YAEGER - Yet Another Essen Gaming Experience Remembrance
Patrick
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As a German who loves Ameritrash I sometimes feel marginalized in my own country. This feeling, however, totally vanishes when I visit the Spiel in Essen and get a good look at all the incredible diversity represented there.

Driving to Essen takes me about 20 minutes by car - unless, of course, the Autobahn is totally jammed, which is pretty much always - and not only affords me the luxury of visiting the friends I have over there but also, on rare occassions and just a few days each year, makes me giddy with glee in anticipation of the wonders I will soon behold. For you see, each year, my favourite three conventions are held in close proximity to me: We start off with the Gamescom in cologne, which I visit as a trade visitor. A few weeks later I'm to Oberhausen to visit Spaceritter, a.... something con that I dress up in Victorian garb for. Yet a few weeks after that it is time for the world's biggest board game fair in Essen. This year I went in costume as Baron Blade from Sentinels of the Multiverse.

I love this fair. I first went there as a young kid and distinctly remember the whole scope of this thing blowing my mind. I got a new toy shovel, freshly made from plastic pellets, I think, and I was totally overwhelmed seeing something produced. It was blue.
Nowadays the Spiel takes on a far different form for me. We save up money every week to blow in one huge orgasm of game acquisition and drag our friends along with us to play with us and, not unimportant, help us carry copious amounts of bags.
In retrospect, going to a huge board game fair may not have been the best idea while I'm busy moving house and dragging along a pregnant woman, but hey, I can always drive one more load of games and I see no reason not to introduce my son to board gaming at the earliest convenience.

First off, there were some things I played but did not purchase.

Luchador! Mexican Wrestling Dice: I thought it was fun as hell. Nobody else I played with did. I just think they didn't get into the spirit of it all, but what do I know, I'm just the nerdy freak dressed up as a mad genius. When I asked to purchase the game, I was told it was 25€. Seriously, I liked the game, but 25€ is a really hard sell. Sure, custom dice and all, but in the end, the components don't feel as if they're worth 25€. I was offered a demo copy after the show, but forgot to return. If you read this: Sorry, Backspindle Games!

Legends of Andor: We lost horribly, but it was fun anyway. There was a very simple reason why I did not buy it: Numbered spaces.
Seriously.
I know, it's a horrible reason, but I'm a theme loving guy and I just can't deal with "Thou art tasked to deliver this missive of vital importance and save women, men and children from certain destruction. Thine quest shall be perilous, but with cunning and might we know you will prevail! Place enemies on space 23, 46 and 12. Land on space 43 to win."
Still sounds like I'm an idiot, I know, but it really, really bugged me. I also couldn't understand why fighting enemies would bring us closer to a loss.
I don't know.... the whole thing was just too... German. We just can't do theme.
Seriously, why the hell would defeating enemies, the guys we want to stop from invading the castle, make us lose? That makes no sense at all. "Here, go get help in defeating the enemies, but ah-ah-ah, don't fight the enemies! Especially not you, Dwarven fighter, who is awesome at fighting enemies and defeats them easily in an orgy of blood rage, mutilation and fun! Maybe you'd rather want to plow this field? Here, go trade some gold for strength points which you could use in smashing enemies to a bloody pulp, seeing them driven before you and hearing the lamentations of their women. But don't do it."

The Witches: A Discworld Game: Let's make one thing crystal clear: I love Terry Pratchett's Discworld. While I think that he lost some steam in some books I still hold him in very high regard and I own every single one of his books. That said.... The Witches just didn't work for me. There was no variety - go there, roll dice, win or lose. That was basically all; the decisions asked of me were mild at best and I can't remember any time in the game when the best course of action was not obvious. We didn't even finish the game. My girlfriend and I played with an English gentleman who seemed to come to the same conclusion we did, so this might not just have been me. And by the way, whoever the young woman was that Treefrog had hired to explain the game: I understand the job is stressful, but man, she was a mess. Has nothing to do with the game of course, but she just seemed like she really needed a pause. A long one. Explained rules wrong, too. Treefrog: Please let those poor guys rest on occassion.

