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Subject: Should I go to Essen if I don't speak German? rss

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Martin Villemaire
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I'm starting to plan my con schedule for 2006... I'd really like to go to Essen for the first time, but I don't speak a single word of German (I am fluent in English and French though). How much of the con would I be able to "get"? ie re all the demos/games for sale in German only? How many visitors are non-German?

Thanks in advance for all the help!
 
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Anye Freer
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Not speaking German is not a problem at the fair - thousands of people who don't speak German go and do just fine. There are some games that you'll have trouble with but the majority of the publishers seem to make an effort to have English rules even if they don't have English speakers at their booth (but even this is rare!)
 
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Tim Goose
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I went to my first Essen this year. My german is basic to say the least, but I didn't really find many problems. Staff in the hotel generally speak english at least as well as I do (and sometimes better), and the people at the show go out of their way to have english speakers to explain rules etc. Even the trade stands will either have an english speaker on them or will revert to the "point and nod" method of communication.

If you DO go, however, then if you don't smoke then take a gas mask. Smoking is obviously compulsary in Germany. You might also want ear plugs, as the constant background noise gets to your ears in the end.
 
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Garry Clarke
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I went to my first Essen this year, I can't speak a word of German. I had no problems, there were a few people that couldn't speak English but in general the quality of english spoken by the people on the stands was good enough to explain games with.

I'm already planning my next trip.


Garry
 
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you wouldn't have any trouble. Many visitors are non-German; even many companies/distributors are non-German. This year I bought games from an Australian, Dutch, Italian and Swedish company (I didn't even buy one game from a German company). All of these companies preferred English over German. Besides that, the German companies are fully capable to explain the game to you in English, thus you wouldn't miss a thing.
Just go and have lots of fun!!!!!
 
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SAKURA in KYOTO 2018 Back to Kansai
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Almost everyone you meet at the show will speak very good English, even the Italians . And if they struggle to find the correct word, anybody standing next to you will chip in. I had no trouble with people explaining games, maybe not all the rules but enough to understand a game and get the feel. And they all say, "oh my English is terrible" but of course it is always fine. So many of the publishers either have English rules in the game, or will have English print outs just for the show. Ask and you shall receive. You can see enough of a game to figure if text on cards would be a problem.

There were definately more Brits and US visitors this year. But even if you travel alone, you'll have no problem joining games. When you see people setting up to play, just go up and ask if you can join in. We played Angkor with two German guys, Hazienda with a couple, Manila with another couple and they were all happy to explain the game and ask us about our trip. They all want to know why we've come to Essen, our journey, our experience and thoughts about the show. We played Queen games with two Norwegians, and in your hotel, you'll find gamers in the dining room after hours. Honestly, everyone is very friendly, if you like gaming and are prepared to get involved, you'll have a great time.

And you get to play brand new games, pre-order the limited stuff and pick up the free expansions and gimmicks, browse the bargain bins and clearance lines. And the fleamarket is excellent.

Traveling to and from the show is no problem, once you figure out the ticket machines. At Essen rail station, the tourist info and the local transport staff all have excellent English. Down on the underground concourse at the main station, there are always EAV staff ready to help, even late at night.

In restaraunts, just ask for the English menu. I have memorised one phrase "Kein käse bitte. Käse gibt mich kopfschmerzen!". That's the only German I can speak. At your hotel, the staff on reception will all speak excellent English. As long as your credit card is good, it will be a breeze. You can always book your reservation by email with no trouble.

I haven't used the taxis in Essen, and I haven't travelled outside much outside Essen, but I've been to Munich and I've been to Vienna in Austria and had no problems. And I can't speak or read German, I certainly can't hold a conversation.

You will face only one serious problem. Shipping. You just cannot buy everything you see. You've really got to control yourself. It's too easy to keep picking stuff up.
 
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Luca Iennaco
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I went there in 2005; I do not speak a single word of German (only a decent English) and I had no problems.
Go and have fun!
 
