We were super excited about coming back to Essen. Last time was three years ago, so we have not been in the new halls yet. Hirginia was today in Barcelona, so she took a flight very early to come back to Basel and we went almost directly to Badischer Banhof to take the train to Essen.
We manage to get there just with one hour delay. An amazing accomplishment taking into account that the city was disconnected from the rest of the world via the ongoing works in the German fast train network!
Check-in in the hotel, and running to the Fair. We could already see people playing in the hotels, wearing geek T-shirts around, and worse… with bags full of games. That urged us on arriving at the fair in a record time of 30 min after disembarking in Essen.
We entered in Hall 3, the main space of the fair and wow! That’s big! Way bigger than last time we came here. And the first thing we see is the booth of Asmodee customized as a mystery house to promote Mysterium. Very nice game with a mix of Cluedo and Dixit. We like to call it “Advanced Dixit” as it is Dixit but with a theme that, in fact, fits very well.
Our first stop was the booth of the BGG where the core group of the well-known website host interviews to the designers and publishers to promote novelties. On Friday I promised some Swiss chocolate to Katherine, and we are people of honor!
Here, she was interviewing a guy from Repos to promote 7 Wonders The Duel. I’m not a fan of 7 Wonders in general, but I only heard very good things about this 2-player version. John, Beth, and Aldie on the right looking pretty tired…
The interview was getting a bit longer than expected, so in the meanwhile, we dropped a visit to a well-known person that was pretty close:
Tom Vasel was a very nice person and easy to talk with. Taking into account that I like a lot his reviews and I agree in general with his opinions, it was wonderful to meet him at the fair. And he’s is big! At least one Hirginia and a half:
And we came back to the BGB. Katherine finished her turn and we could catch her for a moment. She was not believing that we actually brought them chocolate, so she even came out from the booth to have a picture.
After the social objectives we started walking around without a much defined objective. It was already 17.30 and we had left only one hour and half. So we tried to locate the most important publishers, see what the offered and contact with their event managers to thank them their support of our beloved BasGame, or let them know that we exist.
In general we saw several games that were attracting us: Spirits of the Rice Paddy (a beautiful brainburner), Potion Explosion (Candy Crush made board game), and 504. This last one has a completely new idea, so big that people was in general skeptic about it: the box contains actually 504 games! This is done with a LOT of components and a rulebook divided in three sections, each one with 9 options. When combining them without repetitions provides 504 different rules. 2F-Spiele, the publisher, claims that all of them work well or very well, and with play times between 30 and 120 minutes. Nevertheless, at 65€ we rather decided to wait a bit and watch the reviews. Just by lucky coincidence we could catch Friedmann Friese there. To spot him was not a difficult task, though:
I like his out-of-the.box thinking when designing games with very unusual themes. I love Friday, his solo game that was specifically designed for 1 player. We are also fans of Funkenschlag, which in fact was the game that got us in the world of modern board games.
Unfortunately, it is very unlikely that 2F-Spiele will support BasGame. They told us that they are too small and actually, they are over their capability right now, giving support to other local events. Bad luck, but at least now they know that we are here.
Just around the corner we could visit Stronghold games, with the English version of 504, and the 2nd edition of (oh! surprise) Stronghold. Three months ago I got a second hand copy of this beautiful asymmetric siege and defense game, after looking for it for years. And now they publish a revised edition! :_(
Anyway, we moved to Czech Games Edition, which is one of our favorite publishers with games like Space Alert, Dungeon Petz, Galaxy Trucker, and Alchemists.that have been hits in our game sessions. And who was there? Another wonderful designer: Vlaada Chvátil:
He suggested us to rearrange the icons on our T-shirts as 'Game-Game-Game-Eat-Game-Game-Sleep-Game...'. Funny! Just 10 minutes ago, someone suggested to directly cross or eliminate 'Eat' and 'Sleep'.
There we met with Jana, the event manager of CGE. We just felt in love with her. She is super energetic, motivated and, very importantly, she likes BasGame. She was so nice that she already gave us two novelties for BasGame 2016: Codenames and the new edition of Through the Ages, a superb game! Codenames it is a super-funny party game that turned out to be a surprise to us. It is going to be a blast in the association meetings and in all the events we organize! Of course, it is designed by Vlaada.
After that, time was over and doors started to close. We were happy because we could at least get first impressions, do some contacts, and take some pictures. Not bad for just 90 min… But of course, the difficult part was starting then: how do several thousands of people travel from the fair to their hotels at the same time? Yes. The answer is: It doesn’t matter. It’s going to be a pain in the neck anyway.
So mental note for next year: Do not wait until closure or… take the train in Messe Ost BUT direction to Messe Süd where everybody jumps in. At least you will be seated when it changes direction.
Somehow we managed to get in the train and reach the hotel. Once in there, the atmosphere was like always: everybody playing everywhere. We love it! We met a Czech couple and we tried Codenames with them and it worked very nicely with four players, but I guess that with more it is going to be a blast.
Afterwards we called the day and went to bed. It was quite a intense day, and we had a lot to visit and buy on Sunday, when the editorials decrease the prices for last time.