Essen 2012: Plays and comments
Karl Bunyan
United Kingdom
London
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Games at Essen 2012 that I played enough of to form a snap judgement.

We also talked about the show after 3 days in the Royal Society of Gamers podcast.
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1. Board Game: Suburbia [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:44]
Karl Bunyan
United Kingdom
London
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My first play of the Spiel, actually played the night before. Interesting game but a bit too gamey for me: the catch-up mechanics seemed a bit obvious and the randomly chosen end-game scoring bonuses the same. I never really like games where the aim of the game's theme (building a healthy, prosperous city) conflicts with some of the game's scoring conditions (e.g. "the player with the least reputation gets 15 points").

I'd play again but certainly not a buy.
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2. Board Game: P.I. [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:1293]
Karl Bunyan
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My first game of the Spiel proper, and I like a good deduction game. The mechanics were fine and we enjoyed it, but there's quite a high luck element that is supposed to be evened out by playing 3 rounds. Possibly it does, but after 3 rounds and 45 minutes of play I'd rather just play a more in-depth 45 minute game rather than the same 15 minute game three times.

Another play (possibly) but not buy.
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3. Board Game: Dr. Shark [Average Rating:6.30 Overall Rank:3372]
Karl Bunyan
United Kingdom
London
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Ridiculously good fun but was starting to overstay its welcome, which was the reason I didn't buy it. I'm not sure I'd get the same fun out of it the second time, and certainly wouldn't the third.
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4. Board Game: Lady Alice [Average Rating:6.47 Overall Rank:2532]
Karl Bunyan
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A second deduction game and this one hit the spot. A single round, lasting around half an hour, and a small amount of bluffing, or at least misleading of others, built into it. It's not a hugely satisfying main course but I think it's about the best deduction game I've played. Downsides are that although the game says 3-5 players on the box I'd never play it with anything other than 4.

Bought and played again and still like it.
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5. Board Game: Phantom [Average Rating:6.57 Overall Rank:5274]
Karl Bunyan
United Kingdom
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It was one of those "never heard of it but a table's free" moments, and I didn't really enjoy it much. Some might, but the whole "flavour art" thing just does nothing for me, and the game didn't stand out. Far from awful, but not something I'd go near again.
 
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6. Board Game: Love Letter [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:99]
Karl Bunyan
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London
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Everyone was comparing the Japon Brand version with the AEG one, and buying the Japon one. I played the game and did the same. It's a great theme, really fun mechanics, and over so fast that you don't care if you lose down to luck of the draw.

Definitely bought and a keeper.
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7. Board Game: River Dragons [Average Rating:6.47 Overall Rank:1205]
Karl Bunyan
United Kingdom
London
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This looked intriguing and I played someone else's copy. It was fun, but as with Dr Shark I'm not sure how many times I'd want to play it.

Still would play again, but wouldn't rush to it.
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8. Board Game: AstroNuts [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:6396]
Karl Bunyan
United Kingdom
London
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A lot of fun in a small package. We played the 2-player game but I think a 4-player game might be where this turns into a bit of a riot. Space exploration and combat in under 30-minutes.

I'd never suggest a game but would happily play it.
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9. Board Game: Brawling Barons [Average Rating:6.56 Overall Rank:3859]
Karl Bunyan
United Kingdom
London
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Pleasant enough, but I felt like we were both inching towards victory without making too many choices and that a large number of games were just going to come down to the tie-breaker of the last few hands. There are other 2-player games I'd rather play in the time.
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10. Board Game: Twin Tin Bots [Average Rating:6.59 Overall Rank:2140]
Karl Bunyan
United Kingdom
London
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I played the prototype of this new game from Philippe Keyaerts, and it was quite a bit of fun. If you like Robo Rally but think it lasts too long then this could be the game to replace it, although for me it did still last a little too long - just over an hour, I believe, and if it had been 45 minutes I'd have been very satisfied.

