As a first time participant to Spiel Essen 2022, Singaporean designer, Geoffrey Chia shares his experience in exhibiting his game, Contraband Insider, to one of the largest boardgame conventions in the world.
Q: Please introduce yourself and your company!
My name is Geoffrey Chia. I’m the founder of Good Spirit Games and the game designer of Contraband Insider.
Q: What games did you bring to Spiel Essen this year?
Contraband Insider is the first published game from Good Spirit Games, therefore that would be the only game I brought to Spiel Essen 2022.
Contraband Insider is a deduction board game for 3 to 5 players. Each player will be playing the role of a corrupted police investigator working with syndicates that distributes contraband goods. The game is played over 3 rounds, where players will hide 3 of their contraband goods cards in 9 different locations. Players will have to confiscate the goods from other players while preventing their own to be discarded.
Q: Is this your first time to Spiel Essen? What is your impression of the event this year?
That was my first time at Spiel Essen.
It had been a fruitful and exciting event as I met many talented game designers and publishers from different parts of the world. Not to forget the enthusiastic large crowd as well. I also learnt a lot from constructive feedback from the international audience, it was quite an eye-opener. The most surprising part of my experience was my copies were almost sold out, which was encouraging for a new game not many people heard of.
Q: What’s the biggest challenge you face while at the fair? Did you overcome the challenge?
My biggest challenge was to balance my time as an exhibitor and an overly excited player who wanted to try out as many games as possible. I need to be at my booth most of the time to demonstrate the gameplay, which means lesser time to try out the games I was curious about.
My plan to overcome that was to use the opportunity to approach as many exhibitors to try out their games during the set-up period, if possible when they were less busy. At the event itself, I would request a verbal description or play a single round to get an idea of the gameplay. It would also be an opportunity for me to introduce myself as a game designer.
Q: What are your observations of the attendees of the fair and how are they similar or different from the gamers in Singapore?
I felt that most of the attendees in Spiel Essen are willing to try out games from different nationalities, smaller game studios and publishers, which could be one of the reasons why Hall 4 and 5 were always crowded, where I was located.
I’m glad that there are an increasing number of board gamers in Singapore throughout the years, even though the majority are into lighter games. However, there are more opportunities for exposure to different types of games through Meetup events organized by various board game cafes with a regular community.
Q: What is your biggest takeaway from the fair?
My biggest takeaway would be that the theme, illustrations and graphic design do help in grabbing attention and curiosity for the game, and then the gameplay would be a deciding factor on whether the game is enjoyable or not. This is something to take note of as I am developing my second game under Good Spirit Games.
Q: Where can we find out more about your company?
You can find out more about my games on my social media sites: