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Essen 2000

Greg Aleknevicus

December, 2000

Every year in late October a games fair is held in Essen, Germany. This massive show is attended by over 100,000 people during its four day duration and most of the German game companies will first release their newest titles here. I had the opportunity to travel to the fair for the first time this year and took plenty of photos.

I had hoped to get this photo report out to you sooner but better late than never. Rather than simply give endless shots of the new games I prefer to show some of the more interesting sights at the fair and some of the less heralded games.

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Many of the larger companies had large display areas with lots of tables set up to try out their latest games. This was the Ravensburger stand where Java (the "sequel" to Tikal) was constantly being played.

If you wanted to buy a copy of Torres and were willing to look you just might be able to find a copy.

BigTorres.jpg (214212 bytes) RoadsBoats.jpg (253873 bytes)
Torres won last years Spiel des Jahres and so it was given the royal treatment which meant this huge version. The individual tower pieces could be used to play the regular version of the game. One of the interesting disadvantages of seeing so many games is that its sometimes difficult to remember everything you've seen. For example, I'm reasonably confident that this is Roads and Boats but I'm not entirely sure.
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Live RoboRally anyone? Among Amigo's many events was this full-sized version of the game. Note the "lasers" and the stick on "shots" the robots are sporting. Dream Factory from Reiner Knizia. I rather enjoyed this game and felt that it fit the theme rather well, something that Dr. Knizia has not been known for. It remains a mystery though why Hasbro (the publishers) will release it only in Europe.
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Wolfgang Kramer (left) and Reiner Knizia accept the 2000 Gamers' Choice Awards for Tikal and Lost Cities respectively. Morisi is the multi-player sequel to the well received Isi. I really enjoyed Isi and so this is probably the game I was most anticipating. If nothing else the graphics have been improved tremendously.
LaserTennis.jpg (246603 bytes) Sanfrancisco.jpg (243282 bytes)
Laser Tennis is an interesting concept. Basically its Table Tennis but with an "electronic" ball. A small light is shone on the board and you "hit" it with your mirrored paddle. Unfortunately, as near as I can tell it simply doesn't work. Amigo's San Francisco. If you take a closer look you'll notice that the board is printed right on the table and a little larger than the regular board. Many of Amigo's tables had such versions printed up and they even had little extras included such as places to put your cards/tiles/etc.
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Troia (Troy) is an interesting archaeology game published by Daimler-Chrysler of all people! (I believe they support the real life excavations of Troy.) The components were just excellent. The used game section of Essen is a wonder to behold. This is just one of many, many sellers in the hall. Most impressive and dangerous to the bank account.

- Greg Aleknevicus

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