Essen Radar - What games to wait for and what to buy *NOW*?
Tom "Snicker Daddy" Pancoast
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Henrico
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Essen! Essen! Buzz, Buzz, Buzz! (Nod to Ben and Jerry)

I'm using this list to keep track of the games that have caught my eye, but ultimately I want to make some decisions about what to import and what to wait for. Will these games be available in English anytime soon? If it will be, I can wait. Are they language independent? I'm not crazy about paste ups, so if not, I probably won't bother. Will I want enough to justify a German order? Of course, the game has to be good, too. BGG.con should allow me try some of these, so I don't plan to do anything until after that.

By the way, http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist.php3?action=view&listi... is a nice list by Alan Kaiser with a similar purpose, and check out Eric Martin's pre-Essen list http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist.php3?action=view&listi....

If you know something, please comment. If you want to add your own interests, feel free. You might point out something I missed. If there are any other related resources, that might help others prioritize, please let us know.

P.S. Don't forget about the second page.
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1. Board Game: Caylus [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:45]
Tom "Snicker Daddy" Pancoast
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This "next Puerto Rico" is probably the top buzz for me from Essen. There will be a combined French/US release, but I don't know anything about the distribution in the US. On a related note, if this gets an English version, does that mean Ys will too?
 
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2. Board Game: Indonesia [Average Rating:7.81 Overall Rank:189]
Nicolas De Herdt
Belgium
Brussels (Uccle)
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Described by some as a lighter Roads and Boats. We bought quite a few copies, but I didn't get to try it out yet.
 
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3. Board Game: Jenseits von Theben [Average Rating:7.18 Overall Rank:1941]
Tom "Snicker Daddy" Pancoast
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This one almost escaped my notice. Its actually a reprint of a very limited release. Comments like "The best-kept secret of 2004" definitely get my attention. There is a little German text, but according to Mike Siggins, it is not a problem at all. Maybe I shouldn't be telling you about this! It's a shame that it's just a 4 player game, but that just my personal limitation.
 
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4. Board Game: Reef Encounter [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:487]
Tom "Snicker Daddy" Pancoast
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This one isn't just another Z-Man game. With all the hype and hike from last year, I will not be waiting around for this one and will be buying it at BGG.con. I have mentioned my problem with 4 player games, but I'm not going to let that stop me.
 
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5. Board Game: Antike [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:560]
Tom "Snicker Daddy" Pancoast
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Wow, Parthenon, Tempus, and now Antike? Civilization games galore! I already know the other two are good, and early reports about this sound good, too. Thanks to BGG, English rules aren't a problem, but are the components language independent? Will there be an English version?
 
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6. Board Game: Hacienda [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:708]
Tom "Snicker Daddy" Pancoast
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A Kramer game that's coming out from Rio Grande. Unfortunately, the early buzz doesn't seem that exciting, but its too early to take that too seriously. Having Rio Grande on the cover doesn't mean its a gem, but it does mean when it comes out, I won't have a problem finding this game and trying it before I buy it.
 
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7. Board Game: Kaivai [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:2787]
Tom "Snicker Daddy" Pancoast
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I don't know much about this game. It has some German text, but it doesn't look like a lot. Is the text important? Any word on an English release?
 
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8. Board Game: Byzantium [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:1522]
Tom "Snicker Daddy" Pancoast
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A cooperative Martin Wallace Warfrog game? That guarantees interest, and I don't have to worry about the language. Still, I can be patient on this one.
 
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9. Board Game: The End of the Triumvirate [Average Rating:6.81 Overall Rank:1307]
Nicolas De Herdt
Belgium
Brussels (Uccle)
Unspecified
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We bought also like 7-8 copies of this game in our group. Everyone who tried it got hooked. Somehow the mechanics balance each other well. You can choose going political, or army, or in skills. Different ways to victory and a smooth running game, the game feels well!
 
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10. Board Game: Ubongo [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:827]
Nicolas De Herdt
Belgium
Brussels (Uccle)
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Don't know if this is considered new to you, seems like a re-print of an old out-of-print looking thing. Anyway, first time I saw and played it. You have a tetris like task to resolve in less than 30 sec or 1 min. Different game, again something lighter but enjoyable for all. Was one fo my good lighter surprise like Techno Witches.
 
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11. Board Game: Havoc: The Hundred Years War [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:2137]
Grant Jentoft
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
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I can't wait to get this game, and I believe it's only available in Europe... with it's debut at Essen..?

I'm not sure...

At any rate! If you have the opportunity to pick this up, do so!
 
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12. Board Game: Timbuktu [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:1429]
Tom "Snicker Daddy" Pancoast
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Henrico
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Game #691 in the BGG database? 1993? This is the game that time forgot. Apparently it is a real brain burner and it's been on the Geek since nearly the beginning. Most of the information about the game is talking about this reprint. Mysterious. Standard questions: US Release? Language Independent?
 
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13. Board Game: Ca$h 'n Gun$ [Average Rating:6.63 Overall Rank:883]
Tom "Snicker Daddy" Pancoast
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This wasn't on my Essen radar at first, but so many reports were talking about it. There's always room for another fast, fun game. Same questions as the others.
 
