It will be a very odd Essen Spiel for me this year. I’ll be working on a stand in Germany for the first time (just a few cover shifts at Surprised Stare). I have no designs to pitch, have no publisher meetings planned, and I’m only taking one suitcase. I’ve told Sarah I’ll only be bringing about five games home. Which is probably going to be a lie. It is the plan though. Regardless of all that, I’ve still put together an Essen Spiel 2022 games preview.
My writing here has fallen off a cliff since I was made redundant (as an editor) and started working freelance (as a writer). I used to write to satisfy my desire to do what I love. At the same time, work meant reading other people’s nonsense. So now I’m back to getting paid to write, I’m struggling to write here. This has been coupled with the fact my local groups have fallen away almost completely for a variety of reasons. Don’t get me wrong – I still LOVE the hobby and playing games. It just isn’t happening much right now.
Games I’m looking forward to at Essen Spiel
As always, I used the fantastic Tabletop Together Tool to go through the list of Essen releases. There are well over 1,000 titles being released this year. Most I managed to get rid of with filters (co-ops, dexterity, real-time etc – be gone!). But it left a few hundred to flick through. I’ve got that down to less than 20 now, which seems a reasonable amount to check out over the three days I’ll be inside the Messe (I don’t do Saturday).
So here they are – the games that made my Essen Spiel 2020 games preview. To find more about any of the games, click through to them via the Tool linked above or go directly to Board Game Geek.
Take my money!
- Starship Captains: The only one I’ve played (in demo form), as it’s the first design by my pal Peter Hoffgaard (of Tabletop together fame). CGE is a great publisher and they’ve made this look fantastic. I can’t wait to get a good look at the finished product. Worker placement, with a strong Star Trek-style theme of exploration.
- 1998 ISS: I’ve got a lot of time for publisher Looping Games (such as 1906 San Francisco) and this is the latest in their ‘big games in a small box’ series.
- The Two Heirs: Small box, low price point, mini rondel, building, and tile placement. All of those things, please.
- Laniakea: A gorgeous-looking abstract about moving across a Hawaiian beach avoiding turtles. A sliding tile mechanism means it might be infuriating – hopefully in a good way.
- Violet & the Grumpy Nisse: An asymmetric trick-taking game that looks gorgeous and has an ongoing drafting system that I’m intrigued by.
Multiplayer smaller box games (35 euros or less)
- Overbooking: A short and light take-that card game about trying to grab the last few rooms in hotels. Has a bit of an In Front of Elevators look to it, and I enjoyed that.
- Moesteiro: Nothing new here, but I like dice euros where low numbers do less but act first, which this has. and at a very low price point.
- Maui: Looks like a lighter play on the Almadi idea, but no rulebook was available as I wrote this less than a week before the show.
Eurogames at 50 euros or less
- Tribes of the Wind: This has a stunning Nausicaa look, plus an interesting sounding card mechanic where you can use the backs of your neigbours’ cards as resources.
- Pessoa: Actually wanted this last Essen, but it didn’t make it. Some so-so reviews, but the worker placement aspects and poetry/philosophy concept draw me in.
- Findorff: A Friedermann Friese euro that borrows the resource market from Powergrid, but has enough interesting-looking ideas to warrant a good look.
Essen Spiel 2022 games preview: 60 euros or more
- Discordia: I do like a euro with a sudden ending that has a slight race feel to it (Oracle of Delphi, Manhattan Project etc), so I’m intrigued by this one.
- Sabika: A great-looking euro game with interconnected rondels? I’m in! The Alhambra is a great game theme too, so even better.
- Pilgrim: Again, a mechanism I consider underused (the mancala), here used in what looks like an innovative and interesting way.
- Revive: A complex euro with loads going on, including a short campaign that opens up even more options. Asymmetry, plus loads of variability.