The Old Giant

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Visit to UK Games Expo 2013, NEC, Birmingham

The Old Giant

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On Sunday 26th May 2013, my family and I headed off to the UK Games Expo at the Metropole Hotel. With no clear idea of what to expect other than an expectation of seeing lots of board games we arrived in bright sunshine and found our way to the venue (no help from signage here – just a sign outside the Car Park). We followed the odd person and came to the Metropole. With nothing outside other than a Trooper from Stargate exiting the building to go on we walked through the big doors and into the hotel.

The place was busy looking and a helpful man told us where to get our tickets. We paid (no queue) and got our badges and program guide. Have to say the glossy brochure for the event was a good read. Twenty pounds for a family ticket seems like good value. We walked across to the 1st Dealer Hall and straight away a kindly guy handed the kids a dice bag each. Thanks it seems to “Northumbria Games”…. We all took a look round the Hall.

I spotted a copy of Wrath of Ashardalon then a giant game of Pandemic where the players stood around in white coats. Well, Gamers are a bit mad I think….. 🙂 The “Hawk Wargames” stand  was just a sea of bits to buy for DropZone Commander. See the photo gallery for the lovely 10mm scale sci-fi vehicles. The paint job is amazing. My wife and I both liked the modular terrain from Battle Systems, it really stood out. My eldest son piicked up a Walking Dead card game. More Zombies.

Among the Seller stands were a number of tables with what look like demonstration games going on.

We moved over to the Kings Suite Hall where there was a Family Zone so you can just take a game, sit down and play it with help if needed from friendly staff. We tried a fun little game called Coyote which involves a headband each and a numbered ticket that only your fellow players can see. The aim being to bid a number that is higher than everyone elses but lower than the sum made when all the feathers are revealed. The loser takes a Stone axe card. Three of those and you are out. The last one in wins. Simple. It was good for kids to help with maths.

The aim of this section of the event was to promote educational games. The staff running this area from ImaginationGaming were great and the attention to detail excellent.

The kids really loved the Characters that were walking around. The “Who’s Company” and “Galactic Knights” really made their day. These guys and gals were helping raise money for charity and were so sweet – thanks guys. My eldest kid got to have a go at shooting a Nerf pistol at a target range and managed to knock down two targets at distance. Not sure the Clone trooper did much better with a gun that liked to jam…(!)

The kids spoke to the lovely John Levene and got his autograph (I am a UNIT fan, being a child of that era of Doctor Who!) I also made a faux pas when speaking to a Dalek, calling it Mr Dalek and being abruptly corrected as “Mrs. Dalek”. I apologised before being exterminated. My youngest child was fascinated to find one of the Daleks being used to store a suitcase at the end of the day. I think he was expecting an alien to be in there!

We moved on to get some food. The venue is expensive (£4.25 for a Costa coffee and I believe £4.80 for a pint of beer), fortunately, the Expo had its own food concession laid on by the hotel and I have to say that despite a lack of direction to seating (yes, there was some to be had for a bit of a walk) the food itself was delicious and good value.

We moved on to have a look at some of the wargaming going on. We saw Warhammer in all its forms including the old Epic game (good to see). I found our local gaming guru Hammy in the Flames of War area by the lakeside. He was running a late war tournament for 16 guys. I was lucky enough to be asked to give an opinion on the painting of the armies and so got a good luck at what had been painted and brought to the event. Nice work, gents.

By this time, the wife and kids had bought some games being sold off cheap and had sat down to play while waiting for me.

We had another walk around the venue which took us to 4 o’clock. Announcements were being made and the place was starting to pack up. By the time we left for our car it was almost 5 o’clock and we had been there for almost 6 hours. Tired from walking around but happy, we left.

I can thoroughly recommend the UK Games Expo as a place to go. You can try out new games, just sit and play something, wargame, roleplay, demo your own new game or actually buy something. I did my best to avoid the temptation to buy  up some new dice from the Chessex stand. The kids enjoyed it as well, so there was a plus. Thanks to all the Staff (nay volunteers I think) for being so great!

Here is a link to the UK Games Expo web page for the event.



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