Internationale Spieltage held every year in Essen, Germany is a game fair like no other. A four day event at the end of October, it has become something of a pilgrimage for us board game fanatics. As this years event boasts 80,000 square meters of exhibition halls, it can daunting just thinking about getting around the show in one piece. We’ve scoured the internet to bring you some tips for getting the best out of the Essen, from the board game convention professionals!

“DON’T PANIC!” is the first thing that Gaming Rules host Paul Grogan tells us. His top suggestion for making sure you get to play the games you want to see at the event is to wait your turn.  “If the tables are full, you need to wait. Don’t just keep coming back, they will always be full, you just have to wait until a table comes free.”

Efka Bladukas, half of the reviewing duo at No Pun Included offers a suggestion to counterpoint all that waiting in line. “Go outside. Essen is like a casino with the atmosphere of an autobahn. It’s easy to get lost and hard to break away. But you need to break away. Go outside, often, and you will feel great!”

While Zee Garcia from The Dice Tower suggests that going with the flow might not be the optimal approach. “Try to fall out of sync with other attendees so that lunch and bathroom breaks are not as crowded/difficult.”

Richard Denning Director of UKGE spoke to us about how one of the big differences between UK board game events and Essen. “There is NO open gaming space (or at least none free) so check out any gaming space in the hotel you are staying in.”

And from our visit last year, our advice would be to not be afraid to head back to your hotel (if it’s close) and drop games off. If you haven’t been able to get into a hotel then hopefully you’ve found a good AirBnB! And book your hotel for next year as you leave Essen this year!

So, let’s not panic, plan out what we’re prepared to wait in line for, be ready to eat late, and check out our hotels to game in, and get ready for Essen!

This is a guest article, written by Mille Lavelle for Board Game Crate

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