Mark Johnson's occasional & opinionated podcast about family strategy boardgames

Thursday, November 05, 2009

BGTG 99 - Ten Years of Essens

Chris left a comment after the previous podcast (anticipating this year's Essen), asking what games were my favorites from past Essens. That was the idea behind this show--my favorites, BGG's favorites, and what seemed liked the favorites at the time (Fairplay ratings). I looked up the past decade of Fairplay rankings, compared it against current BGG rankings, and also figured out my favorites from that same Essen. In addition to BGG, the original German boardgame database Luding was very useful, since it allows searches for a particular Essen year.

My favorites from all these years are mostly "superfillers," but there are some heavier games as long as they aren't particularly long. A few kids' games and card games, too.

What are your favorites from these years?



Blogger Christopher Ross said...

Thanks for the show Mark! I expected the Fair Play lists to have more games that I'd forgotten about. I also found it interesting, but not too surprising, that the buzz at Essen isn't usually a good indicator of a Spiel des Jahre winner.

By the way, I'm the Chris who "inspired" this show. My last name is Ross and I'm Unco on BGG.

On a side note, have to you looked at the Extended BGG Stats site ( I find it very interesting but you do need to enter lots of data (especially game plays) into your BGG account to get a lot out of it.

1:31 PM  
Blogger Rob Cannon said...

Ant thoughts as to why certain games get alot of buzz at the fair but then disappear? Maybe they had a great presenter?

3:55 PM  
Blogger Chris B said...

Another very nice show mark. You're on a roll lately. Unfortunately, whenever you put out a show it rockets to the top of my playlist, so now I don't have one to listen to while driving to BGG.con next week :(

Personally, I've never been one to concentrate on what happens at Essen, and the games that come out. I've went to BGG.con every year except the first one, and even now, I don't think I've played a single Essen Release from October during the BGG.con in November preceding it. They are always crowded games and hard to get into. There may be one or two, that came out here in the states at the same time as Essen as well where I played it.

I'm not really a cult of the new type gamer, and like you don't mind waiting a year or two for a good game to be released wider.

Theoretically, it almost helps weed through the Gobs of stuff released and only means you hopefully finally end up playing those games that stick with you.

In recent years, this has fallen off a bit since so much is produced both here and there at the same time now. So the weeding is harder to perform (and not being done by the publishes any longer, though sometimes they missed a good one, or brought over a bomb)

9:46 AM  
Blogger daje10 said...

If I´m not mistaken you will get even more valu from youre old game giganten. I think I have read that they got in so manny good games that they will do 3 games. (the competiton was on

6:39 AM  
Blogger Mark Johnson said...

Oops, normally I get an email when someone comments on my blog, but somehow I missed these. Let's see...

Chris #1: I still think the Fairplay (and perhaps Geekbuzz?) polls are a reasonable indicator of the better games, but they don't map very well to SdJ for a variety of reasons. As for the Extended Stats, I've looked into that a bit, but need to take the time to upload some of my early years' stats to make it the most meaningful. And that's a lot of work!

Rob: I think the people that go to Essen (at least the ones that vote in the Fairplay polls, post blogs, produce podcasts...) want to find a hidden gem among the new releases, preferable from a new publisher or designer. Sometimes it just isn't really there.

Chris #2: I'm with you for letting time, the market, other gamers, etc. do the weeding out. After all, there are so many existing good games to play. But it's a good thing for the publishers that not everyone feels this way!

Hulken: Yeah, but I was disappointed to see that you need to buy the new game even if you've got your own Giganten set like I do. Makes sense, of course, but I was hoping for something else.

5:18 PM  
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