the "A Guy I Know Went to Essen and all i got was this Crappy Geeklist" Geeklist
douglas K
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So Essen is over and I have nothing to look forward to now until Christmas which is still 2 months away. At least during that long stretch of time I'll have the memories of Spiel (and a suitcase full of games) to keep me going. The folloing list covers my Essen 2013 game experiences for those of you at home keeping score. Apologies to game publishers if a bad demo, shoddy instructions, or late-day-game-fatigue colors my comments -but I'll try to make note of that as I go through. I'm going in chronological order from the moment I arrived, wide eyed and excited, at Messe Essen, and take us through sunday when I left, a broken, gamed-out shell of a man.
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1. Board Game: Luchador! Mexican Wrestling Dice [Average Rating:6.52 Overall Rank:2417]
douglas K
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My first game at Essen. Yay! Unfortunately, I was on my own so we just had a 2 player game. Based on the shouting and cheering i'd heard before, I think this game really works best with the tag-team element. Though it is fun to watch the demo guy try to capture that excitement when it's just the two of you at 10am and you're both wiping the sleep from your eyes.

Did I buy it?: No. I put it on my list as a maybe, but it was just a little too light/gimmicky for me. And by the time the weekend was over I'd seen better.
 
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2. Board Game: Concordia [Average Rating:8.07 Overall Rank:23]
douglas K
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Great game. I've always liked imperium and this was similar enough yet different enough that I'd keep both. Demo was quick and easy. The other players around the board (3 french guys) were amicable and we had a great time.

Did I buy it? No. Just too damn big and heavy. I'm expecting that this game will be pretty commonly owned in the coming years and I won't have trouble finding it.
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3. Board Game: Going, Going, GONE! [Average Rating:6.24 Overall Rank:2651]
douglas K
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Sorry Scott Nicholson, your simultaneous auction game was a bit too light for my taste. Very simple game. Demo lady was nice and the game was easy to explain. However, once everyone around the table came up with the tactic of waiting until the countdown got to 2 and then throwing their counters into the cups they wanted, it just became a reflex exercise.

Did I buy it? No. This one wasn't for me.
 
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4. Board Game: Coup: Rebellion G54 [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:892]
douglas K
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Rikki demo'd his newest game for us while we were here. Apparently this was the first playtest with people outside his extended family. I'd love to tell you all about it, but if i told you, i'd have to kill you. Let's just say that if the final product ships with a certain stylish article of clothing -our playtest inspired that.

Did I buy it? Nope. this was just a prototype.
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5. Board Game: Democracy: Majority Rules [Average Rating:6.07 Overall Rank:8901]
douglas K
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Picked up my kickstarted copy and had a chat with Mark. Can't wait to get this one back to the game group!

Did I buy it? Yeah. last year.
 
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6. Board Game: Cornish Smuggler [Average Rating:5.98 Overall Rank:5873]
douglas K
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Picked this one up for a friend. didn't play it, but I expect to very soon. Am I the only one who thinks the title of this game sounds slightly dirty?
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7. Board Game: Coup [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:372]
douglas K
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Friday morning and a demo of coup opened up just as I walked in. Since i already bought the game when I went to the La Mame booth thursday, I thought I'd at least learn how to play. I've spent way too much time this trip playing Coup, considering I've already bought it and will be able to play at home. No more Coup.

Did I buy it? Yup. Can't wait to get this one out when our non-gamer friends come over
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8. Board Game: Russian Railroads [Average Rating:7.80 Overall Rank:67]
douglas K
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This game and Glass road were both being demo'd at ZMan games and I planted myself between 2 tables waiting for one to open up. Unfortunately, Russian Railroads did first. For 11am, this game was way too long and way too much of a brain burner. 45 minutes into a 3 hour game, i'm like "hasn't this already been covered in Snowdonia?" I finally staggered away from the booth at almost 2pm. I needed a nap.

Did I buy it? No.

