Essen Spiel 2018 – Day 1 Round-Up

Essen Spiel is upon us again and this year seems to be bigger and more crowded than ever. Alex and I take a look at some of our highlights from the first day. For a board game convention, there was a lot of miniature games played today! After much dice rolling and some time to reflect, here are our thoughts on our 3 biggest demos of the day.

Fallout Wasteland Warfare

Jamie: So obviously this is a prototype of the game that is due to come out in March. As such, some parts hadn’t yet been finished. But the real question is did it feel like Fallout?

Alex: Yes… With a twist. It seemed to tweak the SPECIAL system from the video games to bring aspects through to supplement the miniatures game.

Jamie:  I certainly feel that the characters had the attributes you would expect. Super Mutants were strong and hard to take down, whilst the Brotherhood benefited from better ranged weapons and armour. So the scenario we ended up playing, saw Alex and I playing as 2 Super Mutants against 3 Brotherhood of Steel Initiates. So what did you like about the game?

Alex: The models looked good and very much in key with Fallout 4. Also the tokens (even as a prototype) had a feel of Fallout about them.

Jamie: I agree, the models looked great. I also liked, although I didn’t use it, the idea of linked actions. As instead of activating someone on your turn, you could Ready them which allowed you to use them when you activated another model. I am not completely sold on the game yet, however will certainly be checking out the rules when they come out.

Alex: Overall I think this is a great adaptation of Fallout 4’s combat encounters and I look forward to seeing more about it closer to release.

Necromunda

Jamie: Necromunda! It’s back! The next in line from the revitalised Specialist Games Division at Games Workshop. Now I only briefly remember the old Necromunda, however this game seemed to have the feeling of gang warfare and even a bit of old 40K in there. What did you think Alex as I know you have never played Necromunda before?

Alex: It certainly seemed to have a lot of tactical depth to it… One wrong move, left you in a world of pain. Each gang and in fact each model felt unique in terms of weapons and abilities.

Jamie: It definitely felt each model had a role to play in the gang and the two gangs in the demo played very differently, with one preferring to get up close and personal whilst the other looked to pick guys off from afar.

Alex: I like the unique role of the dice with the special dice used for rapid fire and injury dice. I did like that even that being reduced to 0 wounds doesn’t necessarily mean you are out of the battle, if you are lucky then there is a chance that you may not be able to join back in the fight… Even if a little weaker. Rapid fire also carried a risk with it… You could get lucky and turn your hit into three… Or you could end up jamming your gun and needing to clear it.

Jamie: So overall I liked the game… I felt there was enough here for people who liked the older versions of rulesets. I like that you can play on the boards in the box or on your usual 40K boards. The gangs in the box did feel slightly unbalanced however that could have been down to the scenario. The key to this game, I feel, will depend on the release schedule and how well supported the game is.

Alex: I also liked the game and will probably be buying it. The characters can sometimes feel slightly fragile… In that a model can be taken out of action before you even had a chance to do anything with it. However it makes the models feel very powerful and played very strongly to the tactical depth. With the back and forth activation and then rolling for priority, you need to make sure that a model isn’t going to just be left out in the open.

Star Wars Legion

Alex: Star Wars Legion seems to take various smooth mechanics and features from its fellow Star Wars games such as X-Wing and Armada. Unlike Imperial Assault, Legion allows you to have larger groups of infantry and better caters for vehicles.

Jamie: Compared to Imperial Assault, this version does certainly seem to cater better for vehicles and using squads of troops. I think once it gets to a larger scale of combat that it will really start to shine.

Alex: I liked the tactical choice at the start of the round where you had to choose between a limited pool of command cards. The trade off being the potential of going first against being able to order a larger number of units.

Jamie: It is definitely an important part of the game… There were some times when it was important for a player to go first with a particular unit and almost the rest didn’t matter. Vehicles didn’t really seem to add much to the demo scenario, the AT-RT felt really underpowered although could certainly take a lot of punishment before it even got damaged. I believe these had been toned down for the demo though and could be more powerful in the actual game.

Alex: Vehicles did seem a little out of place, although some of that may have been solved if the infantry squads had special weapons (Which they didn’t for our demo). Overall, I really liked the game, it looks great and I can’t wait to add it to my collection of miniatures.

Jamie: I am not a fan of moving the the squad leader and the rest then go where you like, it seems too open to abuse especially as you don’t then appear to use the squad leader to measure range. Having said that, the game worked very well to the theme and activation of squads was quick and easy to do. The templates meaning that it was easy to move squads around. Overall, the game has a lot of promise and I look forward to playing a full game after having a chance to read through the rules.

Final thoughts?

Thursday has typically been the day when we could get in the most demos and scouting ahead of the busiest days of Friday and Saturday. This year it has been massively busy, this is probably because of the move to later in the month. It is really good to see conventions like this thriving and the board game hobby as a whole doing so well.

There has also never been more choice for a miniature gamer as well. We didn’t manage to get demos of A Song of Ice & Fire Miniature game or Resident Evil today and all of these are on top of all the over games already out there. A lot will depend if these games can find their spot. What game are you looking forward to? We would love to hear from you.

Day 2 should have certainly have more board games in it as we have some targets to check out and a few games already in our haul!

Jamie Grinstead on Email
Jamie Grinstead
Director at Athena Games
One of the owners of Athena Games and is often seen running the store. Plays a variety of games including card games, board games and miniature games. Jamie has over twenty years of gaming experience with various games.

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