Author Topic: Decar's trip to Essen Spiel 2022  (Read 795 times)

Offline Decar

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Decar's trip to Essen Spiel 2022
« on: October 12, 2022, 09:50:32 AM »
Wednesday

it was an early start for me over in Wales. I had to be out of the house by 4:30 to give us enough time to drive across the country to mean Willem in Ashford.  I think I got to Dan's around 6.30am and we trundled through a lot of traffic cutting across the M4/M25.


Thankfully we had time for breakfast in one of our favourite establishments.  The traffic meant we were a little late to meet Willem.  All in all, I was very surprised to find how busy the roads were from a Wednesday morning.  To top it off Ashford doesn't use conventional roads, instead they've decided to block pave large sections of road and pavement, nor use any form of recognizable road markings.  The only clue I had was to not run over pedestrians or drive into lampposts.  Finally we got to the Ashford International Station car park. Willem was at the entrance.  I drove down the length of the carpark hoping to jump the fence, but we discovered that the fences were about 15 foot tall; so had to spin the car around to park a bit nearer to the main entrance; and walk to Willem's car.



Thanks to Willem's driving we managed to arrive at the Tunnel crossing a train earlier than expected; so we were able to cross a little earlier.  The crossing was mostly uneventful.  One of the most enjoyable parts of the trip is passing the town you left:



On the way in Dan, Willem, and I listened to the 5 Board Games of Doom podcast. Klaus-Jurgen Wrede was recently interviewed about the 5 games he'd like to play if we was trapped in a log cabin during an apocalypse.  It's well worth a listen.

I blinked for a minute of two, and we were suddenly in Essen.  The traffic in Antwerp was particularly rubbish.  We unpacked out things and headed to the Messe so that Willem know where it was.  We had dinner in the traditional Hans Im Glueck.



On the way back, we stopped for a beer in a pizzeria opposite the hotel.  It was Dan's turn to practise his German.  "Three Beers" got a painful "Was?!" in response.  After much pointing, apologizing, and Willem acting as mediator, we had 3 beers in the park, and got attacked by spiders.

Meepledrone finally arrived in the hotel, and had brought a tremendous number of Carcassonne paraphernalia for Willem, but he also had gifts for Dan and myself.  Thank you so much!  I'm always particularly nervous of Dan around tile-towers but this one left unscathed.  We stayed up late and played some games. I hope the candle helps the photo



Thursday.

We started bright and early then headed to the fine eatery of Mc Donalds.  I was disappointed not to have a hashbrown, but they made up for it with a broad selection of cake.



We were all wearing T-Shirts designed by Carcassonne Central's MMike. A few weeks earlier I suggested the concept of a Carcassonne shirt with: "No tile left unturned" and I had the shirts printed for us to wear.  We also played another game where members of the public could receive temporary tattoos.



Team A was Willem and myself, while Team B was Dan and Meepledrone.  We split into to groups to recce both Hans Im Gluck booths as quickly as possible.  The queues were massive.  In previous years I've just wandered up to the booth and been served immediately.  Willem and I spoke to a nice guy who had managed to nab a copy of Great Western Trails, apparently only 40 were available.  Later some friends joined him, and a lady boasted about selling her Carcassonne Spiel tile for 15€.  That was a good time for Willem to share photographs of his collection.

So my first purchases from Essen were the obligatory, Ukrainian tile, Ukrainian Map, The new mini-expansion The Bets, and Mists over Carcassonne. More than enough to get me over the Spiel 22 limit.  The first of many visits no doubt.  We headed over to the other HiG booth so I could grab the same for Rich The Fish.


We also played another game at the fair using Dan's meeples.  We made little baggies, and hid some Dan meeple around the fair and asked people to hashtag a photograph of Dan with their favourite game, and then hide the meeple somewhere else for someone to find.  What actually happened was 10 people stole Dan's meeple.  But it's the thought that counts.



