The biggest source of information in preparation for the onslaught of new games coming in after the end of the Essen show is always the superb Essen preview list on BGG.
But another way of trying to find out what the hot games after Essen could be (and with the number of games coming out we have to be selective), is to have a look/listen and some videos/podcasts talking about their most anticipated games for Essen. It worked quite well for me last year, so I did it again this year. I’ve watched a total of 13 videos on Youtube and made notes about the games that are being mentioned. Sorted by the number of times a game got mentioned, here is my totally non-scientific Top 20 of the most anticipated games for Essen 2019 (in case of a tie, I used the thumbs up on the Essen preview list as a tie-breaker):
Teotihuacan: City of Gods (English edition)
Azul: Stained Glas
Shadows in Amsterdam
Camel Up (2nd Edition)
Here is the playlist with all 13 videos:
Most of the games in the Top 20 are no surprise because they are the “common ground” between all those videos I’ve watched. But watching all these videos it was interesting to see that the common ground seems to be smaller this year (= a lot of the Top lists included games only mentioned once or twice in the videos) compared to the last two years which indicates for me that we are looking at a good Essen year with a wide selection of interesting games. As always with Essen the trick is to find the games that have staying power beyond the initial hype about nice looking components, interesting themes and a well-known designer (these seem to be the most often used criteria to select games of interest in the preparation for Essen).
Last year’s Top 5 of the podcast summary list was Charterstone, Nusfjord, Altiplano, Meeple Circus and Clans of Caledonia. All five turned out to be really good to solid games and also did quite well in regards to sales (besides Charterstone which for some reasons didn’t do very well).
Thanks to the Easter holidays April is always one of the quieter months of the year for us. But we still had some interesting games coming in and new pre-orders going live. So here is a quick look at our Top 5 in sales and pre-orders:
Top 5 Sales:
2) City of Kings
3) Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle
4) Escape the Dark Castle
5) Port Royal: The Adventure begins
With Azul being back in stock for the first time since December it’s no wonder that the restock took the top spot. Hogwarts Battle is a steady seller thanks to good reviews and lots of Potter fans out there. And Adventure begins, the campaign expansion sneaked in at the end of the month and just made it into our Top 5.
Top 5 Pre-Orders
1) Gloomhaven: Forgotten Circles
2) The Sands of Time
3) Dragon Castle
4) Roll Player: Monsters & Minions
5) Great Western Trail: Rails to the North (German Edition)
The Pre-Orders Top 5 is dominated by expansions for three of the biggest hits of the last year. Forgotten Circles will not be available before November, but already had a rush of orders coming in for it. Monsters & Minions brings new elements into an already very good game and Rails to the North is perfect for everyone who wants to make the Great Western Trail even bigger.
Another month is gone, time to have a quick look at the Top 5 in Sales and pre-orders.
Top 5 Sales:
Castell was another hit from Renegade Game Studios and it looks like they can’t do anything wrong at the moment. Civilization was the surprise of the month, because it is still the same old game (but a very good one) without any attempts of a redesign. Dungeon Alliance is another successful Kickstarter hampered at retail by a lack of available stock. Biosphere is a monster of a game (300 dice included), but has earned good feedback at Essen and is now finally available in larger numbers. Meeple Circus is another Essen release that took a while to finally arrive in the UK.
Top 5 Pre-Orders
Arkwright (2nd Edition)
The Sands of Time
Century – Eastern Wonders
Coimbra (German Edition)
Rising 5: Runes of Asteros
The first edition of Arkwright has been a success, so the second edition topping the Pre-orders for March is no surprise. The Sands of Time is the new Spielworxx game, always highly sought after by fans of heavy-weight games. Eastern Wonders is the second game in the Century trilogy, it will be interesting to see what the difference to the first one is and if it will be a similar success for Plan B Games. Coimbra is another Plan B Games and the new Eggertspiele release after their hits Great Western Trail and Heaven & Ale. Unfortunately, so far only available to pre-order in the German Edition. Rising 5: Runes of Asteros is a cooperative deduction game and another game has been delayed for a while now.
Plan B Games has replaced the cardboard first player token in the new print run of Azul with a resin token.
They also offer a replacement token for owners of the first print run, which can be ordered directly from Plan B Games. They have also announced that their UK distributor will get the tiles to supply them to retailers.
On yesterday’s delivery note there was the replacement tile listed, so I got really excited. Unfortunately, we have only received one tile, because the distributor had only received a very limited amount of tiles. We will use the one tile we have received for our demo copy, but we have requested more tiles and hope that they will get them. But nobody could tell us when this will happen and how many tiles we will get. Once we have confirmation of the date and the number of tiles we will receive, we will post another update and also confirm how we are going to send them out to customers who had bought the first print run (most likely we will add them to the next order we are going to send to the customer).