Essen 2016 - Scouting List with first impressions & pictures
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2016 will be my 9th Essen and I've pulled together a list of the games I'd like to check out this year. I have to say there are more games that I'm really interested in this year than for the last few, which makes it a real shame the exchange rate has tanked over the last few months. shake

I've added component pictures to the entries where I can find them on BGG, as well as prices/hall numbers where these are available.

Will be updated with more games as research continues!

If anyone else finds it useful, you're welcome!
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1. Board Game: Ave Roma [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:1674]
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Hall/Booth: 7 - D107

Price: 45e (or 70e with the 5 mini expansions)

Player Count: 2-5

Worker placement euro where the twist is that workers are neutral and players draft them back to their hands at the end of the round. Workers have different values and each has advantages in certain areas of the board.

Copy reserved - the 25e of day 1 expansions is annoying but I suppose it's what we have to live with in this Kickstarter age.

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2. Board Game: Inis [Average Rating:7.82 Overall Rank:178]
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Hall/Booth: ??? (3-E102 is the Matagot stand)

Price: 55e

Player Count: 2-4

Area control/card management game which looks to have decent player interaction.

Also it looks gorgeous in a way I don't think the box-front adequately portrays:

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3. Board Game: Terraforming Mars [Average Rating:8.39 Overall Rank:7]
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Hall/Booth: 3-M107

Price: 50e

Player Count: 1-5

Medium/Heavy resource management euro with this year's go-to theme (Mars - although sci-fi is always a welcome break from building medieval farms and towns).LOTS of cards with little duplication of them... so my one concern at the moment would be around how balanced they are and whether someone can become a runaway leader with a good early combo. Possibly a launch promo available.

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4. Board Game: Scythe [Average Rating:8.32 Overall Rank:8]
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Hall/Booth: 1-F131

Price: 80e

Player Count: 1-5

Another medium/heavy Euro that I've seen in preview versions at other games cons in the last year or so but now finally released, and fair racing up the BGG rankings. Area control with lots of engine-building and a slice of mech combat.

I'd like to get a demo on this as 80e is really rather pricey, although again this does look lovely.

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5. Board Game: Great Western Trail [Average Rating:8.29 Overall Rank:17]
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Hall/Booth: 3-M107

Price: ??? (probably about 40e?)

Player Count: 2-4

I've never really been that attracted to Western-themed games, but this one has been getting good buzz pre-Essen this year. Basic them is you're moving your guys along the trail to Kansas, making choice on your route and the spaces you land on lead to the actions you can take. Icon-heavy, and although that does mean language independent from the looks of things it does lead to more of a learning curve for those icons.



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6. Board Game: Dokmus [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:2319]
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Hall/Booth: 3-L116

Price: probably 30e, 25 if preordered

Player Count: 2-4

A short game (and basically an abstract) with some interesting looking sliding/rotating modular board gameplay. Clearly a shorter and more tactical game, but meaty filler potentially?

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7. Board Game: The Colonists [Average Rating:7.93 Overall Rank:377]
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Hall/Booth: ??? (Mayfair Stand probably Hall 1 - F133)

Price: ??? (Around 70e. Ouch.)
Player Count: 1-4

Worker placement/movement game where you move you pieces around on the board activating the spaces you go through. Looks to have a modular structure so lots of replayability. Not a lot of info out apart from an example walkthrough document in the files section of the game page.

300 copies available in English so check on Thursday.

No Images on BGG!
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8. Board Game: Small Star Empires [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:3174]
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Hall/Booth: 7-A102

Price: 30e

Player Count: 2-4

As far as I can tell from what I've seen so far, this is basically "Hey, that's my fish!" on steroids. I've got HTmF! and quite enjoy it so intrigued to check this out. Whether it's a buy or not will depend on how much depth it adds, how much additional time that adds, and whether it still hits a sweet spot between those two.



(Note - kickstarter components. Retail version has wooded spaceship meeples. More to my tastes anyway!)
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9. Board Game: The Oracle of Delphi [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:520]
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Hall/Booth: 3-M110

Price: 45e

Player Count: 2-4

A Stefan Feld game, so always interested in looking. Utilises a dice mechanism that looks related to Castles of Burgundy. Anyone who's played games with me knows my innate distrust of dice so again, want to try before buy on this.

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10. Board Game: A Feast for Odin [Average Rating:8.26 Overall Rank:38]
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Hall/Booth: 3-O117

Price: probably about 80e

Player Count: 1-4

This has a lot of bits (possibly one for Victor then!), and it's the latest game from Uwe Rosenberg (Caverna, Agricola, Le Havre designer). Which I'm pretty sure means it will be a good game. The possible issue for me is that it's another game about building up your board by putting tiles on it, feeding your people, lots of cards, etc. I have Caverna, Agricola, etc so do I really need this as well? Especially as it only goes to 4 players?


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11. Board Game: Kanagawa [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:583]
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Hall/Booth: 3-M109

Price: 25e

Player Count: 2-4

Lovely looking Japanese style artwork and an interesting looking theme about, well, Japanese artwork. Try before buy, although 25e looks like a keen price for this.

