Monday, June 05, 2017

UK Games Expo 2017

So I had a nice weekend away.

Just one part of the main hall 
The UK Games Expo is the largest event of it's kind in the UK, I suppose if you are pedantic, and some wargamers surely are, you might argue Salute is bigger, I can't say other than that as I understand it Salute is a Wargames show.  Expo is Boardgames and Roleplaying games first and foremost, with Wargames a distant, but present, third.

The Forgeworld stand 
I've said in the past about how when I go to a wargames show, it is all about eye candy and shopping, and is generally an exercise in getting through the throng as quickly as possible.  Two or three hours is generally enough, and i will not play demonstration games (unless I'm running them!).

Rumbleslam fantasy wrestling 
I find in my limited experience the opposite is true at boardgame shows; I want to hang around all day, and I'm actively looking for new games to play.  There are two strong reasons for this: firstly you can learn the game in the most effective way possible, in the hands of someone who really understands how it works, and so can teach it well; and secondly, if you like the game, you can almost certainly buy it there and then and take the whole thing home.  Play a wargame and enjoy it, likely to be an entirely different commitment to get your own version up and running, and if what appeals is the sumptuous scenery and figures of the team running the demo, well it may not even be more than a pipe dream
One of many open gaming halls 
Even then I didn't play a huge number of games 5 or 6 over two days, but the pace and leisure of the expo is very different to most wargames shows.  Here was an even that on its' Saturday ran from 9 to 6pm in its' main hall followed by talks and open gaming until after midnight.  For those who want it there were also many tournaments (including Saga, Infinity and Fields of Glory), interactive games, reenactors, cosplayers, bring and buys....

 Rune Wars 
 The Walking Dead Miniatures Game
I think the real difference, is that on top of the ability to shop, board game shows strike me as more social and more welcoming experiences.  Wargames shows in the UK could learn much from the approach, but at the same time the audience has much crossover, but remains distinct in many ways.  Small events can be very like this in wargaming, but Salute aside would it ever be possible for a wargaming show in the UK to have 15-20 thousand individual attendees over a weekend?

Early Sunday in the  main hall
Well, anyway, musing aside, if you are at all a board gaming fan I would heartily recommend a visit, if you are solely a wargamer there may still be enough to interest you; but at least give something different a try to see what our biggest wargames shows should perhaps aspire to learn from.

As to my shopping, obviously mainly I picked up board and card games, though with a few miniatures oddments in there too (more baggage from Warbases for example).

My swag
Of interest to the wargamer crowd here is most likely to be The Grizzled, a cooperative card game for 2-5 players set in WWI.  Players represent a group of friends enrolled in the French army, trying to get through the war alive together.  It is well regarded and I look forward to playing it.  Also bordering on a conflict system I guess is Superstar Showdown, picked up for all of six quid!  A 'better than it has any right to be' card driven combat game.

Additionally I had some other positive outcomes of meetings and sessions I had at the weekend, but more on that in due course....

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