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Every Man Needs A Shed

Life and Games (but mostly games) from Tony Boydell: Dad, Husband and Independent UK Game Designer, Agricola fanboy and jealous admirer of Carl Chudyk. www.surprisedstaregames.co.uk

Archive for Essen

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FLGS 41 (Mule)

Anthony Boydell
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(we are in an FLGS; the window is adorned with streamers and glitter and those plastic tooty things with the curled tubes on the end; there are signs propped up against be-clothed plinths proclaiming “Essen 2017!”, “Spiel Games!” and “The Hotness from Germany!”. A customer walks in to view from the right-hand side of the window and gets shorter as if descending a hidden staircase; he pauses, looks about and then backtracks: ascending. He stops, looks around curiously and tentatively takes a step forward…down a bit. He rocks back-and-forth on his feet, alternately rising a bit then falling a bit. He disappears along the way he came…there is a pause…then he comes sprinting in from the right and launches himself in to the air! Instead of landing, he completely disappears with a stifled shout.There is a crash and the door bell rings.)

Door bell: *ding-ding dinga-dinga-ding-dong ding-ding*

(the door opens and the customer falls through, executes a spectacular forward roll and stands up straight. The cashier, his nose in a care-worn copy of “Wicked Willy” and wearing a pearlescent paisley waistcoat, looks up)

Cashier: (putting the book to one side) Ah, good morning, Sir!

Customer: (brushing himself down) Er…good morning.

Cashier: Don’t worry, Sir; those imaginary stairs are a bit tricky – especially when there’s been a severe frost.

Customer: But there hasn’t been a frost –

Cashier: Exactly.

(awkward silence)

Customer: Well, um, I understand you’ve just come back from Essen Spiel?

Cashier: (enthusiastically) Yes, indeed! It was an amazing experience! So many games from so many publishers! Great new things for us (gestures to himself) to share with you! (gestures outward). It’s the best chance for your friendly local game store to get the hotness in to your hands in time for the holidays!

Customer: Fantastic! So, I have a list of things I am interested in (pulls paper from pocket) and hope you can help.

Cashier: I can certainly try, Sir!

Customer: Right...Azul has been getting a lot of buzz…

Cashier: Unfortunately sold out on the Saturday morning, Sir; we hadn’t yet made it to Hall 3 with our trollies!

Customer: Oh, then how about The Gaia Project?

Cashier: Available only in German after the first two hours on Thursday –

Customer: - German would be fine –

Cashier: - only we didn’t get to the Messe until Friday by which time –

Customer: It had sold out?

Cashier: - it had sold out. Completely.

Customer: I see. Any luck with Friedemann Friese’s Fast Forward series?

Cashier: Oh yes! -

Customer: - great -

Cashier: - let me finish: Oh yes…we saw plenty of copies, but they weren’t selling to ‘shops’ due to limited stock.

Customer: Hmmmm – Santa Maria

Cashier: Pre-orders only, Sir.

Customer: Noria?

Cashier: (raises eyebrows) I don’t know that one, Sir – was it a popular game?

Customer: Well, it was in many of the top vloggers’ anticipation lists!

Cashier: Really? Oh, well I suppose I should check some of those out next year then!

Customer: (muttering) Yes, you should. (louder) You must have Nusfjord, though?

Cashier: The new Uwe Rosenberg ‘big box’-er?

Customer: Indeed!

Cashier: The one about fishing in Norway?

Customer: Yep!

Cashier: The one with ‘shares’ in it that’s also a bit like Glass Road?

Customer: Surely!

Cashier: …never found it, Sir; I tried ever so hard.

Customer: But it was on the huge Mayfair/Lookout stand in Hall 1!

Cashier: There was a Hall ONE?!

Customer: Heaven and Ale?

Cashier: The queue was very long when I stopped by.

Customer: Gloomhaven?

Cashier: Too big to bring back in my People Mover, Sir.

Customer: Keyper?

Cashier: Um, well, er…let’s just say that Richard Breese and I have had a “falling out”.

Customer: A “falling out”?

Cashier: (coughs) You haven’t asked me about The Sands of Time?

Customer: Is it worth it?

Cashier: It might be.

Customer: (waits) The Sands of Time?

Cashier: Ha! Got you, Sir! It never made it to the show, Sir; it’s had production issues. Just a little joke of mine.

Customer: A Nice Cup of Tea?

