How to prepare for 4 days of board games at Die Spiel 2017

As you may already know after browsing through our blog is that we are board game geeks. And that we are spending every year at least 4 days in a small town in Germany called Essen at “Die Spiel”, THE board game convention.

The big question is, how do we prepare for such a huge convention to get the most out of those four amazing days?

In order to be able to prepare you first of all have to be aware of your goal.

000 days 00 hours 00 minutes 00 seconds

left until Die Spiel 2017 in Essen

What is our goal?

Our goal is every year the same: get to know as many games as possible, and on the way beat last years record 😉

Last year, 2016, we managed to play-test 47 games. Yes, you read correctly, freaking 47 games in 4 days. Now I know why I am super exhausted after Die Spiel in Essen. I mean just imagine how many new rules you have to learn and to actually follow, to be able to play 47 games in just 4 days!

So the goal for this year is:

  • play-test as many board games as possible
  • have a lot of fun
  • don’t eat too much junk food
  • Kill the Unicorns 😉
  • beat last year’s record of 47 board games

What are we looking for?

Although the whole experience at Die Spiel in Essen is always a lot of fun and it is great to have the opportunity to get to play-test so many new games, there are a couple of things that we aim for.

  • Meet Valentin Famose at the Morning booth
  • Meet our favorite rules explainer, Paul
  • Find great 2 person games for Gerwin and me
  • Find cool 2-6 player games for all the people we love to play games with like my sis and Tom or Marie-Sophie and Daniel 😉
  • Find super portable games, that you can easily take to Koh Lanta without losing too much space and weight in your luggage

Beat our last year's record and play-test more than 47 board games.

Let the games begin.

How do we prepare?

Do you really need to prepare for a board game convention?

Oh hell yes! I mean you could definitely manage to survive the convention without any preparations.

But being not prepared is so not our style 😉 And also being unprepared means that you will be wandering around the convention without having any idea what games you want to try out. You will be switching halls unnecessary because you have no plan where to go next … and that means wasting precious time, where you could be playing already the next game.

The Hotel

Staying there for at least 4 days means we need a place to stay and sleep, at least the couple of hours that are left during playing board games. The last couple of years we’ve been staying at The Webers Hotel, which is a nice hotel with a bus station on the opposite side of the street. From there you need about 30 min by public transport. A bit longer if you stop in the middle to grab some breakfast and some food for the day 😉

This year we decided to rent a car and switch therefore also hotels. After staying for at least for the last 4-5 years at the Webers, this year our part-time home will be the Premiere Classe Düsseldorf-Ratingen. According to Google Maps, it is 12-26 min away from Messe Essen. Unfortunately, the hotel doesn’t have a gym, but I think running around the convention for 4 days is a good substitute for a gym 😉

The Journey

Breaking not only the hotel tradition we decided on arriving this year one day earlier. Not only because Air Berlin is canceling a lot of flights these days, but also to be able to get the rental car and to have less stress on the first day of Die Spiel. The plan is to get on board of a plan on Wednesday at 12:40, arrive in Düsseldorf at 14:20, get the rental car, check in to the hotel and make some shopping for the next 4 days. And by shopping, I mean filling up our trolleys with food, drinks, and snacks so that we survive the days at convention without too much interruption like looking for food 😉

Yes, that may sound extreme, but come on, we have to break the record of 47 games. That is an insane number of board games that want to be play-tested and we have to make use of any minute we can find.

The Tech Equipment

Thanks to Data Roaming in the EU we probably don’t really need a Wifi router, but nevertheless, it will be still part of our luggage just because it always is. In addition to the Wifi Router we are bringing:

  • My Sony Alpha 6000 Camera
  • iPhones, at least 4
  • iPad for voting
  • Selfie Stick
  • 2 Battery Packs

The Voting

In order to know which games we played, and which has been really good so that they even have earned a special place in our luggage, we implemented a voting system for each and every game. Every one of us — Ania, Tom, Gerwin and I — are giving our votes after each played game. Which means that after 4 days of play-testing we have a great and detailed overview of the board games and their overall score.

In order for you to better visualize this voting system I’ll share with you our last years’ list: 

This year we will be using exactly the same system. I think the list is more than enough for us to be able to decide which games are worthy and will be taken back home 😉

Goodie Bags for Trainees

Most people would think that one of the most important things at Die Spiel in Essen are the board games. But that’s not entirely true. At least as important or even more important are the trainees who are responsible for the rules explanation. A great and super engaged person can make a shitty game look like the best thing you’ve played during the 4 days, whilst a super dull person can destroy even the best game for you so that you won’t be willing to play it anytime soon.

We know how exhausting and unnerving it can be to explain the same couple of games over and over again, four days long. It probably feels like The Groundhog Day with Bill Murray during the whole convention. And because our goal is to have fun but also to be super efficient in play-testing, we cherish the trainees that not only explain the rules extremely good but also are at the same time super funny and are totally in the role, we started to bring them some goodies.

Going confirm with our traditions we will keep this one alife and bring also this year goodie bags for the best performing trainees at Die Spiel 2017 in Essen.

The Board Game list aka Bogam

In order to know which games we want to play at Die Spiel in Essen we need to know what will be offered. But if you have ever been interested in numbers, you probably know that during the last couple of years it has been more than 800 board games. Yes, more than 800 board games are being presented every year at Die Spiel. So the big question is: how do you know which games there even will be?

There is a list from Merz Verlag with all the new games titles, but honestly, if you take a look you will probably figure out pretty quick that you have a lot more fun things to do, then to go through this list.

There is also a list from BoardGameGeek which is way better because at least you can check out the ratings from BGG. But still, there is no way how you can mark the games that you would like to check out or even play in Essen.

And the best thing would be to have a list with all the new games that will be presented, the boardgamegeek rating, some pictures from the game a description and of course the location of the booth, where the game will be presented.

You know what? There is a solution for that! And it is called Bogam!

