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Getting Games from SPIEL '19, Whether in Essen or Elsewhere

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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This is the time of year to move into overdrive. With less than a month before Gen Con 2019 opens, I'm still adding titles to our Gen Con 2019 Preview, although we've hit a lull recently in terms of publishers submitting information. Summer doldrums, perhaps, or a few days of recreation before diving into final plans for the upcoming shows. I'm working on video previews for Amul, Las Vegas Royale, [redacted], the Undo game series, and many other titles. We'll see how much I can finish in the next, eep, 3.5 weeks...

On top of that, on July 5 I sent out an RFI letter to hundreds of publishers asking about their plans for SPIEL '19, and those info forms have started to trickle in, with Gavin Birnbaum from Cubiko Games winning the No Prize for first submission. You can make plans to check out Paras in Essen, an all-wood game with a dice-based dexterity element in which you try to claim as many territories on the board as possible, but Birnbaum's creations are all handmade with no more than a couple of dozen copies on hand, so visit early on Thursday!

Launch yourself into new territories!

BoardGameGeek's SPIEL '19 Preview will go live on Monday, August 5, the day after Gen Con 2019 ends. As on the Origins 2019 Preview and the Gen Con 2019 Preview, publishers will be able to create preorders for their titles on the SPIEL '19 Preview, giving you the chance to lock in a game and not risk it selling out and giving them the chance to complete sales in advance and not have so much cash on hand during the fair.

What's more, for SPIEL '19 BGG is partnering with Funagain Games on a service we're calling Cardboard Caravan. For fifteen years, Funagain Games ran "The Essen Mule Service" in which it took orders for games available at SPIEL, bought those games directly from the publisher, picked them up at SPIEL, airshipped them to the U.S., then either delivered those games to buyers at BGG.CON or shipped those games to buyers around the world.

For SPIEL '19, Cardboard Caravan (CBC) will function the same as The Essen Mule Service of old — Funagain will buy games directly from publishers, then deliver those games to buyers — but sales of these games will take place through BGG's SPIEL '19 Preview and gamers will be able to pick up orders at PAX Unplugged in Philadelphia, PA (with no shipping charge), in addition to having games shipped to them (for a fee) or getting them at BGG.CON (also with no shipping charge).

As with our convention preview preorder program, signing up for Cardboard Caravan is optional, but Funagain says that 150-200 publishers have participated annually in The Essen Mule Service, so ideally just as many publishers will sign up for CBC, giving you the chance to get games you want from SPIEL '19 without making the trip to Essen yourself. We'll see who's on board on August 5 when the SPIEL '19 Preview goes live, and publisher will have two months to sign on after that time should they decide to get involved later.

We have lots of other plans in the works as well. The challenge is finding enough time and ready hands to do everything...
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