The SPIEL'21 in Essen is about to restart: After the corona-related break including a trip to the Internet, the world's largest event for board games is returning to the Essen exhibition center. With an elaborated hygiene concept, an expanded space and safety regulations including controls. One thing has not changed: the range of innovations is huge, even if not as gigantic as in times before the pandemic. This year the focus will be on something completely different anyway: the joy that the International Game Days can take place on site again.

At the novelty show, the participating publishers presented their board games from the current season, and that has not changed this year either. It seems as if the SPIEL'21 is primarily a festival for connoisseurs and frequent gamers - there are many innovations for the experts among the board game players this autumn game - so many that one can speak of a preponderance of more complex board games. Children and family players will still find plenty of choice.

SPIEL'21: The new enthusiasm for board games

The corona pandemic has changed a lot and mixed up a lot in the past few months. The games industry was not spared either: delays, delivery bottlenecks, increased costs - the publishers were faced with problems. They have evidently mastered challenges. The market as a whole grew again in double digits. The mood among publishers and authors? Mostly good. Here and there the publication dates have been pushed back, other games only arrived at the publishers shortly before the start of the trade fair, and for some of them at least trial copies are available. There is another way of doing things smoothly.

In any case, the publishers have not made the decision for or against participation easy for themselves. In some cases, it was a struggle, but publishers, as employers, are faced with a particular challenge. In any case, a tremor did not trigger Asmodee's early cancellation, many are familiar faces are there, but have set rules: You cannot play wild everywhere, but there are enough places to try out the new products, or at least to be introduced . In Halls 1 to 3 and 5 there are board and card games, in Hall 6 role-playing games and comics. And the Galeria is also occupied again.

There are many topics, including serious ones: sustainability in the industry, equality, historical excursions - the portfolios of the publishers have lost none of their lively lightness, however. There are still silly, wacky, and unbelievable ideas. And maybe they will be needed more than ever. The SPIEL is, as Youtuber Pottgamer called it: "A little escape from everyday life".

Some players from the children's and family games segment are still sorely missed because they made SPIEL an event for all age groups. HABA, for example, or Zoch. The international game days in Essen will remain an event for everyone this year - from young to old and small to large. A lot of information on admission prices, test options and hygiene regulations is available online at: www.spiel-messe.com - The current GAME guide can also be downloaded there.

In the end, the joy outweighs the pure possibility of restarting. The SPIEL in the digital space was and is an alternative, not a replacement. Board and card games live from their haptic impressions - and thanks to the on-site fair they can also present themselves accordingly. Over 1.000 new products can be seen at SPIEL'21, presented by around 600 exhibitors from 41 countries. Even under Corona conditions, the international game days remain a mega-event for fans with a colorful supporting program. If it weren't for the masks, disinfectant dispensers, signs - Corona would not be felt. At least superficially. One notices the uncertainty of some actors: Addressing strangers freely? One hesitates. Long conversations? They're there again, albeit louder, because the masks seem to swallow many a word.

Around 30.000 visitors will stroll through the halls every day, which seems like a gigantic number after the long period of restrictions. Before Corona, over 200.000 visitors came to Essen on the four days of the fair - almost double what is currently possible. Nevertheless: 30.000 are a well-filled football stadium of a middle-class club and 30.000 are significantly more than “five people from two households” - this is how games were played during the pandemic in restricted operations ”.

Now experts, representatives of politics and organizers are letting people off the chain again - and one thing is clear: They will take the opportunity and gratefully accept it. Will everything work as it should in the end? The conclusion follows after SPIEL'21. Now it's about four days of board game enjoyment in the revitalized gaming capital of Essen: with many changes, but full of enthusiasm.

Picture gallery for the SPIEL'21 novelty show:

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Last updated on 5.08.2022/XNUMX/XNUMX / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. * = Affiliate links. Images from Amazon PA API