(writing on the plane, flying over Bay of Bengal, 3h07 to Singapore)
So, recapping a little – around 1.15, I sat down at the big “Play Agricola and Le Havre” stand and muscled in on a game with 3 nice Polish guys who were over with a wargames equipment supplier. Birgit, who was “introduced” to me online by a mutual friend, stopped by to say hello – lovely to meet her, shame I didn’t have more time to chat.
OMG! I really liked Le Havre! It’s very very weird to sit down and play a game that you know OMGSOMUCH about but have never actually got to play. Much of the tension that I felt came from the need to choose between several very good options – often, I would be all ready to take a Building action of some kind but then there would just be Too Much Stuff on an Offer space and I’d go for the 3 cattle or 4 clay instead.
I had been a little bit – hmm, worried isn’t quite the right word – let’s say I had suspected that setup for the game might be a bit fiddly. There’s a LOT of information on the Round cards and on the Building cards. I found that it went very quickly – sort the Round cards by appropriate number of players. shuffle the Standard buildings, deal them and sort the piles, and put out the round Supply tiles. Then off you go.
Both in this game and in the game I taught on Saturday, I found that people got the hang of the game VERY quickly. There were questions about what buildings did, but there weren’t questions about the actual game mechanics. Always a good sign.
OMG!!! I had to get one of the Erklärbären to step in because I wanted to see the IGA presentation. Running through the halls (or moving at any speed faster than a slow shuffle) at 2pm on Friday is NOT an activity that is easy. Unfortunately I had somehow changed my camera settings so oooooopssss my photos are scary blurry.
Did I mention my OMGFANTASTIC DISCOVERY? As I was outside the Neuheiten Show anyway, I nicked in to go to the toilet and stayed to take more photos. Mostly blurry. OMG the Slutty Princess Game has a new cover!! Maybe just for the European market, though. Note to self: Check camera settings.
At some point before here I had changed into my Lookout Games shirt. No more Ms Incognito for today.
One problem with blogging 2 and a half days later is that the days tend to blur into one another. Fortunately, I took photos.
Ran into Stewart (lokides) and stopped for a chat. Pointed out Reiner Knizia who was wandering past with his assistant. Was OMGMOBBED! in Hall 11 by 12 or 13 people wanting my L deck card. Too cool! Then I went to the BeWitched Spiele stand for Flussfieber and the China/Korea Powergrid expansion. Nice to meet Andrea – and I got Friedemann to sign the special giveaway card, too. These weren’t technically a giveaway but were available for a donation to a children’s hospital. There were quite a few stands doing that with their giveaways this year and I think it’s an excellent idea.
Back to 9-40 (via the Fairplay booth) for 3pm. Met Suzan, Derek (with OMGCHOCOLATE!), Rob (Haggis). Also Biggie’s penpals, who she had sent gifts for. And Tanja, who lived in Melbourne for a while and gamed with us there. She was one of 3 people at OMGESSEN! that I had met before October 3rd – no wait, 4. Great to see her again! I also had a chance to chat with Gloppy and Biesje who I know through BSW and who were only in OMGESSEN! for the day.OMGORANGE overload!
With Ann, Ageeth and Werner, I headed for the Amigo stand (well first we headed for Rio Grande but there was OMGNOCHANCE to sit down there). William and Conny came by and joined us – apparently they had had a pretty dire gaming experience with a solo person, so were happy to find a group of people that they knew.
We started with the other Amigo cardgame tenakee – we’d liked Byzanz, so this seemed like a good bet. Sadly, based on that one game, I would have to say that this one has four legs and howls at the moon. It was just … dull. Now I’m prepared to concede that we may have missed a rule, but it seems unlikely. Werner read them in German, I read them in German and translated on the fly, and William translated that into French for Conny. Who is a native speaker of German. Something there seemed funny.
Basically, you each have a set of cards – most are just parts of totem poles, but you also have a set of 7 cards with 3 showing the tops of totem poles, 2 showing sexy squaws sitting on the top of the totem pole (ah yes, the imagery) and 2 showing Indian warriors climbing the totem pole. Each round, players select 3 cards from their hand to play. Play then proceeds clockwise with each player playing 1 card at a time. There can be up to 3 or 4 (depending on the number of players) totem poles being built at any time. You play totem pole cards in any order to build the pole (each card has a value between 1 and 10), you play a top to close the pole. Or you play an Indian Warrior, which means that you cna only play a squaw on top of that pile. When you close a totem pole, either by playing a squaw or a top, you take the cards.
It was just boring. There didn’t seem to be much you could do to influence the game and there wasn’t really much strategy either. (in the language where “much” reads “any”). Give this one a wide berth.
Next we played Reiner Knizia’s Poison. There were 3 cauldrons on the table so we had a Snake cauldron, a Sheep cauldron and a Logo cauldron. That was about the most fun we had during the game. There wasn’t anything wrong with it but it failed to excite – and we were all pretty flat after Tenakee.
Wandered around the fair a bit more and found the Bezier games stand. I had an Age of Steam pre-order to pick up — but Ted pointed out that I was OMGSOMUCHMORECLEVER when I was in Australia, and had arranged for FRASER to collect it at OMGBGGCON. With his greater luggage supply. And, presumably, fewer games. OMGYAY. Ted had stopped by the Lookout Games stand on Wednesday during setup and wondered what it would cost to buy a MELISSA t-shirt. Hee.
Looked at the ?Giochix? (working from memory here) stand and took up the 3 for 50 euros offer for One more Barrel, Bulp! and Medievalia. Know nothing about them but I am sure someone will enjoy playing them. One More Barrel had been in my “possible interest” list, too.
OMGFRIEDEMANN! said OMGMELISSA! and we stopped for a quick chat. He’d just picked up a copy of Krakow 13?? (“The Krakow Game”) which reminded me that I needed to, as well. Peter, the designer of the game, was lovely and both he and artist Melchior van Rijn signed my copy.
Back to Lookout, chat with friends, then off for the OMGLOOKOUTGAMESDINNER at the New York Cafe, just near the Messe. This is the last year that Lookout Games will be going there, because it has been turned into a Smoking Bar. That means people are allowed to smoke inside and OMG it was horrible. Chatted with the various booth helpers and Erklärbären as well as with Dirk from Altenburger (OMG! I have an invitation to go see the factory!) and Pol from Spanish publisher Homoludicus. Interesting to hear about the differences in the gaming market there – it’s still very much an emerging market for boardgames.
The downside of the Lookout Games MELISSA tshirt is when the drunk boys at the next table notice it. Sigh.
Pol and his wife (ack! Heidi? Ana? Why do I have two such different names stuck in my head?) gave me a lift back to the hotel in the van they had brought over – three of them came in it so they could change drivers during the 15-17 hour drive. They will fill the van with games – for themselves and for games shops – before the end of the Messe.
Feeling lazy and OMGTIRED, I took the LIFT up to the first floor (yes, yes, I know). There was a group of four at the table in the lift foyer, playing KAZAAM – they said it was pretty good.
Bath, wash hair (OMGSTINKYSMOKESMELL!), blog, flake on finishing. Upload photos, at least. I was so tired, I forgot to disconnect my PC when I went to sleep. Ooops.
And that was Friday.