Cashier: Prototype only, Sir; not out until 2018.

Customer: Altiplano? Fields of Arle Expansion? Photosynthesis? Terraforming Mars: Venus Next? Trans Atlantic?

Cashier: “No”, “Nein!”, “Nope”, “In the negative” and “Again, no”…Sir.

Customer: The 7 Wonders Anniversary Packs?

Cashier: They were on a very high shelf and I couldn’t reach them down, Sir.

Customer: Charterstone?

Cashier: Yes, Sir! We have Charterstone!

Customer: (warily) In English?

Cashier: Yep!

Customer: With the Recharge Pack?

Cashier: Yep!

Customer: Actually in this very building?

Cashier: It’s right under the desk next to me, Sir!

Customer: Great! I’ll take one, then!

Cashier: (takes it out and lifts the lid off with a spectacular box fart) This is my shop demo copy, Sir; the pallet arrives in a fortnight just as soon as it’s cleared Customs. Will you be collecting or should I pop it in the Post for you?

Customer: (seething) So did you bring anything at all back from Essen Spiel with you?

Cashier: (gestures to his waistcoat) I got this rather natty waistcoat, Sir?

Customer: You didn't go to Spiel at all, did you?

Cashier: (blushing and ashamed) No, Sir; I overslept and missed my flight. I'm sorry.

Customer: (leaving) What a disgraceful waste of my time!

(the customer departs, slamming the door behind him; a moment later he rises - as if on a lift - in view of the middle of the shop window, shakes his head and walks off)

Cashier: (calling after him) I apologise again, Sir! (he looks down at the open box on the counter) He didn't ask me where I got my copy of Charterstone from...

(the cashier begins to giggle; it develops in to a belly laugh and, quickly, to maniacal roaring. He walks over to the Stock Room door and swings it open: inside are stack-upon-stack of Spiel goodies - all of the major products are there, glistening in their shrink-wrap!)

Cashier: All...Mine!



(Fade Out)
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Wed Nov 8, 2017 6:00 am
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Azul Like It

Anthony Boydell
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If proof were needed that something is brewing in the wider Universe (stars aligning, portentous omens writ large across the sky, the mewling of base animals etc) then Friday night at The Plough Inn with the Ross-on-Wye board gamers provided it: Boffo liked the three new Essen releases I brought along!

Let me write that out again: Boffo liked the three new Essen releases I brought along!

First, to get this started, colourfully and gently, I presented Azul - a game I have now played six times since the weekend and my first tip for the next Spiel des Jahres (so soon?!). After the first game, which I won by just a couple of points with a personal best, Smudge immediately demanded we play again; the rest of the table smiled, nodded and hem/hurr-ed their approval and so we did.

Ready for the next course, Boffo pointed at Mini Rails in my compact stack o' product and gurgled "I very much want to play that". Within the first few, tentative actions he was muttering variations on "This is clever", Smudge was pronouncing it "...very hard for such a simple game" and Jobbers' 'Analysis' was certainly stiffening (if not completely paralyzed)! I managed to squeak out the win thanks to piggy-backing on Jobbers' well-protected Yellow and the rest of us mutually interested in White: this is a triumph of a game, Mr Mark Gerrits; a bloody TRIUMPH!


We should really get a cloth to cover Jobbers' painting table.


By way of a change of pace - and with not enough time to get Calimala going - I suggested we crack open Boffo's new copy of Fast Forward: FEAR. Given the club is mostly just the four of us, we will get plenty of opportunities to run through the deck and see what awaits at the end.


Remove the cards from their shrink and read the top card: proceed from there.


Four games whizzed by and we'd delved about a fifth of the way through the deck; we decided to 'save' it there and move on. I was, again, on pick-up duty, and the only fillers left to us were High Society and Port Royal; Smudge turned her nose up at HS so emphatically that I imagined she could smell the back of her own neck! And so it was Pfister's corking push your luck-er:


Tres amusant - how we laughed! Boffo (left) much-pleased after I shared my big Pinasse with him and (right) the Church singularly-unhelpful in my quest for claiming either Bonus card!


No 'big Euro' this time but I do have my 50th birthday bash next weekend! I should've gotten through most of the rule books by then so it's going to be Trans Atlantic, Keyper, Calimala, Heaven and Ale, Nusfjord (and more) ahoy!
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Sat Nov 4, 2017 11:00 am
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Ouchies!