Bogam is an app built by Gerwin Brunner, a naturally born BoardGameGeek. This app combines a visual list of all new board games, that will be presented at Die Spiel in Essen as well as the most important details for each game. In addition, you have the possibility to “vote” for board games, so that you know, which ones you want to check out at the convention. It’s an easy Tinder-like way, where you determine with one thumbs-up that you like the game and one thumbs-down, that you wouldn’t mind skipping the game at the convention.

If you ask yourself why you should be in need of this app, then you probably have never been at Die Spiel in Essen before. It’s pure chaos combined with useless paper-printed lists and crappy venue plans. If you want to be prepared and use your precious time with the biggest efficiency, you want to know which games are on your “Must Play” list. And that’s exactly where Bogam solves your problem.

If you are curious just give it a try: Bogam

You can use Bogam on your Desktop where your screen will be split up into 3 columns. In the left column, you will have all the games you haven’t voted for yet. In the middle, you will have the current game you can vote on with all the needed information like Players, Play Time, Age, Availability, Author & Designer as well as categories for the game. In addition, you will be presented with a short description of the game and of course the BoardGameGeek Rating. 

Bogam is implemented responsive, which means that although you will have only one column on your mobile phone, you can vote on your games without any trouble. 

If you’ll try out Bogam we are more than happy to hear from you how you liked it.

The weekend after Die Spiel 2017

You might think that playing 4 days in a row over 40 board games would be enough for a group of 4 BoardGameGeeks.

Well, it’s not 😉 And that’s the reason why we take the weekend after Die Spiel in Essen off and book a small cottage in Almdorf Seinerzeit. Packing our newly bought board games and our precious Akitas we spend four easy going and stress-free gaming days, during which we can really relax and enjoy the games.

Let’s hope that Die Spiel 2017 will be as amazing as the last couple of years and that we will come home with a bunch of great games.


Top 5 Games at Die Spiel 2016 in Essen

Although we have bought 4 board games and 4 extension in Essen at Die Spiel 2016, we also want to talk about the top 5 games of Die Spiel 2016. And yes, they differ from the games we have bought — but that’s a different topic 😉

  • best mechanic:
  • luck based game:

Best card game

Aeons End – card – driven game

Best new mechanic

As for this category I would nominee Ave Roma as the one game that had the newest mechanic, within the games we played at Die Spiel and shortly afterwards.

Best two-player board game

Best cooperative board game

Captain Sonar

  • Vanuatu 1.25  – role selection
  • Terraforming Mars 2 -card driven +  engine building games – you get rid of crads and get new abilities
  • Captain Sonar: coop: team vs. team 2
  • Adrenaline: 1.75 – best first-person shooter as a board game
  • London Dread: coop: cooperative 2 combination of clock/hour based movements
  • Kanagawa 1.25 -set collection – best in-between game
  • Scythe 2 – game with the most and coolest components
  • Great Western Trail 1.5 – new mechanic: the board is changing because of the buildings you are building during the game (only the once with buildings are being counted)
  • Aeons End 2 – coop + card driven: mech: how to decide on who is the next player – random turn order, you can decide on yourself how you put your discard pile together
  • Guilds of London 2 –
  • Via Nebula 1.5 – —
  • Ave Roma 1.5 – all workers can being used by all players …
  • Colonist 1.75 —-

Best Strategic Board Game

And the winner is … Scythe designed by Jamey Stegmaier and published by Stonemaier Games.

Scythe is in my opinion the best strategic board game of Die Spiel 2016 in Essen because of its combination of strategy and worker/mech placement. Depending on the mechs you build first you are limited to the actions you make take during your next turn. And this makes this game at the top of the highly strategic board games. Every player starts with different resources, which makes each of the players special.

In addition to the great mechanic the board itself as well as the components are amazingly beautiful and thought through. Each player has his own unique set of components, which differ not only in colour but also in design.

The one thing that I like about Scythe is that it’s one of those games, where you would really like to have more actions to take, because you definitely can’t decide on which you would benefit from the most.

Most aggressive board game

vanuatuAlthough it definitely doesn’t like the most aggressive board game, you shouldn’t underestimate the power of Vanuatu to break up friendship, couples or even family!

The game itself looks more like a children’s game because of all the colourful components and the beautifully crafted board. BUT be aware of playing this game with sensitive people who don’t grab the phrase “winning is not everything”.

The thing is that the game itself is not from the base bad blood. But if you really want to win or at least have a chance of doing something, you sometimes, or more or less all the time have to play against other players. And by that I mean destroy their plans totally, so that they are not able to do anything useful during the current round. But believe me, that same will happen when it’s your turn and you have everything planned out perfectly. One wrong turn, one bad move, one overthought plan and everything goes totally not the way you have planned it.


Die Spiel 2016 — Day #4

Die Spiel 2016 — Day #4 in Essen

Sunday = the last day at Die Spiel 2016 — Day #4. That’s normally the day where I can’t get my head around any further explanations, miss Die Spiel already and am eager to play through one game until the end. But it’s also a great day, because it seems that less people tend to come on a Sunday to Die Spiel. Which is absolutely amazing — more cool games for us to play.

Our Agenda

The agenda :

  • we woke up at 6 a.m., well at least some of us 😉
  • took the bus to Martinstraße at 7:54 a.m.
  • went for breakfast at 8ish a.m. at Back Bord. This time only two of us because Ania & Tom went for a geo cache 🙂
  • went to a bakery which has open on Sunday, ate a small breakfast and organised food for everybody.
  • entered the famous halls of Die Spiel at about 9:15 a.m.
  • managed to play 10 more games
  • left the convention at 6 p.m. to go back to our hotel The Webers
  • rearranged our luggage, grabbed a pre-booked cab and drove to the airport
  • took the flight at 9:25 p.m.
  • landed in Vienna & grabbed a Uber to bring us home
  • arrived home with a bunch of new games
  • went to bed hopefully that our dreams will be filled with pirates, jinns, sheeps, taverns and of course beer.

