40 YEARS PROGRAMME
Board games as mirror of society? –
Perspectives on 40 years (games) culture
The modern board game was born in Germany. Closely connected with it is the SPIEL, which started 40 years ago in the Volkshochschule Essen as the German Spielertage. Since the 80s, a unique type of game has developed, characterized by a clever combination of different mechanisms, high-quality material and themed worlds, which should bring the whole family to the table. At the latest with the success of "Catan" in 1995, the so-called German Games became world-famous. Board games, just like films, novels and digital games, are media that are always influenced by their contexts of origin, which they take up and comment on. This automatically makes them part of culture. But how do we as an industry deal with this and how do we ensure that board games are perceived as "more than just a pastime" outside the scene?
Lukas Boch is a historian at the University of Münster, where he conducts research on the presentation of the Middle Ages in modern board games. He is a founding member of the Boardgame Historian project. The scientists networked there want to open up the potential of modern board games for science and the public. To this end, the project curates exhibitions, publishes papers, and organizes events such as the Research Day "Boardgame Research in Germany" at SPIEL22.
Micha Reimer is part of the game publisher Gaiagames, which pays very close attention to climate-friendly production processes and focuses on content in climate games that makes a difference to players.
With Spielklima.de, Robert Dagci is building an interdisciplinary stakeholder platform to connect the games industries with actors in the climate and energy transition, e.g. from science, business or politics. Game developers, authors, and publishers should thus have better access to expert background information on climate topics.
For Amigo, he was responsible for game development for numerous classics. As a trained social pedagogue, he worked for years as a freelance game educator with children and young adults and used environmental games in youth work.
The game designer has long dealt with agricultural processes in his titles and is intensively involved with climate games and supports various climate projects worldwide.
Andreas Becker - Spielbox
Andreas Becker has been editor-in-chief of spielbox, Europe's oldest and most subscribed games magazine, since 2021. He learned his journalistic skills at the Weser-Kurier, for which he most recently headed the editorial department in Delmenhorst. In the mid-90s, he began to discover the world of games for himself with fellow history students in Oldenburg, about ten years later he explored the trade fair in Essen for the first time and began blogging about games. Since 2015, he has been writing as a permanent author for Spiel Doch!, the Spielbox sister magazine, which was more or less his professional entry into a fascinating world. His credo: games journalism should please be much more than just reviews, reviews and reviews.
Christoph Dick - Better Boardgames
Christoph Dick is a passionate board gamer and founded the YouTube channel Better Board Games in 2018. Together with Thomas Brendel, he regularly presents the best board games. In the meantime, Better Board Games is one of the widest-reach board game channels in Germany and offers versatile formats. As this project is a hobby, Christoph still works full-time as a product manager and drives digital product development and digitisation. Before that, he worked for a long time as a software developer with a focus on apps.
Joana Leyendecker - 1Live
Born in 1989 in Wuppertal, studied intermedia in Cologne where she worked at the Cologne university radio station and at the radio station WDR Cosmo. The studies went, the radio stayed. Since 2018, Joana has been working freelance, primarily at the station WDR 1LIVE - as a show producer and gaming reporter. She is also head writer for the Twitch format WDR Heimwehpixel. In addition to radio reviews, she also reports on analog and digital games and the industries behind them in her podcast UNLOCKED.
Maren Hoffmann - Spiegel
Maren Hoffmann regularly reports on board games: In SPIEGEL, in the trade magazine spielbox and in other media. In doing so, it is always her concern, as she says, "to drive up with the low-floor bus" and to pave the way for as many people as possible into playing games or expanding their own playful horizons through beginner-friendly texts. Reflecting on what we do with games, what games do with us and how games are made has been an important focus of her journalistic work for decades. Her work as an editor in SPIEGEL's Job and Career department also repeatedly leads to intersections with her favourite topic: because board games can also ensure better togetherness in a professional environment, Maren Hoffmann regularly organises game evenings for her colleagues. She has been a member of the "Spiel des Jahres" jury since 2022.