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Scott Tepper
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Martin,

I was surprised at the number of French people who came to the show. I was demoing at the Rio Grande booth (check out my report if you want all the details) and was surprised at how helpful it was to be able to teach games in French.

That won't help you so much, though, at most of the German booths. But as everyone else has said, most all of the vendors speak some(enough) English.

While the majority of people at the show spoke English, not everyone in the town does. So having a little German (figuratively of course!) under your belt will help you in getting around outside of the fair. Since you're planning this far out, I might suggest that you pick up the Pimsleur language series. I went to www.usedpimsleur.com to get the best deal. It's a great, easy to follow course.

Scott
 
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Alexander Schmalz
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EYE of NiGHT wrote:
I have memorised one phrase "Kein käse bitte. Käse gibt mich kopfschmerzen!".


To improve your German - the correct phrase is "Von Käse bekomme ich Kopfschmerzen!"
 
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Thomas McCorry
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To echo what ws written earlier, this was my first trip to Essen and had no significant language problems. I travelled first to Amsterdam and spent a day sightseeing then drove down to Essen. The next day I went to local game shops and Toy'R'Us stores and again had no problems.

Learning a few conversational phrases wouldn't hurt (and shows some respect for the local culture) but between the English ability of the locals and hand gestures in a real pinch you should be okay.


Tom
 
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Martin Villemaire
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Wow!! Thanks for all that help! cool


ben nevis wrote:
Just go and have lots of fun!!!!! "


Ok ok I'm going!!!

Shandazar wrote:
If you DO go, however, then if you don't smoke then take a gas mask. Smoking is obviously compulsary in Germany. You might also want ear plugs, as the constant background noise gets to your ears in the end.


Gee I would have never thought of that. Thanks for the tips! I'll bring my motorcycle ear plugs -- I won't hear a thing


EYE of NiGHT wrote:
Traveling to and from the show is no problem, once you figure out the ticket machines.

I think I should have that covered -- I've travelled through pretty much all of western Europe, except for Germany (and Portugal). I think that all train stations have the same punch-ticket system. Thanks for the heads up though, I had almost forgotten about the fun quirks of travelling abroad

Lexi wrote:
To improve your German - the correct phrase is "Von Käse bekomme ich Kopfschmerzen!"


And that would mean...?
 
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Martin Villemaire
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As a follow-up question... how far ahead should I book the hotel?
 
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David Fair
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tmccorry wrote:
Learning a few conversational phrases wouldn't hurt (and shows some respect for the local culture) but between the English ability of the locals and hand gestures in a real pinch you should be okay.

We had a great time. It was really handy that I knew the German word for "directions", as we kept driving past the same people over and over one night.

Seriously, don't let the language deter you. To put it the way a friend of mine who spent two years in Amsterdam did "Everyone we spoke to the whole time spoke better English than you hear from most Americans. The only difference is the accents."
 
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Amy O'Neal
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mnv_iii wrote:
Lexi wrote:
To improve your German - the correct phrase is "Von Käse bekomme ich Kopfschmerzen!"


And that would mean...?


To me, it sounds something like "Cheese gives me a headache"... Of course, I'm probably totally wrong... laughlaugh ... It's been years since I studied German...
 
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Alexander Schmalz
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janiera wrote:
To me, it sounds something like "Cheese gives me a headache"...


No, you are absolutely right. This is exactly what it means. Although I really don't know why this is so - puzzles me wow
 
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Paola B
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Jon, the correct spelling is "definitely", not "definately". Sorry, I'm Italian and I felt I had to do this after reading your "Even the Italians" comment
 
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Stefano Sorbara
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laugh laugh
 
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Christopher Leach
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German vs English
> "Käse gibt mich Kopfschmerzen" (=cheese gives me headaches)
> To improve your German - the correct phrase is "Von Käse bekomme ich Kopfschmerzen!"
Means more literally "I get headaches from cheese"

It's just a question of the subject vs object ordering.
The second is more acceptable German.


To complicate the issue, "gibt" (from geben - to give) would take the Dative, so the first would correctly be "Käse gibt mir Kopfschmerzen".

 
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Patrick Dignam
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Just like someone mentioned before, once you figure out how the rail system works, and how to get to a bathroom---you are good to go.

A lot of people speak english, which made me feel bad about not knowing much german. I even brought one of those geeky translation books the last time I was there which got the attention of the Winsome & Warfrog guys (Geoff).

It was all downhill from that point. shake

BTW - food was never an issue as well. It was all top notch no matter what I ate! Beware of the evil vials of shlivervitz (sp?). devil
 
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Richard Lea
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Quote:
If you DO go, however, then if you don't smoke then take a gas mask
.

This is an exaggeration: the halls are so vast you wouldn't be aware of people smoking unless you were near them, and apart from in refreshment areas (some people would say that smoking is a form of refreshment) there didn't seem to be that many people indulging.
 
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Patrick Dignam
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rplea wrote:
Quote:
If you DO go, however, then if you don't smoke then take a gas mask
.

This is an exaggeration: the halls are so vast you wouldn't be aware of people smoking unless you were near them, and apart from in refreshment areas (some people would say that smoking is a form of refreshment) there didn't seem to be that many people indulging.


I agree. I didn't find smoking to be a problem. They had certain rail cars that I think were smoking cars or it was the bar car. I think the only time I had some smoke in my face was an elderly gentleman smoking a pipe, which had a great fragrance anyway so I didn't mind it at all.
 
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SAKURA in KYOTO 2018 Back to Kansai
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Cheese definitely gives me headaches! I'm lactose-intolerant and even a little cheese gives me a migraine. I've learnt this phrase because in the onion soup, they put cheesy croutons, so I have to say "ohne Käse-kroutons bitte" as well, just to make sure. Without wishing to brag, I've got this one german phrase down so well, the waiting staff usually follow it up with some complex question in german, and I have to admit I'm a ignorant foreigner!

Smoking is not that bad in the halls, unless you're stood right next to someone. Restaraunts are a little worse, but not impossible unless you get asthma. And if you want a break from the noise, just go and sit in the sunshine in the central yard.
 
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mnv_iii wrote:
As a follow-up question... how far ahead should I book the hotel?


People exaggerate this terribly. If you want to get into the posh hotel An der Gruga next to the halls, book now. The most convenient hotels in terms of the halls, the main station and local restaraunts are those near the underground exit at Martinstrasse, in particular the Hotel Arosa and its business partner Hotel Jung. The sooner you get booked in them, the better, by February or March at worst. But there are loads of hotels in Essen and if you leave it late, you'll still get a room either near the halls or in the city centre, which is only 10 minutes ride on the U-bahn if that. You can get rooms right up to the wire, but obviously your options go down. Rooms vary from €60 for a single per night to €140 for a double. Some hotels do not include breakfast in the price. Paying around €80 for a single is typical in Essen. Prices go up for the show, but if you book for 5 nights, they might give you a discount. The show is open Thursday through Sunday, and many people arrive Wednesday and leave Monday. If you get to Essen by Wednesday afternoon, you can sneak into the halls and check out the fleamarket early.

I recommend you book the hotel first, then your flight. It's worth fishing around for a deal on the flight. I managed to save £30-£60 on mine and I booked pretty late.

I'm going to try to improve the thread on hotels by giving each one its own thread. I recognised several whilst wandering the streets.
 
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Gavin Wynford-Jones
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rplea wrote:
Quote:
If you DO go, however, then if you don't smoke then take a gas mask
.

This is an exaggeration: the halls are so vast you wouldn't be aware of people smoking unless you were near them, and apart from in refreshment areas (some people would say that smoking is a form of refreshment) there didn't seem to be that many people indulging.


On the Friday, looking out from the main cafeteria over hall 10, you could actually SEE the fog! I agree that you don't seem to see that many people holding the evil weed, but everyone in our group needed throat lozenges by the end of the second day and my eyes were giving me gyp by the evening.

So secondary effects are very much there.

Gavin
 
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