Saturday Night in Essen

We are in the home stretch. We had a great dinner at one of the nicer places I've seen around here - the name escapes me, but the food was on the gourmet side of things and a nice change from the regular fare. The not-so-nice change was the tray full of water and apfelschorl that was spilled on my back and down my pants before I had my first beer. Apparently the waiter's first night as a waiter and not a bartender, and I think the balance of the 1/2 liter beer he served me through him off.

What a crowd today! Busier than I remember last year and it was damn tiring going through the distributor/retailer booths (where the good deals can be found) let alone just getting from hall to hall. Sales for 24/7 picked up a bit today - about 20 units sold and several given out as review copies (Moritz Eggert, Spielbox, Spiel des Jahres committee). We have a cute teenage girl across the aisle that played each of our games at least twice today - apparently she's bored with her father's action hockey game.

I picked up the 20,000 Rails Under the Sea Age of Steam expansion for Peter plus a few of the freebie Settlers expansion given out at Kosmos. I didn't play much today - it is very hard to get a seat at a demo table on Saturday. KC and I had a great meeting with a product manager at Queen Games and we saw some sincere interest in his Metro 2 sequel. We also ended up on the great side of a trade of games between our companies that landed me copies of Shogun, the Alhambra dice game, and the new Thief of Bagdad game. My only "real" purchase today was the Baumeister von Arkadai game for 22 euro - so far the hit of the show for me.

This morning I spent some time in the heart of Essen for the first time as I went downtown with Erik to ship some games to Lorna and Erik's gaming slave master Doug Garrett. I think the two have shipped at least 6-7 boxes total. I've been restrained enough that I should be able to fit everything in my two suitcases. There's a nice little downtown here that I'm sorry I missed last year, and it is convenient enough that it may be worth staying at sometime in the future.

Jim and I are comparing notes on what we need to check out for tomorrow. I think I'm done getting new games (unless I can swing a new trade or two) but we do have a few we want to try:

  • Leonardo daVinci
  • Space Dealer (real-time ship construction and trading)
  • Perikles
  • Yspahan

The game with the most buzz so far is what I've resolved to calling the Ken Follet game - a Caylus-style game based on a novel with a name I can't pronounce. I've been worried about the card text in German, but Rick Thornquist assures me that cards are open and translations are easy, so I shouldn't be afraid. Maybe I can get a game in tomorrow before cleanup.