Essen 2013 experience, haul and lessons learnt for next year
Stefan Ebner
Austria
Berlin
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So for years now I wanted to go to Essen but work/studying/money always kept me from doing just that but this year I finally made the trip and got to meet up with a good friend of mine there.

I started about two months prior researching potential games I might be interested in. Please note that quite a lot of the following games are with my play group in mind. It just is quite hard to bring a more meaty game to the table if I dont have the right 3-5 people present. Nonetheless I was quite excited for all the new games but almost moreso for games released in the last couple years I have not yet bought or are either impossible to get/expensive as hell to get in Europe/Austria.

The fair was what I expected - and not. I learnt alot that I will use next year to make my experience smoother, but more on that during/after the list.

I will start with pointing out 3 publishers (and the lot of games I got from them) due to various reasons then continue with a mostly chronological order with scattered random thoughts for that day.

I did not add every promo/expansion I got but I'm trying to note it in the base game - but first and formost - a couple pictures of my haul!

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1. Board Game Publisher: LocWorks
Stefan Ebner
Austria
Berlin
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In the end, me and my friend probably spent quite a few euros at this booth. I did have a big crokinole board pre-ordered and was quite eager to get and play it. It's been one of those games I always wanted to play/own since I joined the geek a couple years ago. I also have to give a big shoutout to the guys at locworks for being awesome, especially Piotr and, since I am VERY bad with names please excuse me, Mister X
 
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2. Board Game: Crokinole [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:78]
Stefan Ebner
Austria
Berlin
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preordered - played

Pictures can be seen in the header of the two boards, yes two. I only planed on getting the bigger version but ended up auctioning the smaller variant for 22€ on saturday which made me quite happy. This has been sofar my highlight and has seen the most playtime sofar.

Friday with my friends parents as well as Saturday (typical one more game phenomenon) and with my SO Sunday & Monday

I cannot compare to any board since this is the first one I am playing one but it is not only gorgeous but also has a great surface and quality! When compared to the other crokinole board I saw at the fair - same price - this was leagues above it! highly recommended and from what I gathered, they will do another production run just before/in time for christmas!
 
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3. Board Game: Garden Dice [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:1934]
Stefan Ebner
Austria
Berlin
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Impulse buy - not played

Read some good things on a blog I frequently read - the opiniated gamer - and used my purchase to get a discount for my friends board. Was actually funny since he did not plan on spending too much money at the fair and the crokinole board was the first thing I showed him and 15 minutes later he was a proud owner of the board Read through the rules a bit and looking forward to play the game.
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4. Board Game: Garden Dice: The Card Expansion [Average Rating:7.14 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.14 Unranked]
Stefan Ebner
Austria
Berlin
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Impulse buy - not played
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5. Board Game: Skyline [Average Rating:6.00 Overall Rank:3717]
Stefan Ebner
Austria
Berlin
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On my extended list - not played

Read some reviews just before the Spiel with it getting some family game award? Actually got a second copy at the auction on Saturday (2 dice missing) for 7€.
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6. Board Game: Chicken Caesar [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:2920]
Stefan Ebner
Austria
Berlin
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Impulse buy - not played

Talked to "Mister X" on Saturday and this seems a natural fit for most of my group - social interaction and backstabbing. Ok, the backstabbing part more my avenue but still, chicken in rome!
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7. Board Game Publisher: Fragor Games
Stefan Ebner
Austria
Berlin
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I have to say, I was ready to leave the fair Saturday quite early (more on that later) but I am truly glad I stoped by at this booth. The two brothers are awesome and quite authentic in their kilts. Enjoyed the playthrough and their antics quite a bit and lifted my spirits!
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8. Board Game: Mush! Mush!: Snow Tails 2 [Average Rating:6.94 Overall Rank:3245]
Stefan Ebner
Austria
Berlin
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Extended list - demoed at fair

I read good things about the first incarnation, Snowtrails. Additionally I do not own any racing games so I am glad I did not forget about this - and it plays up to 8 people! (And a signed copy, wohoo)

Got the explanation from the designer and we did a quick three player game, gorgeous components and good fun! Will definetly try to get this to the table asap! Oh and I came in second in front of my friend being on the same height but with a faster overall speed

Overall highly recommended!
 
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9. Board Game: Spellbound [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:3536]
Stefan Ebner
Austria
Berlin
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Drooled over - did not buy

Apparently this was sold out last year in 5 days but the warehouse called the brothers and told them they found 40 copies and what they should do with it - they brought it along and my friend got a copy. Fantastic components but sadly we were to tired that evening to play the game. Looking forward to the next time I visit him!
 
