Termis Essen 2011 List
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Games I had a closer look at before going to Essen in order to optimise my 2-day Essen experience.

This list does not claim to be something special - it's mostly place to take notes for myself.
But please feel free to add comments

Edit: Titels are now sortet by my current interest.

Edit2: Now with "after-Essen-conclusion".
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1. Board Game: Puerto Rico Deluxe [Average Rating:8.51 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.51 Unranked]
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Publisher/Booth: alea / 9-108 (the large Heidelberger booth
price in Essen: 60€
Spiel ’11 specials: -

Rules availiable: Yes
Rules read: Yes (looong time ago except for exp.2)
First impression after rules read:Well its Puerto Rico with all expansions... Want!

Buy or try: Convince the wife...

Conclusion: Didn't convince the wife but bought anyway. And got my copy signed by Andreas Seyfahrt as I got this by chance just at the time he had his signing hour at alea booth.
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2. Board Game: Ora et Labora [Average Rating:7.74 Overall Rank:91]
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Publisher/Booth: Lookout games 9-15 (game demo) and 9-40 (sales)
price in Essen: 43 €
Spiel ’11 specials: -

Rules availiable: Yes
Rules read: Yes (11.10.11)
First impression after rules read: Wow! An Agricola with Le Havre Buildings? Or a streamlined Agricola? Or maybe even a totally new game? Looks great. Box seems to be packed to the edge again with nice components.
Rules make the impression of a much better accesibility than Agricola.
Also the Wheel seems to be a nice addition. ONE TURN each round instead of placing half a dozen recources.

Buy or try: Try if possible. If not buy. (I hope nobody from lookoutgames is reading this. Otherwise they might start unpacking the testingtables...)

Conclusion: Tried and liked and bought. Minor component issues but I suppose Lookout games will have satisfied custumers by the end of the year - and I will already have some plays under my belt!
 
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3. Board Game: Tournay [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:799]
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Publisher/Booth: Pearl Games / 4-319
price in Essen: 28€
Spiel ’11 specials: -

Rules availiable: Yes
Rules read: Yes (6.10.2011)
First impression after rules read: Great! Mechanisms remind a lot of its big brother, just without the dice. Looks like very much game for "just a card game".
I hope it can capture the same feel of "gather points for yourself but try to defend the city together".

Buy or try: Buy!

Conclusion: We played the game at Pearl Games. But although we both liked the game I didn't get it because I don't think it fits my current gaming rounds.
But maybe someday it will be mine.
 
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4. Board Game: Kingdom Builder [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:464]
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Publisher/Booth: Queen Games / 5-30 & 10-16
price in Essen: 43€
Spiel ’11 specials: Capitol

Rules availiable: Yes
Rules read: Yes (3.10.2011)
First impression after rules read: Game looks nice, fast and straigt and maybe even new. Also looks very expandable (not a big surprise, looking at the author).
The only thing could be a turnoff is the price. I'd expect a game like this for maybe 30€

Buy or try: Read price tag, then maybe buy.

Conclusion: We tried this game and it's on our watch list. I think this could fit our gaming groups nicely but at the moment this wasnt't a must buy.
 
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5. Board Game: Village [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:115]
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Publisher/Booth: eggertspiele /
price in Essen: not ready for spiel 11
Spiel ’11 specials: -

Rules availiable: Yes
Rules read: Yes (19.10.2011)
First impression after rules read: Looks like a nice game with a working theme. The aging aspect sounds interesting and many reasonable ways to victory seem possible

Buy or try: Try.

Conclusion: When we finally made it to eggertspiele on Sunday afternoon the tables were full and our heads were empty. So I'll keep looking for Reviews on BGG and maybe try it later.
 
