RogerBW's Blog

Essen 2018 haul 06 November 2018

This post is about what I brought back from Essen – as well as some things I'd been thinking about but ended up not buying.

Railroad Ink / Horrible Games - found for a good price, about half current UK retail; bought.

V-Commandos / Triton Noir - bought, with some extra bits free. (Most publishers don't sell much below retail at Essen, but they will throw in extras.)

Flamme Rouge + Peloton + Méteo / Lautapelit - bought, from Stronghold Games so that I could use my demonstrator's games allowance.

Colt Express Bandits (6 mini-expansions) / Ludonaute - bought, and was paid a huge compliment when the French sales lady was amazed I wanted them en Anglais.

Wibbell++ / Stuff by Bez - after a strong recommendation from Board Games In Bed, I tried the core game (with Bez in person), and bought the deck.

An unexpected discovery: Human Punishment, a social deduction game in a post-Rampancy world. Three factions, changing loyalties, lots of variability; all the things I like. Yes, there's player elimination, but I get the feeling that once one player is eliminated the game is likely to end soon anyway. Bought.

Exodus Paris Nouveau / Indie Boards & Cards - not perfect but jolly good. Bought with demonstrator allowance.

Shogunate / Indie Boards & Cards - effectively free to me. Looks intriguing; will see if it works. Bought with demonstrator allowance.

Kodama Duo / Indie Boards & Cards - free ex-demo copy.

Senators / Indie Boards & Cards - my ib&c game of the show. Bought with demonstrator allowance.

Darwinning / Dragon Dawn - Kickstarter pickup.

Realm of Sand / EmperorS4 - had a quick demo, bought.

Dice Hospital / Alley Cat Games - Kickstarter pickup.

The Networks: Executives + More Executives + On the Air / Formal Ferret - bought. I love this game.

Not Alone / Geek Attitude Games - traded for this, which I've been after for a while.

NMBR 9 / Abacus Spiele - traded for this, a second copy so that I can have 8-player games.

Things which were on my list to look at but I didn't buy, because they weren't available or because I didn't want them:

Lift Off / Hans im Glück - a good theme and effective 1950s-style presentation, but seemed like very basic gameplay.

Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig / Bézier Games - after a short demo, it seemed to lose the fun of Castles without gaining the fun of Between Two Cities.

Architects of the West Kingdom / Renegade - lots of pre-show buzz, but in the end the one innovative mechanic (you can steal other players' workers) wasn't enough to overcome the heavy-worker-placement baggage, at least for my taste.

Project L / Boardcubator - from the makers of Space Race. Highly enjoyable small puzzle game; will buy when it's available.

Shards of Infinity + Relics of the Future / Ultrapro - nice ideas but the presentation was so slick I couldn't get any sense of the game.

Rolling Ranch / ThunderGryph - not visible; may not be available yet.

Rallyman GT / Holy Grail Games - OK, the time trial mode that made original Rallyman great will be relegated to an expansion, but they're definitely getting the system to work for simultaneous racing.

Men At Work / Pretzel Games - probably great fun, but expensive and I wouldn't get to play it often enough to justify the cost and space in my collection.

Treasure Island / Matagot - might be good but too big and expensive, and has an odd feeling of being just Captain Sonar version 2. Will wait for more reviews and a lower price before thinking about it again.

The Captain is Dead: Lockdown / AEG - apparently not for sale? Or out of stock? Nobody seemed to know.

Scorpius Freighter / AEG - interesting, but not for €50 without much more information than I could get from a quick play-through.

Atlandice / Ludonaute - nice ideas but didn't look interesting/different enough from games I already own.

Planet / Blue Orange - great gimmick (tiling a dodecahedron with pentagonal magnetic pieces) but that was all; the rest of the game was pretty dull.

Magic Maze Hidden Roles / Sit Down! - only in beta, and while I love this game I know only one other person who likes it (hi Nick). I somehow don't think a traitor mechanic would work in a solo game.

Grifters: Nexus / Indie Boards & Cards - I knew I wanted this one so I backed the Kickstarter some months ago; it might not have been ready for this show. As it happened, it was, and I could have paid less. Interesting variation on the original game, and I think there's some potential for careful mixing of the two. (Still waiting for my Kickstarter copy to arrive.)

Sub Terra / Inside the Box - wanted to consider this, but the only version I saw for sale was the huge expensive-looking box. I may have missed a vendor with the smaller version, though.

Expedition Zetta / Ion Game Design - it's as big and long and complicated and expensive as I'd feared. Lovely ideas, but no.

Blood on the Clocktower / Pandemonium Institute - will definitely be buying this when it's available; one of the designers admired my beard. All right, I did play a (prototype) game too; and our team lost, but we all had a great time. Needs an active game master, and embraces that need by making them a significant participant, rather than shoving the job off to an app or simple rules engine.

Arraial / Mebo - it's Tetris. "So is Realm of Sand", you say. No, this is really Tetris in board game form. Not for me.

Warpgate / Wolff Designa - looks good, but big and slow and complex. And I have Star Trek Ascendancy.

Star Scrappers Cave-In / Hexy - seemed as though they drew game mechanics out of the zeitgeist until they had enough, then pasted on a theme. Meh. Pretty though; Hexy is also a game manufacturer and it's a good advertisement for what they can do.

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