Spiel 2017 blog and photo extravaganza avalanche part 2

And we are back for more. Embrace yourself and let’s continue our journey through Essen together…

banner blog part 3

We arrive at day 3 of the fair in our story and after a late night at the Heavy Cardboard meetup, the fatigue starts to kick in, but who can be tired at Essen right? Let’s do this. Long days, short nights, but we must persevere and to be fairly honest, we love this feeling! Who doesn’t get an adrenaline rush from all those awesome board games and all those people at Spiel?

Saturday the herds will arrive

But we must admit, this year the crowds and the control on the visitor flow was much better than last years craziness on saturday. Our compliments to the host of the fair, Friedhelm Merz Verlag, which made some changes in parking spaces, entrances and of course added some extra halls. Now how about those extra halls for dedicated playing area’s next year…?


We had an early morning meet-up with Rindert from Portal Games, to have a chat about all the hotness at Essen en maybe some new stuff coming for 2018 from them. Especially Alien Artifacts is getting some solid attention and seems to really do well on what it sets out to achieve. A 4x experience in just a card game, which may or may not be the first to try, but in our humble opinion they made it stick! But also the new Cry Havoc expansion Aftermath and First Martians have that Portal energy going. We loved the new booth setup this year from them, much more inviting and the demo team was just rocking those tables. Solid job y’all!

The new open game area at the Portal Games booth
A lot of Alien Artifacts games were played
The game looks fantastic, the app is getting better every update and if you get the hang of the game flow, it is a unique game experience you need to try if you can. It may not be for everybody, true, but still the game is just a work of art.
An oldy, but still a goody! Tides of Time

Some random stuff from hall 3

The tables were jam-packed at Queen Games for the solid four days with some great games on the tables. (Immortals, Merlin, Templar’s Journey, Pioneers.)
Working two demo tables of Merlin, good job miss!
Don’t know nothing about this game, but that table looks awesome!
Another game which went out of stock very quick, Hunt for the Ring by Ares Games.
The mini’s on this game are so cute. Divinity Derby also by Ares Games. A fast paces betting and racing game, set in the Greek mythology. Must admit, we did not know the game, but our friend Steph spoke highly of it
Iquazú looks so aesthetically pleasing and these fine people are looking to have a blast card watching. HABA don’t only have those yellow boxed kids games, but brings along some fine gamer games too.
Try to hide your precious gemstones from the evil Rhujas, which roam the land, behind the rock wall behind the Iquazú waterfall. It seems to be a great game to introduce people to area control and majority and the use of the waterfall tiles is just so smart.

Hall 1

One of the games with the best box cover art this Spiel 2017, The Sanctuary: Endangered Species
The tablecloth does make it very messy, but it does match the busy savannah look. The game components aren’t as good-looking as the box cover may suggest, but in this case we would say gameplay first and looks second?
Those clean and white card backs are just phenomenal
Pandemic: Rising Tide, or better know as, Pandemic The Dutch Edition. Obviously one game which will join our collection as soon as possible. The fight against the rising tides is something which is very prevalent and something we are always aware of being on the horizon due to being below sea level for more than 50% with our country. Add in that Jeroen Doumen co-designed this game and we are all-in.


SPOILER FREE (promised by the zman demo dude), but skip below 3 pictures if you don’t want to see ANY stuff from Pandemic Legacy 2




One of the amazing things around Essen are the families playing games together. Here the twins are playing Majesty from Hans-Im-Glück with their parents. A very accessible game and one which we will pick up at one of our Dutch retail shops.
Bezier Games was bringing the new game, The Palace of Mad King Ludwig. It brings a shared building part to the game, which we may like better than the first game where you build your own crazy castle. Ted Alspach is a great guy and I mean, he is a large fellow!


I wasn’t kidding, Ted is large guy, but also genuinely a nice one.
The always charming Sarah Erickson from Renegade Games Studio. Little bumped we didn’t have the chance to talk to her, but rest assured, we will be back next year and schedule some time with her.
Kepler-3042 is one of the many new releases ticking the same boxes: space, exploration, tech trees and a lot of memorable experiences of becoming the greatest explorers in the galaxy. This is the new version from Renegade Games Studios with art by Kwanchai Moriya.
Pie town, dice placement and hidden movement. Try to become the best pie shop in town and try to steal the recipes from the other players.


Designer and master of disaster, Jan Soukal, from the Boardcubator. We helped them a little in the base game (Space Race: The Card Game) with some playtesting for the solo variant and screening the rulebook. It was great meeting them in real life finally. They brought along the new expansion, which is packed to the brim with cool new stuff, Interkosmos. New faction for a 5 player experience, new space race cards, some extra possibilities to achieve other strategy choices through new mechanisms and more power to achieving breakthroughs.


