Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Essen 2016

We're a couple of weeks on, but no reason not to briefly glance back at what I learned in Essen this year.


It was a relaxed trip for me because I didn't feel I had to buy anything except simple games to play at night. This saved me a panicked last minute chase along the stands of companies that I'd missed. There were some good games and bad, but nothing that stuck out for me.
  • Barcelona, The Rose of Fire, a hefty game about the late 19th century development of the city, pitting influential families against each other and homeless poor. I almost bought it but finally left because I hadn't seen the end game.
  • The Grizzeld/Les Poilus, very nice cooperative game about survival  on the WWI battlefield (picked up by a friend so I've had a chance to try it again). Sad trivia: the guy who did the artwork was killed in the January 7th attack on the premises of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
  • Beer Empire, a development from a previous version. A pretty streamlined eurogame that let's you brew specialist beers (to win prizes) as well as shitty lager in cans that brings in lots of money.
  • Fabled Fruit, a very simple game with subdued graphics that I felt was overpriced
  • Topoum, a nice tactical game, but overpriced
  • London Markets, a pretty standard but pleasant worker placement game.
  • Lincoln, an unpublished Martin Wallace design for a strategic game about the American Civil War. It's mostly card play and could use some more play testing. 
In the end I arrived home with: Pax Pamir - Khyber Knives expansion, Treatment, Lord of the P.I.G.S. and Rock, Paper, Wizard.

We played Treatment and Rock, Paper, Wizard at the hotel and restaurant in Essen. And I repeated that feat recently with friends. Treatment is a conventional card game with a nice theme. Rock Paper Wizard is 15 minutes of fun, and a nice cross of Cash 'n' Guns with a pumped up version of Rock Paper Scissors (as the name implies).

I've also managed two games of Lord of the P.I.G.S.. It focuses on the struggle between the conflicting interests of politicians, industrial and financial elites in the economically challenged countries of Southern Europe (ie Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain). The game proves a bit tougher to occassional gamers than I thought, because the turn order isn't intuitive, but I like it.

Only Pax Pamir Khyber Knives remains to get it cherry popped, but this is a promising score so far so I don't feel the need to pursue a project Spiel 2016. I'll focus on playing some stuff that's been gathering dust on the shelf. In fact I've been clearing out quite a lot of stuff from my shelves, but it needs to leave the house as well ;-)


  1. Hey Jur, did you post a geeklist this year? I always look forward to it every year.

  2. okay, I'll have a look for it. What are your thoughts on Pax Pamir itself?

    1. I like Pax Pamir so much I bought the expansion. Haven't tried that yet, though. I think it plays really well.(as I have heared, much smoother than Pax Porfiriana)

  3. I've played both, Porfiriana more extensively and prefer it to Pamir. Pamir has a layer of abstraction (the actions?) that I haven't quite wrapped my head around. Porfiriana seems more straight forward (relatively speaking for an Eklund game). I may have to give Pamir a few more gos.

    1. I would like to try Porfiriana but the guy who has it only wants to play my Pamir! :-D


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