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6. Board Game: Mammut [Average Rating:6.31 Overall Rank:3371]
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Publisher/Booth: Queen Games / 5-30 & 10-16
price in Essen: 35€
Spiel ’11 specials: -

Rules availiable: Yes
Rules read: Yes (6.10.2011)
First impression after rules read: Reads like a fun game but maybe with the wrong people it could lead to AP and to a much longer game than intended.

Buy or try: Depending on price.

Conclusion: Tried this one. I liked it a lot, my wife not at all. As she is part of my gaming groups 95% of the time this one unfortunately didn't make it in the loot pile.
 
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7. Board Game: Dungeon Petz [Average Rating:7.53 Overall Rank:147]
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Publisher/Booth: Czech Games Edition / 4-310
price in Essen: 35€
Spiel ’11 specials: Secret "Essen bonus"

Rules availiable: Yes
Rules read: Yes (19.10.2011)
First impression after rules read: Great! WANT TO HAVE!

Buy or try: After reading the rules I'm pretty sure no components are language dependent. If so: BUY!

Conclusion: No text except rules. Bought and very happy. Gonna try soon. My wife ran around the fair with a "Dire Bunny Button" all day.
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8. Board Game: Space Maze [Average Rating:5.94 Overall Rank:6907]
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Publisher/Booth: Wacky Works / 4-413
price in Essen: 30€
Spiel ’11 specials: Rollercoaster

Rules availiable: Yes
Rules read: Yes (29.9.2011)
First impression after rules read: Looks like a fun adult version of "The aMAZEing Labyrinth" but maybe it can also lead to serious AP?

Buy or try: Try (also depending on price and wife opinion)

Conclusion: Tried and was liked by both of us. Therefore bought.
Also the guys at Wacky Works were real nice.
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9. Board Game: Feudality [Average Rating:6.50 Overall Rank:2744]
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Publisher/Booth: Lookout games 9-15 (game demo) and 9-40 (sales)
price in Essen: 40 €
Spiel ’11 specials: -

Rules availiable: Yes
Rules read: Yes (15.10.11)
First impression after rules read: At first I nearly ignored the game because of the graphics. After reading the rules I think I'd like to try this one and get a first hand feel of the amount of luck involved.

Buy or try: Try.

Conclusion: Not time (table) to try. Gonna keep this on the watch list.
 
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10. Board Game: Glory to Rome [Average Rating:7.49 Overall Rank:154]
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Publisher/Booth: Lookout games 9-15 (game demo) and 9-40 (sales)
price in Essen: 20 €
Spiel ’11 specials: -

Rules availiable: Yes
Rules read: Yes (15.10.11)
First impression after rules read: I can see, why this game is an insider tip. With little material and a very clever and not tooo complicated ruleset, there seems to bee unlimited possibilities.

Buy or try: With this price I think I'll just take this game along.

Conclusion: And I thought wrong. As I already had a lot of games in my bag and someone strolling along who thought those were already too many games I passed.
 
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11. Board Game: Siberia [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:3244]
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Publisher/Booth: dlp games / 5-104
price in Essen: 40€ but not availiable in Essen (32€ preorder)
Spiel ’11 specials: miniexpansion for Preorder

Rules availiable: Yes
Rules read: Yes (12.10.11)
First impression after rules read: Looks like some new Ideas for action selection. Sounds interesting all in all.

Buy or try: Try

Conclusion: Tried and preorderd. We hat a good fast 3 playergame and liked it alot. Looking foreward to getting mail in November!
 
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12. Board Game: Power Grid: The First Sparks [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:917]
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Publisher/Booth: 2F-Spiele / 11-63
price in Essen: 35€
Spiel ’11 specials: -

Rules availiable: Yes
Rules read: Yes (12.10.11)
First impression after rules read: Honestly said: Mixed.
For me one of the main aspects of Powergrid is the powerplant auction. I'm curious if a game with fixed prices can be as tight and interesting. Also I must admit that I feel the boardgraphics are very chaotic.

