How I spent my Saturday at Essen
Colin
United States
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Here are some of my observations as my buddy and I wandered the cavernous halls of Messe Essen. Never before have I seen Slurpees served with double shots of vodka, life-size fussball fields, and roving bands of people clad in plate and chain mail and armed to the teeth with fearsome assortments of painted foam weapons all gathered together under one roof. I can't wait for next year's fair to come around as I will most definitely make arrangements to spend more than one day at the Spiel. And as I nurse my aching arms, I will also never again giggle at a man pulling an empty wagon into a board game fair for he is a wise and prescient soul.
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1. Board Game: Catan [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:279] [Average Rating:7.23 Unranked]
Colin
United States
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One of the vendors had this marked down from EUR 21 to EUR 20. Um... Why bother? On a side note, the 3-D, hand- painted, mondo-supremo edition was REALLY cool. And really expensive! Pictures don't do it justice.
 
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2. Board Game: Carcassonne [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:139] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
Colin
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There was a Carcassonne booth where they set out some packets of gummi bears shaped like Carcassonne meeples. Holy cow, you'd think it was feeding time for the hyenas! I managed to grab a couple packs for my kids before some guy walked up and took the whole bowl of loose gummi meeples and carried it over to his gaming table.
 
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3. Board Game: Capt'n Clever [Average Rating:5.64 Overall Rank:9510]
Colin
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Got this guy for free for simply spending a measley EUR 50. Actually I had a choice from among three games I knew nothing about so I figured even if it stinks at least I 'll come out of it with some cool pirate ships. Arrrgh!
 
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4. Board Game: Magic: The Gathering [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:157] [Average Rating:7.45 Unranked]
Colin
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Every single one of the dozen or so Magic tables was occupied by an attractive, young, female, Magic staff member and 4-5 boys/guys playing along. Absolute marketing genius!
 
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5. Board Game: Pokémon Trading Card Game [Average Rating:6.16 Overall Rank:2492] [Average Rating:6.16 Unranked]
Colin
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The Pokemon tables, however, mostly had an opposite demographic of one male to 3-4 teenage girls per table. I wonder how many of those boys REALLY played Pokemon just for the card game?
 
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6. Board Game: Between The Sheets [Average Rating:2.25 Unranked]
Colin
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I noticed that play testing areas were conspicuously absent from the booth selling the "Love Tubes" and "Kama Sutra" games. Then again, from what I saw of some of the people hanging out at the neighboring ComicCon maybe it's better that there wasn't a play testing area. I'd hate to see a piece of chain mail get snagged on a random facial piercing during the complex transition from the Lotus Position to the Congress of the Cow. (I didn't see this title there but it's pretty close.)
 
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7. Board Game: Havoc: The Hundred Years War [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:2137]
Colin
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I had a very nice chat with, what I'm assuming was, the wife of the creator of the game. She explained it all and even suggested that I check the game I'd purchased to make sure it wasn't one of those with a misprinted card. It had the bad card so I'm glad I opened it there instead of at home. KC Humphrey was kind enough to sign my copy and I got the free expansion and a little spinner thingy to boot! (I'm a sucker for free-bees.)
 
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8. Board Game: Reef Encounter [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:486]
Colin
United States
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Despite all the hype and praise for this game on BGG, the awesome graphics on the bits and the box pushed me past the point of no return for buying this one. My cherished, signed copy of Reef Encounter will always be at the top of my stack just so I can look at those cool fish.
 
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9. Board Game: Ticket to Ride [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:124] [Average Rating:7.46 Unranked]
Colin
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Picked up an English version of Ticket to Ride, plus a free T-shirt, plus a free shopping bag, plus a free copy of Ticket to Ride lite for the PC. WHY AM I SUCH A SUCKER FOR FREE STUFF?
 
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10. Board Game: Railways of the World [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:97] [Average Rating:7.69 Unranked]
Colin
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As I passed by this game I realized I don't own a table large enough to comfortably accomodate the whole game and all its bits. Then I contemplated what would happen were some hapless fool to trip and fall into the table thus scattering aforementioned bits to the wind. I'd be surprised if it hadn't happened before seeing as how, at times, the floor seemed like a crosswalk in Tokyo during rush hour. This ever happen to anyone?
 
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11. Board Game: Schildi Schildkröte [Average Rating:6.43 Overall Rank:6652]
Colin
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There was a gigantic version of this game set up at the HABA area with turteeples the size of basketballs. I contemplated competing against the grade-schoolers just so I could come away with the free balloon and other trinkets they were handing out to the kids. My buddy talked me out of it though.
 
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12. Board Game: Deus Vult! [Average Rating:5.21 Overall Rank:13848]
Colin
United States
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This was the only game I actually had a chance to play. We spent five hours wandering the halls and all the tables were always full. Then, on our way out, we passed by Deus Vult again and took advantage of an empty table to play at least one game. Despite being rather luck dependent based on both the dice and the cards, the theme and art design were really cool. I probably would have bought this had I not already spent most all of my money and become weary from lugging around 10 full size games in two massive bags all day. Am I cursed in that I ran out of carrying capacity before money?
 
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13. Board Game: Kookaburra Game [Average Rating:5.16 Overall Rank:13145]
Colin
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This was the last game purchased on my way out the door, marked down from EUR 15 to EUR 5. I'm such a sucker for a board game bargain, perceived or otherwise. I noticed a few people making charts of various game prices from all the different sellers. It sure seemed like a lot of work considering it would take at least a full day just to browse every single seller there. Then again, it was rather annoying to buy a game for EUR 15 and see it five minutes later for EUR 8 or 10.
 
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14. Board Game: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring [Average Rating:6.52 Overall Rank:3709]
Colin
United States
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I could keep going, boring you all with my list of swag, but my final comment is that next year I hope they continue to position the guy dressed up like an orc with a string of severed ears hanging from his booth of latex goblin masks tucked deep in the bowels of the convention center and far from the HABA and Ravensburger displays where he would undoubtedly cause much fear and crying.
 
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