I’ve always (well, at least since 2018) dreamed of going to the San Diego Historical Games Convention (SDHistCon). Now as it happens, San Diego is about 10,000 kilometers away from where I live, so just casually stepping by was never an option. As current events dictate it, the con was transformed into an online one last November – and that opened up opportunities for me. I missed the first online SDHistCon in November, though – I’d found out it was happening, and just hours later when I wanted to buy my ticket, they were all sold out already. So, I was ever more excited when I got the badge for the May 21-23 one!
Many thanks to Harold Buchanan and his team of enthusiastic volunteers for making this happen! It was great to chat with fellow gamers, some of whom I’d known from Twitter, see designers showcase their old and new designs, and play a game. As there is a substantial time difference between where I live and San Diego, I missed a few cool things that happened too late for an early-to-bed person like me, but there were so many amazing things I could do! …like the following:
After a break in 2018, I’ve been back to SPIEL in Essen this year – the largest board game fair in the world. I spent two days there, which, as I’m more and more convinced, is the ideal amount of time for me. I get to check out (almost) all games about which I am particularly interested. The only way I could see myself staying longer is if I went with a larger group and/or did some gaming in the evening after the fair.
I’m also content with the time planning – I had two pre-reserved games, went to two more first thing in the morning to secure a seat, and except for that, it was a mix of going to the booths of publishers/games I particularly wanted to visit and, especially late in the day, just strolling with open eyes and sitting down wherever there was an open table with an interesting-looking game.
As for the games themselves, it was a pity that two of my most anticipated games could not be played at the fair: Europe Divided (Chris Marling/David Thompson, Phalanx Games) did not get ready in time, Watergate (Matthias Cramer, Frosted Games) was apparently too old already – Frosted Games focused their play tables entirely on their new release Cooper Island (Andreas Odendahl, Frosted Games) and had the few-months-old Watergate only on their shelves for shopping.
As for shopping: I did in fact not buy a single game at the fair. When I think about how many great games I have at home which are not played often enough, a new game must be something really special. One game, however, came close (see below). Continue reading →
How fast a year goes by! …I say, not because New Year’s is rolling around, but instead the SPIEL board game fair at Essen. But to each their own holidays, and SPIEL is the Christmas for the tabletop gaming faithful. Four days of playing, trying, and buying. 160,000+ visitors. As I couldn’t go in 2018, I am doubly excited to attend this year again. Therefore, I’ll share my list of the most interesting board games with a historical theme released or demoed there this year. Have fun!
Fall is the season for fairs and conventions. Summer’s heat has come and passed, and now people are flocking back to the warmth of inside events. Christmas comes ever closer, and so every publisher wants to bring their new games to the market – and every gamer wants to find out what is worth wishing for or giving to others. The Stuttgart Game Fair (Süddeutsche Spielemesse, Southern German Game Fair) is no exception. Continue reading →
Friends of history, board games, and history in board games! Welcome to my first-ever giveaway. You have the chance to win Twilight Squabble (David J. Mortimer, Alderac). Twilight Squabble is a quick game (10min) of the global power struggle, the space race and the threat of nuclear devastation during the Cold War for two players.
Here’s how it works: Follow my blog (with your WordPress account or e-mail address) and share this post on Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, or GooglePlus (see buttons below). This giveaway is worldwide!
You say „board game fair“, I say “SPIEL” at Essen. It’s the Mecca for the tabletop gaming faithful. Four days of playing, trying, and buying. 160,000+ visitors. I’ve been there the last two years for two days each and found it an intensive board game experience. Unfortunately, time constraints (not to mention that going to such an event is exhausting, albeit in a good way) prevent me from going this year, but that can’t stop me from writing a short list of the history-themed board games that look most interesting to me. Maybe some of you who can attend find a new gem! And maybe I’ll get to try these games out some other time as well. The games are sorted by location at the fairgrounds. Continue reading →
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. Continue reading →
The annual board game Mecca which is the Essen SPIEL has ended, and, like all attendants, I am a bit overcome by the sheer amount of games and gamers. I have only been there for two of the four days, but that was enough to try out a lot of games and enjoy the company of like-minded people… except, of course, when I was walking somewhere and had to make my way through thousands of tightly packed like-minded people. No, of course I’m kidding – the crowd at SPIEL is very friendly (and always up for a game). I am very thankful for this experience to the various people I encountered over one or the other game as well as to my two friends who went and shared most of the games with me at the fair.
Here are some of the titles I played and liked. Continue reading →