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ESSEN 12 - Day 1, 2, 3 & 4: plays, impressions, and purchases for The Bunker
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Well I hit all the connections just right and made it in late Wednesday night. I'm staying at my usual favorite hotel again, the Movenpick at the Essen train station.

So what I'll do is list games I played, viewed played, read the rules for, purchased, and passed on along with a comment or two on it. If I actually purchase a game at Essen I'll also put it on this list And so it begins (and ends)... My 2012 Game Gains (or the Money Pit part 2), which is also a good place to go and see what games I may have already gotten this year of interest. I'll try to stick with them listed on the days I viewed or got them. I'll add some of my own photos of the games from Essen later.

Again, I only have limited luggage space and am trying to buy ones that will be harder to come by later.

THANKS FOR ALL THE THUMBS. I'VE NOW UPLOADED MOST OF MY PHOTOS TO EITHER THIS LIST OR THE RESPECTIVE GAME.

Just starting day 3. Off we go.

Just wrapping up day 3 and I'm beat. I think I've seen everything I want to see and have purchased the games I really wanted, minus a few that I mentioned either wont fit in my suitcase or I'll wait for a US release copy. I've really gotten as creative as I can in packing games into games and into my baggage. I don't think I can fit anything else in to what I have and will still need to carry one game that came in a tube. So with that said, I might even give the fair a miss Sunday. I've met some great people and played some great games. The crowds were bad today, but actually not as bad as I have seen in the past for a Saturday. I suspect that tomorrow will be the most crowded as that's when the final markdowns happen and lots of families go for that.

So maybe I'll sleep in late, get a good lunch, see some of the town, and get ready for the trip back. If you've read this far, thanks for supporting this geeklist. I hope you've had as much fun reading it as I have writing it. I know when I'm not at a fair or Convention, I'm always trying to read up on the latest buzz from it. To everyone going to BGGCon, you're going to have a great time with all the great new games that have come out.

Day 4: like I could stay away with my dauer Carte. My train for my flight leaves at 14:45 so what else am I going to do for 5 hours. Too bad I have no more room in my suitcases. I'll post a few last items encountered today.

Day 5+: Everything is back home safe and sound in the bunker. Had to do a bunch of box seam repair from damages caused by the airlines which is typical and expected when flying games back home in luggage. Added a final photo of my Essen loot haul.

Cheers and good gaming and may you always be happy in your game.

And one last shameless plug. If your wondering where all the games I got will end up, check out
The ULTIMATE game storage solution. Or, 20 steps to making a dream come true. .
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26. Board Game: Swordfish [Average Rating:5.95 Overall Rank:6965]
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Day 2. I'm sitting here watching a 3-player game develop. Very interesting. It moves quick with the rondel tracking actions and there seems little down time. It has an element of luck depending on the fish draw or bait roll but it also has elements of risk like starting from a more expensive location and hoping for higher returns. Both seem to work well within the theme of the game. I'll likely get this.

Went back, tried, liked, bought. A worthy middle weight Euro with an appealing theme that doesn't involve Romans, Europe, or space.



The game play just fit the theme very well. You felt like you were taking risks to bring in the best haul while avoiding the perfect storm.
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27. Board Game: Aristoocrazy [Average Rating:5.59 Unranked]
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Controlled chaos. Played the game with 4. Lots of tongue in cheek humor and marriages yielding crazy offspring. You manage gaining assets from family members to meet the requirements of upcoming end-of-round cards that will give you points. I'll pass on it unless they dump the price on it. It can be a fun game with the right crowd, similar to their game last year Space Bastards.



With the right crowd this could be fun, but I got the feeling of lather, rinse, repeat while playing. I didn't see a lot of replay value once the initial marriage jokes are gone.
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28. Board Game: CO₂ [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:375]
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Day 2. Just sat down and had the designer explain the rules to a group of us. It's a heavy Euro and one that I know I'll like. Purchased and had it signed.

First off, I love the controversial topic. You either buy into it or you don't. But as gamers I can see great table talk from both sides of the issue. Don't let the topic put you off this game. There's progress required for your scientists, agendas to be completed for points, hidden agendas for end game points with good mechanisms for mitigating bad agendas you may have been dealt. There's price manipulation and politics. So far all seem to come together in this gamers game. Might try to get a few rounds in later.

EDIT: I forgot to mention this comes with the CO₂: The Arctic Expansion card as well.


