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The Essen Challenge - an Essen 2007 retrospective

U Updated
There Will Be Games

 Everyone is doing their Essen 2007 - what I bought and how it has held up over the past year blog thing. I didn't go to Essen 2007. I didn't buy a creepy number of games. I never posted a list of all the games I played, and bought, and what I ate and who I met, and how long I had to stand in line. People who write these lists often tell us how challenging it is to navigate Essen. They tell us how you need to do your home work and plan out where you need to go and how to get there and when to be there, otherwise you are likely to miss out on that hot game you really wanted. Oh the horror.

Even though I have never been to Essen, and probably never will, each year I am faced with an Essen challenge of my own.

All those games that get buzz as a result of all those Essen posts, will eventually show up at my game club, often in multiple copies and everyone will play them almost exclusively for a few meetings, until the next buzz game shows up in someone's mailbox. Therefore, I must do my homework in order to succeed at  the year long challenge of navigating the Essen buzz games, or risk spending an evening involved in a game so mind numbingly dull it is akin to smacking your head on the pavement. Additionally, if I am fortunate, and get a little good advise from friends, both F2F and online, I may be able to sift through the sand and find a few overlooked gems.

For others the question is how did the games hold up over the year? For me the question is how did I hold up?  So here is how I did.

Must Avoid: Games that made my eyes glaze over, two sentences into the description.
Cuba - Saw the guys at game group playing this. It looked like someone had vomited cubes onto the table. Played Plague and Pestilence instead. Oregon - Played this for about 5 minutes. Remembered I had to be somewhere else. OMG does this game suck. Uptown - see Oregon In the Year of the Dragon - I narrowly missed actually having to playing this game. I maneuvered out of playing it, by maneuvering the Man into my seat. While he played Year of the Dragon, I played an awesome, cut throat,  all girls game of vanilla settlers.  The Man still hasn't forgiven me for this. Kingsburg - I have managed to avoid playing this game despite the frequency with which it is played at my game group. Hamburgum - See Kingsburg Ming Dynastie & Chang Cheng - I totally get these two confused. One of the guys at game group keeps bringing one of them and trying to get people to play. Either way, I have escaped both of these. Walbash Cannonball - The guys at game club were all about this game for a couple of weeks. Fortunately I was too busy to attend those meetings. Francie however was there and tells me that the game was too ugly to play. Tzaar - Abstract, pass. League of Six - A game about collecting taxes in the 1400's. No thank you. Container - Are you kidding me. Darjeeling - In order to avoid playing one of the above games (I forget which one), with a player that drives me up the wall, I quickly took a seat at this game. OMG, does this game suck. Well at least I was playing with people I like. Ubongo Extreme - Okay, don't you think extreme is a bit over the top. Extreme should only be used for games where the paramedics are standing by, like mountain bike racing.
Felix: the Cat in the Sack - For some reason this game keeps popping up on my BGG personal recommendations. Can somebody tell me why? King of Siam - Who cares.
Pick & Pack - see King of Siam
Key Harvest - Whatever
Antler Island - see Key Harvest
Must Play Avoid: Games that had cool names, or art or themes and looked like they might be interesting until I found out more about them.
Gipsy King - Looked cool. Fortunately it only took reading half a review to immediately move this one to the must avoid list. Airships -  See Gipsy King.
Race for the Galaxy - Thank you Barnes for taking this bullet. This showed up at game club the same day as Michael's review. While everyone labored over RftG, we played a little C&C: Ancients and then went to the pub for pint. Wicked Witches Way - Narrowly missed having to play this. After listing to the beginning of the rules explanation, someone who really wanted to play showed up, so I graciously gave him my seat. I'm so nice aren't I.
El Captain  - The guys that bought this took a hit for the group by playing it themselves and deciding it was crap after one play, thus sparing the rest of us.
Amyitis - So this guy at game group brings this game in and shows it to me. I ask if it is that game about the middle eastern dudes trying to build a harem. He says no, that's another game with a woman on the cover and a name that starts with a vowel. So I ask him what this one is like. He says Hanging Gardens...earn prestige...deep...victory points. I say, "I'm doing a coffee run, want me to pick anything up for you?"  
Utopia - Actually played this one. It's pretty, but other than appearance, completely forgettable. Pandemic - Played this one twice. Whatever. I'd play it again to get out of having to play something on the Must Avoid list, or to avoid having to play with certain people. I mean, it's better than Darjeeling.
Avoid Want to Play: Games that I initially had no interest in, but have since heard enough good things about that they got moved to the Want to Play List.
1960 Making of the President - Who am I kidding. I will never play this. The theme is just too dull.
Tribune - see Making of a President
Origins: How We Became Human
- Who am I kidding. I will never play this. Okay, maybe if Megafauna Dan gets it, I might play it until it gets too late and I start nodding off at the table, and Dan let's us call the game so I can go to bed.
Must Play - Games that I wanted to play then and still want to play now, but haven't had a chance.
Galaxy Trucker - Sounds like fun. A couple of the guys at game club own it, so eventually I will play.
Brass - I like Wallace. I like the theme. I have a thing for textile history. I like to go to the Lowell Mills, which is a National Park, and take the canal ride and go into the factories and see all the machines work. It's really cool. A guy in my game club has Brass, but none of us have been able to parse the rules, so no one has played it. Rumor has it that KingPut may actually know how to play Brass, so maybe I'll get to play it with him.
Battue: Storm of the Horse Lords - This looks cool, but also looks like it could suck. I have come close to buying it a number of times but have always changed my mind. I think this is the game that gets bought to "save on shipping."
Chateau Roquefort - This looks so cute, but I'll never buy it.  However I heard QueenPut twisted KingPuts's arm into buying it for her, so maybe I'll play it with her sometime.
Must Buy
Liebe & Intrige - Wanted it as soon as I saw a picture of the box. Bought it as soon as copies were available in the U.S. Love it. Play it often. No regrets. Caveman - see Liebe & Intrige
Perry Rhodan: Die Kosmische Hanse - I'm put off by the fact that this is a Kosmos 2 play, all of which blow, but I can't resist the retro scifi art. I was waiting for the English edition, but now it seems that there will be no English edition, so I'm waiting for copies of the German edition to come into one of the US retailers.
Ticket to Ride Switzerland
- Yes I bought a Ticket to Ride expansion. I actually bought it as a get well gift for my friend Francie, but her brother did the same thing, and he visited her before I did. I hate hospitals. So since she already had a copy we kept it. The thing is, we mostly play Ticket to Ride because it is an accessible family game,so we almost never need to have a 2/3 player version.  Also Switzerland changes the rules just enough to screw you up, which is annoying. Personally, I feel that I have held up pretty over the last year. How did you do?

There Will Be Games Essen 2007
Essen 2007
Shellie "ubarose" Rose  (She/Her)
Managing Editor & Web Admin

Plays boardgames. Drinks bourbon. Writes code.

Articles by Shellie


Essen 2007
Shellie "ubarose" Rose
Managing Editor & Web Admin

Articles by Shellie


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