game to teach – under 3 min – and quick to play (I think most sessions we’ve done were not longer than 30 min) and while the game is deemed light, it can be tremendously cut-throat… haha.

Evoked similar feelings to HEY! THAT’S MY FISH.


TAKENOKO was a 2011 release and in 2013 Matagot decided to release a Collectors Edition with large-size miniatures, obviously capitalizing on the cute factors of the game’s minis.


The minis are much larger than the stock ones that came with the standard game, and everything came nicely packed in a sturdy wooden box. You can see the “naked” box at the top right of the above picture – or in one of the earlier pics we shown where the Takenoko CE boxes were all stacked on the floor in front of the Matagot booth.


They were also very finely detailed and fully painted. If you love the smaller minis that came with the game, you would certainly fall all over for these.


Matagot also had this much larger PANDA figures for sale. And no, they won’t fit with the game, even with the larger Collector Edition set. Purely for display. Not cheap. If not mistaken, I think they were selling for EU80.


Waiyan posing with the Collector Edition box set. This gives you an idea how large the CE box is.

image has picked up some cases of Matagot’s 2013 titles (above) as pre-orders for our customers. If you wish to follow our pre-orders, do follow our Marketplace forum here.


Also seen in Matagot’s booth was the expansion to allow creatures cross-over between CYCLADES and KEMET. An interesting expansion.



Paper faces on parade… every face a different shade

Without doubt, one of the hottest genre in 2013 was the party deduction game where each player is given a role; mostly random and they called on each other’s bluff based on their hidden role card.


Coup, Love Letters and from Repos Production we now have MASCARADE. Supporting up to 13 players and having pretty game components, do check this out if you are into the current genre of party bluffing games.


btw some equate this party bluffing game with Werewolf & Mafia. To me, they are two very different genre even though bluffing is the main theme of the games.


When we first drew eyes on CONCEPT, we saw how it’s different from most Euros – or rather the more recent bland of VP sushi Euro games.


Using symbols, cubes and icons to allow players to form the concept (hence the title) to guess the item in a hidden card. Not unlike Win, Lose or Draw except here you do not draw but try putting together symbols & icons to lead others to make the guess.


The CONCEPT board where players attempt to draw leads out of the hidden card.


But what attracted us most is the giant CONCEPT set up on a whiteboard where this fella enticed passers-by to play the game.

And it worked!


Awesome fella… his energy certainly carried the CONCEPT forward.

Travelling Gamers

Oh.. we often stumbled into visitors here dragging along their luggage bags! In some business conferences, it probably meant these peeps just got off the airport. In Spiel, I bet the luggage bags were empty bags dragged in to carry their loots away… LOL.



One of the last booths we visited before lunch break. EGGERTSPIELE has two releases we were tracking ie COAL BARON and ROCOCO. Eggertspiele was a name I first heard back in 2005 when they published the first (of many) Rondel games made it’s appearance as ANTIKE.


We’d pre-ordered our Collector Edition of COAL BARON (known as Gluck Auf in german) so were not rushing here to pick that up. We did bring some copies for Essen Preorders but those were the standard edition published by R&R Games.


Selling prices and promo packages from Eggertspiele from their Essen booth. The difference between the standard & Collector edition is their wooden box (for EU18).



A real COAL at the Eggertspiele booth!


da man at the Eggertspiele booth collecting your moolah when you make purchases.


A picture of the COAL BARON game board set up for play. This is the German version (Gluck Auf) from Eggertspiele. The English version is from R&R Games.


No pictures taken of the ROCOCO game except waiyan’s posing with their large poster! šŸ˜›




We passed by Ludocom and saw one of their older releases (2012) COLUMBA, looked interesting but we didn’t stop to take a closer look.


… and then lunch break.


Next, we’ll give you the roundup of what we covered in our Afternoon session for Day One of our Essen Spiel trip last year (2013).

Meantime feel free to check out all our pics from Day One of Essen Spiel 2013


BGC Essen Spiel 2013

  • Spiel 2013 – Day One 24/10 Morning
  • Spiel 2013 – Day One 24/10 Afternoon
  • Spiel 2013 – Day Two 25/10 Morning
  • Spiel 2013 – Day Two 25/10 Afternoon
  • Spiel 2013 – Day Three 26/10
  • Spiel 2013 – Day Four 27/10

Related reads

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