Anthony Boydell
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One of the (few) problems with major gaming conventions is, of course, illness. Spending four or more days in a sealed box that recycles every droplet of sputum, every particle of bacteria-rich mucous and every scintilla (what a wonderful word) of unwellness is going to significantly-increase your chances of being struck down; with thousands of bodies pressing and gasping through nine halls, the atmosphere reaches maximum toxicity within the first hour! Add in ones heightened adrenalin levels, the late nights, poor diet and insomnia and it’s pretty much inevitable that you’re going to succumb. In previous Spiel years, I have found myself thrashing and sweating through the dark Essen nights in a high fever; throwing up 30 euros-worth of a (previously-delicious) pork supper and/or transformed in to the hoarse whisperer by dehydration and 10 hour days of non-stop demonstrating.

gulp gulp gulp


This year, however, the microbes found better purchase elsewhere and instead – because there’s always SOMETHING – I was niggled through the European week by a tiny cut on my finger: a teensy-weensy cut.

I have no recollection as to the initial penetrative injury; I did not drop anything on it, catch it on a passing extremity or stick it in to something/somewhere that I shouldn’t oughta and yet, betwixt the nail and the finger tip, I gained a micro-wound. Through the Wednesday and Thursday it swelled a bit – not enough to cause panic but just enough to make any pressure on it a hot, knife-slice of pain followed by a cartoon-esque pulsing throb. On Saturday it ‘exploded’ and, even now, three days home and with regular salt-water soaking, it’s still tender and weeping: the Boydell household is regularly lit up with cries of “Bastard!” and “Cock It!!!” as I glance against a box or some crockery or a pillow or some air.

Actually, I've just had a thought: with 182,000 people attending Spiel in 2017, there is a statistical likelihood that at least one person didn’t make it out the other side alive!

soblue


...and on that cheery note, I bid you farewell for another day.

P.S. Tagged Pandemic Legacy 2 for LOLZ - it winds up some geeks when the tagging article has nowt to do with what they subscribed for! Ha-ha!
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Thu Nov 2, 2017 2:29 pm
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Hauling Ass!

Anthony Boydell
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Forget Halls 1 thru 9; this is my favourite Haul:



And this:

A complete set of the 2017 Agricola'L-Deck' + extras.
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Wed Nov 1, 2017 7:20 am
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eyegUDuh

Anthony Boydell
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bleurgh

*yorn*

wezza?
--wezzalytswytch? *krak*

sheet/eye
--dun huttma
----fing-guh!

yunnerstan eyegUDuh m.t. duh
gud.
dam.
ka-yet?

sofa
-kin
--thai ud.
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Tue Oct 31, 2017 6:30 am
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Another Fine Messe Part 7 - Way Out West

Anthony Boydell
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O! but this is a sad sight indeed, dear friends.


I was on solo stand-spinning duty on Sunday morning so - having failed to get to sleep until around 3AM the night before (don't ask me why; perhaps it was a Full Moon?!) - I was startled awake by the chimes of my iPhone alarm on the 7 o' clock dot. I would be driving myself in anyway as we'd be ripping the stand down at six pee-emm and leaving those hallowed halls for another year. I'll stop mentioning times, actually; this paragraph is getting away from me a bit. Talking of the stand, I am conscious that I've not posted any pictures of it in all it's glory...mind you, this is (official) Day 4 so everything's a bit thin on the ground shelves:


Man by your stand (do-dee-do) and tell the World you love it...etc


We sold out of The Cousins' War but have been making secret plans and clever tricks to get a 2nd Edition sorted! Also, over 600 Snowdonia: The Siege of Petersburg / The Channel Tunnel 1881's were released in to the wild and their 100 (older) Snowdonia: Trans-Australian Railway & The Daffodil Line cousins also made a successful rehabilitation from a musty old box! When not wrestling with a pocketful of tangled Euro notes in search of a 'fiver', I was spinning back-to-back sessions of A Nice Cup of Tea and loving the reactions: it's all about that tea and the chai and the new train abilities and the chai-boosted superactions and the lucrative building spaces and the spinning Event track and - ooh - loads of other things - perhaps anyone who played it at the show who might be reading this blog could care to comment?


