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Re: Essen FAQ- Essen, what the gosh darn heck is that all ab
When buying your ticket at the automatic machine at Dusseldorf airport, beware of the con man who lurks there...
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/86430

You can see how to ride the airport monorail Skytrain to the machine here:
http://www.tragsnart.co.uk/travelhub/dusseldorf/dusseldorf.h...
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Daniel Ott
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Re: Essen FAQ- Essen, what the gosh darn heck is that all ab
Also very useful is this link:
http://www.vrr.de/en/fahrplanauskunft/index.html

Where you can search for your optimal local transport connection

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Re: Essen FAQ- Essen, what the gosh darn heck is that all ab
Thank you for this info Daniel. I'll add these to the FAQ when I return. It will take a while to build up the FAQ. If someone could add information about driving to Essen and parking, especially charges, that would help.
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Michael Leuchtenburg
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Re: Essen FAQ- Essen, what the gosh darn heck is that all ab
Here's a new question for your FAQ:

How many people attend Essen Spiel?

I've heard "150,000" and "130,000", so I assume it's somewhere in that range, but is there an actual record of how many entry tickets were sold, and so forth? One that's available to the public, that is - I'm sure that the people running the show know the numbers!
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...sure...
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7:

If you're coming by car from The Netherlands/Venlo: stay on the 40, get of at exit 23: Essen-Zentrum. From there you can follow the Messe / Spiel signs.

Parking at the Messe is € 4 a day.

23: In 2006 Hall 7 was filled with fun stuff for kids
25: Yes.
26: No.
27. Didn't really look for it, but I think it's possible to get everywhere.
29. Sure. Just pick a stand to meet. Maps are out long before the show.
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Surya is pure Eurosnoot and proud of it!
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Re: Essen FAQ- Essen, what the gosh darn heck is that all ab
BaSL wrote:
Parking at the Messe is € 4 a day.

I was wondering if you can leave your car there? My hotel is a 2 minute walk from the Messe and I'm not sure they offer parking. I guess it's not allowed, but what happens if you leave your car there anyway?
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Re: Essen FAQ- Essen, what the gosh darn heck is that all ab
EYE of NiGHT wrote:
It's only worth getting current items if it's a new game you've played at the show and really want a copy right now.


Well, there's one exception: the game of the year (Spiel des Jahres). For 2007 that will be Zooloretto. Every shop takes in a lot of copies and you see the price go down day by day, even hour by hour.
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New question. I'm running a mini-booth this year and don't know much German. Should I hire an interpreter for my booth? My budget is thin. How important is an interpreter (english-german) at the fair? thanks for any info.
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Re: Essen FAQ- Essen, what the gosh darn heck is that all ab
dragonblaster wrote:
New question. I'm running a mini-booth this year and don't know much German. Should I hire an interpreter for my booth? My budget is thin. How important is an interpreter (english-german) at the fair? thanks for any info.


Since most visitors will be German, it will help you a lot. Certainly, a lot of the visitors to the show will speak English, but they may not get the full benefit if you don't have anything for them in German. Plus, there will be Dutch and Belgain gamers visiting too, so having more than German helps.

Also, you should consider the fair an opportunity to network with publishers and distributors. Again, they will have English, but you may need a translator to make sure you are giving and getting the right information.

If you cannot afford a translator (and I have no idea of the costs involved), then you cannot afford one! You'll have to do the best you can. But if you can afford any help, especially on the Saturday/Sunday, you should get your money's worth.

Having a good display counts a lot. I've seen booths with one man and a table and no posters or signs and nobody stops to see the product. Attracting people in is possibly more important than speaking German. If you have any good way of pulling attention in, then put your budget there first. Giving people a chance to play the agme is very important. Even if you can have only one table for demoing the game, use it all the time.

Maybe you could get written material translated at home before you travel, then print or laminate it so at least people can read the rules and stuff.

Cheers,
jon.
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Thank you Jon. I can afford an interpreter for 2 days. That's in fact what I was considering. I was thinking Friday and Saturday, but I will now switch to Sunday rather than Friday. They are an affordable service. It just adds up. I'll try to decorate the booth the best I can. I've been looking at photos of previous fairs to get ideas. I'm very excited.
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Nathan;
I would say that it depends on the type and quantity of game(s) you are bringing.

Many foreign first-timers have managed to sell out on the first day without having any staff at all because they only brought a few hundred copies and used the Internet to announce their games.