It's currently on Kickstarter and not a buy for me, but I'd happily play again.
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11. Board Game: Circus Grandioso [Average Rating:6.12 Overall Rank:7569]
Karl Bunyan
United Kingdom
London
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A game that looks a lot like Penguin Party but is very different. It was okay enough, but stalls a bit as player keep drawing cards just to find the right one rather than playing anything. By this time the memory element, and luck, is a bigger part of the game than anything.

Again, not a bad game, but I'd play something else in the time.
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12. Board Game: Courtier [Average Rating:6.76 Overall Rank:1493]
Karl Bunyan
United Kingdom
London
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One of AEG's new games, and although it passed the time there wasn't anything great about it. Cube placing to complete missions reminded me a bit of completing Ticket to Ride routes, although abstracted away. Quite variable with the luck of the card draw and not something I'm looking to play again. I'm probably not alone in that as it was going for 15 euros at the end of Essen.
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13. Board Game: 1984: Animal Farm [Average Rating:5.91 Overall Rank:7370]
Karl Bunyan
United Kingdom
London
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Supposedly a 3-5 player game, but hopefully it's better with four than our two rounds with only three players. Not much negotation, and not much game that we could find.
 
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14. Board Game: Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:109]
Karl Bunyan
United Kingdom
London
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I wanted to play to see if it would appeal to someone like me that doesn't really like Agricola, and it certainly does that. Will be a buy as soon as it's back in stock in the UK.
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15. Board Game: Coup [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:204]
Karl Bunyan
United Kingdom
London
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More lying than hidden role and negotiation, and played in the right way (with brazen lies) it's fun. Bought after hearing everyone else playing it, and it delivers a lot in the play time.
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16. Board Game: Sneaks & Snitches [Average Rating:6.38 Overall Rank:1963]
Karl Bunyan
United Kingdom
London
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Somebody picked this up cheaply and I wish they hadn't. If there's a game in there it's very deeply buried.
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17. Board Game: Sumeria [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:1706]
Karl Bunyan
United Kingdom
London
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Another cheap purchase by someone, and a game I own and have had on a couple of maths trade lists - so far with no success. It's not actually a bad game so I was happy to play it with 3 players, which I think is the best number for the game.
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18. Board Game: Tea Time [Average Rating:6.09 Overall Rank:5502]
Karl Bunyan
United Kingdom
London
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Some similarities with Coloretto in that you're trying to collect lots of matching sets and trying to force the odd dud onto other players, although with tiles on a grid. It was nice enough but didn't push me into buying it.
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19. Board Game: Kakerlakenpoker Royal [Average Rating:6.78 Overall Rank:1948]
Karl Bunyan
United Kingdom
London
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Some of the best laughs of the weekend so I had to buy it after that. Bluffing/lying and a small amount of game that builds out of it, but mainly it's just fun. Or at least I hope the second play is as much as the first.
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20. Board Game: Rumble in the Dungeon [Average Rating:6.33 Overall Rank:3406]
Karl Bunyan
United Kingdom
London
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The sequel to Rumble in the House, which is basically some new art and one new rule. I liked this just as much as the original, which is to say not very much at all. At least it's quick.
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21. Board Game: BraveRats [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:1440]
Karl Bunyan
United Kingdom
London
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Another little surprise from Japon Brand. Only a handful of cards, and only four euros. Possibly one of the most intricate games I have that you can play in under 10 minutes. Not that there's a huge amount there, but it's fun and surprisingly un-random.
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22. Board Game: Riff Raff [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:889]
Karl Bunyan
United Kingdom
London
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This could be the game I wished I'd bought, although I'm sure it'll be around for a while. Balancing wooden pieces on a wobbling pirate ship was superb fun, and it was only the very short play time versus cost and weight of the box that stopped me getting it there and then. It's up there with Animal upon Animal in my opinion.
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23. Board Game: Smash Up [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:391] [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Karl Bunyan
United Kingdom
London
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Played because we couldn't get a game of Dominaire or Guildhall, and really really really not my thing at all. The play was: play one card, draw two, repeat until you had 7 or 8 in hand and hope to play a multi-card combo to steal some points. Repeat until someone gets across the finishing line. Next time I think I'll just spend the time looking out of the window - I think it has more meaningful decisions.
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