The UKGE, is an annual event held in Birmingham, at the National Exhibition Centre, and pulls in thousands of people over the weekend. So what’s it all about?
The UK Games Expo, now in its 12th year, covers all aspects of the tabletop gaming world, and a few more things that are often associated with our ‘geeky’ culture.
So, you’ll find all the different types of games represented; Card games, board games, RPG’s, miniatures, and more. There will be tournaments and championships, Cos-play, a bring and buy, a games library, seminars and talks, I could go on… And probably will!
In the Halls you’ll be able to meet designers, and demo new games, you just walk up, say hi, and ask to join in! There is a massive trade hall full of games, new and old, all tempting you to part with your hard earned cash.
There’s also a large playtest area, organised by playtest (UK), where you can play games that are still in the design phase and give feedback on what you like/don’t like.
There’s a family zone with demonstrators giving help and advice on games. There are giant games – Pandemic is quite a sight to see when blown up several times! A creative zone, where children can get to grips with designing and making their own games. There is plenty to do here to keep the family occupied for a good couple of hours.
There are plenty of areas i that you can park yourself in to play games, either those you have purchased or ones from the games library. There are also plenty of places to grab a bite to eat, or, alternatively, bring a picnic; you’ll find a patch of grass (eventually!) to sit and enjoy it.
Okay, now to share my experiences:
I’ve visited the Expo the last two years; in 2016 I went on a Saturday, the car park had plenty of available spaces, and never really filled right up.
The halls were full of exciting things to investigate, and I made sure that everything had at least a cursory glance. There really is a lot to see, traders, designers, artists, games under playtest – it can be overwhelming for someone new to the hobby.
Last year was a little different, in the fact that it was packed! Again, I went on a Saturday, but this time I only just managed to find a parking space to squeeze into, there were people everywhere. They attracted 16,300 unique visitors over the weekend, and it felt like every single one of them had turned up just before me!
The biggest difference I noticed though, were trade prices. In 2016, there were a lot of bargains to be had, readily available at most trader units. Last year though, the bargains were there, but you really had to hunt them down. Some traders were even selling at vastly over the RRP’s of some games. I saw Pandemic going for over £40 on a few units; I purchased it the year before for £17!
So, buyers beware; do your research before you set out. I go knowing what games I’m interested in – I know their RRP, and what the cheapest price I can get it for on the net is. I never expect to buy at Internet prices, but I don’t mind supporting the traders, as long as their prices are fair.
If you really are looking for a bargain, then the bring and buy is the place to be – expect to queue, everyone will be looking for that special something!
Whilst on the subject of queuing, purchase your ticket online. You’ll still have to queue to collect it, but in wont be for as long as those paying on the door.
Download the App on you phone, and you can show a ‘QR’ code on it instead of taking the paperwork – and yes, it does work!
This year, there will be a passport treasure hunt that can be done through the app, £300 prize money to spend, can’t grumble at that!
Some of the costumes people will be wearing are certainly eye catching. I’m sure the Star Wars Stormtroopers will be there again, ever willing to pose for a photo.
Around the lake there will be a reconstructed Viking village. They usually put on some live sword fighting demonstrations, which prove to be quite popular. You’ll pass them on your way in, so you may as well take a gander.
I’ll be visiting on a Friday this year. And I’ll be on the look out – I’m determined not to get mugged by the Gaming Ape this time (yeah, right, I’m practically offering myself up as a sacrifice!).
So, pay it a visit, look at, and try everything, and enjoy the day.
The Expo is open to the public 1st to the 3rd of June 09:30 till late.
Tickets are £13 for an adult, either book online or pay at the door.
Parking is available at the NEC, price £12.
- All images courtesy of www.ukgamesexpo.co.uk
Please feel free to comment – see below…