Looking At My Watch (List)- Essen 2014 at a distance
Joel Berg von Linde
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Last year i made a geeklist (in danish) as a watch list to keep track of the games I was interested in before going to the Spiel convention. I think it was my 4th time at the fair (2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014), and previously I had just kept my wishlist updated, but I thought it would be funny to give my friends and everyone else interested a chance to comment on the items.

It has now been more than half a year since I came back, so I thought it would be fun to look back and examine what happened to the games on the list, see if expectations were met and if it held up over time.

Here we go!

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1. Board Game: Freedom: The Underground Railroad [Average Rating:7.61 Overall Rank:309]
Joel Berg von Linde
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What I wrote:
Not a news item, but still need to see if Academy Games brings it along to the fair. Sounds like an interesting coop and is getting some awards (Dice Tower Awards)

Since then:
I didnt get it at the fair. I dont even recall if they had brought it along, I just remember that there were so many other interesting (new) titles, that this faded to the background. I eventually bought it not long ago, as someone had an in shrink kickstarter copy for sale, so now I have the nice wooden tokens and extra cards to play around with. Have only played a sample turn or two to get the rules down, but it seems like an interesting puzzle with a lot of flavour
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2. Board Game: Castles of Mad King Ludwig [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:82]
Joel Berg von Linde
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What i wrote: Preordered! I really like suburbia and this sounds like a spin off, where auctions and tile interactions function in a whole different way. The buzz is super good, ought to be better than Suburbia according to the voices 'over there'.

Since then: Well i got it and played it while in Essen. I really enjoyed the feel of the game and the story of my developing castle. It isnt as great as Suburbia though, the master builder function works brilliantly, but I feel there is less tension. Unfortunatly I havent gotten it to the table since then, among other things because several people where dissapointed by the miniscule size of the castle tiles. Would have been so much more cool with chunkier bits. I still plan on preordering the Bezier games package wich includes the secrets expansion.
 
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3. Board Game: Subdivision [Average Rating:6.56 Overall Rank:2055]
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What I wrote: I dont know. Have to try it out at least. Same ballpark as Suburbia, but a different designer and dice. Maybe to abstract?

Since then: Well, I did actually get a chance to try it, and unfortunatly my fears where confirmed. I found it much too abstract and solitaire. I wish the tiles could 'do' more. One of the things I like about Suburbia is the fact that a green tile is not just a green tile, it functions differently depending on the type of residential area, and that is missing from Subdivision, making the drafting procedure less interesting unfortunatly. Probably a great solitaire game though?
 
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4. Board Game: Pay Dirt [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:2213]
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What I wrote: I think it sounds cute, but for once I didnt kickstart something. Want to try first. The designer also did Alien Frontiers. Patrick from Crash Games was a joy to hang with at the hotel last year.

Since then: The game looked so good from a distance, especially the gold nuggets! I havent had a chance to play it though, so I am still on the fence. Might be right down my alley, but I cant really decide if I should blind buy it
 
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5. Board Game: Terra Mystica: Fire & Ice [Average Rating:8.51 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.51 Unranked]
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What I wrote: Dont know if it just the collector in me that thinks this sounds cool. I havent played the base game nearly enough to warrant this.

Since then: I didnt get it, but it was very close. I love 'more stuff' expansions', but like I said back then, havent played the base game more than a couple of times. Had a really bad first experience with it (5 player game with 1 really really AP prone player, and he was the only one who had tried it before, so even though he was around 50 points ahead of everyone, his turns still took up to 5 minutes because he wanted to max out every point. boooooring) I have since then learned that TM is just a crappy 5 player game and 3-4 players is much more enjoyable, since what you loose in tension with more spaces on the board, you more than make up for in game flow. Will probably get the expansion at a later time if I get a good offer.
 
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6. Board Game: Historia [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:982]
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What I wrote: Wow, this sounds dry and abstract. But it IS a civ game after all. I was a little dissapointed in Romeo o Remo, but I will check it out.

Since then: I actually bought it at the fair. I only played it once before trading it away. It WAS really dry and abstract, but it actually had a lot of tension and interaction. But I never felt like a civilization. The cards are not that varied and you play with the same hand of cards all game, from stone age to modern times. Yes, there are civ specific one shot cards and advanced versions once you got further up the tech tree, but it was just the same action, only better. Actually, now I thing about, it had that Subdivision feel of the cards not feeling very special. Lets play Clash of Cultures, Race for the Galaxy or many other games instead.
 
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7. Board Game: Nations: The Dice Game [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:720]
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What I wrote: Yes please! Nations was probably my personal 'game of the year' 2013 and the dice version sound interesnting. Something with different buildings giving you different colour action dice....or something.

