Actually untue as I just found out I'll be going to World Fantasy Con in November, and the Frankfurt book fair is right after this. But Essen spiel is pretty goddamn big. 

Just to give you some perspective, here's what I left behind in the states. 

Bed Stuy, Doodoo or Die.

Essen and Frankfurt are bleak and ravaged hellscapes, so I thought I'd spend a bit of time in one of my favorite cities, beautiful Amsterdam.

I met with my good friend Solmyr, onetime leader of my old guild BBZ, and future president of The Netherlands. Solmyr's feedback is a large part of why Xan and Ink is (in my mind at least) an A book instead of a B book. Literally the best beta reader feedback I have ever gotten on a manuscript. We had a great dinner in Rembrandt Square and discussed my plans to immigrate to Holland once Trump wins the 2016 elections. Then we recalled such good times as stealing instances, exploiting AQ, kiting Nefarien to Vael's room, my ruinous multibox, and other indelible memories of nerdings past. We also poured one out for our departed homeboy OBSCENITOR. 

Then it was on to Deutschland.

Coming to Essen from Amsterdam is always like someone's wrung all the light out of the world. You bid farewell to the beautiful canal city of the free-thinking elves upon the train of ICE and arrive at the gray and brutal land of suspicious dwarves.  But the board game and book bazaars of the world are here, and so we come, again and again. 

This year I was exceptionally lucky to get to help out Luke Crane and Margot Atwell at the Kickstarter booth. Our first order of business was tracking down all the Kickstarter creators, and assembling an awesome wall of their games. I'm incredibly biased, but I think KS is great, and is really helping a lot of people attain their dreams in a transparent and not-evil way. Their impact on the board game scene is enormously positive. 

Onward to some things I saw at the con!

Tom Vasel - The Game is the Game.

Did you know? Bubbles the Snitch placed this hat on Tom Vasel's head to identify him as a member of Avon Barksdale's gang. 

Here are some of the guys we met from Trickirion they were super nice:

I was disappointed they wouldn't let me pay for this game in Dogecoin. Then I remembered that I can't stand Colovini's games. Except this one time I won at Go West by depleting Ellis Island of immigrants and trolling everyone. Good times.

A bunch of games that caught my eye wandering around. I was happy to see some big coalitions from lesser-known games markets, both the Polish and Taiwanese board gaming collectives seem to be getting a ton of traction. Surely the dictatorship of the proletariat is at hand. 

I remember being bored as hell at conventions as a kid, but Essen seems like a pretty cool spot. There are tons of places to play games, a huge galleria with bungee trampolines and wooden slats and whatnot. I thought it was very kinder friendly until....

Apparently the Germans have some kind of bizarre coming-of-age ritual where children are entombed alive in toilet paper and then blasted with confetti. Just throwing it out there, while walking around in Essen I noticed that like every third door is a psychiatrist. 

Continuing the Dutchland, not Deustchland sentiment of this post, I met these Dutch guys who were VERY excited to demo Dwarves the Saga, which is based on a series of books Die Zwerge which they tell me are great. I'll have to take a stab at them.

Finally the big hit at the booth is definitely the Fabulous Beasts stacking game. The game is a bluetooth-enabled souped-up Animal upon Animal with a weight sensitive platform and a companion ipad app, and it drew a ton of attention and interest. I had a good time screwing around with it

.Finally no board gaming writeup would be complete without a sad monument to acquisition disorder. Behold my profligacy! After Essen I will do a writeup of what games I picked and why. 

Punks jump up to get beat down. 

If you're looking to try and assassinate me, you can try your luck at booth 104H, in hall 7. It's easy to find, just look for the big pile of neatly halved would-be assassins, by the nutella waffle cart.  

Disclaimer, I am not affiliated with any of these companies and my views are not theirs. If your picture is on this site and you would like it taken down, I am happy to do so, just email me. No German children were wrapped in toilet paper in the making of this post.