Monday, October 20, 2014

Essen 2014 - notes for next time

I'll probably write up a bigger blog post about my exerience at Essen this year at some point, but in the meantime, I wanted to jot a few things down that I will want to know this time next year!

* Best Western Ypsilon on Martinstraub (3 stops south of HBF) was a decent place to stay, but the room was kinda small (especially for 3 of us), and it was about a mile walk to the underground (though bus access was good).

* According to Patrick Nickell, Motel One was only 69 Euro per night. It's a really nice hotel, right by the underground station, like 1 stop north of Essen HBF (Messe is stops 4 and 5 or so south of HBF). I think he said breakfast was only a few euro there.

* There's a sweet Chinese place on the corner by Martinstraub station where I ate with Sebastian. 16ish euro for all you can eat Buffet AND Mongolian BBQ. And it was delicious. Also, they had Kangaroo, which tasted kinda like beef.

* TMG might have a booth next year, so that will be cool. Exhibitor badges get you free publc transit all week long. If we don't have a booth, the first thing we should do is talk to a friend (such as Patrick or Phil Eklund) to see if they have extra Exhibitor badges they're not using... That would have saved us quite a bit on admission to the fair as well as train fare.

* German McDonald's has awesome breakfast sandwiches, and German Dunkin Donuts is pretty tasty (though different than here). Both are in Essen HBF.

* The Delta flight was surprisingly comfortable, even flying coach. However, it was $1400. Patrick said he got his ticket for ~$800 (flying from San Francisco). Maybe that was due to booking early, I should check on that.

* It was mugh nicer having a German speaker with us. Last time we didn't, and everything was much easier to navigate this time.

* We got a cab from the hotel to the airport on Monday, rather than walk/bus/underground/train with our bags (including a box of games that we obtained). The hotel had a deal which was like 42 Euro (normally like 60 or something). We paid for a larger car (47 euro) just in case (we didn't know how large the cabs were, and we didn't want to risk anything -- I think that was a good choice), and just gave the guy a 50. Train tix would have been at least 40 euro I think. So cab was definitely the way to go, we should plan on tat next time. Maybe on the way in as well?

* Uwe (sp?) from Academy Games was on our flight, and hooked us up with some discount on train tix on the way in... he paid 32 euro for 4 of us (Tom Vasel paid 33 euro for just himself and Ryan Metzler at the kiosk). We should randomly get on his flight again next time :)

* Uwe also mentioned staying at some university, which he swears by. He said it was cheap, and had lightning fast internet, and good breakfast (though not included).

* We ate breakfast at a grocery every morning (some salami and cheese mostly). It was good, didn't cost much, but they're closed Sunday (go go gadget McD's Chicken Bacon, Egg, and Cheese McMuffin!)!

* Terminal E is the place to be in the Atlanta airport. Tons of tables, food court with lots of options (including McD's and Aarby's), and free WiFi.

* Essen Warm-up event requires signing up ahead of time, and apparently it sells out. ~25 euro for dinner and entry - basically all day if you want to stay there, and you can eat as much as you want (I didn't always like their options though).

* Regarding a booth, I THOUGHT sharing with someone like Stronghold would be awesome, but Ted Alspach says they charge you up the wazoo for sharing space, and he recommended getting our own space. I just don't want Michael to overdo it the first time out.

* Meetings: Unless we have exhibitor badges, maybe we shouldn't schedule meetings right at 10am. 10:30 or 11:00 would be better, so we can get into the hall in time.

* Meetings: When requesting that Mischa set up a meeting with someone, we should really give him an agenda so that he has some idea how much time would be needed, and can schedule appropriately.

* Mischa made a great schedule spreadsheet. Next time I'd like to see multiple columns or something on the same sheet, so that for example I can see a meeting for me as well as a meeting for Michael.

* Remember to change dollars for euros in the states, at a bank, before leaving. It costs a lot to exchange currency there. Also, do a lot at once, because there's a fee to make the transaction.

* I brought a camelback so I'd always have water, and that worked pretty well. Though obviously it would be nice not to have to carry it. And this time water seemed more available in general (though it's expensive!)

* Next year I should schedule time to meet with people like Matias (playtester) and Sebastian. Maybe also schedule time to check out new games (like Staufer Dynasty this year).

* T-Mobile apparently has data roaming included, so I had full access to the internet on my phone all week, which was AWESOME. Last time I was disconnected, and it was awful. This time I could text Mischa to find him, I could look up our games on BGG to show people in meetings, I could communicate with people who were looking for me, and I was able to stay in touch with the rest of the world as well (for example the Microcosm kickstarter project).

* Reiner Knizia took meetings in his hotel room, which was a neat idea. Much more quiet and peaceful (though less convenient).

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