Buy or try: Try

Conclusion: Liked the look of the game much better than I thought I would. Empty tables are never seen at 2F games so I didn't try it. I will watch the reactions on BGG and think about it.
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13. Board Game: Upon a Salty Ocean [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:2760]
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Publisher/Booth: Giochix.it / 5-53
price in Essen: 40€
Spiel ’11 specials: -

Rules availiable: Yes
Rules read: Yes (15.10.11)
First impression after rules read: Interesting! The only thing I fear is that replayability is limited because of a rather fixed game setting. But I like the "money-driven" character of the game (Buy everything including actions with money you earn in the game).

Buy or try: Maybe try. Possibly hard to get after essen.

Conclusion: Didn't find time to try. A friend of mine got it, so I'm gonna get a chance sooner or later.
 
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14. Board Game: Trajan [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:72]
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Publisher/Booth: Ammonit Spiele / 9-64
price in Essen: 39€
Spiel ’11 specials: -

Rules availiable: Yes
Rules read: Yes (19.10.2011)
First impression after rules read: Woah! What nice interesting and even new mechanisms. Woah, what many (and maybe overwhelming many) ways to score points. And Woah! What little theme.

Buy or try: Try, but as I still don't own any "Feld" yet, but rated all 4 games of him I tried 7 or 8 maybe this could be a buy... Lets have a look at the rules... Maybe try. But I think I'll rather finally buy Notre Dame.

Conclusion: Looked really nice. But I stayed strong. Dear Stefan Feld please design a game with a great mechanism AND a fitting Background and I will buy it right away.
 
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15. Board Game: Tuareg [Average Rating:6.36 Overall Rank:5915]
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Publisher/Booth: Adlung-Spiele / 11-33
price in Essen: 7€
Spiel ’11 specials: -

Rules availiable: Not Yet
Rules read: Not Yet
First impression after rules read game description read: Could be another Adlung which makes a great game with easy rules and little components (like Fugger or Meuterer)

Buy or try: Try or Read rules first

Conclusion: Bought. Without reading rules. Maybe a bad Idea after reading some lukewarm comments on BGG. But 7€ wouldn't hurt that bad.
 
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16. Board Game: Casa Grande [Average Rating:6.49 Overall Rank:3907]
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Publisher/Booth: Ravensburger
price in Essen: 27€
Spiel ’11 specials: -

Rules availiable: Yes
Rules read: Yes (6.10.2011)
First impression after rules read: Seems like a simple game with easy and straight rules and a nice 3d playing field.
Probably not the game I'm gonna buy (to little theme) but who knows...

Buy or try: Try

Conclusion: Watched a gamegroup fiddling with the parts. Also wife didn't like the look. Passed.
 
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17. Board Game: Jagdfieber [Average Rating:5.91 Overall Rank:10442]
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Publisher/Booth: Smiling Monster Games / 5-55 (shared with Swan Panasia)
price in Essen: 10€ (Preorder price)
Spiel ’11 specials: -

Rules availiable: Yes
Rules read: Yes (12.10.11)
First impression after rules read: Could be fun. But I'm still trying to figure out: what in this game makes the difference from pure luck? And please don't try to tell me "You have to read your oppenents minds". Ok you have the "easy prey" so all you probably do is guess weather it's better to go for the easy prey yourself or try to get those who want to get the easy prey.

Buy or try: Try

Conclusion: Passed.
 
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18. Board Game: Coney Island [Average Rating:6.49 Overall Rank:2678]
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Publisher/Booth: Argentum Verlag
price in Essen: 35€
Spiel ’11 specials: -

Rules availiable: Yes
Rules read: Yes (13.10.11)
First impression after rules read: Some mechanisms seem promising (getting recources for artists on the board during game, but loosing points in the endgame for example), but all in all the game leaves me a bit cold. I feel to much of the theme's spirit is lost in the final game but maybe I'm all wrong.

Buy or try: Try

Conclusion: Passed.
 
