Who is Good Owl Games?
Antoinette Mason is an accidental board game reviewer who loves dry euro games and long walks on the beach. She lives in Cork, Ireland working on Good Owl Games as a way to tell people about fantastic board games and to work on her own mental health. She's very proud of her unbroken win streak playing Time of Legends: Joan of Arc and doesn't play favourites among her games, they're all special!
(New listener, found the site from your comments on the Essen threads on BGG.)
Congratulations – you survived! (And yes, Bez is a really lovely person.) People said I should go to Essen once, because every boardgamer should. So I did, and this year was my sixth. I generally work as a demonstrator for two and a half or three days out of the four, and see the show in the remaining time – but I stay nearby and don’t have a big lump of travel at the start and end of each day, so that works well for me. Also because I’ve come by car I can just dump my shopping there rather than hauling it around on my back.
This year I had a long list of games to look at (from a list of recommendations including yours), and I ended up buying about half of them. Either prices were better this year than in the last few, or UK games prices have gone up more than the exchange rate would justify (which seems very likely), but even the larger companies’ prices were a fair bit lower than the equivalent in the UK.
Heaven & Ale has some really fascinating game mechanics, but it didn’t quite come together for me; it felt like a bunch of mini-games jammed together. (I think you generally favour heavier Euros than I do.)
Realm of Sand feels at first as though the strategy is very derivative from Splendor (three rows, complete stuff to buy cards from the rows and get bonuses), but it’s a much more interesting tactical game.
Hello and welcome, I’m delighted you found your way here!
You’re so right about Essen, it really is an amazing experience. Sounds like you were busy most of the time but if you’re a people person I’d guess demoing is incredibly fun. Also, the car idea is amazing, did you have a long drive to get there? Anything to make your experience there more enjoyable is probably the way to go.
Out of the games you got which have been your favourite so far? Have you played them all yet? 😀 I can see your point about Heaven & Ale, it does seem to have a little bit of everything thrown in it. You’re right about me and the heavy euros, I see them as a challenge. But euro’s, regardless of weight are pretty great! Realm of Sand is such a pleasant surprise right? For something that looks so straightforward, it packs a whole lot of game in there.
Thanks so much for leaving a comment, it’s wonderful to hear from fellow gamers. I wish you a wonderful November until we round that up too!
I’m normally quite anti-social, but with the structure of a game demo I’m happy to chat with passers by. And it’s good to have a group of people you’re working with – like you, I travel on my own. The thing I really love about the show is going through the cheaper halls (4-5-6 this year) and seeing the little companies whose products I’d never hear about normally – if I just wanted the latest from FFG, I could get that at home.
I start near London, so it’s two hours to Dover, three or so waiting for and crossing on the ferry, then about five or six on the other side. So it’s a long day (I left the house at 5am and got to my hotel about 5pm with the time change), but the driving is basically all motorways, and you get to sleep before and after the show itself.
Still unplayed from my Essen Loot pile: the Colt Express Bandits, Shogunate, Kodama Duo, Human Punishment, and the Networks expansions (Executives, More Executives, On the Air). With some other games like Flamme Rouge where I’ve not played these specific copies yet.
I was expecting a decent game with Realm of Sand, but I’ve ended up with something really impressive. And at a decent price too. Pity the card backs aren’t as identical as they might be.
Good luck recovering from Essen and playing your new acquisitions…
I completely agree about the smaller vendors, that’s where all the fun stuff is! No point in getting things at Essen you could buy at home. That is a long drive but at least you can do it at your own pace, stop whenever you feel like it and generally be in control of your travel plans.
You have a decent pile to get to too! The networks is one I’ve been meaning to try, it seems to gets lots of praise. At least it’ll all keep you busy for a while.
Thanks for taking the time to comment and we can compare notes at the end of this month on how far we made it through our pile 😀
Kudos, Loads of stuff.