RogerBW's Blog

UK Games Expo 2022 27 May 2022

UK Games Expo is happening on the first weekend of June. I'd hoped to go, but having thought it over, I shan't be there.

I already knew that their COVID policy would be "meh, shrug, we won't actually stop you from wearing a mask, aren't we terrific". But it's even worse than expected: no hand cleaning facilities, no boosted ventilation, nothing. A promised policy update last week has simply not happened.

At the same time, as I write this, new hospitalisations from COVID are running at about six times what they were this time last year (before most people had had their second vaccination dose). (We can't compare positive test numbers, because there were still free tests available last year – obviously, now that almost everyone has to pay for them, and data from privately-purchased tests are not being collected, the number of logged tests and therefore the number of logged positives have dropped hugely.) Given that current variants have a lower hospitalisation rate than the early ones, the relative number of actual cases is probably even higher.

I know some of the organisers and they aren't horrible people, but Expo's corporate policy last year and this seems to have been firmly based on maximising the organisation's profit at the expense of the people attending the show (exhibitors and volunteers as well as the general public): they go with strictly the current legal minimum, even though everyone with any knowledge of infectious diseases knows just how desperately inadequate that is. Never mind those wimps who'd rather avoid having a potentially life-altering illness and passing it on to their families and friends.

So when I see that another Expo policy is not to give the names of GMs in their RPG sessions, I'm already cynical. Are they trying to stop people avoiding GMs they know won't run a game they enjoy? Perhaps someone whose style they dislike, but who hasn't yet risen to the level of actionable offence like that edgelord in 2019? (I'm sure that isn't what John Dodd, in charge of the RPGs, would like, but he's not the only person who makes decisions, and there has been absolutely no comment from anyone involved.)

I'll probably go next year, but my recipe for enjoyment has increasingly been to have as little to do with the show's own organisation as possible. Get an exhibitor badge rather than queueing for a ticket. Don't touch the bring and buy or the scheduled events. Don't run or play organised RPG sessions (in spite of the ticket system, people just don't bother to turn up). Just go out, find and play games, and have fun.

  1. Posted by Owen Smith at 03:09pm on 27 May 2022

    At work on a site for 600 people across 3 buildings, there's me and around a dozen other people wearing masks when moving around the buildings. I don't wear one when sat at my desk, if I'm there for hours a mask isn't going to stop me catching any covid that may be around and I find wearing one for hours while writing code too difficult. We do have enhanced ventilation, but I am unconvinced how enhanced it really is and they won't provide figures. Hand sanitiser is still freely available all over the place.

    We're requested not to come into the office if we have any sort of illness at all, and the company will provide each of us with 8 free lateral flow tests per month which are intended to be used at 2 per week but I'm actually saving for if I get any sort of illness.

  2. Posted by ChrisSuslowicz at 08:34pm on 28 May 2022

    I've been working from home since before the pandemic really got going, wearing a mask (FFP3) when outside the house (the one shopping trip per week) and otherwise minimising contact. So far I've been lucky.

    Work is still 'essential staff only' and requires sign-off from management to go in otherwise.

    I strongly suspect there will be a single visit to clear my desk when I retire.

  3. Posted by Owen Smith at 10:10pm on 28 May 2022

    We're required to be in the office at least two days a week out of Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and each team has to pick a core day (Tuesday is popular). It's clear a significant proportion of employees are refusing to come into the office, so far the company is using persuasion to try to get them to come in.

    I work five days a week in the office, I live alone so being at home seeing no-one would drive me nuts, and I have a 25 minute walk to work as my commute. So apart from covid risks there's little incentive for me to work at home. We also get free lunch in the office.

    During the lockdowns I moved to my parents in Yorkshire and worked from there for 16 months, and visited my house in Cambridge about every 2 months to check on it and collect the post.

  4. Posted by Ashley R Pollard at 10:54am on 29 May 2022

    All very sensible. Susan and I have so far managed not to catch Covid. We're fully vaccinated with boosters, but when we go out we double mask. N95 first to protect us, and then a surgical mask to protect others.

    It ain't over, and the government seems to be going to lets ignore the science and sense and learn to live with it. Those who die... well everyone dies in the end.

    Bonus for early deaths is of course saving in pension payouts, healthcare costs etc. Colour me cynical, channeling my inner George Carlin.

  5. Posted by Owen Smith at 02:12pm on 31 May 2022

    N95 is a US designation and has no legal meaning in the UK, a mask can be sold as N95 and have absolutely any performance here. The UK/EU equivalent that does have legal meaning is FFP3, if they're sold as that in the UK and don't meet that spec then the law has been broken.

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