It was 2007, eight years ago but I remember it as it was yesterday. We were going to Essen with Neuroshima Hex and we were very late with the production of the games. It was horror. They were literally ready the day we needed to pack them on trailer and go to Germany. We took them from printer and went straight to Essen.
I think 2008 was a little bit better, but 2009 (Stronghold release) was epic by all means. I remember me being already in Essen and receiving surprising phone call from printer in Poland that board is so heavy that it crushes insert and they needed to abort complementing the games and they have to figure out something to solve the problem. That kind of call.
In 2009 we had problems with tokens in 51st State and in 2010 we received Pret-a-Porter boxes 8AM Thursday, 2 hours before start of the fair…
We had a long history of adventures with Essen releases.
Portal grew up. We were able to hire more people. We were able to work more efficient and we were able to use all our experience. And boy, we had like The Experience in terms of releasing games for Essen.
Release of Legacy and Theseus in 2013 went smooth and easy. I wouldn’t call it boring Essen, but well… No single adventure.
Release of Imperial Settlers was definitely a very boring operation. We had all games printed weeks before the fair, waiting in our warehouse. I was damn proud of the place where we were. it looked like we were grown, professional publishing company, like all those big fishes in the industry. No adventures. No panic. Everything ready for event weeks before.
So this year I decided to spice up our Essen experience a little bit.
Instead of releasing 1 game and 1 expansion, we are going to Essen with 4 new games and 4 new expansions. My team at Portal Games loves me.
Rattle, Battle Grab the Loothad pre-release at Gen con. Amazing production with cardboard ships, custom dice and incredible artwork. It is dice chuckling game, where you toss 20 dice into the box and depending how they land you sink merchants, grab loot and gain victory points. This is game for gamers who want to play with their families – random, light and extremely fun.
Tides of Time also had pre-release at Gen con. Amazing two player drafting game that consist only 18 cards. Reviews the game receives are mind blowing. Call me cocky, but I know it – this game will be huge this year. It is masterpiece. I am so proud I was able to sign contract with designer, develop and publish this game under Portal Games logo. I am also very happy to have designer of the game, Kristian Curla be our special guest in Essen. He will sign boxes and present the game to you.
Third pre-released at Gen con product is expansion for Imperial Settlers. It is fifth faction for the game, Atlanteans with very fun twist – they got sink at the end of the game and they don’t score points at the end of the game for their faction locations. In the box you will also find new common cards, new cards for each base factions and new solo cards. All together 110 new cards, tokens and player board.
Our big premiere of Essen fair is Stronghold 2nd edition. This is new edition of my first big design, initially released in 2009. Back then it got a lot of attention, got nominated to many awards, was published in Poland, USA, Germany and France. Now this new edition has smoother game play, so much better rulebook, amazing components including wooden custom pieces for castle walls, cauldron, archers, soldiers… I can not wait to present you the game. As I said, this is my first big game. It has a very special place in my heart.
Our smaller premiere is new edition of Convoy. This is very smart small card game for two players. One commands evil machines of Moloch and wants to destroy New York, the other commands brave soldiers of The Outpost and tries to stop march of machines. It’s asymmetrical game, my fav genre of games, and even though I played the game so many times, I still enjoy it. Small box, but pretty big game.
We also have couple of expansions. We have new faction for our 2013 release Theseus. Last year we published Bots, this year we publish Hunters, sneaky and very smart faction that lands on the Theseus and try to outwit big factions struggling for control over the faction. All Neuroshima Hex know that Michal Oracz has an amazing skill of putting new factions for his games. This is his watermark, his unique skill of adding replaybility to the games over and over again.
We will also support our second 2013 release – Legacy. We have big expansion for the game. It is called Five Families, it consist of 106 new cards, new action board and plenty of tokens. It adds a ton of interaction to the game – players now command one of the five families and start the game with 12 cards of their family. These cards they will be able to trade for favors with other players. This is so much fun, laughs and bantering. The expansion adds also birth events (that will replace complications), new patrons and new solo variant. This is really big box of new energy for the base game.
We will also have new armies for Neuroshima Hex, we will have couple of promos for our games and amazing Imperial Settlers t-shirt.
The question that remains is – how many adventures I asked for deciding to publish eight new products for Essen. I’d say, plenty.
Huge delay in China with production of wooden pieces for Stronghold totally ( I mean TOTALLY) demolished production calendar we had agreed with our printer. We had to reschedule everything.
Accident of our illustrator who was doing artwork for Five Families but ended up in the hospital for long three weeks was also nice addition to the Essen operation.
And I tell you this – when I came up with this awesome Easter egg idea for Convoy, manager in printing company we talk with just hang up. I called him again and told him that this is Portal and we need this.
Next Tuesday we go to Germany. Hopefully our games will go too. And hopefully I meet you there. Hall 3. Booth N113. Meet me there. I tell you about all the adventures that will happen in the next few days…
INFORMATION: You can learn about our releases here at website. We posted rulebooks, galleries of components, GDJournals about designing these games and all sort of other great updates.
INFORMATION: You can pre-order any of above products for Essen pick up directly from our website. Just click webstore link!