Early in the game. Lots to think about.
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29. Board Game: 1969 [Average Rating:6.47 Overall Rank:2869]
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Listened to the rules explained. Buy scientist of different values to advance you missions to gain prestige. There's an element of screw age with spy cards to stifle you opponent missions. A solid 7 Euro but I passed on it for lack of luggage space and better games. Will get this down the road. Actions and missions fit the theme very well so it doesn't feel too pasted on.
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30. Board Game: Pax Porfiriana [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:384]
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Met Phil and discussed the game. Thematically it's tied to Lords of the Sierra Madre, only your objective here is to overthrow the revolutionary. Solid play and interaction. He said that in about two weeks it should go to his main distributor in the US and be available there. I'll wait and get it then. Phil's a very nice friendly guy.
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31. Board Game: Carson City: Gold & Guns [Average Rating:7.84 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.84 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.84 Unranked]
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Another expansion knocked off my list. Ads a bunch of new characters and a few new buildings as well. Good stuff if you like the base game and only 15e.
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32. Board Game: Serenissima (first edition) [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:733]
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Day 2 purchased for 27e. This is the new version. You can read about the changes here on BGG. It has the fixes everyone wanted that should improve game balance and reduce the luck factor or runaway leader. Rules are in German and English. The long ships are plastic (can't remember if the old game was wood or not). It's a good box to break down and out other smaller games into for the trip home.

Surprisingly, I only found this at ozone stand and he brought a few more in today as he only had one copy yesterday. I guess it's just not a star of this year's show. I thought the original game was good to begin with and am looking forward to playing this version.
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33. Board Game: Kemet [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:64]
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Day 2. I want, I want, I want. The wow factor from a toy mini standpoint is off the chart. The game reminds me of a cross between Cyclades, Olympus, and Samurai, all set in a magical Egyptian setting. It's by all means a Weuro and probably closer to a wargame as you'll be expanding to whomp on your opponents in this. Armies fight based on a card play system that reminds me of Dungeon Twister with a card value plus the number of units you have. Another value on the cards will determine losses for each side. Cities have large 4-side pyramid dice that determine tile bonuses you can build up for your gods. Big plastic monsters looked imposing on the battlefield. The board is 2-sided to scale for the number of players.

The box is big, maybe too big for me to fit into my luggage so I may have to wait for the US release but it is being distributed through Asmodee USA. Price asked at Essen is 55e. I may save my space for The Great Zimbabwe instead but not willingly.

EDIT DAY3: Sat down and played a 5-player game to 5 points (8-10 is normal). Loved it. It's purely an aggressive game that favors attack but you need to watch your back. Pyramid powers can get you the critical tile abilities or support creature but at a cost. Don't let your replacements get low or you open up your city for attack. Make no mistake, this is a vicious combat game similar to Cyclades but I thought it played quicker and was less fiddly even though I like Cyclades as well. Do you need both? Probably not but they are different enough that they could coexist in your collection depending on whether you want a Mediterranean theme or an Egyptian one. There is no bidding in this game which keeps it moving along.

Purchased. Now I'm really out of room in my luggage cry
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34. Board Game: Love Letter [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:104]
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Hey, time to throw in a looper. Here's my 5e purchase "just cuz". Not much too it and just a simple card game. I asked the guy at the stand for Love Letter and he asked "the game or would you like me to write you one?" He just wasn't my type.
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35. Board Game: Village: Customer Expansion [Average Rating:7.17 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.17 Unranked]
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Went over to the Pegasus stand and got these for a 5e donation to a local under privileged children's group. The expansion isn't well advertised and I only found it at the Pegasus stand. I like the game and these should be a nice variation to throw in.
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36. Board Game: Airlines Europe: The Presidents [Average Rating:7.07 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.07 Unranked]
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Another expansion not well advertised but free. I'll try to get a few more tomorrow if they still have them. You have to ask for it.
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37. Board Game: Zooloretto: Chameleon [Average Rating:6.55 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.55 Unranked]
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And while your asking for Airlines Presidents, ask for this one too which is this years Zooloretto promo. Free also.
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38. Board Game: The City [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:1259]
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Fortunately I remembered to get this today for 6e. It's an engine building game, the one that Suburbia reminded me of, and it's a great card game. Rules In German but English rules are available and it's language neutral. Got it at the sale stand at the end of hall 5 that leads to 4.
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39. Board Game: Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game [Average Rating:7.94 Overall Rank:22]
 
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Yes, it's being played extensively here at Essen as well. I've already got this and it's great. FFG brought their Death Star surface playmat (not for sale) but there was another German company that has mats coming out soon that they had being used by players. Very nice space-scape scenes. Price for the base game was only 25e which isn't bad for here.


An independent company will soon be releasing very nice play mats for the game, at least in Europe.
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40. Board Game: Spartacus: A Game of Blood & Treachery [Average Rating:7.56 Overall Rank:199]
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Blood and Treachery baby, blood and treachery. It's also being extensively played and pushed here. I may try to get a quick game in tomorrow (Saturday). It's available at a few US places already like CSI and MM and I ordered a copy yesterday.

