Thursday, October 28, 2010

Essen 2010 Post Mortem

So... I'm back. What can be said that hasn't been said by others already? Probably not much. Here are some random observations:
  • At least for me, one full day at Essen is more than enough. Towards mid-afternoon I had the distinct feeling my brain was melting down, and I was causing a permanent lifespan reduction.
  • Essen has the best Con food ever. The Germans know how to do junk food. Nothing like a fully loaded (sauerkraut, etc.) 12-inch bratwurst to get your HP back where they need to be. Of course the 3 Euro cokes kind of sucked... but, you have to expect to get screwed when you're trapped in a massive convention center.
  • The high end luxury hotel adjacent to the convention center entrance has the swankiest, cleanest, most full featured restrooms I've encountered outside of the United States (including Tokyo). After a seven hour train ride to get to Essen, this was much appreciated.
  • By planning out my booth targets in advance I was able to get everything I wanted to buy or pick up in less than one hour, which loaded full a backpack plus another large carrying bag. Overall the Con seemed to have a much smaller crowd this year than when I was last there. I'm sure having a mental map from my previous visit helped a lot as well.
  • Next time I go, I'm going to somehow get a press pass and get in on Wednesday. Waiting in line is for suckers.
  • Germany in October is COLD. I have new sympathy for the participants in the Battle of the Bulge.
  • At least a quarter of the floor space at Essen is devoted to children's games, which is a huge area. There was also a big inflatable bouncy castle zone, making this a potential family destination... assuming your spouse will hold down the fort while you go do the other 75% of the Con.
  • The night before the Con I had dinner with three native Germans I work with, all architects and engineers. They asked me what I was going to do the next day. I thought to myself, "Hey, I'm in Germany where everyone is a hardcore board gamer. Its the national pastime, right? Surely they'll all be pumped about Essen as well!" I told them, "I'm going to the go to Essen to the Spiel board game convention! Isn't that awesome!" ...Crickets... crickets... "Ugh... you're going to do what? Where? Ummm... why? Have you ever been to Essen? Its probably one of the least interesting cities in Germany. Why not go someplace nice or fun like Heidelberg? Board gaming?" So... pretty much the same reaction you'd get from a random group of Americans. Myth dispelled.
  • Sean: I have your Power Grid promo cards.
Anyway... now to play some of these new games!

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At 10:40 AM, October 29, 2010, Blogger seanp said...

I'm going to cry now. Thanks Ben!

At 1:01 PM, October 29, 2010, Blogger Rob said...


Ben, I got the same reaction when I asked a German coworker at the Health Science Center 4 yrs ago during my internal medicine training... I asked him about "brettspiels", clearly the official and universal German pass time. Surely he knew at least about Catan and Teuber and stuff.

All I got was the same blank stare, and the same crickets.

At 5:54 PM, October 30, 2010, Blogger Mark S said...

Might you have seen "Battles of Westeros" or "Horus Heresy" on some tables over there?

At 6:19 AM, November 02, 2010, Blogger Ben said...

Yes, they were both there in force. Very pretty.


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