Rawen TCG: My friend Jule was attracted to this game because it hit all her criteria: a) It was cheap, b)... well, that was all, really. To be fair though, this was a really fun game. The translations may have been a bit wonky, but the game I played against Jule was interesting and came down to a very close win for me, being fun all the way and offering tactical decisions during every stage of play. I thought about buying the game, but then didn't - it kinda expects you to build decks to play with and my girlfriend just doesn't like that (that's why we play Android: Netrunner so rarely - we both love it, but she doesn't want to build decks). So, sorry, Rawen guy, I liked the game - as I said, it feels a lot like Hearthstone which I still don't have a beta key for *fistshake* - but I know I wouldn't have played it. I was so close to buying it, though, and 6€ really isn't a lot for a game. I wish you best of luck with your game! And may that kiss I planted firmly on your smooth-skinned face always remind you of the dangers of offering discounts for affection!

Berserk: War of the Realms: This looked interesting to me, but I knew virtually nothing about it when I sat down to play a demo game against my girlfriend. After being ignored by the staff I tried to signal we just started reading the rules, just for one guy to come over and offer to explain the rules. We gladly accepted. He took the rulebook, put it away, gave us a tutorial sheet thingy and left.
Thank you.
That thing wasn't even helpful. I knew NOTHING about the game and had to guess rules from the sheet, at least until we started reading the rulebook again. We tried to play a few rounds, but I quickly surrendered after noticing that a) I had virtually no chance left to win anymore, b) my girlfriend's suggested creatures had about 150% of the value my creatures had and c) none of us had any fun and just wanted it to end. I can't even put my finger on the problem - it was just an all around "meh" game, and I neither have time nor space for "meh" games.

Iron Sky: The Board Game: Right, we played that, too. While it was simple to learn and offered a somewhat fresh mechanism for resolving conflict I couldn't help but think that something was missing. Maybe the problem was that we played a two player game when this was really designed to be played as a team versus team game, maybe it's just growing pains from having never played the game before, I don't know - it just didn't click. It felt like a very, very simple wargame.
And by the way, why would you deliberately remove all the humor from something that was, at its very core, a satire? I didn't get it. It wasn't bad, but again, just... you know... meh.

Speaking of games that are not "meh"....
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1. Board Game: Ascension: Rise of Vigil [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:1096] [Average Rating:7.22 Unranked]
Patrick
Germany
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This was the first game we bought at the fair. I love Acension and so does my girlfriend; it plays beautifully with two players and offers an awesome tactical complexity that is both easy to learn and simple to teach. As each box adds something new it is simple to explain the game using the base game - Chronicle of the Godslayer - and just expand upwards after everyone has the base game down.
I just love the game, especially Storm of Souls.

We got a free promo with this, too:
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2. Board Game: Ascension: Rise of Vigil – Lotus Siren Promo Card [Average Rating:6.68 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.68 Unranked]
Patrick
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My girlfriend had a severe case of decision paralysis when working out which promos to buy, and it was decision paralysis in the truest sense of the word - in the end we didn't buy any because she could not decide which she wanted. For our free promos we just asked salesman guy to pick the cards for us.

He obviously picked this one.
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3. Board Game: Ascension: Darkness Unleashed [Average Rating:7.50 Overall Rank:1451] [Average Rating:7.50 Unranked]
Patrick
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I didn't even know this was released already. No problem, my bag is large and can fit another game! I don't know what new mechanisms await me in this expansion, but I will find out soon!
Probably after the move is done, becaus eI'll be damned if I unpack a huge-ass card game while hauling stuff all over the city!

