Stuart Dagger
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Waiter = Kellner; Waitress = Kellnerin.

However, if you are wanting something, the best way is probably to catch their eye by raising your hand and saying "Bitte". This means "please" and is pronounced to rhyme with "pitta" (as in pitta bread).

When it comes to paying the bill, again raise your hand and say "Die Rechnung, bitte". This means "the bill, please". "Die" is pronounced to rhyme with "me". (In German the rule with "ie" and "ei" vowel combinations is that you pronounce the second letter as a long vowel. So "ie" rhymes with "me" and "ei" rhymes with "my".) The "e" in "Rechnung" is short and the "ch" is a soft guttural, as in the Scottish word "loch".
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Maarten D. de Jong
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The sound of the 'ch' is made as follows: make the 'ee' sound. Now move your tongue slightly up so that it touches both rows of teeth in your upper jaw and slightly more to the back of your mouth. Now exhale with a bit of force. That's the 'ch'.
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Marius Roth
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Stuart Dagger wrote:
Waiter = Kellner; Waitress = Kellnerin.

Correct, or in general "Bedienung".

Pronouncing "Bitte" is much easier as you might think, as it sounds exactly like the english word "bitter" (just without the "r").

Most restaurants, bars and fast food parlors should be ok with you speaking english, as they might be used to it being so close to an international fair. If you don't feel comfortable asking for the bill in english, or you can't pronounce the word "Rechnung", you can also say "Zahlen" or "Zahlen, bitte" showing your intention to pay your bill.

"Zahlen" is pronounced "zaalen".
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John Mitchell
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The word Rechnung came into the English language as 'Reckoning'. Pronouncing that will probably get you by.

A competent Kellner/in will know that you're ready to pay up. They may be too busy serving to get to you, and have no immediate need for the table. That's the same in any country.
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Green Dan
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Cool. Nice advice. Now let's imagine that it's 3 week before Essen (Woohoo!!) and I don't actually know any German. Any useful phrases I should really know? I plan on at least figuring out how to count to 1000 or so and learning colours (both of which are important for gaming!)
 
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Cool. Nice advice. Now let's imagine that it's 3 week before Essen (Woohoo!!) and I don't actually know any German. Any useful phrases I should really know? I plan on at least figuring out how to count to 1000 or so and learning colours (both of which are important for gaming!)
 
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Marius Roth
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Wow, your willing to learn german in 3 weeks? Here is a start:

Basic Colors:
English --> German (how to pronounce it)

Red --> Rot (like in "rotten" but pronounced with a long "o" and without the "ten")
Blue --> Blau (rhymes with "cow" but starting with "Bl")
Yellow --> Gelb (rhymes with "whelp" but with a hard "G" like in "green")
Green --> Grün (hurray, an "Umlaut". No idea how to teach someone how to pronounce it. Just try saying "Grun" with a hard "G" and you should be ok)
Grey --> Grau (similar to Blue, start with "Grey" and end with "cow")
Brown --> Braun (pronounced in a similar way)
White --> Weiss (similar to the famous actress Rachel Weisz from "The Mumy")
Black --> Schwarz (like in Arnold Schwartzenegger, just without the "egger")
Orange and Pink are the same in english and german, although some might refer to Pink as "Rosa".
Purple is either refered to as "Violett" or "Lila" (pronounced LeeLaa)

Basic Numbers:
English --> German (how to pronounce it)
One --> Eins (like in "Heintz" Ketchup, just without the hissing "H")
Two --> Zwei (rhymes with "Bye", but starts with a "Zw" like in
Three --> Drei (rhymes with "Bye", bu starts with a "Dr" like in Dragon)
Four --> Vier (rhymes with "tier" - any WoW Gamer will know what I mean - just starting with a "F" sound)
Five --> Fünf (Better to say "Funf" instead of making an idiot of yourself and trying to pronounce the Umlaut )
Six --> Sechs (sounds like the "act of mating" - don't want to write a possible censored word her - but with a "ch", like in "Loch Ness", instead of the "x" and ending with a soft "s")
Seven --> Sieben (pronounced "Seeben")
Eight --> Acht (Like in the Name "McLaughlan", the "laugh" part and ending with a "T")
Nine --> Neun (rhymes with "groin" starting with "N")
Ten --> Zehn (a long pronounced "zen")

If you might want to hear the words yourself, try http://dict.leo.org/ type in the word you want to hear, and see if there is a loudspeaker symbol next to the word.
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Stuart Dagger
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A few additions and amendments to the list Marius has given you:

1) We've already told you about "bitte", meaning "please". The word for "thank you" is "danke" (two syllables; the stress is on the first one; the "a" is short).

