It's autumn, and that means it is the time of year where me and the most patient of all husbands go off to Essen for a long weekend and spend that time having fun with friends, playing new (and sometimes mostly new) boardgames and cardgames, get too little sleep, eat unhealthy amounts of chocolate and spend a bit of money buying games that really tick for us.
So, with a few tweaks to the usual food and sweets supplies we pack, that was exactly what we did during the last days. The "Spiel" at Essen is, according to the organiser, the world's largest consumer game fair, and going there really is an experience. As usual for our group of four, we spent a lot of time in the parts of the fair with the smaller publishers and non-German authors. These are games that you often only get to see (and play, and buy) in Essen unless you happen to know the authors, or the publisher, or stumble across them due to sheer luck. Going through the small publishers' hall has resulted in quite a few games in our collection that are now out of print or hard to get. Many of these are getting played regularly here - such as Snow Tails, my favourite racing game, or Totemo, a cube-placing game where you are trying to get more points than all the others.
This year was a bit weak on overall, at least in our impression. We did like a handful of games, and some of them enough to buy a copy - we picked up the new extension to Flash Point (a cooperative fire-fighting game that we play a lot) and a copy of the new edition of Monster Derby, a racing game with monsters with a nice mechanics twist we did enjoy a lot. There was no real Winner of Essen this year, however. Usually, there was one game that the whole large group of folks we go to Essen with are all excited about, and that game then gets played a lot in our quarters, plus many of us pick it up. Said game is usually something in the medium complexity range, rarely a highly complex one. This year, there was no such game - the one closest to being the Winner of Essen 2014 was a prototype one of our group brought with him. A lot of us played it, and we had an insane amount of fun, so of course we now all hope that he and his co-authors will find a game publisher.
Fun was had. Mission achieved. And now? Tea, and back to work...