Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Spiel Essen 2015: … And I Played

This year I played more games than before.

  • The best playing experience of all was Blood Rage. The game has the variety, screwage and unrelenting direct conflict that makes it a thrilling experience. It allows you to profit from defeat and steal the smiles from the victors. Add the visual appeal of the miniatures and components and this has the potential to become an Ameritrash classic.

  • We tried Ships by Martin Wallace and although the game seems to work fine, it really is a development of many other games by his hand. Many mechanisms are familiar, some new and interesting. But in combination with the lack of player interaction, I finally decided against buying it.

  • The Foreign King is an good microgame in the 8 Minute Empire school. Good interaction. Interesting theme of industrialisation of Belgium.
  • Space Cadets: Away Missions proved an interesting game, with great miniatures. I guess the only thing lacking for me was conflict between the players. There’s so many full coop games, that it gets a bit too much for me.

  • At Galeforce 9 we tried the new Homeland, which was quick and an interesting challenge with hidden objectives, but not altogether visually appealing. Then continued onto the Firefly game, which is very much a multiplayer solo pick up and deliver game.

  • If you are hooked on Mad Max, you can’t ignore Waste Knights. The game makes no effort to hide its inspiration. Scenarios and quests make it a kind of adventure game. You want to like it, but there doesn’t seem to be a thread holding it all together.

  • Better in the post apocalyptic genre is Raid & Trade which is exactly that. Your character runs around the board ransacking houses for resources to either turn into useful artefacts or trade with others for resources you need. I think there is a lot more interaction possible than we had, and I think it is better when you go after each other.
  • La Glace et le Ciel (The Ice and the Sky) looks good, but showed some hickups on forst play. Need to try again soon

  • 1714: The Case of the Catalans. Five allied nations face the combined might of France and the Spanish Empire. Don't let the old skool hexagon board fool you: this card driven game is good. Designed by a sick mind, as we have observed first hand. You will learn more about this game when we play it again.

And again it showed what a difference it makes to have good people explain the game with enthusiasm. The guy who taught us Blood Rage and the designer of 1714 both went out of their way to get us going. Likewise the guys at Galeforce 9 and Badger's Nest. It really helps to sell a game. Again the East Asian publishers seemed to fail in this respect. It may not be entirely fair to judge them on lack of language skills, but you only get one shot to sell a game. It's a tragedy if you miss because you can explain it well enough.


  1. Great report, Jur, thanks! Blood Rage is by far my favorite of the Essen run. Too bad it won't be for sale until end of november. Unless you want to buy a kickstarter set for around $300, that is.

    1. The hopeful news is that I saw a 5th player expansion mentioned for BR. But obviously it won't be cheap


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