With vaccination cards in hand and masks concealing our grins we entered the convention hall for Spiel in Essen.Considered the largest analog gaming convention in the world, Spiel is quite the spectacle.
Sadly, the situation these days is not quite as spectacular as previous years.
With about half the normal displays planned (and even less showed up thanks to a number of British companies not attending despite their booking… Brexit strikes again) and visitors capped at about a third of previous years from what I have been told, the event was much less grandiose than the last time we attended.
There were a number of stalls we wanted to see and the online event program helped us find them… or where they were supposed to be. I was for example disappointed to see the spot assigned to Battle Systems empty.
So much for my plan to chat with Colin and the rest of the Battle Systems team. And to get the latest two Core Space expansions.
Warlord Games was there but their display was disappointing, being mostly a wall of large army boxes and some tables with display games not being played. For some reason I did not feel inclined to talk with their staff, despite spending ages talking to them last time about Blacks Seas. I looked a bit at their Mythic America line but nothing screamed “buy me” and we quickly moved on.
We did buy a few things at the show but much less than we expected.
At the Mantic stall discounts were not as good as I was hoping. This seemed a reoccurring theme, barring a few exceptions. Mantic staff explained it was a real headache bringing stock over for the show from the UK, having to individually hand label 500 boxes to pass the border. Brexit strikes again. Considering the minor doscount I think it was chatting with the staff and empathizing with them that convinced me to buy something from them considering the work they went through.
While we did not buy anything at their stall one of the best displays for us was Archon Studio. The stop there did convince us to put in a late pledge backing their second Rampart Kickstarter…. just in time as their third Rampart Kickstarter is right around the corner.
In addition to the official Archon Studio painted terrain on display there was also some terrain painted by “local German artist” Brucegreen1978 that was brilliant. Talking with him, he seemed a nice guy.
His take on their Gothic science fiction terrain convinced us we could use it for Frostgrave as his style was much less “40k sci-fi” than the official artwork. Mrs. GG convinced me we could make it match our GW Age of Sigmar DominionWarcry terrain that we plan on using for Frostgrave.
Sadly we did not get any photos of his less sci-fi Gothic terrain.
We did like seeing the glass cased, officially painted Dungeons and Lasers 3 building pieces and miniatures painted up, which looked much better than I was expecting.
Speaking of Frostgrave, we bought some terrain mats from Playmat.eu. Two 6×4 neoprene (mousepad) mats, one cobblestones for Frostgrave and one sandy desert mat that should work for either deep desert or hopefully deep seabed.
They gave us a good deal.
It was good to do comparative shopping. There were several gaming mat companies present and they were all very friendly. It really came down to which aesthetic suited us the best as each company had high quality material on display and great customer service.
Mrs. GG also picked up some dice at the Chessex stall. They had a magnificent selection of dice. Sadly nothing grabbed my attention to purchase. There were a couple of funny novelty comment dice but the comments were on the one instead of the six, whereas I like a comment or symbol on the six generally.
Something we did notice in attendance was a lot of 3d print companies. Siocast was showing off their products. Various 3d printers on display at various stalls as well as printed minis… some for sale, some merely as examples to admire.
We really should have taken more photos.
Titan-Forge had a brilliant Army of Wakanda inspired Fantasy Africans all printed up but not painted. Had they been for sale I think I might have broken our budget to get them. Sadly we did not get any photos, although I thought we had. They are not yet available for sale on the Titan-Forge website but apparently they are coming soon.
We did get two photos from the Titan Forge stall…
…. but none of the Wakaturu Tribe.
I was really disappointed that the Perry Brothers, Dwarven Forge, Modiphius, Victrix, Wargames Atlantic, North Star Miniature or Osprey Publishing were not at the event.
Food was alright. We had some decent burritos and I ignored my Diabetes long enough to have a delicious Banana and Nutella Crêpe. In the spirit of true love Mrs. GG and I shared their last banana for our two Crêpes.
Eating was the only time we could remove our masks. That was uncomfortable for me, both physically and emotionally. I hate how masks conceal facial expressions. Big crowds are not my thing, even before COVID, crowds irritated me but everyone being masked up makes it even worse. And despite the reduced number of visitors it still felt crowded as lots of people clustered around the display stalls.
Tabletop miniature gaming was a very small niche in the very large selection of analog gaming on display. We also got some things for our son, Little GG. We look forward to the day he can join us in our gaming but for now he gets his own specific games and toys. Usually involving Paw Partrol, Octonauts or some form of transforming machine.
We saw a number of stalls selling fancy gaming tables, Wyrmwood was not alone. Many different styles with lots of different options. A couple caught our attention in particular.
The built in, hideaway tv was a clever one.
And tables with lots of internal storage. Cute dice stools too.
Others had cool lighting and magnetic modular accessories as well as gorgeous wood finishes. But all expensive. You can buy a lot of miniatures for 3000 Euros. That said, I do not think I have enough time left to paint another 3000 Euros worth of miniatures.
Which brings up an interest tangent thought that I wanted to share. When we restarted this hobby a couple of years ago I was of a mind that money not time or storage would restrict me. So I shopped smart, looking for deals, buying used minis that would be “good enough”.
I did not expect Mrs. GG to get into the painting and gaming as much as she has.
Now I am beginning to realize that I can not actually paint every single thing I want and can get. So now I need to reprioritze purchases. Some good deals we got in the past will need to be sold on to make room in my painting schedule for things I want more.
It does not help that I am a slow painter.
It also means I have to keep telling myself I can not get those Wargames Atlantic WW 1 French or make a late pledge for the CMON Zombicide Western Kickstarter.
What about you? Is there something you want to do but can not? What is it, and why?
In other news, the latest seasons of Fear the Walking Dead and Walking Dead: World Beyond have been disappointing. I am not sure which is worse, a show with characters I like but the show is not good (Fear) or a show where I do not like the characters and the show is not good (Beyond).
Fear seems to have truly jumped the shark with the nukes. It is as if the show runners just want to cash in on all the different post-apoc franchises. There are elements of Fallout, Metro and even a Stalker reference at one point.
Beyond is just… bad. Poor writing, annoying characters and illogical plot. I am beginning to wonder why I am wasting my time on both shows. I guess because I hope they will get better, eventually. Maybe a sense of completionism? I wish both shows had much better military technical advisors.
I stumbled onto “The Silence.”
Not a terrible post-apoc monster movie. A bit heavy handed in the plot that comes across as anti-Religion.If you liked “A Quiet Place” you might like it. I still need to see the sequel (prequel?) for “A Quiet Place”.
We finished season 1 of Marvel’s “What if…?” and we quite enjoyed it by the end. Some of the earlier episodes made more sense by the finale.
Superstore continues to entertain. Season 1 and 2 down, four more to go.
I remain excited to see Dune, so far reviews seem positive.
And now I have Lightyear to look forward to!
As well as Cowboy Bebop!
And on a final note, I have just about reached the limit on the size of this free WordPress account. I need to decide the future of this blog. So if you have anything to say that could influence that decision please post a comment and let me know.
The future of this blog depends a lot on you.