Fair: Spiel ’21 in Essen: That was the first day with an audience

Spiel ’21 is the first major public exhibition in Essen for months. So the start went under Corona conditions.

They open a little earlier on the first day. So that there is not so much jostling at the entrances. It’s not even 10 a.m. and the first tables in the Essen exhibition halls are occupied. “Game 21” has started and half an hour later there is hardly any space left and the first queues form in front of the stands. “Almost as always,” says Oliver (31) from Dortmund.

Nearly. At first glance, it is actually only the masks that make the difference to earlier times. But of course there is a sophisticated safety and hygiene concept. Mouth and nose protection is compulsory in all halls and at the gaming tables, there are dispensers for disinfectants everywhere, and the stands are cleaned and cleaned as soon as the table occupation changes. You should know that there is no box office this year. “Tickets are only available online,” confirms Dominique Metzler, organizer of the fair.

3G rule also applies to children

Otherwise, the 3G rule applies even to children, and they are checked once too much rather than too little when they enter – photo ID included. If you forgot your test, you can do it in front of multi-storey car park 6 for 15 euros. “But”, says one employee in the early afternoon, “so far there has been little going on.”

The visitors find the strict rules “sensible” and “just right”. “When it is not more,” say two women. “We feel safe,” say Dennis (33) and Eva (29) from Düsseldorf. “Especially since we are both vaccinated.” And Peter, who traveled with two friends “completely easy” from the Netherlands, is already feeling “the vibe in the halls” despite masks and controls.

“We had newly developed games on the shelves”

Up to 30,000 visitors per day are allowed in. It is more full than many expected on the first day of the public lunchtime “but not as crowded as usual,” says Jochen Heil, who is presenting 3D puzzles from the Downton Abbey – Harry Potter or Game of Thrones universe at his booth and sold. “The number of visitors is very pleasant,” he says. He cannot complain at all at the moment: “Business has picked up in the Corona months.”

Not just in puzzle games. “Overall, game publishers are among the winners of the corona crisis,” says Dominique Metzler. “The sales of parlor games have increased by 14 percent in the current year” – thanks to online shopping. Nevertheless, all providers are “happy that this trade fair can take place again after a one-year break”. Most of the money was earned in the past 18 months with the classics. “Newly developed games were like lead on the shelves.”

Around 1000 new products are presented in Essen

There are so many of them. Around 1000 new products are presented in the Grugahallen. The offer ranges from the mystery game “Echoes”, in which you can “listen” to playing cards using an app, to the family game “Kipp mir Saures”, in which “candy” is produced in a sophisticated way, to railway construction games such as “Ultimate Railroads” “.

Yes, even Ruhr area games can be seen. In the case of a “shift change”, for example, the players have to make their mine the most successful in the area. It is not only important to organize working hours, but also to keep an eye on the removal of the coal and the processing in the coking plant. Suitable for “2 to 4 buddies”, write the manufacturers and promise not only fun while playing, but also the experience of a piece of “Ruhr area history of the 1950s”. And the crime game “The murder of Wanne-Eickel”, developed by the Herne play center, is about a crime at the Cranger fair in 1961. The victim is – you almost guessed it – a showman.

What you like can usually be bought on site

Testing of the new products is expressly encouraged almost everywhere at the fair. A wish that most visitors are happy to fulfill. “Sometimes the masks make you understand each other a little less, but somehow it works,” said Mareike (27) after the first attempts.

What you like can usually be bought on site again this year. Many people carry large, thick bags with them or have small suitcases crammed full of their new acquisitions. Not enough for Patrick and Simon.

The mid-thirties from Stuttgart traveled five hours and are now pulling a large wagon through the halls, which is already groaning under all the purchases. “We just got warm,” jokes Patrick. “We saved all year for that,” explains Simon. It wasn’t really difficult for the regular guests of the “Spiel”. “Every now and then,” he says, “we also bought something online in the Corona times.” Patrick nods: “But you just have to touch a lot of games before you buy them. So it’s good that the fair is back. “

If you want to visit the fair in Essen, you can buy the tickets only online at www.spiel-messe.com.

Open until Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The day pass for adults costs 20 euros, children from 4 to 12 years pay 11.50 euros

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