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…


Graphic Novel Adventures

As a child, I was always a sucker for Choose Your Own Adventure books.  The idea that you didn’t have to follow the hero around, but could actively decide which path to take, was revolutionary at the time.

Obviously we have plenty of games these days that give you a character and you get to decide everything that that character does.  One thing that many of these games lack though, is the depth of theme that you get from a well-written story.

Combining an engaging story with enough decision making to make you feel part of that story is a tricky balance to strike, and even today very few games manage this.  One new entry into this genre is a series of books from Van Ryder Games known as Graphic Novel Adventures.  Let me tell you about them…