My Essen/Spiel 2012 Report
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This year was the first year I spent two days at Spiel (instead of 1) and it was definitely worth it. That additional day gave me and my friends enough time to try everything we planned and more and still have time left to stroll.

This GeekList is intended as a report of my experiences from before and during this year's fair and a short summary of my thoughts on a few games.
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1. Board Game Publisher: Days of Wonder
Board Game Publisher: Days of Wonder
My boardgame buddy Julian and I decided to visit the fair at two days early in October.

The reason was pretty straight forward: We wanted enough time to sit down and play even unknown games that looked intriguing without missing the stuff we were actually planning to see.

We were also scheduled to meet a publisher on Friday, a day Julian would have to leave early, too. Since we wouldn't be able to make use of the full day a second one would come in handy.

Our second (actually first) day would be Thursday to pick up my pre-orders.
 
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2. Board Game: Ticket to Ride [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:157] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
Board Game: Ticket to Ride
I ordered our tickets online on Tuesday morning, before I left the house for a job assessment.

I shouldn't have.

Nervous as I was, I ordered simple one-day tickets instead of those that include train tickets by mistake. Those would have costet us about 12€ for two persons and days instead of the 35€ normal train tickets cost.
When I noticed my mistake I called the company that organizes the online shop and the host but were able to help me.


In the end we drove by car. That cost us about the same (probably even a bit more) but made us more flexible and gave us a place to store our purchases.
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3. Board Game: Dominion: Prosperity [Average Rating:8.26 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.26 Unranked]
 
We headed for the Heidelberger booths first. Heidelberger is a German publisher best known for redistributing many (all?) Fantasy Flight Games products.

I was planning to pick up the 2nd Edition of Descent and Julian was looking for the new King of Tokio expansion, Power Up!

We came upon a small Heidelberger booth that offered a lot of bargains for ool and newer games alike. I almost bought a cheap (15€) copy of Dominion Prosperity. I had stopped buying expansions after Seaside because we stopped playing DOminion frequently because other deck drafters often took its place. I have been looking for a cheap copy of Dominion for quite some time but risked to buy it later.
Who would have thought an old expansion would sell out that quickly? ^^
 
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4. Board Game: King of Tokyo: Power Up! [Average Rating:7.64 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.64 Unranked]
Board Game: King of Tokyo: Power Up!
The German edition of Descent was more expansive here than on Amazon.de (more on this later) so I didn't pick up a copy.

Heidelberger did not have a copy of Power Up! (probably because the German version isn't out yet?) but the Iello booth was just a step ahead and not only sold their newest expansion but also offered the opportunity to let Richard Garfield sign a promo card!
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5. Board Game: Gauntlet of Fools [Average Rating:6.00 Overall Rank:4534]
Board Game: Gauntlet of Fools
While Julian was waiting in the line for Richard's autograph I headed to the Indie Boards and Cards booth to pick up my pre-order for Gauntlet of Fools.
This game has received very mixed reviews but I decided to take the risk and buy it putting my faith into Donald X. Vaccarino and IBaC.

I'm looking forward to playing it and will update this entry once I formed an opinion on the game.
 
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6. Board Game: Magic: The Gathering [Average Rating:7.50 Overall Rank:152] [Average Rating:7.50 Unranked]
Board Game: Magic: The Gathering
Our friend Matthias joined arrived at the fair and joined us.

The next hall housed a lot of smaller booths of various FLGSs and online shops many of which specialized on collectible games. We bought a few MTG boosters for drafting: Return to Ravnica (we were planning to draft with that edition anyway) and very cheap Avacyn Restored boosters that did not include any rares because of a manufactoring error.

I also sold two moderately valuably cards from the Ravnica pre-release. I would return to the same booth on Friday to sell some of Matthias' stuff.
 
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7. Board Game: Unpublished Prototype [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:2609]
Board Game: Unpublished Prototype
Next up we sat down to play a prototype of a game to be self-published online. To be honest: it was not our cup of tea. But on the other hand it was still a prototype and had some nice mechanics so it might improve before its release. Most of its issued were only related to a lack of streamlining anyway.
However, the board looked gorgeous!

Best of luck to the developers in improving and selling their game; it was easy to see that you guys have faith into your product!
 
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8. Board Game: World of Warcraft: The Boardgame – The Burning Crusade [Average Rating:7.37 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.37 Unranked]
Board Game: World of Warcraft: The Boardgame – The Burning Crusade
What followed was a lot of browsing through the merchandise at various booths in multiple halls. We also started to buy stuff we saw earlier but did not want to carry around all day (we did not not yet know that we could bring our loot to the car and re-enter the fair).

After learning that all 15€-copies of Prosperity for sold out I bought a copy of the old Burning Crusade expansion for World of Warcraft the Boardgame. We had not played the game for a few years, taking issue with the long downtime but recently made plans to try a cooperative variant (that scraps the opposing faction). Anyway, I bought this for only 5€ - well worth it just for the minis in my opinion. =)
 
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9. Board Game: Dominant Species [Average Rating:7.85 Overall Rank:52]
Board Game: Dominant Species
We had to come to the booth in question multiple times but we finally managed to try Dominant Species.

