Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Essen: Kids in Sweet Shops

Essen, my favourite German city. But of course, saying that, I've not seen too much of it. A couple of venues, the Bahnhof briefly. Spent quite a bit of time on the motorways driving past it / through it. And then I've spent hours and hours and hours in the exhibition halls of the Messe. They're huge, deliciously huge, indeed with some delicious food too. But best of all, they've always been jammed packed with board games. Hundreds of brand new games being launched into the world. Last year there were over 1,000 new games on show, likely to be similar this year it would appear, but probably, just probably, enough.

Last year I spent a day working on one of the stands, it was great fun teaching The Castles of Mad King Ludwig to punters from all over Europe. Thankfully, it's a cracking game and I only messed up one rule so not too bad. Can't quite time my arrival this year to do the same again although one of the three chaps I'm going with will be working for the Netherlands own Martyn F. 

My anticipation has been growing for a good two months now. The exhilaration of learning which new games will be launched by which of my favourite designers. The wading through smaller publishers and seeing what they've come up with. The pictures of prototypes, the little disappointments that some game launches have to be postponed. The realisation of how much time I'm spending researching rather than playing but consoling myself with 'but I'm a collector first'. This time tomorrow I'll be on a ferry departing Dover, playing something like Too Many Cinderellas with three great buddies. I've even baked cake for the crossing! Banana, oatmeal and chocolate..

This is an additional hall for 2015 such is the demand from publishers, retailers and distributors. In the photo below you see Hall 3, it's monitors in size and takes a good long walk to get from one end to the top.

My budget this year is more than a little contained although I have sold a few games in an auction to boost spending money. Similarly, the new Horacar is nowhere near as big as the Scenic so we're hoping for vehicular assistance with game-muling from friends.

Anyway, the cliche 'kid in a sweet shop' doesn't cover it. It'd be like Willy Wonka's parked next to Ben & Jerry's, which has as neighbours the kitchens of Two Hairy Bikers, Two Fat Italians, and a heavenly host of Roux, Blanc, Lawson and Stein. Oh, and on the front lawn there's always the Bake Off tent. 

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