Others have sold a good part of their games during their stay (4 days) without having any help, simply because the game was popular among the English speaking crowd (which may only be 50,000 of the 150,000 visitors - but that's still a huge audience).

On the other hand are there each year plenty of games that doesn't sell much no matter how much staff the designer has hired.

So it all boils down to the type of game you are bringing.

And you SHOULD NOT switch to Sunday if you can avoid it. That is the worst day of all days to be there. People are tired, wandering around with tiny little steps in a mass of smelly human flesh and they are looking for bargains that will fit the least space in their luggage.

But masses of people don't mean they will stop by an empty stand: they will assume that the game is of no interest and rather wait in line in front of a stand where the people are having fun playing.

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Interesting. Thanks for another angle. I'll be demoing the game the whole fair, and I'd like everybody to learn the rules so they can play it well. I'll use an interpreter Saturday. Maybe Friday? It will be an exciting adventure.
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george seary wrote:
Does anyone know if wheelchairs are available at Essen Spielfest?
I don't see any handicapped access info on the messe site. Perhaps one of you can provide an email address for someone on site to ask this question to.


I cannot find any handicap information either, but it is possible to get around in a wheel chair (I see at least a dozen every year) and they have a special reduced price for disabled.

There will only be two areas which is difficult to reach: one is the restaurant (there are other small fastfood places) and the other are the toilets. There are only one handicap toilet AFAIK, which is placed in Hall 9 - and it is difficult to find, so you need to pay attention to the Hall plans or ask around.
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Surya wrote:
BaSL wrote:
Parking at the Messe is € 4 a day.

I was wondering if you can leave your car there? My hotel is a 2 minute walk from the Messe and I'm not sure they offer parking. I guess it's not allowed, but what happens if you leave your car there anyway?


Those of us who are able to get a Press- or Exhibitors card can also get free parking. So if you know anyone with such a card, who is not using their P-card can you ask them for it. It is a free service. In that case can you certainly leave your car parked - we do that every year with two cars.

Otherwise I would advice you to ask the attendant.

There are free paking several places in the city, including behind the Messe/Grugapark. This website gives you a run down of all parking places: http://www.24-fair.com/en/Essen-parking,lots.htm
Rüttenscheid is the area with the fair, but Essen is relatively safe place, so you can park anywhere you can find a vacant legal, vacant space.

"Kostenlos" = free
"1 tag" = per day
"1 Std" = per hour
"car icon" = number of parking spaces

The link leads to more information, including a map
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Re: Essen FAQ- Essen, what the gosh darn heck is that all ab
Ah, as I am doing demo's I guess I'll get free parking then
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I'm waiting until they make the place smoke free as I would not want to expose myself or my family to second hand smoke.
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Re: Essen FAQ- Essen, what the gosh darn heck is that all ab
nickguay wrote:
I'm waiting until they make the place smoke free as I would not want to expose myself or my family to second hand smoke.


I hope you'll have to wait a couple of years before going to Spiel since I really like to have an occasional fag in between games, and even while playing!
Ah well, to each his own; I don't like big polluting SUV's on the road. Everytime I have to cough I think it's because of those.

By the way, have you actually ever been at Spiel? Except for the corridors the air is quite well ventilated.
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Re: Essen FAQ- Essen, what the gosh darn heck is that all ab
Tsaar wrote:
I don't like big polluting SUV's on the road.

I like neither
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7a) Essen is lies between Düsseldorf and Dortmund, both of which have their own airports. I'd suggest using an online service like google maps or mapquest to get the best route there. Generally speaking, the roads/autobahns are very well made in Germany. I don't drive much as I don't own a car, but I do take the train quite a bit. Some points that bear particular significance:

1. There is not a lot of preliminary warning of exits - generally speaking, you'll about about 1km in advance about your exit coming up. Make sure to use freeway landmarks (e.g. other freeways that branch off from yours) to know when your exit will be coming up.

2. Passing on the right is illegal on the autobahn. This means that you'll be switching lanes quite a bit and your fellow drivers will be as well. While it can be a bit disorienting at first, it actually is a very simple system and keeps the traffic moving along nicely. That being said, if you want to make sure that you won't have a crazy german behind you flashing his lights, stay out of the fast lane. Most lanes travel at or near the speed limit (usually between 80-120 km/hr).

3. Speed limit signs are round and white with a red border and a number inside it. End of speed limit signs are have a grey'd out number with black lines crossing through the number (and no red border). When you're on the autobahn, this can mean that there is no speed limit, and you can have germans flying at 200 km/hr. Best to stay out of the fast lane.