2) "Entschuldigung" means "excuse me" and is very useful when you're trying to make your way through the crowd in the halls at Essen. It is also the word to use when you need to apologise for bumping into someone. To pronounce this, break it down into four syllables: "Ent", "schul", "di" and "gung" and treat the German "sch" just as if it were an English "sh". The "i" in the "di" part is short.

3) Certain letters are pronounced differently in German and English.
The German "z" is pronounced like the English "ts"; the German "w" is pronounced like the English "v"; the German "v" is pronounced like the English "f". The German "f"? Just like the English one.

4) Pronouncing "acht": Marius went on to dangerous ground by giving you the Scottish/Irish name "McLaughlin" as a reference point, because the "au" in that name isn't usually pronounced as a short "a". The "a" in "acht" is a short (Northern English) "a"; the "ch" is the same as in "Rechnung"; the "t" is pronounced.
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Alex Yeager
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Here's a few more thoughts...

12 Cash or Credit
I can't emphasize enough: your credit card will be next to useless at most places you go, including department stores. Check around for the best conversion rates (which are universally bad right now); for me (Detroit area), the best rate and smallest fees are actually the airport conversion booth! Travelers checks are also not an option; most stands will simply look at them funny, and you'll need to find an accommodating bank if you want them cashed.

14 Food
If you are one of those folks who are looking for a McDonalds as you get off the plane in a new country, you have that right, but: get over your damn self. My morning exercise walk is derailed by the fact that German bakeries are hard at work by 6 am, and the streets are filled with the smell of yeasts and warm bread. Pick up a sandwich from any of the local stands for consumption later (lunches, train trips, the flight home).

You will be confronted with a variety of food items that no longer appear on most US menus: rabbit, other small game, and veal in particular all are prominent on many good restaurant's menus. If you want something that every restaurant will offer, that's not too adventurous, go with schnitzel (of which there are many varieties; start here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiener_Schnitzel ).

You will generally find the bread and pastries excellent, the sandwiches very fresh and filling, and the restaurants very good. There's a pizza place just south from us at the Hotel Arosa/Martinstrasse U-Bahn stop that serves amazing pizza for 5-7€ and is open late (generally, prices go waaaay down if there's no waitstaff).

Coke is more expensive than beer. Use that to your advantage.

If you're an American tourist like me, learn this phrase: "Stillewasser. Ohne Gas, bitte!" This is your best chance to avoid carbonated water (which I simply can't stomach). And yes, the tap water in Essen is fine for human consumption. Stock up on the bottled, non-carbonated water pre-show; the local grocery store by the hotel is usually out by Thursday (as their demand suddenly peaks with the out-of-towners).

One of my favorite small gifts to bring back are Kinder Eggs (Kinder Surprise). They're illegal to sell in the US, because these still have small, cool toys and items inside a (yummy) chocolate shell (take that into account, please). Spiel usually happens around the beginning of the Christmas season, so one of the best ways to buy them is as an Advent calendar (24, already in a good travel container). Just beware that you're getting 24 Kinder Surprise eggs; there are a variety of lesser combos (12 eggs + 12 solid chocolate pieces, and so on).

Oh, and ice cream: make a point to stop by an ice cream parlor (eiscafe) somewhere (there are several in the shopping district). You will be able to order, for 4-5€, an artistic masterpiece (with or without liquor) that will be one of the best parfaits you'll ever have.

