Surya Van Lierde is pure Eurosnoot and proud of it!
The Portal and Rebel titles have been a bit of a hit and miss with me. I liked K2 by the same designer OK. I had heard this had some of the same elements to it, mixed with tile laying.
The trick in this game is to know how far you can go with the food you are carrying and when to start returning to your home base. This might lead to some AP, but our game didn't suffer from that too much.
However, if you do miscalculate and get stuck in the cave without food, it will lose you a number of turns and possibly (probably?) the game.
I quite enjoyed my one play of this and would be more than happy to play again, it has the right mix of depth, luck and playing time.
Initial rating: 6.9
OK, this title didn't actually make it in time for Essen, but I consider this an Essen title
At the time of playing this, the game had a rating of just 6.6 on the Geek. That's why I went in without too many expectations. The artwork on the board itself is a bit bland, and that didn't help either. After the explanation it was kind of unclear how the factories where to be used and when you could build them. The way the rules where written, it was unclear and confusing. We looked in both the English and Dutch rules, but neither of them really clarified it for us, so we went by consensus of what we thought it probably meant.
This is a middle weight with a number of familiar mechanisms, but it all worked together quite nicely and I was pleasantly surprised by the enjoyment I got from the game. It's not spectacular but it's a solid design that offers different strategies to explore.
Initial rating: 7
As I've said before, Friese has been a bit of hit and miss with me. Let me be short: this was one huge miss. It's just too random to allow for any smart play while still giving players the feeling like they do have important decisions to make.
Initial (and probably final) rating: 4