Conventions and Events - UK Games Expo 2013

Posted by: Matt On: May 28th 2013 edited

This weekend was the 7th annual UK Games Expo in Birmingham, and the first in its shiny new venue over in the Hilton Metropole by the NEC. Also the first we haven't had a CE stand at, mostly due to disorganisation on our part.

I went both days, the first on my own, the 2nd with my young daughter. Two very different experiences.

So the new venue is pretty ideal for the event at this size. Two huge rooms for trade. A decent size room for seminars. A host of rooms for smaller events and gaming. Can't fault it on that at all. The bar was extortionate. The food was expensive, but at least the buffet was more reasonable than the bar food. This is the venues one weakness. Subway Sandwich at the NEC was a 10 minute walk away and other pubs like The Little Owl are close by, so maybe not too bad once people learn to leave the venue.

It was heaving on Saturday. Way busier than last year. Expo Twitter puts numbers over the weekend at 3500 people. That's up on previous years by a marginI'd guess. I think the new location may have helped here, it's easier to get to for non Brum folk. Way bigger international crowd this time, with French, Italian and US companies and guests visible. Sunday was less busy, for which I was thankful, and seemed to be more fo the family day. Lots of families in attendance.

The seminars felt more accessible this year. The room was just across the corridor from the trade hall and with a nice list of what was when outside. I went to the Kickstarter event, and it was a good show, with some great ideas from Angus and Chris Birch and others whose names I forget.

Signage was in general way better this year. No hunting around in the basement for the RPGs. The hotel has digital boards with arrows pointing to where things are. Even thought the trade area was bigger than before, it was packed. I tried to get to Leisure games stand at about 11am and couldn't get within reach. Interestingly, the Playtesting area was expanded this year and also very, very busy.

I ran The Queen's Men and got three very keen players who really embraced the game's quirks. We had characters with suitably poorly applied makeup and polystrene rocks. All suitably 70s TV style. Plus it turned out the woman they were sent to rescue was a spy plotting to kill them all, and Marlowe's former lover. A good time was had by all.

Sunday was interesting, as it game me a feel for Expo as a family visitor. Daughter and I arrived at about half 11, and narrowly avoided a dark lord of the sith. She wasn't too sure what to make of the costumed folk. But we did a round of the first trade hall, eventually deciding to play Forbidden Desert. Which is a lovely board game of crashed skyships and searching for parts in the ever piling sands. She really got into that, so I bought a copy.

Next we tried to go to the family area, but, oh no, stormtroopers, so I was marched back to the first hall. Bumped into Tim and Graham and bought a copy of Age of Arthur with its lovely colour art.

We had subway sandwiches by the lake for lunch. It was lovely and sunny.

We tried the 2nd trade hall again. This time trying a bidding card game with a western theme. All was fine until the tannoy started doing announcements. In the style of daleks. I then had a very unhappy child. We retreated to hall one and played a jockey racing game, which was a bit too tactical for her and I felt was clever, but not very well produced.

She was definitely flagging by then, so we headed for home. Daughter was of the opinion that there should have been more folk dressed as goodies.


Posted by: Newt Newport On: May 29th 2013

Sounds well good. I've heard good reviews from several folk.

Hopefully me and D101 will be there with stand next year :)

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