16 Tips for visitors - ATM, bags, freebies
One small timing issue to be aware of: some US banks use the time between 3 am and 4 am to update their records. Occasionally, that means you may find an ATM that doesn't work for you between 8 am and 9 am (just before the show opens) versus other times of the day. Not a big deal, but it has happened enough to mention.

Some US airlines are still allowing 2 free bags for international travel (including Northwest). That third bag is $200, though, so keep it to two. Additionally, spend $15-20 on a handheld bag scale, allowing you to weigh your bag before you get to the airport. NWA's fee for an overweight bag is $150; change the "$" to "€" (!) for getting caught in a European city. I got very lucky on my last trip to have both of my bags weighed together; individually, I was 62/36.5 lbs...

You will miss many freebies without prior information about what the freebies are (and, often, the freebies or discounts that come with pre-ordering). Agan, watch BGN, BGG or other sources for info on what manufacturers are offering.

18 Hall guides
The Messe (or that part used for the Spiel Fest) is set up as a very large circle. The atrium area is where all of the smokers congregate; it's still a great way to cut from one side of the circle to another, but be aware that this is where all the smoke that used to be in the hall has gone.

When you come in, it's almost certainly going to be the entrance closest to Hall 12. Although all halls contain a mix of retailers and manufacturers, there are some generalizations to be made:

Halls 10-12: mid-majors and up. Here you'll find Ravensburger, Kosmos, Amigo, and folks like Rio Grande, Mayfair and Days of Wonder. Don't miss Spielbox (get those back issues at cover price or less)!

Hall 9 and Hall 5: Many of your smaller publishers cluster here. Folks like Fragor, Repos, Lookout and Z-Man are in 9; 5 has large displays from Upper Deck and others, but the back half will be the cooler, funkier folks.

Hall 8: Comic books, often very cheap. (I've been collecting the Transmetropolitan GNs in German...)

Hall 6: RPGs, CCGs, and a lot of cool costuming and jewelry. I HIGHLY recommend the mead purveyor - free samples worth sampling!

Halls 4/4a: Many of the secondhand/discounter shops have located here (don't overlook the ones in 11 and 9, note).

Kids displays (don't miss the life-sized foosball) are in Hall 2, IIRC.

Downloadable floor plans are here:
http://www.cc-essen.de/index.php?content=08100000&lang=en

22 Tourists in Essen
Since you've paid for the ticket over, extend your stay by a day or two and take advantage of the neighborhood. Köln would be my first recommendation for a day trip outside Essen (Aachen would be my second choice). Amsterdam's only 4 hours away by ICE...

Visit the shopping district just outside the Hauptbahnhpf (tip: learn to look for signs to the "Hbf"; if you ever get lost, get to the Hbf and you're instantly unlost, as usually every train and U-Bahn route goes through the Hbf). There's good coffee in the plaza area just outside, there's an Internet cafe off the corner of the Hbf, and large stores like the Galeria or Müller will have game sections that put some US game stores to shame. The further back in the shopping district you go, the more iffy the area gets, but there are some gems to be found (there's a great home furnishing store, and one of the most complete, amazing liquor stores I've ever been in).

23 Is the show suitable for children?
YES. You won't understand until you're here, but the closest equivalent I can give you is that if you take a typical street fair or city festival in the US, blow it up to 180K people and move those people into the Messe, THAT'S the crowd that attends. It's NOT "gamers"; it's average, everyday folks and families who just happen, as part of their cultural landscape, to already have a solid understanding of games. The crowds are large on Saturday (and school groups are in on Friday), but you will see many examples of unsupervised children, playing games and being well-behaved. The kids area is also loads of fun.

I hope that helps!

Alex Yeager
Mayfair Games

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F. F.
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Funny that everyone here seems to recommend the Istra. Looked them up on a german restaurant critics website and the commentators there tell a different (ugly) story.

Never been there - just FYI.
 
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Mik Svellov
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Lord Warlock wrote:
Funny that everyone here seems to recommend the Istra. Looked them up on a german restaurant critics website and the commentators there tell a different (ugly) story.

Never been there - just FYI.

