First time at the UK games expo this weekend. What a treat it was.
After an early 3:30am wake up I slid down to cork and flew to Birmingham in time to join the queues for tickets. The clever gamers got there on Friday and avoided the Saturday rush. The NEC is right next to the airport and a free monorail zips you over there quick smart.
The expo is like a smaller version of Essen and by smaller I mean not that small. My understanding was 14,000 gamers attended the one at the weekend (which by coincidence is my target for Knavecon 8 in September)
The expo concentrates firmly on boardgames. There was a small representation for tabletop stuff but no Warhammer and no collectable card games (you know who you are). There was also a small but well marshaled cosplay section 🙂
Most of the game shop from the UK were there (pretty much) and there was a great lending library available. The buy and sell was BIG. I didn’t get into it until Sunday afternoon as I didn’t fancy waiting on line like a mook for a half hour. When I did most of the good stuff was gone or priced a bit high or of no interest to me really. I saw one or two bits but nothing my heart was set on
Just like Essen, Fantasy Flight, Days of Wonder and all the other big names were running game demos on multiple tables. I got to try out a few new ones (and buy them). A lot of smaller outfits were there too all demoing and selling their wares. GW or whatever they’re called were notable by their absence
Particularly cool was getting to meet some of the game designers and try out their games. There are some amazing people involved in our hobby.
Good kids section, good play tester area, good food, great location and I got to meet the nearest we have to celebs, Tom Vassal and Sam Healy (both of which are BIG dudes in person), you could have one or the other at your gaming table not both :). There were a few other celebs there too but didn’t catch up with them.
Negatives? Sterling difference is a killer. Accommodation was a bit far away but I’ve only myself to blame for doing it last minute. Will I go again? Definitely. Next time with a gang and a bit more organized.
Bought a tall stack of games which will all appear at Knavecon (more on those later).