Some of the content of this blog post originally appeared on Matt’s personal blog (qbie.com) shortly after UKGE. We thought we’d share it here, and Rai’s also added some extra thoughts.
The 2015 UK Games Expo (UKGE) was our first experience of a tabletop gaming convention. We’d both been to Comic-Cons and PC/Console conventions before, so we sort of knew what to expect. What led to us attending?
Matt: A few months ago when I was at Wales Comic Con I picked up a small card game called Fluxx, but I only had the opportunity to play it when my friends Rai and Chris came to my house to check up on me when I was off work due to illness and depression. I enjoyed it, and found it took my mind off a few things so I decided to investigate some more games I might enjoy. I purchased a few more, then started backing Kickstarter projects, and when I found out about UKGE I just decided I had to go!
Rai: I was dragged along by Matt!
The 2015 UKGE was held at the Hilton at the NEC in Birmingham. There was a bit of a queue to get in but it moved quickly and the process of picking up your entrance pass was nice and easy, and all the expo staff we spoke to were really friendly and helpful. Once in, the first thing we did was ask about tickets two two of the events going on that day. The first, an interactive game called ‘The Dark Room’ was unfortunately sold out well in advance, but we did manage to pick up tickets to a comedy show called ‘Always be Rolling‘ by comedian James Cook.
Then we went into the show itself. It was great fun trying some new games, seeing what was coming out soon, and spending a little too much money. While wandering around we saw a colleague from work called Aaron who also has a keen interest in gaming, helping a friend sell some very nice (and very expensive) furniture designed specifically for tabletop gaming. We also got to meet the man who started it all off for Matt, Andy Looney, the man who created Fluxx. We got to play a game with him, and he even showed us some of the prototype versions he’s been working on!
For lunch we went to investigate the street food vendors outside. They were very popular and the queues were huge so there was a bit of a wait, but the food was lovely! We grabbed a burger from The Meat Shack to start with, then some waffles from The Bournville Waffle Company afterwards.
Next up was the Bring & Buy area. Being new tabletop gamers we didn’t have anything to sell, but plenty of others did and the room was packed full of games that UKGE were selling on behalf of attendees. Matt didn’t get anything, but Rai picked up a copy of a little game called Flame War. After that, we did some more shopping, then got into the queue for Always be Rolling. Unfortunately the show had to be cut short as it started to overrun a little. Part of the show was that James had put some small cards on various chairs around the room which said ‘I think you’ll find…’ which were to be used if you spotted a factual error in his content. Unfortunately, with a room full of gamers these cards got used a little more than I suspect he would have liked so he had to cut out the final 10 or 15 minutes. Even so, it was still enjoyable but it would have been better if a little headroom for overrunning was arranged beforehand.
After all that we had one final sweep of any stores we’d made a note to go back to, then headed home. What did we end up with after all that?
Overall it was a very enjoyable first UKGE experience, and we’re looking forward to the 2016 show which is moving into one of the main halls in the NEC due to the sheer size of the event! The future looks very bright for the UK Gaming Scene, and UKGE.
Matt & Rai