All Things You Need To Do Before you go to Essen Spiel 2017.

Grab your markers & your pencils and slay this beast!

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With the biggest board game convention of the year around the corner, everybody is eagerly making their battle plans to conquer those massive halls. This endeavor may seem daunting, and I agree it is nothing less than what it is, but with some effort upfront it gets a whole lot easier (and less stressful!) to overcome that massive crowds, be more efficient and enjoy your visit more.

So what are some tools and tips we can share?

Most of you will be looking for an oversight of what games that are releasing? Or maybe which games are on the hotness lists? And what do they cost? Are freebies & promo’s offered? If pre-orders are available and so yes, where do I do them? And which publisher have which game available at Essen? At least those are some questions we ourselves are always on our mind the days before Essen.

But don’t be scared, we’ve got your back and hope to give you some tools to beat all those burning desires. With a little effort and some awesome tools at your disposal,  you will get your answers most likely within a few

Games & Promo’s

Tabletop Together’s Tool. 

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Brought to you by the Peter Hoffgaard Møller, which we had the pleasure to meet last year’s Essen. He found a problem and gave us a tool to slam that problem shut.

What does the tool do?
It helps prioritize the games releasing and demoing at the big convention.

What can you do with the tool?
*Prioritize all the new games releasing (and demoing) at the convention
*Add notes to the games
*Filter and sort the list of games in numerous ways (player count, play time, price etc.)
*Print your prioritized list (either sorted by booth number or priority)
*Share the list with your friends
*View top games (based on all users priorities)

Boardgamegeek’s GeekPreview 

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The Geek came with a likewise solution as Tabletop Together and gives you a lot of integration with their own board game Geek wish list and mind-boggling database of games they have going there.

What does the tool do?
It helps you also prioritize the games also releasing and demoing at the big convention and makes it integrate it with your wish lists priorities.

What can you do with the tool?
*Prioritize all the new games releasing (and demoing) at the convention but fewer categories
*Add notes to the games
*Filter and sort the list of games in numerous ways (thumbs, publisher, mechanisms, designer, etc.)
*Print your prioritized list (either sorted by booth number or priority)
*Share the list with your friends

Pre-orders

This one is tricky we think and very dependent on how bad you need a game and have bigger security you can grab the game. Sometimes you do get a better pre-order price and some extra goodies. On the above sites, there are links included to the publishers where you can make preorders. Or you can go to your favorite publishers and scan their websites. Subscribe to their newsletter and they will even bring that information down to your doorstep. Here’s another nice geek list where they bundled up some links for your convenience.

And don’t forget, you also can pre-order the Messe tickets on the official website.

Promo’s

So if you fancy those swanky extra’s, this geek list is an essential need to plot out where you will need to go to get those shiny things. Essen Spiel 2017 has a lot of specials, freebies, promos and other giveaways and those are all noted and can be included in your hall plans.

Logistics & Plans

And if nothing above fancy’s your needs, or you just want to wing it, this one will be the one you will NEED. It’s a little like a life hack. Think of it as Gandalf given Frodo the straight line to Mordor, Or Jon Snow who gets all the answers to the things he never knows or the solution to a maze beforehand.

The must-have Hall Plans including the publishers. Be in awe! But after the appreciation fades, fire up that printer and make some printouts (yes kids, don’t do everything digital) so we can start marking your priority visits. In other words, include all your times, games and planned stuff here so you can create your own path.

Eline Jansens making her plans
See an example by the amazing Belgian gamer Eline Jansens from Table Top together.

 

Parking & Stay

So depending on where you are staying and how you arranged your transport, this can be a stress point too if you are sensitive to it. Last year we arrived on Friday morning and we had to wait in huge traffic jams. So try to pack your breakfast and be there early. Another tip is carpooling. If you have game friends around, ride together. There is a lot of parking space, but some areas maybe be a little walk from the Messe. Especially when you are hauling games, think about that part too. The public transport is quite well-arranged, but that can be very busy if you go the obvious hours.

Staying, if you still need to arrange a Hotel now, well good luck with that. Maybe one of the surrounding villages is an option still, which isn’t even a bad thing if you consider the costs. Staying in the centre of Essen or near the Messe has huge advantages, but also a high price. You do get a lot of gamers surrounding you, so finding after fair gaming is easy. Another great option is renting a condo with a larger group. So you have shared costs and there are a lot of gamers around.

Other suggestions

So now for the latter part, you now know what you want, where the games & publishers are and you have a map where you can tie it all together.

Grab a pencil and a marker and start imagining how you will go through the halls and where you want to be for demo’s, tournaments or where to pick up your pre-orders. Try to bundle those together on time and place where you are in which hall. Because you don’t want to cross all those halls too many times and lose too much precious time.

If you really want to grab that possible last copy of Photosynthesis or Caledonia? Make sure you are on time and at the front soon. Like a funnel you will be led inside, so you will need to think where you are positioned in the crowd to maximize your advantage. But be considerate and give each other space.

So when going to battle you need food, right? Bring your own saves time and money or eat when others aren’t eating. People have habits and lunchtime is one of them. You do have some delicious places to eat at the Galleria, but they can be very busy.

Picking up games is fun, hauling them not so much. So why not return them to the car? Or to the hotel? You have some fresh air, which is really nice after those stuffy halls, and you have time to relax for a moment or even grab a sandwich for some refueling.

Don’t be that person.

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FOMO it’s a real thing, people. Google it. Especially within our own minds, this can trip you up. I can guarantee you if you want to do it all, that isn’t going to happen. Essen is just too big, there is too much going on and even if you are going the full monty (so 4 days) it’s not happening without being all stressed out. Keep in mind there always be that one game you didn’t buy, which will be so cool. Or that you wanted to meet Vlaada, Uwe or Ignacy, (bring him cookies though!) but you just keep missing them? Just focus on what does happen and enjoy that fully. Also if you see a good deal, which you think is great, decide then and there if you want to make it. Going back can be a hassle (where was that already?) or the deal is gone altogether.

Another thing I hope you all will keep in mind. Mind the people around you, connect with those people. Don’t just be the stoic who slams those pathways and forgets to look up and ENJOY all those awesome people around you. Maybe even help others around you if you see them struggling with the grandeur Spiel can be. My first-day last year I was flabbergasted for all morning. I think I did walk around like a lost zombie…

No, all those big shoppers or crates people are dragging around, aren’t all that convenient for busy pathways. But most people are very considered and if we all keep each other a little at bay, we all should be okay. A little hack, those Ikea bags are very handy for some game mulling but aren’t very comfortable due to the short handle. If you cut off those on both sides on one side and tie them together, you can swing them across your back and keep the weight better distributed for longer. (tip from on bordspelmania)

Some parting words

These are just some of the possible thing you can do and we would love to hear your tips & tricks on tackling a massive event like this

And lastly, and maybe this is not the most popular advice, do a reality check on the prices and availability with your (online) FLGS. As much as we love to bring all the games home from Essen, sometimes a little more restraint in impulse acquisitions may save you a few bucks (and a sore back) and get you the same game. Spreading the cash flow all over the board game industry is a good thing in our experiences and who doesn’t like to save some money right?

But most of all, just enjoy the whole spectacle and being among like-minded human beings. Connect to them, have fun with them because the real value in all of this is the PEOPLE!

 

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