I have been there often, as it is right across the street from our hotel and it is a favorite for many Brits. While it is not among my favorite restaurants in Essen, I cannot recognise the picture given by the critics in your link (except that the decor could use gentle hand). While food has never been exellent, it has always been fine. And the service has mostly been acceptable - when arriving right after one hundred other messe guest, one cannot expect to be served right away.

Personally I prefer the Hausbräuerei or Drago near the Messe area - or a handful of special restaurants further away, which I will prefer to keep 'unspoiled'.
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Alex Yeager
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Here's a few functional German tips:

Hauptbahnhof (or Hbf abbreviated): in typical German fashion, this is an combo word of head/primary + route/track + yard: this will always be the large, central transportation complex in any German city. If you get lost, simply find a taxi or get on a train headed for the Hbf!

German dictionaries are usually superfluous, but get a small German-English food dictionary. Especially learn any foods that you don't eat or are allergic to (so, for example, I've learned to avoid "schweinfleisch").

Learn directions:
Ost - east
West - west (yay!)
Nord - north
Süd - south
In - in
Heraus - out
Eingang - entrance
Ausgang - exit

(All useful words when navigating the transportation system, or any complex of building that you want to get into/out of.)

I hope that helps!

Alex Yeager
Mayfair Games
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A Derk appears from the mists...
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Lord Warlock wrote:
Funny that everyone here seems to recommend the Istra. Looked them up on a german restaurant critics website and the commentators there tell a different (ugly) story.
Never been there - just FYI.


It's really close to where many of us stay, and it has the ability to deal with larger parties. They have beer to make the food better. *shrug*

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Marius Roth
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Signs you might want to look out for:

Although most of you will have no time wander the city of Essen during SPIEL, some might take some additional days to explore the surrounding cities. As the budget will drastically decrease with each game you buy you might want to know how to identify supermarkets and banks to stock up on money and cheap food.

Supermarkets:
Germany has a whole lot of supermarket chains. Most supermarkets are open Monday to Saturday from 8am to 8pm. Local exceptions might even open earlier and close later. For example: Rewe is often open from 7am to 9pm, Penny even closes at 10pm. All supermarkets are closed on Sundays (except rare occasions of supermarkets in large train stations)

You can get nearly everything you need for the 4 days at a supermarket. Beverages (alcoholic (if you are above 18) and non-alcoholic), bread, instant meals, cereals, cookies and chocolate and even your (german) newspaper. When buying Water, check the label for "Kohlensäure" (carbonated). Most markets have both "carbonated" (mit Kohlensäure) and non-carbonated (ohne Kohlensäure) water. There might also be lightly-carboated water (mit wenig Kohlensäure)

Aldi Nord
Lidl
Penny
Edeka - names may vary and often inlcude the name of the shop's owner
Plus
Rewe

If you don't want to have breakfast at your hotel, and/or you need a quick lunch and some fresh air, you should look out for signs depicting a "Pretzel" as those most often indicate bakeries. Bakeries even open on Sunday morning.


Banks and Financial Institutions:
Ok, it is Friday and you already blew all your cash you carried around, but only got half the games wou wanted. Time to stock up on additional cash. There are cash machines just outside the fair, but there might be queues for the machines. So if you are in the city you might pass by a bank without noticing it. So you might want to be on the lookout for this signs:




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Ingo Keiner
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Hi Marius. Great idea with the signs!

But i have to disagree with the "Pretzel"-sign. Most bakeries in and around Essen do not have such signs. It´s not very characteristic for local bakeries, though it is nice (they should have them )
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Richard Dewsbery
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"Was kosten das, bitte?" followed bythe hadning over of large amounts of Euros at the various vendors found in the halls. Who needs more?
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Sithrak - The god who hates you unconditionally
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I'd also like to add that non-carbonated water is "ohne Kohlensäure", "mit wenig Kohlensäure" means lightly carbonated, otherwise good advise.

In a restaurant, if you want non-carbonated water, you order a "Stilles Wasser", just ordering "Mineralwasser" or "Wasser" will usually get you carbonated water.
 
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RDewsbery wrote:
"Was kosten das, bitte?" followed bythe hadning over of large amounts of Euros at the various vendors found in the halls. Who needs more?


