Links on this page: My games : game session reports : buying games : Essen games fair : useful sites : pasteboard and plastic : downloads
I played a lot of board games in my youth (e.g. Quirks, Sopwith, Sorcerer's Cave, Alaska) but stopped playing them, mainly because my former partner didn't like playing games. A few years ago, I rediscovered them, especially German board games, which combine good gameplay with short rules. Read how I got back into board games. If you want to buy me a game, see my wants: board games.
A few years back, I went to play Spammers, I game I've had for a few years, but when I opened it, I found that instead of two different packs of cards, I had the same pack twice, rendering the game unplayable. I could have given up at this point, especially as the game is from the States, but instead emailed Atlas Games. Within a couple of hours, I received a reply, and a few days later, received two new packs of cards from John Nephew, the president of the company. This level of customer service is fantastic, and very welcome. Thanks, John!
I was in the Argus on Monday 20 October 2003, which has coverage throughout Sussex. They printed an article on theblisspages boardgames and I featured in the editorial for two weeks. See my 15 minutes of fame.
As a result of the article, I was contacted by Martin Devereux of the Brighton Boardgames Club who meet in Brighton on Tuesday evenings.
Graham Lipscomb, author of Creeper & Colliding Circles, which was sold in Essen a couple of years ago, also emailed me. Graham still had a few copies left, which he was selling on his website at www.grahams-games.co.uk. He also has a dice spelling game, Dicewords.
The Weekly News, with a readership of 275,000, also ran an article about me on their 21 April 2004 issue with a couple of photos. I was then contacted by a reader in Northumberland wanting rules for Mah Jongg.
I have about 500 games, including 50 or so children's games (I need to cull some soon as they're getting older). You can see the ones I've catalogued so far on BoardGameGeek (hint - click on a letter or on ALL to see the list!). I plan to highlight particular games or types of game periodically. Submissions are welcome!
We run weekly sessions in West Sussex, usually on Wednesday nights, and have run 634 events since November 2001. Click on the Essen 2001 picture below to find out the early players (some of whom still attend). We welcome new players. If you're interested in coming along, please email me your name, address and telephone number and I'll contact you with forthcoming dates and venues.
Below are forthcoming events and reports from the last month. Click here to see earlier events.
|Date and time||Venue||Players||Report|
|Wed 12 Feb 14 at 20:00||Tony's|
|Wed 19 Feb 14 at 20:00||Mike's||Alan
|Tonight, we played Caverna, a game that owes much to Agricola, but with more options and less stuffage. The claimed 30 minutes per player needs to be taken with a pinch of salt, but everyone I've played with has preferred it to Agricola, and enjoyed it. We managed to get a couple of rules wrong (again) but eventually, my explorer strategy will prevail :-)|
|Wed 26 Feb 14 at 20:00||Mike's||We had to we split into two groups as there were seven of us. One group played Old World, New World, whilst the rest of us played Cutthroat Caverns. It's safe to say it wasn't to everyones taste. We finished with Legends of Andor|
|Wed 05 Mar 14 at 20:00||Tony's|
|Wed 12 Mar 14 at 20:00||Mike's|
I have been to all the all-day games events in Saltdean. See the geeklists from all Pasteboard and Plastic events.
Read my reports on Pasteboard and Plastic events here:
One good source for second-hand games in the UK is charity shops. Although there is a lot of dross, you can also find some great games - I've picked up such gems as Fair Means or Foul, Magic Carpet and Cafe International.
I've also bought many games from Playin' Games at 33 Museum St, London WC1A 1JR, though they have now closed.
I now tend to get most of my games from The Board Game Club. Their prices are keen and they usually come to Pasteboard and Plastic.
I used to buy online from adam spielt in Germany. They were particularly good (surprise, surprise) for German games, but they have stopped selling games.
I have bought games from Gamesale. They are particularly good for second-hand games. Their prices are competitive and delivery is also quick.
Another source I have used is MNG, who sell second-hand games by mail-order. This used to be run by Eamon Bloomfield, but has now been taken over by Andy Merritt. Email Andy at firstname.lastname@example.org for details and lists. I am on Andy's mailing list.
Essen is the premier games fair in the world and is held annually. You can get maps of the halls and lists of games and exhibitors from the Merz Verlag site. I also thoroughly recommend Brett & Board for information on games and Essen. Anyone going to Essen for the games fair is unlikely to see much of the city, so you might like to take the virtual tour! or visit the main Tourism in Essen site.
Although I didn't go this year, Joseph and Alan bought back some games for me:
I went back to Essen from 21-24 October 2010, my fourth visit to the fair. I flew BA and stayed at the Hotel Korn. The beds were too small (my duvet was the width of the (narrow) bed and too short, so I had to sleep in my socks) but the food was excellent - I particularly recommend the Zabaglione.
We took a taxi to and from Dusseldorf, and the return journey was only 20 minutes - much quicker (and cheaper) than the metro and ICE train.
