Essen 2018 Report

Posted by Don B on 07 November, 2018 0 comments

We made a very late decision to go to the Essen Spiel games fair in Germany this year. The primary goal was to make contact with suppliers that would help us bring in games that we find otherwise difficult to source and to get more reliable supply for games that tend to come in in very limited numbers through the main distributors. In the short term also wanted to find a few interesting games to offer on the online shop for Christmas.

Getting into the venue was the first problem. We got there an hour early so we are near the front of the line...

There are five times as many people behind us and this is just one of four entrances. 

We did make some good contacts, so expect to see some interesting games over the coming months. Getting supplies of games for the shop for Christmas from such a late start proved difficult since many of the publishers would only sell to retailers if they had pre-ordered. We had not. Nevertheless we did manage to procure a limited number of games from a number of publishers that piqued our interest and which we hope might interest you. We don't have firm pricing until it all clears customs and we pay for the shipping. Soon though. 

Surfin' Meeple is one of the new contacts who we will be buying from directly, so expect to see some exciting games over the next few months.

Catch the Moon

This might look like a kid's game and it is, but it is so much more. You start with two ladders fixed to the cloud and on your turn you roll the dice and add another ladder to the growing jumble. Don't let the ladders fall or you will make the moon cry. There is strategy, there is tactics, there is deception and whimsy. Beautiful and brilliant.



A new game from one of our favourite authors, Bruno Cathala, was a must get.  

Imaginarium board game

It looks gorgeous, it's worker placement, you get to build steampunk machines, and it is from Bruno Cathala what more can you ask? 

Western Legends

 I played western legends at Concentric in Adelaide so this was one title I was keen to get. This is definitely a big game with a strong narrative feel to it. It also has a very open framework in which you can play as either a marshal, an outlaw or a neutral and that can change during the game depending on what you do or what others do to you. 




This is not such a new game (released last year), but it was not widely available in Australia and it does look intriguing. It is a somewhat abstract Euro themed around the Qin dynasty and the terracotta army.



Amun Re the Card Game

Amun-Re was a hugely successful Reiner Knizia title that first appeared in 2003 and was republished by Tasty Minstral Games in 2017. This is a card game adaptation of that game. As such it is greatly simplified and is fundamentally a different game but it honours much of the feel of the original game, both thematically and in game play. It was a 2017 release, but we couldn't resist picking up a few copies.

Amun-Re the Card Game


Kami-Sama was released at GenCon this year. Unfortunately we could only get a single copy of it - and it's ours. You can't have it! We will get it in though...



One of the contacts we made was with the Japanese publisher Hobby Japan. We picked up a couple of interesting titles and should be able to directly source their games for the future. 

Master of Respect

This is a 2016 release but has not been available in Australia so we picked up a few copies. If this game is anything to go by then I think we will see more of Kentaro Yazawa's work in the future.


Dice Age

OK. I admit it. We grabbed a few copies of this just because it was so cute. But it does appear to be a very solid game.



Capsicum Games is a French Publisher whose games are quite hard to find in Australia. We picked up a bit of a taster of their range based on a brief play of each game just to see whether people would like them. Caterpillar is a french game so of course all the games are spectacularly well produced with great art and on our brief playing of each they all have something interesting to offer. 


Gobi is a network-building, tile-laying game with a desert theme. It is a new release at Essen for Capsicum Games clearly targeted at the family end of the gamer spectrum. It is easy to learn, quick to play and looks great. 




It's steam punk themed - how could we not pick up a few copies! It's a relatively lightweight, area control game that seems like it would make a nice filler game. Its is actually a 2016 release but... Steampunk!



We are going back even further here. This is a 2015 release. But again almost no availability in Australia. It has a clever card-placement hand-management mechanic. It's a light, quick, filler game with the added appeal of a single player mode.

And that is a quick overview of our 2+ days at Essen. We picked up quite a few single copies from other publishers to evaluate so you will see other things appearing over the next few months. We should have stock of these games in a week or so (except Kami-Sama - that's ours, you can't have it!)
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