It’s time to have fun

Essen, the most important event in board games hobby is done. This is the event you can not ignore. This is the fair where you have to be. This is the release date you can’t miss.

Let me tell you about my every year calendar…


In February many publishers meet at Nurnberg fair and show new games and talk about plans for end of the year. This is beginning of the year, we are all excited about our new ideas and prototypes. Great time.

But months slowly pass…

In May many publishers and authors meet at Alan R. Moon Gathering of Friends (US) or at Bruno’s Faidutti Gathering of Friends (Europe) and play and test prototypes. This is much different story than Nurnberg – prototypes are almost ready, final tunning takes place.

Last year I didn’t go to Bruno’s gathering because my Robinson was all in blood after play-testing with Vlaada. I had to work very hard and very fast to meet deadlines…

May is not fun. May is lot of work and stress. Every single day you see that you have a few last weeks of testing and that’s it. You need to finish the game!

You play every day. Like crazy. June and July are so damn close…

So months pass…

Average manufacturer needs about 6-8 weeks to produce the game. That means you need to send files to print in August, so the game is produced in September and is ready for October (Essen).

July is not holiday time if you work in gaming industry. July is 100% opposite of the holiday time. July is a hell.

That is why I spent my holiday at Hungary working very hard on Beagle with my Merry mad at me every single day.

That is why I was kicking Mateusz Bielski (illustrations for Legacy) so hard that my leg hurt.

That is why Michal Oracz was nearly living at Portal’s office with finishing works for Theseus.

July is the moment of the year, when you literally hate your beloved hobby. Stress, bad tension, much too much work to do and deadlines that are so close, that you can not sleep without nightmares.

July and August pass like a blink…

End of holiday season. Either you have your files in print already, either you are begging manufacturer to do some miracle work and deliver the game even though you failed with schedule of sending files…

This is the month when you do some final things, but basically it is all too late. Every single day you are closer to Essen. It is too late to do anything about it. Either your game is at manufacturer, either you missed Essen…

When manufacturer calls, you have heart attack. And they call every single day. Few times a day.

‘There is problem with your board file’
‘Your font lost Polish symbols’
‘Your insert is too big, components doesn’t fit.’
‘We think cover is too dark, you better see that.’

Every single day new problem arises. And you have no time, no space, no chance to react the way you want. You react the way you can, but let’s face it – you have not too many options at this stage…

September pases…

Essen fair. If you were lucky.

2009, Stronghold. First copy of Stronghold I saw, was copy that was sent directly to Essen. We were so damn close to miss the fair. It arrived to Essen on Wednesday, day 0.

2011, Pret-a-Porter. First copy of the game I got into my hands was copy that arrived to Essen on Thursday morning, day 1 of Essen. It arrived 2 hours before opening the gates for visitors. Never before I was so close to miss the fair with my release.

2012, Robinson Crusoe. First copy of the game I got into my hands on Wednesday, day 0. Once again, so damn close to disaster.

Whole October you just wait and just pray…

October passes…


Essen is done. Tension, stress, huge emotions faded away. Now I have holidays. Now I can do all that stuff I couldn’t do in July. Read books, watch movies, play computer games… Yes, board games too. I brought from Essen 27 games…

Guess, what I am going to do for the next 8 weeks…


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