Spiel'21 will take place as a physical event from October 14th to 17th in Essen. After the international game days were relocated to the Internet last year, fans can now stroll through the exhibition halls on site again - assuming negative test evidence, vaccination or recovery. There will also be personalized tickets.

“After a round of skipping, it's back to 'On the boards, get set, go!'”, This is how Friedhelm Merz Verlag, the organizer of SPIEL'21, announces this year's edition of the world's largest trade fair for parlor games. For a long time it was unclear whether and in what format the International Game Days would take place, but now it is clear: SPIEL'21 will be offered as an on-site event at Messe Essen. Due to the relaxed but still dynamic Corona situation, the following applies: Stand now.

Hygiene concept: more space and mandatory registration

After the world's largest trade fair for board games last year took place exclusively digitally, the Essen exhibition halls will open their doors again for board game enthusiasts in October 2021. Many have hoped that this scene highlight - more or less - could take place as usual this year. And in view of the much more relaxed Corona situation, things look good for SPIEL'21. But: Nevertheless, current plans can be viewed with a certain degree of flexibility because the regulations can change. In Essen, the incidence recently climbed to a value of 9,1 - it is not far to the threshold of “incidence level 0”. If this is exceeded on eight consecutive calendar days, the first level applies. The next higher incidence levels would even be reached after three days. The current development shows how important it is to consistently comply with the applicable regulations.

However, according to the NRW Corona Protection Ordinance, only the state incidence is to be used for the implementation of trade fair events. As long as this is below 100 - in NRW then incidence level 3 or lower - trade fair events are possible in consultation with the responsible authorities. According to the ordinance, the following is required: “The number of visitors present at the same time must not exceed one person per seven square meters of the area accessible to them, and for events in closed rooms, a negative test certificate is also required for participants. In addition, a special hygiene and infection protection concept is required, which must include measures in particular to maintain the minimum distance, special infection hygiene through adapted cleaning intervals, sufficient hand disinfection opportunities and information boards on behavior in accordance with infection protection [...] ”. To what extent the incidence value still applies in October is a question that is currently being dealt with by politics and science.

"For decades, board games have enjoyed increasing popularity", underlines the relevance of the Essen game fair at the organizing Friedhelm Merz Verlag. In the last five years in particular, we can speak of a real boom, which reached its peak in the last year, when the German games market grew again by a remarkable 21 percent.

Obviously there are other reasons why it is easier to return to an event in presence earlier than later: “As positive as this development is, the Corona crisis also illustrates how important the SPIEL is for the introduction of national and international innovations that are traditionally presented to a broad public for the first time at the trade fair, ”says Friedhelm Merz Verlag. Communication within the scene was also made significantly more difficult last year by the elimination of the presence fair and so the industry had already at the beginning of the year cherished the “ardent wish” that SPIEL could take place again this autumn.

“We were very pleased about the remarkably high level of popularity and the trust placed in us. Especially because our trade fair planning had to start in spring and our registration deadline was still in the middle of a lockdown. In the meantime, more than 500 exhibitors from 41 nations at SPIEL Registered. Including almost all of the major game publishers. Some exhibitors have even significantly enlarged their areas so that SPIEL will now start in Halls 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and the “Galeria”. Halls 7 and 8 will also be used for admission and other activities, as last in 2019. There are further entrances via Halls 1 and 3 ″, reports publishing director Dominique Metzler.

Even if SPIEL'21 will take place in the usual place, the framework conditions have changed significantly in view of the pandemic crisis situation in the past: In order to be able to implement the applicable corona protection rules well, all aisles were significantly widened in the planning phase, it is said. “All visitors and exhibitors will have to be tested, vaccinated or recovered”, so the reference to the mandatory hygiene requirements. The general hygiene and distance rules will also apply in the halls, including wearing one medical mouth and nose protection heard. Evidence of a negative test should not pose a major organizational problem for non-immunized visitors: According to information from the Essen city administration, there is a rapid test center in which free citizen tests are carried out directly in Rüttenscheid - the “CTG Test Center Grugahalle” is located on site at the exhibition center 2. Further information is available here: www.coronatest-gruga.de.

Even if only the on-site fair can exude the SPIEL spirit for die-hard fans, the organizers are at least partially relying on a hybrid concept. SPIEL'21 is therefore “digitally supported”. Thus the trade fair platform SPIEL.digital goes to last year almost 150.000 individual visitors was able to record, at the start again this year.

Visitors to SPIEL'21 will also have to register with their contact details. For this purpose, personalized tickets are offered, which from August will only be available online at www.spiel-messe.com will be available.


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