Essen SPIEL ’15: Preparations

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Essen SPIEL is like Christmas when I was a child, except better. I get to try out the presents, and the ones I like I can just buy right there. It’s one of the few things about being an adult that’s awesome.

What is Essen SPIEL?

It is one of the biggest (if not the biggest) board game fair in the world. It’s 4 days of pure gaming madness with over 600 new releases. Not only can you get to play the shiny new games, you can also get to talk to the designers and artists, and get your games signed. Even from the first day Essen is buzzing with people from all over the world, and after walking around an entire day and playing countless games you are so exhausted that you can barely manage to drag yourself home to your hotel, where you will play even more board games…Essen SPIEL 2015

And the next day you get to do it all again, for 4 days in total. It is, for lack of a better word, glorious 🙂

To prepare for this special time of the year I have created my own little (and silly) system: The 3 P’s.

The 3 P’s

  • Prepare
  • Preorder
  • Pack


The preparation for Essen SPIEL is a big thing. I will not bore you with the commonsense things such as booking hotels and flights. I’ll talk about the important things, the main attractions of the show, the boardgames 🙂

BoardGameGeek hosts the most complete and up-to-date list of game releases at Essen. It can however become a daunting task to look through and check for updates (with its 27+ pages of games and comments). Luckily boardgamers are a resourceful people, and one of them created a much better tool called Essen Geek, that helps you sort the games you are interested in from the above list. It can also be used to print out lists of the stuff you want to look at, and those lists are very useful at the fair.


Most of the popular games won’t be sold out until late Friday or Saturday, but I still recommend preordering the games you really, really want. If nothing else just to have peace of mind. That way you don’t need to run around to get all the games you want on the first day, you can just relax and play lots of games.

HeStrongholdre’s what I have preorder so far:

…and this list might grow a little before I hit Germany 🙂


Before you start packing make sure to check the limitations on weight (and size) of luggage set by your airline. Bring as many bags as you can, so you have more room for games.

I won’t go into details about packing the mundane stuff like clothes (I assume you’ll do this, and it makes for good board game protection). So I’ve chosen to make a list of the more specialized items that I’m packing for my trip. They might not all be strictly needed, but better to come prepared:

  • Printed list of games you preordered or just want to try
  • Bubble-wrap (to protect your games)
  • Suitcase scale (for making sure your luggage won’t be too heavy)
  • Sleeves for cards (you want to protect the promos you get)
  • A small box for promos
  • Rubber bands
  • Small zip bags for game components (because some games comes without them)

Would you like to know more?

Check out BoardGameGeek’s Spiel 2015 Preview list here:

The Essen Geek tool that’s based on the list makes everything more manageable:


Follow Peter H. Møller:

Tabletop Together and dachshund owner, sci-fi geek, trekkie and whovian. Lover of medium length, thematic, silly (in the good way), worker placement style games. A sucker for beautiful art. Generally just a big lovable teddy bear.

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7 Responses

  1. Peter

    Great list! I like to bring a map or floor plan of all the halls with me too. That way I know were to find the right booth without searching too much.

  2. Ilja

    Based on different reviews Rattle, battle, grab the loot isn’t good enough to pay that much money. Exoplanets seems interesting as an idea… But as an idea at most 🙂 I think also that Dice City will be forgotten after Essen. But this is my opinion on the games…

    • Peter H. Møller

      Your opinion is appreciated, always nice to hear other peoples thoughts.
      I think Rattle, Battle, Grab the Loot will be a blast to play, silly yes, but a blast. That’s why I have to get it 🙂
      I backed Exoplanets on Kickstarter, really think is shows a lot of promise.
      Dice City is because my wife loves dice rolling games like this, and it does seem pretty solid, and with a great art style.

      • Ilja

        Why not 🙂 Let’s hope you will like them all. Give me your opinion after you have played them

        • Peter H. Møller

          Don’t worry I will. My plan is to review as many of the games I get as possible 🙂

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