Essen Spiel 2016 aftermath: Reviews incoming

Essen 2016 logoSo the wonderfully overwhelming and exhausting Essen Spiel is over for another year. It will take me a week to recover, but I’m already missing the mayhem – even if my body isn’t.

Below I revisit my pre-Essen top 10 wishlist, along with a giving a full list of what you can expect to be my next 20 or so reviews. I also list a few games I’m wanting to play that I didn’t manage to get to – but where I’ll find the time is beyond me…

I did of course come home with a copy of Armageddon, designed by David Thompson and myself, which seemed to go pretty well. I won’t be reviewing it (I may be a little biased…) but when I get some more post-show info I’ll give an update on it.

My Essen Top 10 – what didn’t come home with me

papa-paoloAfter taking a closer look at Papa Paolo (my pre-Essen list number 5), I decided against asking for a copy. The game looked OK, but those who I spoke to that had demoed it were unconvinced. I’ll keep an eye out for more reviews.

As I ran out of luggage space (see below…), I’d already tried to get a few minutes with Stephen Buonocore several times and failed. He was the man I needed to speak to about both Fabled Fruit (number 8) and Terraforming Mars (number 1 target), but he was so busy I just gave up. Friends grabbed both, so I’ll get to play them – plus they’ll be easy to get if I want them later.

Ave Roma (my number 7) sold out, while Area 51 (number 10) looked terribly disappointing – it had barely been upgraded from the pre-production version they’d sent me. Despite being promised a copy, I decided I could happily live without it – especially as none of my gaming groups had really warmed to it (despite me liking it).

On the expansions front, I asked for a copy of Deus: Egypt but it will be posted to me in the next few weeks. This seemed very strange – why do that when I’m standing right there? I guess that’s what happens when businesses get to a certain size – pointlessly haemorrhaging what is to them small change is less important than chain of command.

I had a good look at the Ancient Terrible Things expansion but it didn’t seem to offer much that I was desperate for (despite looking awesome). I’m happy with the base game, so didn’t feel this warranted a purchase right now – but I expect I’ll grab it later.

Post-Essen reviews incoming

great-western-trailThe few disappoints above were far outweighed by the good news.

Publishers Amigo, Blam!, Czech Games Edition, EmperorS4 Games, HUCH! & Friends, La Mame Games, LudiCreations, Pegasus Spiel, Pleasant Company and Queen Games were all very generous and provided the following for review:

  • Adrenaline
  • Crisis
  • The Dwarves: Duel
  • Eternity
  • Freaky
  • Gooseberry
  • Great Western Trail
  • The Oracle of Delphi
  • Planet Defenders
  • Risky Adventures
  • Snowblind
  • Touria
  • Tramways
  • Ulm
  • Unter Spannung (AKA: 7 ate 9)
  • X Nimmt

Oh my… Anyone fancy a games night? I’ll update this with links as I get the reviews up, but as I like to play things at least four to five times before reviewing it’s going to be a while before the first ones go live.

Expansions:

  • Celestia: A little Help
  • The Dwarves: Saga, Combined Might & New Heroes

In case you think I didn’t put my hand into my moth-eaten wallet at all over Essen week (except when stuffing my face or drinking), I did buy the small expansions for ConcordiaNavegador and New York 1901. I doubt they’ll be big enough to merit reviews though, but if they are I will do so.

What I’m also wanting to play: The Top 3

in-the-name-of-odinRhodes, Lorenzo the Magnificent and In the Name of Odin were all on my ‘best of the rest’ list, just outside my Essen Top 10 – and again, they would’ve been the next three games I would’ve picked up if I’d had some more luggage space.

I got a short demo of Rhodes and enjoyed it – a tight, interactive worker placement game that plays in an hour.

Lorenzo the Magnificent looked great but once I knew a friend had a copy, I knew I’d rather wait until later to play: if it’s as good as it looks, I’ll be happy to buy a copy later down the line.

As for In the Name of Odin, I just couldn’t get past the alarm bells that went off every time I went near it. Overwrought and garish it just screamed ‘Kickstarter’ at me and, once again, as soon as I knew others had bought it I was happy to cross it off my wishlist.

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