7b) Trains: Generally the best way for getting around Germany, it is the mechanism most people will use to get to their destination. The train system is very well organized, and as long as you're not arriving extremely early or late, you will be able to take a train anywhere in germany with a minimum of waiting. That being said, feel free to take a little bit of breathing space when you arrive and not worry about missing your train just after you arrive. The next one will leave 20-30 minutes later, and you'll be happy that you're on the right one.

When arriving at the station, you can get a ticket either at an automated ticket vendor or inside the Reisezentrum (travel center). Both work well and accept cash or credit cards. The majority of the workers in the Reisezentrum speak English, but make sure to be nice and ask them if they speak English first! Don't just start speaking English, as that is considered to be rude (this is a good rule of thumb for travel to any country!). ICE is the fastest and is also the default search on the automated tickets. If you want a slower train, you'll have to change the default search setting to exclude ICE (fastest), IC (faster), or only search for the slowest of trains (RE/ME/etc). Slower is cheaper and less comfortable.

When you buy your ticket, you can also reserve seats on the train, usually for a few euro per seat. I rarely find this to be a problem, except when travelling during commuting hours. That being said, if there are four of you travelling together, you might want to reserve seats together. Also note that when you get onto the train, above each seat there is either an LED sign (ICE) or a card (most other trains). If there are city names listed there (start and end points), then the seat is reserved. Otherwise, you're free to take it (assuming someone doesn't have luggage there already, of course.

Once you get a ticket you can just hop onto a train - if you bought a ticket for one train and you didn't manage to get on it, you can always jump on the next one (exception: if you bought a cheap ticket in advance, you must take the train the cheap ticket is on: see tips, below). If you miss a transfer, you can easily take another train - just go to the automated ticket vendor and print out a new travel plan (see tips, below).

After you arrive in Essen, I don't know what will happen, as I've never been there before.

Kleine Tips (small tips):
1) When you buy a train ticket, you can also print out a travel plan. This is very useful, as it will tell you what station you need to transfer at and at what time, when your next train will arrive, and which Gleis (platform) it will arrive at.

2) If you know exactly when you will arrive, you can buy a ticket on the bahn.de web site in advance. While this will commit you to taking a specific train (e.g. 10:30am on 10/22/08), it can save you up to 50%. However, you will need to buy a round trip ticket.

3) If you're arriving into Dortmund or Dusseldorf with a large group of people, you can buy a Länderticket (ask at the Reisezentrum). This allows up to 5 people travel together on regional trains on the same ticket within the same German state, and could save you quite a lot of money. If you're leaving on Sunday, you can buy a Schöneswochenende Karte which does the same thing, but allows you to travel in any German state.

4) If you're flying into Frankfurt or further away (e.g. Munich) and want a roundtrip, it might be worthwhile for you to buy a Bahncard 25. This costs 55 euro, and gives you a year-long discount of 25% on all train tickets. There is also a Bahncard 50 (50% off) which is available for 220 euro (110 euro if you are a student under 27). This is a very good option if you will be traveling through europe. One nice thing the bahncard also gives is a city-ticket for your destination city, which allows you to travel for free on all public transportation for your arrival day only.

5) All the information here is for second class only. I've never found a need to travel first class, as the trains are all quite comfortable in second class and I've never needed to sit in a leather seat. If you want to travel in first class, I've never had any experience with that.

If you have any questions, please feel free to send me a geek mail! I've lived in Germany for 4 years and have a pretty good idea of how things work.
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Neurobry wrote:
I've never found a need to travel first class, as the trains are all quite comfortable in second class and I've never needed to sit in a leather seat. If you want to travel in first class, I've never had any experience with that.


Well, I have - but I can't say that it was because of the leather seats. I prefer first class for three reasons: more space, less noise - and served Weissbier in proper glasses!
cool
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Great Dane wrote:
Neurobry wrote:
I've never found a need to travel first class, as the trains are all quite comfortable in second class and I've never needed to sit in a leather seat. If you want to travel in first class, I've never had any experience with that.


Well, I have - but I can't say that it was because of the leather seats. I prefer first class for three reasons: more space, less noise - and served Weissbier in proper glasses!
cool


Fair enough...I've only seen the leather seats while walking through a first class cabin and haven't seen anything stand out except for the seats. I guess you just need to experience it to appreciate it.
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Neurobry wrote:
1. There is not a lot of preliminary warning of exits - generally speaking, you'll about about 1km in advance about your exit coming up. Make sure to use freeway landmarks (e.g. other freeways that branch off from yours) to know when your exit will be coming up.

