Essen 2009: Tests and purchases
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I just came back from Essen and to start with the important things:
It was great like every year, but also very crowded because the Essen area was on holidays, so that a lot of kids and teens were able to attend even on Thursday and Friday.

Please see in the following list, what we did test and what I bought.
Feel free to add your comments whenever you like.
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1. Board Game: Snow Tails: The Leap of Death [Average Rating:7.10 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.10 Unranked]
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Die Ärzte, Bad Religioon, Bauhaus, Dom Perignon, In Extremo, Joy Division, Lacrimosa, New Model Army, Nirvana, Officine Panerai, Placebo, Rammstein, The Sisters of Mercy, Smashing Pumpkins, The Cure, The Mission, Die Toten Hosen, Umbra et Imago
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I read that there would be only a limited number of copies available I first headed to the Fragor to pick up the tile:
But as I arrived there at approx. 10:05 (only 5 minutes after opening) no tiles were available. Some more were to come as one of the Lamont brothers told me so I waited a few minutes (and made the following two purchases in the meantime) to finally get the tile.
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2. Board Game: Savannah Tails [Average Rating:6.28 Overall Rank:3609]
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As I did precommend Savannah Tails, I picked it up right now, not considering that the fair just started and I now had to carry it for the hole day. But this buy helped me to waste some time whilst waiting for the leap of death.
Unfortunately, Fragor had only 1 table and was busy to sell their games, so playtesting was not possible at this moment. Tried again in the afternoon, but there was always already other people waiting to be the next for playtesting.
Seems like I will have to read the rules by my own ;-)
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3. Board Game: Antler Island [Average Rating:6.17 Overall Rank:3989]
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Fragor offered this one with a nice discount if purchased together with Savannah Tails and so I took this one too. Just a few seconds later a final bunch of elap of death tiles arrived so that I now had my tile and already 2 games to carry with me for the rest of the day.
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4. Board Game: Astoria [Average Rating:5.93 Overall Rank:9257]
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Bantzenheim
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Heidelberger (a big German publisher and distributor) has always some clearance booth. As we came through it at the early Thursday morning we found Astoria for only 10 EUR. So we took 2 copies (1 for each of us).
Again heavy stuff to carry for the rest of the day, but as we grabbed one of the last copies, I think it was the right decision.
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5. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:8.02 Overall Rank:17]
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Bantzenheim
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Same clearance booth of Heidelberger just a few stacks of games ahead:
Agricola for 20 EUR. Just another "light-weight" game in my bag ;-)

Also got some game items from Lookout (4 seasons postcards, extra card) and a Übergeek card from Aldie.
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6. Board Game: Macao [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:244]
 
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At this moment in time we thought by ourselves: We should try to playtest some of the new games presented on the fair. So we headed to the different booths that presented Dungeon Lords. Impossible to find a free table without waiting for at least 1 hour, so we decided to watch out for another game to test.
We were very lucky to get a free table just as we arrived at the alea booth. Stefan Feld (the designer himself) was present to explain the rules and assisted to the game.

While playing we discussed about expansions and lot of other things.
It was a very enjoyable time.
Unfortunately the is a lot a text on the cards.
So even if I liked the game (lot of different possibilities each turn, risk taking, various strategies and depth) I finally didn't bought the game because the language dependency will be a barrier for our french speaking game group.
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7. Board Game: The BoardGameGeek Game [Average Rating:6.04 Overall Rank:4185]
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As we came through the BGG booth to say hello to Aldie and all the others, there were two people just looking for additional players for that game. We sat down and checked out this one.

Rules are quite easy and mechanics are working well but at the end we found that it was a little bit to easy to get the set complete. A little bit more competition during the game buying phase or more costs in the advertising phase could improve the game from our perspective.
So I did not buy this one but I'm very happy to get a chance to play it on the BGG booth because it is the perfect environment for the theme of the game.
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8. Board Game: Opera [Average Rating:6.65 Overall Rank:2036]
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We met some friends of us and tried again to find a free table for Dungeon Lords. But we were unlucky again.
So we decided to test Carson City due to its good votes at the Fairplay ranking. But we didn't manage to find a table for this game either. But at the Huch&Friends booth a table for Opera was available.
Because of poor rule-explanation and the late time (we didn't finish the game) we did not enjoy the game. That does not mean that the game is not good, but we had a unlucky experience with it.