10 Games on the 4th Day of Die Spiel 2016

We managed to play 10 games on the last day at “Die Spiel”. If you need a reminder what our rating system looks like, here it is:

  • 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

Here is the list of those games:

  1. Captains of the Golden Age
    Designer: Aron Groot, Niek Jansma
    Publisher: Golden Age Games
    Players: 2-4
    Our ratings: 2,25
  2. Aladdin & The Magic Lamp
    Designer: Tiago Damey
    Publisher: IELLO, Purple Brain Creations
    Players: 2-5
    Our rating: 1,75
  3. Edenia
    Designer: Mathieu Lanvin
    Publisher: BLAM !
    Players: 2-4
    Our rating: 2,5
  4. Bios: Genesis
    Designer: Phil Eklund
    Publisher: Sierra Madre Games
    Players: 1-4
    Our rating: 3,67
  5. Inis
    Designer: Christian Martinez
    Publisher: Matagot, Pegasus Spiele
    Players: 2-4
    Our rating: 2,25
  6. The Dragon and the Flagon
    Designer: Brian Engelstein, Geoff Engelstein, Sydney Engelstein
    Publisher: Stronghold Games
    Players: 2-8
    Our rating: 3
  7. Mystic Vale
    Designer: John D. Clair
    Publisher: Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG), Pegasus Spiele
    Players: 2-4
    Our rating: 3,75
  8. Scythe
    Designer: Jamey Stegmaier
    Publisher: Ghenos Games, Maldito Games, Morning, PHALANX, Stonemaier Games
    Players: 1-5
    Our rating: 2
  9. Fields of Green
    Designer: Vangelis Bagiartakis
    Publisher: Artipia Games, Stronghold Games
    Players: 2-4
    Our rating: 2,5
  10. London Dread
    Designer: Asger Johansen
    Publisher: Grey Fox Games
    Players: 2-4
    Our rating:2

So lets talk about Gerwin’s and my top 3 picks of the fourth day in Essen at Die Spiel 2016.

Kasia’s Top 3 Games at Die Spiel 2016 — Day #4

I’ll start with my picks in descending order.

Day #4 — Game #3

One of my favourite games of the fourth day in Essen was Fields of Green.

It’s a 2-4 player game where you play a farmer who tries to expand his own properties. It is a nice and relatively quick game. Also good as an in between game.

 

Day #4 — Game #2

My second favourite game of the fourth day in Essen was London Dread.

Die Spiel 2016 — Day #4Although we had London Dread on our yesterdays list, we managed to play the first round on Sunday. Which btw. was a good decision, because that’s the reason why it landed in our luggage on our way home. It is a really nice game with a new mechanic that is a lot of fun. We got our explanation directly from the designer, which is always a nice touch *fanalert*. A co-operative game with a really cool theme.

Day #4 — Game #1

My top pick of the third day in Essen was Scythe.

Die Spiel 2016 — Day #4After play-testing the game about 1,5 years ago with our own print-out components and board, we were really eager to check out the “real” Scythe board game. And I have to admit, they’ve overdone themselves. The board looks great, the components are amazing, the player tableaus are awesome! And a thing that I really liked about the components is that although each and every player has the same types of “workers”, everyones look different. Definitely one of my favourite games of this year.

Gerwin’s Top 3 Games at Die Spiel 2016 — Day #4

Beneath you can find Gerwin’s top 3 games of the fourth day in Essen.

Day #4 — Game #3

Die Spiel 2016 — Day #4

Gerwin’s 3rd place goes to Inis.

This game has a super interesting card drafting, area control and tile placement mix that makes it unique and standing out. It is really cut-throat at times and may upset players. Especially the various ways to win are really nice.

Day #4 — Game #2

Die Spiel 2016 — Day #4On the 2nd place of Gerwin’s list is Scythe.

In this alternate 1920s Europe you take command of one of five factions and try to secure land around a mysterious old factory. Each faction has it’s own special skills and abilities. This is an impressive worker placement game with incredible components.

Day #4 — Game #1

Die Spiel 2016 — Day #4Gerwin’s top pick of the day was also London Dread.

In this victorian based co-op game you try to prevent bad things to happen by discovering the evil plot and preventing it to unfold. The game basically happens over a 12 minute “real” time period. This is so much fun!
It was an instant buy for me 🙂

Top Rules Explanation

Die Spiel 2016 — Day #4

On the fourth day we had definitely a favourite rules explainer. I always said that the best explanee is the game designer himself. And that’s what happened during our second try of London Dread. The game designer himself —Asger Johansen—  explained the game to us — and it was a lot of fun.

  • Asger — Grey Fox Games — London Dread

And of course we also got an autogram on our newly bought copy of London Dread 😉

Die Spiel 2016 — The End

So that’s it. Once again the 4 days at Die Spiel 2016 in Essen have passed too fast.

It has been amazing, exhausting, funny and somehow also relaxing.

Thanks for having us & good night and see you around.

Btw. if you are curious which board games landed in our luggage and have a new home in Vienna, stay tuned and check out our next blog post.

Stay Up-To-Date

Curious what happened 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.

Check out our YouTube Channel


Die Spiel 2016 in Essen

Die Spiel 2016 — Day #3 in Essen

Saturday was Die Spiel 2016 — Day #3 and I have to admit: I’m getting pretty tired. But the first game we picked for today was one of the many Escape the Room games presented at Die Spiel 2016 and kick-started my inner me. Definitely a good start into the third gaming day in Essen.

Our Agenda

Here is how our day looked like — it seems it was almost the same agenda as Friday:

  • we woke up at 6 a.m., well at least some of us 😉
  • took the bus to Martinstraße at 7:54 a.m.
  • went for breakfast at 8ish a.m. at Back Bord: a really great place to have some good breakfast — they even have soy milk
  • made a short stop at a REWE supermarket to grab some food for lunch and some Red Bull for the not so interesting explanations
  • entered the famous halls of Die Spiel at about 9:15 a.m.
  • managed to play once again 14 games
  • went at 7:30 p.m. out to grab some food at Hudsons Metropolitan Bar
  • got at 10 p.m. back to the hotel — The Webers as usual
  • filmed the YouTube video “Top 3 picks of Day #3 at Die Spiel 2016
  • and finally went to bed and dreamed of Gods, wine, pixies and mines.

