Wystan's 2010 Essen Interests
Wystan Benbow
United States
Stoneham
Massachusetts
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The annual Spiel Fair in Essen always features the debut of hundreds of games. Most of them are mediocre or worse, but usually somewhere between 6 and 12 of these games rise above the crowd and are worth owning. I try to figure out which titles I want beforehand & then seriously pare down the list. It makes for fun watching the Essen Buzz. Of course I always miss a title or three (e.g. Hansa Teutonica, Egizia and Jaipur in 2009).

This geeklist summarizes the Essen titles I am most interested in and briefly why. It also gives my level of interest and lists some negatives. Naturally this is mostly meant to help myself keep track of things, but feel free to chime in.

From the Essen fair in 2009, I own 15 games & 10 expansions via my own purchases & via gifts. All told $767 was spent. In retrospect, this was the most for me, by far, of any Essen year. A more typical number would be half this amount.

For the Essen fair in 2010, so far $302 has been spent on 5 games and 7 expansions.
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1. Board Game: Texas & Pacific [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:3619]
Wystan Benbow
United States
Stoneham
Massachusetts
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One of the annual Winsome Essen offerings. For me this is an automatic purchase & indeed I already own the game.

It belongs to the "Historic Railroads" series from Winsome games. It is rather similar to Chicago Express / Wabash Cannonball, but has several interesting ideas on its own (e.g. ranches, going west). Plays 2 & last about an hour.

Part of the $150 2010 Winsome Essen set.
 
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2. Board Game: Paris Connection [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:1016]
Wystan Benbow
United States
Stoneham
Massachusetts
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One of the annual Winsome offerings. For me this is an automatic purchase & indeed I already own the game.

A 30-min "Cube Rails" game. Contains hidden information (an oddity for Winsome). Have played this several times. It is an excellent filler & a great gateway game for introducing Winsome games to train-game newbies.

Part of the $150 2010 Winsome Essen set.
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3. Board Game: West Riding Revisited [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:6176]
Wystan Benbow
United States
Stoneham
Massachusetts
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One of the annual Winsome offerings. For me this is an automatic purchase & indeed I already own the game.

A revision of the original & hopefully an improvement since it is rumored to fix several down-time issues & has ditched the original crayons. The core of the game is the same: shares & expanding companies, where the original shares can be traded 2-1 for newer, eventually more powerful shares. This is the longest game of the Essen set.

Part of the $150 2010 Winsome Essen set.
 
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4. Board Game: Preußische Ostbahn: Oldenburg Expansion [Average Rating:6.77 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.77 Unranked]
Wystan Benbow
United States
Stoneham
Massachusetts
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One of the annual Winsome offerings. For me this is an automatic purchase & indeed I already own the expansion.

Adds another company to the original game with a special building rule of its own.

Part of the $150 2010 Winsome Essen set.
 
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5. Board Game: Baltimore & Ohio: Maine Lumber Expansion [Average Rating:6.65 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.65 Unranked]
Wystan Benbow
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Stoneham
Massachusetts
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One of the annual Winsome offerings. For me this is an automatic purchase & indeed I already own the expansion.

Minor tweak that tries to open up the northern part of the board & make the small companies more interesting. Literally 1 cardboard chit & some (clever) rules.

Part of the $150 2010 Winsome Essen set.
 
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6. Board Game: Age of Steam Expansion: Poland [Average Rating:7.33 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.33 Unranked]
Wystan Benbow
United States
Stoneham
Massachusetts
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One of the annual Winsome offerings. For me this is an automatic purchase & indeed I already own the expansion.

Yet another (heavy paper) AoS map with some minor tweaks to the game. Must be at least 50 of these. Of course since AoS is my favorite, that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Rewards building into towns quickly & tweaks production rules

Part of the $150 2010 Winsome Essen set.
 
