We have just completed our two days at the world-famous boardgame exhibition "Spiel 2008" in Essen, Germany. We had a fantastic time. Those of you that know me and my wife will know that we enjoy playing certain types of boardgames with our friends. These games are sometimes known as "Euro" or "German Style" games. In fact, many are still designed in Germany although more and more they may be designed elsewhere in the world. The games often have little or no luck and require strategy and planning to succeed. Some are rather intellectual, some are just plain fun.
Anyway, "Spiel" is a massive 4-day boardgame trade and demonstration exhibition that is held every year in Essen. It's held at the Essen Messe which is a massive convention centre. I don't know the actual dimensions but imagine multiple football fields of space filled with stalls and exhibitions. It's really incredible. I read somewhere that over 140,000 people visit the exhibition over the four days! You can talk to the designers, artists and publishers, play many new and famous games, meet new people with similar interests, and of course buy some brand new or second-hand games!
We were really looking forward to being here...
We arrived a bit early but we already had tickets so we went into the waiting area... it was crowded so we waited over by the side. Suddenly, a security screen rose up and we found ourselves almost directly in front of the main doors! This is how it looked to me as the doorman held people back and the press inside looked on...
And this is how it looked to P ;)
At 10am the doors were opened and we were propelled by the happy and expectant crowd into the exhibition halls. We were actually amongst the first people inside, which was actually really exciting. Everything was bright and shiny!
Some larger publishers have areas for playing their games with anyone else around who is interested. I took this photo within minutes of entering and I´ve just noticed that we ended up meeting those people you see seated and playing some games with them over the two days. Quite a coincidence.
Here's a view of hall '4' - this is a smaller hall of which there were about six or seven in total.
P enjoying a game of Strozzi, a new game by Dr. Reiner Knizia. Interestingly, we visited all four cities shown on that game board in the last two weeks...
The publisher of "Leader 1" built this demo gameboard for Spiel - impressive stuff!
Here P pretends to have won a game of Wasabi... actually, she lost to me convincingly.
Here are the games we picked up... note carefully the cover of "Battle Line" in the bottom left... yes, some will know we already own Battle Line but it never hurts to have another copy, especially when it's personally signed by the Good Doctor himself, right? :)
Oh, here he is in person :)
If you don't know, that's Dr. Reiner Knizia, designer of over 200 eurogames, including the masterpiece Tigris & Euphrates. He quit his job in high finance to spend his time designing eurogames full time. He's almost a saint in these parts...
And some of you will recognise this guy (or his hair at least). Friedemann Friese is the designer of our favourite boardgame "Power Grid". He graciously agreed to a photograph with P. She was really chuffed!
And that's all from us in Essen. Tomorrow we head to Trier, via Cologne, for some wine tasting, maybe a boat trip, and perhaps a bit of mountain biking.