There and back again: A photographic journey to Essen 2013
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There and back again:
A photographic journey to Essen 2013




I finally managed to visit the SPIEL in Essen with my girlfriend this year and what an experience it was! Unfortunately, we had only scheduled one day at the fair. Time flew by and I could have easily spent two or more days roaming the halls, taking it all in and trying to get a demo of some of the more popular games.

It was a great experience nonetheless and I had my trusty camera with me to try and distill some of the Essen magic into pictures to share with those who couldn't make it or who want to remember those days.

This geeklist is a chronological journey with some general Essen and SPIEL impressions along with lots of game shots. I'm a component fetishist, so expect lots of close-ups
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1. Board Game: Suburbia: Essen SPIEL Expansion [Average Rating:6.71 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.71 Unranked]
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After a 4 1/2 hour drive (not much compared to others, I know) we arrived on Friday afternoon. We had a room in Hotel Bredeney which sits comfortably close to the Messegelände. We scouted the way there (a lovely forest walk) and then headed off to Essen's city centre. Maybe we shouldn't have surprise It was pretty boring, the city centre held nothing of interest and the weather did it no favor. I snapped a couple of photos before we headed back to the hotel for dinner.






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2. Board Game: Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:225]
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Hotel rooms. What are they good for? Absolutely nothing... well, except for playing games. My delightful girlfriend and I with the travel-friendly mini-Agricola.
The hotel had a Player's Lounge but on the first evening we didn't bother because we were too tired.

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3. Board Game: Fun At The Fair [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
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To get the most out of our single day at SPIEL, we arrived at the fair venue early enough to get our tickets before the gates opened and thousands of people flooded the halls. Right from the first minute it felt like all demo tables were already packed.





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4. Board Game: CV [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:1102]
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One of the first games we saw was Granna's thematic and well-illustrated game "CV". A promising looking engine builder.

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5. Board Game Publisher: Drei Hasen in der Abendsonne
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"Drei Hasen in der Abendsonne" - three rabbits in the evening sun, that's what Johann Rüttinger's and Kathi Kappler's new publishing house is called after they left "Drei Magier Spiele", a well-known German publisher.

A lovely name and a lovely logo - and my lovely girlfriend complements their booth very well.

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6. Board Game: Madeira [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:321]
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"Madeira" is one of the hottest Essen releases and while I didn't play it myself, it looked like a great, meaty game with a gorgeous board and components.



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7. Board Game: American Rails [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:1351]
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Train games. They all looks so interesting and nice, but I will never find the right group to ever get them to the table. Quined Games' "American Rails" uses cubes to mark the different routes. I stared at those cubes for a long time. Just lovely.

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8. Board Game: Krosmaster: Arena [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:1149] [Average Rating:6.83 Unranked]
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There was a huge area with the Krosmaster games Arena and Quest. I know nothing about these games, but the miniatures look gorgeous and made for some great photos.



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9. Board Game: Rory's Story Cubes: Voyages [Average Rating:6.59 Overall Rank:2832] [Average Rating:6.59 Unranked]
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My delightful girlfriend was always intrigued by the idea of Rory's Story Cubes. It was at Essen that she finally caved in and bought a set of them along with one of the expansions.



I prefer my dice with numbers on them and Essen has many opportunities to wonder at the marvel of our most beloved boardgame accessory. I already own way too many dice so I didn't buy any, but I always enjoy looking at them. I mean, who doesn't, really?

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10. Board Game: Amerigo [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:310]
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The Queen Games booth was always full of people, so I didn't play "Amerigo", but I marvelled at the dice tower that comes with the game. I will keep a close look at this one as I very much enjoy Feld games and this looks promising as well.

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11. Board Game: Word on the Street [Average Rating:6.62 Overall Rank:1655]
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We played a copy of the new German edition of "Word on the Street" and had a great time. But since I do not take pictures of myself, I had my girlfriend express the joy I felt. She's way more beautiful, anyway.
And look at her meeplicious accessories!