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12. Board Game: Colony [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:1691]
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Hall/Booth: 1-G139

Price: preorder is $60, so guessing 50e

Player Count: 1-4

Sci-fi deckbuilding and rolling dice to determine resources. Designer's previous games include Castles of Mad King Ludwig and Suburbia. A small worry is that the buying mechanism looks really a lot like Yahtzee.

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13. Board Game: Captain Sonar [Average Rating:7.82 Overall Rank:106]
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Hall/Booth: 3-E102

Price: 45e, or 40e preorder

Player Count: 2-8

I've seen Space Cadets - Dice duel played before, although not tried it myself. Too many dice there, although that's fixed here as it's a lot more of a euro take on the same thing. Teams of 1-4 players face off to sink each other's submarines in either turn based or real time. Looks good and puzzley; party game for gamers.



Plus,of course, the key selling point is that the title scans perfectly to the Captain Scarlet theme song.


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14. Board Game: Russian Railroads: American Railroads [Average Rating:8.07 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.07 Unranked]
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Hall/Booth: 7-A113

Price: 15e

Player Count: 2-4

EXPANSION

Hoping this is language independent, as the 15e price difference on German Railroads last year between the English and German versions felt pretty steep.
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15. Board Game: Hyperborea: Light & Shadow [Average Rating:7.73 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.73 Unranked]
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Hall/Booth: 3-O113

Price: 25e

Player Count: 2-6

EXPANSION

Hyperborea was probably my most anticipated game of Essen 2014, and I have to say I was disappointed by it. It felt like a few more months of playtesting was needed to really make it shine and for me, after the first few months, it's not really been played. Interested in trying out the expansion to see if it helps fix my issues with the base game, so that will be the acid test as to whether to pick up or not.
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16. Board Game: Honshu [Average Rating:7.18 Overall Rank:889]
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Hall/Booth: 3-L116

Price: 10-15e

Player Count: 2-5

A trick-taking card game with a map building mechanic - again looks like a decent filler game. Visual similarity to Patchistory in terms of card layout.

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17. Board Game: The Networks [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:568]
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Hall/Booth: 4-D113

Price: 45e

Player Count: 1-5

I like the theme of putting together a TV network's schedule, and I think this should have broad appeal. I like that payers could build a genre-themed TB channel, although the jokey names might wear thin with multiple plays maybe?

Limited stock and likely to sell out Thursday.

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18. Board Game: Deus: Egypt [Average Rating:7.74 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.74 Unranked]
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Hall/Booth: Hall 1-F103 (Pearl Games Stand)

Price: 25e

Player Count: 2-4

EXPANSION

Basically a new deck of cards for the base game that you can switch out in full or part, or just add to the existing cards. Military cards are more conflict-driven than the base game which should mix things up a bit. 25e for a deck of cards though?

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19. Board Game: Concordia: Gallia / Corsica [Average Rating:8.30 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.30 Unranked]
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Hall/Booth: 1-C108

Price: ??? (but would guess at 15e)

Player Count: 2-5


EXPANSION

What to do now we no longer get annual Power Grid maps with minor gameplay modifications? Why, buy annual Concordia maps with minor gameplay modifications, of course. Buy this late if I have any euros left to use up.
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20. Board Game: Tramways [Average Rating:7.52 Overall Rank:1375]
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Hall/Booth: 1-D129

Price: 45e

Player Count: 1-5

Basic visuals perhaps, however the core game looks like a nicely balanced auction/deckbuilder which then drives a pick-up-and-deliver game. That's a lot of different mechanics there so I'd love to see if they all flow together nicely. Try before buy.

 
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21. Board Game: Power Grid: High-Voltage DC Transmission Passage C [Average Rating:7.23 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.23 Unranked]
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Hall/Booth: 3-M106/M108

Price: 1e

Player Count: 2-6

EXPANSION

And the prize for smallest, most questionably valuable expansion goes to...

That said, I'll still grab it for a euro. Limited copies so go Thursday.


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22. Board Game: Jórvík [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:1831]
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Hall/Booth: 3-M107

Price: ???

Player Count: 2-5

Another Stefan Feld - not a new game this time but a retheme of one from a few years back (Die Speicherstadt). So if I were devious I might get a demo of this and then seek out a cheaper version of the earlier game...


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23. Board Game: Lorenzo il Magnifico [Average Rating:7.81 Overall Rank:420]
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Hall/Booth: 1-A118

Price: 50e inc promo

Player Count: 2-4

Medium-Heavy euro (again, sensing a pattern here). From the designer of Tzolkin so worth a look.

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24. Board Game: Order of the Gilded Compass [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:2399]
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Hall/Booth: 7-E112

Price: 35e

Player Count: 2-5

A retheme of Alea Iacta Est. To be honest this looks like exactly the sort of pretty, medium game that ends up on my list every year, only to get passed on after the demo or bough, played once and abandoned to the nether shelves of the collection before going on to a better life via the bring-and-buy at the UK Games Expo.
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25. Board Game: 4 Gods [Average Rating:6.37 Overall Rank:3264]
Stewart Cowan
United Kingdom
Milton Keynes
Buckinghamshire
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www.phoenixgamesclub.org.uk
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Hall/Booth: ??? (Ludically stand so either 3-B108, or 1-F100)

Price: ???

Player Count: 2-4

Real-time tile laying game. Could be good, quick-yet-thinky-fun or could be a complete mess. Demo if possible.

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