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Monday, 5 June 2017

UK Games Expo 2017

On Sunday I took my youngest daughter (who's 10) to the UK Games Expo (UKGE for short). She'd never been to any sort of large event like this, so it was a complete surprise for her, and I've never been to this event before, thus it was a new experience for both of us. 

The UKGE is the largest event of its kind in the UK, and the Birmingham NEC is a pretty big venue to hold it in. I think at 10 I'd have been more dazed and awed than Esther was - she took it in her stride, though she did comment on the size of the building both inside and outside a few times. Even before we went inside, we got a taste for some of the cosplay that was going on...

Inside, the very pleasant and helpful staff gave us lanyards to keep our tickets in, plus programmes and maps, and we were off...not far inside the door, and we were confronted with the large Runewars display area, which included a nice diorama piece.

Fantasy FLight obviously invest a lot in the Expo, here is the extensive Star Wars area, Rebellion at the front and centre!

We wandered through the hall, and spotted the GW area which was 100% devoted to 40k and Dark Imperium demos (more on this later). Esther got to pose with a cardboard Primeris Space Marine.

We took a brief look here, but the area was busy so we moved on - too much to see!

We spotted this Uruk-hai...

...but unfortunately it spotted Esther too...

After escaping that, more peril came in the form of a Dalek

but we slipped by and looked at a selection of props

including this cute BB-8

Back towards the entrance, we stopped by the Hawk Wargames stand - they had their full display, including 10mm scale frigate, demo tables, displays, retail stand and some tables where they'd run a competition of "build your own space station". 

We were too late to enter this, but you could still build something, so we spent a while whilst Esther created quite a cool little space station. I think this was a really cool idea by Hawk, and there were dozens of entries, indicating that this had been very popular.

They also had an area with Dropfleet ships being painted, again they'd thought about how to reach out and engage a demographic which included a lot of non-miniatures gamers. Bravo!

We then decided to try "Ticket to Ride", and in the interests of time we chose the children's version, which has all the elements of the main game but with shorter routes. I did well to start with, but then floundered, and Esther won by getting an "East to West" achievement that got her to the needed 6 points. It was fun, and definitely now on the list for Christmas!

We then had a wander about shopping - I bought a large solid metal D20 for "super important rolls" in our 5th ed campaign, I found a Nuka-Cola bottle-opener keyring for Oscar, Esther got a soft Pikachu toy, I found a 5x5 "Professor's Cube" for Clara (she can do a standard Rubiks cube in a couple of minutes) and a True or False game for Lotte. We also got the pictures version of Codenames, since everyone in the family enjoys the standard version.  

I wanted to swing by the 40k booth again to get some close-ups of the minis in the Dark Imperium 2-player set that is coming out (and I've pre-ordered), so here they are. The paint-jobs on these are pretty basic "base plus wash", yet the minis still look very impressive. I'm quietly excited to get my set soon and have a proper look. We also got a load of badges for the children here, always nice to get freebies!

Of particular interest to me were the nurgle chaos models, especially the poxwalkers which I wasn't that sold on from the main GW site pictures. I have to say that with more subdued painting, they look fantastic - I think some of the "cartooniness" I had feared before was just from the studio paintjobs.

We had another circle around, poking at dice, looking at interesting things, but our time was almost up and it didn't seem like we'd been there for 4 hours with no break - Esther didn't complain once. The show was quite an eye-opener, and Oscar was sad that he hadn't come along too - next year I think we'll go for at least 2 days and really try a lot of what's on offer, because there's sooo much! You can go to the games library and rent games out to try, try every sort of game you can think of, from cards to board to miniatures, dress up, go to seminars - to say nothing of the tournaments that are held in a completely different hall for 3 days, and the events at the Hilton nearby too. I definitely had a sense of touching the tip of the iceberg with the UKGE, and if you're in two minds whether to go, definately do! It's family-friendly, easy to get to and Birmingham has plenty to do if the rest of the family tire of games (what's wrong with them??!).

I thus leave you with Pirat, because, why not? It also shows the breadth of what's on offer at the show, plus a pirate rat, what's not to love??

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