Another year is almost over - and what an eventful year it has been. It is time to talk about everything that has happened, the events I attended and the games I played, give you all an update on the financial state of the blog and maybe share some sneak peeks for the year ahead. So, here goes...
I have attended quite a few different board game events in my time. I've been visiting conventions in Germany and the United Kingdom as a paying visitor, a member of the press as well as part of a demo team. From the more sedate and gaming-focussed AireCon to the crazily busy more business-focussed Essen Spiel and various exhibitions, shows, conventions or whatever you want to call them somewhere in between. So if you're planning to attend a board game event yourself and want to make the most of your experience, here are some tips that come from my own experience and that I hope you will find useful.
I always love going to board game conventions, shows, conferences or whatever you want to call them. Just walking into the halls and seeing lots of excited people who share the same hobby is invigorating. The prospect of catching up with friends whom I might not otherwise see is wonderful. Finally meeting the people I only know from social media face-to-face is fabulous. Board game events are always very much like a home from home. Yet, my visit to Berlin Brettspiel Con 2023 and the Spiel des Jahres awards a few weeks ago took this to another level.
It is rare that you can combine going to your hometown with attending a board game convention. So when it does happen, you jump at the opportunity. If you're also expecting to see a lot of people you normally only see maybe once a year at another show, as well as people you have so far only "met" on social media, then you know you're onto a winner. Being able to get demos of new and upcoming games is the cherry on top. Berlin Brettspiel Con 2023 was promising to fulfil all of these hopes, which set the bar very high. The question is whether it delivered.
Tucked away near Gleisdreieck in Berlin's Kreuzberg district is STATION-Berlin, home to the German capital's main board game convention Berlin Brettspiel Con. For three days in July, hordes of tabletop hobby enthusiasts converge to play games, speak to the dozens of exhibitors and generally have a great time. For the first time, I'll be among them and I can't wait. I'll be attending as a member of the press and have made a short list of whom I want to talk to.
I recently had the honour to be tasked with donating most of the 2023 Spiel des Jahres, Kinderspiel des Jahres and Kennerspiel des Jahres nominations and longlist titles to good causes on behalf of Spiel des Jahres. Being curious about the association and their selections, I decided to play some of the games myself. As a result, I wanted to share with you more about the Spiel des Jahres association and how I think its goals are reflected in the games they select.
I visited the show last year as a member of the press. I spoke to a lot of exhibitors and spent time in the evenings catching up with friends and playing a few games. However, this year was different. For the first time, I came up to demo games on behalf of Asmodee. That meant my travel, food and accommodation were all paid for and I even got a bit of an hourly wage. At the same time, it also meant I only had an hour's lunch break to wander around the halls. It really changed my experience of the UK Games Expo 2023.
Playing games is often a very social activity, even though I don't want to neglect the many solo gamers that play an important part in our hobby. However, in this article, I want to focus on multiplayer games. I want to talk about what roles friends fulfil in our hobby. I basically want to write an ode to all the friends I have made through board games. See the following as my love letter to friends everywhere.
Yes, it's time for my annual list of the best games of the year. As has become tradition, I also announce which game won the accolade of the Top Table Award, which is now in its fourth year. However, you have to be patient for a little while longer, while I list the best five board games of 2022 in reverse order.
Another year has gone by and a lot has happened, both, in the world at large as well as in the board game hobby. Exhibitions were attended, games were played, articles were written, podcasts were recorded and plenty of other exciting things happened. So let me share with you some of the highlights for me from 2022 and also give you an update on the financial situation of the blog.