Not yet available on Boardgamegeek ( add it Alfie 🙂 ) Evil Corp is a highly interactive game about billionaires being  billionaires. Be a bastard, try to make more money, make your opponents lose some and when you go bankrupt? Just start a new corp and join the elite again.
The art is very contemporary
Spiel isn’t big with cosplay, but this guy looked so cool
The best board game pieces we saw at the Messe. (No, they are not included…) Tsukuyumi is a highly strategic and greatly a sync faction board game, based around an amazing story from the mind of Felix MertikatHad a great chat and a nice drink with him (thanks again sir, your taste is outstanding!) and he told some great background about this board game and it’s backstory. The different factions fighting for world dominance just sounds so amazing and there is no luck involved at all. Include his artwork, which may be the best we saw around at Essen this year, and we think you check out the running Kickstarter campaign!


Calimala designer, Fabio Lopiano, is demoing his game at the ADC Blackfire booth. We had the honour to play a game of this elegant game with Edward & Amanda from Heavy Cardboard. The game is very smooth, the rules density is low, but the strategy and tactical choices are still very interesting. I can see why it’s done by ADC and not by Spielworxx, being more a medium heavy game instead of let’s say Gentes or Arkwright.
Clay Ross from Capstone games is looking up some rules for his Essen hit, Wildcatters. Was great meeting this fine fellow. So much passion and so much positive energy. I wish you all the best with your next projects.
The beautiful new board for Wildcatters.
A must have game for every gamer, the thinky filler, The Climbers.
These tiny games from Perplext are just becoming something legendary. A lot of game in those miniscule packages. (Gym, Rum, Dig)
Fly is exciting dexterity game. You need to hit at least 3 of the same colour flies to make it count.


Blackrock Games

Next meet-up was with the wonderful Caroline Deliens from Blackrock Games. She was kind enough to give us a lot of time to explore the huge line of games from their portfolio. They have a wide variety of games & publishers, from complex beasts to fun little party style games. If you are looking for a solid publisher, one which can suit a lot of gamer needs? Go check them out.

One of the big hits from Kickstarter, Outlive. Published by La Boite de Jeu. It’s a worker placement game with a cool theme. Try to manage your survival within the wastelands and try to outlive your opponents. Looks marvelous and if you like workerplacement, go check this one out.
Last years Spiel game from Rebel, Bubblee Pop.
This game was just out of our personal top 6 most anticipated games for Spiel 2017, Ilôs. It has a lot going we really like in a game. Speculation, hand management, tile exploration, some stocks and a little bit of take that. Thanks to Punching Cardboard, we did put it on our list and we can’t wait to give this a go and let you all know what we think!
Contemplating what to do and where you can get the most out of your goods. This guys were having a lot of fun at the Blackrock booth
Time Arena, a real-time 2 player battle game by Blam!. The cooldown which the hourglass represent per charachter is a straight port from a video game and is such a smart design choice. It plays lightning fast, looks funny and can be played on a simple mode or getting more involved with more rules added. It has a chess like feel to it, due to the punch timer used (there’s an app!), but it’s far from just a chess like clone.


Red is attack and green is defense. The bumps on the head says how much spaces the given character can move.
It looks so cute, but these fishes are eating each other by the masses and well, those will give you points to win the game. Another abstract with a nicely integrated theme. Little Big Fish. by Flying Games.


The doggies just look sooooo sweet. But are they? Are they? Well, not really, but it’s all Fagin’s fault! He want’s his dogs to bring him the loot (bones) and he is just not a nice guy right? Try to steal, bluff and talk your way around the players and avoid Fagin’s wrath and you can have a nice supper nonetheless! Doggy Bag by Blam!


Last game just before Messe closing was Keyper by Richard Breese. It was more like a talk through, really Richard our demo friend only TALKED about the game, but this fellow was just so much fun. It was a hilarious demo and another thing why we love Spiel so much. These little experiences with make me smile for months too some.
It is a real Key style game with a lot of intertwining actions and a lot of smart ways to use your workers. Use the action, tag along other players actions to boost the outcome or lay them down to do even more. But be mindful about your neutral worker (white) and where you use those to not lose them to the other players. The central folding boards look amazing and give so much possibilities to play this game.

Well another day is in the books, well almost…

At night we went for a dinner with old and new friends. Jess, Derek, his lovely wife, Steph & of course THE Ron. They took me to a local falafel place which was crowded, but had some great food. I took a Turkish pizza and that was mouth-watering delicious.

Afterwards we planned to play all games at the Atlantic, but well, Jess had a meltdown on how much games she bought and how they would get back to the US. It was hilariously and one of the most fun experiences I ever had at Spiel. The hotel room was crowded with people, all punching and bagging games and trying to convince Jess “it would all be fine”…well, it helped a little. Derek was the storyteller of the evening and I won’t go into too much detail, but I once thought these things only happened in Hollywood movies, I guess they ain’t 😀

Punching Party
Well…..punching parties are a real thing people!


We are out, thanks for reading again, you people are amazing!

Love your board game life!







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