I've set myself the goal to have played my Essen 2011 purchases at least once before going back this October. Although there's always a stack of unplayed games, unread books and unpainted lead and I can afford it, it feels wrong. If not a waste of money and time, at least it's a waste of space and anticipation. I really look forward to playing each one of them. So my Essen 2011 project is up and with only 4 months to go the target is challenging!
Part of the problem is the kind of games I like (more complex games) which take time to prepare and play. This limits the opportunities that I can get them to the table. One important lesson for Essen 2012 is not to buy games that haveno reasonable chance of getting played, even if I love the theme and gameplay. And even if I feel the designer has tried very hard and is in a niche so he could do with some support.
Before I get to the games from Essen 2011 that I still need to play, let's look at the stuff I did play. Apart from the stuff that I bought, there's a number of games I played but didn't like or that one of my friends bought. I put some quick thoughts on Twitter, and it's probably best to stick to what my first impressions were then. I've ordered them from Wow! to Meh.
Cave Evil by Mat Brinkman, Jochen Hartman and Nate Haydn (Blast City Games)
A real blast! Necromancers slugging it out underground, cool monsters, nice combat system. Was the first wizard to get killed, but had a neat kill pile!
2019: Arctic by Andrzej Kurek (Sinonis)
Political-economical conflict in the Arctic after global warming. Influence Russia, Norway, EU, US and Canada like in Imperial, but without the rondel. Sink a few ships and oil rigs. Incite strikes. Ameritrash in disguise. My hidden gem for Essen 2011. Should have lots more fans!
Risk Legacy by Rob Daviau and Chris Dupuis (Heidelberger)
awesome. Intro game played in under an hour. Got to name a continent. What more can you want?
Iron Sky by Juha Salmijärvi (Revision Games)
It doesn't get more Ameritrash than Nazi's on the Moon. Based on the upcoming movie. The game prototype has some nice mechanics, eg the combat cards, which are quick and clear. But right now it doesn't reward aggression, which is totally the opposite of what it should be. Slogging, bloody, destructive.... Nazi-like!
Dominant Species by Chad Jensen (GMT)
A brutally competitive evolution game, which is cool. Nice mechanics, but takes way too long.
Flash Point by Kevin Lanzing (Stronghold) Nice coop game on firefighting. Some specialised tasks, some ideas on HazMats etc.
Evolution: the Origin of Species by Dmitri Knorre and Sergey Machin (RightGames)
Nice card game. You try to give your species extra survival traits that might help reproduction, predatoring or survival.
7 Wonders by Antoine Bauza (Asmodee)
A euro for a change and neat design although it doesn't get my blood flowing, despite me winning.
Rumble in the House by Ken Rush (Flatlined)
Fun filler with great cartoon artwork.
Heroica by Nicolas Assenbrunner and Cephas Howard (Lego)
Lightest of light dungeon crawlers but probably good fun for 7 year olds. And forget about the rules in the box. Lego wants you to make your own. Use the convertible dice! As long as you have fun.
Ventura by Alberto Menoncin and Silvio Negri-Clementi (Stratelibri)
Simple Italian renaissance game, but with room for conflict rather than impressing the king. Bit too abstract for me, though.
Test of Fire by Martin Wallace (Mayfair)
What a disappointing grind! Nuff said.