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7. Board Game: Age of Steam Expansion: California Gold Rush & Underground Railroad [Average Rating:7.60 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.60 Unranked]
Wystan Benbow
United States
Stoneham
Massachusetts
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Age of Steam is my favorite; Surely I need another expansion. The map is mounted. Part of Bezier Games' $75 AoS Pack

Gold Rush: Give up cube delivery/loco-advance to claim valuable gold ($5 income / VP boost); 3-6 players
Underground Railroad: Give up cube deliver/loco-advance to free slaves. Most slave freed = winner; 3-5 players

Interest level: Received as gift
 
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8. Board Game: Age of Steam Expansion: Amazon Rainforest & Sahara Desert [Average Rating:7.27 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.27 Unranked]
Wystan Benbow
United States
Stoneham
Massachusetts
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Age of Steam is my favorite; Surely I need another expansion. The map is mounted. Part of Bezier Games' $75 AoS Pack

Amazon: Removes no. of links from delivery payout formula. Uses goods scarcity instead; 3-6 players
Sahara: Adds water requirement & oasis; 3-5 players

Interest level: Received as gift
 
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9. Board Game: Age of Steam Expansion: Atlantis & Trisland [Average Rating:7.27 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.27 Unranked]
Wystan Benbow
United States
Stoneham
Massachusetts
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Age of Steam is my favorite; Surely I need another expansion. The map is mounted. Part of Bezier Games' $75 AoS Pack

Atlantis: Advertised as most difficult map ever; Lots of expensive terrain & limited production; 3-6 players
Trisland: Perfectly symmetrical 3-player map

Interest level: Received as gift
 
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10. Board Game: Age of Steam Expansion: Sharing [Average Rating:7.20 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.20 Unranked]
Wystan Benbow
United States
Stoneham
Massachusetts
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Age of Steam is my favorite; Surely I need another expansion.
Paper map freebie, but only if order $75 Bezier Games Essen pack

Sharing: Apparently can share links by taking a share. 3-6 players

Comes with "Really Friendly Sharing" map too...

Interest level: Received as gift
 
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11. Board Game: Haggis [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:451]
Wystan Benbow
United States
Stoneham
Massachusetts
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An interesting fast card-game for 2-3 players. Tough to get my head around. Bidding seems to be as important as the card play.
A climbing-style card game, where goal is to go out first; Similar to Tichu

Purcahsed for $17
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12. Board Game: London [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:172]
Wystan Benbow
United States
Stoneham
Massachusetts
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Treefrog Games' 2010 Essen Offering

More cube pushing with complicated rules from Martin Wallace. Attempts to simulate the building of London. Apparently is a bit of a tile-layer, where actions are resolved in order of purchased tiles. Plays 2 & has reasonable (90 min) length

Purchased for $60 (Part of annual Treefrog subscription)
 
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13. Board Game: Power Grid: Russia & Japan [Average Rating:7.99 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.99 Unranked]
Wystan Benbow
United States
Stoneham
Massachusetts
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Latest expansion for Power Grid. Interested because: Power Grid is a masterpiece. I own all the other maps & would like to keep the collection current.

Russia: power-plant market is restricted & rules for dropping old power plants changed
Japan: Can start two separate networks. The first connections are restricted to certain cities

Purchased for $9
 
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14. Board Game: Hansa Teutonica: East Expansion [Average Rating:8.07 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.07 Unranked]
Wystan Benbow
United States
Stoneham
Massachusetts
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An expansion for Hansa Teutonica, which was my favorite of the 2009 Essen Crop;

This expansion includes nine mission cards for the basic map. Each mission card shows three cities and the player can receive additional victory points for Kontors in these cities.

In addition the expansion includes a new map: The East-Expansion
This map introduces new items into the game: e.g. Ocean trade routes and permanent bonus markers.

Interest level: 5/5 (Auto-buy)

Cons: None
 
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15. Board Game: Troyes [Average Rating:7.74 Overall Rank:49]
Wystan Benbow
United States
Stoneham
Massachusetts
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This one is looking like the game I missed in the run-up to Essen.

Watching closely now & will probably buy. Wondering if I need to pull the trigger now since it "sold out" at the fair.

Post-Spiel-2010 interest level: Received as birthday gift ($51, incl. shipping from France)
 
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16. Board Game: Railways of the World: The Card Game [Average Rating:6.81 Overall Rank:1308]
Wystan Benbow
United States
Stoneham
Massachusetts
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Railroad Tycoon is a favorite; Surely the card game is fun too. Plays 2 & filler length (30 min). NB: Already released

Purchased for $25
 
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17. Board Game: Vinhos [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:196]
Wystan Benbow
United States
Stoneham
Massachusetts
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An economic game about wine making in Portugal; Also under 2 hrs and plays 2.