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12. Board Game: Russian Railroads [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:73]
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"Russian Railroads" was one of my Essen purchases. It's one beauty of a game, with great artwork and components, just as you would expect from a "Hans im Glück" release. I have only read the rules, but I'm eager to get it to the table. And boy, that is an awesome rulebook, very well written.



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13. Board Game: Takenoko [Average Rating:7.29 Overall Rank:243]
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Takenoko is getting a Collector's Edition! And it is quite a sight. I mean, look at the box. Look at the panda. Look at the bamboo. Now look at your average, flimsy Eurogame chits and weep.



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14. Board Game: Expedition: Northwest Passage [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:1271]
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I love exploration elements in games and this looks great, but I didn't manage to play it. I just stared at it through the lens of a camera.

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15. Board Game: Yunnan [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:1427]
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"Yunnan" didn't stand out to me as a particularly interesting Euro, but I must admit that it looks very pretty. I should take a glance at the rulebook some time.

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16. Board Game: The BoardGameGeek Game [Average Rating:6.05 Overall Rank:4953]
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I dutifully voted for BGG's GeekBuzz and saw the hard-working crew of BoardGameGeek doing their presentation marathon. Impressive work that I very much enjoyed in the last years.



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17. Board Game: Carcassonne: South Seas [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:867]
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Matias Ghaznavi, who took part in the Carcassonne Championship at Essen, was completely enthralled by his meeple tower. I don't know if he enjoys the new Südsee variant of Carcassonne which they showed at Essen. But he surely enjoys his meeples.

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18. Board Game: The Witches: A Discworld Game [Average Rating:6.16 Overall Rank:3308]
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My girlfriend is a big Pratchett fan and wanted to check this out. She didn't buy it which might say something. Or not. I have no idea. The board looks great! Man, I feel so cheap saying that. Here's all these hot, new games and all I write is: didn't play it, but it looks good. I'm such a component whore.

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19. Board Game: Caverna: The Cave Farmers [Average Rating:8.05 Overall Rank:25]
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Uwe Rosenberg must think there is an award for "most components packed in a game box". I mean, look at all that stuff! It's wooden. It's heavy. It's GORGEOUS! I'm still not sold on the game, though. Especially at that price point.



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20. Board Game: Florenza: The Card Game [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:3014]
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That is how I imagine a Florentinian merchant and this guy probably did sell a few copies of the game. If he didn't, it was definitely not because he didn't make an effort.


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21. Board Game: Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game [Average Rating:7.73 Overall Rank:84] [Average Rating:7.73 Unranked]
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The Heidelbergers, publisher of the German X-Wing version, presented one of those really nice Death Star environments. Space has never been more beautiful. Except for a few meters further, where CGE showed the digital version of Galaxy Trucker which was even better.



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22. Board Game: A Study in Emerald [Average Rating:7.20 Overall Rank:721]
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I can bring you an exclusive opinion about this game! Not from me, though, because I didn't play it. But one of the persons at the demo table told me that it was "quite good". I can only trust him and he seemed nice.
After not being convinced by the artwork from the first screenshots here on the 'Geek, I'll have to say that it is really pretty.

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23. Board Game: Sails of Glory [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:1441] [Average Rating:7.54 Unranked]
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Miniature games are extremely pretty but they don't interest me all that much. I can look at them for quite a while, though, and that's what I did at SPIEL. Here's Ares Games' "Sails of Glory" and some game called "Ashes" that I haven't heard of.



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24. Board Game Designer: Uwe Eickert
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This chap is Uwe Eickert, designer of the "Conflict of Heroes" series. He took some time to show me how the upcoming solo expansion for "Conflict of Heroes" will work and now I'm really excited because the AI will be vicious and act surprisingly natural. And Uwe was extremely friendly when some random German dude asked him in the midst of a stressful day at the fair.

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25. Board Game: Batman: The Game [Average Rating:2.81 Unranked]
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Speaking of friendly guys: this masked dude was pretty cool about having a paper crown put on his hat. The calming presence of the young lady might have helped.

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