I'm not even late! Not quite, anyway. The annual small (& large) game publisher extravaganza in Essen, Germany is set to start with the press day about 24 hours after I post this, and the doors open to the public the day after that. Four days of record-setting boardgame product launches and direct sales will follow, along with some sense of which games are the best ones.
For those of us who don't get to be there in person, we live vicariously through the rumors, news, and marketing info leading up to the event itself, and then through live reports from Essen over streaming video channels. The acid test comes quite a bit later, when everyone gets a chance to really play the games they bought over there, and the rest of us get to play ones that were ordered & shipped to us. That's when we'll know with some certainty which games we really enjoy.
The current moment is something different. It's informed speculation about what we think we're going to have fun with, based on...what? Based on descriptions, photos, comparisons to other games, and the earliest previews. I do it every year--have done so since the 1990s--and 2011 is no different. It's fun for me, and I hope it's fun for you to listen to, as well.
If you have your own ideas about the games to anticipate, why you think that way, and maybe even what you thought about last year's games, I'd love to hear it.
P.S. I decided to post a Geeklist after all that lists the games I talk through in the podcast, as well as my p,d,t,m notes about what draws me to them.