UK Games Expo: better than Christmas for gamers
Those were the thoughts of my friend Kev, but I completely concur. This year, my UKGE experience was better than ever...and also rather different. I went on the Friday and Saturday but wasn't heading into the convention with masses of plans of demos and buying. Instead I had a couple of stands to visit, a few purchases/sales to pickup/deliver, and nothing else concrete. Instead, I would play some games, stroll round the halls seeing what piqued my interest...and spend some time with friends. So, here's my top ten UKGE 2018 moments.
10. Bring and Buy
Another UKGE, another mass of criticism for the Bring and Buy from virtually all comers. Of course there were massively long queues, but that's not the fault of the organisers. It's a popular fixture that many, many people will want to use (whether buying or selling) so it's going to busy a lot of the time. The area was loads bigger than last year's, with many organisers and an improved booking system, so full marks to UKGE. And the commission they take goes to charity! Anyway, I booked in my games to sell Friday lunchtime, many of which did indeed find new owners, and picked up the hard to find Cults & Culture expansion for The Golden Ages and for an excellent price.
9. Seeing Legends Untold in the flesh
It's always nice to see a game you've backed on Kickstarter take shape. Kevin from Inspiring Games has been great at keeping us up to date with how things are going, changes, additions etc but there's nothing like seeing the game in person. Taking a look at the pre-production copies, and some lovely miniatures (which may or may not see the light of day) was a pleasure. I cannot wait for this one to arrive.
8. Hero Master demo
I've been following the progress of Jamie and his game Hero Master: An Epic Game of Epic Fails for a while now. This is another game coming to Kickstarter, I believe in September, so it was great to have a demo. It's as silly as I expected, but well designed from what I saw, so I shall be keeping track of this until the campaign gets underway. Oh, and Jamie is a legend too.
7. Successful meetups for games bought and sold on BGT&CUK
One of the
curses bonuses of being a member of the Board Game Trading & Chat UK Facebook Group is the chance to sort out game sales or purchases ahead of time for delivery at the expo. This saves on postage costs but does present some logistical challenges. By the week before the expo, I'd spent most of my pocket money on copies of Goa, Favor of the Pharaoh, Oddville, Mombasa and Terra. There were a number of dissenting voices pre-expo poking fun at eejits like me who thought that it would be easier to arrange to swap games at the expo. And it was. Everyone showed up promptly and there was little fuss so I call that a win. Loads of new-to-me games for cheap prices.
6. Finally meeting Leanne, Chooi, Martin & Martin and Lee as well as seeing Mick, Karl and many other friends and acquaintances
One of the weird, and liberating, things of the internet is making friends with people who you may never have met. After a series of near misses at other game conventions, I finally got to:
- meet the lovely Leanne (and chill for a while in the King's Suite at The Hilton)
- get a huge hug from Martin A
- have a selfie with Chooi
- get ambushed by Martin C for another photo
- shoot the breeze with Lee
5. Chatting/playing games with Matt and his friends
I met Matt (with virtually constant companion Mike, sadly missing this time) at Essen 2016 and it was my pleasure to spend most of Friday at the expo with him. We played Splendor with Cities, Battle Line and the newly-acquired Oddville and I enjoyed meeting some of his friends at various stands around the halls. We also had beer and Garibaldi biscuits, and chatted. Good times: thanks mate.
4. Bargains! Troyes and Civilization: A New Dawn
I don't go to UKGE expecting cheaper than online prices for new games so was pleasantly surprised with a couple of bargains: Troyes for £31 and Sid Meier's Civilization: A New Dawn for £32. Having played both of them, I'm even more delighted as they seem like belting games.
3. Wandering round the halls, soaking up the atmosphere
This may seem bizarre to some people. I'm not even one for crowds; I really hate how crowded big cities like London feel and would much rather live out in the sticks. However, I absolutely love how big UKGE is getting; the buzz is amazing and there's so much to see. One of the best bits was just enjoying mooching around, stopping where I fancied, not worrying about anything.
2. Caricature by Sabrina Miramon, artist for Dice Hospital
I do have a soft spot for caricatures, and a personal touch with my games, so it was my pleasure to meet Sabrina, have a chat and get a caricature of one of the Dice Hospital characters to stick to my box when it arrives.
1. Silly games with Ad and Elaine
I know Ad and Elaine from Herefordshire Board Gamers pretty well now. We often attend each other's events and meet at other local gatherings like DellCon so it was nice to get some games in with them on Friday and Saturday. While Game of Thrones on Saturday evening was of course epic, my best single experience of the weekend was probably playing this weird collection of lighter games: Total Rickall, Go Nuts for Donuts and Cobra Paw. Total Rickall, in particular, was just hilarious. I'd not even watched Rick and Morty until after the expo but we giggled our way through two games on Friday afternoon.
Thank you to everyone, whether named or not, for contributing to a wonderful expo.