Essen West III Is Almost Here
Note: The above photo is not the stack of games for Essen West III, that is a photo from BGG User Rumblejack and is their Essen Haul.
So, this weekend I will be traveling to the Western Hub of Missouri, Harrisonville. Totally kidding, Harrisonville isn't the hub of anything that I know of in Missouri, but on Saturday it will be the hub of some of the newest and hottest games in board gaming as we will sit down and play as many Essen releases as is humanly possible in about 24 hours. I jokingly told the host, our own Chris Wray, that we may need 4 days to play everything that I want to try and he said we do need 4 days, but no one wants to stay in Harrisonville for 4 days.
While I absolutely love board game conventions like Geekway to the West and Gen Con, I'd rather attend these smaller gatherings than the big ones most of the time. That's partially why I was really excited about Geekway Mini, I just wish there was a way to assure that everyone who wanted to attend could, but then, that would just be Geekway normal.
These smaller gatherings, these regional invite only conventions, are where you can get to know people and play games in a more controlled environment. But being that these are small and fewer folks attend them, it also means that I will be out of my comfort zone a bit more than at the bigger shows. I can hide at Geekway, I can isolate myself away with my family and friends and for 4 days I don't really have to get outside of my shell, whereas at these smaller gatherings, if I want to play something, chances are, I will have to meet someone new and possibly teach them a game or two along the way and that's when my anxiety kicks in.
I realize that I don't have these social anxiety issues as badly as a lot of other folks, that's why I don't talk about them too much, plus, my anxiety always has seemed to be more of a normal anxiety that everyone feels. You see, I will push through and I will talk to people and I will teach games and I will be exhausted after the fact, but once I am over that hump, I'm good and you may not be able to shut me up even if you tried.
This is what I worry about every time I go to some place new, where there will be new people, but hey, it hasn't backfired on me yet and I've met some really fantastic people through gaming. Sooner or later it just gets easier to do, right?
Anyway, what am I looking forward to playing at Essen West III? A lot of things honestly. First and foremost, I want to play Majesty For the Realm many, many, many more times, honestly, Z-Man Games cannot get this one here in the States fast enough, for me at least. But that's one I have already played a couple times. I am also looking forward to teaching a few people how to play Dragon Castle as that has been a pretty decent hit around our house and I even threw together a Knee Jerk Review for it recently. I'm looking forward to trying Palace of Mad King Ludwig, especially after talking to to Ted a bit on a recent episode of The Cubist. Everything I have been told about this group is that they lean towards lighter fare, so I'm wondering how Clans of Caledonia & Noria go over and whether or not I will get to play them. Azul will be a hot item I have a feeling, if that Fed Ex delivery actually makes it by Friday. Altiplano sadly will not make it and it appears no QueenDomino either. I am also looking forward to meeting a group that enjoys trick taking games as much as these folks do apparently, so hopefully I get to enjoy some Sticheln along with some of the newer ones, Druids, Claim(which I already played and enjoyed and want to review) & Prank of the Fox. There will be no shortage of games, I just have to bust out of the shell and play them!
Look for some more written coverage of Essen West III on Monday and Tuesday of next week. I believe that Chris will have something up talking about the hottest games at the gathering, he even has a rating spreadsheet for all of us to fill out after we play a game so we can rate them and see what comes out the best. And I will have a post where I talk a bit about some of the games I played as well next week along with hopefully a review of something new and exciting.