For this year's Spiel Essen I, DumeeGamer's very own Cardboard Crewmember, Raymond "DuMeeple" Dumee, returned to the Board Game Valhalla to check out the latest news from the Table Topping world. An astonishing 209000 visitors wandered around the Deutsche Messe Halle during this 37th edition, housing more than 1200 exhibitors and offering more than 1500 new game releases. I did my share of testing various Board Games, so stay tuned as I will be publishing articles about my Spielventure during the coming weeks.
I am typing this with a strange but wonderful post-Essen feeling in my stomach. It has been a wonderful four-day rollercoaster trip through Board Game Wonderland and I am still in a kind of Spiel buzz. Although it is over, the memories of good laughter and a massive amount of board gaming will stay with me and nobody can take them away!
HOLY GRAIL GAMES
Last year, I had a very nice time at the Holy Grail Games booth, looking at their upcoming game Titan. The publisher known from Museum and Downforce have been hard at work since then and brought a fully functioning preproduction copy of Titan, as well as a copy of another one of their upcoming games, Roads to Rome to Spiel 2019.
INSIDE UP GAMES
It is always good to visit Conor and Joe at the Inside Up Gaming booth at Spiel Essen. Not only for their terrific games, but maybe even more because of the intense hugs Conor gives away for free! This Canadian hospitality goes very well with enjoying their latest games, because they brought, not one, but two new games to Essen.
Our friends at Barpig brought the expansion for their Adventure Party Game: Barpig, called After Hours to Spiel this year. Once again , they erected their medieval tavern, fully ready to block the hallways of Spiel. A visit to their booth is always recommended... wait, let me rephrase that... ESSENTIAL during any visit to Spiel...
BLACK BOX ADVENTURES
Black Box Adventures took things a bit easier this year, no new Spiel releases. Oh well, they have probably have been on a sunny holiday or something. Sipping cocktails with dictators in Hawaii, laying in the sun while figuring out how to overtake the Americas! Just kidding, you guys; I know you're always hard at work. Let's see at what...
This year, my most anticipated game of Spiel Essen comes from Quined Games. It was a game I was already able to try out at earlier stages and I knew this was going to be an awesome game for us. Now seeing it in its final form at the showcase, I knew this one was going to have a new home. This board game, of course, is Terramara.
Always on the lookout for some nice Dutch work, I encountered a small game about a great train. This game was called Rollecate and is published by Gam'inBIZ from Nijmegen, the Netherlands. Time for me to crawl into the dungeons and miniatures hall of Spiel, Hall six which, I hoped, would not be the end of the line for me...
TAIWAN BOARD GAME DESIGN
At Taiwan Boardgame Design, a collective of the best Taiwanese designers comes together at monthly playtest meetings to eventually show off their board games to the Spiel audience. Their goal is to make Taiwanese games more accessible to the rest of the world. Lucky for us, they are slowly but surely reaching this goal!
Being a long-time Settlers fan, I am fond of the games series Imperial Settlers by Portal Games. That's why it's probably no surprise I visited their booth to playtest the latest entry in the Imperial Settlers series, a cool looking game that goes by the name of Imperial Settlers: Empires of the North!
I must admit that, as a fan of Archipelago, I am also (secretly, of course) a fan of Christophe Boelinger, owner of Ludically. So, when I had the opportunity to meet with him during Spiel 2019 and play his latest upcoming game Rise & Fall, I really had to think for a long time if that was really what I wanted...
There is something about the games of Game Brewer that I like very much. They are colorful, easy to pick up but still filled with enough cool gameplay to have a great time! For this year's Spiel, our Belgian friends not only brought board games to Essen. They also managed to bring an entire Belgian bar!
JOLLY DUTCH PRODUCTIONS
During Spiel, there was a lot to discover in hall four, but I think nobody was expecting a Jolly Dutchman in traditional Amsterdam clothing. I, for one, certainly didn't but this was their way to lure the Spiel visitors to their booth to play their board game Chartered: The Golden Age. Let's see what's what!
KEEP EXPLORING GAMES
During last year's Spiel, I helped out at the Keep Exploring Games booth by demoing their games Dutch East Indies and Tikal. It was a fun and learning experience for me. This year however, I decided to fully focus on our Spiel coverage and I only visited Keep Exploring Games to say hi... or so I thought!
When I start talking about Armored Panda, it will most probably won't ring a bell with most people. Maybe when I mention TacTiki, it will be start to sound more familiar to more of you, dear readers. If it still doesn't, you'd better read on, because we met with Gábor Incze and talked about how things are going.
One publisher I am liking more and more with every game they release is Gamelyn Games, because they publish full action games in a tiny package, which is pretty awesome when you travel a lot. If you're not into small, they also have a pretty awesome big ass box with the game Heroes of Land, Air and Sea.
GAMES FROM HELL
One demo I definitely wanted to check on, progress-wise, was my surprise find from last year: Presidium. This game comes from the twisted minds of Games from Hell and I was very happy to meet with the founders, Richard and his beautiful wife, at their blood-drenched booth.
Without exception, every time when I am at a con or a fair, me and my wife often look for children games. Not necessarily to take home a present for our two boys, but just to check on what's out there. One of our favorite publishers in this category has to be Smart Games. Why? Just sit back and let me explain why.
It's always a lot of fun to meet with my Spanish brother from another mother, mister Alvaro! He is head of all departments of Tembo Games and drove all the way from Santander in the Northern Spain to Essen Germany in a camper that was fully packed with copies of Kaboom Universe and Back to the Jungle!