This is my report of the new board games I saw at the 2002 Spiel games fair. There's quite a lot in this article, so you can use an index to find the bits you want. Or just read it as a narrative (there's a printable version too).
If it's October, it must be Essen. Spiel '02 took place at the Essen Messe (Exhibition halls) on 17th-20th October and, as usual, featured an awful lot of new games. I attended for three days: enough time to play just a small fraction of the games. I look forward to trying a lot more over the next few weeks - and will add more material in here as I do so. So here are my notes on the new games and what was going on at the show.
It is part of the appeal of Spiel that most companies retain the same stands from year to year, so you always know where to find them. This year it was quite noticeable on first entering the halls that there were several new names on show: Kidult Game, Globopolis and Vivendi, for example. The last of these had a huge area in the main halls for computer games - the first time computer games have had such prominence. The re-organisation also extended to shifting the Comic Action part of the show into Hall 8, with the flea market of secondhand stalls brought into Hall 9. Hall 6 remained the preserve of the role-players and CCG enthusiasts, while Hall 4 had all the children's play area - bouncy castles galore!
It is very difficult to capture the scale of Spiel for those who haven't attended. This time, I've tried a couple of panoramas - using a feature of my nice new digital camera. The first (above) shows the view from the steps at one end of Hall 11: this shows the special Alex Randolph exhibition on the left, the Ravensburger stand in the middle and the white block is the top of the organisers' (Friedhelm Merz Verlag) offices. Ravensburger has one of the largest stands at the show, but Amigo now have twice the space - they do, after all, produce the German editions of Wizards of the Coast products (i.e. Magic: the Gathering, D&D etc).
The second picture (above) is of Hall 4, just after closing time, with a deflated bouncy castle in the foreground. The apparatus on the background is harnesses suspended on bungees for kids to bounce around on. Between them, these two photos show about a fifth of the area taken up by the show.
I mentioned the Alex Randolph exhibition above. This was a special show to honour the veteran games designer in his eightieth year. In the last 40 years, Randolph has been responsible for over 100 games: from TwixT in 1962 to Die Grosse Rüsselbande and Zirkusferkel in 2002. A range that includes lots of classics and favourites. I'd pick out Code 777, Die Heisse Schlacht am kalten Buffet, Hol's de Geier, Inkognito, Rasende Roboter (or Ricochet Robots in English), TwixT and Würmeln. It was great to see this recognition being given to a games designer.
But on to the games. To give some sort of structure, I'll run through this in alphabetical order of publisher. Each game that I've played will be given a score out of 10, according to what I think of it. Note that these scores are deeply subjective!
Page created 23rd November 2002. Last modified 24th June 2005.
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