Spreading the love of board games one meeple at a time
We spent our third and final day at the Essen game fair much like the first two. We wandered around and played a few games. While Laura went to play Siam with David, Krista and I tried out a game called City of Horror. It was a zombie survival game where each player has three characters waiting for there rescue helicopter to arrive in the city. Characters run around from building to building in this small little town, trying to find safety. Players need to backstab or make alliances with other players in the game to survive. It is not really a co-operative game as you are trying to make your own characters survive, but does require alliances and co-operation at times.
We all played a game called Desperados, where we played against the Sheriff (played by the demonstrator) to steal money from banks or wagons and gamble. It was fun, but we didn’t purchase it because we didn’t think that the player who had to be the Sheriff would have as much fun as the four of us did on a team.
We visited some other booths, had some more ice cream and then headed back home. It was Saturday so it was the busiest day that we attended, and that slowed us down a lot in regards to the games we could play and booths we could visit.
Essen was the second board game conference that I’ve attended. As you may remember, Krista and I made a last minute trip to Columbus, Ohio for the Origins game fair back in May. Origins was a tiny little affair compared to Spiel but I enjoyed Origins a bit more then it’s larger cousin, Spiel.
So what was the big difference?
The booths at Spiel were much, much bigger, with lots of tables for demos. The fair needed lots of tables because it had way more people then the smaller Origins, but even with the large amount of tables I never really found a demonstration table unoccupied and would often have to stake myself out in front of a game waiting for it to finish so I could try it out.
At Origins, depending on the game, demonstrators often cut game play down so visitors to the booth would understand the rules of the game, get a taste of the game play, know if you were interested in the game or not. With this system, the next visitors would get a chance to try it out without having to wait to long.
At Spiel it was a little different. Demonstrators did not shorten the game for visitors: it was played from start to finish. When Krista and I played City of Horror, after 2 rounds I knew enough of the game to realize some strategy, know that I totally messed up the first two rounds and would be dead in the next two, and had a good sense of if I wanted to purchase it or not. At Origins demonstrators likely would have stopped the game there, after about an hour of play, and tally up the points as if it were the end. At Spiel we played the final 2 rounds, another hour of game play, which I toughed out wishing I could have figured out a polite way to move on and not mess up the other 5 players at my table.
I wonder if Spiel changed their model a bit if I would have purchased more games, as there were games I wanted to play but never got a chance to.
Even though I prefer Origins, I really did enjoy myself at Spiel. It was a great experience to see such a large conference, and I enjoyed playing against opponents who didn’t speak the same language. The games were not really a barrier as we could tell by people’s expressions when a card was laid how they felt about a move. It was also really interesting to see a non-North American take on the board game industry. There were way more families at Spiel, and overall a more diverse group of people.
Spiel, like Origins, introduced me to all sorts of games that I never would have had the chance to try and some I wouldn’t have had the chance to purchase. Knowing a bit about a game before buying it is a great idea, and I look forward to sharing my purchases with everyone back at home.