The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Posts Tagged ‘Essen

Mulling Mule-ing

So I see that Funagain has an Essen Mule service. I’m honestly not that into the loop to know if there’s something that may be worth taking a chance on or ordering, although I’m in no big hurry. So, consider this the Essen Open thread.


Written by taogaming

October 2, 2016 at 4:53 pm

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Post-Essen Ponderings

While I’m going back and slowly categorizing/tagging and removing duplicate posts (you can follow the progress by watching the uncategorized posts shrink slowly … it was 1,000 yesterday), I stopped by Chez Geek and looked at the Essen Buzzlist. I’m somewhat disappointed to see Dungeon Lords as the leader. Sure, the rulebook was fun, and it looks decent, but I love a surprise. Looking at the Low and Medium Traffic titles, I see lots of Train Games and expansions. Don’t get me wrong; I love laying track, but I’ve got my quota. (I could stand a the Wabash Cannonball expansions for actual Wabash, and not Chicago Express; but I’m not desperate). What else …

  • Luna Llena — A new game I’ve never heard about … oh, a Werewolf variant.
  • I’m watching Ad Astra. Faidutti and I don’t usually prefer the same level of chaos, but he’s talented and sometimes we do.
  • Vasco de Gama sounds like it rolled off a Euro-assembly line. Another “Good but boring?” titles?
  • Stronghold? No idea.

The rest of the field must have something to tingle your spine, so consider this an open comment thread while I dump posts into the appropriate bucket.

Written by taogaming

October 25, 2009 at 12:23 pm

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New Essen Games, and a shocking confession

Tried three new games (two from Essen).

Eight of us tried Coach Ride to Devil’s Castle. I knew this was an interesting idea, and I think it worked, but it wasn’t unanimous. Scott Tepper’s review details the mechanics, suffice to say that there are two teams, and you are trying to identify your team-mates, and acquire the necessary objects to win. The game ends when one player takes their turn and says “Myself (and possibly two more players) have the necessary objects to win.” Then you flip up the people, verify that they are on the same team, and verify that they have the necessary objects. Each named player must have at least one object, too. At least, that’s my reading. If the announcement is correct, that team wins. If wrong, the team opposing the announcer wins.

The interesting part is … no communication. (In theory). The play of the cards will often allow one player to see another’s affiliation (or items). You can attack another player … the winner can either steal an item, or see the loser’s affiliation.

Not only can you build up a number of known facts, you can deduce items. The teams need different items to win. If someone offers you an item you need, chances are they are your team-mate. People keep supporting those you are attacking (or being attacked by)? Probably the other team.

You can bluff to deceive, but you’ll be bluffing your team-mates as well.

Our game (with rules) took about an hour, and had a bit more communication than zero. Ah well. This is one of those games where your first play will have everyone confused. I enjoyed it after one game, but we need to play again to figure things out. You can get into a position where other people know a lot more and your starting item doesn’t really help you. Unbalanced starting position … you’ll have to hope one of your team-mates did better. Also, each player gets a mild “modify the rules” power, and I don’t think those are balanced. But at 1 hour for the first game (and possibly dropping 15-30 minutes with an experienced group) I enjoyed it. We’ll have to see. [I do recommend trimming the deck as suggested for your first game].

Antler Island was ok. Much better than Shear Panic. (The sheep herd idea worked well, but all the scoring ideas felt random). Our game took ~45 minutes, with rules. A planning/simultaneous selection with some flexibility in how your reveal. This could possibly be played deeply, not that I did. Worth trying again, but no way would I shell out $80 (or even $50) for this. Not my type of game.

I can see why some people consider Galaxy Trucker the Hit of Essen. The game theme reminded me of the infamous “S.P.I.V.s,” but it’s somewhat friendlier. There are three “Trips.” Each trip starts by building your space ship. You flip up tiles, one at a time, and add them to your ship (or reject them, or put them in a holding tank). You have to connect everything legally, Carcassone style (edges that have a connector must match with all other edges). Ships have various components, thrusters, lasers, crew components, shields, batteries, storage, and a few specials. You can also take time to scout the route, looking at some of the cards you’ll encounter. But it’s real time. When one player finishes, they start a timer on everyone. Once time is up, you order ships 1st to 4th, shuffle up the cards, and go. The cards could be bad, like pirates, smugglers, asteroids, or a combat zone. Those tend to blast parts of your ship away (which may cause other parts, no longer connected to the core, to fall away). You can also pick up goods at planets, etc. It’s random. The 2nd and 3rd day have more cards, and also allow you to have bigger spaceships. You get money for finishing the haul first, and any spare goods you manage to acquire (or money earned from defeating pirates, etc).

I enjoyed it, and I’d play again. Short randomness is good. I’m not sure this has long term potential, but it’s more to my tastes than Antler Island.

