Trading and using my influence in ULM

Wednesday following Spiel16, and the group was gathered to do some board gaming. Of course we had new titles on the table.

One table was playing the hyped Terraforming Mars, and the other where I was responsible played the lighter game Ulm. A game where you use your influence to become the most powerful house.

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Build up your own Kingdom in a 5×5 grid in a domino like way. The game is Kingdomino.

The game has a very cool mechanism where you have to draw your action blind from a bag, and then push it into a 3×3 grid to get two more actions. It plays over ten rounds in around 1 hour.

After the game finished we tried Red7, a fun card game where you have to win each round or you’re dead. The cars have a number and a rule written on them, one example is most even cards”, and the game is total magnificent chaos in a very controlled way.
It has been a busy week. Brought home a backgammon like game – Tatsu – and the family really loves that game. We also played a lot of Magecraft, a small bag building game where you use crystals drawn from a bag to cast spells at your opponent.

Yesterday we went to see my brother to play board games, and we played the one that is my favorite so far from Spiel16; the game Kanagawa is a game where you are a Japanese artist that has to do the most beautiful drawing. I really like the theme, and I love the game.

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Drum Roll from Artipia games is a wonderful game about running a circus early 1900’s.

But trying not to get carried away we brought out Drum Roll, and “older” game where you run a circus. It is also one of my favourite games, and again I love the theme. You travel around early 1900 century to do shows, hire performers, workers etc. to assist you in making your show the best in Europe.

Also got to play Kingdomino, a fast little game where you build a small province (5×5) by picking pieces randomly drawn.

So the week has been full of games, and on Sunday we will go play games with Red Barnet (Save the Children foundation), to play board games with kids who are feeling lonely, having a hard time in school and similar challenges. It will be the culmination of a great week.

Essen done… Final thoughts

Back in Denmark, and have been for some time now. We left Saturday as both of us did not want to go to a fully packed Spiel16. As we had already done our shopping, tried out the games we agreed that home it was.

Looking back I had one hell of a good experience, and came home with some cool games. There were some games that I simply could not find where both Kharnage and Aya were two of those; both games were games I really wanted to try out.

And when also looking back at my top 5’ish you might wonder how that came along. Not as I had planned 🙂 Have four of the games home with me, and tried two of them. When looking at Mystic Vale I thought I saw a solitaire board game with very little interaction. I might be wrong and it is still on my watch list.

Got to play Kanagawa and Tatsu. Both very good games. Also got to play a lot of other games, but no other games from the top 5 got played. Have the entire week off, so I think this week will see a lot of gaming.

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Tatsu: A Backgammon “like” game where your dragons have to outmaneuver the opponent.

Looking at the games I did bring with me home to the collection it is quite obvious that I prefer the fast games. Not a single worker placement game found it’s way into my heavily loaded Ikea bags. The opposite for my friends Thomas and Allan; they chose nothing but euro games, so the coming Wednesdays will prob. bring Great Western Trail, Terraforming Mars, Indonesia and similar to the table. And it will be fun.

Final thoughts on Essen. It was a very cool experience. I do not regret driving down there, and I do not regret how I went about it down there. Got to try games, see a lot what is happening, and what games will be released shortly. Did not get to see Mechs vs. Minions – that game looks out of this world.

Also I really like how they handle everything about the exhibition. Good at getting people in when opening, nice usage of space and placement of stalls and the people there are kind and smiling. One booth got all their money stolen tho’, but what does the community do. They back them in a Kickstarter campaign, the board game celebs make a video, and everyone just gets involved. How cool is that?

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New games to the collection. Yep; the toilet game is there.

Brought back “some” new games that I am so looking forward to trying out.

Will I be going again? I do not know actually. Why is that? Do not have the answer right now. I think I will go next year if the € allows it, but I do not know.

If you were there I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did? If not and you like board games it is worth the trip.

