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Good and Bad - My First Essen - Learnings and Loot
Richard Davis
United States
Mukilteo
Washington
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I was fortunate to visit Essen this year for my first time. I did some things right, some wrong. Here are a few of my learnings (in random order) and what I purchased:
In random order:
1) Pack lightly in large volume suitcases. I took two large suitcases with a few clothes, a wheeled luggage carrier, two rolls of bubble wrap and a few games for trade. This allowed me to fill them to the gills on the way back up to the max weight of 50 lbs each. I should have taken a medium duffle bag for carrying on - I ended up getting one to carry the last games that didn't fit in the checked bags.
2) Euros shouldn’t be considered dollars when determining a good price. 1.4 to 1 is the ratio. A EU38 game means $53 in US Funds. I was lazy and didn't convert but simply looked at the price as US dollars. This resulted in me paying more for a game than I might usually. I needed to ask myself "Would I pay $53 for that game?"
3) Try games before you buy them. All publishers want their game to look good and there are enough players at the Spiel that every table will be full, so don’t let beauty and player count determine your purchase. I purchased a few games for that reason only.
4) Check if the game you are purchasing is language independent or is in the language you speak. This is especially true for second hand stores. I came home with two games on my want list that I opened and realized had extensive non-English language on the playing pieces/cards/board, etc. Not good.
5) Get the freebies and promotional items early-they disappear. But, don't buy a game solely for the freebie - one additional wood ship or a few wooden buildings shouldn't make you invest EU50 for a game you may not even enjoy playing.
6) Buy your entrance tickets prior to the show so you don’t have to wait 1.5 hours in line on Thursday morning in the frigid cold!
7) If possible, go all four days, get there early each day as it gets busier as the day goes on.
8) Do your homework ahead of time and come with a list and a plan.
9) Food and lodging- I was VERY fortunate to meet someone on BGG that wanted to trade and was able to hook me up with a few people that were sharing a place and cooking together. If you can meet up with German natives and stay with them (we stayed in a rented apartment) you will save greatly on lodging and food fees. I stayed with seven other German boardgamers and we spent EU20 on food from Wednesday night to Sunday morning, three meals a day. Lodging was EU20 per night this way. And we played games every night and I didn't have to find my way to the show each day! Got to eat great German food each day and learn a whole lot about German culture. Best part of the trip!
10) Negotiate. Everyone is willing to negotiate somewhat. If you buy multiple games with the second hand shops, they will be most likely to drop their prices.
11) Be careful not to buy something that will be available next month in the US. You can most likely get it cheaper later. Be patient.
12) Try a German preztel, german chocolate and german bread. Meet and get to know all the Germans you can, they are great people!
13) Trade, trade, trade. The energy and enjoyment of pulling off a trade is worth it.
14) To get the most into your suitcases, start practicing early, Punch out all the games to save weight, lose the expansion containers and put them inside other games. Fill up the space in most game boxes with souveniers, card games, freebie tiles, and other small items. Cover all the games with t-shirts or bubblewrap. Put the heaviest items in your carry on. Get to the airport early and weigh your bags. Shuffle things around to make weight.

That's about all for now
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Richard Davis
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Cheap buy, but whoops! German card text in game.
 
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Richard Davis
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Mukilteo
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Second hand purchase in package - good deal I think, but discovered German text on player cards that will need to be translated.
 
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Richard Davis
United States
Mukilteo
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Queen games version - but yikes! Much German card text - will I ever play this now?
 
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Richard Davis
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Mukilteo
Washington
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"Free expansion" in Speilbox magazine I picked up.
 
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25. Board Game: A la carte: Dessert [Average Rating:6.87 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.87 Unranked]
Richard Davis
United States
Mukilteo
Washington
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Picked this up with main game without even playing it. Now that I've played it at home, my youngest likes it, but it is original and painful to play for me.
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