Essen is a gamer's mecca! When I got more into gaming, I thought, "That is where I need to go!" It helps too that I love traveling and immediately decided that I could extend the trip to more than just those four days. I mean, really! Who wants to take a 12 hour plane ride just to turn around 4 days later and come home? Not me! So I found a traveling partner (Ron, at the moment, my favorite person to travel with!) and we narrowed our trip down to France or Italy and then decided on Paris, France.
We met up with Ward in Amsterdam on Monday and traveled with him on Tuesday to Essen. Once we got him settled in, we ran into Dale & Brian and hung out and went out to the Curryhaus and had sausages with this like curried ketchup sauce on them. It wasn't as gross as it sounds and even better, it was CHEAP! I can't remember what we did after that, I think just hung out and played a game probably!
We had to do laundry when got up and ended up (due to having trouble finding the hotel) being late to the Agricola demo that we had signed up for. By the time we got there, they had already started. But luckily Curt & Anne were there playing, so we got to catch up with them! Then I think we ran into Dale, Greg & Ward. Plus, this started the game buying spree! I bought a copy of Agricola and the Fan Bohnanza which has different artwork for each card. I had all of them autographed by Uwe Rosenberg, the designer of the games.
Curt and Anne playing Agricola
We then walked around and I bought more games (mainly the ones I was worried would sell out) and we went back to our hotel to drop them off. Meanwhile, it started raining! When we got everything up to the room, we headed down to the bar of the restaurant because we had seen some people with games on the table and thought we could maybe meet some people to play a game with. So we headed down and stopped at the first table. They were playing a game I'd never seen before and with good reason! We discovered after sitting there a little bit that these guys were pitching their prototypes to Kosmos! It was interesting to hear the comments from the Kosmos guy. We talked to the designer guys and found out that they were from Italy and work together. They were: Leo Colovini, Carlo A. Rossi, Alfredo Berni, Dario de Toffoli and Alessandro Zucchini (AKA: Alex). I never really spoke to Leo or Dario, but we did end up hanging out with Alfredo, Carlo and Alex a few times.
Here are a few pics of the Italian guys:
Carlo in black & Alex in white
Me and Alfredo
Ron, Alfredo and Leo
Later in the evening, we met up with Ted, Patrick and Jeremiah to play Jamaica with people who helped make the game - Laurent and Malcolm. We were later joined by Sebastien Pauchon, designer of Yspahan and Jamaica. We had fun and I got a chance to chat with Sebastien and tell him how much I love Yspahan!!
Sebastien with Jamaica box
Malcolm and Laurent
Meanwhile Dale & Brian showed up and I played Jamaica with them while Ron moved over to play Parys, a prototype of the new Ystari game coming out. He liked it quite a bit. I never did get a chance to play it.
Then the Italian guys showed up and we decided to bust out my new copy of Master of Rules and try that out. It's pretty good!
Carlo, Ron, Tim and Alfredo
BTW - Tim is from Edmonton and was on his honeymoon and happened to notice that Essen was happening. He was super nice. His wife Jocelyn was too!
Alfredo and me being goofy
Wow! I am realizing that ALL this happened BEFORE the show even started!! Yikes. This is going to have to be broken up. So there you go. The pre-Essen breakdown!