Monday, 27 May 2013

UK Games Expo May 2013

After a long time with no updates I have a few things to share. My report and some photos on the UK Games Expo held on 24th - 26th May. This is the first board game convention I have attended and I was quite impressed with it I must say. You can read my experience of the expo below. It was held in Birmingham at the Hilton Metropole Hotel at the NEC and I would recommend this event to anyone with a passion or a budding interest in board games to attend next years event if you missed out this year.

The venue was well suited to the scale of the event and attending on Friday when it was a little quieter was definitely a good plan. We walked straight in got our tickets for the weekend and the tickets for the games we booked all within 5 minutes.

Friday - There were no trade stands available on the Friday, as they were setting everything up, but there was plenty on, with a room for free gaming and a good selection of board games to sign out and borrow if you did not bring anything yourself. We took Guilds of Cadwallon by Cool Mini Or Not, a nice quick game of tile capture. And we borrowed several games Dominion, a card based game which we all enjoyed and Super Munchkin , a tongue in cheek card game (even had time to do some sketching whilst scoring!) as well as a World War II game and a couple of others. The selection was large enough to keep everyone without anything entertained. And if that wasn't enough there was a bring and buy sale which had an absolute ton of stuff to purchase at bargain prices if you didn't mind a bit of use on some of it (also some brand new items - Warhammer 40K 5th edition for £8 still shrunkwrapped for an example!) Plenty of old classics not readily available on todays market as well - Talisman 2nd Edition, Fantasy Warlord by Gary Chalk....the list goes on!

The event was made enjoyable by the general friendly nature of people there which is probably not surprising given the nature of the average gamer! We were learning to play a new game and within moments a passerby joined us and showed us how to play and later on we played another demo of the same game with some different expansions. Thanks to Ryan for that and congrats on winning the Cthulu RPG event! This is definitely the kind of event you could visit on your own and meet people, join in and get on with some gaming.

RichKingRetro getting annihilated by overwhelming numbers!

Saturday - I was very much looking forward to the Talisman game I booked and was excited at the idea of playing against people outside our gaming group. Elliot Eastoe hosted the games assisted by Richard Soulsby, who ran the game I was in. Talisman is my favourite game full stop. So when I got off to a cracking start drawing a Unicorn as my first card and a Talisman as my second card and several other good cards like Pharoahs Crown, Solomons Crown, the Wolf Slayer and others I thought the game was going to go well for me. The characters in this game were the Spy (me), the Monk, the Necromancer (Richard), the Tinkerer played by a lady who had not played before, the Sorceress played by the ladies partner and the Grave Robber played by a chap from Denmark. It was a fun game with a lot more player versus player than I am used to. Luckily I played well as I could and it was only the dice that went against me in this game! I turned into a Lycanthrope, changed to good and got toaded by Richard (thanks Richard!) and my game got worse from there onwards!. The newbie got to the Crown of Command first and started killing us all off. Richard used "my stolen" Talisman to take on the Tinkerer and was killed despite being very powerful thanks to all "my stolen" items! Then from nowhere came the Grave robber and the Tinkerer was now too battered to defeat him in combat and thus the game was won...

It was a fun game, thanks to Richard for running it smoothly! The lady who had never played before liked it so much she wanted to buy it for the family. If you have never played Talisman before I can of course highly recommend it!!!! A solo version is available on Windows, Ipad, Iphone and Android devices with a multiplayer online version in development. It's called Talisman Prologue and is available from Nomad Games who demonstrated the game at Games Workshops Games Day last year.

My Super Spy character very early game..LOTS of goodies...

Game on...


Please DON'T TOAD me Richard!

Mads Thargaard - The Winner!!!

One more late speed Talisman game finished the day off. We started at 9.30pm ish and I suggested a Battle Royale at 10.45pm if there was no winner by then. To compete in the Battle Royale you must possess a Talisman, so given we were not likely to get a full game in, this was the best option. I played the Monk, we had some custom characters in the mix - The Lich King, Zombie Warrior, Shapeshifter, the Orc Warlord. This game had the quickest kill I have ever seen in a game of Talisman. A 2nd round death for the Orc Warlord by the Lich King! Most amusing to watch the Despair on Mr Dan Boltons face!

This man may be wearing a cone on his head, but he is deadly!

God give me strength indeed. I have to play these guys all the time!

The game really heated up at 10.42pm with everyone trying to hurry each other up with their turn. Two people had of those people had it stolen by the Thief!! Mr Dan Boltons luck was bad in this game, a 2nd round death and a chance to fight in the final Battle Royale denied! Unlucky. The final fight was between the Shapeshifter and the Thief, but the Shapeshifter had too many lives and the combatants were equal in skills. A win for RichKingRetro....

Sunday - A slightly quieter day today. I attended a morning seminar with a speaker from Fantasy Flight Games talking about the design of the X-Wing game and Bloodbowl Team manager amongst some of his other games. This was interesting and later in the afternoon I went to another seminar - on board game design with a panel of 5 games designers talking with Q & A time in between. The seminars were an hour long and all were being videoed so you may be able to see them online somewhere. Seminars were put on throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday and there was also a movie shown late in the evening - Avengers Assemble.

