Essen Spiel

BGC Spiel 2014–Day One (Hall 3)

Boardgamecafe.net in Essen Spiel 2014 – Day One (16/10) @ Hall 3
By jack208

EXCERPT
ESSEN SPIEL 2014. Boardgamecafe.net’s 3rd iteration at the international boardgame convention saw us visiting familiar – yet new – grounds and meeting up with designers, gamers & friends; old & new. Here’s a drive-thru of the first morning of our Spiel 2014 adventure.

THE CASTLE OF THE MAD KING LUDWIG

As it’s customary with our pre-Essen trips, we took a short detour to do a 10K race in Europe. In 2012 it was Berlin. Last year was Paris (see Running in Paris here). This year, we decided to hop over to Munich to run in the 10K Lauf (Race) which was part of the Munich Marathon.

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For more about CK’s run in the Munich 10K Lauf, check out his runrep.

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After the race, we went on a day trip on Tue to Schloss Neuschwanstein, which is the magnificent castle in Hohenscwangau that inspired not just Walt Disney but lately also gave ideas for Ted Alspach with his 2014 boardgame “Castles of Mad King Ludwig”.

Our transit from Munich to Essen was on the Wed of the Spiel week, arriving in the afternoon, quickly checking into Movenpick Hotel (which has now become our defacto hotel) and then set up to meet Kaz (who arrived earlier in the day) for dinner. Last year we’d Game Zero on Wed but this year, we decided on just dinner and lepak-ing around Essen before calling an early night.

POWER CORRUPTS, GRID-FULLY & GLEEFULLY

Last year we were doing the mad early morning rush into the Mese Hall as we needed to secure one of the 50 limited copies of PATCHISTORY (read about our sessrep on this awesome & unique Civilization game from Korea). This year, our mission was less epic but no less important – the POWER GRID DELUXE edition released this year to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Friedemann Friese’s classic economy game.

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Above: The massive stock of the deluxe edition of POWER GRID available at 2F-Spiele’s booth. However only 200 copies of the English version were brought to Essen. The rest were the German Funkenschlag edition.

Note: Boardgamecafe.net had organized a Power Grid Tournament back in 2011. That’s how much we love this game!

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This is how (above) the new deluxe edition board and components looked like. The game is not just a component/board upgrade but does feature some new rule changes. We’ve not yet got the chance to open this in OTK yet so can’t comment whether the rule changes improve the game.

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Alrite, after having successfully secured our copies we can now move on to the other more mundance stuff of covering the games & booths in Messe Halls. This year’s Spiel was spread over three halls (Hall #1 – #3) and with Hall #3 being the largest in terms of space and presence, we decided to start our Day One in Hall 3.

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Every year, there’s this bunch of Power Grid promo cards available from the 2F-Spiele store for a simple donation of EU1 (min) per card.

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We swung by Numbskull Games booth to say Hi to Dietmar Gottshick, one of the Numbskull gamers who promised to walk me thru one of their games BLOCKADE RUNNERS, which I’d spotted last year and taken some interest in.

p/s We became good Facebook friends after Dietmar read my sessrep on LA GRANJA, one of the Essen 2014 titles that he also enjoyed & liked. It’s amazing how the Internet and Facebook allowed us to connect and make friends even though we are so far away distance wise.

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The other early search was for a copy of “1911 Amundsen vs Scot” a 2-player race game with themes similar to K2 or Lewis & Clark, the latter being one of my fave games from last year’s Essen. It’s a very small box game, and one I hope I’ll be able to get to the table & play with wifey. I missed this when it was released and when I was informed there’s very limited copies – like 40 – left for Essen 2014, we quickly earmarked the booth for a Day One morning visit.

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Saw an interesting banner at the Asylum Games booth (where I picked up my copy of Amundsen vs Scott). They’ve a BoardgameStarter banner which advertised them as something like a Kickstarter Fulfilment service providers for designers with one-off project. Interesting to note the boardgame industry is starting to see this type of fulfilment services which is meant to introduce a professional approach to ensure indie designers are able to bring their games to the market successfully.

HALL 3 MAIN PLAY AREA

Very much like last year, they’ve put most of the big boys in Hall 3 and have set up a large play area right in front of the main entrance to Hall 3 where you can get to see and/or play most of the hot titles. Not sure how one gets their game into this area – perhaps a sponsored booth? – but the games highlighted here surely got the first impression from the thousands of visitors streaming into the Messe Halls every hour.

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Let’s have a quick look to see what are the games covered in this Main Play Area of Hall 3.

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Asmodee setting up the chairs for their latest WEREWOLVES OF MILLER HOLLOW edition. I counted 16 chairs. Looked like a good number for a fabulous Werewolf session.

