Before the show begins, work actually starts. Lots of people to see and talk to. And already looks incredible!

Arrived at Essen in an increasingly colder and wet evening before we found out our hotel didn’t have a lift in the building. Going 4 floors upstairs with a 23 kg suitcase was not fun and we asked to be moved to another building where we could use the lift to carry the game and everything else. Thank goodness, the receptionist is also a gamer geek and he was kind enough to change us.

On Press Conference day, arriving at the Messe was a pretty straight forward affair after a very, very hearty breakfast. One can always trust @kampsksa to deliver some amazing cakes

First person we met was Tony Boydell from Surprise Stare Games. It so happens that his 50th birthday is coming up soon and he has had his own beer crafted for the occasion, which is beyond cool, I think.

Our first official interview was with the person who will be known as the Vin Diesel of Gaming from now on, Justin Ziran. He has seen more action than the actor in the last few years looking after @wizkidsgames. It was really great to be able to spend some time with him and ask him about their association with Games Workshop. Video interview coming out soon.

The press was well catered for as usual by the organisers, with coffee and sandwiches provided before taking us to another location where the exhibitors could have some space to show the games to the press. Overall an impressive setup and much more comfortable than previous years, where space was a bit of a premium.

On the way I was fortunate enough to meet Maureen Hiron, a legend if there is one. Quite a formidable lady who is probably the most prolific designer of all time. And fun. Truly amazing fun to talk to.

And then the interviews truly started. Met Gabriel Leo and talked about Dream Catcher, a cooperative game from Singapore in which players must keep the monster who live under the bed at bay so dreams can come from from the ceiling and play with children. Utterly lovely looking game!

Met with Altiplano’s designer, Reiner Stockhausen, who revealed a game that is as Euro as Euros can get and probably a very “thinky” game. I hope I can get my hands on it!

Jugame Studio gave me an overview of Sakura Hunt, a Japanese game that wants us to create spreads of images to form a panoramic painting. It really looks gorgeous. You will have a video review very, very soon!

And I had to meet my friends at @NSKNgames. As if being two years without seeing them wasn’t enough, they have some cool games out I wanted to see too, so it was an absolutely fantastic time catching up and chatting about Mistfall, Dragonsgate College, a really lovely looking euro game with a dice drafting mechanism I am looking forward to trying.

After that, it was heading back to the hotel to start editing videos, have a quick nap, dinner and keep you all updated with this.

The show this year feels bigger and better than ever, I have to say. Asmodee is making a *huge* effort to impress and it really is achieving. I think their booth is the largest and probably best in the show, which I think it reflects their aim to become the next Hasbro.

With another two halls open to the public this year, space also feels larger and more comfortable, which is just as well, since 170000 people over two days is the attendance forecast.

Fingers crossed it is met and well exceeded!

But that is it for today. Tomorrow, without a doubt, a lot more!