I would add to this that most exits now have a number on them. If you're going to take exit 24 and you pass exit number 22 and 23 you know you should get on the right lane and prepare for the exit.
A warning: exits and crosses are numbered seperately so don't let this fool you...

Neurobry wrote:
When you're on the autobahn, this can mean that there is no speed limit, and you can have germans flying at 200 km/hr. Best to stay out of the fast lane.

I wouldn't say it this way, especially the A52 which is interesting if you're traveling to Essen has lots of speed limits around Essen (100, 80) *sigh*.
But as a rule of thumb you should be prepared for the most left lane (fast lane) to travel around 130km/h and more.

Neurobry wrote:
Trains: Generally the best way for getting around Germany, it is the mechanism most people will use to get to their destination. The train system is very well organized

Now this is the part where I'm not sure you are really talking about the same trains I know... "very well organized"?!
But that is probably just a matter of standards. Tokyo manages to let a train pass every 2-3min...
Neurobry wrote:
The next one will leave 20-30 minutes later, and you'll be happy that you're on the right one.

Where as those 20-30min are a different standard
But most trains around Essen travel every 20min. If you're traveling from Düsseldorf Airport - Trainstation you can pick up the S1 or an RB.
The S1 travels every 20min. That shouldn't be a problem - I agree with it. Unless of course there is some unexpected desaster which hinders the train. Desasters for the train are not what an american could think of (hurricans, ...) but... well... I don't know what's an desaster for the "Deutsche Bahn" (German Trains) - leaves on the rails probably.
If this is the case you might have a problem - but most of the time it's just that a train is late 10min or is cancelled.

Neurobry wrote:
After you arrive in Essen, I don't know what will happen, as I've never been there before.

That's where I can jump in because I travel through Essen by train mostly every day.
You arrive at the plattforms and should look for the stairs down. Just follow the masses. If you're going to the fair, you should take the underground so you should leave the trainstation to the rear side.
You can do this by looking for the plattform numbers and follow them upwards. After plattform 14 there should be a stair down and after it another one on the right side which goes to the underground.
One of the first stairs to the plattforms on the left side should take you to the Spiel (this is where my memory always forgets if it's the first or second one).
Enjoy your stay at the blue "space station" undergrounds
You'll probably know what I mean if you see it...

Neurobry wrote:
3) If you're arriving into Dortmund or Dusseldorf with a large group of people, you can buy a Länderticket (ask at the Reisezentrum). This allows up to 5 people travel together on regional trains on the same ticket within the same German state, and could save you quite a lot of money. If you're leaving on Sunday, you can buy a Schöneswochenende Karte which does the same thing, but allows you to travel in any German state.

Maybe a family card is a better choice. Allows 5 people to travel together as well. To find the best ticket for the travel really is a pain (I already mentioned I don't like you train system...)

Neurobry wrote:
5) All the information here is for second class only. I've never found a need to travel first class, as the trains are all quite comfortable in second class and I've never needed to sit in a leather seat. If you want to travel in first class, I've never had any experience with that.
Seconded.
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Great Dane wrote:
Well, I have - but I can't say that it was because of the leather seats. I prefer first class for three reasons: more space, less noise - and served Weissbier in proper glasses!
cool


I don't have experience with the faster trains (IC, ICE) but I can garantee you that the first class in an "S-Bahn" is nearly the same as second class.
You will mostly find a seat there (but this goes for the second class as well). The space is nearly the same and the noise... well, okay. Maybe its less crowded there - but I wouldn't bet on it.

You can't buy beer or anything else in those trains at all and are even forbidden to eat or drink somethink alcoholic in it (which doesn't say some people still do it).
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Add to 8:
A nice hostel in Oberhausen (next to Essen. it´s about 40 Min. by public transport to Messe / about 25 Min. by car)
http://in-hostel-veritas.de
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EYE of NiGHT wrote:

7 How to get to the city Essen?
a By car (taxis, parking?)

There's something with environmental taxes. May be important for foreigners traveling by car. See thread http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/324032 . Don't know the details yet, but it's not a con as is being suggested in the thread.

Dutch car travelers can get an environmental batch from
http://www.anwb.nl/auto/nieuws-en-tips/archief,/2008/mei/Mil... (in Dutch).

Peter
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