Friday, October 26, 2007

Essen 2007 - Thursday

Somehow I managed to take an expired ATM card with me on vacation, so I had to get money from Ron all throughout France and Belgium. We kept doing the Avenue Q "Bad Idea Bear" voice, "We should get more mo-ney!" everyday. It's amazing how fast you can burn through cash in Paris. Hardly anywhere takes credit cards in Europe, so it's pretty much cash-and-carry.

Why do I mention this? Because Thursday morning was spent trying to find a bank to give me an advance on my Visa. While I did this, Ron met up with a friend of ours who had obtained a couple of exhibitors' passes for us. So, we didn't have to buy tickets and the exhibitor passes give the holders free subway and bus usage during the time of the show! That saved us a bundle of money, which of course, was just spent on games!

There is only one bank in Essen that can do cash advances on a Visa card. It is the Reise Bank at the main station in Essen. It's upstairs right next to the Burger King. Burger King has a new product in Germany... a Whopper topped with jalopenos and onions and apparently, it's very "angry"! I had to take a picture!

Angry Whopper

I took out 600 Euros and then headed back to the Messe to continue the buying spree!

I went in and watched a group play In the Year of the Dragon, a new Alea game. Then I wandered about, picking up the new Settlers scenario from Kosmos and other tidbits.

We ran into Eric who was sent to Essen by Doug Garrett and I think the shirt speaks for itself!


We walked around, browsing booths, stopped by to say "hi" to Ted and Jeremiah. Ted was there selling his Age of Steam maps, his brand new Ultimate Werewolf (I *had* to buy a copy of this!) and his CCG Start Player. Here's the guys, hanging at the booth!

Ted and Jeremiah at the Bezier Games booth

We then stopped by the Bambus Spiele booth and played Down Under. Gunter Cornett, the designer, taught us how to play. Unfortunately for Dale, he had only preliminary copies. It is currently in production.

Me, Gunter Cornett, Ron and Dale

We went by the Ystari booth to check out the Caylus in 3D that we had heard about. It was SUPER cute!!

The whole game board

Close-up of the castle

Close-up of Buildings

We stopped by another game booth that had Liebe & Intrige, a game with a very cute theme (you're trying to marry off your three Victorian daughters!), but just a so-so game. We had more fun hamming it up than with the actual gameplay. I liked it, but not enough to shell out the cash for it.

We ran into Scott & Nataline and I played a quick game of Carcassonne with Scott. Before we started, he asked, "So just how many hours have you spent playing Guitar Hero?" I replied, "A LOT!"

We walked around more and then soon joined a big group to go eat Egyptian food for dinner. I had never had it before and it was pretty tasty. It's pretty typical food from that region of the world: grilled marinated meats, rice, veggies. The food was pretty good, but the service was not so friendly.

I should preface the next paragraph with the following information: The conversion rate while we were in Europe was about $1.42=1 Euro AND you don't "tip" in Europe. It's included in the price of the meal. So the higher the bill, the more the server will make automatically, whether they're fabulous or terrible. OK, with that in mind...

One thing that was SO annoying in Europe was that it's almost impossible to get a free glass of water in a restaurant. They will almost NEVER bring you tap water to drink, even if you specify that's what you want. At this restaurant, I did manage to squeeze one glass of water out of our server, but when I asked for a refill, they brought me a bottle of water that costs 2.50 Euros (about $3.50 for a small bottle) and when I asked again for tap water, they pretended like they couldn't speak English and didn't understand me. Soda is about 3 Euros and it's non-refillable. Beer at the hotel was about 1.75 Euros! I ended up drinking a lot of beer while we were in Europe because it was cheaper than drinking water or soda! I suppose that's enough of a rant about that!

Our Egyptian Dinner Group

The Appetizer Plate

Mixed plate with sausage, shrimp, chicken and lamb

After dinner, we headed back over to the Savoy for some gaming! Ron and I played Giganten der Luft with Brian and Jim. Ron liked it better than I did. It's okay, but I think for a dice-rolling, upgrading-to-more-better-dice game of the sort, I'd rather play To Court the King.

By this time, it was getting late, so we booked out of there and luckily caught the very last subway to get home! When we got back to the hotel, we were tired, so we just went to bed. At least I don't remember staying up to play anything.

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