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BoardGameGeek» Forums » Gaming Related » Conventions » Essen

Subject: Is it worth going just to play? rss

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Matt Johnson
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Hi all,

Sorry if this has already been answered, I'm furtively posting from work...

I'm an American living in Germany. I love board games, but don't really have the budget or inclination to spend much money buying- maybe I could pick up one, or two cheapos.

My question is, is it worth going to Essen with the goal of just playing games, including ones that aren't brand new, or is this not the place? I'd love to spend a weekend playing interesting games with experienced gamers, but spending a weekend wandering a giant game store wouldn't be worth the effort.

Thanks for any thoughts!
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Ron
Austria
Vienna
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IMHO, no. It's very loud and crowded. Play areas at the booths are small and free slots are rare. It's mainly a sales fair. I wouldn't go there just for playing. meeple
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Next Game Please
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Frome
Somerset
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However, there have been some real bargains - specially if you're not picky about buying less popular or "older" games.

It's also an experience in itself and was not that expensive when I went a few years ago. If you're only in Germany for a limited period, I would recommend it just for that.

Otherwise come to the UK Expo in Birmingham - that's very good for game playing and buying and competing. Loads of space (noisy) and even fun for kids
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Kasper Kristoffersen
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Copenhagen
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I think it's good for playing the brand-new games. It's almost impossible to play anything else.

And yes, it's crowded and loud - and no open gaming spaces.

If you live near by, then I would at least go there 1 day - just to experience it and see it for yourself.
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Yani
Switzerland
Zürich
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Not worth it only for gaming.
Definitely worth it once for the experience.
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Leon Scheuber
Germany
Köln
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There are plenty of tables to play the newest games, but almost none for older games. I think just for playing this can be a fun show. You will also almost guaranteed discover something you haven't seen here on BGG before.
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Alan
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Interior de São Paulo
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If u get out of sync (no lucky) you problably will spend a lot more time waiting them playing, and u may find the same bargains in online stores.
 
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David
Switzerland
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SPIEL isn't a convention where there's a big library of games to take to a table and play. It's a sales fair where publishers push their new games. For a lot of booths this means you can play full or close to full games. Shorter games are more likely to be played through but I've seen tables doing a full 2 hour games. But with longer games not everyone is going to have the patience to do that and many times people will play 1/3-1/2 of the game to get make an purchase decision and then move on. So it pays to discuss this up front.

There's also the hotel lobby gaming in the evening and you definitely get to play full games there. But again, just what other people bought so far.

I've you're interested in older games there are many shop booths that simply sell everything from last year's games to "antiques". There's also the annual no-shipping Math Trade (already over) and Auction (still ongoing) where you can potentially snag some good deals or out of print treasures.
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Yorick Heijink
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Everyone here is right, but you also need to know that there are also stands, even entire halls, that aren't as busy. There are hot publishers and releases out there that you probably won't get close to unless you want to dedicate some time waiting.
Despite my preparation, some of the best finds were where I just saw an empty stand/table, sat down and played something new I hadn't considered before.
There are many different ways to experience Spiel, and if you just want to play some neat games; you sure can do just that!
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Tiago Soares
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Unfortunately, no.
The fair has an amazing atmosphere and it's great to be there, but I would never recommend it to someone who's expecting his visit to be mainly playing games.

There are clubs and groups who gather to play after the fair, but it's definitely not worth traveling there just for that.
 
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Pete & SO
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VytautasTheGreat wrote:
I'd love to spend a weekend playing interesting games with experienced gamers, but spending a weekend wandering a giant game store wouldn't be worth the effort.
I do love the experience to go to Essen and maybe try some games (we always managed to play whole games, unless we quit early, because we were sure that we did or didn't like a game at all), but if you have a tight budget and are fine with playing mostly "mainstream" games, maybe you should rather go to local games clubs and/or local games weekends. I do not live in Bavaria and am not familiar with this event, but there seems to be a gaming weekend in Munich next month: https://www.spielwiesn.de/sw (which would save you travel and hotel expenses). Maybe you can get more information in a Munich related forum or the forum on local game groups.

Also, in some FLGS you can try out games for free or a small fee, and there is a website via which you could look for co-gamers in your area: https://www.gesellschaftsspieler-gesucht.de/suche-mitspieler
 
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danny kessel
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Breda
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Well, I do enjoy playing the games at the fare and most of the games I play, will be played trough. But, as others have said already, a game club is probably better to get your fill of gaming. I did manage to play around 30 games last year, spread over 4 days, but that might take some planning as well.

And well, I like the atmosphere and seeing all the new goodies as well, yet less interested in the shops. Without buying anything, for me it is still interesting enough
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Matt Johnson
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bluepirate77 wrote:
VytautasTheGreat wrote:
I'd love to spend a weekend playing interesting games with experienced gamers, but spending a weekend wandering a giant game store wouldn't be worth the effort.
I do love the experience to go to Essen and maybe try some games (we always managed to play whole games, unless we quit early, because we were sure that we did or didn't like a game at all), but if you have a tight budget and are fine with playing mostly "mainstream" games, maybe you should rather go to local games clubs and/or local games weekends. I do not live in Bavaria and am not familiar with this event, but there seems to be a gaming weekend in Munich next month: https://www.spielwiesn.de/sw (which would save you travel and hotel expenses). Maybe you can get more information in a Munich related forum or the forum on local game groups.

