And here we were again, for me the 16th time. In a place full of winners, losers and mostly people that are both. But who cares about winning or losing? It is all about the games on the Internationale Spieltage SPIEL in Essen, Germany that take place each October. Considering this was the fourth time last year that I was in Germany another record is broken brrrr.
For the non (European) gamers: Spiel is the largest gamers event in Europe. With the note that we are talking about boardgames, cardgames, roleplaying, tabletop some children games and only a negligible amount of computergames. Since a couple of years it is combined with COMIC ACTION a comic book event. But I usually don’t do more than taking a short look there. Spiel is mostly about learning and playing new games, buying and sometimes meeting friends. It was also a place to find bargains, but unfortunately this becomes less and less each year. Although the littlebit of free space in my little house tells me this is not that unfortunate. This year I met several friends that I see once a year on a completely different occasion. And this caused a new record to be broken: How often can you say “Goodbye, see you next year” on one day to the same person?
Besides playing and buying Spiel is also an event for contacts, awards etc. This year I was at the award ceremony of the MinD Spielepreise 2012. MinD is the German branch of Mensa and the MinD Spielepresie is the German version of the Mensa Select prize awarded by Mensa (US/International).
This year the award goes to:
In this simple but versatile cardgame people try to build a more advanced nation than the other players. This game is good and therefore awarded with a lot of international prizes making it the most awarded boardgame.
And now also with the MinD Spielepreise 2012:
Is there some real tea somewhere around here?
I did not really look at the food stands, so if there was some surprise beyond the usual teabag stuff I missed it. But outside? Over the parking lot there is a bridge connecting one part of R\”uttenscheider Stra\sse to the other. Last year I went left and right (seen from the Messe) of that bridge to look for tea. This year I only went right. So left first. Notice that this is from memory only. I found three places that sold loose leaf tea in that direction. There was a Tee und Chocolate shop. The tea seemed to be decent, but the selection was standard. Somewhere further on there was a shop that I forgot all about except that it was there, not primarily about tea but they sold it. Somewhere between them was Reformhaus Kaubisch, which sells all kinds of reform food and of course loose leaf teas. According to my memory there were some interesting teas there. Not high level, but Bio and interesting nonetheless. The few that I took with me last year were nice.
As written, I went only right this time. The side closer to the Messe. There is only one small teashop that I know of: “Tee und Honig”. As said they sell tea and honey. Oh and little buddhas, shawls and some other “alternative” stuff. Including …incense…. The store smells of incense. I keep the teas and bag separate from my other teas to let the smell wear of. But I did not really find a hint of incense in my tea. The teas are slightly, but not far from standard. A lot of flavoured ones, including oolongs. But I found a few teas to try and a small cheap older book about the health effects of Pu Erh. I don’t have to tell most readers here that the most valuable part of that book is the cover with Chinese plucking and weighing tea. But it might also be interesting to see what fairy tales they try to sell.
I think that the most interesting about this shop is the weird combination of stuf in a small shop. A combination that makes a lot of tea drinkers shiver so close before Halloween.
As said the loot was limited this year. For the first time I bought more non-game items than games. That is if I count the dice as one. I think that this year I even bought more non game items than in all previous visits combined.`And of course, like every year, there are some buys that I regret not buying.
If you search for tea on boardgamegeek and throw out the games that ain’t tea related you see that there are not much games left. One of those few is a new game: “Tea time”. And it is not even really about tea, but about Alice in Wonderland.
The idea is simple. You have a pile of cards. On each card is a character (from Alice). For each character there are two types of cards. A normal character and a mirror version. These cards are laid down in a grid on the table. One by one each player can take 1, 2 or 3 cards that are in a row. Once the grid is empty another one is filled. After three rounds points are cointed, basically the more cards you have of a certain character the more points you get for it. But be aware normal character cards and their mirror versions cancel each other out and having one or 2 cards of a character is worse than having none.
It is a simple quick game. I played it a few times now and I think it turns up as a game for between games, or at the end of a gaming session from time to time, but not very often.
Tea versus games
Tea and games have several things in common. First of all both bring people together for a good time. They both make people think. And they can both be used to either escape the world or learn more about it, or both.
But there are more similarities. Like most people know only a handful of teas, most people know only a handful of games. Most have heard of Risk, Monopoly, Chess and a limited number of other games. But like there are many thousands of types of tea there are many thousands of games out there that most people know nothing about. Some as bad as a simple Lipton teabag, others as great as a good Da Hong Pao. This makes me wonder what worlds are hidden behind other things in my life.
So next time when you have a tea party consider to play a good game while drinking good tea. Or vice versa.
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