We got another promo with our purchase:
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4. Board Game: Ascension: Darkness Unleashed – Covetous Kraken Promo Card [Average Rating:6.77 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.77 Unranked]
Patrick
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I don't usually go for monsters (except when playing Immortal Heroes, Void is far too strong in that one), but this one... man, it has the potential to be awesome, and I would guess it becomes nigh broken with a lot of players. Another staff pick and I'll gladly mix that little guy into the deck.
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5. Board Game: Dungeons & Dragons: Castle Ravenloft Board Game [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:669] [Average Rating:6.98 Unranked]
Patrick
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After our Ascension buying spree it was straight to the math which I had forgotten to participate in because I'm an idiot and also I'm moving so cut me some slack, OK?

Anyway, the geek auctions surrounding the Spiel were a great chance for my fellow BGG'ers to suck my wallet dry. Not this one, though - I actually won this little gem for 28€ which I feel is just ridiculous. I did round up and paid 30€, though.
Which is still ridiculously low.

The best thing about this is that this was the one that I was actually interested in. The Underdark is so overdone that I would not be surprised if it started seeping out of my ears and Wrath of Ashardalon... I know, idiot nerd here again, but I don't like dragons in my Dungeons & Dragons. Yeah. Never found them very interesting. But I utterly love gothic horror and hey, would you look at that!

Note: That box is huge. Seriously. And due to the way the artwork kinda cuts off in the middle it looks as if there are two boxes stacked on top of each other. This is relevant.
 
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6. Board Game: The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:111] [Average Rating:7.64 Unranked]
Patrick
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Along with Castle Ravenloft I spent 15€ on a fully sleeved base set of LotR. It seemed interesting to me and 15€ is not a lot. We have already played this and found it both challenging and somewhat frustrating which I kinda like, though my chosen sphere of influence seemed really weak in comparison to my girlfriend's. "I will add 5 willpower to the adventure!" - "I will add 37." - "You know what, let's just forget about my 5 willpower. You keep doing your thing. Want a two point heal?"

On sunday we found out that two of our friends also recently got this game and actually wanted to talk us into buying it. So we instead decided to spend celebratory money on the whole first expansion cycle. We got the last three:
 
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7. Board Game: The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game – A Journey to Rhosgobel [Average Rating:7.42 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.42 Unranked]
Patrick
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Heidelberger guy told us a lot about the packs, 90% of which I forgot. This one is green. Green is nice. And Rhogobel is fun to say. Rhogobel!
(Gesundheit.)
 
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8. Board Game: The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game – The Dead Marshes [Average Rating:7.41 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.41 Unranked]
Patrick
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Apparently this is the fifth adventure pack in this cycle. I just noticed that Rhosgobel (Gesundheit) is number 3. That means my friends have packs 1, 2 and 4.

This important announcement was brought to you by my lack of having anything to say about this.
 
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9. Board Game: The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game – Return to Mirkwood [Average Rating:7.65 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.65 Unranked]
Patrick
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The last adventure pack in this cycle and it has a big spider on it. It will doubtlessly come in handy whenever I need to scare away some 8 year old girls.

I really haven't done any research on those packs and I am fully aware that it shows.
 
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10. Board Game: The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game – The Redhorn Gate [Average Rating:7.73 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.73 Unranked]
Patrick
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We got this for free after arguing that we just bought a buttload of packs. We were offered a packs of sleeves first, but who wants sleeves? Give me MORE GAMES.

This one apparently needs the first actual big box expansion thingy. I do not have this expansion. Thanks anyway.

Pro: The snow wolf thingy looks fabulous.

Contra: "Redhorn" is not nearly as much fun to say as "Rhosgobel" (Gesundheit).
 
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11. Board Game: Prodigy GC [Average Rating:8.25 Unranked]
Patrick
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This was slipped into our bag when we bought the LotR expansions. I do not have the slightest idea what this is and I have no itention of ever finding out. I love how this could be anything at all; I'm not even sure if this is a game. As far as I know the box could be full of spiders or contain a sleeping badger and an alarm clock. Who knows?

