October 23 – Thursday of OMGESSEN!

24 Oct

First day of OMGESSEN!

I was really tired this morning. Didn’t sleep particularly well, and I didn’t even eat much breakfast.

I couldn’t be anything other than cheery, though, in my OMGLOOKOUTGAMES! tshirt. So much orange in one place. Yikes.

I got in to the Messe around 9:05, just after a discussion of an expected “up to 250,000 people” on the radio. There were already people queuing up to get in but I just waltzed through. A guy called “Melissa!” and came over to introduce himself – Stewart from Perth. That’s the side benefit of the OMGORANGE. Tried to sneak him in with me but they were OMGTOUGH. It was worth a try, though.

Went  straight to Lookout Games, which was still empty. I snuck in to put down my bags, turned around – and there were already FOUR PEOPLE THERE wanting to buy stuff.

“I don’t have any change,” I said.
“We can make it exact,” they said.


Hanno and the crew arrived shortly after and everything was set up. Suddenly it was 20 to 10 and we already had a long queue – and then it was after 10 and we had 2 different queues, each going for at least 2 booths. OMGIAMNOTKIDDING. I pity the people in the booths beside ours. 

The booth only holding so many people, I decided to go out and work the line, which Hanno had mentioned might be needed. This involved me wandering out with a pile of Agricola postcards in German and in English and handing them, as well as my L deck card, to everyone in the line. At least to those that wanted them.

This was actually a really fun thing to do. I got to meet and chat to lots of people, in English and in German, and I think it made people feel better about standing in line for AN HOUR AND A HALF just to get stuff at the OMGMESSE. Seriously. An hour and a half. OMG.

It also gave me a chance to catch up with people I already knew or at least knew of. One of  my favourite moments was when some guy wanted to have his photo taken with me. Chatting a bit more, he introduced himself. It was OMGRichardBreese.

Me: OMG I need MY photo taken with you too now!

Others wandered past. I met lots of the UK brigade, including Alan How, who arrived brandishing a copy of Duck Dealer. I lamented that I hadn’t managed to get over to Splotter, despite my best plans (that was where I was going first after dumping my bags). Five minutes later, there was Alan, with a spare Duck Dealer – he’d headed back over to Splotter to pick it up for me! This was honestly kindness above and beyond anything I had expected and I couldn’t thank him enough.

Bad news was that Mike Siggins isn’t here, at least yet. Mike, if you are reading this, I wrote naughty stuff on an L deck card for you at least. (Did I write yesterday that I tried to get Vlaada Chvatil to write “In fond memory of a wonderful night” on my copy of Space Alert?)

OMG. The queues got no better.

I fetched Agri Cola and worked the line encouraging people to contribute to our fundraiser.

I felt soooooooo bad for the people either side of us. Ystari’s booth was half blocked, as was the Hystericoach one on our other side. (I would get this game but what do I know about Hockey?) – and opposite us was almost completely blocked. Urgs.

Met other BGG people. Jens, Kris, Ralf, Sothys, OMGIAMLOSINGITALL. I’m so sorry.

Saw Ann and Ageeth, friend Tanja, Werner, E, various others. 

Escaped the booth briefly around 1.45 but forgot to pick up my bag, so didn’t do any shopping. Quick, someone revive my husband, he fainted when I wrote that. Chatted with E and wandered around Hall 5 together. Found “England”. Wandered around with Werner, Al and the Little Fella, mostly showing Al where the Flohmarkt was. OMG I was SEASONED.

Back to Lookout for my 3pm date but it was so crowded there was no point keeping the date – besides, Thomas was about to collapse. Worked the stand till 5:30 or so. OMG it was so tiring. I honestly forgot how to sign my name at one point. And I had a fantastic conversation when I gave some people their change and just stood there staring at a 10 Euro note, saying, “This is 10 Euros, right?” (but in German). They clearly thought that I had completely flipped and couldn’t understand how I could be so OMGSTUPID as not to know what 10 Euros were. I went into some weird explanation about not really knowing the currency well, which really convinced them that I was beyond a moron. The nice part there was that they thought I was German. (OMG have had lots of compliments on my German and on my accent – interestingly, some have commented that I don’t have a noticeable Austrian accent, although I have heard over the years that I do). Once you understand that they thought I was German, it makes sense that they thought I was OMGWEIRD to not know what a 10 euro note looked like.

Every time I took a break from the stand, I had people coming up to me asking whether I had my L deck card with me.

Did I mention that my favourite was the guy who printed a tshirt with “In search of the L deck” on the front and copies of all the cards on the back?

Then someone got to the stand – someone who had been STANDING IN A QUEUE for 90 minutes – and instead of saying “This is a bloody disaster area” (which no-one said) he said, “Sie tun mir aber richtig leid” which means something like “OMG I feel so sorry for you you poor thing” which I took as a cue to piss off and sit in the press lounge for half an hour. Possibly not the best plan when you are wearing a publlisher’s tshirt, but anyway. Then I watched Neil and the Little Fella play some games including a giant 3D spooky stairs (Geistertreppe) which was just gorgeous. The other new game there – Klickado, I think – loooed really good (Neil and the LF played it) – sort of reverse aerial pick-up-sticks. I will try to pick up a copy for the kids.

