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Spiel '11

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.

It is also available as a PDF document: Spiel '11 report (6.8 Mb). (You will need Adobe Reader to view this document – use the link to download it if necessary.)

Report sections

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.

Introduction / Hall 12 / Halls 11 and 10 / Hall 9 / Halls 8, 7 and 6 / Hall 5 / Hall 4 / The end

List of exhibitors

Name Country
2F Spiele Germany
Amalgam Croatia
Ammonit Spieleverlag Germany
Artipia Games Greece
Ascora Games USA
Asyncron Games France
Bézier Games USA
Black Dove Games Singapore
Cardboard Island Games Singapore
Cwali Netherlands
Czech Board Games Czech Republic
Dragon Dawn Productions Finland
Flatlined Games Belgium
Fryxgames Sweden
Gigantoskop Sweden
Giochix Italy
Gung Ho Games UK
Hans im Glück Germany
Name Country
Hyptic Finland
Kaissa Chess and Games Greece
Le Joueur France
Mayday Games USA
MESA Board Games Portugal
Myrrysmiehet Finland
NSKN Legendary Games Romania
PD Verlag Germany
Sit Down! Belgium
Stragoo Games Czech Republic
Stratamax Games USA
Stronghold Games USA
Surprised Stare Games UK
Treefrog Games UK
Wacky Works Netherlands
Wattsalpoag USA
Ystari Games France

List of games

Title Publisher My rating*
A Few Acres of Snow Treefrog 9
Ab in die Tonne Cwali 7
Ankh-Morpork Treefrog 9
Casus Belli PD Verlag  
Core Worlds Stronghold 7
Dash! Cardboard Island  
Distant Lands Wattsalpoag  
Drum Roll Artipia 8
Eaten by Zombies Mayday 5
Fief Asyncron  
Fistful of Penguins Wattsalpoag 8
For Fame and Fortune Black Dove  
Forceball Gigantoskop 5
Forgotten Planet Giochix  
Friday 2F/Rio Grande  
Get Bit! Mayday  
Infarkt Czech Board Games 7
King's Vineyard Mayday 7
Let's Take a Hike Stratamax  
Meltdown 2020 Cwali 7
Murder! Mystery! Mastermind! Black Dove  
Mutant Meeples Bézier  
Nefarious Ascora 9
Old Men of the Forest Treefrog 7
Olympos Ystari 9
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
Rising Kings Omnigames  
Sandwich Le Joueur 8
Souvlaki Wars Kaissa 8
Space Maze Wacky Works  
Space Station FryxGames  
Speedway Champions Stragoo  
Tiebreaker Bézier  
Toc Toc Woodman Mayday 8
Tornado Alert! Hyptic  
Trajan Ammonit  
Upon a Salty Ocean Giochix  
Uskoci Amalgam  
Vintage MESA 8
Wilderness FryxGames  
Wiraqocha Sit Down!  

Spiel '11: The crowd waits for 10 am...Introduction

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.

 Spiel '11: the finishing touches at the Asmodee standThe Asmodee team finishes setting up.

Spiel '11: the doors open and in they come!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.

Next section: starting at Hall 12