How it all began
The European Championship Board games has a long and rich history. It all started back in 1976 when KRONE, a German cigarette company, founded a games club. In 1977 the first championship for individual players was held in Berlin, followed in 1978 with a championship in Ostsee. This was the last championship for individuals.
Sven M. Kübler participated at the championships in Ostsee and encountered there the joy of tournament play. But he also noticed, that there was a drawback with a tournament type for individuals in the sense that luck dominates the championships. A tournament with teams would eliminate the luck factor significantly.
In the early years of SPIEL in Essen when it was still held in the “Volkshochschule”, a school building, Sven was able to convince the organizer Friedhelm Merz that the SPIEL would be the ideal convention to organize the German championships. In 1983 the first German championship was held and 20 teams participated. Much was learned from this first tournament and the years after the chaos remained, but the planning improved and the tournament developed. In 1987 Sven decided to stop with the organization of the German championships. In 1988 the SPIEL did not hosted the German championships anymore, but instead Friedhelm Merz decided to have an European championship organised. This tournament was founded under the name Intergame. In the first years Peter Janshoff set the base and on a later stage Peter Gehrmann, followed by Ferdinand de Cassan, continued the tournament.
In 1993 Friedhelm Merz requested Sven to take over the organization of Intergame. In the six years to come Intergame attracted each year 24 teams from different European countries to compete for the European title. In the meantime SPIEL has grown out to the largest game fair in Europe and was no longer located at the “”Volkshochschule”” but at the convention hall in Essen. Unfortunately this has lead to an increase of costs to organize the championships. Also other tournaments were organized, consuming available budget of potential sponsors. Therefore in 1998 the last Intergame was held.
Ronald van Lent participated with the “Flying Dutchmen” in the 1997 and 1998 edition of the Intergame. After the news that Intergame was not to be organized anymore, he decided to pick up the gauntlet. With the support of Sven a restart of the championships took place in 2000 at the Gen Con Benelux convention in the Netherlands. A new name is introduced: EuropeMasters. Though a new name is introduced, the tournament structure remained the same. And the restart was a big success and exceeded any expectations. Since 2001 EuropeMasters moved to the Spellenspektakel, the largest game fair in the Benelux. In 2003, after an absence of 4 years, the European Championship is finally returning to the Spiel in Essen. And hopefully there to stay!
With the qualification rounds and national championships throughout Europe taken into account, an estimated amount of more than 2000 players are involved and compete to take part at EuropeMasters where only one team can be the winner of the European title. The 2004 edition was a special edition, as it was the 5th anniversary of the EuropeMasters with 25 teams (100 players) participating from UK, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Suisse, Austria, Italy and Czech Republic. In 2009 we celebrated our 10th year anniversary with a total of 34 teams (136 players!), including players of Scandinavia: Finland and Sweden….and this is not the final goal, each year the number of players as nationalities participating is growing.
Over the years, the amount of teams participating is growing. A new record is set in 2019 with 38 participating teams from 12 different countries.