The UK Games Expo 2013

UK  Games Expo 2013

Over in our tiny island nation we may not have the grand convention scene that our American cousins enjoy. We don’t have the headline grabbing GenCon, the controversial Origins or the wargame focused Adepticon. What we do have is the UK Games Expo which was held last week and it was a blast.

This was my first trip to a gaming convention or exhibition since going to the Golden Demon Awards way back in 1996! The whole event had a great atmosphere with loads to see and do; two huge halls full of vendors and demo games, loads of tournaments, free play rooms and play testing. I had the advantage of living less than an hour’s drive away so the venue was perfect location for me but unfortunately, even with it practically on my doorstep, I only managed to get in six hours on Saturday.
UK Games Expo Giant Ticket to Ride
Giant Ticket to Ride, well maybe not giant, but larger than normal.

The main halls that made up the majority of the event where a combination of traders, demo games, artists and celebrities (if you consider a couple of Dr Who actors celebrities). The mixture kept the event interesting as you’d never know what was round the next corner. A lot of the major game traders in the UK where there as well as the larger names in UK board games and minis games. I was a bit disappointed that some of the larger international companies didn’t have a bigger presence. AEG and Steve Jackson Games both had notable stands but FFG and Asmodee, two companies sponsoring the event, only had a handful of demo tables and no stands. This isn’t a complaint, FFG brought several games and their designers to the event including the impressive Death Star X-wing table but after seeing photos of the massive stands at GenCon I may have been expecting something grander. That being said this was the UK Games Expo and British companies where out in force. Traders where very much focused on board games, with a small smattering of miniature companies. Many games where at bargain prices and I managed to pick up Awesome Level 9000 and the reprint of Pandemic for a steal. I was rather disappointed by the lack of miniatures trader, as I was hoping to see some Infinity models or Dust Tactics in real life, but not a single trader seemed to have them and I couldn’t find anyone running any of these games. Titan Games where the only truly diverse minis trader, with Warmachine, Maulifaux and Batman on their stand and I have to give a shout out to their staff having a long and interesting chat about the new Batman skirmish game, Warmachine and the current state of Games Workshop.
UK Games Expo X-wing
The impressive Death Star X-Wing table and the FFG demo area.

If minis games where under represented on the trade stalls, the gaming tables had a huge representation. One giant room dedicated to war-games, with literally tons of finely painted plastic and resin. The real eye opener here was that out of six rows of war-gaming tables half of them where devoted to Warmachine & Hordes. Ladies and Gentlemen, Warmachine has truly arrived in the UK, and to Privateer Press, if you’re reading this; we’d love you to come along next year.

UK Games Expo Dice
Lots and lots of Dice!

A gaming convention isn’t complete without some gaming, I’m going to write dedicated posts for board games, miniatures games and card games I managed to play and see but suffice to say there was a lot going on. During the day a selection of tournaments where taking place, X-Wing, Netrunner, Memoir 44 and Yu-gi-oh to name just a few. Unfortunately these took up a lot of space and they left very little room for open gaming. I’ve been led to believe that during the evening the tournament rooms opened up but family commitments meant I could only visit during the day so I missed out on these. There where plenty of open RPG games going on and a room dedicated to play testing of early prototypes run by It was here I managed to get a game of Deadzone in, but more on that in my minis post.

UK Games Expo Warmachine Tournament
Just one row of the Warmachine tournament taking place

There were also a host of talks and seminars taking place, unfortunately in my excitement I didn’t fully absorb the program and so I missed out on these. I am already looking forward to next years’ show. Hopefully then I’ll have a chance to go for the full weekend and take part in one of the tournaments.

UK Games Expo Giant Pandemic
The gigantification of board games continues with Giant Pandemic, lab coats where mandatory.

So have a look at my more in depth view of the miniature games, board game and card games that where on show at the UK Games Expo 2013 (links to follow).

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