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Essen Spiel keeps its early October slot for 2023 tabletop trade show

Don’t expect the COVID-19 vaccine entry requirement to return.

This year’s Internationale Spieltage SPIEL might barely be in the rearview mirror, but the largest convention in analogue games has already announced next year’s show dates.

Essen Spiel 2023 will run from October 5th through the 8th and will once again be held in the Messe Essen Convention Centre in Essen, Germany. This keeps 2022’s slot, which shunted the four-day board game festival a week earlier than normal.

The tweet announcing the dates did not make any mention of continued COVID-19 pandemic safety policies. Following a fully digital show in 2020, Spiel enforced both a mask mandate and COVID-19 vaccine requirement (or negative test) to attend the trade show in 2021. That requirement was dropped for this year’s show, though the organisation responsible for the event continued to uphold the medical mask requirement.

Dicebreaker reached out to Spiel about 2023’s safety measures but did not immediately receive a reply.

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Those responsible for organising Spiel will likely follow the direction of the North Rhine-Westphalia region in which the convention centre is located. Despite the ongoing threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, many (mostly Western) countries have relaxed travel and large gathering restrictions. In fact, evidence shows infection rates and hospitalisations either meet or surpass the heights of 2020 and 2021. Regardless, the world seems keen on adopting a “post-COVID” mindset.

If you missed this year’s Essen Spiel, Dicebreaker was in attendance and managed to play a whole mess of board games. Be sure to check out the team’s video coverage throughout all three days, along with plenty of meaty features and impressions on the website, proper.

Wingspan’s upcoming Asia expansion will add new rules for both larger and smaller groups, and two video games from the last couple of years will see tabletop adaptations. Tribes of the Wind does an excellent impression of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, but the team’s time with Frosthaven left them feeling ambivalent.

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Chase Carter


Chase is a freelance journalist and media critic. He enjoys the company of his two cats and always wants to hear more about that thing you love. Follow him on Twitter for photos of said cats and retweeted opinions from smarter folks.