GNT’s new Tourstarter tours not only allow you to help build the tour that you want to go on, but also puts money back in your pocket via profit sharing. As the tour grows – tour participants will enjoy a reduction in their fare. Of course, pricing is not fixed as we have yet to build the tour together, but based on past tours tour participants can expect a price reduction at 20 participants of $125.00 USD, at 25 participants that reduction increases to $200.00 USD and at a sell out of 30 tour participants expect a tour reduction of $250.00 USD.
Further, the tour pricing is based on past tour research. It may fluctuate while we build the tour but hopefully will remain close to the indicated rate.
Spread the word and help us put some money back into your pocket (or into your boardgame collection)…
About this TourStarter Tour
WE HAVE YET TO BUILD THIS TOUR! We are itching to get to it however, and thus have it listed as a Tourstarter project (see the Special Notice notes above and the “I’m Interested” notes to the right)… The dates have not been settled on nor have tour details been arranged. With that said, this tour is focused on Essen Spiel and thus will centre around those dates. The details of most days could remain the same as below, but of course even these are open for adjustment if the Tourstarter crowd has a different vision.
Here are some sample questions for all you possible TourStarter participants.
A) Are there any destinations in Germany that are particularly geeky that you would like to see?
B) Are there any boardgame or related destinations in Germany that you would like to see?
C) Is the length of the tour too long? For instance, should we focus on just Essen Spiel and forgo the touristy destinations below?
D) Are there any particular games you would like to play on the tour?
Grab your D20s, D6s, and Deutsch/English dictionaries as Geek Nation Tours is heading to THE board game mecca in October. Game to your heart’s content at the Internationale Spieltage SPIEL in Essen, Germany. Operating annually since 1983, the SPIEL welcomes nearly 200,000 visitors and more than 1200 vendors over four days each year making it of one of the world’s biggest trade fair/conventions for board games, role playing games, card games and much much more!
We’ll have some games that fit perfectly with each day’s theme, some games that fit perfectly with where we’ll be, and maybe some games that you’ve never seen before and will be released for the first time at the SPIEL. And GUESTS! GNT always has guests! We’re also teaming up with several games publishers to bring you some great games along the way. Here’s a look at what to expect on this 10 Day tour through southern & central Germany!
Day 1 - Munich (Saturday, Oct. 19, 2024) / Welcome to Germany!
Today you and your travelling companions will arrive from all corners of the globe by to Munich, Germany. You will be given detailed instructions on how to reach your hotel depending on your point of arrival. Once there you’ll meet your Geek Nation Tours Tour Leader and the rest of day is yours to do as you please. Whether you decide to rest after your long journey or get out and explore the capital of Bavaria, your Tour Leader will be able to help point you in the right direction. Once all the guests have arrived, your Tour Leader will lead an informal excursion to the Englischer Garten to enjoy a game in the beer garden! Regardless of what you do, in the evening we’ll gather together for our official Welcome Dinner. Here you’ll get to know the rest of the players and your Tour Leader will give you more detailed information on what to expect for the duration of the tour.
Overnight Location: Munich
Day 2 - Munich (Sunday, Oct. 20, 2024) / Neuschwanstein Castle & Castles of Mad King Ludwig
We’ll set off early for a long day out visiting the castles of King Ludwig II. Our first stop will be the legendary Neuschwanstein Castle, the inspiration for Sleeping Beauty’s castle in Disneyland! After a guided tour of the castle, we’ll have lunch in a nearby gasthaus and get our gaming on in the shadow of the castle…the perfect place to play Castles of Mad King Ludwig! In the afternoon we’ll continue on to Linderhof, Ludwig’s lesser-known, but completely over the top palace nestled in the Bavarian mountains. After touring the palace, we’ll return to Munich for dinner at the Royal Court Brewery…you probably recognize it by its German name, Hofbräuhaus!
Overnight Location: Munich
Day 3 - Stuttgart (Monday, Oct. 21, 2024) / Ludo Fact
Today we’ll get an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at how some of your favorite board games are manufactured. We’ll check out of our hotel and make our way to the Ludo Fact company in the town of Jettingen-Scheppach. Ludo Fact manufactures board games and puzzles in multiple languages for countless publishers around the world. You’ll see exactly what goes into the package before you unbox the game at home, including the box! We may even get a sneak peek at games that haven’t even been released yet or foreign versions of your favorite games. After our private tour of the offices and factory, we’ll break for lunch together with enough time for a brand new game…if we’re lucky we may even get a warm one right off the production floor! In the afternoon we’ll continue to Stuttgart where you’ll have the opportunity to spend the rest of the day as you wish. You may want to take in another factory tour of some other toys at Porsche or Mercedes or you may want to see what’s new at the KOSMOS publishing company store. Either way, your GNT Tour Leader will be available to help get you where you want to go. We’ll regroup in the evening for dinner together in a German beer hall where we'll learn the fine art of German coaster flipping.
Overnight Location: Stuttgart
Day 4 - Heidelberg (Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2024) / Heidelberg, Rüdesheim & Koblenz
We’ll need an early start for this day full of captivating castles. Our first stop will be Heidelberg to visit one of the most famous castle ruins in Germany. After touring the castle, we’ll get a glimpse at the city where Jackson Browne and Michael Fassbender where born and take in lunch together with time for another great game before we depart for Rüdesheim. We’ll stop at the Niederwald Memorial and soak up the view of the Rhine Valley before making our way along the river to Koblenz. This stretch of the Rhine River is a UNESCO World Heritage site with 40 castles in 40 miles! We’ll have a chance to catch our breath before enjoying dinner together complete with some local Riesling wines we saw growing along the Rhine.