14 Games on the 3rd Day of Die Spiel 2016

We managed to play 14 games on our third day at “Die Spiel”. And don’t forget our rating mechanism:

  • 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

Here is the list of those games:

  1. Escape The Room
    Designer: Roberto Fraga, Yohan Lemonnier
    Publisher: Matagot
    Players: 2-8
    Our ratings: 2,75
  2. Mines of Ōlnäk
    Designer: Jonathan Frenay, Raphaël Helaers
    Publisher: Morning
    Players: 2-4
    Our rating: 2,25
  3. 4 Gods
    Designer: Christophe Boelinger
    Publisher: Asmodee, Conclave Editora, Ludically
    Players: 2-4
    Our rating: 3,75
  4. Adrenaline
    Designer: Filip Neduk
    Publisher: Czech Games Edition, REBEL.pl
    Players: 3-5
    Our rating: 1,75
  5. Colony
    Designer: Ted Alspach, Toryo Hojo, N2
    Publisher: Bézier Games, Inc.
    Players: 1-4
    Our rating: 2,5
  6. Microworld
    Designer: Martino Chiacchiera
    Publisher: Cranio Creations, Heidelberger Spieleverlag
    Players: 2
    Our rating: 4
  7. Via Nebula
    Designer: Martin Wallace
    Publisher: REBEL.pl, Space Cowboys
    Players: 2-4
    Our rating: 1,5
  8. Crisis
    Designer: Pantelis Bouboulis, Sotirios Tsantilas
    Publisher: LudiCreations
    Players: 1-5
    Our rating: 2,75
  9. Ominoes
    Designer: Andrew Harman
    Publisher: YAY Games
    Players: 2-4
    Our rating: 3,5
  10. Vinhos
    Designer: Vital Lacerda
    Publisher: Eagle-Gryphon GamesSpieleverlagLucrum Games
    Players: 1-4
    Our rating:2
  11. Lisboa
    Designer: Vital Lacerda
    Publisher: Eagle-Gryphon Games
    Players: 1-4
    Our rating: 1,75
  12. Ave Roma
    Designer:Attila Szőgyi
    Publisher: A-games (Board Game)
    Players: 2-5
    Our rating: 1,5
  13. Pixie Queen
    Designer: Rudy Seuntjens
    Publisher: Game Brewer
    Players: 2-5
    Our rating: 2
  14. London Dread
    Designer: Asger Johansen
    Publisher: Grey Fox Games
    Players: 2-4
    Our rating: 2

So lets talk about Gerwin’s and my top 3 picks of the third day in Essen at Die Spiel 2016.

Kasia’s Top 3 Games at Die Spiel 2016 — Day #3

I’ll start with my picks in descending order.

Day #3 — Game #3

One of my favourite games of the third day in Essen was Crisis.

Die Spiel 2016 — Day #3It’s a dark themed worker placement game where you are not only confronted with one crisis but with three: economic, social, and political. By investing in companies, trading resources and skilfully placing your managers, you are trying to rebuild your businesses.

 

Day #3 — Game #2

My second favourite game of the third day in Essen was Via Nebula.

It is a 2-4 player game with a play time of around 45 min per game. The think that I liked most about Via Nebula is that you have to cooperate temporarily with each other to help each other to build new structures. But it’s definitely not a cooperative game — so there is only one winner at the end.

Day #3 — Game #1

My top pick of the third day in Essen was Ave Roma.

Die Spiel 2016 — Day #3It is a 2-5 player worker placement game where you have to place your workers based on their abilities. These abilities depend on your previous decisions. In the game there are some new mechanics which make the game really interesting. You can win the game by building buildings, supporting war, convincing patrons, obtaining influenc and getting money and resources. The funny thing about the game is that you don’t have your own workers in your own colour. But you are sharing all the workers with all your opponents. This is a nice and new twist to a worker placement game. Also the components were really nice and the board is something special, because it’s round 🙂

Gerwin’s Top 3 Games at Die Spiel 2016 — Day #3

Beneath you can find Gerwin’s top 3 games of the third day in Essen.

Day #3 — Game #3

Die Spiel 2016 — Day #3

Gerwin’s 3rd place goes to Via Nebula — a pick-up and delivery game.

In this game you build transportation routes to resources and try to use them before your fellow players will.
If you manage to construct buildings and fulfil lucrative contracts you will be on a good path to receive the most victory points and win the game.

Day #3 — Game #2

Die Spiel 2016 — Day #3On the 2nd place of Gerwin’s list is Crisis.

In crisis you operate a cooperation during rough times and try to maneuver into a better, brighter and more profitable future. You place your managers (workers) to do various tasks to get the company back on track while trying to keep the whole economy a float.

Day #3 — Game #1

Die Spiel 2016 — Day #3Gerwins top pick of the day was also Adrenaline.

Best first person shooter as a board game. Period.
It plays and feels like the good old days of Counter Strike. Pick up a weapon, ammo and blast away at your opponents. It’s super fast paced and a lot of fun if you are comfortable with blasting away bots 🙂

Btw. we mentioned London Dread in our YouTube video, but we only “saw” it shortly on Saturday. But the good thing is that we managed to play the first round on Sunday. Curious what we think about this game? Check out our next Blog Post “Die Spiel 2016 — Day #4 in Essen”.

Top Rules Explanation

On the third day all the rules explainers had a really hard job to get on the list. The reason for that is Paul. He is one of the best, oh come on who am I kidding, THE BEST rules explainer on earth. Funny, quick, focused and gets you to love the games he is presenting, because he makes it really fun.

