The buzz from SPIEL Essen has calmed down a bit by now (read my take on it here), which makes us remember there are other game fairs and conventions, too (I’m very jealous of you people who got to go to San Diego HistCon two weeks ago. So many great games and designers!). I, for one, went to the Süddeutsche Spielemesse (Southern German Game Fair) which is like Essen’s smaller brother. A lot smaller, actually. Like instead of six halls, only half a hall of board gaming. This means there will also be not so many publishers showing off their new releases, but you’ll find plenty of game sellers, game clubs, and places where you can try out games.Also, and that is something with which most other fairs cannot compete: Since it is so small, there are a lot of other fairs going on in the other halls on the fairground which you can all check out with your ticket as well: One for models of trains, boats, planes etc. One for creative design and handiwork. One for tech stuff. And, my favorites, two for food.
One game I tried out which left a strong impression on me was “The King Is Dead” (Osprey Games, Peer Sylvester). It’s a slightly altered re-implementation of the same author’s “König von Siam” (King of Siam) that transports the game into post-Arthurian Britain with the Scots, the Welsh, and the Romano-Britons vying for power under threat of a Saxon invasion. The players influence this fragile balance of power while trying to gain the strongest position with the dominant faction. Gaining influence with one faction, however, weakens their position on the board; and your resources (cards) are strictly limited. Therefore, each decision needs to be carefully weighed, and the game has a very pleasant depth to it despite its light footprint (we took 10min to learn, 30min to play).
Which small fairs and conventions do you go to and what do you like about them? Let me know in the comments!