RogerBW's Blog

UK Games Expo 2016 06 July 2016

UK Games Expo continues to expand, and this year moved the trade hall into the NEC for the first time. With images; cc-by-sa on everything.

Friday

A fairly smooth drive up, followed by the discovery that the Hilton has invented a whole new way to be mildly unpleasant: in the single room I was in, at least, they've saved space by not bothering with a bathroom door. Instead, toilet, washbasin and shower are in a sort of cubby off the entryway.

On the other hand, hallelujah, they provided a window that actually opened!

I went over to the NEC, blowing its own trumpet as always:

(...im Kabaret, au Cabaret, to Cabaret?)

(...no matter how much therapy we go through...)

and had a quick wander round the halls, followed by getting straight into boardgames demonstrations as several of the expected demonstrators hadn't been able to make it.

A couple of years ago the organisers of the Expo put out a poll: would the traders like the two-day show extended into Friday? Almost universally they said "no": a weekend show let them get in a normal business day on the Friday (or do their other jobs if they weren't full-time game dealers), then turn up with stock late on Friday or early on Saturday and get set up for the weekend. Also, people with disposable income tend to have jobs at which they have to be during the week. But Friday's a trading day now even so. It seemed a lot quieter than last year's Friday, though that may have been because the dealers were set up in the huge NEC hall rather than the crowded Hilton conference rooms of the last few years.

A five minute walk between NEC and hotel doesn't sound like much, but one finds excuses not to make it more often than is necessary.

The food trucks were back, thank goodness.

(The Hilton has admitted, in effect, that it can't provide food that people want to eat when they're spending their own money for it.)

I ran And Ye Gave Me Meat, a WWII Cthulhu adventure for GURPS, in the evening. No PC fatalities, though a lot of bad dreams in their futures. This was a very gung-ho group; I hope to release the recording eventually. (Only three of the players who'd bought tickets bothered to turn up. Fortunately they had friends.)

Saturday

Artemis Starship Bridge Simulator with some of the Reading boardgamers. I wonder whether I'm the only person who has played both this and GURPS Spacecraft's basic combat system. Surely not!

A demonstration game of Thunderbirds with the Tracy Island playset, I mean expansion – with some of the crew from Whartson Hall and YSDC. I ended up playing Tintin, which was surprisingly enjoyable. (Also, we won.)

My favourite hall costume. "Madam, you appear to have been swallowed by a predatory bird. Are you all right?"

We mostly demonstrated in a corner of the Pegasus Spiele booth.

The new Bill & Ted's Excellent Boardgame, hitting retail probably around August. And you know what… in spite of the tie-in (which traditionally tends to be a negative quality indicator) it's actually pretty interesting, a bit like a bastard offspring of Robo Rally with The Stars Are Right.

Bullet engravers. Because, why not really? (No 9mm Parabellum though. Damnyanks.)

Yes. Really. That's what they call the "suite" between NEC halls 1 and 5.

I ran Truant Inkwell this night, with four players - and none of them chose either of the two PCs with serious technical knowledge that's really quite helpful in the adventure. Hmm. But it seemed to work anyway. I recorded this session too, but other groups were very loud and it may not be usable.

Open gaming at the Hilton.

Sunday

The Hilton has a restaurant manager who is fanatically determined that guests may not seat themselves. So there was a queue for breakfast even at seven in the morning, and no table was full. Most hotels have learned better by now.

Happy fat crow in the car park.

It's Canada Gosling season again.

Just because you skewed the square grid, that doesn't make it exciting. (Project Elite from Drawlab Entertainment.)

Shiny! (from Cog o Two.)

The inevitable Throne of Games (from Dicing on the Cake).

Prototype Battle of Britain game from Plastic Soldier. Looks interesting, but my word it won't be cheap with all those minis.

"Atmospheric" scented candles. If you don't want me to play in your game, it's probably easier just to ask me to go away.

Munchkin Panic was our most popular game this time (I think in part because we were attracting more "serious" gamers, being mixed in with Pegasus, rather than the "I wanna play Munchkin" types).

I thought the point of advertising puffs was to hint, rather than lie outright?

And so home and fall over, only to leave on holiday shortly thereafter. Well, it was that or move the Midsummer Barbecue, and midsummer doesn't move.


  1. Posted by Owen Smith at 02:26pm on 06 July 2016

    I've reached the stage where I will not knowingly take a single room anywhere. They either have crap features (like the toilet you mention), or are wedged in the loft with no headroom, or are next to the lift where it's noisy. I think hotel designers just use single rooms to fill crappy space they couldn't get anything else into. My usual experience is it's not much more expensive to have a double.

  2. Posted by RogerBW at 02:30pm on 06 July 2016

    Most hotels I stay in don't even have single rooms any more: most rooms are about the same size, and come with either a double bed or two singles, while a few are larger "family rooms" with space for double bed and a cot or similar.

  3. Posted by John Dallman at 03:28pm on 06 July 2016

    Is a skewed grid on a game board like Dutch angles in a film?

  4. Posted by RogerBW at 03:38pm on 06 July 2016

    Well, it hasn't been used by everyone and his dog trying to look arty. Yet.

    (Shadowrun's Downtown Militarized Zone, and Battletroops, tried to get away from the hex grid image by just having points where the hex centres would be. I've never seen a game on a triangle grid, though I'm sure they exist somewhere.)

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