Top 10 Essen Spiel '17 Games from a Euro Skeptic
Ian Kissell
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I've seen a lot of Top 10 lists of Essen goers, but most of from people who describe themselves as Europhiles and Essen as "Christmas."

I like Euros, but at the end I enjoyed the puzzle, but don't really care if I play them again. Thus I would consider myself a Euro-skeptic: I like to play Euros, but am skeptical about falling in love with any.

Because I am off work today and want to kill some time, here are are top ten games from Essen that have peaked my interest.
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1. Board Game: Gaia Project [Average Rating:8.71 Overall Rank:13]
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10.

I don't like Terra Mystica. I want to, but I find it a bit souless, and I've never escaped the feeling that the game is playing me and not the other way around. I'm hoping that the modular map and changes to the priest track increases the variability of each game.

Price tag is super high, so I would probably never buy this, but I'd be interested in giving it a shot.
 
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2. Board Game: Heaven & Ale [Average Rating:7.68 Overall Rank:577]
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9.

I've been following this one for 8 months, and it was initially one of my most anticipated releases. Monks and beer strangely combines two of my great interests.

I was extremely disappointed when I read the rules and realized how abstract the game was from making beer. The high price tag finally sunk it for me. I want to play at some point, but my excitement has been muted. The cover is fantastic though.
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3. Board Game: Azul [Average Rating:8.01 Overall Rank:49] [Average Rating:8.01 Unranked]
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8.

Abstract game that looks easy to teach and has a nice tactile feel. Those are the best kinds.
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4. Board Game: Coaster Park [Average Rating:4.09 Overall Rank:15192]
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7.

I'm a little concerned with replayability, but this looks like a great mixture of fun and strategy.
 
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5. Board Game: Charterstone [Average Rating:8.11 Overall Rank:94]
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6.

Stonemaier games is a fantastic company that hasn't made a miss for me yet. Can't say I'm over-the-moon excited for a legacy Euro game, but if I had a group that would play through it, I'd be happy to give this one a try.
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6. Board Game: Transatlantic [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:1340]
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5.

Mac Gerts' games fall squarely into the solid but not exciting camp for me, with the possible exception of Concordia. This one looks like a solid system, but it also feels extremely dry, and I'm sad to not have a map. However, I love games where players start the same but start to distinguish themselves quickly. I like that there are unique action cards that not just give you an upgraded action, but completely new ones.
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7. Board Game: Meeple Circus [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:1052]
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4.

Still looking for a stacking game that will be my favorite. This one looks like a lot of fun, and I like the goals that remind me of Dimension (which is a fantastic game). My one thought is that I wished the pieces you were stacking made a more impressive structure when you are done.
 
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8. Board Game: Hunt for the Ring [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:2547]
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3.

Played a demo at Origins, and was very intrigued. My one qualm is the play time. Three hours is a long time for a hidden movement game, and I am not in a situation where I could play the game a lot in the two halves as intended. I don't know how fulfilling playing only one half will be, as the Shadow player may have a hard time corrupting the party.

Still very intrigued.
 
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9. Board Game: Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 [Average Rating:8.53 Overall Rank:35]
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2.

I loved PL: 1. Pandemic is by no means my favorite game, but I had such a great time binge playing it with my brother, how could I not be excited for Season 2, especially with all the initial reports being positive.

However, the price tag again is a killer. I will probably have to wait a year for it to come down to what I am comfortable paying for it. Otherwise, this might be my number 1.
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10. Board Game: Santa Maria [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:741]
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1.

I'm very surprised this is my #1. I like Aporta games, and I am still looking for a dice drafting game that avoids the tedium of a snake draft. I am hoping Santa Maria is not too dry or abstract, as it looks like it has a lot of potential.

Dice drafting mixed with City/colony building could be a real winner.
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