I went to Games Expo in Birmingham yesterday. This is the UK’s largest gaming convention – and with attendance now over 20,000 people, in the top tier of gaming events in the world. It covers the whole range from board and card games to RPGs and miniatures.
I caught up with RPG folks, chatted about potential editing work, and wandered the halls looking at what’s going on.
I took this photo on Sunday. Bear in mind that was the quiet day. Apparently on Saturday the aisles were pretty much full. This is NEC Hall 1; Hall 2, behind me, was also in use for stands and a massive play area, and there was also play going on over at the Hilton hotel.
One of the things that someone pointed out in a conversation was that more stalls were dealing in accessories, spinning out from the games themselves. That includes folks like my friends at All Rolled Up. But I also spotted two stands selling colourful USB cables. Weird.
A nice final note was that I ended up floating at the edge of the awards ceremony, while folks I know got awards for Call of Cthulhu – The Two-Headed Serpent, Cthulhu Hack – Wendigo, and the Conan RPG. (Having done some work on the line for the latter, though not the mainbook, I experienced a tiny mote of reflected warm and fuzzy!)
If you’re into the gaming scene, no matter which corner is your favourite, it’s worth a visit if you can. Expo is well run by an incredibly dedicated team whose original goal was to create the convention they wanted to see, and the organisation improves year on year as they learn from experience as well as growing the attendance. The main downside of its successful growth is that nearby hotels can be very expensive and sell out fast, so if you’re going to make it a multi-day trip and play games and socialise in the evenings, it’s good to plan ahead.