Post-Essen Interest level: 5 / 5 auto-buy; was 3/5
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18. Board Game: 7 Wonders [Average Rating:7.87 Overall Rank:19]
Wystan Benbow
United States
Stoneham
Massachusetts
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This cross of Dominion & Fairy Tale seems to be the early darling of Essen. I'm almost certain it's not a game for me, but I won't dismiss it just yet. The early ratings are favorable.

Interest Level: 1/5; I'd be shocked if I buy this

Cons: Dominion is OK, but nothing amazing. Why would I want a similar game. I don't like Fairy Tale & the whole variable player powers thing isn't so exciting.
 
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19. Board Game: Railroad Barons [Average Rating:6.34 Overall Rank:3203]
Wystan Benbow
United States
Stoneham
Massachusetts
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An 18xx-style card game by Helmut Ohley. It is for 2 players,
with a play time of 45 minutes. Very intriguing.

Interest Level: 3 /5; Considering it, but feedback will be important

Cons: Only limited information so far.
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20. Board Game: Poseidon [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:875]
Wystan Benbow
United States
Stoneham
Massachusetts
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18xx-mechanics, Reasonable play time (2 hr), & thus a possible gateway game for Winsomes/18xx; 2-players OK. A train-game without trains

Interest Level: 3 /5; Considering it, but feedback will be important

Cons: Is it too dumbed down? These 18xx-lights are not usually well received
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21. Board Game: Streetcar [Average Rating:6.49 Overall Rank:1417]
Wystan Benbow
United States
Stoneham
Massachusetts
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Apparently, a new improved version will be released by Goldsieber. A train game for 2-5 players which plays in 45 minutes. Sounds sort of Transamerica like, but with some racing too. That is certainly enough to make me interested.

Interest level: 3 / 5; Considering it, but feedback will be important.

Cons: I probably wouldn't buy the original due to its subpar ratings. Of course, that it is a train game makes me think twice
 
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22. Board Game: Norenberc [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:1099]
Wystan Benbow
United States
Stoneham
Massachusetts
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A 90 min worker-placement game for 2-5 with simultaneous action selection. Seems to have some set collection. From Andreas Steding of Hansa Teutonica fame (my fav' of the 2009 Essen Fair). His previous trading games (Schwarzmarkt & Kogge) seem to have some interesting concepts & maybe there could be something new here.

Interest level: 2/5; I'm paying attention, but don't anticipate a purchase

Cons: Neither White Goblin Games nor Huch & Friends have published much, if anything, that interests me. Steding's previous economic games are only average (according to BGG ratings). Yet another worker-placement game.

Looking at Steding's Firenze for the same reasons, but know so little, I won't add an entry. From Quinned games. See comment above & discussion below on White Goblin Games
 
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23. Board Game: De Vulgari Eloquentia [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:502]
Wystan Benbow
United States
Stoneham
Massachusetts
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Liz might like this based on the theme; The theme caught my eye, but I don't know much about the mechanics

Interest level: 2 / 5; I'm paying attention, but don't anticipate a purchase

Cons: Probably this year's Opera (i.e. a mediocre game with a high-brow theme) & not worth a purchase
 
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24. Board Game: Merkator [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:612]
Wystan Benbow
United States
Stoneham
Massachusetts
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Uwe Rosenberg's latest offering. Interest based on my family's enjoyment of the harvest trilogy: Agricola, Le Havre, & At the Gates of Loyang. It plays 2 & has a 2-hour length.


Interest level: 4 / 5; Probably buy
Cons: I enjoyed each successive Rosenberg title less. Eventually there will be a dud. Is this one it?
 
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25. Board Game: Grand Cru [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:1070]
Wystan Benbow
United States
Stoneham
Massachusetts
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Blazars are a special type of active galaxy that indirectly pay for my boardgame habit
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Life is good!
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An economic / auction game centered on Wine Production; Sounds cool, is less than 2 hours long and plays 2.

Interest Level: 3 /5; Considering it, but feedback will be important

Cons: With rare exception, eggertspiele produces beautiful, but only average-quality games (or worse). Only have limited information.
 
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