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10. Board Game Publisher: Indie Boards & Cards
Stefan Ebner
Austria
Berlin
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I did preorder quite a few games and in the end got the big bundle including every available game, expansion and promo for 150€. I always gladly will support small publishers/designer and I cannot count the hours of fun I had with The Resistance over the last year and Avalon/Coup will likely be the same.

I also volunteered to demo Coup on Friday afternoon and that was great as well
 
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11. Board Game: Flash Point: Fire Rescue [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:281]
Stefan Ebner
Austria
Berlin
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Preorder - bought - played

I did actually own the german version of this game and can still vividly remember the last playthrough and its stories. Its a great game and I am glad to now have a copy to give away
 
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12. Board Game: Flash Point: Fire Rescue – Extreme Danger [Average Rating:7.74 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.74 Unranked]
Stefan Ebner
Austria
Berlin
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13. Board Game: Flash Point: Fire Rescue – 2nd Story [Average Rating:7.59 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.59 Unranked]
Stefan Ebner
Austria
Berlin
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preorder

More firefighting goodness (stands for all the expansions I got!)
 
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14. Board Game: Flash Point: Fire Rescue – Urban Structures [Average Rating:7.63 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.63 Unranked]
Stefan Ebner
Austria
Berlin
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preorder
 
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15. Board Game: Flash Point: Fire Rescue – Dangerous Waters [Average Rating:7.65 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.65 Unranked]
Stefan Ebner
Austria
Berlin
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preorder
 
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16. Board Game: Snowdonia [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:388]
Stefan Ebner
Austria
Berlin
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played - bought in the bundle

I did hear great things about this game and could actually play a game on thursday evening. I really do like the mechanisms and how well they blend together - weather and the game advancing when you start to hoard!
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17. Board Game: Snowdonia: Jungfraubahn & Mount Washington [Average Rating:7.63 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.63 Unranked]
Stefan Ebner
Austria
Berlin
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bought in bundle
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18. Board Game: Coup [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:433]
Stefan Ebner
Austria
Berlin
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preorder and played

On Thursday evening in my hotel I actually met a few fellow austrians from Linz and since we decided to play something light (they just arrived after an 8 hour drive), this was my choice - and great fun we had!

I demoed this game for 4.5h on friday and besides one couple every group/person had so much fun that they all in the end bought a copy, so that must say something about the game!
 
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19. Board Game: The Resistance [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:204]
Stefan Ebner
Austria
Berlin
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bought in bundle

My second copy and I will gladly gift this game to another local boardgame group I dont have too much time playing with! One of my favorite games
 
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20. Board Game: The Resistance: Avalon [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:98]
Stefan Ebner
Austria
Berlin
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bought in bundle

Should the cards ever show too much wear of people can identify more with the fantasy theme - this will be played (due to Coup having the extra roles for The Resistance as an added bonus, both games are nearly identical besides the mission cards).
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21. Board Game: Black Thursday [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Stefan Ebner
Austria
Berlin
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Now on to the chronological order! I did arrive on Wednesday after 9 hours in the car. My bed in the hotel was quite a disaster and was having a quite negative effect on friday...

Nonetheless I went to the fair very early since there were a couple of games I absolutely had to/wanted to grab. This also led to the first thing I will change for next year -> VIP tickets on thursday.

They allow WAY better/nearer parking as well as earlier entrance at the cost of an extra ~10 euros. Count me in!
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22. Board Game Publisher: Japon Brand
Stefan Ebner
Austria
Berlin
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This was number one of my list. Mainly due to Lost Legacy and Machi Koro.

And although I was third in line, both games were sadly already sold out Next time I will NOT miss the preorder since the games will be gone every time.

When passing by over the days, more and more games were sold out.
 
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23. Board Game: One Night Werewolf [Average Rating:6.16 Overall Rank:4972]
Stefan Ebner
Austria
Berlin
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on my list - bought - not yet played

Quick round of werewolf inbetween and adorable 8bit graphics? yes please
 
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24. Board Game: Say Bye to the Villains [Average Rating:6.41 Overall Rank:3433]
Stefan Ebner
Austria
Berlin
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on my list - bought - not yet played

 
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25. Board Game: Sushi Draft [Average Rating:5.68 Overall Rank:12271]
Stefan Ebner
Austria
Berlin
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impulse buy - not yet played

After not seeing Cheaty Mages and Machi Koro/Lost Legacy sold out, I decided to get this game without knowing too much about it, probably should have gotten Sail to India instead since there were still copies available.
 
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