(clockwise, from top left) This was the last demo of the show (ended 4PM) leaving me just enough time to grab some last bits and bobs; Richard (in blue) demos Cousins' War - he's on a 95% demo-leads-to-sale ratio; I like the colour palette but the final version won't look like this...it's gonna look unbelievably gorgeous; the first run-thru of the day.



Brothers from another gaming mother (Tim, left, and Matthias, right)!


To pop a delicious cherry on the top of the Essen cake, I got a visit from a certain Mr Matthias Cramer; he likes my games and I - along with the rest of the Ross-on-Wye group - certainly love his (Lancaster, in particular), so it was an absolute pleasure to shake this splendid fellow by the hand! I also bumped in to Tim Puls on my back through Hall 1: honestly, throw a stone in any direction and you'll hit a designer (waits).

Footling and fettling with my massive haul boxes, there was a distant bing-bong, muffled dialog and then a wonderful air-rippling round of applause and cheering from all around: it was 6PM (damn! mentioned another time) and the end of Spiel 2017.

cry and zombie and simultaneously.


Sunday's acquisitions: Brettspiel Adventskalender 2017 x 2 (with 'overs' of the GoL and Snod promo tiles); Oh My Goods!: Escape to Canyon Brook (for Stu); Tybor der Baumeister; Froschkönig (mint, for 5 euros!) and (be still my beating heart) one of the Agricola alt-art prints from BGG!

I am driving back to the UK now (an early start) and shall be until 10PM tonight; I blinked, you see, and now it's gone.
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Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:15 am
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Another Fine Messe Part 6 - Babes in Toyland

Anthony Boydell
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Saturday dawned Autumn dark and road noisy; there was to be no lying in on account of meetings early doors and, besides, it was my Day Off and I wanted to get stuck in to the last bits of my wish list ASAP. Packing a change of clothes for a more genteel evening later, my initial vestements paid tribute to my favourite Facebook 'group':


Board Games Trading and Chat UK? Rep-re-zent-ah!


First stop was to finally pick up three copies of Keyper (one for me, two mules) and stop by The Creativity Hub stand to call Michael Fox a cunt, nip back to 7-G121 to start a-fillin' up my (second) large box and then away to Hall 6 because...

I like to get my boys some tee-shirts, so the handy bulk-buy offers are a godsend: a couple of Rick & Mortys and a 'OMG It's R2D2' for Arthur. I stopped by the Lookout Games stand for some business-type chatter with the ever-dapper (he was in a fine Tweed) Hanno G; as I was leaving, he asked a passing Elf to "help Tony fill his bag" (I was carrying a bag, you dirty-minded pigs!) and I was suddenly fully laden once more...and it was back to 7-G121 to continue fillin' up my (second) large box and away to Hall 3 because...

For a second year, I had arranged a bijou lunchtime gathering of game designers, podcasters and gamers in the Hall 3 restaurant: they do a stonking giant sausage, chips and curry gravy (the restaurant, that is, NOT the game designers, podcasters and gamers). Along the way I picked up a copy of Heaven & Ale; as I made to pop the box in to my bag, a kindly gentleman tapped me on the shoulder and made a signing (with a pen) action: it was only Michael Kiesling and Andreas Schmidt (I even got a small promo pack of beer mats for me trouble)! Arriving early to ensure we had a big enough table, Richard and I were soon joined by the other guests:


(clockwise, from bottom left) My nose, Richard, half of Cédrick Chaboussit, Amanda Uhler and Edward Uhler of Heavy Cardboard, Patrick, Andreas Pelikan, Georgios Panagiotidis (Perfect Information) and - beating a hasty retreat in the distance - Mr Alexander Pfister


Bellies full, Richard and Cedrick and I shuffled our way through, and with, the heaving crowds to pick up Azul and, perhaps, my so-stupid-it's-brilliant-est game of the show: Fantastic Gymnastics (look it up, it's daft as a balloon). Bag handle cutting a deep groove in to my shoulder, it was back to 7-G121 to start a-fillin' up my (second) large box and then away to Hall 2...

Edward and Amanda wanted a peek at the A Nice Cup of Tea prototype so, after picking up Rick and Morty: Total Rickall Card Game and a bit of a good sit down, we obliged. It was 1600HRS already (!) and a text from long-time Swedish pals Olle and Anders Tyrland directed us to a vacant Hall 8 booth to try out an Escape Room/Puzzle game from dV Giochi: Deckscape: Test Time


'Mission Accomplished'


It was great fun, if a little hard on the old knees as we crouched on the hard Messe flooring. The clock was winding down but there was still time to flat aching foot-it back to Hall 3 for Montana and another solo thing from Pawn (the designer of Shephy):ゴリティア (Goritaire).