So with the necessary HiG purchases out of the way, I headed to InPatience to pick up Stellarion, the latest game in the Oniverse Series.  In 2018, I walked all over Essen looking for Nautilion, and couldn't find it anywhere, until on Saturday, I found it in a single pile forgotten about in the Asmodee shop.  The Z--Man label has been dropped and Shadi Torbey has started this publishing house to reprint these games and finish the series.  Wonderful stuff.  But LOOK!  I'll be back no doubt!  The Onverse series are predominately solo games; the designer is a dedicated solo designer and way before it was trendy to include solo variants in games.  I'm happy these are set to return.



Radlands was a recommendation from UncleWills and Willem. I also grabbed Combi-nations from Cawali games, the kickstarter ended on the Friday before Essen, it was fun saying I had travelled from Antarctica to pick it up.  I also picked up a set of Shogi pieces, it was nice explaining to the guy that I already knew how to play.  I also collected Basilica which is a 2 player area control game.

Next stop, the UKGE booth for a cup of tea.  Dan and I spent several minutes talking to a nice gentleman called Christopher, who told us about the utter rigmarole of bringing in Yorkshire tea, and water into the Germany, and the Spiel trade fair.  Regardless, he was the man for the job, unfortunately, he was only able to find carbonated water for the giant urn. Needless to say, it was a bloody good cup of tea.  We heard that the Yorkshire tea was in limited supply, so I think it was safe to say that this was a supaRAR limited edition promo of the fair.



It was time for the Carcassonne meetup in the Atrium, so we headed over.  Dan had to pop to the loo, so I was slightly worried that no one else had turned up.  I waited a few more minutes, then did a comedy double take with the gentleman standing about 3 foot from me. It was Benny!  Our masks were obviously doing a good job because we didn't recognise each other.  It was great to see everyone again.  Mr Numbers (and Mr Decimals) were there too.  Going to conventions again after so many years can take a while to get used to.  But it's so much better to see real friends again.  It's been over 4 years since I last saw a lot of these people.  I'm glad I could organize something and catch up with Dieter and Konrad2605.


Benny recommended an abstract game Yoxii, so I later went off to pick up a copy.

We all caught up at the HiG booth. While the four of us were waiting in line, a random dude approached us and asked us for a tattoo for his son! He had seen a message about our secret phrase in a WhatsAppGroup, and when he saw our TShirts he had to ask.

Shortly after the meetup, I had to hunt down the designer of Noggin of the Nog, Nick Case. He had several problems with Maths trades and auctions, but I eventually tracked him down, and gave him a surprise gift from South Wales.  I grew up a bit of a fan of Noggin the Nog, but during the 90s having access to the stories and episodes was not so easy.  Nick designed a game recently under the Noggin The Nog license, and it arrived at about the time my son was born. So I decided to pick up the early reading stories, and sagas to read.  He loves them, so when Nick Case had found the existence and some 'lost sagas' I had to try and track them down.  Over the last few months I'd collected children's annuals and comics from 1963 – 1968, photographed, scanned and typeset the lost tales and produced a 200 page book.  Getting one book printed is obscenely expensive, so getting 12 books printed became a little more viable. So Essen was a great opportunity to surprise Nick and thank him for bringing Noggin back into our lives.  He was blown away, and we exchanged a couple of stories.  And he was kind enough to invite me to lunch the following day.  I also dropped another copy off with Tony Boydell, local board game designer, and museum owner, when I picked up my Box of Delights and copy of Aleph Null.

I eventually caught up with the guys playing Giant Carcassonne, and they left no prisoners as they battled against a lady in a lovely meeple t-shirt.  Time for some demos... Meepledrone and Willem wanted to revisit the HiG booth, so I convinced Dan to play Kingdomino: Origins.  It seemed like an expansion for Kingdomino that introduced elements found in Queendomino.  Fire is the key multiplier, and that is spread from volcano squares; which if well placed can be placed by the players for the greatest effect.  I didn't play very well unfortunately and neither Dan and I felt it added much to either of the existing games. Still it was good to demo, and if someone hadn't played either, I think it could be a good way to play.



When Meepledrone and Willem arrived, we stayed at the Pegasus booths and waited for a demo of DorftRomantik.  It started pretty slowly, but when we completed an assignment tile, the next 3 or 4 were also completed, and so we established a chain of results.  It was a fun game, which is mainly a solo experience, but with cooperative play for more.  I decided to pick up a copy, but they had already sold out on the day!


