UK Games Expo is in it's tenth year this year, and aside from that it is a special year for both Expo and myself!
Originally held at the Clarendon Suites in Birmingham, we visited Expo in 2008 (ish, my memory is hazy!) Myself and two friends entered a Settlers of Catan tournament that had around 30 participants (enough to fill a small room). Evening gaming was limited to a small room at a nearby hotel so unless you had a room there it wasn't easy to get involved in. Whilst we had a great weekend, checking out new releases and getting to demo some games we didn't (yet) own, it felt quite small compared to UK GenCon that we had previously been to.
Fast forward to 2014 and I revisited Expo, this time to demo for Z-Man games (my first official demoing experience!) I got to demo Helios and a prototype of Battle at Kembles Cascade. Expo had, by this time, moved to the Hilton NEC Metropole and was huge in comparison to my previous visit! There was a massive open gaming room open all hours, alongside multiple trade halls and the opportunity for a game at every corner. Being that I was working, however, I didn't get as much gaming time in as I would have liked so last year I vowed to go and just have fun.
The week before Expo last year was spent frantically putting the final pieces into place to launch this site in time. So, on not a lot of sleep but a huge amount of coffee I set of to Expo as 'The Mad Katter'. On the train from London to Birmingham I overheard the guys behind me talking about boardgames and spent the rest of the journey chatting to them. I then met up with friends at Expo as well as many people I knew from on line. Most nights were spent gaming until the early hours of the morning and a good time was had by all. A special mantion goes to the roll and move train game that came in the Virgin Trains kids pack that we played on the way home (despite three of us having cases full of new games!)
This year, as I said, is a big one for Expo. Due to it's ever increasing size changes have been made to accommodate even more people/traders/games! The trade hall is being moved over to the NEC with over 10,000 sqm and over 150 traders whilst the Hilton will still be the home for evening gaming, events and the famous bring and buy. Though, determined not to spend the whole event working, I will be helping out our friends at Happy Otter Games for some of the time. Don't forget to come and get your promo if you already own a copy of the Creature College. This will also be my first event with an official press badge so I hope to bring you lots of news from great UK companies.;
Some of things I'm looking forward to seeing
Oligarchy - a "...new trading card game for two or more players set in a dystopian near-future..." created by fellow Brightonian and friend Gary Wareham which will be launching on Kickstarter over the weekend. Entropic Games. In fact it's live now.
Imhotep - Spiel de Jahres nomination by Phil Walker-Harding which I'm hoping to try out. KOSMOS
The Networks - a tabletop strategy game in which the players are all running competing television networks. Formal Ferret Games.
The Dark Room - live on stage Choose Your Own Adventure inspired game of madness performed by John Robertson.
What UK Games Expo would be complete without a trip to the Bring and Buy stall, I have a huge amount going in to sell and hoping to find copies of a few from of my wist list; Dominant Species, Troyes, Age of Steam, Euphoria and Container
UK Games ExpoBirmingham NEC
Friday 3rd June (11am - 5pm)Saturday 4th June (9am - 5pm)Sunday 5th June (9am - 5pm)