Well, it’s that time of year again – time to look towards this year’s SPIEL fair in Essen. The timing feels a little bit early this year, as the fair is more towards the middle of October instead of the end (when I’m used to it happening).
With just over a month to go until the fair, it’s time for us here at the Opinionated Gamers to start preparing for the greatest boardgame show on Earth. Over the past few years, we’ve been transitioning (well, I’ve been transitioning) how I try to preview the show. When I started doing this about 10 years ago, I tried to take a look at as many different companies as I could and talk about as many games as I could in that time. When I started, I felt like I was making a good longitundinal look at the show – covering about 2/3 of the major releases.
However, as the SPIEL fair has grown, it’s hard to get a good grab of the entire thing! According to the press release from Friedhelm Merz Verlag, the organizers of the show, this year the show is bigger than ever. Currently, they are expecting 800 exhibitors coming from 41 different countries. Based on their initial count, there will be over 850 new releases at the show. As you can see – there’s just no way to try to be comprehensive in covering that.
The other reason why I can’t do that any more is simply because it makes no sense to try to compete with the industry standard (written by fellow OG contributor, W. Eric Martin, on Boardgamegeek.com). As far as I’m concerned, there is no better resource than the BGG Essen Preview, and from hereon, I will refer to it as TWWLIBGCC (The Worldwide Leader in BoardGame Convention Coverage)*
This also makes WEM = TWWWTWWLIBGCC (The Writer Who Writes The Worldwide Leader in BoardGame Convention Coverage)
Anyways, silly acronyms aside – that’s not to say that the Opinionated Gamers are not going to be covering Essen. There are still plenty of things that we’re going to talk about – starting this week, actually tomorrow and Tuesday, we’re having a few previews from some good friends of the blog. As news about other games come about, I’ll be sure to write them up here. But, I’d expect more pieces that actually preview specific games rather than lists of the Top 10 Korean games I’m looking forward to or the 5 best Deckbuilders coming at SPIEL ’14.
The other change to our preview coverage stems from the overall change in the gaming release schedule. Many publishers are now using GenCon as an opportunity to release games here in the US, and these games will make their debut in Europe in Essen in a month’s time.
Many of these games were in short supply at GenCon, so they’re still not readily available now (King of New York, Dice Masters, etc) – so writing reviews of these games actually serves a pretty good preview of the Essen release. (Anyways, in the fall, over 35% of our web visits come from Europe, so for at least that portion of the readership, it’s a true preview.
It’s the most exciting time of the year – boardgame-wise – and I can’t wait to get on that plane and get back to Essen. In the month between now and then, I’ll be reading a lot of game rules and writing up games here. Since you’re coming to this blog and reading along, I know that you must share that same excitement. Keep your eyes on the blog for news and reviews of the new games.
Until your next appointment,
The Gaming Doctor
*The link to TWWLIBGCC is: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/170756/spiel-2014-preview