And yes Autumnweave, it is ironic that I'm at Essen ordering games from online stores in the US. But like I say, "a deals a deal where you can find it, when you find it".
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41. Board Game: Kolejka [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:947]
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According to the salesman at the Rebel PL stand, I bought one of the last two copies they had. If that was true, then they're sold out by now. I'm glad I got it just in time as this was one of the ones I didn't get last year that I really wanted. Yes, the theme is depressing but also historically accurate and depicts a bleak time of economics that hopefully have long since improved thanks to free market economic principles. But it's great that they could find humor in tragedy and make a game that has you running around to get in the best lines for hope of getting food purchases you want. Looking forward to getting this in the table.
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42. Board Game: The Ladies of Troyes [Average Rating:7.84 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.84 Unranked]
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Purchased, 15e. Five new ways to mix and match new characters and areas into the base game. If you're a Troyes fan, don't miss this expansion.
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43. Board Game: Peloponnes: Goat Expansion [Average Rating:7.25 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.25 Unranked]
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Snagged this for 8e. Lots of new tiles for the game. A completist purchase, though I might not even have all the expansions for this.
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44. Board Game: Tweeeet [Average Rating:6.31 Overall Rank:3267]
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Day 2 purchased. This one tops the cute factor scale for me and the plastic bits for the birds, bugs, and fruit were just too cute to pass on. You want to get all your migrating birds to their nests for points. The board is modular allowing for endless variations and replaysbility.

The real selling point for me though is that my wife is a bird watcher fanatic and I know for a fact that she's going to love the theme on this. Plus, Corne signed it for me and I'm a big fan of most of his games as they're accessible and easy to play. It was getting very good buzz and I suspect this one will sell out also by Sunday.
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45. Board Game: Drum Roll: Dragon Dancers [Average Rating:7.23 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.23 Unranked]
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Got the base game last year and it was a medium weight solid purchase. In line with last year, this is the give away promo for this year. More is better.
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46. Board Game: For Sale [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:214]
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No, not the game but all the items I tracked today that were to be found at incredible discounts. This is where you realize the ideas come from to discount the similar named games in the US. I'll list the game and the Euro price for it.

In the 40e category
Descent: Journeys in the Dark plus Descent: The Tomb of Ice

In the 30e category
Battles of Napoleon: The Eagle and the Lion
Horus Heresy
Ikusa

In the 20e category
Grand Cru
Funfair

In the 15e category
Magestorm
Hoity Toity
Pamplona: Viva San Fermín!
Bolide
Rio de la Plata
Senji
Macao
Ad Astra
At the Gates of Loyang
Tournay
Rise of Empires
Letters from Whitechapel German version

In the 10e category
WarCraft: The Board Game as well as the expansion
Sylla
Bakong
Okko: Era of the Asagiri
Charon Inc.
Heartland
Gloria Mundi
Moto Grand Prix
Magestorm
Coney Island
Dakota
The Gnomes of Zavandor
The Mines of Zavandor
Dust
Pony Express
20th Century
Bushido

In the 5e and under category
Bonnie and Clyde
Garibaldi: The Escape
Sutter's Mill
Infinite City

So the next time you're looking to buy, you'll have a reference point.




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47. Board Game: The Palaces of Carrara [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:444]
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Camas
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Another game with a new type of rondel. Beautifully produced, getting lots of play and seems like a medium weight Euro. I'll be getting this when Z-man releases it stateside. There are lots of good games on Z-mans plate this year.
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48. Board Game: Clash of Cultures [Average Rating:7.75 Overall Rank:128]
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Another Z-man one I'll get stateside when released. Getting lots of play at Essen and good buzz. Probably the next big "civ" game to play.
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49. Board Game: Escape: The Curse of the Temple [Average Rating:7.18 Overall Rank:266]
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Still day 2. This is the big Queen game being pushed this year. I sat and watched a while and pursued the rules. It's like playing Space Alert in a temple but a whole lot more dice rolling and frantic chaos. Not a game for me and I passed on it though it had great appeal to many and if you like Space Alert and coop games, you might just like this one.

I think as escape games go, I'd rather stick with playing The Adventurers: The Temple of Chac and just try to make off with the loot myself.
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50. Board Game: Myrmes [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:292]
Ubergeek
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Camas
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Probably my last update for day 2. The is now gaming at the Movenpick hotel. They have set aside a room that holds about 25 people with about 10 tables, which didn't seem to be enough.

Anyway, Myrmes was being started to I watched a game. It was on my list to check out and this was a nicer environment to do that. It's a middle weight worker placement game where you're doing difference actions within your ant colony or you sent them out to accomplish tasks which will get you resources, which will advance certain areas, resulting in points. Solid on all counts with nothing groundbreaking from what I observed. I'll hold off on getting this until down the road. A good Euro but there's better games still to be had.

Well, that wraps up day 2 and I've got repackaging of games to do to get ready for tomorrow's purchases. I'm pretty much out of room and still have a few critical ones I want to get. And who knows what sale items might pop up.
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