Thoughts From The Gameroom

The ramblings of a Euro-gamer from South Dakota

My Essen picks and what I ordered

Posted by sodaklady on November 15, 2010

Another Essen game fair has come and gone, leaving happy memories of sitting at my computer at 0500 watching the live stream from the other side of the world. I really enjoyed watching the game demos and occasionally joining in the chat with other BGGers around the world. Now the tough part– deciding what to add to my already too-large gaming collection.

There are three major considerations to take into account when I look over the newest crop of games:

  1. How little space there is left on my shelves.
  2. How to fit the cost into my budget.
  3. The fact that I usually only have one person to play with; occasionally two.

I also want games that add something unique to my collection.  This is a minor consideration, an addendum to the major considerations.

I started with about 15 games that I wanted to check into further, waiting for some feedback from people who have played the games a few times. It’s been three weeks of reading first reviews, session reports and questions, leaving me with a  very short list of “games I absolutely, positively have to have”.

  • Sun, Sea & Sky. The unique time element attracted me to this one.
  • London. There’s a lot of fun stuff going on in this game but it still looks like a relatively simple game to play.
  • Bargain Hunter. I love straight card games and this remake of a very popular trick-taking game, Schnäppchen Jagd, has long been on my want list.

Then there’s the list of “games I’d like to have but wish I could try out first so will continue to watch instead”.

  • Poseidon. A simplified, quicker 18XX game– re-themed to boats and trading posts?
  • Basilica. A 2-player game that has an interesting tile set-up.
  • Troyes. A new way to use dice.
  • Inca Empire. Building an empire outward from a central location, with unique card play to add a bit of spice. If this was playable with only 2, it would have been on the other list.
  • 51st State. Build your city with multi-purpose cards, and maybe send out workers to other players’ cities.
  • Hey Waiter! A card game with a new twist, combining two cards to create a third card which shows your action.

With all of this gaming goodness, but very few of them available in the States yet, what did I order?

Pregnant pause…

British Rails.

It’s like this: I was researching Poseidon, specifically trying to get a handle on 18xx games since I was having trouble getting through the rules. This lead me to Scott Nicholson’s wonderful video of 18xx games which reminded me of the crayon rail games. After reading the rules to 1830, I knew this was a game that Richard and I would enjoy, probably more so than any of the games on either of the above lists. I decided on the British Rails version after a little more research since it’s a smaller area and recommended for 2-4 players.

So you could say that my Essen game plan got a little off track. 😀



8 Responses to “My Essen picks and what I ordered”

  1. Iain said

    Played London on the weekend and was very impressed. A lot lighter than I expected but some tough decisions and clever interactions with the cards. My only caveat is that the player interaction is fairly limited (but you do have to keep an eye on what the other players are doing.) As an added bonus it’s one of the rare games that seems to play well with three.

    • sodaklady said

      I agree is seems a lighter game than Martin Wallace usually puts out. That’s another reason it made the list. And for me, “player interaction” is sitting at the table with my husband playing anything he’ll play. 😀

      • Iain said

        This is my first Martin Wallace game (aside from Runebound, which apparently doesn’t count) so I’ve only been going on the reviews on the Geek. My friend was more familiar with the Treefrog line and was impressed with the production values (“It looks like a real game!”)

        And I pre-ordered it because it looked like precisely the kind of game my wife would be interested in (she’s a big history bug.)

      • sodaklady said

        Ooo, you got the neat wooden buildings then! My husband’s going to make me some when I finally get this game!

  2. Gerald said

    Lots of research, and a surprise purchase!

    There seem to be lots of new great games this year. Only one I’m buying for sure is 7 Wonders (since it is designed for up to 7 players, and I need games for 6, it sounds perfect for us).

    Too bad we don’t live a little closer, so we could try each other’s games. —- Or, perhaps it’s good we don’t. We’d spend way too much time playing board and card games.

  3. So far, I’ve played Troyes and London from the Essen crop and I was very pleased with both. Troyes I’ll have to play a few more times to figure out where it stands, but I’ve played London 4 times and it’s a keeper. I’d describe it as a “cog” drafting game that is amazingly easy to teach (for a Wallace game) and is just plain fun. Tons of little thematic nuances on the cards add to the game play as well. Highly recommended.

    • sodaklady said

      Thanks, Jasen. I’m really looking forward to London. Troyes is a little on the iffy side; still waiting for more info from people who’ve played it more than once or twice. I think if we had to learn two games with so much iconography to deal with, our little brains would explode! 😀

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