The Dice & Mystics Fringe 2023 – The Year of the Bag

What an event! The 6th Dice & Mystics Fringe was able to run at full capacity again. And you were there. Regulars since the first Fringe in 2016 as well as new faces started to arrive, all smiles and anticipation. Everything was ready and waiting.

Thursday and Friday we had been busy picking up donations for the raffle; 3 games had already been set aside for us on Wednesday but had miraculously grown into a little tower of 10 games altogether when we got there. 

Prizes rolling in

This is about half of the treasure trove only. The other half was going to emerge on the arrival of our guests from the board game industry. The publishers and businesses seemed set on really outdoing themselves this year, and everybody at the Fringe can testify that they achieved their goal.

This charming new attendee just beat some of our seasoned Fringe goers to 1st place in a line that was forming shortly after.

Game bags were unpacked, and soon the subtle sigh of tearing shrink wrap and the musical trickle of punched tokens onto tabletops could be heard. The first game rounds had settled in, fresh coffee and biscuits at the elbow, ready to get going. And thanks to you all it was going to be legendary!

There were so many hot new games on the tables, and some beloved classics, too. 

Once the people from the industry had come, there was even an exciting prototype to admire and try out. Everybody was relaxed and in high spirits, played, enjoyed their drinks, nibbles and food that was delivered to the table, and–just like last year–King Racoon Games had converted  their  trolley they normally transport game boxes on into a cart for a number of crates with a large range of refreshments as a gift to you all.

At 10 p.m. sharp, at the well-known boom of “SILENCE!“ people from the upstairs rooms came rushing to the ground floor. The raffle was imminent, the tension was rising. The hushed silence broke into aahs and oohs when the prizes were rolled in.

The trail into the land of games and fun started off with–bags! (You will hear more of that later.) 

Starting in a fairly safe environment at home with Garden Guests (2023), brought to you by Van Ryder Games, the journey quickly moved on to a more dangerous quest, namely Robot Quest Arena (2023) by Wise Wizard Games

Further on the trail we encountered a plushy little yellow Bread Dragon called Loaf and its fellows, the red Meat Dragon Hot Dog, who immediately befriended his new owner, and purple Thistle, the Potion Dragon. They all were sent out to delight you by Cardboard Alchemy, straight out of their popular family game Flamecraft (2022), also donated to you as yet another magnificent prize, including all the goodness of an original KS pledge, highly sought nowadays!

To get to their new friends, the cute little plushies had to master a veritable “ninja mission by crossing a labyrinth of balancing floorboards”: the new title Floating Floors (2023), kindly donated by Stella Jahja from Meeple University.

The journey went deeper into the realms of mystery and wonder. We had the fantasy author Betty Finke with us, who also wanted to contribute to the raffle and personally gave the two novels, the prequel The Lanyon Stone and  Delharne’s Daughter, the first volume in the series, to the winner.

Once you have entered the land of faerie, anything is possible: The Dixit Disney Edition (2023), a splendid prize donated by Libellud,  went to the probably greatest Disney fan in the room (and to the future second greatest fan, we presume).

We travelled on, intrigued by the building site of  5 Towers (2023), constructed and brought to us by Deep Print Games.

On we went, away to the far East, directly into historic Nippon. By donating Senjutsu: The Battle for Japan to the raffle, Stone Sword Games and Lucky Duck Games made this fascinating time travel possible.

A perfectly crafted card holder by Rathskellers, seasoned with some extra goodies from their range, further motivated our travellers on the way.

This lady here was happy because she thought she had won one of Spiel’s hot new games plus a luxury two-sided neoprene game mat…

…when in truth she had also won everything else. Due to the generosity of none other than King Racoon Games, she got both hands full with splendour from the Kickstarter edition:             EOS: Island of Angels, the gorgeous game mat, EOS: Island of Angels – Deluxe Upgrade,               EOS: Island of Angels  Nation Expansion, EOS: Island of Angels – Mission Cards Expansion.

One lucky winner not only got the highly appreciated Witchcraft by King Racoon Games, but also the comic book of Tsukuyumi-Full Moon Down 1 by the multi-talented artist Felix Mertikat.

Travellers do not only find treasures to take home, they sometimes simply go shopping in beautiful countries, in this case in Croatia at InMyBox, the makers of outstanding wooden game boxes, a large choice of clever quality game accessories and even game-related wooden jewellery.                 
InMyBoy had given us two vouchers to raffle off, one of 25 Euros and another of 40 Euros. We are sure these two gentlemen will be able to find something really great to enhance their gaming experience with the games they had also just won: 

Cosmoctopus (2023) by Lucky Duck Games

…and Age of Wonders: Planetfall (2022) by Arcane Wonders, where your travels whisk you away into space to explore alien planets.

If, however, you prefer to remain stationary on your home planet Earth, you will not regret your decision if, like this lucky earthling did, win one of InMyBox’s cleverly designed storage solutions for the game Concordia. 

When it got close to midnight, the winner could not restrain himself any further: The box was unwrapped and the ingenuity of its inside duly admired. 

A howl from the deep forest on the wayside reminded the journeying gamers of dangers often found in the wilds of strange lands: In Armata Strigoi, the vampires of south-eastern legend, are obviously very real, but, as you can learn from this image, if you show no fear, all will be well. We thank the designer and legend Paolo Vallerga from Scribabsfor graciously donating this beautiful, original and exciting game to the raffle.

