The Nuremberg toy trade fair organiser Spielwarenmesse eG takes over the Internationale Spieltage SPIEL event this month, becoming the new owner of the biggest public fair for board games in the world.

SPIEL will continue to be held at the Essen exhibition centre in western Germany and organised from Bonn by Dominique Metzler, its director of many years’ standing, and her highly experienced team. Florian Hess, member of the executive board of Spielwarenmesse eG, serves as an additional director.

SPIEL has a history stretching back nearly 40 years. The event has developed from a small gathering of players in 1983 to what is today the largest consumer fair in the world for board, card and role-playing games.

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Traditionally, new national and international games products are introduced to a broad audience at the Essen exhibition centre in the autumn. Every year the event has some 200,000 visitors – and the numbers have been growing.

“It was important to me to retain the unique profile of SPIEL for the future,” says Dominique Metzler who, with Rosemarie Geu, has successfully established and built up her family business over recent decades. “I am very pleased to have found in Spielwarenmesse eG, with its experience in world-beating fairs, a partner that can continue and further develop the success of this fair on my model for the coming decades as well. My team and I are delighted to be working alongside them.”

The pandemic has given an additional boost to the popularity of board games. In 2020, the German games market alone grew by 21%. This is a trend that is also apparent in the B2B sector at the Spielwarenmesse.

The Internationale Spieleerfindermesse – Game Inventors Convention is being integrated into the Spielwarenmesse, further strengthening the games business area. The Nuremberg organiser is promising a similarly cautious approach where the SPIEL games fair is concerned but, in this case, as a separate event that will be maintained in its original form.

As a cooperative, Spielwarenmesse eG already functions ‘from the industry, for the industry’. Its member businesses include numerous games publishers. As Christian Ulrich, spokesperson for the executive board, is keen to stress: “In the Spielwarenmesse and the SPIEL games fair we have two entirely different concepts, but those concepts intersect powerfully in terms of subject matter, creating plenty of synergies. With SPIEL, we are expanding our responsibilities in the business area for games, without changing the typical character of the fair.”

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