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Worlds 2010. Germany. Be There. But Where?

by Johannes Klarhauser, Staff Writer

18th November 2009

The Continuing Committee has decided that, for the first time ever, in 2010 the World Championship will not be held at GenCon Indy, but in Europe. Yes, the Old World will get to host the most prestigious event on the Trek tournament circuit.

One of the goals of the Worlds 2010 team is to make this event as accessible as possible. Unlike the traditional August date for GenCon in Indianapolis, we are not bound by a particular date, so we have some flexibility to try and listen to what would be best for the players from all over the world.

The overall timeframe during which Worlds 2010 could take place extends from July to November.

At the moment, we have six cities on our shortlist of potential World Championship venues. They are Berlin, Essen, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, and Stuttgart. With the exception of Essen, all of these cities have been selected because they have both an international airport and an active player in town who will be able to assist with the planning. Essen is on the list for another reason (see below).

Since most non-Germans likely have never been to any of these places, here is quick overview of the candidates on our shortlist of Worlds 2010 host cities:

Home to about 1.8 million people, Hamburg is the second-largest city in Germany. Located in the north of the country, the city is one of the top three tourist destinations in Europe (after Vienna, Austria, and Munich). Hamburg offers a wide range of musicals, theatres, museums, and music venues; its infamous Reeperbahn area is considered Europe's largest red light district, with strip clubs and bars enough to make you forget your first-round exit from Day 2.

The capital of Germany, Berlin (and the surrounding area) has been the location of the European Continental Championships for three years now. A city well-known for its outstanding role in German and international events, Berlin is brimming with history. Among its 150+ museums there should be something for everyone, in case the vibrant nightlife is too much for you. Compared to other cities on this list, Berlin is actually fairly affordable.

The only city without a decent international airport, Essen made the cut because it is home to the biggest game fair in the world. If you think GenCon Indy is big, think bigger. "SPIEL" attracts about 130,000 visitors every year (that's about four times more than GenCon Indy).
However, there is one important difference between those two events: where GenCon is primarily a gaming convention, SPIEL is originally a trade fair -- at which most publishers present their new products -- though there is enough opportunity to sit down and play.
The downsides are that hotel prices and floor rents at the game fair itself are usually through the roof, so Worlds 2010 would most likely have to be at a separate venue. Also, in recent years, SPIEL has been very crowded. SPIEL 2010 takes place October 21-24, so this would likely dictate the date of Worlds. In addition, Essen itself is not necessarily one of the top tourist attractions in the country.

Frankfurt/Main (not to be confused with Frankfurt/Oder, which is at the other end of Germany) has the biggest international airport in Germany, and with its excellent flight connections to all over the world, it is arguably the city that is easiest to get to. While the city is not quite in the same league as Hamburg, Berlin or Munich in terms of tourist attractions, it has its share of great events, such as the world-famous book fair (mid-October). Also, with its excellent flight and high-speed train connections, Frankfurt serves as a great transport hub to other destinations in Europe, should you decide to follow up your Worlds experience with a trip to other areas.

Slightly smaller than Frankfurt, with about 600,000 inhabitants, Stuttgart is the sixth-largest city in Germany. Located in the south, it is home to several castles and parks representative of the area, and, like Munich, differs quite remarkably from the northern locations on our list. Prices in Stuttgart should be slightly more affordable there, and seeing how the big events in the German/European STCCG tournament scene have traditionally been held in the northern parts, Stuttgart might also be a nice change of scene for those who have been to Potsdam/Berlin for the last three years.

Located in the state of Bavaria, in the south-east, Munich is best known internationally for its famous beer festival, the Oktoberfest (late September/early October). Attracting more than six million visitors every year, it is the world's largest fair and an important part of Bavarian culture. Its other tourist attractions are probably unrivaled in the country, with famous castles and historical sites close by.
Munich is fairly easy to reach from anywhere in the world, since it has one of the most important airports in Europe, and excellent train connections. It is also a good starting point to get to other popular holiday destinations – within a few hours, you can be in Austria or Italy.
The biggest downside of Munich, as far as Worlds 2010 is concerned, is the fact that it is quite an expensive area. Especially during the Oktoberfest season, hotel prices and venue rents will be off the scale, so keep that in mind when you vote and be prepared to spend an extra Euro or two.


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