Pevans reports from Essen
My report is written as a narrative to be read through. Alternatively, use the indexes below to take you to a particular section of the report or to specific exhibitors or games.
I am updating this report as time allows, adding more information on games and publishers. This is the second edition, completed mid-December.
My report is written as a tour through the halls of the exhibition centre where Spiel is held. These links will take you to the start of each section.
|Black Dove Games||Singapore|
|Cardboard Island Games||Singapore|
|Czech Board Games||Czech Republic|
|Dragon Dawn Productions||Finland|
|Gung Ho Games||UK|
|Hans im Glück||Germany|
|Kaissa Chess and Games||Greece|
|MESA Board Games||Portugal|
|NSKN Legendary Games||Romania|
|Stragoo Games||Czech Republic|
|Surprised Stare Games||UK|
|A Few Acres of Snow||Treefrog||9|
|Ab in die Tonne||Cwali||7|
|Casus Belli||PD Verlag|
|Eaten by Zombies||Mayday||5|
|Fistful of Penguins||Wattsalpoag||8|
|For Fame and Fortune||Black Dove|
|Infarkt||Czech Board Games||7|
|Let's Take a Hike||Stratamax|
|Murder! Mystery! Mastermind!||Black Dove|
|Old Men of the Forest||Treefrog||7|
|On the Cards||Surprised Stare Games||8|
|Pantheon||Hans im Glück||6|
|Paperclip Railways: Express edition||Surprised Stare|
|Pirates of Nassau||Gung Ho||8|
|Power Grid: First Sparks||2F/Rio Grande||8|
|Space Maze||Wacky Works|
|Toc Toc Woodman||Mayday||8|
|Upon a Salty Ocean||Giochix|
|* Initial points (out of 10) on my highly subjective scale|
It's been a few years since I flew to Spiel and I was surprised how little had changed. I flew into Düsseldorf airport, trekked to the far end of the terminal to get the 'Skytrain' monorail/cable car to the stations and caught a train to Essen. The 'regional transport' trains have great double-decker carriages and only take 20-odd minutes to do the trip. This is good, as these trains are always packed solid and it's standing room only! I toyed with the idea of getting the stopping train. Yes, it takes over 40 minutes and the seats are hard, but at least you get to sit down and travel in some comfort.
Be that as it may, I'd better explain what I'm talking about. The Spiel games fair is the biggest board games event in the world and is held at the Messe (exhibition centre) in Essen for four days towards the end of October each year. Spiel '11 took place on 20th-23rd October and I was there for all four days. What makes Spiel special is that, although plenty of business gets done, it's a public fair and the emphasis is on playing the games. Most of the publishers' stands are spaces with tables and chairs for people to sit and play.
I was there as a punter this year, which was very pleasant, and so I'm writing here about the new games I saw. I must give you a few disclaimers first. Despite being four days long, Spiel is not long enough to play all the new games. If, like me, you want to have a look at everything, there isn't time to play many of the new games! So my initial report is based on a first look at each game (though I have tried a few). I will be adding to and updating the online version of the report as I play more of the games and much of this will appear in To Win Just Once. I must also point out that when I say a new game is like – or in the style of – an older one, I am not suggesting that it is a copy, this is just a bit of shorthand description for those who are familiar with the older game.