The international game days in Essen are expected to take place. However, visitors will have to do without the publishing giant Asmodee. The Essen-based publisher has now officially announced what has long been known behind closed doors: Asmodee will not be represented with a stand at Spiel'2021. In view of the relaxed but unclear corona situation with regard to autumn, the decision is understandable - not for all fans, but in the sense of the company's responsibility for its employees. 

There is a lot of good, but also less positive news about SPIEL'21 in Essen. First of all, the most important information: What all board game fans had hoped for will most likely happen - the international game days will take place. At least that is the current status, which the organizing Friedhelm Merz Verlag informs about in the social media. A list of the publishers registered so far is also partially publicly available, which is more than expected, but from the point of view of the fans, possibly less than hoped. With Asmodee's departure, the fair will now lack at least one attractive contact point in the exhibition halls.

Asmodee: Corona still "unclear health situation"

Asmodee's rejection of SPIEL'21 comes as no surprise, but it is now official. So far, there have been signs that the Essen publishing house is unlikely to want to take part in the international match days, because it was generally said that Asmodee would not take part in any events this year. This has now been confirmed by the report from PR man Robin de Cleur. "Events are very important to Asmodee and an affair of the heart," it said. "We can't wait to be able to take part in small and large events again, where we can share the joy of playing together and show our board games to the world."

However, this does not yet apply to SPIEL'21, because: in the “health situation that is still unclear in 2021, despite the increasing vaccination rate, we take the health and safety of our employees, partners and players to heart,” explains Asmodee the decision not to appear at the SPIEL in Essen. The decision made applies to the Asmodee Group, the studios and also Asmodee Germany. Events in presence there will only be again "as soon as the situation allows it" again, explains de Cleur in the message.

Will this have any impact on SPIEL'21 in Essen? Yes and no. Yes, because the fair will therefore lack a strong partner with top titles in its portfolio. No, because other publishers have registered, knowing that Asmodee's possible rejection is possible. So there won't be any kind of chain reaction. The registration deadline has passed anyway, and whoever is on the list will probably also be on the international match days in 2021. In any case, big names are also there in the second Corona year - and not too close: Hasbro, the Pokemon Company, Tierra del Fuego, Hutter, Jumbo, Ravensburger, Pegasus, Schmidt or Abacusspiele are also there, as are Lucky Duck Games, Phalanx, Ares, Gravity or Huckle Bear Games. In total, the list contains hundreds of entries, so the exhibition halls in Essen will probably be anything but empty.

You probably have to play "at a distance". Photo: Volkmann

You probably have to play “at a distance”. Photo: Volkmann

Against the background of the current corona situation, it seems likely that the international game days can take place as planned. The state of North Rhine-Westphalia allows larger events from August 27th - at least this is regulated in the currently valid version of the Corona Protection Ordinance, which initially applies until July 8th. The NRW Ministry of Health recently granted this small extension in order to be able to react to the more relaxed pandemic situation with possible further adjustments. There could be answers to two questions in particular: Are there any further easing now? Do you adapt the rules for events in summer early?

The conditions under which SPIEL'21 will take place in Essen is therefore uncertain. The Friedhelm Merz Verlag has not yet looked into the cards as far as the planning is concerned. One thing is certain: the fair will take place under special safety and hygiene measures. The organizers have already reconsidered the measures: “We have submitted an extensive and responsible hygiene concept to the city of Essen,” said Dominique Metzler, head of the Friedhelm Merz Verlag publishing house, via Facebook. She makes it clear: The SPIEL is not the European championship. Rules will have to be followed.

Based on the current recommendations of the Robert Koch Institute, this will at least be the mask requirement and distance regulations. Contact follow-up will also have to be carried out, presumably digitally. In addition, as at other events, one of the so-called “three Gs” - recovered, vaccinated, tested - will have to be presented. As of now, the fair will also have to be offered with a limit on the number of visitors. Some of this could theoretically change as the vaccination campaign advances - in practice, however, caution will probably be exercised. Also because with the beginning of autumn and the onset of the cooler season, the risk of infection with the delta variant increases. That will be the dominant one at this point - there are dangers involved. And thus requires high security measures.

By the way: Friedhelm Merz Verlag wants to present its concept in just under two weeks. By then at the latest, fans will know more about how SPIEL'21 is organized. Until then, the following applies: put on your mask, keep your distance, have it tested - in this way everyone can help ensure that the conditions for a possible trade fair in October are actually in place.


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Last updated on 25.11.2022/XNUMX/XNUMX / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. * = Affiliate links. Images from Amazon PA API