2016 will be my 9th Essen and I've pulled together a list of the games I'd like to check out this year. I have to say there are more games that I'm really interested in this year than for the last few, which makes it a real shame the exchange rate has tanked over the last few months.
I've added component pictures to the entries where I can find them on BGG, as well as prices/hall numbers where these are available.
Will be updated with more games as research continues!
Worker placement euro where the twist is that workers are neutral and players draft them back to their hands at the end of the round. Workers have different values and each has advantages in certain areas of the board.
Copy reserved - the 25e of day 1 expansions is annoying but I suppose it's what we have to live with in this Kickstarter age.
Medium/Heavy resource management euro with this year's go-to theme (Mars - although sci-fi is always a welcome break from building medieval farms and towns).LOTS of cards with little duplication of them... so my one concern at the moment would be around how balanced they are and whether someone can become a runaway leader with a good early combo. Possibly a launch promo available.
Another medium/heavy Euro that I've seen in preview versions at other games cons in the last year or so but now finally released, and fair racing up the BGG rankings. Area control with lots of engine-building and a slice of mech combat.
I'd like to get a demo on this as 80e is really rather pricey, although again this does look lovely.
I've never really been that attracted to Western-themed games, but this one has been getting good buzz pre-Essen this year. Basic them is you're moving your guys along the trail to Kansas, making choice on your route and the spaces you land on lead to the actions you can take. Icon-heavy, and although that does mean language independent from the looks of things it does lead to more of a learning curve for those icons.
Hall/Booth: ??? (Mayfair Stand probably Hall 1 - F133)
Price: ??? (Around 70e. Ouch.) Player Count: 1-4
Worker placement/movement game where you move you pieces around on the board activating the spaces you go through. Looks to have a modular structure so lots of replayability. Not a lot of info out apart from an example walkthrough document in the files section of the game page.
300 copies available in English so check on Thursday.
As far as I can tell from what I've seen so far, this is basically "Hey, that's my fish!" on steroids. I've got HTmF! and quite enjoy it so intrigued to check this out. Whether it's a buy or not will depend on how much depth it adds, how much additional time that adds, and whether it still hits a sweet spot between those two.
(Note - kickstarter components. Retail version has wooded spaceship meeples. More to my tastes anyway!)
A Stefan Feld game, so always interested in looking. Utilises a dice mechanism that looks related to Castles of Burgundy. Anyone who's played games with me knows my innate distrust of dice so again, want to try before buy on this.
This has a lot of bits (possibly one for Victor then!), and it's the latest game from Uwe Rosenberg (Caverna, Agricola, Le Havre designer). Which I'm pretty sure means it will be a good game. The possible issue for me is that it's another game about building up your board by putting tiles on it, feeding your people, lots of cards, etc. I have Caverna, Agricola, etc so do I really need this as well? Especially as it only goes to 4 players?
Sci-fi deckbuilding and rolling dice to determine resources. Designer's previous games include Castles of Mad King Ludwig and Suburbia. A small worry is that the buying mechanism looks really a lot like Yahtzee.
I've seen Space Cadets - Dice duel played before, although not tried it myself. Too many dice there, although that's fixed here as it's a lot more of a euro take on the same thing. Teams of 1-4 players face off to sink each other's submarines in either turn based or real time. Looks good and puzzley; party game for gamers.
Plus,of course, the key selling point is that the title scans perfectly to the Captain Scarlet theme song.
Hyperborea was probably my most anticipated game of Essen 2014, and I have to say I was disappointed by it. It felt like a few more months of playtesting was needed to really make it shine and for me, after the first few months, it's not really been played. Interested in trying out the expansion to see if it helps fix my issues with the base game, so that will be the acid test as to whether to pick up or not.
I like the theme of putting together a TV network's schedule, and I think this should have broad appeal. I like that payers could build a genre-themed TB channel, although the jokey names might wear thin with multiple plays maybe?
Basically a new deck of cards for the base game that you can switch out in full or part, or just add to the existing cards. Military cards are more conflict-driven than the base game which should mix things up a bit. 25e for a deck of cards though?
What to do now we no longer get annual Power Grid maps with minor gameplay modifications? Why, buy annual Concordia maps with minor gameplay modifications, of course. Buy this late if I have any euros left to use up.
Basic visuals perhaps, however the core game looks like a nicely balanced auction/deckbuilder which then drives a pick-up-and-deliver game. That's a lot of different mechanics there so I'd love to see if they all flow together nicely. Try before buy.
Another Stefan Feld - not a new game this time but a retheme of one from a few years back (Die Speicherstadt). So if I were devious I might get a demo of this and then seek out a cheaper version of the earlier game...
A retheme of Alea Iacta Est. To be honest this looks like exactly the sort of pretty, medium game that ends up on my list every year, only to get passed on after the demo or bough, played once and abandoned to the nether shelves of the collection before going on to a better life via the bring-and-buy at the UK Games Expo.