Spilling about the Spiel

If the twitter is to believed, the Spiel in Essen is in full swing. So much gaming goodness in one location. I have never been sadder that I’m not at a convention.

For those of you who are new to gaming and/or have been living under a rock, the Spiel in Essen is the board game trade show. It usually happens in mid-October. This year it falls on a milestone birthday for me, so I’m even more sad that I’m not there, basking in the cardboard goodness.

To date, I have not looked at the Spiel Preview List on BGG. As it has officially started, I have decided that I should probably give it a look see. That, and I told Robin this would’ve been up yesterday two days ago. (Shh! Don’t tell him I procrastinated.) The list is 24 pages long. That’s a lot of games. I will likely only be interested in a fraction of them, so I’m going to make two lists: Must Haves and Would Likes. The Must Haves list will contain games that I would buy at full retail at the Spiel with reckless abandon. The Would Likes are games that I can wait for larger releases (and, let’s be honest, better prices).


Must Haves

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I kid! I do love Panamax though. I wrote about it here if you’re feeling so inclined. Panamax is four player game about shipping cargo through the Panama Canal designed by Gil d’Orey, Nuno Sentieiro, and Paulo Soledade. (Note: It says it plays 2-4, which is true enough, but 2- and 3-player play are considered variants, so take that how you will.) Players assume the roles of owners of shipping companies and try to move cargo effectively and efficiently. On their turn, players can load cargo/take contracts, move ships, or invest in the stocks of companies. The beauty of this game is the mechanic-theme integration, and it is now solidly in my top favorite games.

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Kanban is a 2-4 player game designed by Vital Lacerda. Each player is an ambitious manager on an assembly line. There’s a lot going on in this game, so I’m going to summarize the Round Overview: 1) Department Selection Phase – decide where your dude will do work and 2) Working Phase – from left to right, your dudes will do their work. There are Training and Certification tracks that improve your ability to do your work. There’s a lot going on, but it looks amazing. I realize production doesn’t may not seem like the most exciting theme ever, but I also love a game about shipping cargo. Oh! My favorite thing about this game is the “Mood” of Play. Sandra is the Factory Manager, and she can be mighty particular depending on her “mood”.

Real talk: if I left with only Kanban, I’d be a happy Spielette. I just made that up in case it wasn’t obvious. Going through the Preview List, there were several games that caught my attention, and because they are little and/or cheap (for board games), would probably be picked up and smuggled – err – transported back to the US.

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Would Likes

Truth be told, I’m kind of sad Feld’s games are down in this list. I saw Aquasphere being played at GenCon, and it looks super awesome, but I don’t know. I can’t just load up my car and come home. I’d have to fly all these games back. And, of course, it’s easy for me to say that I wouldn’t impulsively buy everything on the list below, but who are we kidding? They’re all coming home with me. When in Essen, right?

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That’s That

So, there’s my list. If you want to know more or have a suggestion, feel free to track me down on the twitter (@rhiochs) or leave a comment below. I’m always happy to discuss games (unless you’re Nigel, then I’ll ignore you). If you want to hear what some of the other Whose Turn folks are excited about at Essen, you can listen to the podcast here.

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