In exactly one month it will finally be that time again and the world's largest trade fair for board and parlor games will open its doors. Over 150.000 visitors will flock to the Ruhr metropolis of Essen again this year to play games together, paralyze the Essen transport network and clog the already crowded streets with even more cars. So for this year's SPIEL'16 too, Essen offers perfect conditions for a great week at the fair. 

Because not only long-established SPIEL veterans are looking for their way to Essen, but there are also many first-time visitors among the players, we have summarized the most important information about the fair in Essen for you. The Ultimate Survival Guide for SPIEL'16 is also necessary because over 150.000 parlor players can be at least as scary as an army of zombies.  


Getting there: Use local public transport

The Ultimate Survival Guide for SPIEL'16
The Ultimate Survival Guide for SPIEL'16

Messe Essen advertises with the slogan “One location - endless possibilities”. That is true and also applies to the journey. Before you can even lay your hands on a game, you have to find your way to Essen. For those arriving from the Ruhr area, finding the way is comparatively easy. The environmentally friendly journey with the Train first leads you to the glass main station of the city of Essen, where you make your way from your arrival track through the crowds until you have reached the subway area of ​​the main station Essen. From a beautiful, blue-lit track system, take the U11 underground line in the direction of the exhibition center and reach the stops Messe Ost / Grugahalle or Messe West / Messe Süd. The journeys of the U11 line from Essen main station to the exhibition center take around 5 minutes. You can find the trade fair timetable here. From the experience with past trade fair events in Essen, there is one Arrival by public transport is strongly recommended. The underground utilization during the trade fair period is good, so that waiting times are usually only a few minutes short. The last subway on line 11 leaves at 23.30 p.m. Afterwards, however, you can use the night buses of the Essen public transport company - or you can walk to the Rüttenscheid district and spend the night there in one of the numerous restaurants.

Those arriving by plane land at the international airport Dusseldorf Airport and reaches the city of Essen after a 20-minute drive (or train journey). Party players who arrive by private jet, i.e. their own turboprop aircraft, use Essen / Mülheim Airport and save around 10 minutes of travel time.

Messe Essen parking spaces

If you arrive by car, program your navigation device on Norbertstraße 2 in 45131 Essen and get directly to the exhibition grounds via the A42, A40, A52 and A3 motorways. Since the city of Essen has been an environmental zone since 2014, entry is only permitted with a valid sticker. For cars without an environmental badge, however, there are alternative entrances via the A52 with the Essen-Rüttenscheid and Essen-Haarzopf junction. These alternative routes are here shown. The parking lot situation at Messe Essen is good, but there are considerable waiting phases at peak times. The exhibition car parks P1, P2, P5, P6 and P9 are signposted and on this Website clearly presented. 

Accommodation: Find the right hotel

The Ultimate Survival Guide for SPIEL'16

Visitors who spend an extended stay in Essen can visit the Tourist office ask the city of Essen about accommodation. Tickets for the city's sights can also be purchased or reserved there. A city tour with the red double-decker bus is definitely recommended.

If you want to search for free hotel rooms online, you can do so via Booking portal of the Hotel Reservation Service (HRS). This is a recommendable hotel centrally located in the city center MotelONE, which is directly opposite the impressive Essen Minster, where the cathedral treasure can be viewed (be sure to take a guided tour!). Visitors will find this right at the exhibition center Atlantic Congress Hotel, which is only 2 minutes away from the exhibition entrance. Essen also has a Youth hostel, which is close to the Folkwang Museum, which is well worth a visit. A visit to Essen is pure culture - there is a reason why Essen is called the “Venice of the Ruhr Area”.  

If you prefer to invest your budget in the latest games, grab your tent and spend the night between lions and grizzly bears on the picturesque Rhine-Herne Canal, where salmon jump up the river and you are woken up in the morning by the singing of toucans - just let yourself be caught You don't think: Wild camping is also forbidden in Essen.  

If you still don't want to miss out on a tent trip, that's it Camping park recommended in eating. There are no wild animals there, but there are running water and an S-Bahn station.

Catering in extreme situations

The Ultimate Survival Guide for SPIEL'16

As a shopping and trade fair city, Essen offers visitors to SPIEL'16 not only the well-known culinary offers of the self-proclaimed King of Hamburg, the system restaurant with the golden M and the nice grandfather who still breeds chickens when he is retired, but also a large number of recommendable restaurants. The Turkish language is particularly recommended Restaurant tablo on Huyssenallee 5 or that Crime scene restaurant on Rüttenscheiderstr. 182. Anyone who knows him, or at least loves him, is warmly into the pod on the Emmastr. 25, where Nelson Müller personally takes care of catering in extreme situations. in the Jonny's Eating Culture on Zweigertstrasse 12, the kitchen team shows you that cool restaurant names also stand for cool dishes. 

During the fair, you can dine in one of the fair restaurants, treat yourself to a bratwurst as a snack or visit the slush ice stand, where an extra portion of vodka provides a kick. Alternatively, you can of course lubricate yourself with a cuff that you carry through the exhibition halls in a trendy gym bag. 

The exhibition halls

The Ultimate Survival Guide for SPIEL'16

Over 1.000 exhibitors are spread across the exhibition grounds, which last year already covered 63.000 square meters. This year exhibitors from 50 nations are coming to present their most entertaining game titles on an exhibition area of ​​around 68.000 square meters. So prepare yourself for an eventful time with countless games. One List of all novelties can be found on the website of Friedhelm Merz Verlag. It is advisable to find out about the games before visiting the trade fair. SPIEL'16 occupies a total of eight exhibition halls (1, 2, 3, 6, 6.1, 7, 7.1). You can find an overview of the halls here.

At the same time, the comic fair COMIC Action'16 traditionally takes place, at which not only the latest comics are available for viewing (and of course for purchase), but also well-known artists organize book signing sessions and comic book dealers compete for your favor and euros with boxes full of booklets.    

If you run out of money in the exhibition halls (and that happens often), you will find four ATMs in the entrance areas of Messe Essen. You can find further bank branches in the immediate vicinity of the exhibition grounds.

Wheelchairs can be borrowed for a deposit of 50 euros and reserved by calling 0049 (0) 201 724-4417.

Anyone who has bought beyond their logistical possibilities will find the service of the provider Mail Boxes Etc. in exhibition hall 7, at booth 7-G101, who will safely transport your purchases to your home. You can find the prices of the service here.

From October 13th to October 15th, SPIEL'16 will be open from 10.00 a.m. to 19.00 p.m. On Sunday, October 16, 2016 from 10.00 a.m. to 18.00 p.m. It is advisable to purchase tickets in advance to reduce waiting times at the entrances. Tickets are available here.

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