The SPIEL Games Convention at Essen / Germany


Stories from the SPIEL

Trond Meistad's Essen Story

The past years we've stayed at the Scandic hotel, it's called something else now, but this year we're staying at Mercure Hotel Plaza Essen, It's within walking distance, I believe, but we usually take a car so that we can store our game purchases. Last year I bought 40 games. It's not difficult getting the rooms when we book them in the spring, but this year we had a dew late comers and that have to stay at Best Western Hotel Ypsilon Essen. The room prices are not to bad, by our standards, and those of us that don't mind, have a room mate.

It's quite a trip, but it is sweetened by the ferry time. We leave at 15:00 and take the Oslo - Kiel ferry. We usually book a conference room and plays from departure until bed time. The ferry arrive in Kiel in the morning and then it's a five hour car ride to Essen. We drive in separate cars, even though we considered a bus this year since we were that many. One of us knew of a bus company that has a party bus, it's a bus with regular tables. We wanted to book that one, but unfortunately it was taken. We decided against a regular bus since we would have to carry the games from the bus onto the ferry and off against. This can be quite a feat for those like me bringing many games. Lastly we wouldn't have a storage for our games that we bought on the fair.

The last two years I've made a quiz for the others when we are riding in the cars, but I'm nor sure that I've got the time this year. The problem is that some of my travel companions know so much that the quiz questions are either to easy for them or too difficult for the others.

We arrive early enough thursday afternoon to get three hours of purchase time. I pick of my pre-ordered games and those game I know I'll buy. This is also the least stressful time of the fair.

Back again we leave Essen on Sunday morning, some as early as 07:00. Better to be on the safe side, since the ferry back won't be waiting for us. It's always someone of take a wrong turn somewhere and starts biting their nails, but nobody has missed the ferry yet. We get as much playing time on the return trip and this time with the Essen highlights.

The major attraction is, of course, the fair in itself, but it comes with a lot of gaming too. We play at the hotel to, usually they have a conference room we can have for ourselves.

Actually the trip is cheaper when going by plane, but it's the problem bringing home the games and we'll miss the social aspect by travelling together.

I can not see myself not going to the fair until I drop dead or am physically unfit to go. When my daughters are old enough to go, I'll bring them too.



Click here to visit Trond's blog.

Brian's Essen Story

I only attended Essen one year (97, I think ...). I sat in on a demo of Euphrat und Tigris and played a game. A local contact (Manu Soeding, I believe) translated on the fly for me, and I got the rules (although the strain of translating meant that he did not really understand). Anyway, I made apologetic sounding noises to the germans involved (who put it with this).

Anyway, during the game my right hand opponent played a leader to connect two empires. I studied this move for a bit and then got to use my only german. I pointed to the player screen and said "Verbotten." About the only german I could remember, but it came in handy.

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Copyright © 2007 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany