The second edition of the game fair “Spiel noch!” Has been running in the Duisburg-Nord landscape park since today. The Nostheide publishing house, actually the publisher of various specialist and consumer magazines in the family and toys sector, is organizing the still young game event until March 31, 2019. There are many well-known publishers as exhibitors, but also dealers.

Time for board games

From fun children's games to complex board games for adults, the “Spiel noch!” to offer in Duisburg in 2019 everything that the market has to offer in terms of different game concepts: only one size smaller than at a “real” trade fair.

The new Duisburg event for board games is positioned between the trade fair and the oversized game meeting: family-friendly, clear, but above all inexpensive. Children under ten years of age enjoy free entry anyway, otherwise a day ticket costs four euros. You can play to your heart's content for a day. Numerous well-known publishers, including KOSMOS, Asmodee Germany, Amigo Spiele, Hans im Glück or Pegasus Spiele, have set up play areas in the former steel processing hall in the North Landscape Park. At the supervised gaming tables, so-called “explainers” ensure that even beginners without prior knowledge can start playing the selected game after a few minutes.

Overview instead of crowds: Photo: André Volkmann
Overview instead of crowds: Photo: André Volkmann

Visitors are already familiar with this tried-and-tested concept from events with a similar focus on the “Spiel noch!” However, it works particularly well - not least because of the clear visitor numbers, at least on Friday. Significantly more traffic can be expected on Saturday and Sunday. In addition to the offers directly from the publishers, players can also try out titles in the middle of the hall while borrowing games. Shops should not be missing, after all, games that have been approved are often found in your own collection after a test run.

Board games are booming - but different

Board games continue to enjoy great popularity. The number of players is increasing, as are the trade fair visitors - and the sales of the publishers are also set to grow. Still, the trend seems to be changing. Instead of skyrocketing numbers, more recent statistics point to flatter growth. The scene is changing, also because players have different demands on board games.

One publisher that can make particularly good statements about its community is “rudy Games”. The game developers from Austria can accurately analyze the activities of their players: this is made possible by the focus on app-supported board games such as “Leaders - A combined Games”, “Scubi Sea Saga” or “Lost Galaxy”. The technical progress, which is marginally noticeable in the segment of parlor games, can be read off well using the creations of “rudy Games”.

Manfred Lamplmair from rudy-Games would like to see children in particular "use smartphones sensibly". Photo: André Volkmann
Manfred Lamplmair from rudy-Games would like to see children in particular “use smartphones sensibly”. Photo: André Volkmann

However, gaming behavior has changed: instead of times of boom, app-based board games sometimes experience times of stagnation. Few parents buy board games that use apps without any reservations. “Children already play so much on their smartphones,” says Manfred Lamplmair, explaining one of the prevailing parental opinions. So why should children also use board game apps? “We want to show that you can also spend time on your mobile phone sensibly with app games,” says Lamplmair, referring to the qualities of the innovative board games. Titles like “Interaction” are anything but static play in front of the screen: the colorful family game relies on an immensely stimulating character, which not infrequently encourages movement and interaction. Manfred Lamplmair also sees potential in the field of edutainment in the app board games.

Last but not least, the number of players in the active community of the “rudy games family” proves that the Austrians' concepts are working. Having cracked the 100.000 player mark was a milestone, and “rudy-Games” now serves around 300.000 game-loving users. With healthy growth in mind, the Austrians dare to step across the pond. The small company wants to position itself much more internationally. The focus is not on the assembly line production of new titles: “We want to keep improving our games,” explains Manfred Lamplmair. Some of the ideas come directly from the players and it is not uncommon for their imagined improvements to be implemented. This is also the case with the newly released “DDR” expansion for the Leaders board game. The fact that Erich Honnecker of all people can improve troop resources with his planned economy comes from the Leaders Community.

Like hardly any other game manufacturer, “rudy Games” can respond to requests and suggestions in a targeted manner: the apps in particular make this possible. Orientate game content to age, preferences or physical requirements? Hardly a problem for the Austrians, because the flexibility in the programmability of app board games allows exactly that.

Also suitable for frequent players

The "play it!" in Duisburg is not just a family event, even if there are many child-friendly offers among the available board games. Frequent gamers will also find incentives in the landscape park to spend their time there: from worker placement to roll-and-write, there are many entertaining concepts on and on the gaming tables. Sometimes publishers present real innovations at the small game fair: White Goblin Games has a prototype in its luggage, the final version of which will only be available at the upcoming SPIEL'19 - real fans can “Maya”, the title of the sneak preview, examine in the early version. Asmodee presents a new miniature offshoot from the Lord of the Rings universe, invites you to a round of “Maki Stack”, but also inspires players with proven titles such as Splendor or Keyforge.

>> Play it! 2019: Here go to the picture gallery <

The playful offerings of the exhibitors are convincing, not least because for ten euros - that's how much a season ticket costs for every day - you can hardly try out new board games to your heart's content for less. The titles “Flügelschlag” by Tierra del Fuego games and “Hadara” by Hans im Glück undoubtedly developed a particular attraction for frequent players. Far less strategic, but no less entertaining, is “Calavera”, a new roll-and-write game from moses.Verlag.

The "play it!" runs until March 31st. Visitors can attend the event on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 19 p.m. and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 18 p.m.