Top 5 Games from Essen 2018

With around 1400 games being released at Essen this year, I haven’t quite managed to play all of them yet!  So I’m compiling my list from a rather narrow sample, but I’ve certainly played most of the high profile releases now.

Some games have come through traditional retail channels (which I can play through my local boardgame café: The Dice Cup); some have come from Kickstarter (lots of Kickstarters push to have release versions of their game available in time for Essen); but I bought a lot of games myself at Essen, exceeding my luggage allowance for the return flight!

My criteria for being an Essen game is a bit loose: essentially, it’s anything that I either played at Essen (which includes demos of unreleased games) or that was released at Essen and I’ve since played back in the UK.

So without further ado, here are my top 5 favourite games (in no particular order) from Essen this year…


What is Essen?

A couple of weeks ago, I took a flight to Essen, a city in Germany, with my son for a long weekend away.  Our sole purpose for going was to visit the Essen Spiel 2018, the largest boardgame fair in the world.  A whopping 190,000 people attended the fair this year.

I’ve been mulling over my experiences since coming back and thinking about how it compares to other boardgame conventions (such as the UK Games Expo, which is my main benchmark for comparison).

People warned me before going that it was very cramped and not necessarily a very enjoyable experience.  Apparently, some people would go there to buy the latest games and saw the fair itself as a necessary evil.

Much to my surprise, I enjoyed it far more than I expected to, but it is quite different from other boardgame conventions and there are a few things that you ought to be aware of if you’re considering going for the first time.  Let me tell you all about it…