The first time I went to Essen, most of the games were in German, but this time, I've already been able to download and print the few games that didn't have English rules. All games are now punched and ready to play, and I'm reading the rules of all the games I haven't yet played.
I was determined not to buy many games, and as you can see, I singularly failed in this! Some I resisted included Bankok Clongs, Inca Empire, Schinderhannes and Mars is Ours! I chatted to several designers, including Steve Zamborsky (Cleopatra's Caboose) and Nellie Maan from Adrenaline Brush, who was demonstrating some interesting games, including Fondue, which has similarities to Labyrinth.
Games I bought include (* indicates games I've played, + indicates rules have been read):
Although I didn't go, Joseph and Richard bought back some games for me:
There are also a couple of new games I may try to buy soon:
Joseph found cheap flights from Gatwick to Cologne, which necessitated a short rail journey, but were a lot cheaper. Four of us went together, leaving at 03.30 Thursday 13 October and returning about midnight on Friday 14. See essen 2005 for my report of the trip. I am planning to sell some of my games to help pay for the trip. See my gots page for a list.
gamefest has a lot of information about new releases for Essen, and the German website Spielbox is also interesting - if, unlike me, you're a German-speaker.
Joseph couldn't resist another visit, but again I couldn't afford it.
Joseph went to Essen from Wednesday 27 - Saturday 30 October, and bought me Reef Encounter.
Joseph and Richard went again, but I couldn't afford it. Even if I had gone, I'm not sure where I'd put any more games! Even without going there, thanks to Joseph, I bought Railroad Dice, Carcassonne Die Burg, the free Carcassonne expansions Späher and König, and a signed copy of the limited-edition Cronberg (Cronberg was produced as 1,450 regular editions and 50 collectors' editions). I found enough information on Kulkmann's G@mebox to be able to have a go of Die Burg. It also had rules for Späher and König. Both Railroad Dice and Cronberg come with English rules, but you can download updated rules for Railroad Dice here.
The German website Spielbox has plenty of information about Essen games releases, but as I don't speak German, it was of limited use.
This year the Essen Games Fair was on from Thursday 23 - Sunday 26 October.
Joseph's comments from the fair:
I bought myself 16 new games: Attika, Anno 1503, Kogge, Logistico, Railroad Dice , Carcassonne Die Burg, Carcassonne Konig und Spaher tiles, Die Fugger, Pingvinas, The Kookaburra Game, Rette sich ver Kann, Alexandros, Floraida, Bridges of Shangrila, Cronberg, and Industria. I didn't get the 2F game as I guess someone will order it in due course, and Maya I should probably have got but didn't. The showpiece game of King Arthur with the AI by Knizia flopped, and was being discounted around the halls. I would recommend Attika which looks top notch, the pick of the crop from the fair.
I look forward to playing these (and probably buying some more of them!)
Joseph and I went in 2002 too, from 17th - 20th October. We stayed at Hotel im Girardet Haus, Girardetstraße 2-38, 45131 Essen (Tel. 02 01 / 87 88 00 + 87 88 080). It's only five minutes walk from the exhibition, but is quite expensive (about £70 per night). We met up with old friends and games players including Richard Minson, Richard and Reb Harding and Mark, Mark and Nick from Swindon, amongst others.
Here's a list of games I bought (and the ones I didn't)
I went to the Essen games fair in Germany in 2001, an experience which I thoroughly recommend! I bought 30+ games and have played most of them. I've listed them here with my ratings. Over 147,000 visitors attended the show in total.
Here we're having a short break before diving back into the heaving halls for the next buying frenzy! I'm the one on the left in the bright shirt.
Please click on the image to enlarge and find out who's who - back
If you want a laugh, check out the Spielboy website.
I recently received Time Control from Thompson Industries for review. Written by gamers for gamers, it looks interesting and I will schedule some testing time soon and post a review. There's a good introduction to the game on the Thompson Industries website.
I went to an all-day games event in Marcham in November 2002. See my Marcham games report for more details.
I went to an all-day games event in Saltdean in November 2005. See my Saltdean games report for more details.
Thanks to everyone who has allowed me to offer these files for download. Enjoy!
Lowenherz English rules in Word format submitted by Steve.
Kugelblitz or Ball Lightning English rules in Word format submitted by Mike Bliss.
Der Herr der Ringe - Das Duell English rules in Word format submitted by Steve.
Am Rande des Gletschers Précis of English rules in Word format submitted by Steve.
Odins Raben Précis of English rules in Word format submitted by Steve.
Die Fursten von Florence Player Aid in Excel format submitted by Fiske.
Trans-America English rules in Word format submitted by Joseph.
Wildlife English rules in Word format submitted by Steve.
Bau Auf! English rules in Word format submitted by Steve.
Pinocchio English rules in Word format submitted by Steve.
Wie Hund und Katz English rules in Word format submitted by Steve.
: : © Mike Bliss 2011