The last day! About half of these games were played in the halls and the other half were played in the hotel lobby as we sifted through our purchases.
Queen's Architect has fantastic mechanics: your workers are on hexagons which dock into your little player sheet, and as you use them they rotate, changing which point is docked with your sheet. Some workers get better as they work, some get tired. When they complete a full rotation, they retire, but you can rotate them the other way by sending them to the inn. That whole thing is great, but it’s just solitaire - you barely interact with the other players at all. As a result, I felt that this game was missing an important piece of the puzzle. It feels like the next game to leverage this mechanic will nail it, though, and we’ll have something to shout about.
Microfilms is a spy-themed microgame based around trying to figure out who’s who by stealing looks at other player’s hands and trading information. It’s fast and cute, but it’s got a few little nuances which make it quite hard to teach. I like it a lot, but I’ve played it wrong a few times because the rules are a bit fiddly and not fully explained on the cards. I bought it though, and I love it.
The Foreign King
The Foreign King is a remarkably good little strategy game in a very small box. The theme was a bit dull and pasted on, but the four of us that played remained interested until the end and it was never clear who was going to win. Definitely a good game, not sure that it’s a fun game.
The age-old classic. Who doesn’t like Go? Why do I play anything else?
Cash n’ Guns
Quite the opposite of Go. Cash n' Guns is not a new game (in fact, I own it), but there were 8 of us and there was a table free. Sina got utterly shot up. I did not, but Chris won by a mile.
I grabbed the last box of Funemployed available at the Breaking Games booth and couldn’t wait to play it. It delivered on every level: I was forced to attempt an Australian accent in public and Lizzy revealed herself as a dangerously enthusiastic personal trainer. Comedy gold.
Some games are popular because they just work, no matter who you are and what you do. Codenames is that kind of game: it’s easy to play, it’s a party game, it has barely any rules, and it’s loads of fun. Word games are universal, because we all know words. Instant winner.
Dave gave this one star out of five, but I enjoyed it to some extent. In Dark Stories, one person reads out a rather brief description of a scenario which is, in the cases we played, not particularly dark, and the other players ask questions to piece together the story. The stories we played were a bit dumb, but they did keep us guessing and they were something to talk about. It’s not incredible, but I certainly didn’t hate it.
And that was it, that was Essen Spiel ‘15! It was awesome. It cost me a small fortune, but I’m so glad that I went. Hopefully I’ll be able to make it next year! Thank you to everyone who came along: you’re all awesome.