FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - November 8, 2018 - “SPIEL in Essen means: Four days of fun, meeting friends, playing and testing thousands of games and novelties together with gamers from all over the world,” says the website for Europe’s largest game fair. Unfortunately, to several individuals, SPIEL meant underhanded opportunities to strike.
Essen Spiel, organized by Friedhelm Merz Verlag GmbH & Co KG, is the largest event in the world based around tabletop gaming. Held in Essen, Germany, every October, this event draws in an attendance that is now topping 190,000 attendees.
Over the course of the four-day event, at least six small companies were targeted in various ways and suffered losses of cash, product and personal effects. One individual was apprehended in connection with a particular event, but the cash had been taken by an accomplice and there was no recovery. Although security at the show and the Essen police were notified, there was not much recourse to take and to these companies, often run by families, friends or even individually, these are heavy costs to bear.
In total, these six companies lost more than $20,000, although totals are not final. These are small to medium sized companies, run by a handful of individuals, often just family and friends in some cases. SPIEL is a year-long preparation process, and the profits from this show are sometimes the life’s blood for the company, allowing them to continue creating and publishing the games their customers love.
Recovery efforts are underway. All the companies agree that the largest concern is bringing to light the need for changes and improvements in SPIEL’s security, but recouping these losses follows closely behind. Information regarding the various incidents, including a response from organizer Merz Verlag can be found at https://japanimegames.com/pages/spiel-robberies.
Japanime Games’ ‘Catch an International Thief’ donation drive at their website focuses on their title Kemomimi Panic, which features the thief, Crescent Moon, and their recent launch of international versions of Tanto Cuore. https://japanimegames.com/collections/robbery-recovery
Artipia Games’ “A Fair, a Robbery and a Promo Pack” Kickstarter campaign funded within hours of launch and offers supporters five new promo cards for their games. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/241478362/a-fair-a-robbery-and-a-promo-pack/description