Finally, it was time to go, and I had booked a table at Burger Heart. And it was a fantastic burger, made even better with the company.



Friday

For breakfast croissants from a bakery.  We got to the Messe pretty early, but we were directed to the main entrance. I was slightly worried that between us we would be remembered as the group who bought a lot of Spiel tiles. So on the way in, we picked up two boxes of biscuits and cards to give to the people at the HiG booth.  Inga also asked for a tattoo, and gave us all HiG headbands.  Hopefully now, we'll be remembered as the guys who took a lot of spiel tiles, but also left some biscuits.


We went over to the 2nd HiG booth to repeat the same.  Willem scored lucky and was purchased an unpunched sheet of Ukrainian tiles!  Moments later Meepledrone was denied a Spiel tile!  So we went over to SpielMaterial.  I bought some pieces for a game I picked up at Essen in 2016  called Lembitu.  Then it was time for me to meet Nick and have lunch.  It was great listening to Nick's stories about visiting Peter Firmin, and some of the research he carried out to prepare for the game; and even some of the endeavors that didn't see the light of day.  Unfortunately, Nick's latest game was stuck in customs after being trapped on a ship outside of Hamburg for 2 weeks, but I got some tips for games to check out.


I caught up with Dan and after getting lost, we played a game called Trending Kittens.  It was pretty basic, and the special powers were not balanced at all; providing massive advantages compared to others.  I took a couple of minutes to track down Roland McDonald, who is the designer of Ruthless, and accomplished artist of many games now.  It was nice that he took the time to say hello, and wished him well.  After that it was time for the most important demonstration of Essen 2022.



DAN vs DECAR - WEYKICK FINAL 2022!

The psychological and physical demands of this game are unrivaled. For those who read about our adventure in 2016, this was going to be the grudge match to end all grudge matches.  Highlights include, Dan dropping the magnet under the table to grab his player that he launched across my side of the board.  Later his player was caught in technical foul, but his player latched onto my magnet, so I was left with a super player with very big feet.  However, even with all of these benefits, my team was no match for Dan's superior ball-whacking control-with-a-magnet skills and after my lower back went into spasm, it was only a matter of time before the final goal was scored.


Next up was HiRoBa, a new Sudoku, token placement game.  The game was pretty tight and I Meepledrone picked up a couple of copies.  I already have a game that was quite similar, called Ichiban Haru, and I wasn't sure it would be so good with only 2 players.



By the time we finished, it was time to leave the fair.  We were heading into Essen proper to meet Melvin and hopefully go shopping.  We went to eat at FrittenWerks.  Earlier in the day Linksux joined us, and had brought Super Mariossonne!  Wow!  Dan and I started a game, but Dan had to leave early to meet Melvin.  So we restarted the game.  Playing with these tiles really affect the game.  For a start, recognizing edges and tiles is quite tricky, and it really messes up any tile counting; subtle things like changing the shapes of tiles, and how fields appear, really changes the game for me.  I got quite lucky by claiming an large field, and I was able to defend it for the majority of the points.  Overall hearing all the hard work that Linksux put in trimming and preparing the tiles was wonderful. Thanks so much for bringing this to try.


Unfortunately, Dan left his personal meeple set on the table and I stupidly didn't pick them up. So unfortunately, I had no idea how they managed to start appearing in different places.

After we were kicked out of the FrittenWerks, we went to catch up with Melvin and TheusGaldiator.  It was nice to meet them in person, but we didn't stay long because they had had a very long day.  So we started to walk back to the hotel.  It was apparent that the hotel bar would be closed before we got back so we decided to walk into an Off-license.  It was very apparent that we shouldn't have been there. But thankfully Dan's limited German skills were put to good use..... "Beer"... and they knew. From one hard working person to another.. they pointed to the fridge and I grabbed 4 beers.  Two for me and two for Dan.  There was some confusion, Meepledrone and Willem also wanted beer and thought we were holding theirs. Nope... 2 for me... 2 for Dan.  Thankfully we exchanged funds, and the two gangsters that ran the place were able to continue their night.