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14. Board Game: Freya's Folly [Average Rating:6.63 Overall Rank:3466]
Tom "Snicker Daddy" Pancoast
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This game sounds somewhat interesting, and its games like this that can surprise you. There's English on the cards, so language shouldn't be a problem. Do they already have English distribution lined up, or would this be an import?
 
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15. Board Game: Mesopotamia [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:1751]
Tom "Snicker Daddy" Pancoast
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Cool interlocking hexes! It's something different from the designer or Carcassonne and its listed as coming from Mayfair. I guess that means I can relax, right?
 
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16. Board Game: Tempus [Average Rating:6.50 Overall Rank:1490]
Tom "Snicker Daddy" Pancoast
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Henrico
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I don't really consider this to be an "Essen" game, since I got to play it with Ron and Morgan of Café games. (I seem to mention that alot... Am I bagging?) I decided to include it in the list anyway. Tempus is a great game, and I really look forward to it's release. Of the games I have played it is most comparable to Vinci, but it brings a great deal more to the table. The combat is extremely simple and has a great mix of luck and predictability. The dual nature of the cards forces you to make choices about how they will be used. The board is variable and I believe different setups and starting positions will have a nice impact on the feel of the game (I have only played once, though). The technology track is very abstract, but it works quite well and seems balanced. I have been looking for a game like this, and I don't have to wait for an English release. I just have to wait.
 
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17. Board Game: Skyline of the World [Average Rating:6.47 Overall Rank:5375]
Tom "Snicker Daddy" Pancoast
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I like the sound of this game, and what's this about about a secret objective? Its not screaming buy, but it's the overlooked games that you regret not getting. The name of the game is English, but what about the game itself? I have never seen their other English game in the US. Will this be import only?
 
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18. Board Game: Il Principe [Average Rating:6.44 Overall Rank:2195]
Tom "Snicker Daddy" Pancoast
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Another Z-Man release, so this is in the same boat as Siena. Interest is piqued, but there is no urgency.
 
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19. Board Game: Shear Panic [Average Rating:6.39 Overall Rank:1583]
Tom "Snicker Daddy" Pancoast
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I missed my chance. Actually I never had a chance. I first heard about this game from all the reports about how it sold out on the first day. Last year, I heard quite a bit about Leap Frog. When I finally played the game, I wasn't really that impressed and I don't see what all the buzz was about. Apparently everyone pre-ordered this game based on their opinion of Leap Frog. Am I missing something here?
 
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20. Board Game: Big Kini [Average Rating:6.37 Overall Rank:4353]
Tom "Snicker Daddy" Pancoast
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This is certainly one of the surprises of the show. It wasn't even on the Geek until after the show was over. It looks to be language independent based on the pictures, but it would be nice to know. Please share what you know about Language independence or an English release!
 
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21. Board Game: Aqua Romana [Average Rating:6.34 Overall Rank:2179]
Tom "Snicker Daddy" Pancoast
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Henrico
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I keep hearing that this game is similar to Metro. I like Metro, but I don't own it. I would probably like the game even more if there was a little more to it, but Metro's lightness (strangely, we don't over-analyze it) works in its favor, so I'm at odds. I definitely like that the meeples in Aqua Romana progress along the track as its built. On the other hand, Metro supports more players, and that a big plus for it. Is Rio Grande picking this up? Are the components language neutral?
 
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22. Board Game: Ark [Average Rating:6.28 Overall Rank:2409]
Tom "Snicker Daddy" Pancoast
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Ah, Doris and Frank. I love the art style and there's nothing like Primordial Soup. I want to like all their games, but I really haven't played enough of them to have an honest opinion. Does anyone know about an English release or the language independence of this game?
 
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23. Board Game: Marquis [Average Rating:6.22 Overall Rank:6271]
Nicolas De Herdt
Belgium
Brussels (Uccle)
Unspecified
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This one had really beautifull components, for 25 euro you got a wooden box, metal coins and plastic gems. Bought it on advice of friends, haven't tried it out but they said it was a nice game. Anyway the components are really top notch.
 
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24. Board Game: Techno Witches [Average Rating:6.17 Overall Rank:3550]
Tom "Snicker Daddy" Pancoast
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This sounds like fun, and it seems that Rio Grande has picked it up. It this an adult game? I like the Wings of War mechanic.
 
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25. Board Game: Siena [Average Rating:6.16 Overall Rank:3712]
Tom "Snicker Daddy" Pancoast
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Zev of Z-Man games seems to have a knack for finding good Euro games recently. My first experience with Z-Man was Camelot Legends, and that was a good start, but that was really before he started publishing Euros. Primordial Soup is wonderfully unique and Santiago was quite the overlooked sleeper. Its really a top notch game. It's hard to deny the obvious buzz of Reef Encounter, but on a different level, Fairy Tale is quite a nice snag, too. This means that I will give the game extra attention, but it also means that I should have no trouble getting the game and I almost certainly will have a chance to try it out before I buy it.
 
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