Yes, the game is not that new but he had not played it yet and Matthias was looking for a new Euro game.

We played two full turns (phases/ages?) and I think got a good grasp of the mechanics. The game was a lot of fun although I fear the reports of analysis paralysis might proof to be true. We didn't have any issues but nobody was honestly playing to win at the demo.

Matthias did not buy it at the fair but it's on his list and not that hard to acquire anyway.


That was basically the end of our first day.
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10. Board Game: Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition) [Average Rating:7.71 Overall Rank:99]
Board Game: Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition)
Our second day (without Matthias) began with an other visit at the Heidelberger booth where I wanted to bargain for a copy of Descent at Amazon's price point of 55€.

There I learned that the game actually isn't to be released before next month justifying the slightly higher price. That made sense and I grabbed a copy. =)
 
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11. Board Game: Smash Up [Average Rating:6.78 Overall Rank:795] [Average Rating:6.78 Unranked]
Board Game: Smash Up
Julian wanted to try Smash Up since Thursday but we have not found a demo table until Friday. We played a 4-player game with a lower victory point-goal.

The artwork and theme are great.
Zombie fey fighting dinosaur wizards, alien pirates and robot ninjas for world domination certainly has its charm.

Gameplay is simple but fits our taste and the faction drafting promises a good amount of replayability.


Julian ended up buying a copy.
 
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12. Board Game: Angry Birds: Knock on Wood [Average Rating:4.60 Overall Rank:18486]
Board Game: Angry Birds: Knock on Wood
Looking for souvenirs for Julian's 5-year old son we cam upon a booth selling many games based on iPhone apps (that he likes to play).

We tested thos Angry Birds game but we hardly managed to hit a thing.^^
We were originally using the cheaper edition but proceeded to try the more expensive sling shot. This made things easier but did not convince us to buy a copy.

To be fair: I lkater read quite a dfew positive reviews on this so it is definitely possible that we were just very bad at the game.
 
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13. Board Game: Uchronia [Average Rating:6.50 Overall Rank:2565]
Board Game: Uchronia
While eating a hotdog earlier we were looking through the Iello catalog and got intruiged by Uchronia.

That's why we now decided to revisit the Iello booth to try it. We joined a very nice couple from New Zealand who just sat down. Together we figured out the rules on our own (the rule book is only 4 pages long!). Considering that no player knew the rules beforehand you have to give credit to whoever wrote them because we grasped everything quite quickly (although it took some re-reading of certain paragraphs).

We had a great time exploring the game together, cheering everytime an other rule clicked. The game has multiple mechanics that interact very elegantly.

We played for quite some time and I think nobody would have minded to finish the game but after a while two friends of us showed up and we all agreed to play just a couple more turns so that we could see some more of the fair.^^


I bought a copy and look forword to explore strategy as our next step just as we explored the rules at our first play.
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14. Board Game: Flash Point: Fire Rescue – 2nd Story [Average Rating:7.58 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.58 Unranked]
Board Game: Flash Point: Fire Rescue – 2nd Story
Julian found an other Angry Birds game and this time he bought it.
The Angry Birds Action Game does not stay as true to the video game original but comes nice big components made of wood and sand-bags.

Afterwards I joined a demo of Flash Point, including its 2nd Story expansion while my friends kept browsing on their own. We were taught the rules and attended by Lutz Pietschker, the expansion's designer!

We worked together quite well and easily won the scenario without a single civil casualty (one fire fighter got caught in an explosion)!


The game is a lot of fun and very heavy on theme. I can not recall many games with themes fitting their mechanics as well as Flash Point's.
Unfortunately the game fills the same niche as Pandemic which I already own. Don't get me wrong, there are quite a few reasons to own both but I currently suffer from a severe lack of shelf space. Once that is sorted out I can definitely see me pick up a copy of this great game!
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15. Board Game: Loch Ness [Average Rating:5.98 Overall Rank:8371]
Board Game: Loch Ness
Julian had to leave as early as possible. So after our meeting with a publisher (not sure I can go into details, sorry) we only stopped at one more booth. Julian spotted Loch Ness while I was playing Flash Point.

I instantly fell in love with the game's components and artwork. Nessi is just lovable and the "bad" photos are hilarious.

And like that Julian had a second souvenir for his son. =)
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16. Board Game Publisher: Plaid Hat Games
Board Game Publisher: Plaid Hat Games
Unfortunately we did not find some merchandise we were looking for:
Plaid Hat Game's Mice and Mystics has yet to reach many (all?) customers but nevertheless we hoped to find a copy somewhere. I didn't get my hopes high though, and it turned out I was right. :/

More surprisingly we did not find much Summoner Wars decks. I hoped to buy multiple English faction and reinforcement decks to avoid shipping costs but found not single release except for the products that are available in German.
 
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17. Board Game: Jumping to Conclusions [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Jumping to Conclusions
To conclude:
Both of us enjoyed our two days a lot and we are happy with out purchases.
I'm even glad that I did not get my copy of Prosperity as it kind of justifies my spontanious purchase of Uchronia.^^

Now I'm really looking forward to playing all these purchases again or for the first time. I'm already planning how to approach our first Descent campaign... :>


From gallery of Zejety
 
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