The Games We Play

The Games We Play

A repository of reports on the Wednesday night sessions of the club and anything else related to the club or boardgaming in general, which may be of interest to anyone who may be passing by.

Sunday 3 June 2007

UK Games Expo as seen by Brass Jester

Sat 02.06.07
Finally the big day dawned and Ben and I headed off to the Clarendon Suite in Birmingham. It was Ben’s first games convention and he was really looking forward to it.
Arrived at 10.30, both wearing our Halesowen Boardgamers T-shirts (the ones saying ‘Total Beginner’). Queued for about 5 mins to get in; collected our wristbands and goodie bags (some nice d6’s and I got an Urban War figure) then headed inside.
First impression: Overwhelming! I had no idea what scale this was going to be; I’ve never been to Essen or any of the American cons, but this was the biggest convention I’ve been to. The place was like a labyrinth; every corner turned there was something new, and you could easily run a LARP round there.
After some exploring we met up with Dave D, who was playing a game of –Tara ,Seat of the Kings- with the designer. Ben found a computer game demo to play, and we had a brief chat with Nick Kinzett, who was demonstrating World Cup Soccer (was that it’s name?) Dave, Ben and I then went exploring for the next hour or so; we found some other Halesowen Boardgamers (Mike Head and Richard Biddle) in one of the tournament rooms, playing –Puerto Rico- and –Tigris and Euphrates- respectively. A bit later, somewhere on one of the upper floors, we encountered Matt and some friends of his.
Heading back downstairs, the central concourse had been taken over by Darth Vader and some stormtroopers; full marks to the costumes. I found the Mongoose Publishing stand and bought a couple more books for the Conan RPG (a d20 OGL and probably the best fantasy RPG I’ve got). I’ll be running some sessions for the kids in the summer holidays. Ben invested in some more Yuh-Gi-Oh cards.

We then got involved in a game of -Pitch Car-, which I lost (in fact, I forgot which lap I was on) Heading down to Ragnar Brothers, I got a copy of –Invasions- at a bargain price with a set of English rules thrown in. Ben then got playing Heroscape so I had another wander round with Dave, attempting to get the entries for the Win a Dalek competition. We met Julian by the Bring and Buy stand and I left Dave talking whilst I completed the competition. I found Ben and we headed off to get something to eat. This was perhaps the only let down; most of the food appeared to have gone (and it was only 1pm!) and the catering staff were not very helpful (to the point of being brusque). We settled for a baked potato each; then Dave re-found us. A brief chat with Mike and Richard and the sight of Matt playing -Talisman- led us back upstairs. We found another food outlet and Ben had a beefburger; we then tried out a game called –Cinematique-, a cinema trivia game hosted by a very nice lady called Lynn. Any doubts she had about Ben’s age were soon dispelled as he was able to answer quite a few questions, plus the acting out parts etc. that the game involves. After that, a brief look at the –Memoire ’44- tournament (in yet another part of the labyrinth), then it was back to the main concourse.
This is when the wedding party turned up! At first we thought “this is taking LARP a bit far”, but it turned out it was genuine; booked into another part of the building. Quite what they made of it I don’t know, but maybe they were gamers:-
“I now pronounce you Dobber and Meeple. You may now trash the bride at –Caylus-“
Dave settled down to play -Canal Mania- at the Ragnar stand, Ben got into another –Heroscape- game and I played –Niagra- at the Esdevidium stand. Said hello to Roj from Waylands Forge (who weren’t able to be there), then finally succumbed and bought a copy of –Phoenicia-. By this time we were both getting a bit tired (and it was rather warm in there) so, having met up with Dave D again, we all called it a day and headed home. Spent the evening getting trashed at –Invasions- by Ben.
Overall: I hope this appears on the calendar every year as a regular event at the same venue; other than (perhaps) the food (and there were other places close by we could have gone to), the event count not be faulted and was excellent value for money.

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