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Well-known illustrator creates cute ambassador for world’s largest boardgame fair

Bonn, Germany 27th June 2023. Everyone who knows SPIEL Essen has memories and emotions connected to it – and from now on a cat also comes to mind. Because from 2023 on, SPIEL will have a mascot to welcome the about 150,000 visitors from all over the world in Essen. Playful, curious, open, and joyful: the orange tabby kitten created by the well-known game illustrator and game designer Michael Menzel combines everything that characterizes the world's largest boardgame fair. Now a name is needed, which the fans of the fair will find together.

"What animal represents play more than a cat?" asks Carol Rapp, managing director of Merz Verlag, which organizes the fair. "Cats lay themselves in play boxes, are curious and playful, and create emotions." The mascot, with its playful curl and cheeky canine, brings people even closer to the fair. "People connect much more with an animal than with a tangram," laughs Rapp. "Even though we really like our logo, no one says `Oh, how cute.' or wants to cuddle it and play with it."

With Michael Menzel, Merz Verlag was able to win over probably one of the best-known illustrators in the board game world to design the mascot. The artist, who lives in the Lower Rhine region, has a close connection to SPIEL himself, which he can now cast in color. "I was at SPIEL for the first time 20 years ago and was completely overwhelmed by the size, the crowds, the positive energy. It sounds so mundane, and yet I don't know of any place that concentrates so much enthusiasm and fun in one place every year. Just thinking about the show flashes umpteen situations through my head. The fact that I now get to illustrate the mascot for this event is an incredible honor for me and I really hope that people will associate it with their great show moments in the future."

Of course, every mascot needs a name. However, Merz Verlag doesn't want to simply determinate it, because SPIEL Essen is special for all visitors. That's why it should be the fans of the fair who decide what their cat will be called. Everyone is called upon for a week to submit suggestions, whether on the social media channels, by mail or contact form. The team will sift through all the ideas and then put the best ones to the vote, from which the fans can once again choose their favorite name. After all, the kitten should mean something to everyone later on, just as the GAME means something to everyone.

Pictures of the new mascot can be downloaded via this link: DOWNLOAD