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This year we experimented with a different date, moving it forward to leave a couple of free weekends before Midcon in Derby in early November, but not wanting to be too close to the local Raiders of the Games Cupboard at the end of September. By choosing Essen weekend we knew that one or two people would not be able to make but, as hoped, it acted as compensation for several people who could not justify a trip to Germany. If we edge it forward just a touch next year, we might get the best of all worlds.
This was the second year of holding the event at the Three Queens Hotel, with the shop acting as an overspill area – and since Saturday was also a Magic the Gathering Game Day we held that in the shop with the players adjourning to the hotel after the tournament to play board and card games into the night. We had our usual historical wargaming troupe, some of whom travel up from the West Country, but otherwise concentrated on cardboard-based entertainment. There was a definite zombie theme on Saturday night, with Zombicide and two games of Dead of Winter all running; many firm favourites were in evidence throughout the two days – Power Grid, Kingsburg, Lords of Waterdeep, Glass Road, King of Tokyo and many more, plus several games of Trains with its new boards and cards from the Rising Sun expansion. Fistful of Penguins went down very well as warm-up for new arrivals, and towards the end of Sunday I got a game of Pirates of Nassau, which I always look forward to. The brand new Frankenstein's Bodies was also spotted in action, and quite a few others which I have yet to catch up with.
As last year, the hotel did us proud with excellent food at great prices, accompanied by a fine pint or several of Burton Bridge Bitter. Once it was discovered just how good their pizzas are the demand was constant, at peak eating time on Saturday evening, with their restaurant to run for their other guests too, they struggled to keep up with demand, but the wait was worth it. The staff were happy to have their hotel pretty much entirely taken over for the weekend, there was no pressure for games to be finished on either evening, so the atmosphere was very relaxed, which is how we like it.
Spirit Games (Est. 1984) - Supplying role playing games (RPG), wargames rules, miniatures and scenery, new and traditional board and card games for the last 34 years
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