We got back to the hotel, the bar was open, beer was had.

Saturday

I wanted to get to the Messe early to see if I could nab a copy of Turing Machine.  I was essentially standing in front of the main gate, but somehow people still thought it was ok to stand in front of me.  I exchanged a glance with the security guard.  We both knew.  Willem, Hector, and Dan were hiding out at Hall 3, the main doors open a few minutes later, but it might have been quicker for them compared to me dashing from Hall 6.  Here are the gates opening......


As I got down the steps, people started to run past..... I became that muppet you see on those video streams..... RUN!  I dashed into the outside area.... and sprinted towards the Gallery... And began to peg it.  Dudes working on the food stall cheered:  "RUN!  RUN! GET THE GAMES!"  "RUN! RUN FORREST RUN!"  shortly afterwards, my sprint became more of a hobble, the last 2 days of walking had taken their toll.  Into Hall 3.  It was already rammed with press and exhibitors with early access to the Messe.  I started to pick up speed.  Almost there... Almost... I got into the line.... I waited...There were about 30 people ahead of me already.  The queue slowly moved.  I got to the front and Turing Machine was there waiting for me.  I got my copy.  I asked, there are only 3 left.  I can at least say that for once in my life, I'd run for a board game, and got it before they sold out.  After that achievement, I needed a lie down.  Overall, I'm not really sure I appreciate things in limited quantity.  It's not a nice thing to see a queue for 150 people behind you unable to get a copy of the game they wanted.  Generally speaking this game will be available for quite some time in a matter of weeks.

Time for a cheese pretzel, and a coffee.


I bumped into Sincerely too; it was funny seeing him get a wrist band before leaving the Messe.  I've already mentioned Village Rails, so I went to book us a slot.  The four of us met up and started to play.  We had a quick explanation, and we were off in this neat little tableau, route building game.  A lot of people have said that this was the best game of the convention.  We ended the game a little early, but it certainly played very straightforwardly. There wasn't much messing about.  Generally, we didn't interact very much, but I think on another play we'd be more aware of what each other needed to get high scores.  It's a small box, with a high quality game inside.  It's a perfect offering from Osprey.  Shame it wasn't available at the fair. Brexit is to blame for that.


We had to end the game early, after about 25 minutes, because we had our second meet up at 2pm.  Wonderful seeing so many people again. BigBoss also had a few goodies for me!



At 2pm, I had to pop over to the InPatience signing.  There was a guy in front of us at the queue, who was embarrassed to ask for two boxes to be signed.  We were all for letting him make the most of the chance; and when he said he wished he'd brought his other games, I suggested he should buy them all again now they were available.  It was wonderful seeing Elise work, she explained that sometimes things inside box lids don't come out quite right because of the limited space.  Her use of coloured pencils and felt-tip was wonderful. It was amazing how quickly she was able to draw such expressive pieces.  I'm already regretting not getting all the games again so they could be signed.  Hopefully I'll have another opportunity in the future!



Time for Beer. WallacePrime was in town.  We had a lot of beer.  So we thought it was a good idea to get a cup of tea again.  We were told we couldn't have a cup of tea because there might not be enough teabags for tomorrow.  So I noted that it looked like they only had 5 tea bags remaining, which was already not enough for tomorrow, and we were fortunate enough to have another cup of tea and a chat with Christopher.



Next up it was burger-night - To begin with UHome joined us for a beer, where we were asked why we shouldn't have a beer.  Dan said he was 13, which was a good reason, but she asked for proof. So Dan offered to get his driving license out.  Brilliant, +1 from me Dan for such a hilarious exchange.  Carcassonne fans from CarcCentral (Uhome and Linksux) along with the Brazilian team, and NuNu(?) from Portugal joined us.


We took the car back to the hotel, and this was probably the best photo of the trip, because we hadn't quite thought about how Meepledrone would fit.... but somehow they managed it.



Back in the hotel we played Crazy-Casssonne. From what I could work out the rules changed on every turn. I also took a photo of Willem taking a Photo of Dan, so hopefully you'll see the other side of this in their write ups




Sunday.....Championship day.

We started with a Dingo. 


