I got a number of new games to the table, none of which I really felt had an interesting enough story to tell for one of my full length articles. So instead, let’s try this new lightning round format: On The Table.
Encyclopedia: I’m quite fond of this one. Love the art style, the dice stealing reminds me vaguely of a tamer version of Troyes. However, there is a surprising amount of dice manipulation possible so that it doesn’t really matter that much what dice one rolls themselves. There is a good level of comboing in this one, my score increases with every session I play. This probably won’t be a standout hit, but it is really nice to play and the pricing was very reasonable. I can see this as a great game to get non-gamers into the hobby (but still being interesting to gamers as well). Solo works well, too. More games should allow for multiple automa at the same time and using them as an additional player in multiplayer. My main complaint is the size of the main board. What’s up with publishers doing bigger and bigger boards?
Hamlet: The Village Building Game: Okay, there was a reason I didn’t back this on Kickstarter. I got curious to try it though and I have to say: nice idea but didn’t work for me. On the one hand, it is too simplistic for my taste, on the other hand we had a session where everything stalled to a halt because a particular building didn’t come out of the bag. The artwork is way too busy/contrasty, there are lots of usability issues (really, white iconography on a yellow, barely 5mm sized wooden token?), the 3D church wouldn’t stick together and topple over, metal coins are nicely done though. It’s already on my out-pile.
Sabika: I got excited during setup but after one game I packed this back into the box and sold it off. There was nothing “there” for me that justified keeping it around. Would have been an amazing game a couple of years back but in 2022, it feels too generic to me. Also way too big main board.
Lacrimosa: This beat Sabika for the title of my biggest disappoint of Essen 2022 releases. I set this up two times, read the rules, both times put it back into the box before playing it. Just feels so bland and boring to me, I’ve already sold it off. I’m really disappointed in all the YouTubers that fired up the hype train on this one. Also: way too big main board.
Endless Winter: Paleoamericans: Only played one game so far but don’t think I will seek it out again. Plays well, some interesting ideas, others I played it with really liked it. However, it felt a bit like a merge of multiple disconnected elements to me. Last time I had that feeling was with the book/diamond track in Mombasa which I didn’t like at all for that reason. It’s a good game but I would always prefer playing Dune: Imperium instead.
Hope this might be helpful to some of you. What do you think of this format? Are your first impressions similar to mine or completely the opposite? What were your biggest Essen disappointments?