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19. Board Game: Undermining [Average Rating:6.43 Overall Rank:2856]
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Publisher/Booth: Z-Man Games / 9-28 & 9-68
price in Essen: 45$ (=30€?)
Spiel ’11 specials: -

Rules availiable: Yes
Rules read: Yes (29.9.2011)
First impression after rules read: Fun idea, maybe a bit to dry? Maybe to little replayability? But probably a nice game

Buy or try: Try

Conclusion: Wanted to try, but somehow Essen days must have lesser hours than other days.
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20. Board Game: Alba Longa [Average Rating:6.12 Overall Rank:4702]
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Publisher/Booth: HUCH! & friends / 12-89 (Quined Games 5-41)
price in Essen: 40€
Spiel ’11 specials: -

Rules availiable: Yes
Rules read: Yes (7.10.2011)
First impression after rules read: Honestly the game leaves me a bit cold after reading the rules. The game is obviously with a strong "bash-the-leader" aspect designed. Along with this more often than not comes the unloved Kingmaker-syndrom.
I'm unsure about the dice-for-workerplacement mechanism. It might be a fun twist or just only unnessecary ballast.
Finally I doubt there are many different strategies to victory, because the game is rather straightforeward. (You need Monuments and Food so basically only attacking is optional.) So is there much replayability?

Buy or try: Maybe try.

Conclusion: Passed.
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21. Board Game: Aquarium [Average Rating:5.96 Overall Rank:8720]
Sebastian
Germany
Hürth
NRW
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Publisher/Booth: Sandtimer / 4-416
price in Essen: 20€ (+8€ Expansion 5+6 player)
Spiel ’11 specials: Preorder: 4 Cards Rainbowfish

Rules availiable: Yes
Rules read: Yes (6.10.2011)
First impression after rules read: Honestly: I don't think this game can keep the desired 45 Minutes Play time in any way (expecpt for a very experienced play group).
Also I don't know weather the very many decisions the players need to make in this game really have that much influence or if it will end in an "playercard and drawpile induced chaos".
Maybe too much luck for my taste?

Buy or try: Try

Conclusion: Passed.
 
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22. Board Game: Eclipse [Average Rating:7.96 Overall Rank:36]
Sebastian
Germany
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Publisher/Booth: Asmodee (Lautapelit.fi)
price in Essen: ?
Spiel ’11 specials: -

Rules availiable: Yes
Rules read: Well - I glanced at them...
First impression after rules read: This could have been a game for me and my gaming groups 10 or 15 years ago. But I think I would scare away everybody I play with today.

Buy or try: Pass

Conclusion: Passed. (Actually I didn't even see the game, which I still would have liked to do...)
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23. Board Game: Drum Roll [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:1147]
Sebastian
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Publisher/Booth: Artipia Games / 4-407
price in Essen: 35€
Spiel ’11 specials: Essen 2011 Promo Card + Performer Promo Cards (for Preorder)

Rules availiable: Yes
Rules read: Yes (6.10.2011)
First impression after rules read: Looks like a very tough workerplacement game in a very colourful theme.
But in my opinion some things don't go down too well after having the rules read:
- Way to many exceptions and small limitating rules like which action may be used how often each round, or the artificial limitation of the gaming material.
- I feel the theme as too artificial. Even the rules are only talking of coloured cubes you use to support your artists.
- Maybe overly complex with even more cards which again allow things that the rules forbid before.

Buy or try: Neither - Wait to read reactions on BGG

Conclusion: Passed.
 
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24. Board Game: The Princes of Florence [Average Rating:7.56 Overall Rank:125]
Sebastian
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The unforseen Extras:

We also got (mostly unplanned):
The Princes of Florence
Fast Flowing Forest Fellers
Power Grid: The Robots
Power Grid: China/Korea
7 Wonders: Leaders
7 Wonders: Catan
Carcassonne: Expansion 6 – Count, King & Robber

Here is the full loot:
 
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