A few days ago, I received a message from a friend asking what I thought of this year's Essen Crop of games.
Essen? Did I somehow miss it this year?
Apparently, I was so wrapped up in last-minute Essen projects that I missed noticing the fair itself. And apparently a few of the projects I worked on didn't make it for one reason or another - which is sad.
So what did I work on that was at Essen this year?
An ant-themed Ystari game. I only learned today that Asmodee wasn't doing the North American distribution for this one - it's a Rio Grande game, with Ystari publishing. It has a lot of good early buzz, and I liked the game based on the rules. This is the second Rio Grande project I've done - and the second time I didn't know it was a Rio Grande project.
I was really excited about this one. My wife loves Egyptian-themed anything, and this ... well, it fits the bill. It helps that the rules are pretty solid and the initial translation only had a few oddities. I am really looking forward to my copy. Matagot is publishing and Asmodee is distributing in North America.
The latest from Christophe Boelinger. I don't know if he's done a game that I've disliked, yet. With the possible exception of Fantasy Business. This was an interesting project to work on, because they e-mailed me a Word document to tweak - and it was too large for me to e-mail back. And it needed to be done in a hurry. Ludically is publishing and Asmodee is distributing in North America.
Of all of the Essen games, this is - honestly - the one I'm most excited about, after having read the rules. It's simple (rules-wise), and has some interesting decisions to make. And the fact that there are so many different modes of play ... If you haven't seen or heard about this one, look into it. The rules are already up in a couple of different places. Matagot is publishing and Asmodee will be distributing in North America.
City of Horror
I talked about this one a few weeks ago - and I'm going to echo myself, here, but Repos did an excellent job with this one. It fixed many of the issues I had with Mall of Horror at the cost of ... well, not much, really. Cardboard standups instead of minis. Repos Prod. is publishing and Asmodee is distributing in North America.
It's a new edition of Dragon Delta. I'm not sure why they changed the name. I enjoyed Dragon Delta the few times I had the opportunity to play it, and I'm really looking forward to owning a copy of this one in the near future. Matagot is publishing and Asmodee is distributing in North America.
I know this had some availability prior to Essen, but it's really good. At first, I thought this one was a bit of a mess - dice and cards and counters and ... and ... but it's good. Really really good. Libellud is publishing and Asmodee is distributing this one.
I really like this two-player card/board battle game. It was mostly available before Essen, however, so I debated whether or not to include it on this list. This one earned a spot in my car pretty quickly. Iello is both publishing and distributing this one.
It's a really strong crop of games. It's also the most Essen-ish games I've worked on yet, and they all reached me at about the same time. As usual, I'll be watching the rules forums on these games pretty closely (once my copies arrive) so I can help fix any mistakes I made. But I'm oddly confident about this batch.
As usual, thank you to all of the various publishers and designers who trust me with your work. I appreciate the opportunities.