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. 


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.

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.

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.

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.

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 .


Silence! … but not dead and gone

Sorry about my silence. Have had a life filled with other stuff, but I have not stopped playing board games. Instead of a long post I will just do a short summary since last we “spoke”.

Have played board games 🙂 Could end the post here but a few things bear mention.

IMG_1428The Saturday we just passed gave me another cool experience. Was once again invited to arrange a board gaming event for Save the Children Denmark (Red Barnet). It is an initiative where they assist families that for some reason or another are facing challenges, and where kids can come and have fun for a few hours.

Am I alone in thinking that people who invest their time in helping others are amazing? I get to do the easy part; I play board games. They plan, arrange and participate month after month with many different activities. They deserve respect, and this Saturday I met two new people I consider heroes – Marie and Brynhild you are shining stars. (Not forgetting my brother who threw all he had to assist me in explaining rules and being around these wonderful children and their families).

Sunday was followed with an all day event where we played tons of games.

A few are brought up in this post. We revisited Terra Mystica; without any kinds of doubt one of the best games ever designed. Also I got to play a game of Survive: Escape from Atlantis. The only new game in the event I had not played before.


Today my youngest daughter and eldest son played Alchemists. A board game where you use an app to assist you. In the case of Alchemists the app will tell you what your ingredients mix when you stir them in the pot, and try to make a name of yourself in the potion brewing market. We see more and more games that implores the assistance of apps when playing the games. Nice twist.

I am off work at the moment. The last three days left of my hard earned vacation. Easter is coming up, and I hope you will get to spend it with your families… playing board games?


Are slaves OK in board games?

Another old timer, and this time a game that was for a long time considered the best board game ever by the board gaming community hit the table at our Wednesday group. The game is Puerto Rico where you have to build up your plantation and the town around it.

You invest in buildings and plantations. You use, what is described as colonists, as workers in the fields and in the buildings. In reality they are slaves (and I think they were defined as that back in 2002 when the game was released. They do not require pay, and come in on the colonist boat (read slave boat).

Your plantation manned by slaves/colonists.

Actually I am in a bit of a dilemma here. I do not in any way support slavery, and I have two very strong beliefs. One is in equality for all and the other is in human rights; I also believe that the old Tintin in Africa should not be changed because it shows how people in Europe perceived coloured people. The same in a game that is all about running a plantation in the times of old. There were no colonists working the corn plantations, harvesting coffee or sugar, there were slaves.

Is it ok to depict this or is it comparable to producing a board game about running a KZ camp (which I would find greatly offensive)?

The building board of Puerto Rico.

Sorry about that, back to the game. The game is very simple. You choose from different roles, e.g. the craftsman lets you produce the products of your plantation, and it allows for all to do this. If you choose the role for one turn you get an extra benefit. Then the next player chooses a role that all are allowed to use and so on.

It is no surprise it is ranked so high. The game is really really good, and the winner was decided in the last round, and won by only one single point.

This I will probably try and get my kids to play this weekend.

The game flowed fast, and with rules explanation we finished in under two hours. We had time for one more game, and the choice (described elsewhere on a previous session) is a game type that is one of my favorites; tile laying; and to make matters even better; in the Scottish Highlands.

The scoring board of Isle of Skye

The game is Isle of Skye. A game simple and yet complex with a great variation from play to play. Have tried it with two players, and now four. The game changes and is still amazing. Where I won Puerto Rico with the single point I lost this game by a mile. Never got my strategy up and working.

A fun night that suddenly also posed an in-depth moral dilemma about terminology vs. board games.


Am I alone in growing older and thinking more about these things?

Review: Can you run a Gallery?

In Denmark there is a street in central Copenhagen where you find a lot of galleries. None of them, or any other gallery in the world, are owned by mr. Vital Lacerda. Nonetheless he has designed a board game where you run a gallery, and compete to make it the best gallery in town.


A theme like that? I had to own it. Did not know if the game was good or not, but I just had to. The game is The Gallerist.

In the game you have to buy up pieces of art, support the artists, promote them, deal on the international art market and make sure your assistants are best utilized in supporting your gallery. Also you have to decide the audience/buyers you wish to attract to your gallery by clever use of tickets, or even “steal” the buyers from your competitors.

The game board – The Gallerist

The game is a heavy euro game where you have one action. That action is performed by yourself represented by a very nice looking meeple (is it even a meeple?), and you chose which action you have to do. You can “only” make four choices, but in each choice you have a secondary choice to make. E.g. when choosing the artist space you can either support an artist or buy a piece of art.

When you leave one space to take an action you can, if you have any, leave an assistant that will give you another action if someone else enters that space, and that makes the game even more deep; they become a passive worker waiting to be activated by someone else. Also it is possible to spend your reputation to get funding or promoting an artist. The design for that is quite brilliant.

Even though you only get to do one action in your turn the game is incredible deep. You really have to think and plan ahead. I know it sounds wrong, but that is normally not a game for me; I do like to think and plan – sometimes. There are no dice, and the chaos element is very low.

But oh, do I love this game!

Brian Rygaard (me)

You have to spend money to earn money, and in the end the one with most of those € win the game. So you always have to consider the worth of the money you spend. Will they bring back the return on investment you had planned.

Have tried the game with two players and four players and it works both ways. I have been entertained greatly each and every time this one hit the table.

A short note on Vital Lacerda. I love his games. He is a master designer, and for me the best designer at the moment. Have played Vinhos where I had to run a vineyard in Portugal (his home of origin), Kanban where I had to plan the production of cars and The Gallerist.


Game components The Gallerist – cool or what?

Will I be playing this game again: YES – most definitely

Will I recommend it to others: Yes – but if you are an inexperienced player this is not the place to start. The rules are very understandable though.

Component quality: Awesome…

Rating: 9/10