As described in Part I, the preparations for the games fair went off without a hitch. With a lot of knowledge about the new games and even more anticipation in our luggage, we went straight to the exhibition halls in Essen from our vacation on the Baltic Sea on Wednesday. You can find out what happened here.

Anyone who doesn't yet know what it's like for an explainer bear to the trade fair should definitely do so Part I of the Explaining Bear Diary read.

Wednesday, October 5th and the alarm clock rings earlier than it should actually be on vacation. He still didn't wake me up because I couldn't wait the night before to finally make my way to Essen. Have a quick breakfast, pack everything up and head south.

The arrival in the hall

Five and a half hours and 500 km later I park the car around 14 p.m. and go to gate 4, which is directly adjacent to hall 1. After a corona test, we go into the hall. 
Here is the first positive surprise. Contrary to what was announced, we game explainers don't have to set up anything anymore, but can sit down directly at the tables and touch the two innovations directly.

To arrive, I first sit down at a table where Starship Captains is constructed. After a first game with two Czech game explainers and another German, I am sure that this game will not cause any problems, at least in terms of my knowledge of the rules.

It still looks different Deal with the Devil out. There are still a few processes that I simply have to "touch". Since it can only be played with exactly four people and the time until the planned check-in at my accommodation is getting closer, I decide to simply sit down at a running table.

After one and a half laps as an observer, many of the last little ambiguities have been resolved and with a very good feeling we are now heading towards accommodation.

The visitors come

On Thursday I'm up again before the alarm clock and punctually at half past eight I'm back at the CGE booth. Today the hustle and bustle is much busier than the day before. All the games have to be set up on the 20 or so tables, and even before the official opening of the trade fair, the first people come to the stand to secure games and seats at the demo tables.

In the first three hours stands for me Starship Captains on the table. I feel comfortable in the role relatively quickly and after two and a half demo laps my first shift is already over. The condition of my voice is already causing me a bit of concern, but thanks to the many tips given in the run-up to the trade fair, there is always a large pot of tea and lots of throat drops in the luggage.

During my first break, I throw myself straight into the hustle and bustle of the trade fair. Nothing stands in the way of the first purchases at the fair. I can already secure the titles I have made. After that, it's back to the CGE stand, satisfied and packed with games.

In the afternoon is then for me Deal with the Devil on the plan. Luckily I also take over a new group with the table. With the knowledge that I definitely know more about the game than the four players, it starts. Since I worried about the rules more than I had to, the game runs very well to my satisfaction. Only at the end of the inquisition phase do I need a bit of help from the overview cards during the first few games. 

end of the first day

At 19 p.m. the first day of the fair is over. After the games have been dismantled, there is also a real opportunity to meet some of the other explainer bears for the first time, since there was little time in the morning and not everyone was there at the same time on Wednesday. Every level of experience is available, from people with many years of experience in the trade fair business to first-time visitors to SPIEL. I already had some with the online test game of Starship Captains had contact.

Thanks to the love of board games that unites us all, there was a topic of conversation in our group and of course the experiences of the first day were also discussed. In general, the atmosphere in the group (not only in the German-speaking part) was excellent every day.

The fair goes on

Friday and Saturday are very similar in structure. On both days, I keep going back to the world of Deal with the Devil. On both days there is a one-hour break after two hours of work in the morning and a two-hour break in the afternoon after a further three hours of demo games before a final hour at the CGE stand. 

In the morning I just roam through the halls and let the many nice games work on me and also collect a few games that have been waiting for me. In the afternoon there is enough time to play one or the other "bigger" game. 

My two most important companions were always at the table every day. The big pot of tea and a not so big amount of sweets. If I thought after the first few hours on Thursday that my voice would be gone by the evening at the latest, these two aids were a great help in preventing any significant hoarseness by Sunday evening. 

On Friday evening there was also a joint dinner organized by HeidelBÄR in a restaurant near the exhibition center with many of the helpers from CGE, HeidelBÄR and Horrible Guild. Here, too, the wonderful group feeling could only be strengthened and it was a very comfortable evening.

clean up and eat

On Sunday, the fair closes an hour earlier. But until we get through the last day and our voices can get a more than well-deserved break, there's one last six hours of game explanations. As in the last two days, I'll start with you Deal with the Devil  

At the end there is one more at my last two tables Starship Captains, so that my active contribution to the fair ends the way it began. You can tell throughout the day that it's a bit emptier than on the other days. Of course, that doesn't detract from the atmosphere.

After the last demo game is over, the game materials are counted and put back in their boxes. A large part of the stand was dismantled in less than three hours and stowed back in the CGE vehicles, with which the materials set off on their way home the next day. 

But that's not all over. At the end, the entire CGE team goes out to eat together. There is also a lot to talk about here and the last day in Essen is over much too early. 

Next year again

On Monday I can happily look back on really eventful, fun but also exhausting days at the trade fair in Essen. It has already been decided today that I will be working at the trade fair again next year.

Everyone agrees that we fit together perfectly as a team and that the next year, in which we will definitely see one or the other again, cannot come quickly enough. The support and organization from CGE was also so good that nobody has to look back on the days at SPIEL with a bad feeling.

Last updated on 25.05.2023/XNUMX/XNUMX / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. * = Affiliate links. Images from Amazon PA API