Monday, October 10, 2016

Essen 2016!

As I sit here, in a SUBWAY Cafe in Atlanta International airport, entering the 2nd hour of 6 hour layover waiting to board a plane to Dusseldorf, I am trying to remember whether this is the 4th or the 5th time I've been to Essen.

A quick perusal of my blog indicates that the first trip was in 2012 - Michael and I went on what I described as a 'scouting mission', and at the time I had envisioned potentially returning to the big show to man a booth, much like we do at GenCon.

If memory serves, we skipped 2013, but returned to Essen in 2014, this time with Mischa. We did not have our own booth, and in retrospect I am pretty happy with that decision. Instead we scheduled meetings with various european designers, publishers, and distributors about partnerships and the like.

In 2015, Michael decided he didn't need to be at Essen himself, and that he much preferred Tokyo. So while he has now attended Tokyo Game Market a few times (making great friends and partners, and picking up great titles such as Flip City, Yokohama, and Ars Alchimia, to name just a few), Mischa, Daniel, Andy, and took on Essen by ourselves. And a bit more organized this time. Daniel and Mischa filled their schedules with business meetings with partners (for both incoming and outgoing licenses), while Andy and I spent our time taking pitches from designers and checking out new releases for potential licensing.

This year will be pretty much the same I think. Andy and I will be taking pitches and checking out new releases (that reminds me, I'm supposed to be identifying potential titles to pick up!), while Daniel and Mischa again maintain existing foreign partnerships and forge new ones.

Unfortunately, I haven't had the bandwidth to really get excited about any new offerings... the only one I can think of offhand that I'd like to try, The Great Western Trail by Alexander Phister, is already picked up for US market by Stronghold Games. Lucky for me, W. Eric Martin puts together a terrific list of all the new releases each year, and Richard Ham (a celebrity in the game review space who has similar tastes to mine) maintains a list of his games of interest, and recently posted a 3 hour podcast discussing the games and expansions of interest to him. I've already listened to most of that podcast, but in a minute I'll be diving into both of those resources and looking for potential TMG pickups, as well as stuff I might like to check out for myself.

I'm curious to see how Essen goes this year, and whether I am going to think it's worth it for me to go, or if I'll do what Mike did and start opting out of the trip in future years. Last year we only signed 1 title from those pitches (though Guilds of London has been a successful title thus far), though it's refreshing to see designs from European designers - they seem different from the pitches we see at GenCon.

Side note: A further inspection of those blog posts have reminded me that I did not think to bring my Camelback this year. Drat. Fortunately I seem to recall water being more available last year than it had been in the past.

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