The indecipherable and ear-crushing tannoy announced Fuckoff O'Clock, so I met up with my companions for the evening (Doug and Shelley Garrett, Surya and Myriam) and we walked over to Ruttenscheidstrasse for a modern-day, made-to-order Italian meal at Vapiano. Conversation was civilised and grown-up and, mostly, serious though we did find ourselves pushed in to 'Anglo-Saxon' mode when discussing light topics like (fucking) Donald J. Trump and (shitting) Brexit. It was a drizzling meander back to the Atlantic but it was warm inside and there were plenty of peeps playing games:


Tony No-Mates.


We started with a light colours & numbers card game - from the aforementioned Mr Pfister - called Gier; Doug and I found it to be a bit random but gave it a couple of outings anyway. However, our second game proved to be much more satisfying: the excellent, tactile (and, according to Cedrick earlier) 'Qwirkle-killer' Azul.


Late night games at the (swish) Atlantic hotel, Essen.


Despite disgracing myself with a -14 points red-tile pickup (aargh!), I found it to be engaging, interactive and fun: in summary it's tile-drafting/set collection affair with regular scoring rounds and the most points = the winner.

The clocks went back last night so, in theory, I had an extra hour of sleep...but the blog still needed writing so it was hello the arse-end of 0100HRS before I finally bedded in.

Saturday acquisitions: Keyper, tee-shirts x 3, Montana, Isle of Skye: Journeyman, Agricola: Artifex Deck, Riverboat, Nusfjord, Heaven & Ale, Azul, Fantastic Gymnastics, Rick and Morty: Total Rickall Card Game, Montana and ゴリティア (Goritaire).
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Sun Oct 29, 2017 6:15 am
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Another Fine Messe Part 5 - The Music Box

Anthony Boydell
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It's been a loooong day - what with having to beetle in for an early meeting (not involving me, though) - and a little reorganisation of the stand at 8AM was completed in a ghostly silence: no other bugger was about. 'Twas another day of back-to-back demos of A Nice Cup of Tea but, this time, I managed to scoff a massive apricot and berry Danish pastry before the hordes washed through the Halls like the Atlantic in that trailer for Deep Impact/The Day After Tomorrow/Geostorm (delete as applicable to one's age).


(clockwise from top left) Filip (CGE), Dávid Turczi and me; first ANCOT demo of the day with Mike Nudd, mischip and Paul (cue much trash-talking and assorted shenanigans); Jamey Stegmaier goes the extra step and gets a zeppelin to advertise Scythe: The Wind Gambit*; and 'closedown' for Day 2 (trapping poor Richard and Gavin)


It was a half-day shift for SSG's 'The Paulls', so they buggered off around 1PM and left me and Richard to it. Demo - sale - demo - sale - overseeing passer-by watches demo - sale etc: The Cousins' War is certainly having no trouble exiting 7-G121! One approaching punter valued customer announced "Hello, I want to empty my wallet in your general direction"; rest assured that we were utterly professional in our assistance of this noble endeavor. And we only have six bottles of beer left. Of course, because I am an excited little pixie about these things, Friday 27th October at the Messe was merely the preamble to the main event of the day: the Heavy Cardboard Meet-Up at Fritzpatricks Bar. Richard and I arrived in plenty of time and dibbs-ed ourselves a table in the far corner by the TV and (irritatingly, as we found out to our cost later) by the blaring sound-system speaker; it's a nipple-shudderingly lovely experience to hear Teenage Kicks at a proper volume but I really must draw the line (and cut the input cable) at new-fangled, modern nonsense. Tchoh! Listen to me: I sound like an old man!

Much opening banter to the accompaniment of cold Guinness and a phat burger with Tudor was followed by the arrival of many further notable industry types - I could name-check them all but I'll just post a bijou picture instead:


(clockwise yadda top blah) A point of Ginner wiv an apfelschorle chaser (I was parched!); peeps be a-milling about; what a gorgeous group of individuals); and Edward and Amanda Uhler award the Golden Elephant Award for 2016 to 1822: The Railways of Great Britain.