Overnight Location: Koblenz
Day 5 - Essen (Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2024) / Eltz Castle & The Dragonstone
Today we’ll start by visiting Eltz Castle. The castle has been in the same family since it was first built in the 13th century. From here we’ll find our way back to the Rhine and visit Drachenfels, or “Dragonstone” in English. You won’t likely find any Tiergaryans or Baratheons here, but there is at least one dragon you can coax out of his cave. We’ll have lunch together at Dragonstone overlooking the Rhine River and make time for another new board game before continuing on to Essen. Upon arrival in the late afternoon, we’ll check in to our hotel and get a crash course in the local public transit we’ll be using to get around in the city during the convention. Later we’ll dine together and go over our strategies for securing those rare first edition games released at the SPIEL.
Overnight Location: Essen
Day 6 - Internationale Spieletage SPIEL convention (Thursday, Oct. 24, 2024) / Internationale Spieletage SPIEL!
This is it! The first day of the Internationale Spieletage SPIEL convention. We’ll set out early to get a good spot in line before the doors officially open in the morning and you’ll make a mad dash to publisher booths to pick up all the new releases. The day will be yours to do as you please, but you’ll have the opportunity to join your GNT Tour Leader for lunch away from the convention center (at your own expense). You’ll also have the opportunity to pass off your haul to your Tour Leader who will be able to return your items to the hotel so your arms are free to grab even more games. After the convention closes, we’ll get together for dinner to compare the great new games we’ve all picked up and test some of them out with our new friends.
Overnight Location: Essen
Day 7 - Internationale Spieletage SPIEL convention (Friday, Oct. 25, 2024) / More Internationale Spieletage SPIEL
Our second full day at the convention will hopefully be less hectic than the first and we’ll be able to sit down and demo some new and interesting games. You’ll have another opportunity to sneak away and catch your breath for lunch or simply handing off your morning’s purchases before heading back to the convention and trying to finish off another few halls for the day. Once again, we’ll gather together for dinner in the evening after the convention and we’ll be sure to have tons of new games to choose from for playing into the night.
Overnight Location: Essen
Day 8 - Essen (Saturday, Oct. 26, 2024) / More Internationale Spieletage SPIEL or Cologne Cathedral
Today you’ll have the option of spending another full day at the SPIEL or meeting your GNT Tour Leader before midday and making an excursion to Cologne. On the optional excursion, your Tour Leader will accompany you by train from Essen to Cologne where you’ll visit the world-renowned Cologne Cathedral and climb the spire to gaze over gargoyles at the city below. Your Tour Leader will be able to assist you with traveling by rail, but you will have to purchase your own “ticket to ride”. Whatever you decide to do, we’ll all gather together again in the evening for dinner and games to our heart’s content.
Overnight Location: Essen
Day 9 - Essen (Sunday, Oct. 27, 2024) / Last Day at the Spiel...
Our final full day at the SPIEL will be spent tracking down those last-minute games and convention exclusives or haggling for better prices on retailers’ remaining stock. As before, you’ll be able to join your Tour Leader for lunch (at your own expense) or pass off your morning purchases to be delivered to the hotel. In the evening, we’ll gather up one last time for our Farewell Dinner where you’ll reminisce over the previous week’s adventures and play one last round of games with your traveling companions.
Overnight Location: Essen
Day 10 - Dusseldorf (Monday, Oct. 28, 2024) / A Journey Home
Unfortunately, all good things must end and today we travel to the Dusseldorf airport to depart for home. However, the friends, memories and photos you’ve gathered, even before hitting the convention, are yours to keep forever!
As part of the guided tours of some locations, there will be some walking involved (especially Day 2 at Neuschwanstein and Day 5 at Eltz Castle). This tour is recommended for guests with average physical fitness.
NOTE: Attendance of special guests and celebrities is subject to change due to scheduling conflicts and professional obligations.
NOTE: COVID-19 has changed both our geek and our real worlds. Some things may never be the same and others may not be able to be offered on our tours or will have to be altered in a new post Covid world. With that said, please understand that GNT is moving forward as if the disease is already conquered, but all tours are now subject to change.
All hotel stays, your personal travel guide, motorcoach transfers between major destinations, dinner every night of the tour, four lunches, breakfast every day of the tour after arrivals, entry to Neuschwanstein Castle, entry to Linderhof Palace, factory tour of Ludo Fact, entry to Heidelberg Castle, entry to Eltz Castle, cogwheel train to Drachenfels, four-day passes to Essen SPIEL, four local transit day passes in Essen, games, prizes, and a few surprises along the way!
What's Not Included
Airfare to and from tour locations, local airport transfers, some local taxi and subway fares, lunches during the Essen SPIEL trade fair, entry fees to museums and attractions not included in the program, and the optional visit to Cologne on Day 8.
Estimated TourStarter Price
Single-Occupancy Upgrade: $1,200.00 USD
Don’t have a gaming buddy to get the double occupancy rate? Geek Nation Tours can help! Book as a double occupancy and we’ll match you up with a roommate. This way you get the best of both worlds, someone to stay up late and play games with…and more cash to spend!
Please Note that the above pricing is just an estimate and the final price will be determined upon settling our itinerary and coming to a collaborative decision on all details. It is our 2018 pricing however, and thus is a good estimate of the final price.
Non-Geek Spouse Argument
Look at the history and splendour of the tour…There is even stuff to do while I geek out at Essen!