What is next in my board gaming life? Well – both an event with Save the Children, and an event with Grønnegadens Kulturcenter. And it is happening within the next 14 days.

The amazing continues – day 2

Tired feet and lousy bed in a very bad airbnb flat meant I was not at 100% energy this morning. Mood was still very much on the positive side. 

Were there when Spiel16 opened their doors for the public at 10. Not as planned as yesterday, but still knew what I wanted to see and try. “Try” is a rather hard word to use; with so many people all tables are full. We got to see all the halls again and just as cool as yesterday. So many games all gathered in one location  and the only thing missing is my wife. Been married less than 2 months and then I leave to play board games (thank you FaceTime, got to talk to her today).

But back to the business. Bought a few games and then we thought “let’s call it quits”. All done with the day early we decided to do something radical, we left at around 16. 

so we were done with the day a lot faster than yesterday… so what to do. 

Ulm. Great game and great components.

Well the solution was easy and straight in front of us. We’d play board games. 

Normally I am not that much of a euro gamer, but Thomas suggested that we tried out Ulm. It has a rather unique way of how you select your move. The game is just so very cool. Two more joined and we ended up playing three games. 

Just a point mentioning besides the games and Spiel16. The Atom Kebab dish we found at the best kebab restaurant in Essen must be the best ever tasted, and half the price compared to Denmark. Dinner two days running.

Got to try even more games and really enjoyed the evening with all different kind of games. 

Do not know what we plan tomorrow. As a Spiel virgin I have been told that the place will be packed during the weekend days. Fear it will become too warm, humid and almost claustrophobic. My thoughts go towards finding some more people to play board games with. 

If you are here in Essen I hope to see you and perhaps meet for a game or two. 

To quote two of my teen kids: Oh my god

The day has been amazing. Of course I am speaking of day 1 Essen Spiel 16.

Have tried games, seen board game celebrities, bought games, picked up Kickstarters, and talked to some pretty ok fellow board gamers. 

amazing game, and my first buy.

Started the day with playing a game I had preordered. When we were introduced to the game a very friendly Canadian asked to join. Joined Essen all the way from Toronto. Very nice experience. 

… and how cool is it that the designers of the games introduce and take time to explain their ideas and thoughts on the games? 

We were there when they opened, and there were a lot of people, but it was ok. We managed to find room to move; that changed later in the day. The temperature increased, the amount of people increased and it got hard moving around. We decided to do all the shopping today, so tomorrow would not also be so cramped. 

Moving around with nine board games in an IKEA bag takes room. Not all appreciate that.

But I have to bless IKEA. Without their blue bags this would have been impossible. 

It is also fun to see the different games people prefer. Even Thomas and I have a very different taste in games. What moves it from fun to amazing is the happiness and joy they all bring. 

Do miss my wife and kids though. Look forward to seeing them again. Tired and happy and waiting for day 2. 

It’s ALIVE!

My friend Thomas and I got safely to Essen. It is a nice cozy town that will soon explode with Essen Spiel 16.

Even tho’ it is still a “small” business we love it. When Thomas went for beer in the supermarket he saw Rob Davio who designed Seafall and Pandemic Legacy. Pretty awesome for geeks like us.

Tomorrow it will start, it will be amazing.

7 halls filled with board games, celebrities like Rahdo, Vasal, designers like Vlaada Chvatil, Japanese weird games and tons of other fun stuff.

We’re fed, we’ve been beered, we are tired after a 7 hour ride and we expect heaven. Thomas proclaims that it is Zen.

Dear friends. To quote dr. Frankenstein:

It’s alive

Tomorrow we are there. Today we are just waiting.

So close I can almost taste it!

I am not sure you can taste a board game convention, but I am so ready to go.

On Wednesday I will be leaving, and on Sunday I will be back with lots of games; more like good games. The mission in itself is not to just hoard games.

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My planning. Need glasses I think, had to make my youngest daughter write on the maps.