When you happen to have your own spell book, or if you are so lucky to win SpellBook by Space Cowboys, it is not surprising that your luck is extended to winning a super elegant Rathskellers dice set, too, as held up here,

and it even rubs off onto the winner of Benevolent, a generous donation by Matagot, who is coyly hiding his new Rathskellers foldable dice tray that he just won as well.

And even the next winner who is cheerfully presenting his copy of Waterfall Park, a prize donated by the good people of Repos Production, has an assortment of Rathskellers goodies to be happy about.

This year, Rathskellers had us all in the bag! The creators of amazing high-end gaming tables have a new line of useful and exceptionally well-crafted gaming accessories and had given a lot of thought to the choice of items they could bring along to the raffle.

There were wonderful things to be won from their stock of elegant foldable dice trays, dice vaults, precious dice sets, card holders, with a garnish of lovely goodies from neat little pouches, wrist-bands and key-fobs on top and, oh yes, there you have it – a number of absolutely spectacular tote bags made from a fabric especially designed to protect and carry heavy objects, all with a radiantly colourful high quality limited art print that was more like a deep-dye and imbued those bags with almost a light of their own.

Winners could proudly carry their prizes and games off in style, beaming as radiantly as the print on the bag, so it was not surprising the bags were immediately very, very popular indeed. Therefore, some guests who did not win a bag considered buying one at the Rathskellers booth the next day.

Gotta2 Gottani had come all the way from Japan, but, sadly, could not make it to the Fringe event; nonetheless they sent greetings, together with a copy of their classically themed and lovely little social deduction game Who am i? Alice in a Mad Tea Party. 

Yes, these are the actual game components!

You do, of course, all know Chip Theory Games. Again, they regretted they would not be able to make it to our Fringe event, especially because they had problems getting their English language games delivered to the fair on time. Despite being woefully short of stock, they again proved how very much they appreciate you, the gamers: Chip Theory Games sent their very best regards and packed us a big bag with two very, very heavy boxes of their newest games (English copies, too!):

This is Hoplomachus: Victorum (2023), a “strategic gladiator combat and adventure featuring solo gameplay” by Chip Theory Games. (The picture had to be taken quickly, before the Victorum Premium Hero Tracker Mat was put on top of the box as well)…

…and this is Hoplomachus: Remastered (2023) itself in all its glory, a tactical game for 1 to 4 gladiators! Do all ways really lead to Rome?

Match of the Century by Capstone is a match between two chess masters and could, as such, take place anywhere.

The complete big box of Final Girl Series 2 plus a set of miniatures was a final triumph: “I so wanted this!” Lady Luck had been in a happy and benevolent mood that night: Julie Ahern from Van Ryder Games again generously gave away a highly sought after gem to a true fan.

And last but by no means least, the travelling heroes from the game Oathsworn: Into the Deepwood by Shadowbourne Games joined the track of phantastic games on their quest towards their ultimate goal: entertaining and making you all happy!

When the raffle was ending and we believed we had reached the aim of our quest 2023, Rathskellers surprised and delighted us all with a very generous expansion:                                                                             “Everybody who comes to the Rathskellers booth on Sunday and shows their ticket of the Dice & Mystics Fringe Event 2023 will receive a bag as a gift.” So, for the very first time ever, each and every Fringe attendee had a winning ticket!

As early as Sunday morning reports started rolling in about how thoroughly Rathskellers had kept their word: Really everybody with a Fringe ticket got one of the coveted bags, even those who had not been able to come in person and had, in high hopes, entrusted their ticket to somebody else for the purpose. And thus people started talking about “The Year of the Bag”.

Eventually, the 6th  Dice & Mystics Fringe Event in the Year of the Bag ended. 

We are grateful for all those amazing and generous gifts from you, the publishers and businesses who outdid themselves to donate so very many awe-inspiring prizes, and say Thank You for bringing our guests so much joy. We especially thank Rathskellers for making everybody a winner. We thank King Racoon Games who, again, gifted our event with such a lovely variety of refreshments free for everyone.

We give a Big Round of Applause to our engaged, tireless helpers and fellow Dice & Mystics without whom the event would not even be possible, and who, footsore, tired and exhausted from keeping it all up and running, said what a truly happy day it had been for them. 

A very Big Thank You to the Community of St. Engelbert of the Parish of St. Franziskus, who for the 6th time allowed us to use their entire building, and also to those kind ladies of the “Ecumenical Lunch”, who once again postponed their gathering to the following week without any further ado. 

And to all our precious guests: Thank you for coming! Without you, we would have sat at empty tables.

It has become a tradition that we got presents from you, too, and that at this point we think fondly of you and everybody who attended, and say: Thank you so much!

…which also came with some bags.

We were told by our regulars, “Old Hares” as we fondly use to call them in German, that coming to the “Fringe” was almost like coming home, like an annual family reunion. That is the point, really, isn’t it? All kinds of people from all continents, from–often very–young to old, all hair and eye colours and complexions, different beliefs and ideas, in all their differences and diversities, are united in this: They can gather, communicate and cooperate happily and peacefully like friends or family, even if they happen to have a war game on the table, teach each other rules by which they all abide, have fun and laugh and joke together and have a good time. Some other guest once said: “Here you can see for yourselves that peace and goodness are not out of reach, when we really want it.”

Hoping to see you all again in 2024. Stay safe, game on, and be kind towards each other!

Good Play, Better Day!

Your Dice & Mystics