RogerBW's Blog

Essen 2016 03 November 2016

In mid-October I went once more to Internationale Spieltage SPIEL, or "Essen" as it's generally known in the boardgaming world.

Although I'd tried to reserve it at the beginning of June, I wasn't able to get into the Bredeney this time, so I ended up in the Atlantic Congress Hotel just next to the show grounds.

They were very firm about parking.

Breakfast was OK, though very peppery; not as good as the Bredeney's. There was a bloke who would cook you an omelette to order, which is great, except he was also in charge of the fried eggs, which meant constant queues.

The Messe is being expanded again, and construction work was going on as I arrived:

I love the pre-show atmosphere: working to get things ready and make sure all the bits are in the right place, but nobody's here unless they really love games.

Thursday morning. The hordes assemble.

The galleria, mostly used for things for young children (and food vendors).

Huge amounts of terribly expensive wooden marble-run blocks.

Fantasy Flight, i.e. Asmodée, demo area. (No sales here.)

Some new fantasy thing from FFG: extending the dial concept to more conventional wargaming.

More Asmodée demo area (it was Z-Man's booth last year).

But all the actual sales of Asmodée-published games were in two small shop areas, which didn't have most of their products - no Dead of Winter, no Cosmic Encounter

Giant Captain Sonar board.

I got a 3d6 ring from Crit Success. Since they're in the USA, returning it if I'd bought on-line and it didn't fit would have been a pain.

Some sort of Shut-the-Box variant.

Very pretty Go sets.

Female representation: we've heard of that.

Sheep seemed to be something of a theme.

and later on…

Yes, really.

Hand-made wooden tops.

Apparently, in this game, He shuffles cards.

This is a booth. Honest. (He did get some better tables later. I suggested tatami instead, since the game is about learning Japanese, but they weren't available locally.)

All the juggler could want, apparently.

Nice heavy metal coins. (At €1 each a bit rich for my taste.)

An upcoming game where you assemble aircraft and load passengers onto them; sort of Ticket-to-Ride-ish.

Home-made mead and absinthe.

I spent much of my time demoing for Indie Boards & Cards, as last year. This time it was mostly Grifters, in which you play a crime lord, building up your gang and trying to end up with the most money, and Don't Mess with Cthulhu, a hidden-role social deduction game with very quick setup.

The Essen subway system.

And a random building on Martinstraße.

There are lots of wargames from this Czech company.

Quite a few boardgame production houses had stands showing what they could do. (Mostly from eastern Europe, some from China as in previous years.)

Not even slightly game-related.

All kinds of wooden toys.

Cookie cutters (not a game).

Boardgame-related jewellery.

Giant jigsaw.

3-D jigsaws.

This map is vital (well, the left half of it anyway). Keep it in your head at all times.

Discount box-shifters. Quite a few of these this time.

Including one selling Leaving Earth!

Perfect Crime, coming soon from Grublin Games: you have various tools with which to rob a bank, and can choose your approach, either trying to be subtle or having a shootout with the cops. So pretty much Payday the boardgame, only unlike Payday you can try to be subtle.

Kepler-3042: resource management among the stars.

Small Star Empires: a bit like Hey, That's My Fish except with interstellar colonisation instead of penguins.

Custom editions of soft drinks.

Red7 being demonstrated on a giant touchscreen.

Finally it's out in a European edition.

Um, isn't the black sun in German associated with dodgy Nazi occultism? Guess not.

Pretty game tables. (All the makers seem now to have settled on the idea of a recessed boardgaming surface which can be covered without putting the game away.)

A lovely portable painting station.



Pens and leather-covered notebooks.

Quartermaster General: 1914

Match your missing meeple (or buy for game prototyping).

No idea about the game, but I like the art.

Apparently triathlon is the trendiest sport. Apparently this is a good thing.

Hey, maybe some of these foreigners haven't heard what a terrible employer we are!

Terribly custom dice. (Somewhat hard to read, I think.)

Really! They are!

Switzerland is clearly more exciting than I had imagined.

The Catan Bus in the boardgames library.

Never mind the game - I want that tablecloth!

O…K then.

Giant Flick 'em Up.

That seems like rather too much text to stick on a single card. But what do I know?

Dodgy second-hand paperbacks, hurrah! (Mostly in German, but the German equivalent of me needs this sort of place too.)

Obscure dice and other thingies.

Apparently you aren't anywhere as an anime series unless you have your own trading card game.

The dodgiest-looking booth in the entire show. (Not the cheapest, just the dodgiest.)

Last Friday: summer-camp survival horror.

I don't even want to know what the game is about. The name alone is beautiful.

The Magic-dealers. I don't have a formal objection to their existence, just a general distaste.

Mailboxes Etc. took a booth, so that you could ship your show purchases straight home.

I know people who will love this, and if it's a good game so much the better.

New printing of classic Escape from Colditz – de-swastika-ed so that it can be sold in Germany, but still the same over-complex and ambiguous rules, alas.

A Dog's Life. You're… a dog, I think, doing dogly things.

Wargaming bits complete with dry ice.

Sunday evening. We start to strike the booth.

The final haul.

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  1. Posted by Michael Cule at 11:47am on 03 November 2016

    What's the big box in the bottom right?

  2. Posted by RogerBW at 11:52am on 03 November 2016

    Big Damn Crate, for storing Firefly - it comes flat-packed, and I need to stain it before I assemble it.

  3. Posted by Owen Smith at 02:15pm on 03 November 2016

    "No Reverse Parking" - what do they count as reverse parking? No use of reverse gear at all, both to get into and out of a parking space seems unlikely but I can't think what else they mean. Maybe it wasn't translated accurately from the German?

  4. Posted by RogerBW at 02:22pm on 03 November 2016

    They want the vehicle nose-in to the parking space (facing the wall).

    There's actually plenty of room in that garage, so I don't know why they regarded this as important. I suppose that if I'd reversed in and left space to get things out of the boot the car would have stuck out further from the wall.

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