Corvus' Miniatures

Painted sf & fantasy miniatures by Gerrie Schenck

Spiel 2009 event coverage

Last Sunday I visited Spiel in Essen, Germany for the first time. And it was a lot bigger than I expected! The event takes 4 days and attracts more than 150.000 people. Several large halls were filled with companies presenting their games, stores selling stuff at amazing prizes and a large number of clubs and organizations.

About 70% of the games were boardgames. The rest was made up out of puzzles, toys, roleplaying, comics and the usual mix of cardgames. There were only a few miniature companies there, and with Games Workshop not being at the show a big player was missing.

I took a bunch of pictures, but tried to focus on everything miniature-related, which was quite easy. So here's a quick tour.

First up was Dungeon Twister Prison. Actually this is the second edition of the game by Asmodée Editions with refurbished rules, new characters and even rules to play the game without an opponent. Now the interesting part for us miniature enthusiasts is this: all the miniatures you need are contained in the box. This means 5 figures for each player. The original Dungeon Twister (of which I happen to own a copy) didn't have miniatures: the characters were represented by cardboard . Now there was the option to buy a box of the figures (the first edition had 8 characters) seperately, manufactured by Fenryll, but this was rather expensive and then both players had the same miniatures. Looks like these figures were very popular so Asmodée decided to box them up together with the full game. The original also had confusing rules, so I hope they cleared them up also. There was a tiny display of the studio painted characters at their booth, and they looked totally sweet!

Next was the surpsingly large booth of Ziterdes, the German terrain maker. They had two big displays, one displaying a castle, the other featuring their Dunkelstadt (Dark City) terrain set which basically allows you to create a huge dungeon system for your games. There were also terrain making workshops.

Most of you probably remember Rackham, right? For those who don't: this French miniature manufacturer decided to swap their range of masterfully sculpted metal figures for pre painted plastic rubbish. I exactly found one store selling the old Rackham stuff: some old blisters in a discount bin, right next to a huge pile of Cadwallon rulebooks which were offered at (get ready) .... 1 euro! A bit further another shop was selling AT-43 and also giving demos, but it seems the public has lost its interest in Rackham...

Also present at Spiel: Arcane Legions. I don't know much about this game and to be honest I'm not really interested in it. But here are some pictures from their booth.

The booth which amazed me the most was probably the one of Micro Art Studios. For some reason I always thought this company was just made up out of some guys casting resin bases in their garage and selling them online to finance the hobby. Maybe they started that way, but right now they're a big miniature manufacturer, still best known for their beautifully sculpted bases of course. Besides the bases they have a bunch of miniatures, including the Discworld line. Their booth was big and bright, with large plexi-glass displays. Great stuff!

I also met fellow miniature painter Dirk Stiller. He was sitting at the Alkemy booth, painting some of their figures.

Alkemy themselves were giving demos right next to the display cabinets which featured their awesome studio miniatures.

After painting their Elves, I was really looking forward to seeing the Mantic Games booth. They had a nice big army on display, as well as some painted three-ups. One of those big figures was a skeleton, probably one of their upcoming army: undead. I wanted to have a chat with Ronnie Renton, but he was busy, too bad. The booth was shared with the sister companies Army painter and Warlord Games.

Last up: Freebooter. At smaller events they're always the eye-catcher, but on an event the scale of Spiel their booth is too simple and it got lost between the bigger manufacturers. Painter Stefanie Arndt was also there, so I had a short chat with her too.

Well that's it for this report. If you want more be sure to follow my blog because Crisis in Antwerp is due in less than two weeks! I hope to meet some of you there, and if you can't make it then maybe Spiel 2010? :)


André said... @ October 30, 2009 at 11:14 AM

What you wrote about Rackham is utterly wrong.

The Dutch were selling everything at a very low discount at their booth (FoW, Warmachine, Monpoc, etc.).

And posting pictures of AT-43, showing the shop-booth being well visited and demos given all over the place is quite strange. O do know the shop-owner quite well, and they had to get extra people to serve all customers that wanted to buy AT-43 and even some Confrontation.

I can only assume that for some personal reasons you post such unfounded things.

Luka said... @ October 30, 2009 at 11:42 AM

Any chance at all of finding out what was the name of the store selling Cadwallon books for 1€ a piece?
Thank you very much,

Corvus said... @ October 30, 2009 at 1:36 PM

@Luka: no sorry, I don't remember.

@André: hmm yeah I'm still a bit mad at Rackham for dropping their classic line. You're right about that store: they did great business selling AT-43 boxes. But let's face it: a couple of years ago every gaming store had a wall full of Confrontation blisters and boxes. But with AT-43 this isn't the case, at least not in Belgium. And I also think there weren't that many stores selling AT-43 at Essen too.

I don't want to offend anyone with my posts, it's just my personal opinion on things. Thanks for reading anyway.

Stephan Reber said... @ October 30, 2009 at 1:52 PM

A couple of years ago, every gaming store had a wall full of Confrontation blisters and boxes? Not in Switzerland and today we have to order everything in Webshops.
Also, there weren't that many stores selling TTGs at Essen this year.

But thank you for the report!

kahlong said... @ October 30, 2009 at 3:59 PM

Great coverage, hope to go to essen next year!
And hope to see you at Crisis next week!
Fab Rtbf

Luka said... @ October 30, 2009 at 10:21 PM

@ André; would you happen to know about the store in question? Thanks ...

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