Here are some photos from the Trade areas...

Of course every round counts!

Simple art, but lovely design and colours!

Fellow Cornish gamers!

"Look MEAN!" I said, not mildly annoyed...

Fighting Fantasy is back and AWESOME! Get nostalgic and get stuck in!

I'll bet you £1000 you can't shoot me from there!

Hello Kitty!

Munchkin = Great Simple Game

The force is dark in this one...

More rum anyone?

RichKingRetro being exterminated and not even realising it!

Nice art.

This gets my vote for saddest RPG game/whatever EVER!

Games galore!
A character I sketched whilst scoring Munchkin

Look at the size of this D20! I could kill somebody with this!

So a great event overall. Seminars, tournaments (including UK Catan Championship) for many games, shopping, bring and buy, a bit of cosplay (  and some guest artists and actors. Well priced at £18 for the weekend and game events typically priced at around £6 to enter on average.

My only complaint would have been the dining facilities and car park charges. The expo had its own restaurant area with an average selection of food of a good standard - although the Sunday lunch was especially very good (roast beef dinner). The Friday and Saturday menu was typical fast food fare - burgers, chips, wedges, chilli, curry, chicken casserole and vegetarian options. However whilst the food quality was good and the beer was cheap (standard pub price!) there was nowhere to sit and only a few dining "stands" which were useless for the children. Most people had to eat their meals on the floor! That needs to be addressed for next year. Car parking was £18 for the day! Guests at the hotel pay considerably less though.

£18 --- Boooooooooo!!!!

EDIT: Okay some people in the comments have pointed out that free or cheaper car parking was available for the event. Welcome news for next years trip but I am not sure how we missed it and ended up paying £36 for two days.

I had best plug Richs Youtube Video Channel as well as he has old boardgames available for those who may be interested as well as a lot of retro games. Get in touch with him and tell him Dogface sent you. I may be able to wangle a favour out of him one day...

See you at the UK Games Expo next year!


  1. Very good write-up. I particularly enjoyed the Talisman description. The venue was a great success (much more space than the old venue). I agree that food wasn't great, but car parking was free in the E2/E3 car parks just 5 minutes walk away.

  2. Glad you liked. The Sunday lunch was very good, it was just the lack of tables that irked me. I had no idea there was free parking there at all. Better hope RichKingRetro doesn't see this he will be fuming, his Afro may even catch fire..

  3. The car park was actually £5. If u took ur ticket to the UK Games Expo desk.

    1. We didn't know this though, ignorance on our part. Like I said, I hope Rich does not read this - he will go mental...

  4. Hah, that clone trooper is me. Watch out, we're better shots than those useless Storm Troopers ;)

    1. Hehehe, it's a well known fact Clones can't hit barn doors from ten feet mate lol! Great outfit mate. A friend of mine has a classic Storm Trooper made for him. Looks great but they are pricey. I will have one - one day!

    2. Thanks, it's great fun to troop in and you can get away with a lot you'd probably get hit for out of costume ;)

      If you're interested then check out or find us on facebook; we troop the Expo every year along with the Doctor Who guys and it's always great fun.

    3. I'm going to put a link to your site in the main text. I know things are afoot in the arranging of our local convention in Plymouth - "Armada Con". I wasn't able to attend last year so I am not sure how big it is. However if you are not far away or have members in the area it may be worth contacting the organisers of the event and I can certainly mention you to some of the guys I know who are involved in the organisation of it.

    4. We do have a few members down in the South West, including our CO. I'll have a look on the ol' interwebs for Armada Con and see when it is. Thanks for the heads up!

  5. My third year at this event and was a LOT of fun. I was in the Pfeiffer catwoman with the Galactic Knights and we all had a blast. Shame the bar was so utterly extortionate though. Definitely should have thought to pick up our own beer ^_^.

  6. The beer was £3.30, so usual pub price... I take it you are not a beer drinker and had to go to the main bar lol. Great outfit - what bloke does not like Cat Woman though...?

    1. was £4.80/ pint in the evening. And thanks :)

    2. Well playing a game of Talisman eats up vast amounts of time and it kept me away from the bar! Not usually a day time drinker but I made an exception for this weekend.

  7. Parking was completely free if you could get in the E2/3 section. We only went down for the Sunday and didn't pay for parking at all...

  8. Fighting Fantasy, rather than Final Fantasy! That picture was early Sunday, as the last of the free World Book Day 'Dark Judges' is still on the table.

    I was there with Graham, Simon, and my wife on the Arion stand for the whole day - and the event was pretty fantastic all round. We were there to launch our All Rolled Up gaming accessory / dice bag and it proved an enjoyable and engaging experience definitely worth repeating next year.

    1. Thanks, I read through everything several times and still missed that. I am not a big Final Fantasy fan so I don't know how that crossed my mind whilst typing!!! Your wife did a little "sell" to me and my friend yes and it was an interesting product. I liked the idea better than the regular pouch bags you get for sure. Send me some good product shots and I will include it in the main body of the article.