This tuckbox is so much fun that I will never open it. I even stopped my girlfriend from looking into it.
Well, let's face it, I'll look sooner or later. But for now I enjoy the mystery far more than I could enjoy any game this thing could feasibly contain.
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12. Board Game: Dungeon Roll [Average Rating:6.15 Overall Rank:2188]
Patrick
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Dungeon Roll Mimic Edition! W00t! Another game I bought in an auction and I'm really looking forward to playing this. It's short, it's simple, it works with two players. I just know that I will play this a lot.

This should also work as a single player game easily, so yay if you like single player games, I suppose.

I also got the level mat thingy from Pegasus! They were really nice to me and I love that thing. Small problem though: How would I store an A4 piece of plastic in such a small chest? Note to self: Complete dimensional displacement device asap.
 
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13. Board Game: Space Cadets [Average Rating:6.63 Overall Rank:1335]
Patrick
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Ever since I learned about its existence I felt that I needed to get my friends together to play Space Cadets. Good thing my girlfriend grabbed this at another auction! I haven't played it yet, but I did poke the pieces with a pen, then read the instructions on the toilet. I also rubbed one of the sensor pieces on my forehead but it did not, repeat not, give me super vision. Next I will try implanting a torpedo card under my skin to allow me to strike my enemies down over large distances while cackling maniacally. You'll see! YOU'LL ALL SEE! AHAHAHAHA!

I'll report back with my findings.
 
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14. Board Game: Goblins, Inc. [Average Rating:6.46 Overall Rank:2565]
Patrick
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My girlfriend won the auction for a game about building huge stompy robots. I am considering her a very probable candidate for marriage.

So, this is a team game, right? And you pound on the other team. But you also get to betray your own team! And the teams change during the game! And there's backstabbing going on everywhere!

I see a game nobody will ever play with me.
 
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15. Board Game: Nightfall [Average Rating:6.52 Overall Rank:1449] [Average Rating:6.52 Unranked]
Patrick
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I love deck building, so when I saw this at an auction I thought to myself "You like deckbuilding, as evidenced in the geeklist you will create in good time. How about you buy this?"
So I bought it.
25€ for the base game and a load of promos. I was happy and felt I had gotten it at a good price, being hardly able to wait to play it.

Then I went to the fair and saw it on sale in a bundle with the expansions for 20€ total.

I raged.

Whatever, I got promos.

I actually already played this game. Thrice. In the chaos that is my flat during a move.
So yeah, this apparently was a good investment after all
It's a good game - different from Ascension in some very key ways, but similar enough to explain the concept to someone who knows Ascension. I love the drafting mechnisms and the personal archives add a lot to the game. Seeing this one awesome card just out of reach is.... I don't know, it just makes the game so much better. I played a four, a three and a two player game and to be honest I didn't like the two player game. There are some timing issues that made the four player game incredibly interesting that just vanish when playing with two players. Three players would be the minimum number I would say the game is good with.
And Grim Siege is freaking overpowered.
And stop grabbing my Indigo Six. I love him and we need to be together.
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16. Board Game: Nightfall: Zombie Horde Promo [Average Rating:7.11 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.11 Unranked]
Patrick
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I had this in the first game we ever played and it made for a great surprise attack.
"Let's just ignore the Zombie Horde, it doesn't even attack." - "Zombie Horde attacks for 7 damage." - "WHARGARBL"
Whargarbl indeed.

I just noticed that there's something strange going on with the link and kicker colors.
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17. Board Game: Nightfall: Lisaveta Florescu [Average Rating:7.09 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.09 Unranked]
Patrick
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So, like, what, undead vampire bondage countess? Hasn't this been done a million times before? Isn't it cheesy and sexist and horrible?
Can I have that corset for my girlfriend?
Wait. Sakuko loves playing the healers and wears corsets. She's also blonde.

brb grabbing a steak.
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18. Board Game: Nightfall: "Shadow Seven" Promo [Average Rating:7.14 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.14 Unranked]
Patrick
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Hey, a promo that offers countless hours of arguing about wording on the card!
Really, I find this quite obvious. It says "you", which is the owner of this minion in play. If a card tells me to cause to a target player's minion, Shadow Seven will block it. If it tells me to cause damage to a target minion, Shadow Seven does not block it.
And if I keep arguing about that, I'm sleeping on the couch again.