  • Paul — Czech Games Edition — Adrenaline

And the funny thing is that we met Paul in the evening during dinner time at Hudsons Metropolitan Bar and we had a really cool chat about board games, creating and designing them and explanations.

Good night and see you around.

Stay Up-To-Date

Curious what happened 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.

Check out our YouTube Channel


Die Spiel 2016 — Day #2 in Essen

Friday was Die Spiel 2016 — Day #2 and in my opinion it was even more crowded than on Thursday. It seems that Die Spiel is getting more popular each year. And that of course is great, because this is the reasn why it is getting bigger each year. But on the other hand, more people means less possibilities to test play the really popular or most anticipated games of the year.

Our Agenda

Here is how our day looked like:

  • we woke up at 6 a.m., well at least some of us 😉
  • took the bus to Martinstraße at 7:54 a.m.
  • went for breakfast at 8ish a.m. at Back Bord: a really great place to have some good breakfast — they even have soy milk
  • made a short stop at a REWE supermarket to grab some food for lunch and some Red Bull for the not so interesting explanations
  • entered the famous halls of Die Spiel at about 9:15 a.m.
  • managed to play 14 games
  • went at 7:10 p.m. out to grab some food at Meat Meet: best burgers I’ve eaten in a long time — miss you Shake Shack
  • got at 9 p.m. back to the hotel — The Webers as usual
  • filmed the YouTube video “Top 3 picks of Day #2 at Die Spiel 2016
  • and finally went to bed and dreamed of paintings, tourists, treasure chests and flowers

14 Games on the 2nd Day of Die Spiel 2016

We managed to play 14 games on our second day at “Die Spiel”. And don’t forget our rating mechanism:

  • 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

Here is the list of those games:

  1. Captain Sonar
    Designer: Roberto Fraga, Yohan Lemonnier
    Publisher: Matagot
    Players: 2-8
    Our ratings: 2
  2. Capital
    Designer: Filip Miłuński
    Publisher: Granna
    Players: 2-4
    Our rating: 3,5
  3. Area 51
    Designer: Stefan Alexander
    Publisher: Mücke Spiele
    Players: 2-6
    Our rating: 2,5
  4. Kanagawa
    Designer:Bruno Cathala, Charles Chevallier
    Publisher: IELLO
    Players: 2-4
    Our rating: 1,25
  5. Aeons End
    Designer: Kevin Riley
    Publisher: Action Phase Games, Indie Boards & Cards
    Players: 1-4
    Our rating: 2
  6. Key to the City — London
    Designer: Sebastian Bleasdale, Richard Breese
    Publisher: R&D Games, Game Salute, Hutter Trade GmbH + Co KG,Quined Games
    Players: 2-6
    Our rating: 4
  7. Vanuatu
    Designer: Alain Epron
    Publisher: Quined Games
    Players: 2-5
    Our rating: 1,25
  8. Seafall
    Designer: Rob Daviau, JR Honeycutt
    Publisher: IronWall Games, Galápagos Jogos, Heidelberger Spieleverlag,Plaid Hat Games
    Players: 3-5
    Our rating: 2,25
  9. Mare Nostrum
    Designer: Serge Laget
    Publisher: Academy GamesASYNCRON gamesEdiciones MasQueOcaGiochix.itPHALANXSchwerkraft-Verlag
    Players: 2-5
    Our rating: 3,5
  10. Unusual Suspects
    Designer: Paolo Mori
    Publisher: Cranio Creations999 GamesCool Mini Or NotEdge EntertainmentGalápagos JogosHeidelberger SpieleverlagLucrum Games
    Players: 3-18
    Our rating: 3,75
  11. Martians: A Story of Civilization
    Designer: Grzegorz Okliński, Krzysztof Wolicki
    Publisher: REDIMP GAMES
    Players: 1-4
    Our rating: 2,5
  12. Guilds of London
    Designer: Tony Boydell
    Publisher: 2Tomatoes, Czacha Games, Frosted Games, Surprised Stare Games Ltd, Tasty Minstrel Games
    Players: 1-4
    Our rating: 2
  13. Banana Bandits
    Designer: Edward Chan
    Publisher: Capstone HK Ltd., Mandoo Games, Swan Panasia Co., Ltd.
    Players: 2-4
    Our rating: 4
  14. Cottage Garden
    Designer: Uwe Rosenberg
    Publisher: Edition Spielwiese, White Goblin Games
    Players: 1-4
    Our rating: 2,25

So lets talk about Gerwin’s and my top 3 picks of the second day in Essen at Die Spiel 2016.

Kasia’s Top 3 Games at Die Spiel 2016 — Day #2

I’ll start with my picks in descending order.

Day #2 — Game #3

One of my favourite games of the second day in Essen was Captain Sonar.

Die Spiel 2016 — Day #2It is a 2-8 player game with a cooperative character. And by that I mean that you are playing in teams versus each other by taking on different roles of a submarine crew. Your main goal is to be organised and to coordinate all the tasks you need to bring down your opponents’ submarine. And don’t forget that the captain may be the captain. But even a captain is nothing without his crew.

Day #2 — Game #2

My second favourite game of the second day in Essen was Guilds of London.

It is a 3-4 player game with a play time of around 45 min per game. In Guilds of London, you mainly place your liverymen in strategic Guilds, building your power base, so that you can achieve the status of Master in many of them.

What I liked about the game is that it is pretty easy to explain, therefore it is a good game for beginners and friends who are not that into board games.

Day #2 — Game #1

My top pick of the second day in Essen was Vanuatu.

It is a 2-5 player game where you have to go fishing, dive for treasure chests, please your tourists, build houses and try to make money by selling your fish. During the test playing in Essen at Die Spiel 2016 I liked the game pretty good. The design and the components are beautiful. The colours are unusual, which made the game for me even more interesting.

Gerwin’s Top 3 Games at Die Spiel 2016 — Day #2

Beneath you can find Gerwin’s top 3 games of the second day in Essen.

