For those happy few who have walked the hallowed halls of the Essen Spiel the UK Games Expo may seem small and parochial. For us mere mortals, however, it approaches gaming nirvana! Three days of gaming, vendors, seminars and more. This is expo, people. Expo. EXPO!
There are two halls of vendors selling board games, card games, CCGs, dice, card sleeves and, well, pretty much anything gaming related. Many of the big internet sellers are there (Leisure Games, Gameslore and Boardgameguru for the first time this year) and some smaller ones selling games at internet prices. There is a bring and buy for second hand games. There are also publishers represented and they and some of the vendors have demo games running so you can try before you buy. There are seminars featuring such gaming luminaries as Steve Jackson, Ian Livingstone, Reiner Knizia and Chris Barrie (?). There are some cosplayers and who doesn't love seeing *a healthy young lady dressed as Wonder Woman *a healthy young man dressed as Conan *lots of pasty, uncomfortable, very unhealthy people dressed in lycra only carried through by their own sweaty enthusiasm (*delete as appropriate).
There are RPG's for you to sign up to and rocket propel your grenades til your heart is content. There are board, card and miniature game tournaments for a wide variety of games/systems. And then there is the open gaming.
I went for the first time last year and this, for me, is the heart of the expo. Open gaming starts 9.30am Friday and they didn't seem to close again til about 4pm Sunday. Being an old coot I only managed to test them until about 2am last year but they were still busy when we left. There is even a system to get into games by placing a flag when setting up indicating you are looking for players (or just scout round looking for a game the flags). Oh, or you could just borrow a game from the library. The game library. Game Library. Isn't that just wonderful. 'Nuff said.
It runs from Friday May 30th to Sunday June 1st, is at the Birmingham Hilton Metropole next to the NEC (about 1 1/2 - 2 hours drive). Last year there was free day parking for expo visitors. You can go for a day or the weekend and you can stay at the Hilton (not the cheapest option but not hideously expensive) or one of the many hotels nearby because of the NEC and the airport. Tickets for the event are pretty cheap too (£9 a day/£20 the weekend) and can be bought on the door or in advance.
I know there are a select few of us SBC-ers attending so if you are thinking about it post here for advice or to arrange a meet. Checkout the website for further details:
Hope to see you there.