The Trip

Since a couple of years we are going to Essen to spend some amazing and fun days at “Die Spiel”. One of the biggest board game conventions on this beautiful planet. The convention takes place in Essen, Germany and lasts for 4 whole days. With opening hours from 10am – 7pm and on Sunday from 10am – 6pm you have limited time available, to play all the new games. And by all I mean over 800! And to be sure what games will accompany us back to Vienna, we worked on a board game voting system.

The Board Game Voting

We designed a voting system for each game, so that after those 4 days we would know which games would find a new home in Vienna. The board game voting system has grown over the last couple of years and will probably be enhanced in the future. 

But today I want to show you how we are voting for each game that we play during “Die Spiel” in Essen.

So far we’ve came up with 5 categories, that are important for us, while choosing a new game to buy. So we basically vote on category 2-5 first and afterwards come up with a score for category 1 “How much did you like the game?”. Doing so we are considering the scores we gave for the categories 2-5. At the end the games with the lowest scores are the winners and are most likely to end up in our luggage back to Vienna.

May the best board game win.

Category 1 — How much did you like the game?

It’s a very simple but also probably the hardest question concerning a board game. The first impression is really important. But as soon as you start thinking a little bit more about the components, the strategy and the different pros and cons of the game, the answer becomes more and more unsure.

The scale

  • 1 … would suggest it anytime
  • 2 … if somebody suggests it count me in
  • 3 … sometimes
  • 4 … if you really need another player
  • 5 … nope, I’ll go with the dogs for a walk

Category 2 — Complexity

Complexity is something that is really important for us. Sometimes you just want to squeeze in one more game before you head back home and finally go to bed. Those are games that you play, when the night is already in full motion, but you are still not willing to go home. But these games shouldn’t be the most complex games on earth. They should be easy to understand and quick to play.

On the other hand, there are games where you need every bit of your senses to at least be able to compete with the other players. We love complex games, especially those you have to play several times to finally figure out that there is more than just one way to win it. And we also are more than willing to play those games over several hours. 

So both types of games, the easy and the real complex ones, have pros and cons and are more than welcome in our “wall of games”.

The scale

  • 0 … very simple — gateway games: Camel Up, Celestia, King of New York
  • 1 … average: La Isla, Machi Koro
  • 2 … very complex: Alchemist, Marco Polo, Viticulture

Category 3 — Interaction

This category basically defines how much the game play forces you or enables you to interact with other players. I for myself prefer games that give you the opportunity to exchange resources with others or to buy stuff from your opponents. In other words, games that allow you or even engage you to interact with the other players. In my opinion it’s much more fun to play a game while interacting with other players than just trying to win, without even having any interaction with your opponents.  

The scale

  • 0 … almost no interaction: Hengist
  • 1 … only during my turn: Viticulture
  • 2 … all the time: Isle of Skye, Spyfall

Category 4 — Waiting time

This category describes how much time you need to wait, until you can actively do something. For example, if it’s not a cooperative game, how much time you have to wait — doing basically nothing — until your next turn.

That’s a definite exclusion criteria for games that I buy. If I have to wait endlessly until I can actively do something, it’s a game that will end up on my “I’ll go with the dogs” list really quick.

The scale

  • 0 … very little: Concept, Mysterium, La Isla
  • 1 … normal amount: Cacao, Marco Polo, Viticulture
  • 2 … endless — who wants coffee?: Hengist, Russian Railroads

Category 5 — Is it a good 2 player game?

This category is hard for us to vote on, because most of the games we are test playing in a team of four. But we are always asking the trainee if he has any experience with the two player version and take his feedback into account. 

The scale

  • 0 … no, you need more players
  • 1 … give it a try it could be good
  • 2 … absolutely, it was designed for two players
board game voting

Stay Up-To-Date

Curious what will happen this year in Essen? Check out our YouTube Channel for news and especially for our daily reviews of the top 3 games of each day at “Die Spiel 2016” in Essen.

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