UK Games Expo 2011 June 10, 2011
It’s going to be written from the point of view of a newbie (or noob as the kids say) when it comes to the UK Games Expo, as the was my first. I had high hopes though after hearing reports from other people.
I went with my mate Andy who goes with me to nearly all of the clubs and events I go to, he is there mainly to console me when I lose (which seems to be a lot). We went on Saturday for the day and we set off early as we had a 2 hour drive. We got there and saw floods of people heading towards the venue clutching games, it was going to be awesome.
We were greeted by the Empires finest Storm Troopers when entering the car park, luckily we weren’t the droids they were looking for and we got in without any trouble.
We took a quick walk around the venue first to see what was going on before we got stuck into any games. The demo halls had a few games that caught my eye, Conquest of Nerath, Star Trek Expeditions, Ankh-Morpork to name a few. I also saw the queue for the Bring and Buy game check in, there were a lot of people Bringing, that was for sure. The line was pretty big. Considerably bigger than the broom cupboard they chose to have it in. Trying to get a glimpse of the games for sale was turning out to be a full contact sport so I ducked out after a bit. Also, unless you were looking for it I would also say the room was pretty easy to miss. Minus 1 point for the Bring and Buy.
Moving past that you walked through the trade halls, lots of awesome trader stalls and games publishers to see. Even more game demos from the publishers and designers, didn’t get to play any of these ones. maybe UK Games Expo week is an option to fit all this in?
Moving upstairs you came to the family area, war game area and more traders. The family area looked good, lots of kiddy friendly board games available. My daughter is only 3 at the moment, so she doesnt have the attention span to play games, yet. I have been slowly conditioning her however, and did bring her home a set of pink sparkly dice, which she loves. They had an Xbox with Kinnect and a PS3 with Move for the kids also. I was tempted, but I prefer to look like an idiot in the comfort of my own living room (even though my wife often sticks in on youtube).
Quick brew and we made plans for the day. We wanted to look at the Mantic stand and Dwarf Kings Hold, and there was a cool looking RPG demo from Savage Worlds with a big ice tower model, and then fit on what else we could.
The Dwarf Kings Hold and Savage World stuff I will save for another blog, I will say it was very good though. Mantic (who make Dwarf Kings Hold) revived my interest for war gaming with it not costing a bomb, that interest may filter over to the store if the demand is there.
I played a huge zombie game in one of the demo areas. I didnt catch the name of the group of guys demoing it (sorry fellas), but they were pulling people into play. It was a 4 player zombie survival free for all, played on a large 3D model of an millatry installation with rooms and corridors. I did take some pics but they didnt come out too well. Us 4 players had to find a key card and escape, or kill the other players, whilst fighting off a zombie horde. We all had to pick a name for our character, I went for Captain Awesome. Probably a mistake. There was a rule for opening doors, 4 or more on a dice if I remember rightly, no good if you roll continuoius 2′s. My game involved struggling to open a door, opening it, killing zombies, coming back out to have my mate Andy shoot me in the face and nick my gear. Not so awesome.
The rules were simple and were devised by the guys running the game, one clever mechanic involved noise. The more noise you made in a room, the more attention you drew from the zombies. Louder guns drew more attention and more zombies. Counters were used to tally the attention, then when you left the room that many zombies were waiting for you outside. This meant you had to be a bit more careful when using your guns. All in all a good game. I lost though. Andy was there to console me.
Another sit down and some dinner (the steak slice was amazing) and we were off again. I wanted a demo of Conquest of Nerath, but at 2 hours a game that would have eaten up a lot of the day, I will have to wait till we do the unboxing on release.
I stopped by the UK Gaming Media Network, said hello to Mark Rivera and had a quick chat about the network and if we could do anything to help. We are now a member of the Network which is good news. They have big plans for spreading the gaming hobby through the UK, so keep an eye on them. We are hoping to help as much as possible with this in the future.
We finished the day with a demo game of Thunderstone from AEG games. It was a very good game, enjoyed it a lot. Will put a separate blog up about hat soon also as there is a lot to cover about it. I lost. Andy was on hand.
As the venue closed up we had a potter over the road to where the gaming continued in the opposite hotel, but we had a long drive back so called it a day soon after.
All in all it was a good day, played a lot of games and met a lot of good people. Hopfully next year will see bigger crowds and even more games, but it will definitly see us.