The UK Games Expo is an annual event held in Birmingham. It’s the biggest board gaming expo in the UK and over 5000 people attend it each year. The premise this year was the NEC Hilton, in which over 100 exhibitors were spread all over. Huge gaming libraries, snacks and drinks, gamers, cosplay, super excellent seminars, competitions – what’s not to like?

Showing off Race to the North Pole at the press event.

Showing off Race to the North Pole at the press event.

This was also the first apperance for Playmore Games in the event. Although we didn’t have a table (except in the press event), we drew enough attention to ourselves with our bright blue Arctic Union shirts, big badges and an a big smile on our faces.

The Games

As any table top convention, the highlight of course are the games, which were plenty in the Hilton this year. Tens of retailers were spread out in different halls and games old and new could be found on the shelves. Those who wanted to save a few pounds lined up for the bring and buy room, where anyone could bring their old games and sell them to the hungry audience that kept creeping back over and over again to the room just to see if “this or that” game has hit the shelf. Needless to say the selection had run pretty thin by the time we had time to go there sunday.

The gaming library is OPEN! Yes. There were LOTS of people.

The gaming library is OPEN! Yes. There were LOTS of people.

There were also great big halls that were reserved for the players. The long tables were filled with board games and even though you hadn’t bought anything, there were constantly tables looking for more players to join in on the games. And of course, there was a library where you could also borrow the games from. And a beer tap. And snacks. Need I say more?

The stunningly beautiful Aliens vs. Predator game.

The stunningly beautiful Aliens vs. Predator game.

We also got to check out the Alien vs. Predator game by Prodos, which we saw as a prototype in the Spiel last year. The game was hot out of the print and looked magnificent. They had a few copies which were reserved for the Kickstarter backers, but sooner or later we’re going to pick this up for sure.

The people

Andrei Novac, the designer of Versailles and Praetor.

Andrei Novac, the designer of Versailles and Praetor.

We met tons of new people from all around the industry. The objective was to find new contacts for both Playmore Games and Arctic Union, and make our name heard. That objective was more than successful during the weekend.

Some of the most exciting people we met during the convention were Eric Lang of Fantasy Flight fame (and the designer of XCOM) and Andrei Novac, the designer of Versailles. Both table tops are very very high on our favorite games list.

We sat down for a long chat with numerous people on the industry (Esdevium, Mayfair, Fantasy Flight etc) and got really good advice and feedback on our games – and some shots on the bar. With just a hint of coke. Thanks!

The seminars

Paco Garcia arranged several seminars this year. With him Eric W. Lang!

Paco Garcia Jaen arranged several seminars this year. With him Eric M. Lang!

The seminars were really exciting. Even though we were super busy with all the retailers, publishers and so forth, we managed to take some time to attend seminars by for example Eric Lang (Fantasy Flight), Agnieska Kopera (NSKN) and Martin Vaux (Black Box Games), Monica Valentinelli (creator of Firefly RPG) and Matt McElroy (creator Vampire Masquerade RPG).

We listened, made lots of notes and asked all the important questions. It’s a rare occasion when you have the possibility to really get such a deep insight to the table top gaming industry. I cannot recommend enough for other board game makers like us to attend these seminars next year!

The expo

Never seen such a wide smile on Jouni AFTER he lost a game. (The game was a card game Dead Fellas)

Never seen such a wide smile on Jouni AFTER he lost a game. (The game was a card game Dead Fellas)

The convention was definitely one of the finest conventions we’ve had a pleasure to visit. There were plenty of people, tables, space and games and the invitees were a stunning line up. Met awesome people during the weekend who are too numerous to mention individually. Next year Arctic Union will have a booth at the event and Playmore Games will be there to sell tons of games.