However I am prepared. All the halls with the board game exhibitioners have been printed in map format. Based on all the readings of the games I have done (and the list is shorter now) I have now planned the best possible routes. This is done by colour coding the booths based on those games I want to try, I want to buy and have been preordered.

The money are ready; not as many as I would like, but hey – that’s the story of my life 🙂

Passport has been found, and all in all I live up to my PxPxPxPxP training I learned a lot of years ago.

Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance

So leaving Wednesday, picking up Thomas, 6+ hour drive and one ferry and then we are there.

Think I will get some supplies for the trip. Will have to get some Coca Colas. You can drive for a long time on those.

Will bring my iPad and see if I can get some blogging done from Essen Spiel. Should be possible.

One “ugly” downside. My feet are killing me at the moment. Got the brilliant idea to walk 22 km the other day. Blisters on my feet and thighs with muscle ache, but it has until Wednesday morning to go away.

Hope to see a lot of happy people there, hope to play tons of games and get to try some of those you normally never get around to. Especially the oriental board games. Think I am the only one of the three man group that has any sort of passion for those kinda games.

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I’m on a mission from God. Bring home board games.

The week after Essen is Fall-week in Denmark; meaning that the schools close for a week. We will have all four kids. Guess what we will be doing?

Excited does not begin to cover how I feel. Wish that all out there have an interest that brings out as much joy as this does to me.

This is my holy grail quest, and I have found the grail. It is in Essen, and I am going there.

Top 5’ish titles from Essen

One of, if not the, biggest board game conventions is coming up – ESSEN 2016. Guess what! I am going for the first time. Am I looking forward to it? God damn yes I am.

For those that knows me this is no surprise; I am prepared. Have looked at all of the 700+ new board games that will be released. Right now I have a wish list of more than 70 I want to check out. 10% of the total games there are games I want to check out.

Four days, seven halls filled with board games, 70+ games to look at. I simply do not have enough time.

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Tabletop Together made a cool website where you can manage all your games. Thanks.

Will have to look more into the list; it is way too long, and way too expensive. Just got married, and that was one of the best days of my life. Weddings cost money, so very low on board game funds.

Have however some games I just really really want. The top 5 list is perhaps not the game I expect the most of when looking at the entire list. It can be the theme as well, it can be the people I know I am going to play the game with and all sorts of other criteria. I know that is different, but it is important to me 🙂

My top 5 is:

  1. Inis – A game with conflict and a nice drafting mechanic. You explore the area, fight for control of it. The game looks so stunningly good also.
  2. Mystic Vale – A drafting game with “see through” cards where you build up the cards. Love drafting and this is just so different.
  3. Overseers – A drafting game (see a trend here), but where you negotiate and bluff trying to decide who drafted the best hand.
  4. Tatsu – An abstract two player game. I really want to find this as my beautiful wife loves Backgammon. This is a Backgammon style game.
  5. Kanagawa – A game about art, and for some reason these games always appeals to me. You have to paint your masterpiece. Amazing.

A few games earns mention as well. Both Grizzled – At your Order, an expansion for one of the best coop games ever, and the expansion for Dead of Winter. But they are expansions and those were main games.

There were more, but these stand high and will probably all be in my bag when I leave Essen.

It is worth mentioning that I am really into art and theme. I might change my decisions when I get there. Three of the games above are pre-ordered.

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Overseers. Amazing artwork, and so looking forward to bringing this home

Traveling with my good friend Thomas, and meeting with another good friend Allan down there, and their style and preferences are very different from mine; or so you would think. They are into the standard german style games placing workers, managing resources and similar. But they are getting those so I will play those games with them on Wednesday gaming night.

It will be amazing to go there. Hope to meet a lot of interesting people, try a lot of games and just have an all round good time.

… oh. There will be a lot of “weird” and alternative games there. A game where you have to find out which friend soiled the toilet, a game where you have to build up a domino landscape within a certain time. Both games I am seriously considering .