Tips for visiting Essen Spiel
I was able to attend my very first Essen convention trip and had an amazing time.
It’s a huge event that can be quite costly and with a lot to do in 4 days so you don’t want to be wasting too much time.
So here are my tips for visiting Essen.
Buy tickets on-line
There were large queues every day for people buying event tickets. Buying them on-line before hand means you skip all these queues and get straight in.
Event tickets are actually the smallest cost of the whole trip so it’s well worth buying a 4 day pass when you can.
Research your Hotel
We stayed at the Ibis Hauptbahnhof which is not only in a great location for travel to and from the event, but at night the restaurant tables are used for gaming.
So, after a day of gaming and walking (endless walking!) it’s nice to get back to the hotel to relax. But getting back to the hotel and sharing it with 30+ other gamers all playing their new games was one of the highlights of the trip.
Also, as the hotel was in a good location we saved a lot of time and money on travel. It was a short walk to the underground which takes you straight to the convention hall.
We paid extra for Breakfast and Wifi access. Having a buffet breakfast was another cost reducer as we ate our fill which lasted us until early afternoon which means we didn’t need to spend on the fairly expensive convention hall food too much.
That being said…
Hit the Supermarket
Once you’re in the hall you’re held hostage by the prices. With water being upwards of £3 a bottle it’s a good idea to go to the Supermarket for a 6 pack.
Note that single bottles will cost more at the checkout compared to the shelf price due to the recycling procedure they have in place with plastic bottles.
It’s also worth taking a snack or two to keep you going.
Form a plan
The details of games on show and floor plans are made available along time in advance. You can start to form a plan of the games you want to play very early if you want.
I, however, quite liked zig-zagging each hall one at a time until we can across something interesting or spotted an empty table. It worked quite well and we got a lot of gaming done the first day we tried that. It also mean’t we didn’t miss anything.
Research the popular
One game sold out in 30 minutes so I missed out on getting it at the event. So if you think a game is going to be THAT popular and they don’t appear to have much stock and you MUST have it, get it ASAP. Having said that…
Remember: You’ll get it eventually
That game you want? You don’t need it now. A lot of games were available retail in the UK the week after Essen so it can wait. The games generally are the same price or more expensive than on-line retail stores at the convention
If it does well at Essen it will be reprinted (and probably upgraded) so you won’t miss out.
Consider skipping the Sunday
It’s a 4 day event and each day is fun packed with gaming. But you may only need 3 and going 1 day less is a HUGE saving.
If you leave late on Saturday you have one less night in the hotel and one days worth of underground tickets which for us would have been 104 Euros. Having said that we did have fun on the Sunday and Saturday nights gaming into the early morning was a lot of fun.
Learn the language (If you want)
Almost everyone in the Town never mind the convention hall speaks some level of English. Learning German isn’t required at all.
But, and this is personal opinion, if you go to a foreign country you should learn the basics. Please, Thank you, Excuse me, Sorry, Where is the…., How much is… etc etc. There are loads of places to learn this.
I was disappointed in myself for not trying harder but I will for next time.
Hope this helps! If you have any tips feel free to comment!