With a new hall concept giving more space and allowing more exhibitors, Spiel Essen welcomed 193,000 visitors from 85 countries over the course of the show.
From October 4th-8th, 193,000 game enthusiasts from 85 countries visited Spiel Essen, the largest international public fair for board games. Thanks to this impressive number and a total area of 62,500 m², this year saw the biggest Spiel ever take place.
“We had hoped that more people would come than last year, but we didn’t expect this number,” commented Carol Rapp, managing director of Merz Verlag. “It was wonderful to feel so much joy in the halls, at the game tables, in the aisles and among the exhibitors. We changed a lot of things this year to make Spiel even more accessible and appealing, and the number of visitors on all days, as well as the general feedback, shows us that we’ve done it.”
Part of those changes was the thematic sorting of the halls into family games, connoisseur and expert games, and role-playing, trading-card and miniature games. The new hall concept, coupled with much wider aisles, helped to better distribute the crowds and made it easier to find small booths in all halls. With 935 exhibitors from 56 nations, Spiel was once again an extremely international event.
Ravensburger’s new trading card game Disney Lorcana released an exclusive card at the show, resulting in a queue that had to be directed into the adjacent Hall 7. The organisers said never before has the fair experienced such a rush.
Merz Verlag once again offered an additional programme for exhibitors, including the Educators’ Day, which attracted around 1,000 educators from various countries and was the most successful panel day Spiel has ever had. An overflow audiencehad to be referred to a video recording which will be available on the YouTube channel of Spiel Essen in the next few days.
Visitors could paint miniatures of the show’s new mascot, the cat Meeps, free of charge and take them home. A total of 1,200 figurines were distributed. On the Wednesday before the fair, the Deutscher Spiele Preis was awarded: to 1st place, Planet Unknown; 2nd place, Dorfromantik; and 3rd place, Heat, as well as Best Children’s Game, Mysterium Kids.
“It’s great to see that we struck a chord with the gaming community with many new ideas,” commented Florian Hess, managing director of Merz Verlag and member of the executive board at Spielwarenmesse eG. “We still have a lot planned for the next few years.”
Spiel Essen 24 will take place from October 3rd-6th, 2024.