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What Makes The UK Games Expo

The first weekend in June. For many it means the unofficial start of Summer – for board gamers it means something different. For board gamers it means the UK Games Expo.

The UK Games Expo is (and probably always will be) the largest board game convention in the UK. For three days of the year, gamers from all over the world descend on the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham to celebrate the gaming renaissance and all the joy that comes with it. Started in 2007, the UKGE now opens its doors to over 20,000 gamers each year and is well deserving of a visit.

Here, on this blog, at Start Your Meeples, we have a special place in our hearts for the UK Games Expo. Having attended it since 2014, this will be our 5th year, and each year I can wholeheartedly say, has been better than the last. Each year it is bigger and there is more to do, and each year the three days fly by in a haze of awesome splendour (or, in 2017, actual Splendor). It is actually due to the UK Games Expo that we started this blog and, to this day, we relish it as the high point in the gaming year.

The reason for this is simple – the UK Games Expo is about gaming – it always has been and it always will be; however, it is about something else and something far more valuable. The UK Games Expo is about community and being inclusive. Of course, it is a place for board gamers to really indulge in the hobby; however, it is also a place for gamers to be themselves and meet like minded people who share their love of the game.

This is, in our humble opinion, the core reason for going to the UKGE, and one of the reasons we will be attending this weekend. It allows for us to really geek out about the games, the environment, and the events – but it is also about meeting people who love board games for what they are.

So – the games and the people are two reasons you should visit the UK Games Expo this year. As a quick note on the former, and adding a far more pragmatic point, the UK Games Expo is also a place where you can get your hands on some of the latest games to come out including, this year, Ticket to Ride: London and Keyforge: Age of Ascension.

The Expo, however, is more than a simple gaming expo. It is something bigger and more beautiful than that. All through the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday there will be events and seminars – some free and some that require tickets. These can be live recordings of some of your favourite Vloggers, to seminars on game design, to events such as The Dark Room (which is one of the best evenings of entertainment we have ever been to). There is also, as mentioned before, the best burrito stand I have ever been to, and I really hope it is there again this year.

You see, the UK Games Expo is a celebration of all things gaming. It is a place to buy games (of course) but it is also a place to relish in the board game culture. It is a place to meet, a place to relax, a place to shop, and a place to learn. It is a place to be inspired and place to play lots of games.

It is for those reasons we love the UK Games Expo and would recommend it to everyone.

This blog was born off the back of the UK Games Expo 2017, and this year myself and Beth are going to be there once again. If you are going to be there this year, make sure you look out for my beardy face and say “hi” if you see it pottering about. This weekend is going to be epic.

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