Games I was able to purchase because I didn't spend the money to go to Essen
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I'm just not much of a con man. I'm fortunate enough to have a number of family members and very close friends who enjoy playing board games, so I'm not CONvinced that traveling somewhere to fight crowds and play games with strangers would be the best use of my vacation time. And anyhow, if I did go to Germany, I'd be much too busy tasting beers and eating chocolate and visiting castles and other historical sites to play games with people! (I hope that statement doesn't result in my being stripped of my BoardGameGeek membership...)

I've also never been a "mass game" purchaser. I deal with my friendly local online game shop and pick up my purchases in person, so I never have to worry about hitting a certain dollar limit to receive reduced shipping costs. And I actually like to savour and enjoy a new game, rather than have it sit unplayed on my shelf.

However, a number of games that I have been monitoring with great interest for quite some time all seem to have been released within a fairly short period of time. Plus, the aforementioned game shop has been holding my purchases for me over the past few weeks because I have a big move (our first home purchase) happening tomorrow morning (writing this GeekList is my way of relaxing and recharging after a very busy day!). So once we get settled into our new home, we'll have a whole lot of new games to look forward to picking up and playing!

Essen schmessen. This is my list of exciting new game acquisitions!
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1. Board Game: Mr. Jack in New York [Average Rating:7.29 Overall Rank:608]
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I have an almost fanatical obsession with Mr. Jack. For me, it represents absolute perfection in game design. I realize that many gamers would strongly disagree with me, but there's no need to burst my bubble! I ran around the apartment cheering when I heard this was finally being released, while my wife wondered what I was up to this time. So this purchase was clearly a no-brainer.
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2. Board Game: Tobago [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:389]
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Mr. Jack is responsible for instilling within me an infatuation with games that have a deduction element. (Actually, the first seeds were probably sown as a child with Clue and Scotland Yard and with reading all those Sherlock Holmes and Hardy Boys books, but Mr. Jack was the fertilizer that caused that seed to germinate into a beautiful flower. Wait, what am I talking about now?) I'm also a sucker for tactile and aesthetic beauty in games (ie. I'm a bits whore), so when I saw this adventure/deduction game with cool jeeps and statues and trees, it was elementary my dear Watson: I had to have it!
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3. Board Game: Dice Town [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:718]
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Another direct result of my obsession with Mr. Jack is this purchase, since it was created by Bruno Cathala and Ludovic Maublanc (the designers of Mr. Jack). And it looks like a very fun filler for my poker-obsessed game group.
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4. Board Game: Chaos in the Old World [Average Rating:7.68 Overall Rank:93]
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This is a very unlikely purchase for me, despite my enduring love for games of conquest. I don't know a thing about Warhammer, and I find the graphics to be very grotesque and unappealing for my rather sophisticated and refined tastes. But I kept stumbling upon rave review after rave review, even by others who weren't into Warhammer, and I started to wonder what all the hype was about. Ironically enough (since I don't have much interest in podcasts), it was Robert's brilliant DowntimeTown video that finally convinced me that I ought to own this game. I expect that, just as with Nexus Ops (another game I avoided for a long time simply due to its weird space creature theme), I will be able to enjoy this game in spite of the visual presentation. In fact, I might as well embrace the chaos and paint up those ugly little critters...
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5. Board Game: Conflict of Heroes: Storms of Steel! – Kursk 1943 [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:610]
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Ever since playing Ikusa (AKA Shogun) as a child, games of conquest have been my very favouritest games of all. I even used to play some of my dad's old Avalon Hill wargames with him back in the day. But my own attempt to ease into the niche hobby of wargaming in recent years has fallen completely flat. I started with Men of Iron, played a few solo games and one against an opponent, obtained my very first pair of reading glasses in order to be able to more clearly make out the counters, found it more fiddly than fun, and traded it away. Strike one. I then found in Warriors of God a game with very large, very pretty, very readable counters, but after half a solo game I realized I wouldn't be able to find any interested opponents among my family and friends, and traded it away. Strike two. Ever since the release of Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear! – Russia 1941-42, I've been watching this game with great interest and hoping they'd cover a theatre of WWII that has more personal appeal than the Eastern front, but then I read Guy Sajer's The Forgotten Soldier, lost patience with waiting for just the right edition to be released, and ordered this game. Hopefully this will finally be the wargame I've been looking for all these years.
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6. Board Game: Pandemic: On the Brink [Average Rating:8.10 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.10 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.10 Unranked]
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Pandemic was a big hit with my wife, and we had several enjoyable plays early on, but the replay factor simply didn't hold up for me. I just found the game grew quite stale and boring after a while. I hope that this expansion will breathe new life into what really is a fantastic game design.
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7. Board Game: The Downfall of Pompeii [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:445]
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The Downfall of Pompeii is the only game on this GeekList that I've actually played, and I'm VERY excited to finally get my hands on it! I've played it twice before, and after the first play, was immediately hooked. After months and months of trying to find someone willing to trade me a copy, I've finally found that kindhearted soul. My next step is to order a whole bunch of meeples from meeplepeople.com to replace those wooden cubes. Let's add a bit more realism to those volcano deaths, eh! Oh wait, what was I saying previously about my sophisticated and refined tastes?
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8. Board Game: Cyclades [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:130]
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The last two games on this list are pre-orders. I saw that this visually stunning game of economics and conquest in a Greek mythology setting was created by Bruno Cathala and Ludovic Maublanc, and it instantly became a "must have". I hope I won't have to wait too long to get it into my hands, but I guess I have plenty of other new games to keep me busy in the meantime!
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9. Board Game: Shadow Hunters Expansion [Average Rating:7.36 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.36 Unranked]
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Shadow Hunters is a very fun game for 5-8 players, and I was excited to find out that Z-Man is releasing this expansion. Rumour has it this will be released by "December at the latest".
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