The Dice & Mystics Fringe 2019 – A Company of Friends

The 4th “Dice & Mystics Fringe “ is in the past, and believe it or not, we have started preparing for 2020… As small as the event is, our “TinyCon” has turned into a regular thing by now, something that our guests regard as a natural part of their Spiel Essen experience: A night spent in good company, among old and new friends. And oh my, do we miss everybody!

For the majority of our guests, it has been the 3rd or even the 4th time. They meet but once a year at the Fringe – and immediately sit down together, unbox a game and play like they see each other at game nights on a regular basis.  The rooms start filling up rapidly, but nobody wastes any time but gets down to some serious fun right away.

Tables starting to fill up

The guests of the Fringe have slowly turned into a real community where everybody looks out for everybody else. The new booking system worked just fine, and we have been told it made things a lot easier. We still handled the few cancellations manually, and we give our thanks to everybody who needed to cancel and was so kind to mail us so that others on the waiting list had their chance. As always, we do hope that only positive things have kept you away.  It would have been so much easier to simply not turn up – but not a single one of you would ever do that to anybody else, oh no. You care for each other. The Fringe is starting to feel like an international family gathering. Many people from different corners of the earth know each other, have long since become friends, and they warmly welcome everybody who is new to the event. We hear that again and again, from regulars and first-timers alike: “We feel at home here.” What more could we possibly hope for?

Inside the largest of 4 game rooms

People make appointments for games, bring each other presents, translate from one language to another and back, share, teach and learn new games, exchange Spiel experiences and insights, give each other lifts back to their hotels and apartments. And the special thing is, that such things are not just happening between “regular” gamers, but they include the publishers, designers, artists, reviewers and YouTubers, because apart from who else they may be, they are gamers like all others sitting at the same tables, having fun together.

Waiting for the night’s raffle to start

Good-will and friendship are the key to everything. The Fringe would not be possible without the Parish of St. Engelbert, who once again let us use the building free of any charge.  We humbly thank for their hospitality and hope we will continue to benefit from their kindness and be able to host the Fringe event for years to come.

There were so many people of the Dice & Mystics but especially the guests themselves who made this a special night. Last year we took photos of where the tables were standing after you had all left and used this to arrange them accordingly right from the start. The buffet in the lobby had a new feature: next to tea, coffee, biscuits and sweets, there was also plain tap water. Judging by the number of refills this had actually been a good idea, and it had sprung from observations made by everybody together. But you are the people who bring yourselves and your games to our tables and create this great sense of community.

A big part of this community are also those good people from the gaming industry who bring you gifts and want to share their passion and joy of board games:

  • Albe Pavo contributed some serious fun in the shape of “BEER & Vikings”:
BEER & Vikings
  • Breaking Games did not think twice but gave us one copy of everything they had with them: “The Stars Align”, “We’re Doomed”, “Trellis”, “Rise of Tribes” deluxe and “Expancity”.

The Stars Align
We’re Doomed
Trellis
The Rise of Tribes plus deluxe extras
Expancity
  • Chip Theory Games who were sad that due to their schedule they could not come this time insisted on donating a copy of their much admired “Cloudspire” for you to win.
Cloudspire
  • Again there were quite a number of € 10 vouchers from Fantasywelt.de, the large German online game retailer.
One of the many vouchers
  • GOTTA2 Games from Japan showcased their beautiful little social deduction game  “Who am I” where you are invited to the Tea Party in Alice in Wonderland, sitting around a miniature table set with miniature real china dishes (all actually in the box). Of course they donated it to be raffled off to a lucky winner:
Who am I?
  • The amazingand wonderful Julie Ahern of Greenbrier Games did not take long to decide and simply gave us a copy of – everything! This bonanza included such gems as “Champions of Hara”,  “Of Dreams & Shadows“ plus the expansion,  “Helios Expanse” and – a huge box containing a full kickstarter pledge of “Folklore”, with a cherry on top.
Of Dreams & Shadows plus expansion
Champions of Hara
A big box full of Folklore