The fair was closing while we were playing Opera, so this was the end of our first day in Essen.

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9. Board Game: Miscellaneous Game Accessory [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:3722] [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:71]
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I also picked up a lot of small things here and there. But I do not remember the exact order. So here come all the miscelleanous things.
First of all the Figures for Starfarers of Catan on the Kosmos booth. Got them together with a key fob with the red Catan-bus and the Catan News 2009 (a small newsletter related to the Catan world). All for free.
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10. Board Game: Catan Geographies: Bayern Edition [Average Rating:6.86 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.86 Unranked]
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As a true Catan fan of course I did also buy the new regional scenario.
Unfortunately the new Dragon scenario was already sold out and I had to wait 2 more days to get it.
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11. Board Game: Small World: Grand Dames of Small World [Average Rating:7.45 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.45 Unranked]
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Die Ärzte, Bad Religioon, Bauhaus, Dom Perignon, In Extremo, Joy Division, Lacrimosa, New Model Army, Nirvana, Officine Panerai, Placebo, Rammstein, The Sisters of Mercy, Smashing Pumpkins, The Cure, The Mission, Die Toten Hosen, Umbra et Imago
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I was also very happy to find this one in the French edition to fit with the base game I have at home.
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12. Board Game: Small World: Cursed! [Average Rating:7.53 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.53 Unranked]
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Die Ärzte, Bad Religioon, Bauhaus, Dom Perignon, In Extremo, Joy Division, Lacrimosa, New Model Army, Nirvana, Officine Panerai, Placebo, Rammstein, The Sisters of Mercy, Smashing Pumpkins, The Cure, The Mission, Die Toten Hosen, Umbra et Imago
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In the same move of course I took this one, still French edition.
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13. Board Game: Small World: Leaders of Small World [Average Rating:6.52 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.52 Unranked]
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For the buy of both Small World Expansion I got this one for free.
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14. Board Game: Dice Town: The Indians [Average Rating:6.54 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.54 Unranked]
 
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Tried also to get this one.
But unfortunately they only had the dice. Neither the rules nor the cards were alvailable.
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15. Board Game: Time's Up! [Average Rating:7.33 Overall Rank:388]
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Bantzenheim
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Asking for the Dice Town expansion I bought the Game Geek expansion for Time's Up (which hasn't at game entry here: That's a pity!!!)
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16. Board Game: Cuba: Hazienda [Average Rating:7.21 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.21 Unranked]
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Bantzenheim
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I was strongly looking for this tile but at the Eggert booth I was informed that I had to buy one of their games to get it.
Ok, no problem, Havanah was on my watch list so I decided to give it a try and to buy it at Eggert to get the tile.
But for Havanah again we never get a table. So I had a look on the rankings. On both (BGG and Fair Play) Havanah was amongst the poorest ratings. So I did resign from buying Havanah without playtesting with the consequence of probably not getting the Cuba tile :-(

Shit happens, but I also knew that I would have no problem in spending my money for lots of other things, especially games, that I will love to play!
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As a big Carcassonne fan I also bought some of these aluminum meeples. They are really looking great!
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18. Board Game: Power Grid: Transformer Station [Average Rating:7.46 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.46 Unranked]
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Bantzenheim
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We also came across the 2F-booth to get the new extra "Umspannwerk" card.
Doing this we discussed quie a while with Maura (the designer) and the intolerable profit making with these cards (selling them on Ebay for 20 bucks etc)
People normally should donate something to pick up the cards. We saw quite some people donating just 1 cent and taking several cards!!!
That's not the way it is supposed to work.

If this happens this year too, it could mean that 2F will no longer distribute the cards :-(

So please everybody: If you have several cards, GIVE them to friends that want to complete their Power Grid items and do not make profit out of them. This will kill this kind of courtesy from 2F!!!
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19. Board Game: End of Days [Average Rating:5.67 Unranked]
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Bantzenheim
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This was the end of our first day in Essen. We had to carry a lot of things we bought early in the day. Played quite some nice games. Met friends, authors, designers.
Never the less we very happy it was over and we could get back to the hotel.
We had some fine food in a restaurant and some games back in the hotels. But only from the ones we brought we us, because nobody was keen in reading and studying new rules.
But most important we discussed who to get to play those games, we didn't manage today.
We put together all our Essen experience and elaborate some strategy for the next morning.
One of the main points of our strategy was not to buy games to early in order not to have to carry those big bags for the rest of the day.
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20. Board Game: Dungeon Lords [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:182]
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Bantzenheim
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Our action plan for the second day was very simple:
Enter the fair as one of the very first from the Eingang Mitte and run (!) to the booth of Heidelberger to get free table for DungeonLords!
Seems simple and easy to apply.
Unfortunately even by doing so, success is not granted! As I arrived on the Heidelberger booth all table were already occupied or reserved.
But I saw a last table with a Dungeon Lord box on it.
This table was mine and I defended it successfully until the arrival of my friends!
So we finally got to play Dungeon Lords and we had much fun with it!