By the time we got to the Messe, the first games were underway.  There is definitely tension in the room, but compared to previous years, members of the public were allowed to walk between the tables.  The tournament is run by Spielizentrum in an area under the main Messe Halls.
Equally important was seeing these nice Meeple cakes that they had made for the contestants.



Dan met with Klaus-Jurgen Wrede and gave him a present from his daughter.  I took the photos, but I'll only share this one, you'll have to see the other in Dan's post.



Dan also asked KJW to sign a drink sachet:


I bumped into the Mobius Mother too and she posed for a nice photo.  No tournament complete without seeing the Mobius Mother.

The tournament is a long full day event, starting from 10am and ending just before 5pm.  Klaus-Jurgen signed some tiles and I took several photos that I shared on Twitter through the course of the day.  Afterwards Klaus-Jurgen offered to sign more things, but I felt he had already done enough for us.  He said he had had a successful Spiel, but he needs to take care of his heart.  I wished him a safe journey home.











We also met Mortiz Brunhofer, the HiG CEO who explained how busy he had been and by all accounts the event had done well.  I really appreciate the time he took to talk with fans, and I'm hoping we'll be able to do future work to support Carcassonne going forward.


It was time to go. Here's Dan in the car.



We decided to book a hotel in the Netherlands, which meant that Willem could go via his parents house to collect more boxes. All the boxes!  Although they also had a small game for me to save me 9€ of postage. It was nice meeting Willem's parents and it was extremely kind to let Dan and I into their home. Willem's mum also made a very nice apple pie!



When we got to our hotel, Dan and I both emptied our pants when I turned the light on. 

We spent most of the night wondering if we were going to be dragged into a nether realm portal.  Undoubtably, these were the victims who would murder us unless we were able to decrypt their messages and help them find resolution.  Unfortunately, we didn't speak Dutch, so decided to go to the bar downstairs.  We were settling into the idea of a night in a haunted hotel, when the barman asked for a room number.... "Are you sure it's room 527", he said, "there isn't a room 527!".  Dan and I spent most of the next day fearful that we would fall asleep and awake in that hotel room.



Monday

Having survived the night, Willem had organized a slight detour via Belgium to visit Ringo. Who was a Carcassonne collector.  It was quite an extraordinary collection, and the photos I share here simply don't do it justice.  Seeing all these boxes, so well organized, was delightful.  The subtle differences in boxes became even more apparent the longer we stared at the wall.  Ringo was kind enough to let our Carcassonne fans come together in his home, have lunch, and give us a respite on the way home. No doubt we could have stayed for much longer, but it was time for us to Get Back journey home.



Conclusion

Here's the obligatory photograph of my Essen Spiel Haul:



Every time I've been to Essen Spiel I've experienced something new about it.  After so many years of being unable to go, it was really special being able to meet so many Carcassonne fans in one place from all over the world.  It was wonderful exchanging items, sharing notes, playing games and whether meeting someone for the first time, or catching up with old friends; I had a fantastic time.  Events like Essen Spiel invigorate a lot of board gamers, and hopefully we all go back to our places of origin, revitalized, having seen the latest games, or renewed their passion in the games they already love.  In addition, having companions to share the experiences with is by far the best experience. It was wonderful to finally meet Meepledrone and witness his enthusiasm and energy in person; I hope it's not so long until we next meet.  I'm also eternally grateful for Willem, who organized more HiG purchases than I probably would have otherwise, and more importantly for driving all the way from Ashford to Essen and back again. And a huge thank you to Dan for putting up with my shenanigans and sharing a room with me even if my alarm beeped more than it should.

I'm looking forward to hearing about your experiences, as I've probably forgotten a lot of it. I can't wait for Spiel 2023!


Linkback: https://www.carcassonnecentral.com/community/index.php?topic=6113.0
« Last Edit: October 13, 2022, 03:12:24 AM by Decar »

Online Willem

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Re: Decar's trip to Essen Spiel 2022
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2022, 10:17:21 AM »
That is an amazing write up @Decar !!
I sat down and read the whole thing in 1 go even!
That's an easy +1 merit from me!

