On Saturday morning 27th of October 2018 my friend John and I drove to Essen in Germany to visit Europe’s biggest game convention called “Spiel”.
Time wise we had a bit of a delay since all near parking lot’s were completely full and we had to drive to parking lot 10 which is basically miles away from the convention center and nearer to the Essen airport. So instead of walking from the parking lot to the convention entrance we had to take a shuttle which was pretty decent and brought us to the entrance in like 15-20 minutes. So if you plan to go to the Spiel by car either be there very early (like 8 AM or so just before the convention opens its doors) or you probably end up having to park in parking lot 10 as well. So in that case you might as well take the 52 Autobahn/high way straight to this parking lot instead of first driving through Essen to the convention center.
The convention center consists of about 6 big halls and a large hallway with food and beverage stands. In general we found the facilities entrance/exit, food/beverages, lavatories etc. good. But it is still a very crowded convention since it’s gaming visitors are of all ages. Somewhere I saw/read that the convention has about 40.000 visitors per day. So to get from one hall to another will take you some time because you cannot walk through people.
Plan the things you really want to see and go to those stands first and then pick the hall that interests you the most and just start browsing and be surprised. This year Hall 6 was the main hall for most fantasy role playing vendors. Although there were some exceptions. For example the stand of “Chaosium” best known for the “Call of Cthulhu” was located in Hall 4.
So, that being said about the convention arrival, facilities, here are a view highlights of our visit (and of course there was so much more to do and see):
Chaosium (Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game):
Chaosium had some of their latest products on display and for sale.
We also had a look at the new Call of Cthulhu starter kit and talked about it with staff on the stand. It was on display only and not for sale at the Spiel 2018 convention.
Vampire The Eternal Struggle card game (Black Chantry Productions):
We briefly talked with one of the people at the Black Chantry Productions stand and had a look at the Vampire card game. It was designed in the late nineties by RichardGarfield (of MTG fame).
One of the options of ordering the VTES card packages is via print on demand:
Miniatures: bought some D&D miniatures like a drow character for my friend and a pseudo- and fairie-dragon). There were booths where you could buy the individual miniatures and have a look at them. The problem is that the pre-painted Wizkids D&D miniatures come in randomized boxes and sure, if you want you can buy the specific miniatures separately online via resellers but (at least in the Netherlands) you won’t find many shops selling these individual miniatures in the game stores themselves (where you can first browse and examine and then buy the ones you really like).
We were very happy to actually being able to browse through a lot of these individual miniatures at the convention.
(RPG) Gaming accessories.: If you are looking for tons of different gaming accessories Spiel is an excellent place to go. Although a good advice is to do some research online first because otherwise you will be overwhelmed and it is always good to know what you are really looking for.
Bought the following storage accessory (All Rolled Up) for our rpg kit (dice, pens/pencils, cards etc.):
Personally I look forward to the release of the following two products:
Discover Lands Unknown (each box is unique)
Keyforge (created by Richard Garfield) (each card game pack is unique)
We also visited the Ulisses Spiele stand (The Dark Eye) where I briefly talked with Michael Mingers and Katharina Wagner. They are some of the Ulisses Spiele staff that I already met at the Ratcon 2018 in Limburg an der Lahn and it was nice to see they immediately recognized and remembered me.
A relative new rpg I am looking forward to be available in English is called Hexxen 1733. I asked if that game would become available as a Kickstarter in english soon, but officially there is still a lot of things to be arranged between Ulisses Spiele Germany and Ulisses Spiele North America. So, I just keep my fingers crossed:
And we paid a visit to the Belgian stand of LT-Publications who are in the process of launching the dutch version of The Dark Eye fifth edition (” Oog des Meesters vijfde editie” ).
The test print of the hard cover rule book was beautiful.
Also visited the booth of Syrinscape and talked to one of the staff, who informed us about the availability of D&D Dragon Heist audio packages.
Syrinscape had a sound booth were visitors could hear their roleplaying game sounds via headsets.
Late that afternoon we drove back to the Netherlands where around 6 PM we had dinner at the German high way restaurant at a place called “Hünxe”, which we often visit on the way back of trips in Germany.
All in all it had been a very nice trip and visit to Spiel 2018.
Here are a few pictures taken during our visit: