The Revenge of the game: Modena Play 2021

We have been to Modena Play 2021, the edition of the Revenge (on the pandemic, on the quarantine, on the damn virus that kept us away from each other) and it was nice.

Here are some of our sensations and impressions, after a lot of tried games, some purchases, browsing through the many stands and greeting friends who haven’t seen each other for a long (too long!) Time.

How did Modena Play 2021 go

Two and a half years after the last time (880 days, to be exact) we went back to Modena Play – as everyone knows by now Play: The Game Festival of Modena – for one edition, that of 2021, which represented a major challenge for organizers, publishers, exhibitors and also for visitors.

Yet, although the premises were not too encouraging, this year’s edition was carried out flawlessly, in which all those involved found themselves with enthusiasm and a great desire to Revenge, so long after that of 2019, “the best edition ever!”. On that occasion, the most important fair in Italy dedicated to Table and Role Play had registered about 44,000 admissions. This year, due to the limitations to fight this damn virus, it was not possible to arrive at these figures; however, according to the local newspapers of the Emilian city, the fair still had close to 20,000 admissions.

In particular, it was Saturday that recorded the greatest turnout. Friday has always been a little quieter day, a working day in which many do not have the opportunity to visit the fair. On Sunday, on the other hand, it recorded excellent numbers, even if not as good as those of the previous day; Saturday 4th September, in fact, all available tickets, limited for health reasons, sold out already in the early afternoon!

Play (fairly) safe

At the entrance to the fair, the employees scrupulously checked the validity of the tickets and the Green Pass, as we know necessary to access the spaces intended for the event. Unfortunately, however, the safety regulations to which we should be accustomed by now have not always been respected inside (but especially outside!) Of the pavilions. Clearly the behavior of each is their own responsibility, but a service that would call the most distracted to order, who perhaps let their nose escape a little too much from the mask, or disperse the spontaneous gatherings, has not been seen. We also noticed some non-exemplary behavior on the part of some exhibitors, especially behind the counter of the stand, called, in our view, also to lead by example. Fortunately, these are exceptions, and on the whole the fair was held in compliance with safety regulations; this is also thanks to the new management of the game spaces, with much larger and spaced tables.

Particular appreciation goes to the demonstrators, who are always attentive to the sanitation of the games and correct behavior at the table; after 3 intense days of explanation, raising your voice to speak through a mask starts to get really tiring. However, I have always found girls and boys who with enthusiasm managed to go beyond these difficulties and offer us visitors an experience to remember.

The Revenge of the Game

Having said that, let’s move on to table and role-playing games, the real heart of the Modena Play 2021 fair. In recent months practically all the publishing houses have confirmed their participation in the fair, and we have found them with stands, demo tables, spaces for sales but also games in all corners of the exhibition center. Speaking with the operators of the sector I noticed the strong emotion of being able to meet again after a long time: not for everyone perhaps, but for many, the game is not only work but also a great passion, and the commitment is therefore carried out with great enthusiasm. , even after a long time in which the “fair-rhythm” was lost.

Many novelties presented by the publishing houses, and all with some demonstration tables that were not always easy to find. In this regard, the game session booking mechanism, adopted by practically all publishers, seems to have worked quite well. Even though we weren’t able to try out all the titles we wanted, we wasted no time in the queue waiting for our turn at the table; more time to play something else, in fact, or just to wander around the pavilions enjoying the view and the moment.

The Modena Play 2021 edition, the one we will remember for the word Revenge, gave us games to titles created by well-established publishers such as Project L from Asmodee, a fast but very interesting Tetris-like, and how Paper Dungeon, a roll ‘n’ write dungeon crawler by dV Games, at a glance at the interesting Golem (which, however, we were not able to try), coming out soon with Skull Creations; but even the youngest publishing houses have made themselves noticed, for example Djama Games And Little Rocket Games, both with a title nominated for the Game of the Year award (Calico And Nova Luna, placement titles not only beautiful to look at, but also very fun) or Studio Supernova, of which we have all noticed the gigantic playable version of Shifting Stones.

There are also many prototypes or previews: this is the case, for example, of Black Rose Wars: Rebirth, available in 3 demo tables at the stand Ludus Magno Studio, or The Thing, a near-completion Kickstarter project created by Pendragon Games Studio, in which the team of Italian authors was able to recreate the horror and paranoid atmosphere of Carpenter’s film. Also Mancalamaro presented several novelties, among which it stands out Little Factory, “Sequel” to that Little Town that we liked so much not too long ago. Ah let’s not forget about One More Quest, an RPG coming to Horrible Guild’s Kickstarter soon!

Among the two most anticipated guests at the event there were Cole Wehrle, author of Root (title that brings us back to the 2019 edition, in which half of the visitors wandered around the fair with the name of the game written on the front!), present at the stand MS Editions for a tireless copy-signing session; but also Enoch Fryxelius, by the Terraforming Mars development team present at the stand Ghenos Games, of which we tried Ensemble, one of the most particular novelties of the fair. She went home satisfied by Modena Play 2021 certainly also United Games, who placed the other 3 finalist nominees of the Game of the Year award (The Crew, Paleo And My City).

How many other things there would be to tell, such as session a Kisarta from Illyon Island Editions, to make happy even the part of the role-player soul – it was not easy to escape death, only to find ourselves again entangled up to the ears – or even the visit to all the other stands, exhibitors and publishers, too many to tell about them all.

But Play: the Modena Game Festival 2021 is over, and so is this report. Let’s console ourselves by thinking that, if everything goes as we think, the most important fair dedicated to the world of gaming in Italy will probably return to its usual spring period. This means that the next Play is less than a year away! And this is also a good rematch, isn’t it?

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