It always seems a bit strange, when setting up a blog, exploring what a convention was like before actually writing about the games.
The UK Games Expo is the 3rd largest Games Expo in the world, generating 31,000 visits from over 16,000 visitors over the three days. It collects gamers and exhibitors from all around the world, with the widest array of games on display that has ever graced the shores of the UK.
This year I decided, along with a few friends, to attend all three days of the Expo…and what a three days they were!
Since I first attended, three years ago, the UK Games Expo has grown somewhat exponentially. The first year I went was 2015, when it took place in the Hilton Hotel at the NEC. The next year it was Hall 1 in the main centre. This year it took place in Hall 1 and Hall 3, with the tournaments happening in the latter. I entered one of these for Splendor and am now (officially) the 6th best player in the UK. I just thought I would drop that in there because… well… why not?
The Expo is always interesting as there are always so many different people, game designers, and demographics who visit. This year was no different, with more game publishers joining the mix, trying to vie for our attention. Most, I have to say, were successful.
No Pun Included
As a gamer I am a huge fan of No Pun Included, the YouTube Channel. The duo behind it, Elaine and Efka, were both at the event. I bumped into them, did the typical “Excuse me, but are you from No Pun Included?” and got chatting to them. They are, I have to admit, awesome.
I ended up chatting to Efka for a few minutes, and he asked me if I wanted to take part in his next video. Initially I turned it down (I get anxious fairly easily) and walked away. A few moments later I changed my mind and went back to do a small skit. You can see me appear around mid way through the video.
To be honest, my cameo or not, it’s a great breakdown of the Expo as a whole so I would heartily recommend it.
It was amazing to be included in the video. The guys behind No Pun Included run one of a few great tabletop vlogs that have inspired my game collection to an insane degree. Between them and TableTop (by Geek and Sundry), they have managed to persuade me to purchase tens of games and hundreds of good memories. I’m thankful to both vlogs, as without them I would be far more naive about the gaming world and the joys it can offer.
Most gamers remember playing the Fighting Fantasy Books/Games as a kid, written by Steve Jackson (not that one), and Ian Livingstone. Ian was at the expo and signed a copy of Deathtrap Dungeon for me. It was a little bit embarrassing as, not knowing what he looked like, I did ask him when Ian Livingstone would be signing books. He responded saying “I can sign them now if you would like.” Ahem. Yeah. So thus is the tale of my signed copy of Deathtrap Dungeon.
National Splendor Tournament
As mentioned previously, I took part in the National Splendor Tournament and came 6th. Pretty happy with that. Over the next few weeks I’ll be posting a strategic breakdown of Splendor as, in hindsight, I have been able to analyse the playing styles of the people I played against. Plus, who doesn’t love adding a bit of maths to things?
Everdark has been on the gaming circuit for a couple of years now and is still in development. This year it was interesting to see how it had grown again. It’s an incredibly strategic game based around revolving different levels to solve puzzles.
Personally, although the game was lacking a bit at the moment, it is constantly being refined and I imagine it will be incredible when it has been finished. It has really captured my imagination, and I know others who also played it who were instantly taken by a few really unique game mechanics.
BUYING ALL THE GAMES!
We spent a lot of money as we kept using the “oh, it’s only once a year” excuse. We purchased:
- Blood Rage
- Tiny Epic Westerns
- Timeline: General Interest (aka Timeline: Diversity)
- Sub Terra
- Frankenstein’s Bodies
- Flash Point
- Dead of Winter: The Long Night
- Arkham Horror
And even a few more I can’t remember (I’m sat on the sofa downstairs and the games are upstairs…it’s a long walk…).
All in all it was a fantastic couple of days. We met some amazing people. It is always a good sign when you are already counting down the days to the next one. It is time for us to prepare our bank account ready for next year.
In the meantime, may months of great gaming commence!