 
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9. Board Game: 7 Days of Westerplatte [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:3761]
douglas K
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The most surreal moment of the entire trip was sitting at a table with a Pole and 2 Belgians plotting out ways to stop the German invasion while surrounded by about 100,000 Germans. I Was hoping this would finally be the cooperative game that I'd want to bring out on game night. It wasn't. For a cooperative, it was fine. And the theme is unique. But for me all of the cooperative games have a 'puzzle solving solitaire' vibe which somehow just doesn't do it for me.
Did I buy it? Nope.
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10. Board Game: Space Cadets: Dice Duel [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:933]
douglas K
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Tons of fun. Dice rolling mayhem. unfortunately, I think you really need 6+ players to make it come alive. I don't think i'll ever have that luxury.

Did I buy it? No.
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11. Board Game: BioShock Infinite: The Siege of Columbia [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:1761]
douglas K
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I just finished the video game last week(amazing, btw), and i heard that this was a great port to boardgame -but way too expensive (70+ dollars). The playtest was awkward as I sat down at an already running game with 3 french guys that didn't really speak english. Exactly 13 seconds before the game ended, i figured out what was going on. I'm pretty sure this is a great game, but I'd need a few more plays to prove it.

Did I buy it? Nope. It was on sale for 40 Euros too, so it was really, REALLY hard to walk away. But it would've been a lot of space in my bag for a game i was buying because it was on sale rather than because I was really passionate about it. Sorry guys!
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12. Board Game: Legacy: The Testament of Duke de Crecy [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:529]
douglas K
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I love games that make me feel like I'm telling a story rather than counting up victory points. And I've seen few Eurogames that do that as well as this one. The way your family tree grows as you manage the social lives of your descendents is really powerful, unique, and cool. I doubt there's anyone out there that doesn't fancy themselves a bit of Tywain Lannister as they dutifully sacrifice their children's happiness to build the family reputation.

Did I buy it? Yup. I'll be breaking this one out in our gamer group very, very soon.
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13. Board Game: Armadöra [Average Rating:6.42 Overall Rank:2677]
douglas K
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This one wasn't even on my radar. Like a lot of people, I really love The Boss and I was a bit disappointed by the follow up, Black Rock City. So I didn't even look at this year's offer from Black Rock Editions. But at the hotel Friday evening some dutch girls introduced me to this game. After 2 plays, it was on my list of items to get. Simple area control game with a devious hidden strength element. Takes about 10 minutes to play. Like the Boss, this is a game I know I will really enjoy with my girlfriend.

Did I buy it? Yes. Beelined for Black Rock Edition Saturday morning.
 
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14. Board Game: Glastonbury [Average Rating:6.65 Overall Rank:3687]
douglas K
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They also had this cool little trick taking memory game. While the game itself is fun enough, the artwork is what really stands out in Glastonbury.

Did I buy it? Nope.
 
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15. Board Game: Händler der Karibik [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:3510]
douglas K
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The last game the Dutch girls brought out was Handler der Karibik. A simple press your luck card game I was completely unaware of as it was only available in German. Boy was this an unexpected treat. Moves fast. A real sense of 'building your engine' as you put together your team of pirates and scallywags and plunder the ports of the Caribean -at least I think that's what the game is about as I can't read a word of German. I'm pretty sure this will be THE FILLER game in our group for a while as well as being a family favorite.

Did I buy it? Absolutely. At 5 Euros it was a steal. If you have any opportunity you must go out and buy this game! Don't worry, English instructions are available online.
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16. Board Game: Shadows over the Empire [Average Rating:6.02 Overall Rank:4497]
douglas K
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Saturday was, as expected, a madhouse, but I got a lot of games in regardless. I'd heard a lot of buzz about Shadows over Empire so when i saw a table open up early Saturday morning, i jumped in. unfortunately the demo was terrible. I got the sense the demonstrator was just a random guy who learned the game earlier that morning. Anyway, it's a neat influence pushing game which I think was cool, but ended quite quickly, so we probably played it wrong.

Did I buy it? No.
 