Also, in some FLGS you can try out games for free or a small fee, and there is a website via which you could look for co-gamers in your area: https://www.gesellschaftsspieler-gesucht.de/suche-mitspieler

Totally true. The reason I'm considering is that Essen is in the same state of Germany where I'm a student, so I can get there on the train for free. It's possible I may also be able to find somewhere to crash for free, which would mean I just have to pack some food and pay the 37 euro entry fee.

However, taking all the advice here into consideration it sounds like the best thing for me may be to just do a long day trip on Saturday to have the experience.
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Jean-Luc Luyet
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Like other people said, the answer is no.

The Essen fair is not a gaming convention per se, it's a fair for professionals to sell games, look what other professionals are doing, and so on (discuss contracts, publishing games, finding artists, ...).

Many gamers go to Essen because they seek exclusivity and they follow the "cult of the new", but it's really not a place for gamers in the first place.

I would avoid going there. I don't think the "experience" is worth it.

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André Heines
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Well, if you're a student in NRW, I'd suggest to visit the "Spiel doch" in Duisburg in Spring. Small, also some new games, but also open play areas. It's way smaller but also cheaper.

And there are some other events you could visit, like Ratinger Spieltage or Herner Spielewahnsinn.

But for the experience it all pales in comparisson to SPIEL in Essen. You could attend for only a day. Oh, and if they didn't change it, students get a discount on the tickets.
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Pete & SO
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VytautasTheGreat wrote:
bluepirate77 wrote:
VytautasTheGreat wrote:
I'd love to spend a weekend playing interesting games with experienced gamers, but spending a weekend wandering a giant game store wouldn't be worth the effort.
I do love the experience to go to Essen and maybe try some games (we always managed to play whole games, unless we quit early, because we were sure that we did or didn't like a game at all), but if you have a tight budget and are fine with playing mostly "mainstream" games, maybe you should rather go to local games clubs and/or local games weekends. I do not live in Bavaria and am not familiar with this event, but there seems to be a gaming weekend in Munich next month: https://www.spielwiesn.de/sw (which would save you travel and hotel expenses). Maybe you can get more information in a Munich related forum or the forum on local game groups.

Also, in some FLGS you can try out games for free or a small fee, and there is a website via which you could look for co-gamers in your area: https://www.gesellschaftsspieler-gesucht.de/suche-mitspieler

Totally true. The reason I'm considering is that Essen is in the same state of Germany where I'm a student, so I can get there on the train for free. It's possible I may also be able to find somewhere to crash for free, which would mean I just have to pack some food and pay the 37 euro entry fee.

However, taking all the advice here into consideration it sounds like the best thing for me may be to just do a long day trip on Saturday to have the experience.
Then I'd definitely go there for at least one day, preferably Friday rather than Saturday, because it'll be less crowded. Also, there is this site http://nrw-spielt.info/wordpress_alt/veranstaltungen/ listing many events in Northrhine-Wesphalia ...
 
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Andy
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I'm going to disagree with most of the people here and say yes, it is worth going to play even if you're not planning on buying a lot.

It is not a convention where you should expect to sit down all day and play whatever you want with your friends, but as long as you aren't too picky about what you want to play you can get a decent number of games in. Pretty much every booth will have several copies of each game they are launching/selling available for demo, and in my experience there's no problem staying for the full duration unless it's a particularly long game. The bigger publishers will have loads of tables, and while they might be busy there's always going to be a table available somewhere. If you really want to play a specific game some smaller stands will allow you to reserve a slot for a demo.

After the convention finishes for the day most of the hotels and bars in the area will be packed full with people gaming all evening into the small hours of the morning, and most people are friendly and will let you join them if they have space.
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C&H Schmidt
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I think it depends on what you mean by "going just to play".

If you want to see lots of new releases and games you've never heard of from all over the world, you will absolutely have an opportunity to play these, and full games of them, too.
It's just a fascinating thing to see even if you don't buy much or anything. We went with two acquaintances last year who respectively bought nothing and 1 game, 1 expansion, and had a great time trying out games and seeing everything.

If you expect basically a big gaming meet-up, that's not what Essen is.

Edit: If you live in NRW, what's stopping you from just going for a day. There isn't much to lose, is there? A day ticket is 15 bucks, and if you're a student you should be able to get there with your Semesterticket.
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Allison M.
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To make this short and sweet: yes, but avoid Saturday like the plague.

Thursday and Sunday are the best days to just play games.

I noticed a lot of the answers come from people in europe, and when you compare essen to american conventions it is a lot more time and space designated for playing games. plus there is a new hall this year just to play games with 'influencers' so i think they are also making this more for your target. take the leap and go!
 
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