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SKULL (from Asmodee) a bluffing game similar to Liar’s Dice but played using the large cards. This game is called Skull & Roses in other editions.

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Zman’s revised edition of their classic co-op PANDEMIC always a hit in Essen. This year, they are releasing two spin-offs, PANDEMIC THE CURE (a dice version of this game) and PANDEMIC CONTAGION (a card version). Did not see these two new Pandemics at this area but do watch out for our first impression of Pandemic the Cure in the next write-up.

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We started to notice the obvious preference for large demo sets in this Main Play Area in HALL 3. Eg Zman has placed one giant-sized Pandemic demo set complete with a scientist from CDC Atlanta. 😛

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Giant over-sized cards and large meeples + virus cubes complement the giant demo set. If only they sell these sets…

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This is ARTIFICIUM (above) – a card-driven development game – from a Russian indie publisher. We were initially surprised how it got into the Main Play Area (since we thought this area featured games mostly from large / major publishers) until we were informed by Asmodee they now carry this game in USA and possibly other countries.

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Martin Wallace’s MYTHOPIA – his other 2014 title is ONWARD TO VENUS – both card games. And both – I understand – were selling briskly at his Treefrog booth.

And sigh, still no signs of MOONGHA INVADERS spotted. We checked every nook & crook of the Messe Halls. Tak’ada la, Allen.

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Kaz observed this year is the year of DICE and even before Spiel, we already have a number of board-to-dice conversion – and I’ve to say they are all successfull converts (so far) – such as Bang!, Zooloretto, and VivaJava. It’s not surprising other publishers were quick to jump into the same wagon and we can expect to see Pandemic (their dice version is now as The Cure), and NATIONS following suit with NATIONS THE DICE game.

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Above: Nation the Dice game with their custom dice. Likewise for Pandemic the Cure.

One reason you would love these board-to-dice conversion is the beautiful custom dice that come with the game. They don’t just throw in some generic D6; these are custom-made with the game’s unique symbols or icons.

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The 2nd edition (reprint) of CA$H N GUN$ was another hotly anticipated titles for this year. A different artwork, still featuring cut-out cardboard token but with a different gun design. I think the black-yellow gun in the new edition looks cool.

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Above: Players loading their guns and ready to call each other’s bluff in a session of CA$H N GUN$.

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REPOS with SAG’S MIR! which is the German version of TIME’S UP (from Asmodee).

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The latest addition to Antoine’s popular 7 WONDERS, the BABEL expansion. This should add some weight to the gameplay but whether it makes 7 Wonders a better or less appealing game remains to be seen.

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More giant-sized demo set seen as we spotted TAKENOKO (not a new release for 2014 but being one of Asmodee’s top sellers, you would expect to see the game promoted here) and …

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RIVER DRAGONS (also not this year’s release) occupying really large tables!

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We also spotted one of our fave from 2013 – ORIGIN from Matagot – with yet another giant-sized demo set.

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CAPPUCCINO (above) was another game Matagot has choosen to be highlighted in this Main Play Area of Hall 3. This game plays surprisingly well as a 2-player game. It’s a cutthroat game though so not sure if it’s a good game to play with your other half. 😛

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DRAKERYS is slotted for a 2015 release but the designers have put up some playsets for gamers to test. Those minis looked great and appeared to be pre-painted.

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Unfortunately when I inquired, they told me the minis would come unpainted. 😛 Anyway I think it’s only mini-noob like me who would expect the miniatures to be pre-painted since a large part of the joy of buying a miniature-based game is to paint those minis yourself, no?

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Hmm.. I do remember this game as “Sun Tzu” but I can’t seem to find any reference for it in Boardgamegeek. It’s essentially a two-player game with some similarity to Battle Line but with a more expanded board play. The theme appeals to me but we didn’t pick up a copy as part of our Essen Loot since we should be able to pull this from the publisher soon.

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The geeks of the Essen Game world! Hmm… November is the month of Movember? 😛 He’s one gentleman who’s ahead of the time.

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FIVE TRIBES in play at Essen. This game need no fruther intro ya? Somehow it did not get the buzz as we would have expected but it’s still Days of Wonder’s top draw for this Essen. Until we came across…..

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We then stumbled upon this glass cabinet housing an impressive array of components and (unpainted) miniatures… of the SMALL WORLD universe!

The collector’s wooden box is huge, the largest I’ve seen even compared with Dungeon Lords Anniversary’s Paladin wooden box or Days of Wonder’s recent Ticket to Ride 10th Anniversary. This is HUGE! and therefore likely to be HEAVY (read: high shipping cost).