Back to Lookout, found friends, bought stuff from, headed off to the Boardgamegeek meeting/catchup. Saw Emerald for 5 Euros. Introduced quite a lot of people to one another and chatted with Martin Wallace about the fair so far. OMG I am such a namedropper. At least Martin didn’t ask to have his photo taken with me.

The weird thing – well, one weird thing – was the number of people who asked things like, “Are you enjoying your trip to Europe, Melissa?” as they wandered past, but didn’t really stop to say hello. I assume they have read about it here or on BGG. If you happen to be reading this and heading for OMGESSEN! in the next few days? Introduce yourself! Stop and have a chat! 

I popped back to Lookout to pick up my booty from today (not much really):

  • Dominion (signed very appropriately by Dale and Valerie)
  • Le Havre
  • Duck Dealer

That is all. Still haven’t had time to go anywhere or try anything.

Dinner was with a biggish group at a Spanish cafe on Ruttenscheiderstrasse. OMG why, when I asked where the shops were, did my hotel not send me to Ruttenscheiderstrasse instead of into the city centre? Yes, different types of shop, but still …

The food was good but the after-dinner gaming was better.

First, I played Street Paintball with Derk, Werner, Ann and Ageeth. This was fun – not something I’ll likely play often, but it’s now on the buy list.

Second was Wabash Cann- I mean, Chicago Express. I won, because none of us noticed that the game was nearly over.


We also looked at Beep  Beep, Quick, Wuermer.

Then home to hotel. OMGTIRED. Bath, Blog and Bed.

The bad thing that happened today is that my press pass fell off my lanyard somewhere on the way out of the halls. I’m hoping I ccan replace it tomorrow but I somehow doubt it.


Posted by on October 24, 2008 in games, travel


12 responses to “October 23 – Thursday of OMGESSEN!

  1. Fraser

    October 24, 2008 at 10:04 am

    …so didn’t do any shopping. Swoon 😉

  2. Gery

    October 24, 2008 at 10:46 am

    I do love the T-shirt – the only one I’ve seen with any chance of making the Warfroggies outfits look subtle – I assume they’re there in their usual worn but bright yellow Ts?

    The Messe is a wee bit different with people isn’t it! And Thursday is just the gamers – wait till Saturday when you get the families too!!

    Sounds like you were very lucky to get a copy of Duck Dealer – sold out in 30 minutes even though no one seems to know if it’s a decent game yet – only in Essen … interested to hear what it’s like though, as Splotters usually go down well around here.

    Hope your adrenalin is holding out – the good news is that Thursady is usually the busiest day for the indies like Lookout as the keen gamers flock there first so you should be a bit quieter tomorrow – usually …

  3. gregor

    October 24, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    Duck dealer? Save a spot for me at the next EGF!
    So what’s it all feel like? Exhausting? Exhiliarating? Are
    you picking up much of the buzz? By the sounds of it–
    you *are* the buzz!

  4. melissainau

    October 24, 2008 at 4:09 pm


    I am knackered but over the moon. So yes, both.

    Buzz – there isn’t a great deal yet. Yesterday was mostly about the games that people were buying before trying. Today I think the playing will begin in earnest.

  5. Phyll

    October 24, 2008 at 8:33 pm


    You’re such a frikkin’ rockstar.

    Hope you take some time out to stop for a sec and smell the boxfarts. Enjoy yourself.

  6. Kevin wood

    October 24, 2008 at 10:52 pm

    All that work and you still found time to do a fabulous write up for those of us at home. You are wonderful!!!!

  7. Brian

    October 25, 2008 at 2:51 am

    Hi Melissa,

    your blog is fantastic reading for those of us not lucky enough to get to OMGESSEN. Do you know if there are any plans for the Agricola freebies given out there to be made available for purchase later? I would love to have a fully pimped-out Agricola, but it seems most of the extras are only available in Germany (stickers in spielbox, freebies at the fair)

    thanks for the updates,

    Brian aka the1Jugg

  8. Susan Rozmiarek

    October 25, 2008 at 5:59 am

    Loving your OMGREPORTS and OMGPICTURES! Thanks for writing them anyway, even though you quit your column on BGN. Also, I like both reports about the games AND the people you meet so keep dropping names 🙂

  9. Jens Hoppe

    October 25, 2008 at 10:08 pm

    Hi Melissa! Nice meeting you. 🙂

    I only had Thursday and Friday at the messe this year, so I am back in Copenhagen now – got up at 4:45 this morning to catch a 7:40 flight!

    Those queues for the Lookout stand were incredible! I spent about 75 minutes on Thursday morning standing in line for some Agricola goodies, and even then vegimeeples were sold out by the time I got there (got some on Friday though).

  10. Kevin Whitmore

    October 26, 2008 at 1:03 am

    Just a quick note to say Thanks! Love reading your blog, and I really appreciate the super-human effort you are making. It would be very tempting for you to just rest instea of writing. I really appreciate your dedication!

  11. Mike Siggins

    October 28, 2008 at 4:33 am

    Sounds like a typical Essen initiation….

    I hope you built in the ‘sleep for a week’ time.

  12. Stewart Woods

    October 31, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    Thanks for trying Melissa 🙂 Great to meet you…


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