category: Board Games
tags: SPIEL Essen

← Essen 2022

One year passed, I wrote no new post since my first Essen post, and now it’s October again…Essen time!
Like last year, I went for two days, Thursday and Friday.

And I went through the complete GeekPreview again and picked a mixture of complex games (for me) and lighter games (playable with kids). I ended up with about 10 “Must have” and way too many “Interested” games.

I actually did play eight of them (four each day), and ended up buying all four from day 2.

Day 1:

Kutná Hora: The City of Silver (Czech Games Edition)

CGE was the first booth I went to, and it was crowded. They had many demo tables, at least half of them for Kutná Hora, and still most of the tables had people standing around them, waiting for the next spot to play the game.
At the end, I think I waited almost one hour (longer than for anything else I played this year), but it was worth it.
I really liked the game, but in the end didn’t buy it. But if I had bought a third “big” game, this would have been it.

Unconscious Mind (Fantasia Games)

I found this one in the GeekPreview, the theme sounded interesting and it looked nice.
Unfortunately, the rules explanation was quite long and I was really tired that day (nowhere near enough sleep the night before, plus travelling to Essen), so my brain switched off at some point during the explanation…and when we finally started playing, I didn’t really know what to do.
So my impression of the game was mixed and I probably have to play it again to get a real impression.

FTW?! (2F-Spiele)

The new 2F-Spiele games I saw in the preview didn’t look that interesting to me, but I still went to the booth to check them out, and got to play FTW?!.
It sounded like an interesting filler game (get rid of all your cards and keep just a high one whose value you get as points, but if you keep additional cards, their values are negative points).
But there didn’t seem to happen that much during the game, possibly caused by the luck of the draw: I happened to have almost only cards with high values, while the other two players had almost only cards with low values. In the end I won by having a) the highest card in the game and b) zero negative points.
Same here: I probably have to play it again.

Flamme Rouge BMX (

I never played the original Flamme Rouge, but heard good things about it.
I decided to check out Flamme Rouge BMX because it’s a “kid’s version” of Flamme Rouge (catchline on BGG: “Flamme Rouge for younger players”, recommended age 6+).

But IMO it’s too simple. You have a bag with markers numbered from 1 to 6, and on each turn, you draw three of them, put two back into the bag and keep one - that’s the number of fields you’re allowed to go this turn.
Essentially it’s the same mechanic as in Ave Caesar, which I already own (you have cards numbered from 1 to 6, draw three, play one, and draw back to three).
After each round in Flamme Rouge BMX, there’s a die roll which possibly reduces the gap between the leader and the following players…but IMO it doesn’t change that much and somehow I feel that there’s more “action” in a game of Ave Caesar. So I still prefer Ave Caesar.

Day 2:

Dungeon Drop (Mirakulus)

A relatively simple “dungeon crawler”, possibly playable with kids, with an interesting mechanic I never saw before (and I’m always looking for games with new/unusual mechanics):
The dungeon “walls”, the monsters and the treasures are all small colored cubes. You build the “board” by dropping all of them on the table, and a game round consists of dropping some more cubes, “defining” a triangle between three cubes of a special type (called “pillar”) and looting all cubes in that triangle.

Actually it’s not a new game, but it was in the GeekPreview because the German version was released at this year’s Essen.
I was also at the booth of Phase Shift Games (publisher of the original English version) and they had a deluxe version there, but unfortunately only in English.

EOS: Island of Angels (King Racoon Games)

A new complex game by Felix Mertikat (creator of Tsukuyumi, which I like).
Again with asymmetrical factions (like in Tsukuyumi), but this time it’s worker placement and engine building. To be honest, just from reading the description, it was not at the top of my “Must play” list because it sounded not that interesting to me.
But I went to the booth anyway to check it out, and I really enjoyed it.

Chomp (Allplay)

I found this game in the GeekPreview, too…and checked it out because it looked like an ideal candidate to play with kids: a card game with relatively simple rules…and dinosaurs!

Bier Pioniere (Spielefaible)

I’m a huge fan of Thomas Spitzer and his “Coal” trilogy, so when I heard that he published a new economy game about beer, this was right at the top of my “Must have” list.

I was actually already at the booth on day 1 to play the game, but found out that they had a schedule with fixed slots per table and that all tables were already completely booked for day 1. Fortunately there was a free spot at 4 pm on day 2, and I managed to end up at the table where Thomas himself explained the game. Like I expected, I loved it (and had to buy it).