  • In My Box, the wonder workers who design incredible things crafted in wood, donated their prize item, an ingeniously constructed and most beautiful storage solution for “Scythe” (and did you now each and every “Big Bad Box” is individually numbered?):
Big Bad Box: Perfect storage solution for “Skythe”
  • Once again our friends King Racoon Games gave us two copies of their famous “Tsukuyumi Full Moon Down”, the comic and also the art book, signed by the brilliant Felix Mertikat himself, and also the novel (in German) that was written after the game.
Tsukuyumi…
… Full Moon Down
The comic
The art book
The novelization
  • Mythic Games againpresented our guests with their great success “Time of Legends: Joan of Arc”, and once again rounded off with a “little” big extra: The “Reliquiary” box containing kickstarter specials!
Time of Legends: Joan of Arc, kickstarter extras, and yet another a voucher from Fantasywelt.de on top
  • There were two copies of  the much anticipated “Last Bastion”, quite the hotness,  by REPOS Production:
SLast Bastion
  • Scribabs (you may know their “Sator Arepo Tenet Opera Rotas: Malleus Maleficarum”) generously provided for those who enjoy running in packs and hunting in the night:  a copy of “Armata Strigoi”!
Run with the (Were-)Wolves: Armata Strigoi
  • There were some prizes by Spieleparadies Wagner, the local toy and games shop in Bochum, too, of course. And they wouldn’t be who they are if they had not thought of including some very special prizes catering for the refined and more tender taste…
Princess in distress, successfully rescued by noble knight
Hana Zuki & C0.
  • Tetrahedron Games gave away two editions of their fun and colourful game “Dodoesque” – “Cherry Blossom” and “Jungle Fever”- for the raffle.  (Check out their Viking game VALHAL, too!)
Dodoesque Cherry Blossom
Dodoesque Jungle Fever

And last but by no means least we once again had the great pleasure of having with us:

The Dice Tower, who brought happy moments with their cute dice panda. It will be loved and cherished in its new home.

Dice Panda…
… and his new best friend.

It is not hard to see that by accepting your prizes with a radiant smile you also made the donors happy.

Happy to give…
… and happy for each other.

I was told that for the people inside the booths at the fair, it always remains a two-sided contact between a salesperson and one or a few customers at a time, with pre-set roles and a real or a virtual sales counter separating them from one another. This is o.k., that’s what everybody goes to the fair for: showcase your games to the public, sell them, have games shown to you, and empty your pockets and purses to fill up the trolleys and car boots with hours and hours of gaming fun.

GOTTA2 Games at Spiel Essen

But at the Fringe, especially during the raffle, everybody is on “the same side”, and when a game is held aloft to be raffled off to a happy winner, the excited murmurs, the cheers and spontaneous branding applause from such large a crowd are a feedback publishers do not get anywhere else. From what we experienced, they really put their hearts into their games. Their audience’s love and appreciation for what they do and create means a lot to them.

Board game friends

The main thing, though, is the hobby itself and the people who share it. We hope you are enjoying your prizes, but in truth really everybody was winning, learning a new game, seeing many of the year’s new releases on the table and in action, meeting somebody maybe from a different part of the world and sharing that one legendary game with each other. Thank you to each and every one of you all!

You brought us plenty of great and tasty gifts as well, and we also say a big thank you for that!

Especially dear to us were also some wonderful people from Life of a Board Gamer (Danijel Ljubas) and from Meeple University (Stella Jahja)who work to keep us all informed about the board gaming hobby and the happenings around it and who also found kind words in their reports and v-logs about their first time at the Fringe. Maybe you would like to have a peek:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8faiaGSlBN-_fDSBajddMA

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbjMq6IaluF9cpfBp8pA3BQ

We do hope you all had a great time, felt warmly welcome and are thinking back with fond memories.

We do hope you all had a great time, felt warmly welcome and are thinking back with fond memories.

We are not an organisation or club, neither have nor accept any money, with the exception of the donations to the parish for charity and the upkeep of the house, for which we thank you very much. Everything else is freely given away to make others happy:

Good play – better day!

It is for you all that we are hosting this event, and we are ever more richly rewarded by a happy company playing all those great games together, and by having you all as our friends!


See you all in October 2020!