Speaking of Randomness, I also played the new edition of Talisman. Without all the expansions, it was relatively quick. Perhaps a touch under 2 hours (for 5 people). Again, as games get longer the randomness becomes more annoying, but four out of the five players had a reasonable shot at winning (ie … got to the final space of the board or were one step away) and the fifth player had the strongest character! So I can’t complain this time, as it was close. Not something I’d play often, but not as bad as I remembered.

Update: Here’s the SABG discussion of Kutschfahrt (and the other games). Talisman took almost 2:30, but the rules took about 30 minutes (partially because people were in and out).

Written by taogaming

October 27, 2007 at 6:02 pm

Essen Open Thread

I’m not there, but if you have any thoughts you want to share with us, go ahead.

I just added Kulkmann’s to the weblog. And I notice (via Iain) that Richard Heli’s site just had it’s tenth anniversary.

Written by taogaming

October 18, 2007 at 5:16 pm

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Misc thoughts

I updated my thoughts on Saulen. I don’t think it has long term staying power. After reading Matt Grey’s latest geeklist, I felt Saulen is a shoe-in … after the hype has died down.

Last night we got in a few games I rate well, Castle (the rare game I like more than most people). Given the reception I think that’s still true. Ah well. Also knocked out a game of Bohnanza and Lord of the Rings (Friends and Foes). Sauron destroyed us again (although we misplayed). I’m enjoying my quest to revisit old games.

Dice Tower posted its Favorites from Essen list. Rick gives Saulen 1st, Moritz gives it 2nd. That could be interpreted as a bad sign, but I gather they’ve only played it once or twice; its easy to see the enchantment at that point. [And not just for Saulen. Any decent game should be nice after the first game]. I’m intrigued by Space Dealer: an economic game that uses sand timers for action points? And takes 30 minutes? There are so many ways to imagine this failing … but it would be a bold failure! So I hope that the hype is right, and its a success. Is it a purchase? Perhaps. Other interesting games, but nothing else jumps out at me. [Check that, Imperial seemed interesting. I can wait for the Rio Grande version] I haven’t followed Essen closely the last few years. It seems like genuinely good (or hyped) games get picked up and brought over by all the manufacturers, or re-released by larger companies. A welcome trend. I feel no need to blaze trails.

Not that I abhor impulse purchases. I pre-ordered BattleLore last week, and picked up Football Taktik (and Ys, on sale). But those are fairly old, and I had a good idea what I’m getting on all of them. [Ys was a flyer, at $14). A few years ago I’d have run up a giant order based on all the Essen reports. Perhaps in a few years I’ll do it again….

Is this a strong or weak year? Seems typical. Most years produce a flood of games to hold my attention for a bit, and not many that get played 2-3 years later.

Written by taogaming

October 29, 2006 at 12:26 am

Posted in Ramblings

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Essen Already?

I saw Larry’s Essen preview and I’m just stunned. So many unplayed of the old batch, games I haven’t even seen. And here’s the latest.

But I don’t feel deprived, or even envious. “Comfortably curmudgeonly,” perhaps. But there are a few things I want to comment on.

Imperial — OK, I’m actually tempted by this. Despite Antike’s flaws, I wanted to like it. I’ve seen the prototype for Imperial, and a “WW I Military Industrial Complex” idea strikes my fancy.

Kampf um Rom — Is this a new game? I owned a game by that name for a while, but eventually sold it unplayed. Couldn’t get a good translation, as I recall.

Snake Lake — This game made me feel old. I read the review (in Rick’s article), then sketched out that exact game and thought it was an original idea. A few minutes later, I said “Wait, I just read about this.” A senior moment, disturbing.

Instead of all new games, I’m going to try and play the neglected titles in my closet. Last night I played Goa for the first time in a few years. Of the games I rate an 8-10, I’ve played most of them in the last few years except 18xx and Tigris and Euphrates and Hera & Zeus.

I have a lot of unplayed ‘7s’, though. Probably one out of every four or five games. I’ve tossed Air Baron into the bag … time to start revisiting old games.

Got in a five player game of Scepter last night. It was fine, but long. Despite thinking about a 7 player game, the prospect is daunting.

And Celebrities broke two of my Iron Rules last night. There were no Simpsons, and no Muppets.

Written by taogaming

September 26, 2006 at 6:09 pm

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Sensing Essen

Reading the gamewire about Essen, I’m feeling a nice, warm curmudgeony glow. Oh, there are a few games that I wouldn’t mind having right now, but it sounds like Rio Grande will have them soon enough. And there are a few limited edition games I’d like, but just how many Age of Steam maps do I need? (“All of them!“). Many of the limited edition games from last year were reprinted or picked up — I like that trend. It means that the truely good games make it out, eventually. I do see another large purchasing spree in the future. By not blowing $X thousand dollars going to Essen, that leaves more for games! (And gifts for my patient wife).

Which is another way of saying, No news here. Back soon, I may play some games!

Written by taogaming

October 15, 2005 at 8:17 pm

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