The press conference for this year's SPIEL'11 in Essen began today at exactly 16 a.m. The trend topics of the current game year were presented, including a brief overview of some of the innovations of the world's largest trade fair for parlor games, which will open its doors to the public on October 13, 2016. After the press conference and a short walk, the sociable part of the press day began. As part of the novelty show, we took a first look at exciting, innovative and challenging board games that we will take a closer look at over the next four days.

The SPIEL'16 press conference

Oliver Kurth, who has been managing director of Messe Essen since January 16 and who simply described the organizational services of the Friedhelm Merz Verlag team as “unbelievable”, drew an initial conclusion on SPIEL'2014. Dominique Metzler from Friedhelm Merz Verlag then led the media representatives present through the games landscape at this year's fair at a rapid pace. “Escape Gaming” was also one of the main topics at the press conference that gamers will encounter at numerous publishing houses over the next few days. In any case, SPIEL'16 is, at least statistically, an event of superlatives: “Unprecedented growth rates for the fourth year in a row” recorded the organizing Friedhelm Merz Verlag. This is also underlined by the number of around 1200 new products that visitors can marvel at in Essen from tomorrow. Over 1000 exhibitors from 50 countries will present their ideas to the game-loving audience and invite parlor players from all over the world to the gaming tables. In times of questionable political statements, SPIEL'16 is a welcome antithesis.   

The continuing success of the game fair is due to a large number of factors, including the enormous growth of the German game market. "Countless new game publishers are currently establishing themselves at a rapid pace around the world," says Dominique Metzler, whose offers ensure that people spend more time playing board games. Not to be despised are the modern forms of financing, which also offer independent game developers the opportunity to market their concepts. The crowdfunding platform plays a key role in this Kickstarter. The popularity of this year's SPIEL'16 is shown by the number of hotel reservations alone. Free hotel rooms in Essen and the surrounding area are in short supply. For visitors who have not yet booked a hotel room, according to Dominique Metzler, the only option left is “to switch to a single hotel in Gelsenkirchen”. But who wants to go to Gelsenkirchen of all places?

If, according to Hermann Hutter, 1st chairman of the Spieleverlage eV, who even “students find their way back to the gaming table”, publishers have to do something right with their ideas. The enthusiasm for board games continues - in any case for the next four days, but probably also in the years to come.

SPIEL'16 novelty show

There were innumerable innovations to marvel at. Aside from the well-known board game titles, two games with their concepts initially surprised me in particular: Justice League - The Boardgame by the Spanish publisher abba Games as well as the seemingly complex board game aurimentic from the publisher nikamunduswho otherwise produces therapeutic learning games. Justice League is one of those classic superhero games that should provide a lot of fun with its well thought-out mechanics and episodic gameplay. In the role of well-known comic heroes such as Superman, Flash or Batman, the aim is to fight the nasty top villains. The idea of ​​using different game resources for different superheroes is interesting. While Superman's abilities are being rolled, the action of the game in Flash is based on a token system. Batman, on the other hand, prefers to play with cards. At least as exciting is the changeable game board, on which rooms can be entered not only through the doors, but also through holes that, as a superhero, you simply punch in the walls. Justice League can be found in a demo version at Abba Games to be tried out. Ravensburger is also inviting Sci-Fantasy to SPIEL'16 in Essen 

BB-8, the Fliewatüüt and transportable Escape Games

As a fan of George Lucas' sci-fantasy universe, there was no way to play cards and dice Star Wars - Destiny from Heidelberger Spieleverlag or Fantasy Flight Games. The game was already thrilling on screenshots, but it makes an even better impression live and in color. The illustrations of the cards are excellent and should lure some trading card players one or two euros out of their pockets.

SPIEL'16 in Essen: press conference and novelty show
SPIEL'16 in Essen: press conference and novelty show

The board game enables you to travel back in time Robbi, Tobbi and the Fliewatüüt. Especially experienced board players. are reminded of their own childhood through the stories of the Sylt author Boy Lornsen. For fans of children's books, the original Fliewatüüt prop is on display at SPIEL'16.  

SPIEL'16 in Essen: press conference and novelty show

The test of the Brain Box, a transportable puzzle station that is adapted to the wishes of the customer, was exciting. The mobile escape box from MysteryRooms Kleist & Winter GbR ensures entertainment at the highest level. Predicate: particularly valuable!