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? :)