The SPIEL in Essen ended on Sunday evening. After I was there for the first time last year, this year it was much more (game) intensive. Right after last year's visit I decided that in 2022 I would also like to explain games. You can read here how it went from there.

With almost 2022 visitors, Spiel 150.000 was a "complete success". I was even able to look after some of these visitors personally this year. After SPIEL 2021, I started planning how I could work at the games fair in 2022.

After the GAME is before the GAME

The decision to work at SPIEL this year was made very early on. This plan then became really relevant in December 2021 when, on a cold winter's day at work, an email with the subject "Vacation planning 2022" popped up. Take a quick look: When is SPIEL 2022 again? If I want to work there, I should also take the Wednesday before and maybe a day or two after that off.

In the end it was a two-week vacation with SPIEL in the middle. Then it was just a matter of waiting. In 2021 I had already come across the job exchange on the SPIEL website and now only the first job offers for 2022 had to be entered there.

HeidelBÄR is looking for 

It all started in mid-June and the first publishers put their applications online. At the end of June, the HeidelBÄR ad went online. In addition to “Declaration Bears” for their own stand, they also looked for others that could support Czech Games Edition (CGE) and Horrible Guild. Many formal requirements were not made of the "application". The mail went out to Michael Kränzle from HeidelBÄR with a short cover letter and a list of his personal top 3 games, which he spontaneously created at the time.

A week later I was given the opportunity to work at SPIEL. The plan was to volunteer at CGE. 

Contact with CGE

The application deadline was August 31.08st. At the beginning of September, direct contact was made with CGE via Michael. In the meantime, the two "big" innovations from CGE had also been announced: Starship Captains and Deal with the Devil. Both games sounded very interesting and the anticipation of the fair grew with each passing day.

The first contact with CGE was about the t-shirts we were supposed to wear at the show. Choosing the right size was one of the easiest tasks in preparing for the trade fair. In mid-September came the first rough overview with important information about the general process: Wednesday to get to know everything and finish setting up, Thursday to Sunday the everyday trade fair routine and on Sunday also dismantling and a joint dinner at the end.

CGE have the advantage that they produce their games in the Czech Republic and were able to work on the rules until shortly before the start of the fair. At the end of September there was finally the mail with the rules for the two new products. To make learning a little easier, there were also rules videos and "how to demo" videos for both games, as only abridged games would be played at the fair.

Regular studies and final preparations

After the first impressions of the games, seemed Starship Captains to be significantly more accessible than Deal with the Devil. Somewhat surprising, then, was the fact that the rules booklet for the first game was longer than that of the other. After the first reading, however, it quickly became clear that the first impression was correct. Starship Captains is the “simpler” of the two games. In order to be even better prepared for this game, CGE also offered an online date for playing. In this game I was already very sure about the rules before the fair started.

It was a little different with me Deal with the Devil. The Eurogame contains a secret trading phase and especially the course of the inquisition phase at the end of the third round just didn't really open up to me. But to get straight to the point: In the end, I have unfounded worries.

On the Friday before SPIEL I went on vacation for a few days over the long weekend, from which I drove directly to the trade fair on Wednesday. During the trip there were videos with the rules and demo tips from time to time to keep all the knowledge available.

How I fared at the fair is then in Part II of my explaining bear diary.

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