If you ask for the price, you're doing it wrong!
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SAKURA in KYOTO 2018 Back to Kansai
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I think that the tips on language would be better off on a separate thread. They are very useful and helpful, but are derailing the FAQ somewhat. The tips on local life are very good and helpful and belong here, more like this please. But perhaps someone could take the language tips off to a new thread please?
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Marius Roth
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As my last post with german shop signs was recieved quite well, I continue to add thematic groups of signs for visitors who might stay one or two additional days.

Toy shops and department stores with good toy sections
It is funny to read that americans visiting germany and going into a Toys 'R' Us or a Galeria Kaufhof are so utterly impressed by their toy sections, while myself is pretty used to the selection and try to avoid it. No critic here, just observation

Most toy shops and larger stores with toy sections have a more family oriented selection of board and card games (think Bohnanza, Settlers of Catan, "Spiel des Jahres"-Games and such). The selection isn't small, but if you are looking for something special along the line of Fantasy (like maybe Descent or Munchkin or Ghost Stories for example) you better look out for a Comic- or Fantasy-store.

Vedes - most often only a small sticker at the front door of toy shops
Idee & Spiel - most often just a small sticker at the front door
Galeria Kaufhof - big department store - look for "Spielwaren"
Karstadt - another big department store. Most often found right in the city.

Technic department
You're the only player from your local gaming group who is going to Essen and your buddies have sentenced you to get as much video and image footage of new games as possible. Sadly, your camcorder has died on you the very first day and you might need a new battery. But where to go? look out for these signs:

saturn
Media Markt
MediMax - none in Essen but in Oberhausen

Drugstores
Although you can get all the stuff for your daily life at nearly every supermarket (like toothbrushes, shower gel and deodorant), some might have some special demands. The following drugstores have a wide selection for wellness and beauty, natural remedy and bio food. Just think of them as a supermarket for your health (but they are no pharmacy if you are really ill).

Rossmann
Schlecker
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Astartus wrote:
Galeria Kaufhof - big department store - look for "Spielwaren"

They also always have a quite big booth in hall 5 with attractive prices.
 
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Andreas Krüger
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Copied from another thread:

albedo wrote:
ambiorix666 wrote:
My first time at Essen too. Really looking forward to it.

I have just one question: I heard that who wants to drive through Essen with his own car has to have a kind of environment sticker to mark just how environmentally friendly your car is. Is the Essen Messe in the area where it is required to have such a sticker ?


You're talking about the Low Emission Zones (Umweltzonen) in German cities, especially in Northrine Westphalia.

You find the necessary info, what you need, where you get the sticker etc. here:

http://www.umwelt.nrw.de/umwelt/umweltzonen/n_info/index.php

Greetings from Essen

albedo


(If you wish to tip for this link: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geekgold/transfer/user/albedo)

The file about the environmental zones should be very useful if you come by car. (I would probably risk the fine of 40 EUR - but I don't know what our Ordnungsamt or the police might do to a foreign car to get the cash :-).
 
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Quentin WEHRLE
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I don't see anyone talking about Daylight Saving Time here ... maybe it's obvious to everyone
Just in case : on sunday you will be able to stay in bed 1 more hour.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_in_Germany)

I think it's a little thing people can easily forget on such a thrilling week end in Essen whistle
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kuentin wrote:
I don't see anyone talking about Daylight Saving Time here ... maybe it's obvious to everyone
Just in case : on sunday you will be able to stay in bed 1 more hour.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_in_Germany)

I think it's a little thing people can easily forget on such a thrilling week end in Essen whistle


WOW! Thanks, this is very important, because lots of people fly out on Sunday and it will screw up their timing. Hopefully they'll realise when they go down to breakfast, but it's a good reminder here.
 
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Karen Miller
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This seems like a question for the FAQ so I will post it here:

What is the temperature like in the Messe? In the US, convention centers are usually freezing, so I'm wondering what to expect here...

I'd like to leave my jacket in the hotel room and not have to mess with it during the day if possible.

Thanks...
 
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