I haven’t blogged for a couple of weeks because the calendar has been a little busy. The last weekend in May saw my family head down to the Midlands to visit the UK Games Expo at the National Exhibition Centre.
We liked the visit last year so much that we decided to stay over at the Hilton hotel this year and make a weekend of it.
Have to say, it was VERY bus on the Saturday. Apparently attendance was in excess of 6000 unique visitors. For a large hotel based venue, that is a heck of a lot.
The Expo filled the hotel space this year, with what seemed like a lot more game space (lots of people playing lots of games). The Traders seemed to be very busy. Between us we bought a number of games, including the Dust Tactics starter sets (Axis and SSU) and a copy of ‘Forbidden Island’
The kids loved the costumed characters. Lots of Star Wars and Doctor Who plus Vikings and superheroes. A real mixed bag. All in good causes, they raised a lump of cash for charity.
The way the venue was laid out was a lot better than last year as well, food was in one location and service quick. The food hall was good value with places to sit(!)
On the down side, the Expo and a number of vendors we bought from were only taking cash. It’s 2014 guys. If you are a one man band fair enough, but for the Expo charging 40 pounds for a weekend family ticket, taking cash or cheques isn’t on. You need to get plastic guys!
Another point was the lack of any signage outside. There was no Expo sign on the car park gate (free parking for this venue if you get the right car park!) and no signage to show you the entrance to the hotel for registration. How about an arrow for the entrance to the Expo reception guys…?
The hotel facilities were ok. Have to say the restaurant in the evening was slow and the food not overly special (for the price). The high point was the kids finding Chris Barrie (the special guest) on the next table at the end of the evening! That made up for the slow food service.
It was quieter on the Sunday. We got to watch some Flames of War being played (organised by gaming buddy ‘Hammy’. There were a lot of seminars but time did not allow us to do more than one (the lighthearted quiz with special guests and cosplay characters). You could have gone and listened to speakers about kickstarter and game design and production.
All in all, a good weekend and we want to go there again next year! Whether the venue will be big enough is another thing.
Pictures… (not many as they would mainly be similar to last years)…