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This item was actually included as part of an add-on to the SMALL WORLD 2 (DIGITAL) Kickstarter but I suppose most might have missed it since the SMALL WORLD 2 Kickstarter was for a digital copy of the game with the Designer Edition available as an add-on to the Kickstarter pledge. Duh.

Days of Wonder did say a limited copy would be available for retail sales when it’s ready next year so do check our BGC Marketplace forum for announcement of our preorders.

The proper title for this item should be SMALLWORLD DESIGNER EDITION, and here’s a full list of what it should include:

  • 307 deluxe wooden tokens covering all races from the base game and its Cursed!, Grand Dames and Be Not Afraid expansions + the Lost Tribes
  • each race will comes in its own individual, lavishly illustrated box
  • the banners, special powers and markers that complement the deluxe tokens will all be heat-printed on wood, matching the tokens neatly
  • the victory coins will all be distinctive metal coins specially forged for Small World
  • the maps will be super-sized copies of Small World’s 2-5 player maps, and include a new 6 player map specially designed by Philippe Keyaerts
  • the Dragon, the Catapult, the 2 Heroes will all be represented by custom resin miniatures
  • the new “Pocket Encyclopedia” from the Kickstarter campaign

Are you starting to save money now? Well, Days of Wonder did describe this Designer Edition as a spare-no-expense version of SMAL WORLD. 😛

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FIELDS OF ARLE (above) was not in the Main Play Area but since Feuerland Games booth was just next to the Main Play Area, we took the opportunity to quickly swing by for some snapshots of this new 2-player from Uwe.

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Gameboard did look very busy and on initial glance, I’d mistaken this for a 4-player game (the fact there’s another 2 observers sitting next to the 2 gamers did not help). I’d thought maybe they changed the rule to accommodate four, but nope, on closer inspection it’s still a 2-player game (the other two gamers were just observers).

Will be interesting to see how this compares with Uwe’s other 2-player game this year ie PATCHWORKS which is released by Lookout Games (and distributed by Mayfair).

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This was how busy the Main Play Area at the front of HALL 3 looked like in the morning of Day One. And we’ve not even past 12 noon yet (local Essen time)!

GAME SHOPS IN HALL 3

Let’s turn our attention now to some of the game shops that were located in HALL 3. First one we came upon was Brummbar. They don’t really have a specific theme and seemed to sell mostly light to light-medium games.

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They’d friendly demo staff though and these three young peeps were more than happy to show us how to play GLOOBZ, one of 2014 titles from Gigamic. It’s a dexterity game along the lines of SPOT-IT.

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It’s inexpensive so we picked up a copy for use as Game Zero in our BGC Retreat this year.

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Here’s how most game shops in the Messe Halls are setup. Most of them do offer a discount on the retail price, even with 2014 releases. However most of the games are the German edition so you do need to check to make sure you are getting an English copy unless the game is language-independent.

Or you are in desperation-mode and even a German copy of PALACES OF CARRARRA will do la! 😛

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Pegasus Spiele with their (German-edition) retail copy of ROLL THROUGH THE IRON AGES. We’d the Kickstarter copy in stock and should be listing it in our webstore soon.

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This game shop has lots of small box games. So many variants of KAKER-LAKEN (the cockroach game). But waiyan – who’s our resident specialist in these type of games – said all cockroaches are the same wor… so we didn’t pick up any copy.

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There were also some shops selling non-boardgame items.

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CHESSEX is always an important stop for us as we picked up the special ESSEN SPIEL 2014 commemorative dice which we give away as door gift to our BGC Retreat participants. Oh how lucky!

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Those who came for last year’s Retreat had received the SPIEL 2013 commemorative dice so the 2014 dice would be another good addition for them.

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When we stopped by Feuerland Games to look at FIELDS OF ARLE, we couldn’t help but noticed sales of their TERRA MYSTICA: FIRE & ICE expansion were doing very well.

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Oh lookie… who’s the lucky dude with an early copy of TERRA MYSTICA FIRE & ICE expansion. I believe he also did the first play of this expansion in Malaysia last week. 🙂

SPIEL 2014 – DAY ONE MORE OF HALL 3

It’s still early days in our Spiel 2014 trip and HALL 3 is massively huge! Our next instalment would continue the coverage of our walk around HALL 3 on Day One. Stay tune….

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And if you have not yet read Kaz’s take on this Spiel 2014, check out his first part of the Kazzies Essen Spiel 2014 Awards which highlighted the hits & misses of this Essen from Kaz’s point of view.

Meantime feel free to check out all our pics from Day One of Essen Spiel 2014

 

BGC Essen Spiel 2014

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