(Okay, if you insist: Paulo Soledade, Nuno Bizarro Sentieiro, Michael Keller (II), Andreas "ode." Odendahl, Ian O'Toole, Ulrich Blennemann and Alban Viard to name but a handful)

Mightily-refreshed by the alcohol and the good conversation, there was a brief diversion in to 'favourite football team' territory where I replied "Liverpool FC" and was promptly challenged by Nuno to sing "You'll Never Walk Alone"...which I, naturally, did! It absolutely brought a tear to my eye as the whole table joined in with final, rising phrase. It was totes emosh and I'm not even joking, right?! Talking of weeping, Edward got much overwhelmed as he gave his speech - surrounded, as he was, but so much comradeship - and someone (to my proximal right) heckled "You pussy!": naturally, this caused gales of laughter



Squeezing through the packed main bar at Fritzpatricks - evidently about to start a Karaoke session - I emerged in the cool Essen nacht and hailed taxi back to the remote Ibis Nord; despite showing him the effing address, the driver took me to the wrong Ibis first: I have taken a more detailed image of the location from Google Maps to stop me from being ripped off for an extra five euros a bloody time:


Oh, and my feet ache. A lot.

Two down, two to go...and tomorrow is my day off!

Friday's acquisitions: Dixit: Harmonies (don't tell Mrs B!), Loot Island (with Georgios of the Perfect Information Podcast), Terraforming Mars: Venus Next (!), Fabled Fruit: The Lime Expansion, Fast Forward: FEAR, Pit Crew and Noria.

*not really; I'm just joshin' witcha!**
**no I'm not***
***yes I am
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Sat Oct 28, 2017 6:15 am
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Another Fine Messe Part 4 - The Big Noise

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Thursday bloomed grey and autumnally-damp and I wandered the Ibis Nord car park waiting for my lift in to the Messe:


Beauty and Industry.


It's all about the small stuff this year - unlike 2016's big boxes of Guilds of London - and, yet, the stand seemed as fit-to-burst as ever! A table for The Cousins' War (CW) and a table for A Nice Cup of Tea and a sales counter fashioned from a 1000 copies of Snowdonia: The Siege of Petersburg / The Channel Tunnel 1881 would see us through a rollickingly-busy day. Of course, Thursday has to be buzzing and frenetic otherwise we're fornicated; happily, Surprised Stare Games Ltd remain hymen intactus because it was a non-stop sausage machine of outward-flowing cartons, baggies and beer bottles.

During the meanwhilst, Uncle Truly (Yours Tony) steadfastly demo-ed game after game after game of ANCOT with only a single break between 0900HRS and 1600HRS...and that was to go and sign ANCOT paperwork in the midst of the heaving Hall 3 Matagot palazzo! The Charterstone section was like that bit in World War Z with the zombies climbing up each other to breach the wall: impressive and terrifying in equal measure!


Nick, Dave, Paul and Snowdonia's number one fan (by a considerable margin!) Aernout.


The opening of the doors at 10AM was, according to eye-witnesses, the usual tsunami of body odour, wayward elbows, rucksacks and ungainly-sprintage to grab a decent place in the 30 minute queue for 'the good stuff'. Apparently, Friedemann Friese stopped by to pick up his copy of CW but I missed it; Sebastian Bleasdale - imminently to be the Father of a second child - wandered back TWICE without me realising and the less said about this deranged fellow, the better TBH:


You can see it in their eyes, you know; it's best to just be kind and wait until they move along.


As well as the planned products, it was great to have interest in my Lux Aeterna prototype from a softly spoken chap called Julian; he gamely survived his first (untimed) outing and then, for a second time, with a much-improved score: some distance yet to run with this one, then, but we're back the Stadium for the last mile or so.

I was whisked away on the dot of 7 o'clock (Messe closing time) by Perfect Information's Ben Maddox and a hungry group of Irish fellows (hello, Patrick!); we collected Gil Hova and Asger Harding Granerud and a brace of Tyrland brothers (Anders and Olle) on our travels; ending up at the Rüttenscheider Hausbrauerei (again) with Morten and his party for pig knuckles and sweet, foaming ale. The table next to us filled up quickly with Warfrog and Treefrog alumni (including Martin Wallace!), so it was a total takeover.


The wreckage (everyone else has buggered off!)


A blur of day; a whisking-by of 9 hours! Blink and it will all be over for another year so I'll be sure not to miss a single, glorious moment of it!