The only problem again was: Quite some text on the cards.
I wanted to buy the game (not now -remember the main learning from the first day: not buying early) but in what language? German or English are available but none of those languages fit with my gaming group.
waiting for the French translation? Could last for years like for other games.
I finally bought it in German and I will provide a French translation made by my own for people playing with me.
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21. Board Game: Hansa Teutonica [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:108]
desmodus
France
Bantzenheim
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Die Ärzte, Bad Religioon, Bauhaus, Dom Perignon, In Extremo, Joy Division, Lacrimosa, New Model Army, Nirvana, Officine Panerai, Placebo, Rammstein, The Sisters of Mercy, Smashing Pumpkins, The Cure, The Mission, Die Toten Hosen, Umbra et Imago
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Next game on our to-do list was Hansa Teutonica.
With just a very little waiting we got a table and a very good explainer for that game.
Very nice medium game. Classical components (less fun than Dungeon Lords) but with a high anger factor, so that the games might always be very competitve.
Decided to buy the game but later (remember: not to early!)
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22. Board Game: Egizia [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:281]
desmodus
France
Bantzenheim
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Die Ärzte, Bad Religioon, Bauhaus, Dom Perignon, In Extremo, Joy Division, Lacrimosa, New Model Army, Nirvana, Officine Panerai, Placebo, Rammstein, The Sisters of Mercy, Smashing Pumpkins, The Cure, The Mission, Die Toten Hosen, Umbra et Imago
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Last game for this second day is Egizia from Hans im Glück.
We didn't found a table so we played on the floor.
Solid Euro-game à la Stone Age (worker placement with collection of cards for the final scoring).
Again we faced a high language dependency.
Despite the fact that it is a good game, I found that it is too similar to other worker placement games we already have. So no buy for this one.
We found that a player aid with the turn order on one side and a reminder for final scoring woudl have been a good thing.
I'm sure that someone else in our game group will buy it, and that I will play it again in some time ;-)
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23. Board Game: Valdora Extra [Average Rating:7.05 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.05 Unranked]
desmodus
France
Bantzenheim
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Die Ärzte, Bad Religioon, Bauhaus, Dom Perignon, In Extremo, Joy Division, Lacrimosa, New Model Army, Nirvana, Officine Panerai, Placebo, Rammstein, The Sisters of Mercy, Smashing Pumpkins, The Cure, The Mission, Die Toten Hosen, Umbra et Imago
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Still half an hour until closing. The right time to buy the stuff we tested today.
So at the Abacus booth I got this small box with additional items for Valdora.
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24. Board Game: Zooloretto: Grizzly [Average Rating:6.67 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.67 Unranked]
desmodus
France
Bantzenheim
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Die Ärzte, Bad Religioon, Bauhaus, Dom Perignon, In Extremo, Joy Division, Lacrimosa, New Model Army, Nirvana, Officine Panerai, Placebo, Rammstein, The Sisters of Mercy, Smashing Pumpkins, The Cure, The Mission, Die Toten Hosen, Umbra et Imago
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Still on the Abacus booth, I picked up the actual extra card for Zooloretto to complete the package.

Also got an expansion for Monuments.
In case I play and like and purchase the game in some time, I will keep it, so that this game is complete too.
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25. Board Game: Jaipur [Average Rating:7.53 Overall Rank:106]
 
desmodus
France
Bantzenheim
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Die Ärzte, Bad Religioon, Bauhaus, Dom Perignon, In Extremo, Joy Division, Lacrimosa, New Model Army, Nirvana, Officine Panerai, Placebo, Rammstein, The Sisters of Mercy, Smashing Pumpkins, The Cure, The Mission, Die Toten Hosen, Umbra et Imago
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Bought this one without testing. As a good 2-player game could be the right game to play with my spouse.
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