This year I am going to Essen for the first time. I am simultaneously excited and petrified. The idea of going to the biggest board game trade show in the world is two parts anticipation one part nerves. Thankfully, I have some plans!
Firstly, I am going with people I know and that have been before. The amazing folks at Final Frontier Games (Coloma, Robin Hood, Rise to Nobility) have asked me to join their demo team and demoing is something I love.
I'm not looking forward to the size of Essen as much. Nor trying to navigate the crowds, but this is the cost to see some of the hottest new releases!
Pre-orders and Patience
I'm slightly worried about coming home with more games than I can carry. To combat this I've made four tactical pre-orders! Then, there is a list of games and expansions that I might pick up. Saying that, I'll probably just wait for them to roll into the Zatu warehouse. The Underwater Cities expansion, New Discoveries, falls into this category. As much as I really want it, I think I can wait until retail. Trismegistus is another one I may not be able to wait for. I love Daniele Tascini's previous games such as Teotihuacan and T'zolkin. But the rest I'm just gonna see what I see!
My pre-orders include Q.E. This is a bidding game, one where you can literally bid whatever you want. However, you don't want to be the player who has spent the most at the game's end. Q.E. started life as a handmade wooden game from Gavin Birnbaum here in the UK. I'm delighted to see this now in wider publication.
Next we have the mini expansion for Rollecate. This is a lovely push your luck game that I was sent to review. Gameplay involves laying out track for a train to move along, without making it fall off the track. There are various complications to this and it works super well. The expansion, Broken Rails, is €2 to pre-order so felt like a no brainer. I'd love to think that it will hit wider retail, but at the moment can't see that quite happening.
Masters of Renaissance: Lorenzo Il Magnifico – The Card Game is the one I need to rush least on, but it's board game sibling is one of my favourite games. Also, early reports are that this version is just as satisfying to play, while being a little lighter and quicker. Lastly, we have Awkward Guests, which is so sought after that even when it hits retail it will probably sell out!
Essen Days and Nights
So I have my pre-orders, and during the days I'll be on the Final Frontier Booth demoing Coloma and A Fistful of Meeples. I have a few publishers to meet too, but I've tried to keep that to a minimum with it being my first show. Final Frontier have a great reputation for looking after their booth volunteers so water and food will be on supply. In the evenings there are various events to attend and, of course, games to play with my fellow demoers. I have one mixer to go to on the first night and then I will be led by the veterans, early reports look like this will be to bars mainly...
My show will end slightly early on the Sunday as I catch a ride back to London with one of the developers of the upcoming LANDER. I will make a few live videos during the show which I will post on our Facebook page, as a diary for those who are interested. My biggest fear? Con Crud (post-expo cold) will hit when I get home and go on the family holiday!