Like just about everything this year, Spiel Essen was going to be a little bit different. Due to the Covid-19 related issues that we are faced with at this moment, the Spiel organization decided to go completely digital. Nevertheless, our Cardboard Crewmember, Raymond "DuMeeple" Dumee sat down for us at all the digital gaming tables to check on the latest news from the Table Topping world. An astonishing 148,000 individual visitors checked out the Spiel.Digital platform with over 400 exhibitors showing off their new game releases. Just as at any other Spiel, 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.
We have had an awesome long Spiel weekend, filled with board gaming, meeting old friends and making new ones. All in the comfort of our very own cozy living room, with everything we need within reach. The board games were transmitted onto our screen and the explanations came over the computer the speakers. Different than normal, but fun!
Where we normally would wake up and leave early towards the Messe Essen to be the first in the halls and, most probably, even before the doors open. This year we took it easy and finally wandering across the website of Spiel.Digital we saw that Game Brewer were explaining their Essen release, so why not drop by and say hi to one of our favorites?
TAIWAN BOARD GAME DESIGN
Next stop was one we returned to quite often during Spiel.Digital, mostly because Smoox arranged a wide variety of new Taiwanese games, some of them I really wanted to try. Taiwan Boardgame Design is a collective of Taiwanese boardgame designers showing and selling their games to the European markets. So let's find out what they brought!
For the last game of our first day of Spiel, we played one I highly anticipated and thank god, it didn't disappoint. Returning readers of my Spiel coverage, may have noticed my predilection for games with an ecological or nature theme. Yes, ladies and gentleman, our last game of the Thursday was a game I already mentioned in my Most Wanted blog.
We started our Friday with another easy-going morning at Spiel.Digital. No rush to get dressed or get stuck in traffic to get to the Messe. The only thing we have to do, is start up our computer to wander around the digital halls of Spiel.Digital, where we encounter a the familiar face, or rather, logo of Quined Games. Let's see what they got up their sleeves.
Ludonova is a publisher I wasn't really familiar with until I saw Polynesia in between the new releases lists for this year. With the easy going Friday morning going into the afternoon, I asked if we could join a game of Polynesia and a friendly lady called Lisa guided us to one of their virtual tables. Little did I know Ludonova had more fun games...
INSIDE UP GAMES
After the Friday evening sunset, it was getting darker so we played a game of Bonfire, but I already told you about that. So let's get straight to our little get together with Conor from Inside Up Games to try out the finished games of my most favorite demos of last year's Spiel. Alas, as this edition of Spiel was completely digital, hugs where not included this year...
Before we called it a night on Friday, we also stopped at Pandasaurus Games to try out their games. When you've encountered Pandasaurus Games at the physical Spiel before, you will be aware of the fact that they have a small booth, with limited tables and it is always really, really busy. Well, that didn't change for Spiel.Digital. The booth was bursting at the digital seams!
Spiel Saturday is always the busiest of all the "Spiel Tage", with the whole of humanity having their days off in the weekend. I usually stay away from the major Halls on this day and try to avoid the big crowds . Often I set up appointments with whoever I found it necessary to make appointments with. The Saturday morning of Spiel.Digital was no exception to this rule!
ONE FOR ALL GAMES
Our next appointment was at The Crowd Funding Agency, who arranged a meeting with the good people of One for All Games to see the progress on their story-driven coop game Soul Raiders. It was there I encountered another Raymond, the one from the Youtube channel Board Game Haven and together we're Soul Rayders. You see what I did there? I'm so funny... right... moving on!
CZECH GAMES EDITION
During Spiel.Digital, the good people of Czech Games Edition offered everyone the chance to play their games. One of these games goes by the name of Lost Raiders of the Ark... no wait, that's not it, but you do hear that familiar tune in your head now, right (Tadadataaaa, tadadaaaaaaa)? Well, it is as good as any tune to talk about the game, which is actually called Lost Ruins of Arnak.
On Saturday afternoon, we spend our time in a cozy Swiss chalet or, rather, we would have liked to. The team of Helvetiq must have thought along the same lines and decided to go for it. During Spiel.Digital they streamed and demoed their games from somewhere in the Swiss mountains. Together with some awesome new games, they even had a cheese fondue. It doesn't get any better than that!
ALLEY CAT GAMES
As I mentioned in earlier ramblings, on Sunday we got the boys back from the sleepover at their grandparents. So we started with games that would be more of interest to them. These were games from publishers Helvetiq and Haba. After that it was time for daddy to play once more. Searching for something fun to play, I found a theme park themed game at Alley Cat Games called Dice Theme Park.
The Sunday afternoon weather was fine and as you may understand we skipped the screens for a moment and went outside to stretch our legs and have some quality time together. Later on the day, after we had put the kids to bed, we decided to play a few more games to close off the Spiel.Digital weekend. Tipped by Board Game Heaven, I searched for Barefoot Games to try a game of Trolldilemma.
For our last game of the evening, as well as our last game at Spiel.Digital, we visited the discord of HeidelBÄR Games to see if we could play a game. Completely exhausted from the Spiel.Digital and with an almost empty fridge, we opened our last bottles of special beer and toasted on the great weekend we had. The last game we played was Caretos and it was an absolute blast!
DAYS OF WONDER
Before we wrap up this Spiel.Digital coverage, I would like to mention two games I highly anticipated. This is also an opportunity for me to share a few real photos from a physical game. One of these games had its release a little bit before the convention and with this particular game, we couldn't even wait until Spiel to get it.
BLUE ORANGE GAMES
The second game I would like to put a proverbial spotlight on before wrapping up my Spiel coverage is Meeple Land by Blue Orange Games. Alas, I didn't get to play this game at Spiel.Digital, but we were so sure about the fact that we wanted it, we ordered it right afterwards and we are happy to say we have it in-house at this very moment!
After all of this board game goodness, I hope everyone had a great time at Spiel.Digital! Despite the couple of hick-ups you may have encountered while getting used to this new digital environment, I think we can all agree that everybody who worked their butts off to make this possible has doen an outstanding job. Going into Spiel.Digital, I didn't expected to play so many digital board games, but boy, was I wrong! I had some great fun and wonderful chats along the way. It has been a trying year and I am happy the organization and all the publishing parties have put so much effort in creating Spiel.Digital and give us a little taste of a "normal" Spiel.
Thank you so much for everything and see you next year!!!