Essen Envie: Update!

We are back from not traveling to Germany! (Instead, we hiked and climbed all over North Carolina, and it was glorious!)

But with the cold winds still blowing in Louisiana, we are still thinking about those games released at Essen Spiel. (Or Spiel Digital 2020). We even enlisted our friend Chris Wray from the Opinionated Gamers to talk about the games he thought would have made a big splash at Essen.

Have we played any of the games we recommended? I thought it would be fun to update regular readers of the blog as to our plays. Do the games hold up? Were they as exciting as we thought, or duds on arrival?

Let’s find out!

1. CARETOS (ka-Rii-toosh)

Publisher: Mebo Games

Designers: Paulo Pereira

Artist: Matteo Piana

Ages 8+ and plays 2-4 players in about 45 minutes

Thanks to the fine folks at MEBO Games, we were sent a review copy and played it right away. We’ve gotten in a few plays, and already published our review. Frankly, we liked it so much we are hoping to get some more plays in this week. So far, it’s been in our top five games that we’ve enjoyed this year.

2. Meeple Land

Publisher: Blue Orange Games

Designer: Cyrille Allard and Frederic Guerard

Artist: Tomasc Larek

Ages 8+ — plays 2-4 players in about 45 minutes

Blue Orange Games was kind enough to send along a review copy of Meeple Land, and we not only played it a bunch, but we also talked about our plays on Gumbo Live! We still need a play or two at more play counts to finalize the review, but this has been a big hit in the family. Great tile laying game with some light economic engine building.

3. Durian

Publisher: Oink Games

Designer: Masato Uesugi

Artist: Hiroko Izumida

Age 7+ and plays 2-7 in about 20 minutes

Sadly, we have not seen this one in the wild or found a copy yet. I’ll have to see if my FLGS can start carrying Oink Games!

4. The Court of Miracles

Publisher: Lucky Duck Games

Designers: Vincent Brugeaas and Guilhem Gautrand

Artist: Ronan Toulhoat

Age 10+ and plays 2-5 players in about 40 minutes

I am still trying to track down a copy of this one. Hoping it might be one of my Secret Santa gifts! But, nope, we have not played this one yet.

5. Hallertau

Publisher: Lookout Games

Designer: Uwe Rosenberg

Artist: Klemens Franz (graphic design) and Lukas Siegmon (art)

Age 12+ and plays 1-4 players in about two hours

Uwe Rosenberg returns to the farming arena, and this has been one of the hottest games we’ve seen talked about pre-Essen. (Here’s my chat with Dale Yu of the Opinionated Gamers all about his review.) But unfortunately, talking with Dale is the closest we have gotten to playing it. But we are still working on it!

6. Cloud City

Publisher: Blue Orange Games:

Designer: Phil Walker-Harding

Artist: Fabrice ROS

Age 10+ and plays 2-4 players in about an hour

I’ve had some friends on the ‘net play this, but no one in our game group or area has it yet. I did see that Dale Yu recently reviewed it for The Opinionated Gamers site, so I will have to check that out.

7. Remember Our Trip

Publisher: DLP Games

Designers: Daryl Chow and Saashi

Artist: Takaka Takarai

Age 10_ and plays 2-4 players in about 30 minutes

Talking with Daryl Chowabout working on the game with famed designer Saashi on a recent Gumbo Live! has been the closest we’ve gotten to playing it! But Remember Our Trip is another one on my Secret Santa wish list.

8. Switch & Signal (German edition only)

Publisher: KOSMOS

Designer: David Thompson

Artist: Claus Stephan and Antje Stephan

Age: 10+ and plays 2-4 players in about 45 minutes

Nope, no plays of this one yet, either, although I did get in a play of Spike recently.

That’s it for our look at the hottest games coming out around Essen Spiel. We whittled down 425 releases to this set of about ten games to check out. There are plenty more out there — let us know which games you are interested in and perhaps we can cover them on the show!

Until next time, laissez les bon temps rouler!

— BJ from Board Game Gumbo

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