Day #2 — Game #3

Die Spiel 2016 — Day #2

Gerwin’s 3rd place goes to Captain Sonar — a really fun, team game.

This game is stressful. Really stressful! Two submarines battle against each other and try to sink their counterpart. Each team splits responsibilities into four roles: Captain, first mate, radio operator and engineer. This game is a lot of fun and can get really loud.

Day #2 — Game #2

On the 2nd place of Gerwin’s list is Seafall.

This is the newest legacy game from Rob Dabviau which made us very curious. You control ships and explore the uncharted sea while you trade goods and try to get more influential.  It is up to you ff you want to be fair and trade with the natives or rob them. But this behaviour will shape your character for future games.

Day #2 — Game #1

Gerwins top pick of the day was also Aeons End.

In a fantasy world you try to stop one of several dark enemies by using magic and helping each other to create great combo effects. Aeons End is a deck building game with several interesting twists.  My favourite mechanic is that you can arrange the cards that you discard in any way you want. Since they are not shuffled this lets you define the order you pick them up later – very, very cool.

Top Rules Explanation

On the second day the best rules explanations were provided by the following people:

  • David — Iello — Kanagawa

Good night and see you around.

Stay Up-To-Date

Curious what happened 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.

Check out our YouTube Channel


Cry Havoc — Die Spiel 2016 — Day #1

Die Spiel 2016 — Day #1 in Essen

The first day of Die Spiel 2016 — Day #1 was amazing but really exhausting. Normally the first day is the least crowded day of the whole “Die Spiel” but this year it seemed to be even more crowded than a typical Saturday from previous years.

Our Agenda

Here is how our day looked like:

  • we woke up at 4 a.m.
  • got picked up at 5 a.m.
  • boarded the plane at 6 a.m.
  • landed in Düsseldorf at 8 a.m.-ish
  • got picked up after the landing at the airport and
  • got dropped off at Die Messe in Essen at sharp 9:15 a.m.!
  • 9.15 a.m. – 7 p.m. we played, we won, we lost and had a lot of fun
  • 8 p.m. back at the hotel
  • created the YouTube video “Top 3 picks of Day #1 at Die Spiel 2016”
  • dreamed of dragons, monsters, railroads and saving the world

High above — Die Spiel 2016 — Day #1

9 Games on the 1st Day of Die Spiel 2016

We managed to play 9 games on our first day at “Die Spiel”. Here is the list of those games:

  1. Great Western Trail
    Designer: Alexander Pfister
    Publisher: eggertspiele, 999 Games, Pegasus Spiele, Stronghold Games
    Players: 2-4
  2. Jórvík
    Designer: Stefan Feld
    Publisher: eggertspiele, Pegasus Spiele, Stronghold Games, uplay.it edizioni
    Players: 2-4
  3. Diamant
    Designer: Bruno Faidutti, Alan R. Moon
    Publisher: Devir, IELLO, Lautapelit.fi, Schmidt Spiele
    Players: 3-8
  4. The Oracle of Delphi:
    Designer: Stefan Feld
    Publisher: Fullcap Games, Hall Games, LudoSentinel, Pegasus Spiele, Tasty Minstrel Games
    Players: 2-4
  5. Sherlock 13
    Designer: Hope S. Hwang
    Publisher: BoardM Factory, Broadway Toys LTD, Magpie (Korean Co)
    Players: 2-4
  6. Oceanos
    Designer: Antoine Bauza
    Publisher: Devir, IELLO, uplay.it edizioni
    Players: 2-5
  7. Sea of Clouds
    Designer: Théo Rivière
    Publisher: IELLO, uplay.it edizioni
    Players: 2-4
  8. Cry Havoc
    Designer: Grant Rodiek, Michał Oracz, Michał Walczak
    Publisher: Portal Games
    Players: 2-4
  9. 51st State
    Designer: Ignacy Trzewiczek
    Publisher: Portal Games, IELLO, Toy Vault, Inc.
    Players: 2-4

So lets talk about Gerwin’s and my top 3 picks of the first day in Essen at Die Spiel 2016.

Kasia’s Top 3 Games at Die Spiel 2016 — Day #1

I’ll start with my picks in descending order.

Day #1 — Game #3

One of my favourite games of the first day in Essen was Diamant.

DiamantIt is a 3-8 player game and a what I like to call in-between game. Which basically means that you can even play it in between two other games. Or if somebody has to check his e-mails or go with the dogs for a walk, you can easily squeeze it in. Or especially when the evening is almost over and you still don’t really want to go home but also don’t want to start the next 2 hours game, you can manage to play a round of Diamant. You could easily compare it with Celestia.

Day #1 — Game #2

My second favourite game of the first day in Essen was Sea of Clouds.

Sea of CloudsIt is a 2-4 player game with a play time of around 45 min per game. You are the captain of a pirate ship and each round you are gathering shares of Loot and also send your pirates to plunder the treasures of other ships.

What I liked most about this game is that it’s a fun and quick game with an amazingly beautiful design.

Day #1 — Game #1

My top pick of the first day in Essen was Great Western Trail.

Great Western TrailIt is a 2-4 player game where you have to herd your cattle from Texas to Kansas City trying to make as much money as possible. It is a fun theme and somehow a “newish” design and mechanic. And that’s the part that I liked most about this game.

Gerwin’s Top 3 Games at Die Spiel 2016 — Day #1

Beneath you can find Gerwins top 3 games of the first day in Essen.

Day #1 — Game #3

Sea of CloudsGerwins 3rd place goes to Sea of Clouds — a really neat, quick game.

It was my #2 so you can find the short description of the game above. Still a game that is on both our top 3 games of a day list is probably one that we will end up buying.

Day #1 — Game #2

On the 2nd place of Gerwins list is 51st State.

It is a 2-4 player game with mechanics  51st Statesimilar to Imperial Settlers but with a more interaction. It’s based in an dark post-apocalyptic setting where you try to build the most effective  economic engine with your faction.