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17. Board Game: The Mushroom Eaters [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:4349]
douglas K
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Ok, first the name caught my eye. Then I heard Nathan Hayden's name dropped a few times on various Podcasts as a designer really pushing the envelope. So I was really intrigued. But then I went to the booth and the art and vibe just brought back too many memories of college acid trips. And Nathan's Henry Rollins intensity was just a bit too much for me to handle. I walked back about half a dozen times over the course of the show but couldn't bring myself to sit down and play. In fact, each time I had to run over to Sprocket Games to bask in the warm innocence of FrogFlip.

Did I buy it? I didn't even look at it too long for fear of flashbacks.
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18. Board Game: FrogFlip [Average Rating:6.07 Overall Rank:10616]
douglas K
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Who could resist a game designed by a 4-year old? I'm a listener of Michael Fox's Little Metal Dog, so I wanted to pay my respects and check out Frogflip -published by him and designed by Jason Kotarski and his daughter. It's just so simple and fuzzy and cute -and at only 5 bucks worth grabbing just to have one. It also makes a great remedy if you spend too much time playing Russian Railroads or staring at the psychadelia advertising The Mushroom Eaters.

Did I buy it. Damn straight. I keep a copy in my pocket at all times to ward off evil spirits.
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19. Board Game: Tomorrow [Average Rating:6.39 Overall Rank:3942]
douglas K
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Ok. Innocent fun time is over. How about global genocide? With my copy of Frogflip tucked in my shirt pocket, I then set out with Michael to depopulate the world in Dirk Knemeyer's Tomorrow. There was no one to demo the game for us, so we sat with actual rules and figured it all out. It took a few rounds to get the flow, but the general concensus was that this was a pretty cool game.

Did I buy it? I did not. I really expected to pick this one up or Tom Vassel's Nothing Personal, but another game wound up trumping both sunday and taking their spot in my suitcase.
 
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20. Board Game: Castellan [Average Rating:6.34 Overall Rank:2918]
douglas K
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This was a pretty typical area enclosure game from Steve Jackson games. The best part of the game are the pieces which are real castle walls and towers. Otherwise there is little to distinguish it from any other enclosure games.

Did I buy it? No. I already have Amadora which is, I think, a tighter game.
 
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21. Board Game: Illuminati [Average Rating:6.17 Overall Rank:2452]
douglas K
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Like I said earlier, I'm a sucker for a game that tells a story. I'd found out about Illuminati recently so I was keeping an eye out for it. Just like Legacy of Duke de Cercy, here's a game with a unique way of visualizing progress so that it reads almost like a narrative. Your network of vividly imagineed organizations and individuals grows and shrinks according to your and your opponents' machinations. And each connection and action reads like a paranoid tabloid headline. I can't wait to give this a try.

Did i buy it? Hang on to your tinfoil hat. I sure did.
 
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22. Board Game: Romolo o Remo? [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:3276]
douglas K
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This game got short shrift. It was late in the day, we were all exhausted, and our demo wasn't really that good. Too much looking at charts and moving cubes and we left the game after a few turns. I have a sense that there's a good city-builder in here, but in our demo it didn't reveal itself.

Did I buy it? nope.
 
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23. Board Game: Le Fantôme de l'Opéra [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:1442]
douglas K
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Never, EVER try to learn and play a deduction game after 8 hours of non-stop game playing. I'd heard someone raving about this game on a podcast somewhere as a super game he was playing with his wife almost nightly. By the time my burned-out brain got to the table, though, i was simply too dumb to play. I have a feeling that, even with all of my mental faculties, my suck at this game will go to 11. However, I think it will also be a fun game to play with my girlfriend, so i grabbed a copy based on what I saw and heard. I also got a nice sketch and autograph on the box cover from the artist.

Did I buy it? Yes!
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24. Board Game: Dixit [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:193] [Average Rating:7.32 Unranked]
douglas K
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At the hotel saturday night, met some nice folks and we played a few classics, such as Dixit. Is this game ever not Awesome? No matter who you play with, it always seems like a great, fun time for all.

did I buy it? I already own it.
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25. Board Game: King of Tokyo [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:227]
douglas K
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Can someone please explain to me why this game is so damn popular?
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