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7 Ultimate Destinations for Board Game Fanatics

Ultimate Board Game Destinations - Essen

The board game community is an ever-growing organism that is spreading all over the globe. A few decades ago, this type of amusement was reserved just for hardcore geeks, and once they became cool, other people started discovering the magical world of board games. All major cities in the world have annual conventions dedicated to board games, and this article will introduce you to some of the most popular ones. Besides great cons, these cities can offer other interesting localities, so go ahead and learn more.

Hopefully, this will give you a few ideas as to your next gaming trip as and when we are allowed!

Essen, Germany

The biggest and most prestigious game's event in the world is most certainly the Internationale Spieltage SPIEL. This board game trade fair attracts more than a 100,000 gamers every year. Every game lover knows that Essen is the heart of the global board games industry, and that’s the reason why this fair should be on the top of your wish list. Technically, SPIEL is not a convention, but it is the best place to buy any board game you can think of.

Birmingham, UK

If your first language is English you should pack your bags and go to the second largest city in England, Birmingham. Besides its rich history and architecture, this city hosts one of the biggest board games tournaments in the world. The UK Games Expo is the place where you can learn about new releases and spend some quality time while playing with people from other countries.

Canberra, Australia

The continent down under is also famous for its board game conventions. One of the most important ones is the CANCON that takes place every January and is held at magnificent Exhibition Park, Canberra. This convention is offering everything you can think of: tournaments, presentations, trade fair, cosplay, artist’s alley crystal dragon painting event and much more.

St. Louis, USA

If you’re looking for an all-star board game convention, search no more. The Geekway to the West is taking place during May in the great city of St. Louis. Besides the main event, which lasts four days, you’ll be able to attend a few smaller conventions during the year. St. Louis also has a rich chess-playing tradition, which is the original board game. It is home to one of the largest chess clubs in the world and was declared by the US Congress as a chess capital of the country. If you love ancient and modern board games, St Louis is the place to be.

Austin, USA

The capital of Texas offers a very rich program at Chupacabra Con which takes place at the beginning of May. This convention gathers thousands of people every year and you’ll be able to meet tons of pro guests, attend a charity celebrity game, find some great vendors, and watch interesting panels. This analogue gaming convention is a great place if you have ideas for new games since you’ll be in a position to learn more about professional development and meet the right people.

Helsinki, Finland

This Scandinavian city is a great place to start learning about Nordic culture and is home of the largest non-commercial role-playing convention in Europe. This event takes place every July and attracts the biggest names in board games community. That means that you’ll have a chance to watch the best players in the world fighting each other. This convention was founded in 1994 and its popularity has been rising since. Don’t miss out this opportunity and book a hotel as soon as you can.

Leiria, Portugal

If you’ve never met the Mediterranean and you want to attend a convention with tradition, Leiria Con is your next destination. This event started in 2006 and gained in popularity in years to come. That’s the reason why you’ll need to place a reservation at the beautiful Hotel Cristal Praia Resort & Spa if you want to attend the next Leiria Con. There are numerous options for doing this, so go ahead and find the solution that works best for you. Of course, this convention will provide you with a lot of sunny days, and a chance to play with gamers from all around the world.

Final Thoughts

The conventions and events described above are just the tip of the iceberg in the vast ocean of board games. Nevertheless, these places are a great start if you want to see something new, get yourself some fresh games, and meet interesting people. Make your list and start travelling for gaming.

Editors note: This blog was originally published on January 23rd, 2019. Updated on May 28th, 2021 to improve the information available.