Unlike a lot of cons, Essen is more of a trade show and your actual game playing time in the venue will be very limited, unless you are prepared to spend hours hovering over gamers waiting for them to finish, which is tough when there is so much to see. Most playing takes place in peoples hotels after hours. However, there are a few games I am setting out to make sure I get a play in over the weekend, for various reasons!
Orhan is a friend, fellow member of The Boardgame Group and all round great guy! His Kickstarter for Creature College has just, well, kicked off. I didn't get a chance to have a game of this at Expo so I am going to be bringing my friends daughter to come along so she can probably beat me at it! Visually it looks stunning and I know how much work has been put into this (if you don't get to play it at Essen you can have a look and back it here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/864424565/creature-college)
I was really torn over backing this on Kickstarter due to the very high postage costs (on what was already a quite pricey game) Vital Lacerda has a great pedigree though (Kanban, CO2 and Vinhos) and I love these style of heavier Euros. Also, The Gallerist just looks divine! It's also a game with an interesting theme. Being a 'Gallerist' involves a variety of things like being an art dealer, a museum curator and an artist manager. You win the game by having visitors in your gallery, exhibiting and selling art, investing in artists and achieving trends and notoriety. While I loved Kanban, I felt the rulebook was one of the worst written I have come across so I think a playtest of this has to be on the cards.
I backed this on Kickstarter back in January. Not only were there hundreds of pieces (making it a must-have in my mind!) but I love the theme! You play rival magicians battling it out in a grand contest for fame and fortune. You have a choice of eight magicians, all of whom have their own specialist tricks. Not only is the theme great on this but the artwork is simply stunning. This is due to ship later in the month but I am keen to have a play through to save us working through the rules when it arrives.
Tesla vs Edison
Another Kickstarter, however, this one arrived a few weeks ago but hasn't made it to the table yet. You play an investor teaming up with one of the visionary inventors from the 1880s/1890s, trying to claim electric projects across the US, whilst trying to advance your technologies, engage in propaganda wars and trading stock in both your company and your competitors. This is one of a scary number of yet to be played games in our house so hoping a play through will rectify that!