Essen 2014 - Official Final Report

Even the rail strike was child's play! SPIEL '14 in Essen - the world's biggest fair for board games came to an end today with record visitor figures of 158,000!

SPIEL'14 in Essen - the world’s biggest fair for board games - ended today on a high note with new record attendance figures of 158,000 (previous year 156,000) and this in spite of a two-day rail strike and glorious sunshine over the weekend. The onslaught of visitors in the morning hours of Saturday and Sunday was so great that the doors of the exhibition halls had to be opened 10 minutes earlier than the official fair opening times.

Even in the run-up to SPIEL '14 all the records were being broken – this year’s event being the biggest and most international ever presenting 832 exhibitors from 41 different countries spread over a total exhibition space of 58,000 square meters. Over four days visitors were able to put thousands of board and card games to the test. The German games sector, which had already reported a sales increase of 3.1% in family games for August 2014 compared with the same month last year, now heads optimistically into the forthcoming, important Christmas business period.

158,000 games fanatics, trade buyers and licensees from all over the world streamed into the Essen exhibition halls to test this year's entire international range of games, as well as more than 850 new releases. A great many of the new releases had already sold out early. Other exhibitors didn't know what else to do other than take orders for their games and send them out after the event.

Yet it was not only conventional board and card games that experienced an enthusiastic reception, even the new smartPLAY series by Ravensburger, which monitors events on the game board using an app and reacts intelligently to the individual actions of the players, attracted a great deal of attention.

Worldwide the popularity of board and card games is on the rise. In Germany, it is family games in particular that have shown a positive development in recent years, clearly showing that in families with children the joy of playing together continues to grow.

This all meant that the exhibitors' games tables were completely under siege on every day of the event and spirits were very high. Never before had there been as much exhibition space as the 58,000 square meters available this year (previous year 48,000).

Hundreds of games authors introduced their new releases, competitions and tournaments were held. People of all races and ages came together and simply played!

There was also an exuberant atmosphere at COMIC ACTION, which was integrated as part of SPIEL'14.

Batman celebrated his 75th birthday and to mark the occasion Panini Comics presented, amongst others, limited variant editions of Batman comics. There were long queues whenever famous Batman artists such as Francis Manapul and Graham Nolan showed off their drawing talents and signed copies.

The next SPIEL with COMIC ACTION will take place from 8–11 October, 2015 at the Messe Essen.

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