Tomorrow will be the day that I'll sit down and do my write up, although you have covered the awesomeness of our trip greatly already!
Join me on the journey through the history and oddities of Carcassonne, on My Instagram

Offline danisthirty

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Re: Decar's trip to Essen Spiel 2022
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2022, 10:53:34 AM »
Well done on that great write-up Decar. I did enjoy how you chose to represent some of the more awkward moments of the trip such as my attempt to buy us all beer from a random pizza place without money or any communication skills...

Hopefully I will also have something to say about it all once the dust has fully settled.

+1 merit from me too!

Offline wallaceprime

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Re: Decar's trip to Essen Spiel 2022
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2022, 12:02:18 PM »
A great write-up with excellent photos, Decar - I really enjoyed reading it and re-living some great memories. +1 from me too
Never too old to learn new tricks

Offline Meepledrone

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Re: Decar's trip to Essen Spiel 2022
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2022, 02:43:51 PM »
Ha ha ha! Great write-up!

+1 merit from me.

This should be the first of many trips to Essen with you guys!!!  :(y) :(y)

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Offline MMike

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Re: Decar's trip to Essen Spiel 2022
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2022, 02:53:04 PM »
Amazing report! :D

Were those cookie to eat or to collect? ;)
:neutral-meeple: My Carcassonne crafts on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mp.works/ :neutral-meeple:

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Re: Decar's trip to Essen Spiel 2022
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2022, 03:01:10 PM »
Hi @MMike !

We had a great time with the tattoos... Eager to see some more soon!

+1 merit from me

Offline MMike

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Re: Decar's trip to Essen Spiel 2022
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2022, 03:50:54 PM »
Hi @Meepledrone, I'm glad you liked them, the next time they will be permanent! :D

I'll start looking for a kit on Amazon...

Offline Decar

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Re: Decar's trip to Essen Spiel 2022
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2022, 04:50:04 PM »
Amazing report! :D

Were those cookie to eat or to collect? ;)

You'll have to wait for Meepledrone's report! I believe he borrowed some.

Thanks again to you MMike, the Tshirts were a hit, and we looked like a bunch of lads on a stag weekend, until reality hit at least. Those tattoos were very popular too, and although we didn't see anyone wearing on on their forehead, it was awesome seeing people wearing them, they lasted a long time too! All your efforts were much appreciated, I hope between us we have some goodies for you to enjoy!

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Re: Decar's trip to Essen Spiel 2022
« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2022, 10:33:21 AM »
Haha I glad the tattoos got appreciated :D
I'll try to print more for the community.

Goodies? <3 Can't wait!

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Re: Decar's trip to Essen Spiel 2022
« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2022, 11:22:44 AM »
I also loved the t-shirts!  ^-^

Offline Challa007

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Re: Decar's trip to Essen Spiel 2022
« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2022, 12:31:18 PM »
Thanks for sharing your experience with us, Decar  :)

+1 merit from me

Offline kettlefish

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Re: Decar's trip to Essen Spiel 2022
« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2022, 01:19:00 PM »
Decar, I loved to read your report from your journey from the UK to Germany and your days at the Spiel and all the things which are a part of your time there.

When I was reading this, I remember our time together in Essen a few years ago.
Thank you for this great report.

Greetings
kettlefish

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Re: Decar's trip to Essen Spiel 2022
« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2022, 01:27:10 PM »
Wonderful to hear from you Kettlefish. I did miss not seeing you, but hopefully we will see each other soon. I also missed the delicious Kartoffelklöße, I should have looked more carefully while in lidl.

Offline Rich_The_Fish

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Re: Decar's trip to Essen Spiel 2022
« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2022, 01:31:35 PM »
Thanks for the detailed write up Decar (merit added), didn't realise Élise did a drawing inside Stellarion - looks great. Hope you've recovered from the trip and caught back up with your sleep! It looks like you guys had a great time - really wish I didn't have to back out last minute, but I guess it just wasn't meant to be this year :(  Hopefully I'll be able to join you all next time though :)
« Last Edit: October 13, 2022, 01:38:26 PM by Rich_The_Fish »


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Last post October 17, 2022, 02:33:15 AM
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