The Road to the UK Games Expo 2019
Wow. Where has time gone? It feels like it was only yesterday we were at the last UK Games Expo, and yet here we are – preparing for this year, with under a month to go. It’s crazy!
Started in 2007, the UK Games Expo is the largest board game hobbyist convention in the UK. Last year it had well over 20,000 individual people visit the three day event, and this year we are expecting more than that. Since we personally started going, in 2014 (maybe?), the UK Games Expo has grown from being based in the Hilton Hotel at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham (West Midlands, England)) to being based in the Hilton Hotel, plus three exhibition halls, seminar rooms, and more. It is huge, and we love it.
This year (May 31st to June 2nd) myself and Beth (my partner) will be attending again waving the Start Your Meeples banner. It’s been a crazy year for us, moving house and the likes, so three days looking at board games is sounding pretty serene right now.
So, what can you expect at the UK Games Expo? Well, the simple answer is – a little bit of everything.
One of the truly great things about the board game hobby is how inclusive it is, and it is inclusive because it has something for everyone. The board game industry has sprouted from thousands of years of tradition and games, and now we have this beautiful collective (in like…a non borg way…) of board game companies and enthusiasts driving the hobby into a new age. Across this blog, I have always referred to this board gaming place we are in as “the board game renaissance” and I still stand by that analogy. We, as hobbyists are in the middle of something truly beautiful that is sprouting from a love we all share for the game.
The UK Games Expo is, in the UK at least, the pinnacle of that achievement of making gaming as accessible and inclusive as possible. From family friendly games to wargames, from CCGs (collectable card games) to worker placement game, from simple games to games where to need to formulate spreadsheets just to work out who has won (*cough*Mage Knight*cough*).
So, what can you expect at the UK Games Expo?
The UK Games Expo this year is bigger than ever, and the list of events you can take part in is second to none. Firstly, there is just the sheer scope of the show –
- Hall 1, 2, and 3a – These are the big trade spaces, including zones for specialised gaming. Hall 2 is where the tournaments take place, of which I know there is a giant Keyforge tournament there this year as I have friends taking part. It was here that in 2017 I came 6th in the national Splendor tournament. Good times. There is also a massive bring-and-buy that I have never visited, but I do hear it is good. Together, the halls total 27,000 sqm of gaming space.
- Hilton Hotel – The Hilton Hotel is where the RPG rooms are, as well as open gaming space that is open until ridiculous o’clock at night.
- The Food! – Okay, so it may or may not surprise some of you, but I am a “robust” chap. I like my food, and the UK Games Expo food area, outside of the Hilton Hotel, has some incredible choices.
Next, there are so many seminars, shows, and general things going on that it is impossible to list them all. For the full list, you are going to need to visit the UK Games Expo website; however, highlights include – The Dice Tower Live Recording, The No Pun Included Show, Nightmare Live, The Dark Room, The Dark Room Til Ya Die, The Viking Village, Werewolf Live, Tom Crosbie, The MMORPG Show, the Star Trek vs Star Wars debate, Star Ship Simulator, Vampire the Masquerade Giant Game, and so, so much more. It’s incredible.
Have I mentioned yet that you get to meet some of your favourite people in the gaming industry, from designers to publishers to influencers? It’s amazing.
So, what does this mean for the coming weeks?
Well, over the next few weeks, myself and Beth will be in our research phase. What this means is that we’ll be watching shed loads of videos (an official metric measurement) and reading up about a lot of games. We already have our tickets and will be attending a few events, and so now it is just down to preparing for the expo itself. I feel horrifically under prepared for it at the moment due to the whole “moving house” thing (no, I don’t know either why that was in quotation marks) but we will get there. It is the most beautiful and amazing gaming event of the year after all.
Throughout May I will also be getting this blog back into the shape it was before the whole moving house thing as well, so you should see more posts going live on here about this, that, and the other in preparation of the UK Games Expo.
I hope to see you there!