Spielwarenmesse eG

Board games and records: curtain goes up for 40th edition of SPIEL in Essen!

  • Varied programme for the anniversary fair
  • New hall arrangement for greater clarity
  • App showing all content available now

It’s time for visitors to take their places at the table, delve into the innovations and meet up with old acquaintances again: when the gates of the Essen exhibition centre open between 5 and 8 October, a SPIEL of superlatives awaits them. With more than 60,000 m² of exhibition space in six halls, the fair is the largest of its kind and is bigger than in 2019, the previous record year. For its 40th anniversary, the fair’s organiser Friedhelm Merz Verlag – a subsidiary of Spielwarenmesse eG – is planning a number of innovations. What remains unaltered, though, is the unique profile of the world’s largest consumer fair for board games, card games and role-playing. Nearly 1,000 exhibitors from over 50 countries will be presenting their new ideas to a broad audience with an invitation to try them out.

Changed hall arrangement

Seasoned SPIEL visitors will notice that games and publishers are now allocated to different halls according to subject category. While role-playing, trading card games and miniature games are accommodated in Hall 1, games for connoisseurs and experts can be found in Hall 3. In Halls 2, 4, 5 and 6, family games – from simple children’s games to more complex games for experienced players – are waiting to be tried out. Hall 6 merits particular attention: at the re-designed main entrance to the fair, visitors will be welcomed by industry giants such as Amigo, Asmodee, Days of Wonder, Kosmos, Ravensburger and Schmidt-Spiele.

Innovations live and online

Across four days at SPIEL, over 1,500 new products will be on display. The winners of ‘innoSPIEL’, awarded for an especially innovative game idea, will offer some orientation here, as will the winners of the ‘German Games Prize’. These will be awarded one day before the start of the fair. Carol Rapp, Managing Director of Merz Verlag, is convinced: “We have such a broad range to offer – there is something for every games fan. Not only cooperative games but also solo and two-player games are particularly well represented.” The full lists of innovations and exhibitors are set out on the SPIEL website and in the app. Both platforms have taken on a new sparkle following an update. The much extended and improved app is available to download now. Key features include interactive hall plans with indoor navigation, and a full overview of the programme.

Knowledge-sharing and content creators

The focal point in the programme comes on the Thursday of the fair. From 11.30 am onwards in the Rhineland Hall, there will be presentations, discussion forums and panels comprising German and international guests, on the topic of ‘The changing world of board games – 40 years of SPIEL’. Entry is free of charge. All contributions will be streamed by the Friedhelm Merz Verlag on its YouTube channel. On the Friday, the popular ‘Educators’ Day’ takes place, offering lively demonstrations to educationalists of how board games can be deployed in teaching. And then on the Saturday, it’s time to ‘Meet your favourite content creators!’ Between 2 pm and 6 pm, a large number of YouTubers, bloggers and podcasters from the gaming scene will be in the Europa Hall, ready to take part in discussions and matches of various kinds.

The organiser is expecting some 180,000 board game fans over the course of the fair. Day tickets and full tickets are available from the online shop. SPIEL is open from 10 am to 7 pm on the Thursday to Saturday and until 6 pm on the Sunday. “We are looking forward to four exciting days, which for games fans all over the world are an absolute highlight on the gaming calendar. Only in Essen can they try out all the new ideas to their heart’s content,” says Florian Hess, Board Member at Spielwarenmesse eG and Managing Director of Merz Verlag.