Spiel 2022 has happened. And a lot of it. After a five-year break, because life has been less than kind for most of those years, Martin and I have returned. Has it changed?
Well, Spiel 2022 has changed me, that is for sure.
When my husband and I decided we had the funds to come to Spiel again – and this was in April – I started to wonder what I wanted to do. The five-year break hasn’t been just for Spiel, it’s also been on board games in general.
So I started a group at work and that grew enough that now I have people to play with at home every week. And yet, the games we were playing, traditional Euros and some Ameritrash, were not scratching my itch anymore.
After an interview with Jay from Cardboard East, I started to take a look at the Asian games I have on my shelves and gave some a try. I loved them!
So I decided I would focus on either Asian companies or my friends from long ago in the industry.
And thus, interviews were arranged, plane tickets bought and hotels booked (not in that order).
Spiel 2022 took place in the same place it always has: Essen Messe. 6 halls full to the brim with companies that range from one-person endeavors to multi-million companies competing to outdo each other. Means not a lot to me, but I admit that seeing Asmodee, Hasbro and a few others try to outdo each other is a visual spectacle that makes the place a bright, colourful and impressive one.
But I didn’t want that. Yes, it is delightful to walk by and see the setup, but I wanted something different.
The organisation has been as good as ever. The security guards were polite, they could all speak a good level of English, a smile every time and hygiene scouts roaming the halls doing their best to enforce the mandatory mask rule that the organisation made clear from the start that it was compulsory. Luckily, most people observed it in the halls, although we saw some people, including famous ones, ignoring the mandate. Make of that what you will.
Also, the place felt a bit wider. I am not sure if there was more space between stands, but I felt we could walk a lot more comfortably between booths even though 170.000 visited the show this year.
The food selection this year was also better and we even found a food truck with decent coffee. Result!
Oh… a very important thing: The team of janitors managed to keep clean the toilets at all times. Or, at least the times I went to the toilet. Maybe I was lucky, but I rather think they worked hard to make the place clean and tidy.
My interviews were fantastic and arranging them was all the easier thanks to the Spiel App. Now filtering by game name, company name, country or origin… I had all the information right away and made finding where to go very simple.
Once the show started, we managed to interview everyone I had on my calendar: Capital Gains Group, T3 Gaming Studio, Broadway Toys Ltd., Game Lab, Taiwan Board Game Design, Playte, Itten Games, Japanime, EmperorS4, Origame, Mandoo, Play with Us…
And then a few more companies I approached on the go because they looked rather great, including a company that specialises in cybersecurity games that I will have to explore in greater depth just in case we can cooperate with my day job company.
Alas, I also missed some friends I could not see, but then, that only make me want to get back and see them even more, so I better start putting Spiel 2023 in my diary!