Essen: I bet I'm the only person who made a shopping list
Steve K
United Kingdom
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So … here we go again. Four days each year I get the shopping gene, and I rush to Essen to fritter cash away on cardboard invest in some new games.

But wait … I’m trying a new strategy this year. I’m going to have rules.

1. No expansions. Those little things I used to throw in the bag are getting more expensive, and less interesting.

2. Few pre-orders. As few as possible. There had better be a good reason to pre-order.

3. Don’t buy games that friends are buying

The biggest change is perhaps my overall approach. In previous years, I’d make a list of “interesting” games then try to find reasons to eliminate items. This year, games are only being added to the list if they’re probable buys, or at least games I’d like to play, or at least fondle a bit.

One other change: this year, my (non-gaming) wife is joining me for part of the time. And to answer the obvious question: Yes, she'll be bringing another large suitcase.
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1. Board Game: Together we play [Average Rating:4.00 Unranked]
Steve K
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Before I begin, let me mention that a someone has organised a pre-Spiel get together at a central Essen venue. It runs from 16:00 - 22:00 on the Wednesday. There is a 23€ entrance charge, but food and (soft) drinks are included.

More details can be found here. Note that advance registration is required, but you pay on the day.

Thanks to:

Roland Weiniger
Germany
Nuremberg
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2. Board Game: Keyflower [Average Rating:7.89 Overall Rank:44]
Steve K
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Preordered. Good ratings from playtesters, and the rules sound interesting.
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3. Board Game: CO₂ [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:555]
Steve K
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Preordered. I ummed & ahhed a bit here. I found Vinhos too complicated to get enthusiastic about teaching it to other people (so I've only managed to play it once). Nonetheless, the topic and description sounded interesting.

So why preorder? I've got this feeling they might run out of copies.
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4. Board Game: Tokaido [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:441]
Steve K
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Preordered.

After reading the rules, I decided it was an almost certain buy, and a preorder saves me €5 and gives me a few bonus cards.
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5. Board Game: VivaJava: The Coffee Game [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:1586]
Steve K
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Preordered.

Why? High player count (8), the game sounds fun, and if there aren't enough copies available, then its a royal pain to get hold of outside the USA.
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6. Board Game: Popular Front: Escalation [Average Rating:7.66 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.66 Unranked]
Steve K
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OK, its preordered AND its an expansion. But its for a game I haven't actually played yet, so that's OK then.
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7. Board Game: Al Rashid [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:3499]
Steve K
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Worker placement, from a new publisher, but at €60 these workers seem a bit over-paid so I need to see if they're really worth their weight in gold.
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8. Board Game: The Great Zimbabwe [Average Rating:7.75 Overall Rank:341]
Steve K
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I find with Splotter that even games that don't work for me manage to fail in interesting ways. Games that do work for me are treasured.

I'd probably just pine if I came home without it, so I see it as €75 well spent.
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9. Board Game: Antike Duellum [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:1029]
Steve K
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2 player Antike (kind of).

I'll probably resist since I don't play 2-player games very often.
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10. Board Game: aufRUHR! [Average Rating:5.88 Unranked]
Steve K
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For me, this sums up Essen, albeit Essen 2010 where this game was demonstrated, and looked as amateurish & as weird as they come, but was only available in German so I walked away. She felt like someone you saw once on a bus. Should I have said something? She never left my mind, and now there's a chance of a reunion and she's learned English, so maybe we do have a future together.
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11. Board Game: Chocoly [Average Rating:6.08 Overall Rank:9196]
Steve K
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Son of Scho K.O.. 2-players becomes 2-4 by adding white chocolate to milk & dark. I'll need to taste before deciding.
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12. Board Game: Columba [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:5018]
Steve K
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Pigeon breeding!

Three things going for it … from the publishers of Arriala: Canal de Garonne, by the designer of Bloom, and I've discovered I'm completely lacking any pigeon-breeding games.
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13. Board Game: Express 01 [Average Rating:5.14 Overall Rank:14938]
Steve K
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It has to be said - I'm not lacking train games. But this train game has a novel twist: it's brand new!
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14. Board Game: Copycat [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:1200]
Steve K
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aka "Now that's what I call Game Mechanics 5".

Note to self - read the English rules before buying the game. We will not be having another 'Black Friday' situation.
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15. Board Game: Ginkgopolis [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:320]
Steve K
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A German video made it sound interesting (c'mon … we've all been there).

If I buy it, its by the designer of Royal Palace & Troyes.

If I walk away, its because its by the designer of Carson City.
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16. Board Game: HomeStretch [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:3895]
Steve K
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Basically, the concept sounds interesting, a couple of people rated it well, and its cheap (€20). This could be a winning combination.
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17. Board Game: Letnisko [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:3892]
Steve K
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A game by the designer of Kolejka.

Apparently only a prototype will be at Essen, but they'll be accepting orders for delivery in November. This does suggest they haven't quite got the hang of what Essen is about, but I might still be tempted.
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18. Board Game: Mercurius [Average Rating:6.24 Overall Rank:4855]
Steve K
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A Polish stockmarket card game with a Dutch flavour. Looks nice. Where are the rules?
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19. Board Game: P.I. [Average Rating:6.76 Overall Rank:1558]
Steve K
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I find myself tempted by a deduction game. Either this or Lady Alice, or perhaps neither.
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20. Board Game: Power Grid: Northern Europe/United Kingdom & Ireland [Average Rating:7.93 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.93 Unranked]
Steve K
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My home town will be on the map, so its not really an expansion, is it?
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21. Board Game: Gregs Tagebuch: Von Idioten umzingelt! [Average Rating:5.26 Unranked]
Steve K
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A new language independent cardgame from Friedmann Friese. Oh, OK then.
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22. Board Game: Hanabi [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:277]
Steve K
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A new edition - small box, rectangular cards, new variant.

Overall: irresistible.
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23. Board Game: We Will Wok You [Average Rating:6.34 Overall Rank:4167]
Steve K
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Coming full circle, a new cardgame designed by Sebastian Bleasdale (co-designer of Keyflower).

Normally, the cwazy Queen reference would be enough for me to delete it from the list, but I'm trying to be mature and rise above it.
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