Commonly known as 'Essen', the international game days 'Spiel' is the world's largest trade fair for toys and games, and attracts visitors and exhibitors from all over the world. Nowhere else is the whole game scene represented as extensively as here. At this fair experiences are shared, new products are introduced on the market and new ideas and games trends are gained. Now in its 36th year, Essen is a mecca for gamers.
Unlike some board game conventions, Essen is a trade fair, which means it’s quite different to conventions like the UK Games Expo or other conventions in the USA. This fair is about buying and demoing new games, more so that getting together and playing games with friends. When the halls close at 6pm, the convention is over and gamers scatter to nearby hotels and restaurants, playing games on any available flat surface, but with no organised evening events.
At Essen you’re more likely to play a full game at a demo table than anywhere else, with many local families simply spending the day at the convention to play games and enjoy the children’s entertainment.
It is definitely the big event of the year for new board game releases, with a list of over 1,200 titles on the list compiled by BoardGameGeek. For some gamers, they save up all year to buy games at Essen and when travelling from the UK, pack additional suitcases or use the shipping service available in one of the halls!
There are often not too many bargains to be had, but you have the chance to get the game first – some games come to retail release very soon after Essen, but others don’t arrive in the UK for months, and some, from smaller publishers many never get a UK retail release.
Games to Look Out For
If you want to know where to focus your attention, then check out some of the lists on the Zatu Games website where our bloggers have shared some of their most anticipated games at the fair! If you want to check out our Top 5 Games, then we are excited for…
When is Essen Spiel 2018?
Essen is a four day event held between October 25 and 28. Over 1100 exhibitors, from 50 nations, and more than 180,000 visitors are expended to descend on the Messe Halls in Essen, Germany. For the first three days, the convention is open between 10am and 7pm. The final day begins at 10am, with the show coming to a close at 6pm.