Since then: One of my first purchases of the fair. Was really hard to find at first, since the publishers had decided to put a german sheet under the shrink wrap, covering up the english back of the box, so we ran around in vain trying ti find an english language copy, heh. Once we found out what was going on it was an easy purchase, and I'm glad I did since it still has not shown up in normal retail it appears. I really like the game. It is very light, especially compared to its older brother and a lot more solitaire, bit it is also very very short, even with 4 players, and it just....works. No, I dont feel like a particular nation with special buildings as in other civ games, but I thought the flow was better than in for example Roll through the Bronze age (still havent tried Iron Age), and the skeleton is clearly based on Nations.
 
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8. Board Game: Town Center (fourth edition) [Average Rating:6.97 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.97 Unranked]
Joel Berg von Linde
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What I wrote: Kickstarted the 4th ed. Maybe too abstract? If nothing else it reminds me of playing with LEGOs in sim city.

Since then: I have only played solitaire a couple of times, since I dont have that many friends who are into abstract games. But it works very well, there is a lot to think about, and even though I get a strong 'city building' feeling, it is nothing like Suburbia. This is the kind of puzzle game I want to play!
 
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9. Board Game: Progress: Evolution of Technology [Average Rating:6.62 Overall Rank:1622]
Joel Berg von Linde
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What I wrote: Another game that I have technicaly allready invested in (Kickstarted). I really love tech trees, cards-as-resource mechanisms, card interactions and civ games, so this was a no-brainer. I wonder how multiplayer solitaire it is though?

Since then: Got it, played it and traded it away while it was still hot. Not at all a bad game, but it just didnt wow me, and the downtime was a little too much for me, even in a 2 player game. The area control side board thing worked really well and the game is pretty. But I have enough great games to overshadow a kind-of-interesting one.
 
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10. Board Game: Village Port [Average Rating:8.01 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.01 Unranked]
Joel Berg von Linde
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What I wrote: Village was great and not at all as Stefan Feld-ish as I had feared. Anothe expansion. Hope it is as interesting as the inn.
Read the rules and the expansions include goal cards, that you can try to achieve during the game. You can for example try to become a knight by aquiring a horse, the first player ring from city hall and some money, fullfilling that ambition and getting points. I love hidden goals in games, so those 18 cards will be worth it. Also includes a pick up and deliver style ship sailing and island hopping part, where you bring goods to exotic places and bring exotic goods home to the Village. Interesting twist!

Since then: Bought it, was a really reasonable price. Havent played with the new stuff yet, unfortunatly. Did try Village without the Inn for the first time though, dont need to try that again. Wish my usual gaming partners where more into this style of euro
 
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11. Board Game: 1944: Race to the Rhine [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:1256]
Joel Berg von Linde
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What I wrote: On here because it is hyped

Since then: Did not get it at Essen, but has since purchased a copy. Havent played, but only read the rules, seems to be a game that requires a certain type of gamer to enjoy the mix of war and logistics. Forunatly, that sounds like something I would really like
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12. Board Game: 7 Wonders: Babel [Average Rating:7.23 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.23 Unranked]
Joel Berg von Linde
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What I wrote: Hell yeah! Sounds like a fun addition to 7 wonders (and I really liked the leaders expansion). More player interaction to really distinguish it from Among the Stars (which I find very solitaire)

Since then: Bought. Have only played the babel module, but I really really liked it. More fun desicions added to an allready great game, that has really improved with the expansions. Look forward to the other module, but I think that one is better with more players (Babel was played a couple of times 3 player)
 
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13. Board Game: La Granja [Average Rating:7.74 Overall Rank:116]
Joel Berg von Linde
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What I wrote: Yet another Agricola-like farming game. Dont know why that appeals to me so strongly. The preview video makes it sound really neat. Apperently sold out everywhere though.

Since then: Yup. Very sold out. Luckily a reprint is comming, that you can now preorder, if you happen to be not living in the world outside North America

UPDATE: It came out, I bought it, played it and really liked it. A lot of small parts make a great game. The card play is interesting and it works very well at 4 players, with interaction through the central market as well as well as with the dice selection.
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14. Board Game: Kanban: Driver's Edition [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:223]
Joel Berg von Linde
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What I wrote: Arrrrrrghhh! 'LEAN' the board game!! Burn on sight!!!

SInce then: Have since played Vinhos from the same designer, and that one was very interesting. Kanban sounds really dry though, even if you look beyond the busy board. I will skip this one
 
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15. Board Game: Space Cadets: Dice Duel – Die Fighter [Average Rating:7.52 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.52 Unranked]
Joel Berg von Linde
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What I wrote: Well, still havent gotten enough people together to play the base game, but more space in the new appartment should help with that issue.

Since then: The expansion looks great, but I decided to trade the base game instead, since it didnt really hit the table. I dont often have 6+ people around for boardgaming, except for when we play MM44 overlord. Traded it to someone I know, so maybe one day....
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16. Board Game: Onward to Venus [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:1499]
Joel Berg von Linde
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What I wrote: Martin Wallace does empire building in space. Colour me interested. Read the rules - I want this one, Special Edition. Just because the box is cooler. Im an moron

Since then: Got this from gameslore, didnt want to rush to get it at the fair. Have since played it 3 times and I really like it. It is light and random, but still with a lot of atmosphere and it doesnt outstay its welcome. Would wish the SE came with both wooden tokens and the cardboard chits (have played both the normal and special edition), since telling the units apart is harder with the meeples, but keeping track of mines and factories is much easier than the cardboard version, so would love to have a mix
 
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17. Board Game: Ships [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:1582]
Joel Berg von Linde
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What I wrote: More economic goodness from Martin Wallace. Could be good.

Since then: Well, still could be, it isnt out yet. Hoping it will be Brass/AoI with pick up and deliver.
 
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18. Board Game: Hyperborea [Average Rating:7.29 Overall Rank:520]
Joel Berg von Linde
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What I wrote: The designers of Kingsburg does 4X. Well, why not?

Since then: Yeah why not indeed? I thought the final tile/board design looked really bland and did nothing to pull me in, while the rest of the game looks ok. Might be convinced to try one day if someone sets it up and invites to a game
 
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19. Board Game: Clash of Cultures: Civilizations [Average Rating:8.57 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.57 Unranked]
Joel Berg von Linde
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What I wrote: Expansion to a game that, despite me really liking it, does not hit the table that often. Hoping the expansion can help get it back into play.

Since then: One of my first purchases, and glad I did, seemed to sell out pretty fast. Well it took quite a while, but I finally got to play it last night. It adds a little bit of complexety to an allready fiddly and complex game, but I really like the atmosphere it added, both with the civ advances and the leaders, that really added a lot of flavour to the factions. So my impression echoes pretty much everyone else, who likes the base game The game feels complete now. Instead of more expansions, I really hope that Christian will do a space game next, like Eclipse or TI3, only with his special kind of genius sprinkled on top.
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20. Board Game: Fire in the Lake [Average Rating:8.04 Overall Rank:417]
Joel Berg von Linde
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What I wrote: Newest in the COIN series in the most interesting setting so far (or TO as the grognards called it I assume?). The crown jewel. Labyrinth and Cuba Libre were good, but this time he has a co-designer to spice things up. And its 'NAM!

Since then: Got it this spring and have looked at the rules a couple of times. Not sure its one I get to play often (if at all), but I can really appreciate the mammoth of a game that is in there.
 
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21. Board Game: Crokinole [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:75]
Joel Berg von Linde
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What I wrote: Id like a good tournament board if I can find one and can afford it. My friend got one last year I have been eyeing this beauty of a game (both literaly and figuratively)

Since then: Still on my watch list. Since its such an investment I want to wait till I find just the right one.
 
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22. Board Game: Animal Suspect [Average Rating:5.77 Overall Rank:11917]
Joel Berg von Linde
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What I wrote: Mime an an animal and an emotion and have your friends guess what it is. That sounds like a lot of fun!

Since then: I dont think this game is ever comming out unfortunatly. Maybe I should make my own print-and-play version (if I wasnt so lazy)
 
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23. Board Game: Core Worlds: Revolution [Average Rating:7.60 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.60 Unranked]
Joel Berg von Linde
Denmark
Copenhagen
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What I wrote: Stronghold Games is comming to the fair and I hope they bring this along. More Core Worlds and more theme for the heroes. And Core Worlds is really great.

Since then: They did have it! One of my first day purchases, and it lives up to the expectations. Doesnt change the game up like the first expansion, but what it does add works really well. The advancements is a great addon, that both gives more incentive to invade early game worlds and more decisions as to where to spend your hard earned energy. Recommended for fans of the game.
 
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24. Board Game: Galactic Strike Force [Average Rating:5.81 Overall Rank:6908]
Joel Berg von Linde
Denmark
Copenhagen
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What I wrote: Has had a lot of mixed feedback on this one. Will try at the GTG booth and get promo goodies.

Since then: Well unlike the year before, GTG didnt show up with lots of demo tables. Dont know if Sentinels just wasnt as big in mainland Europe as they had hoped? Anyways, I got this at my LOFGS at a great price, but I havent gotten it to the table yet. Seems really fiddly, but usually that is not a no go for me.
 
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25. Board Game: Summoner Wars: Alliances Master Set [Average Rating:8.25 Overall Rank:455] [Average Rating:8.25 Unranked]
Joel Berg von Linde
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What I wrote: Want because its Summoner Wars. And now the factions mix with each other. Yummy. Great expectations.

Since then: Well, Plaid Hat was a no show and this only showed up this year, so it wouldnt have been available anyway. Bought it ofcourse, Summoner Wars is one of the best, if not the best, game of its type. The new Play mat is awesome and factions are great as usual, each with their own flavor.
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