Which I am.
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19. Board Game: Nightfall: Pale Fury Promo [Average Rating:7.29 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.29 Unranked]
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This promo was still in shrinkwrap. I wondered why. Then I noticed that I have no card divider for it.
THIS PROMO CAN NEVER BE PLAYED.

By the way, how does that pose work? Does his leg phase through the garbage? Is this a ghost werewolf?

Great, now I'm not only sleeping on the couch, now I'm worrying about immaterial werewolves, too.
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20. Board Game: Nightfall: Ahmad Hassan Promo [Average Rating:7.34 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.34 Unranked]
Patrick
Germany
Herne
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Silly Ahmad, that's not how you hold an aHOLY SHIT THAT KICKER IS AWESOME.

I really have nothing else to say about this.

Rhosgobel (Gesundheit).
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21. Board Game: Nightfall: Desperate Measures Promo [Average Rating:7.29 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.29 Unranked]
Patrick
Germany
Herne
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What's a feed? Is that in the rulebook? Is that a kitty on the card?

Kitty!

Can't shake the feeling that this kitty is a gangsta rapper kitty. Dunno why. Looks aggro to me.
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22. Board Game: World of Warcraft: The Adventure Game [Average Rating:6.16 Overall Rank:2982]
Patrick
Germany
Herne
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Remember when I said I have no space for "meh" games?

Apparently this is thoroughly meh. But whatever, it has miniatures!

Truth time: I'm an IT student and I have never played WoW. Cue gasps. I have no interest in it either (gasp!) and I think Blizzard has gone downhill (gaaaasp!). But I am prepared to play a board game version of their MMORPG because I love the fantasy theme and that's really all that drew me to this game. I don't know a thing about how the game plays and honestly, I don't care because I just want something like this to stand around so I can say that I do indeed own a WoW board game and that is all I am prepared to own concerning WoW (gaaaasp faint!).

Please let the miniatures be any good.
 
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23. Board Game: Ugg-Tect [Average Rating:6.30 Overall Rank:2366]
Patrick
Germany
Herne
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All I know is you hit people in the head with a club and that is relevant to my interests. My friends started laughing just talking about this game, too, but to be honest they were quite drunk at the time and I have seen them laugh at the word "salmon".

I will be so rich once I offer replacement clubs made from solid oak.
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24. Board Game: Dust Tactics: Blutkreuz Korps Kampfaffen Squad – "Axis Gorillas" [Average Rating:7.78 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.78 Unranked]
Patrick
Germany
Herne
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All the fair I was waiting for Heidelberger to drop the prices on Dust Tactics stuff. Then, finally, on sunday, they reduced the prices! By 20%. Which, really, is not that great if the prices are higher than internet prices to begin with. I did find the gorillas in the Tunnel-O-Crap and instantly grabbed them for 5€, because let's face it, 5€ is an awesome price for 3 gorillas that may or may not smash your skull in with bananas.
 
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25. Board Game: Tannhäuser: Operation Novgorod [Average Rating:7.30 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.30 Unranked]
Patrick
Germany
Herne
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Another awesome find in the Tunnel-O-Crap, Operation Novgorod for 15€ made my day. I love Tannhäuser and I would love to grab all the expansions, but I know that nobody wants to play it with me. Which is a shame because the revised version actually plays very well. I guess I'll have to brainwash my girlfriend into playing it with me....

Anyway this is Operation Novgorod and it has little robots which I assume go "beep" and move adorably. I like the little robots already.

Novgorod (Gesundheit).
 
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