Brief Expo-sure

I managed to get to the UK Games Expo for a few hours on Saturday¬†morning. Pity it couldn’t have been longer but I had other stuff that needed doing in the afternoon.

Arriving just before 9.30, having parked in the train station car park, I joined a really slow moving queue to buy tickets. 45 minutes later I eventually got into Hall 1 of the NEC. First impressions were that this was much better than at the hotel with wider aisles and much more of a feel akin to Essen – still not the same scale but more of a convention feel than previous years.

First stop was the Surprised Stare stand where Tony Boydell was busy demoing Guilds of London. I was nervous that he might have sold out before I got there and I arrived with his stock level down to the last half dozen copies (of the 240 he brought to the Expo) so I grabbed a copy and handed over the cash to one of his crew before saying hello to him and passing on a copy of a game he’d bought from me in a recent auction. Turns out I needn’t have worried as he’d put back a copy for me – what a great guy.

I then meandered my way through the halls, which were busy but not so congested you couldn’t move, which was a big plus. I made my way over to meet Gil Hova and pick up my kickstarter copy of The Networks, one of a very small number of games I’ve backed on KS in the last year. He’d flown a batch of the game over to the Expo, in advance of the main distribution – which is probably 4 weeks or so from being delivered – and his stocks were looking very low so I’m glad his trip to the UK seems to have been worth it and I get to try the game a bit earlier than would otherwise be the case.

The rest of my brief time was spent looking at a couple of upcoming games, Costa Rica and Fight for Olympus from Mayfair Games, both of which look interesting; listening to an explanation of Ravens of Thri Sahashri which I thought sounded a nice unique two-player game that Jan might enjoy but ended up deciding it was just a bit too gamery for her tastes; and talking to various people I’d not seen for a while – Andy Powell about Automania which sounds pretty good; Paul Lister at Boardgameguru and the guys at Gameslore who seemed to be constantly busy selling stuff.

I also returned to catch up with Tony Boydell for a chat, him having by then sold out of Guilds. I timed it very well as he was being shown a homebrew version of Shephy, with illustrations that are a bit more child friendly than some of the original Japanese version. These were done by a lady called Helen, who is one of Stuart Burnham’s friends, and they are fantastic and lots of them very funny (Stuart wrote about it here). And talking of Stuart, where were you? I thought I was bound to see you with there not being many people about.

Tony also quizzed me about selling Keydom and I admitted that it is likely to be auctioned off before we move house (hopefully sometime over the summer). With all his Guilds of London money, I’m hoping for a decent bid when it goes up

All in all, a nice morning and a successful one as I managed to resist buying too many new games.

Guilds of London
The Networks
Animals on Board
Detroit Cleveland Grand Prix (super cheap at £4)
Port Royal – Gambler promo
Snowdonia – Engine Shed, The Shunter and The Twin Engines promos