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Essen Spiel 2023 Most Anticipated Board Games

Updated: Oct 10

There are about 1,200 games on the BGG release list for this year's spiel. From this extensive list, there are a lot of duplicates to be fair. Games being released in different languages. A lot of expansions and games only available for demo. But that still leaves about 700 games actually being released, for sale at the spiel. Out of all of these? Which is the best?

Essen Spiel 2023 Most Anticipated Board Games

I have no idea. Do you think I have played them all? Give me a chance. Most have very little information out about them yet. But, I have trolled the list of games, researched as best I could and come up with a nice simple list for you. My top 5 games I am most excited to try and maybe buy. In no particular order. But starting with my favourite!

The White Castle - This is designed by two of my favourite designers in the board game industry. Isra C. and Shei S. form Llama Dice and have so far made one of my favourite small box games, The Red Cathedral and one of my favourite little cards game from last years Essen Walkie Talkie. Now they return with another small box full of juicy euro goodness that looks so crunchy, so tight, and yet so accessible. A proper Euro you can play in under an hour that is full of great decisions. It has had mixed reviews so far but I think this will be right up my street and I cannot wait to play it for myself.

Nokosu Dice - I love trick-taking games but with the way the market is now-a-days, you gotta have a twist, right? Well, relax! This game introduces dice, yes dice to a card based trick-taker. In each trick, each player plays either a card or dice. And that's about all I know about this one. But that's enough for me. Plus it has a cool box. But I did find this on the BGG description.

"There is also a chance to win bonus points at the end of each round if the number of the tricks won in the round matches the last dice left OR if a player declares they would not win any trick for the round and actually won no trick."

Which sounds wicked to me. I am in.

Essen Spiel 2023 Most Anticipated Board Games

Picture courtesy of BGG user - Eric

Planta Nubo - This is a tile laying worker placement game where players are trying to grow energy rich flowers and plants in cloud based gardens. What you grow is then delivered to biomass converters to be transformed into green energy. Sounds right up my street, and that is just the start. But in short, this is crunchy steam punk farming. Early signs are that this game could be quite weighty. It currently ranks as a 4/5 on BGG for weight, but its very early days. That may well come down. But colour me intrigued. Here is the back of the box in German. Helpful?

Essen Spiel 2023 Most Anticipated Board Games

Portals - This is an abstract pattern building game in which players are collecting magic keys to open portals to other worlds, I think, to try and find someone called Dominick Dey’s?

There is an open draft in which players draft Elemental stones to complete various shapes on Key cards. When done, you can activate them to gain points. It looks gorgeous (from what I can see) and sounds wonderful.

ito This is a cooperative game where each player is given a secret number between 1 and 100 that then have to be placed in order with the other players number based on some vague clues you can give each other based on various themes. It sounds a little like Wavelength which I love, so I am intrigued how this builds on this idea.

Essen Spiel 2023 Most Anticipated Board Games

I am also very excited for the Furnace: Interbellum, Cascadia: Landmarks, and Sea Salt & Paper: Extra Salt expansions which all look incredible, and Apiary, which would have made this list, other than I know I am going to be getting that after the show, so I don't need to play it here.

Honourable mentions: (Other games I want I can find even less info about)

From the Moon - I demo'd this last year and it looked ace. Love a space theme and mini Rovers look wicked!

Nekojima - This is dexterity game, and it looks like this. Do you really need to know anymore?!

Essen Spiel 2023 Most Anticipated Board Games

Papertown - This is an abstract strategy city building game that looks like it has multiple ways to score points. It seems quick and fun, and I want it!

Redwood - I demo'd this last year as well and it looked incredible. Beautiful components, original gameplay, and a slick ruleset. I am in.

Sail This is a pirate themed cooperative trick-taker. The world needs more of those right? But it seems to have a cool twist in that players can not always communicate based on the noise of the Kraken and each player will have a unique character skills that can sometimes use to help benefit the group.

Sea Dragons - This is an area control abstract strategy game that looks stunning and i want to touch these pieces immediately. Check it out.

Essen Spiel 2023 Most Anticipated Board Games

Picture courtesy of BGG user Jose Manuel Alvarez

Right, I am off to pack my bags. See you there!

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