For me personally it was too close to Imperial Settlers with a not so appealing theme.

Day #1 — Game #1

Great Western TrailGerwins top pick of the day was also Great Western Trail.
The think he liked most was the innovative tile laying mechanic that changes the possible routes you can take.

At least one thing that we are agreeing on 😉

Games Gallery


Top Rules Explanation

Because we are having a hard time schedule during those four days and we only want to test-play as many games as possible, one of the really important things is, to grab the rules as quick as possible. And that for a really good rules explanation is essential. That’s why we have our goodie-bag for rules explainers with us. Each guy or girl who is able to explain the rules really quick and can also teleport us into the game theme gets Mannerschnitten as a small thank you. We know that it is really exhausting to have to explain the same rules to thousands of people on four days in a row. That’s exactly why we think that those people deserve some recognition.

So here are the 3 best rules-explainers of the day:

  • David — Iello — Diamant
  • Frederico  — Stronghold Games— Jórvík
  • Alexis — Iello — Sea of Clouds

At the end of a day at Die Spiel you can only hope that you will dream of gathering resources, fighting villains and surviving on foreign planets.

Good night and see you around.

Stay Up-To-Date

Curious what happened 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.

Check out our YouTube Channel


board game voting

4 Days, 4 nerds & 47 board games at “Die Spiel” 2015

As you probably already know, especially when you are interested in board games, there is one of the biggest board game conventions in this universe that takes place in the small town called Essen, in Germany. “Die Spiel” is an enormous 4-day event where board game geeks and all who want to become one are more than welcome to spend their time trying out the newly published games of that year.

In the year 2015 there have been over 800 new games. And yes, that’s a lot and pretty much not doable in 4 days. But although we weren’t able to play even a small amount of all these games, we managed to play at least around 5% of them. Which btw. broke our record from the previous year.

47 games in 4 days

What?! You probably ask yourself how did we manage to play even those 47 games.

The answer is no big secret: we are “only” test-playing the games. That means that we hardly ever finish a game. We ask the amazing staff at the game publishers booths to explain the rules to us, we play 2-4 rounds and then move on to the next adventure. This basically means that we need probably an average 30-50 min per game.

And that’s the secret of how to play 47 games in only 35 h of gaming time.

If you want to know which games we managed to play, prepare yourself and grab some milk and cookies, because the list is looooong.

“Die Spiel” 2015 — Day 1

The first day of “Die Spiel” is always really exhausting and here is the reason why:

  • getting up at 3:30 a.m.
  • packing all the stuff and once again checking the weather
  • being ready for cab pick-up at 5 a.m.
  • boarding the plane at 6:20 a.m.
  • pick-up from Düsseldorf airport at 8 a.m.
  • ETA at the convention center at approximately 9 a.m.
  • playing at least 10 games in 9 hours
  • grabbing something to eat at 7 p.m.

The part that will interest you the most is probably the part between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m., so let’s talk board games.

In the list below you can find all the board games we played on Day #1 at “Die Spiel 2015” in Essen, linked to the corresponding BoardGameGeek site. Next to the board game you’ll find the score that we — Ania, Tom, Gerwin and I — rated the games with. And btw. the lower the score the better the game:

So 12 games on the first day — that’s not too bad 😉

The winner of Day #1 at “Die Spiel” 2015 was Marco Polo.

“Die Spiel” 2015 — Day #2

The second day was definitely more fun, especially after the first very exhausting one. So long story short — here comes the list of the games we managed to play on the 2nd day:

13 board games we tested on the 2nd day. That’s definitely not bad!

The winners of Day #2 at “Die Spiel” 2015 was Mysterium & CS Files, both with a score of 1,25.

“Die Spiel” 2015 — Day #3

The 3rd day is always getting really crowded. A lot of families with their children come to play and you have the feeling that it can’t get even worse. But it can. You should time your toilette breaks really carefully, because you will stand in line for at least 15 min — well at least when you’re a “lady” 😉

So without further instructions, here is the list of all the games from the 3rd, very exhausting day of “Die Spiel” 2015:

11 games in total on the 3rd day of Essen. I think we are getting a little bit tired 😉

The winner of Day #3 at “Die Spiel 2015” was Orléans & Time Stories, both with a score of 1,25.

“Die Spiel” 2015 — Day #4

The convention ends with the 4th day and 11 played board games. Well let’s say 10, because we didn’t really play Trickerion — just got a short explanation.

Here’s the list of all played games on the last day of “Die Spiel 2015”:

The winner of Day #4 at “Die Spiel 2015” was Viticulture Essential Edition with a score of 1,5.

Top 5 Games of “Die Spiel” 2015

Out of those four days and the scoring of four people, here are the top 5 games of “Die Spiel” 2015:

My personal voting after having played those games several times would be the following:

  • Marco Polo
  • Viticulture Essential Edition
  • Time Stories

“Die Spiel” — Best Games 2015

“Die Spiel 2016”

Die Spiel 2016 is coming up and we are going to Essen for four days with almost empty luggage, conquering as much villains and monsters as possible and returning home with our luggage full of great new board games.

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

Check out our YouTube Channel:


Best Games 2015

The 5 Board Game Voting Categories

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.

Check out our YouTube Channel


Marco Polo

Preparing for Die Spiel 2016 in Essen

000 days 00 hours 00 minutes 00 seconds

left until Die Spiel 2016 in Essen

Why Essen?

Maybe you ask yourself why we are planning to leave Vienna — the beautiful capital of Austria —  to go for a four day trip to Essen in Germany to visit Die Spiel 2016?

Well, there are basically more than 800 reasons to go there. More than 800 games will be presented by the publishers during one of the biggest board game conventions on this planet. “Die Spiel 2016” in Essen, Germany is a 4-day event, where over 150.000 board game lovers attend and play newly published board games.