One down, three to go.

Thursday acquisitions: Calimala (with special buildings), Japon Brand goodies (Perfect Hotel and Lagerstätten), Goa 1st ed. from Paulo Renato and the The Colonists expansion, Scythe: The Wind Gambit and Meeple Circus.
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Fri Oct 27, 2017 6:16 am
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Another Fine Messe Part 3 - The Lucky Dog

Anthony Boydell
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The day got off to a quiet start as we dropped various personages along the route to the Messe for errands (Richard to check in to his new-found hotel and Charlie to source the breakfast buns); de-palleting led to stand building, shelf-stocking and shop pre-order packing. The Hall (7) seemed strangely un-busy; lots of empty spaces and then, as the morning wore on, vans pulling in and unloading lazily - no one seemed to be in much of a hurry to get started.

The first of many good things was the arrival (or, rather, the passing by) of Doug & Shelley Garrett (BGG crew stalwarts and, of course, progenitors of the excellent Garrett's Games & Geekiness podcast); it's been a full year since we last met and we showered each other with gifts: games and beer from me and three x vinyl boxed LP collection of Steam Train noises from them (awesome!). Later, a passer-by (Bruce aka cypar of this Parish) halloo-ed and presented me with a handmade wooden bottle opener as an early birthday gift; such examples of people's generosity are what makes all of this worthwhile!


(clockwise, from top left): MoMo & Friend Running Up & Down: my first game purchase of the show; a Dutch game club swaps their custom beer in exchange for boardgames (slllp); Edward and Amanda in their ADC Blackfire goldfish bowl!; things get serious during an impromptu demo of Wordsy with Gil Hova; and, Mr Richard Breese channels his inner 8 year old and builds himself a Fort!


Ben and Georgios, of the Perfect Information Podcast, stopped by to record a vocal sting and talk Twin Peaks; my copy of Peak Oil was lovingly hand-delivered by Alvaro of 2Tomatoes and Steve - Kiwi and long(ish) suffering passenger in the Boydell travelcar popped by with a SIGNED copy of Transatlantic for me! Truly, my cup (and my large cardboard box) runneth over.

I managed a few escapes from the Stand and scouted the other Halls: I caught Edward and Amanda Uhler as they emerged from the Ludonaute 'Steal This Game' escape room, chatted briefly about the state of everything with Ulrich Blennemann, exchanged beers with the always lovely Mr & Mrs Klemens Franz, congratulated Jacob Fryxelius on Terraforming Mars, bumped in to the VERY tall Mr Heiko Günther and hugged the bejesus out of the dependable Mr Michael Fox (II) on The Creativity Hub's stand. I've said before and I'll say it again: Essen Spiel is all about the friends you make ; the games come a close second.

Come 6PM and it was definitely time for supper so we repaired to a table-already-booked at the Ruettenscheider Hausbrauerei (http://www.ruettenscheider-hausbrauerei.de/) for an outrageous meat supper:


(clockwise, from top left): reflections in copper; my enormous pig's knee supper (with hand for scale) and the obligatory group selfie (Paul, the photographer, not included): Charlie Paull, David J. Mortimer, Paul, Nimbee's MrNick Case, Dave, Patrick (who does a wicked Peregrin Took impression with his enormous beer stein) Alan Paull and Yours T.


Bloody hell that was a tasty plate of flesh but - whoo-eee - 'twas an exercise in endurance to get the bloody thing eaten. Banter was about games, of course, and Nick's forthcoming treat (based on Brit TV classic) Noggin The Nog in particular. He, like me with Ivor the Engine, has been working with a true legend of 20th century story-telling - Peter Firmin - and, by all accounts, having just a soul-burstingly special time doing it! He also gave me a set of Nimbee promos (because he's kind like that):



So, set-up and preparations are complete; let's see what this morning brings...*gulp*

Wednesday Acquisitions: MoMo & Friend Running Up & Down; everything Import / Export reserved; new Concordia: Aegyptus / Creta x2; Peak Oil; Peloponnes: Heroes and Colonies; Crows Overkill; Herbalism; Round House Expansion 2; Harvest Island; Mini Rails (yay!), Tulip Bubble and the 2017 Agricola L-deck cards; also beer, badges and a bottle opener.
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Thu Oct 26, 2017 6:22 am
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