The Origame team participated in Spiel 2022 for the first time ever. We had lots of fun, met so many amazing people and learnt so much! We absolutely want to share with you how to make the best use of your time at Spiel or any board game convention (like the Asian Board Game Festival coming up on 26-27 November in Singapore)!
This year, the world's biggest board game convention recorded 150,000 visitors, featured publishers from more than 50 countries and unveiled 1,200 new games across 39 hectic exhibition hours from 6 to 9 October. 6 massive exhibition halls (we can fit 25 soccer fields and still have space to spare) were converted into a board game wonderland.
For those of us in the team visiting Essen Spiel for the first time, it was everything we imagined, and MORE! As much as we wanted to see everything, we quickly realised it was impossible, especially since we had our own booth to run. However, different visitors we met had clever ways to make the most of their time at Spiel. Here are our top tips after observing what everyone did.
1. Pre-convention research is essential and board game reviewing platforms offer helpful recommendations
The Essen Spiel website and app helpfully lists all the participating publishers and new games released in alphabetical order. There is also a map of each of the 6 halls with complete layouts for way-finding. Some of our visitors told us they found the Origame booth in Hall 4 by using the app’s map feature to mark out our location before tracing the quickest route to us from the various entrances!
Reading up on the new game releases or watching preview videos via various board game channels helped them to optimise their visit route through the 6 halls by mapping their pathways in advance. For the more popular games, visitors had to pre-register slots to sit down and play, so that’s a great way of seeing if you really like the game before committing to buy! We also want to give a shout out to Cardboard East for their Origame Spiel '22 preview video.
Wok and Roll was mentioned in a German board game podcast, so we were delighted to welcome folks new to Origame to try out our games! By the way, did you know that Dice Tower awarded Wok and Roll their Seal of Approval? Thank you so much for the affirmation!
2. Watching play through videos prior to the fair can help you get started if no one is available to demo or explain the game to you
We know reading rulebooks can seem daunting! If the game has been released in languages unfamiliar to you, that becomes quite an impossible task, haha. Fret not, hardcore fans have often taken the initiative to translate foreign language rulebooks into their native tongues, and English translations are commonly offered by most publishers online.
The more enthusiastic visitors even shared that they watched our playthrough videos before coming to try them out. It was especially helpful for games like Rainforest City, Plantopia or The Korean Wave, as they were designed for more experienced players to take their gameplay to whole new levels of creativity and complexity. If you are curious, check out the playthrough videos here:
Rainforest City: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cb4J6-946kM&t=200s
The Korean Wave: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeWZ3ohc5eE&t=346s (from 8'48'')
3. Try a few rounds per game instead of playing it to the end (do ask if everyone else at your table is ok with that before you begin)
Continuing from the previous point, some folks wanted to visit 10 to 12 booths a day so they requested to only play 2 to 3 rounds per game. Everyone else at their table was pretty understanding so we got through the demos real quick for them to have a feel of the mechanics and gameplay. It was surprisingly exciting because we had to summarise the key gameplay experiences within the limited time we were given. Thankfully, it didn't lessen the fun!
4. If you didn't come with a big group of friends and can't make the minimum number of players to start, we can find other players to join in
The Essen experience showed us that neither language, nationality, nor age was a barrier to new people getting along, sitting down for a game, and having fun together! If you feel shy about asking random strangers walking by to fill the empty seats, we can do the asking for you. Sometimes, the staff at the booths are also happy to stand in when it isn't very busy. After all, we want players to leave with enjoyable experiences and fond memories!
5. Board games can be adapted to the way you prefer to play it
We had Danish, French, and German speakers try Alphabeasts Attack! in their native languages, and it worked with some simple tweaks! With the removal of some cards, i.e. consonants less commonly used in their contexts, the game played smoothly. If you have questions or curiosities, just mention them. We can probably find a way to adapt the rules. Make up your own house rules so that everyone participating can play comfortably.
By now, you can see that gamers are a pretty easygoing and chill bunch of folks! We are happy to roll with whoever shows up, customise the game play for different experience levels, and help to break the ice with fellow board game lovers! With the Asian Board Game Festival coming up real soon, it's the perfect opportunity to try these tips, play some games, and perhaps even make new friends in the process.
A big thank you to the Origame team who made Spiel '22 possible for us:
Caroline, Dylan, Florian, Markus, Quentin, Savannah, Sebastian, Shihui, and Stephanie