Impressions from the Essener Spieletage 2010 (Spiel 2010)

spiel20101This year the Essener Spieletage – or Spiel 2010 – as it is also called take place from the 21st of October to the 24th. (I just noticed that the official name seems to be “Internationale Spieltage” – we never called it that 🙂 ) It is the largest game convention in the world with over 150.000 visitors and more than 700 exhibitors from more than 30 nations… all of them enthusiastic about board games, card games, tabletop games, roleplaying games, cosims and various gaming related topics. For me visiting the Spiel 2010 is the 23rd year in a row… you might call me a Spieletage Grognard. Here are some impressions…

I usually visit the Spiel in order to look at games and buy rarities and odditites. My interests are strongly roleplaying-oriented (hall 6 is my favourite turf, followed by the marketplace in hall 7) and I love to dig through boxes searching for old treasures. This years was especially fascinating as I got to meet quite a number of interesting personalitites face to face and thus had even more fun.

Usually I reserve two days of my holiday each year in order to visit on thursday and friday, followed by a final day on sunday with my wife. This year specifically thursday was a total blast. I met quite a few wonderful guys in person and had interesting conversations:

  • Rick  Loomis from Flying Buffalo Games is becoming a hallmark of old school gaming in Essen… again he was there sitting at his usual table with the wonderful product suite of Flying Buffalo games. Besides exchanging nice words I bought the reprint of Monsters! Monsters! (inspired by Tunnels & Trolls) from him and also made him sign it – altough he just is the publisher. It was nice to at least be able to procure a reprint of this legendary classic. And congratulations on the 40th anniversar of the company!
  • I finally met in person Moritz Mehlem, german prophet for old school gaming, labyrinth lord evangelist and a pretty busy guy like myself from what he recounted. Most people probably know him for his “Von der Seifenkiste herab” blog. I had completely forgotten that Moritz also is an ADOM fan 😉
  • House of Atreides” – a specialized dealer in 2nd hand RPGs – usually is also a “must visit” for me, despite the somewhat steep prices (sometimes). Usually I find quite a number of treasures there each year for my growing collection. The highlight this year for me was issue 1 of the Strategic Review in almost mint condition that I managed to procure. A nice addition to my collection for a fair price. I also bought a 2300AD boxed set from them as well as Elder Secrets for Runequest, a set of the little black books for Traveller (out of sentimentality and as inspiration for an upcoming SF roleplaying game I have been thinking about for some time now), the 2nd edition of the City State of the Invincible Overlord (again for sentimental reasons – when I started with RPGs I saw it several times in my favourite RPG shop and never was able to afford it) and some other odds and ends. Very nice.
  • A big surprise was to meet an actual roguelike gaming company at Spiel 2010: The guys from are actually present with a stand of their own presenting their game Legerdemain. Since they know ADOM we had quite blast meeting each other 🙂 Visit them in Hall 6, Booth 6-311 and buy their Legerdemain book and CDs!
  • Yet another cool surprise was the presence of Arkenstone Publishing (go, Finland, go!) who represent the Indie RPG scene in Essen. Besides them being ADOM fans (man, what a day 😉 ), they shared the place with another really cool person – James Raggi of Lamentations of the Flame Princess. James IMHO is one of the most brilliant and most creative authors in the old school roleplaying scene and his LotFP release is just incredible. Buy it and shower him with money. His girlfriend (wife?) also was with him and I guess that the gaming community should be eternally grateful for her supporting James so strongly in his endeavours! I bought (yet another) Death Frost Doom adventure from James and got it signed so that it can proudly stand in my collection. It also was very nice to talk to James and I hope that he is very successful with his next plans!
  • I won a couple of Strategy & Tactics magazines for a steal price in an auction run by the GHS – if you like cosims, visit them (again in hall 6 – where else?). I have been a happy member of many years and love their Manöverkritik magazine.

I’m sad to see that Larry Elmore probably now longer will be coming to Essen due to his advanced age as I still hoped to buy a custom original from him. We talked about that two (?) years ago and then I never got a response from him when trying to finalize the deal via E-Mail… *sigh* If you know how to really get into contact with Larry, let me know – I still want that picture done by him 🙂 He had an amazing idea for a new version of one of my favourites and it would be a shame to miss that opportunity…

Besides that I talked to many more people, noticed (once again) how much the autumn holiday takes away the serene atmosphere of former years on thursday and friday (probably good for the exhibitors 😉 ) and how much I enjoy simply walking aroung. The comic action subconvention seemed smaller to me this year and I only picked up very few items (the latest Groo release – yeah!) Tomorrow I will be at Spiel 2010 once more and then it is over once more… *sob*

If you ever get the chance to go there – do it. GEN CON is tiny compared to the Spieletage and there is so much to see, so much to play, a great international audience, great prices and lots of fun to have that every game should do this at least once in a lifetime 😉

Sadly I yet have to find the time to upload the few photos I took… maybe at some point.

One Response to “Impressions from the Essener Spieletage 2010 (Spiel 2010)”

  1. Eero Tuovinen  on November 22nd, 2010

    I just realized that you might have written a convention report on Spiel, too, and came here to thank you for coming by at our Forge booth – I know that it seems strange when strangers come on the way I did at the convention (gushing like an idiotic fanboy, I mean), but I was truly astounted when you sauntered to our booth so randomly. It was a high point of the whole convention for me just for the sudden and unexpected shock – I could have just as easily expected an Elvis sighting insofar as I had stopped to think about who I might meet when I go to sell stuff at Spiel. In fact, now I’m playing Adom after a couple of years’ break just out of the inspiration.