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This years weekend at UKGE saw a VERY busy Hilton Hotel at the NEC with masses of folks navigating the Trade Halls.
Must have been the busiest day ever for this event. I didn’t get any Saturday pics as it was hard enough to walk around the venue (Trade and Family Zone areas). The Bring and Buy queue was mad too. Sunday seemed much quiter by comparison.
I got some FoW Tournament pics on Sunday morning (round 1) and a few others, like the big DZC Frigate.
Hopefully next year with the NEC Hall for the Trade I hear then the gaming areas should be bigger (and the Family Zone guys!)
Here are the pics I have…. from Sunday. Quieter (and rainier). It’s a tiring event for me to manouevre around (being a bit of an old Hulk) but you can try to grab somewhere to sit down and play a game – a lot of people were doing that all round the Hotel.
Sunday Flames of War… (about an hour into the first game)…
… and mainly “Dropzone Commander” DZC…. such beautiful models…. (some joker got in on the act too, the Dalek took care of him…)
The Model Assault Frigate is a small ship (!) just some 560 metres long apparently and only 100 (I counted 48 on one side…) Condor Dropships…. plus a very large triple barrelled cannon jobbie and what look like missile pods all around. Very nice model. As it is in 10mm scale I guess you can work out the model length – use the lego models on the rear engine section for scale if you are lazy.
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)…
I recently made a quick stopover at Warhammer World in Nottingham and couldn’t resist the opportunity to wander round and take some photo’s…
PS: the roadworks in Lenton Lane have shifted recently. We came through the Industrial park, off the A52, and found ourselves having to U-turn just before the railway bridge about 200 metres from GW and go back onto the A52 and come off at the A6005 then take a right turn into Gregory Street at the White Hart pub to get onto the other end of Lenton Lane, the way I always used to go!! Please finish the roadworks Highways Agency!!!
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!
I live several miles from Ashton Under Lyne (East Manchester). All parts of Manchester and Salford have a rich Industrial Revolution history. I was surprised to find some mention of Saga related topics in a small museum though! Longbows from Longdendale and even the Norman influence on the area.
Well worth a visit for a couple of hours! Social and Industrial history of the area and a nice little cafe all next to the canal junction. Here’s the link to the area … <link>
Here are a few pictures of the new plastic models from the Warhammer 40,000 6th edition ‘starter box’ set. These were featured on the demo table at the GW shop inside Warhammer World in Nottingham. Unfortunately the light level is fairly low in this area…
At the top of Warhammer world in Nottingham is a long gallery full of glass cabinets showcasing the best painting talents out there. Some of the exhibits are now museum pieces, being classics from the late 80’s. Older gamers will recognise some of them in the following gallery.
The exhibits seemed to have changed to some reasonable extent since I last took my camera along so here are the results of quite a few of the displays….