It’s our second time visiting the UK Games Expo here at Bits & Pieces and it would be an understatement to say we’re pretty stoked. The last time George went he was volunteering as a demonstrator on a games stand so his experience of the UKGE was packed into mad dashes through the hall on his hour lunch breaks. Nevi went 2 years ago which is basically ancient history, so for all we know there was only a single stand offering to playtest this new-fangled game called Go. So ahead of the Expo on the 1st of June, we’re listing the things we’re most excited for.
Nevada: One of the things I really love about games, is seeing the creative process and the playtest area is a breeding ground for this. You get to peel back the layers of board game design and see what makes it turn. I’m looking forward to chatting to designer, seeing what cool games I can expect on the horizon and beating George at a game that isn’t even out yet. You get extra points for that, right?
George: I’m just really keen on sitting down. It’s also cool to see the hard work of designers and see board games in their barest form I guess.
George: ITB know how to create some pretty funky board game experiences. Last year their stand offered the opportunity to play their poltical simulator, Statecraft in a cabinet meeting room setting or try out their spooky cave survival game Sub Terra under a blacklight in complete darkness. I can’t wait to see what they’ve cooked up for this year.
Nevada: I missed going last year, so I didn’t get to experience ITB’s stand. This means it has zipped straight to the top of my ‘look forward to list’, it jumps straight to go and collects £200. And oh god, I made a Monopoly joke. Am I even allowed to attend now?
Deals Deals Deals
George: Whether it’s a hidden gem found in the bring and buy area or a last minute grab on the final day of the show, stalls around have some great deals. It’s still worth checking prices across stall to get the best deals.
Nevada: I always go home far heavier, than when I came. It is either the food or the brilliant board game deals, I can never figure out which.
Open Play Area
George: This is what happens when you pack thousands of board gamers into a convention centre for a weekend. Days at the expo are pretty hectic so getting to sit down and crack open new game is a blessed relief. It’s a lovely feeling to enjoy a drink you feel you’ve earned and find out what interesting things everyone came across.
Nevada: There are lots of people from across the UK that I don’t get to see or speak to often enough, so the Open Play Area is going to be fantastic. Sitting down after a busy day at the expo for some excellent games with some lovely people is always going to be a highlight. It is also a great way to meet some new people, and try new games at the same time.
George: Perhaps the most exciting thing about the UKGE. Discovering stuff you’ve never heard about. Be it awesome game accessory or discovering a new game and getting to chat with its creators. UKGE shows off just how much there is going on in this hobby and I can’t wait to discover more.
Nevada: I really hope The Unknown attends again this year. I really enjoyed his game about the the things.
George: …Nevi why…
Nevada: The UK Games Expo, and board gaming in general, are known for being a lovely bunch of people. If you’ve ever been to a video games expo or convention, then you stood in lines of slightly grumpy people and see tacky marketing campaigns. The UK Games Expo is like the opposite of all this. The people are lovely, the designers love what they do, and nobody is trying pull the wool over you eyes. Although in fairness I was wearing a knitted hat, so maybe that’s my fault?
George: Whether it’s impromptu games of Two Rooms and a Boom in even open play areas or an interesting conversation with someone you’re sharing a demo with, the people you meet in this hobby are what bring it together.