So our plan is to fly on Thursday morning very, very early from Vienna to Düsseldorf. Then take a cab directly to Messe in Essen, where “Die Spiel” takes place.

Over the last couple of years we steadily increased the number of games we were able to test play during those 4 days.

So no wonder, we are eager to break the last years record again 😉

When playing a game, the goal is to win, but it is the goal that is important, not the winning.

Reiner Knizia

Our goal at Die Spiel 2016 in Essen

Wanting to win is definitely a great goal, especially while trying to kick your opponents butt very badly.

But in Essen at “Die Spiel” there is no time for winning. Each and every year we are trying to test play as many games as possible. Which basically means that we have no time to finish each and every game. So, no end of game, no winner of the game.

But that’s ok. We still have a lot of fun. And as mentioned our main goal is not winning, but trying out as many new games as possible. Especially figuring out, which of those precious games, will be travelling with us back to Vienna. The second part is probably the much harder part, because of the stupid limitation of luggage weight on airplanes ;-).

How do we prepare?

There are some things that have to be done before we even board the plane, like deciding which games we want to test play. We also have to remind each other that we don’t have the time, to finish each and every game. So let’s take a closer look at the rules and preparations for Die Spiel. 

The What-to-Play List

First of all we are putting together a “What we have to play in Essen” list. Most of the time this list contains of new games from our favourite publishers and game designers. But also games that managed to grab our interest in one way or another.

According to our list we are trying to fit as many games as possible into one day. Unfortunately “Die Spiel” is only open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.. But that’s the only way how we get at least some sleep ;-).

Never Finish a Game

Trying to coordinate four people in 5 amazingly big halls, while trying to find free spots for the games we want to play is really exhausting, especially if done for 4 days in a row.

“Never play the game until the end.” That’s basically our motto for the 4 days in Essen. Otherwise we would never be able to test play more than 40 games. So what we basically do is sit at a table, find a good rule explainer, play around 3 rounds until we understand the main goal, the mechanics and the game flow. Then everyone gives his ratings for the game and we move on to the next one.

The Survival Pack

I have to admit that the food selection at Die Spiel gets bigger each and every year. But if you are one of those people, like us, who wants to at least pretend to be eating healthy, you will have no luck at the convention. The selection ranges from Hot Dogs, Burgers and Curry Wurst to Donuts and Candy stuff. And in addition it’s of course not the cheapest food.

So what we basically do each morning is go to our favourite super market and grab our lunch pack. This lunch pack includes

  • 1-2 sandwiches,
  • some veggies like carrots, cocktail tomatoes or radish,
  • some fruits,
  • something to drink
  • and of course sugar in every conceivable form 😉

The Fifth Wheel aka The Mini-Trolley

And because there are four of us, we also take a small trolley with us, where we can fit in all our lunch packs, additional clothes (it can get really fresh because of the Air Con) and the goodie bags for the trainees.

Additional to the trolley we also have our backpacks with us. But these are used for all the electronic stuff.

The Electronic Equipment

Next to the provisions survival pack there is also the electronic survival pack, which includes the following equipment.

Mobile Wifi Router

Because we all have Austrian providers, we are kind of offline during the four days at Die Spiel. Although we are preparing ourselves really good before even going to Essen, there is always the need for Wifi. The only reasonable solution is a mobile Wifi Router. So at least in a range of 10 m around Gerwin, we are online and are able to check out new games, fill in our ratings and communicate with each other.

Battery Pack

No matter how fully charged your iPhone is at the beginning of the day, you can be pretty sure that shortly after lunch you will get the nasty little message “Low Battery — 20% battery remaining”. After taking pictures of all the games, taking selfies and writing down the ratings for each game you can’t even blame your mobile phone for not lasting longer than a couple of hours.

But that’s exactly the reason why we are travelling with at least three additional power packs. They vary in size and power, but are really useful and easy to use.

Camera aka My New Toy

This year we will have a new companion at Die Spiel: a Sony α6000.

The Sony α6000 is a do-it-all mirrorless camera for approximately 600 € and absolutely worth the price.

And because battery issues are not only a problem with iPhones we also bring extra battery packs and enough Mini SD Cards to fill a 80 day Asia trip.

So hopefully we will have better and nicer pictures to share with you this year.

Goodie Bags for Trainees

One crucial part for a successful day at the convention is a quick and efficient rules explanation.

It must be really exhausting to have to explain 4 days in a row the exact same rules to thousands of people. And each and every year there are trainees that are doing an amazing job. Even on the last day, some of those trainees manage to smile and give us a really great, quick and short explanation. And because these awesome trainees are rare, we decided last year to bring the best of them at least a small thank-you-goodie to show them, that we are really thankful for their enthusiasm.

So this years thank-you-goodie is a small pack of Mannerschnitten.

The 5 Categories

Over the years we have enhanced our voting system from using notes on my iPhone to a Google Sheet on my iPad. So you see that each year we are evolving a little bit.

This year we will stick to our excel sheet — it is pretty convenient and easy to use for further workflows.

So let’s just really quick go through the 5 categories we are voting on for each game that we play at “Die Spiel”.

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.

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. 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 for the first place.

Category 3 — Interaction

This category basically defines how much the game play forces you or enables you to interact with other players.

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.

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. 

2 New Categories for Die Spiel 2016

In addition to our 5 categories from last years experience, we are adding two new categories for this years board game convention. Those two newly added categories should give us a better overview of which games are the ones, we want to buy.

Category 6 — Design

This category will remind us of how we liked the design of the board and the quality and look of the components.

The scale:

  • 0 … very good quality and the design is beautiful
  • 1 … components/design look/s nice
  • 2 … they should have put more effort into the design process

Category 7 — Luck

With this scoring we can determine if the game is based more on luck or on strategy.

The scale:

  • 0 … there is no real luck component in the game
  • 1 … it has a good balance between luck und strategy
  • 2 … it’s basically fortune cookie reading

Stay Up-To-Date

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

Check out our YouTube Channel