Sunday, 27 May 2012

Back from UK Games Expo Day 2

Much quieter today. Worryingly so when the event is moving to a bigger, more expensive venue next year. The Midlands has had shit weather recently but had basked in glorious sunshine all week so perhaps the call of the garden centre was strong today.

Bit disappointed to see traders packing up early, reminds me of the second day of the old Derby wargames show at the Assembly Halls where people started preparing to leave by two o'clock. Probably a result of how quiet Sunday was.

Picked up a few bits and pieces today but my favourite was acquiring a copy of OGRE Miniatures.

I've been after this for a while now, but it's expensive on eBay and I hadn't seen a copy in the flesh for over a decade. I turned up at the Bring and Buy early this morning and the first person I saw was buying a stack of boxes and books and there was a copy of OGRE Miniatures on top. Bollocks. Two minutes earlier and it would have been mine.

"Look in the boxes of books," suggests Scott, "have a see if there is another one."

"Waste of time," says I, "I've only ever seen two copies of it in my life and that was the second one."

Mentioned this near-miss to the lads over a couple of pints at lunchtime.

At the end of the afternoon, Phil S of strolls over to me and asks "Is this what you were after? It was on the Bring and Buy."

Clutching an un-punched copy of OGRE Miniatures.

It was two quid and being a gentleman he refused to accept the money for it.

Next year the event is at the NEC Hilton Metropole next door to the airport. I see this as an attempt to get more international business involved (this year had Mayfair Games over from the states and James Raggi IV of LOTFP fame from Finland) but it creates lots of questions about the expense of parking and whether it can be got to without having to drive - there's a train station at the airport which is on the same line as the nearest train station to Coop Towers II but it's not clear if there is pedestrian access to the hotel once you arrive.

We do Expo because it's almost on the doorstep (about 15-20 minute drive this morning) but I've never been certain that I'd travel for it. The other side of Birmingham is far from "travelling" but the NEC is notorious for screwing every last penny out of you. We'll see but this year might well have been the last year I attend.


  1. I am a gentleman aren't I.

    You better buy some figures for it now so we can play though, otherwise I'll be calling in that hard earned £2.00.

  2. I was only there on Saturday and will put a report and photos on my blog tomorrow. It was very busy first thing, but then I think it is very much a show that people visit to buy games as much as to play them. Took part in Living Munchkin which was great fun and sat in on the Livingstone and Jacskon Top 10 games seminar which was also very good.

    I share your concerns about the move to the NEC (or next to it I guess). Even though it will be a few miles closer for me, the parking cost and hassle is a pain. I was also thinking of booking a hotel room next year for the show and doing the whole thing, but I think the cost at the new venue may be prohibitive.

  3. It's looking like there might/should be free parking for hotel residents on the weekend (which, if flipped around suggests that normally you pay to park whilst a hotel resident...). Otherwise a complete day is going to cost £10 a day added to the face value of your ticket.

    I think they need to sort out and publicise quickly things like access from Birmingham International train station and/or the possibility of a circulating minibus shuttle service from the station.

  4. Last time I stayed there was for the last Dudley Bug Ball in 2002. I didn't have a car then, and getting there by public transport was pretty easy. I live in Dudley, so I caught the train at Wolverhampton and from there it's a short, well-signposted walk over the concourse to the hotel.

    OK, I cheated a little bit. My brother-in-law gave me a lift to Wolverhampton, and for the journey home from the station I splashed out on a cab.

    One thing I can't help thinking though, is that stuck out by the NEC it's a gig that's going to be a lot more like an ordinary large con than an "expo" event; nobody's going to wander in off the street to see what's going on with all the daleks like you could at the Clarendon.

  5. Anon delivers as they say on 4Chan!

    That's useful knowledge, cheers. Good to know that as last time I went to the NEC (Autosport show earlier in the year) it was only £3.50 return from Sandwell and Dudley station and I don't mind spending that. Spending more than that on petrol alone and then £10 to park per day is something I do mind.

  6. There were in fact only 2 traders who packed up early - and we had words with them about it.
    Out of 70+ traders that is not much but we don't like it when they do it.

    As for attendance BOTH days it was up again on last year (and rises year on year). It is always quieter on sunday cw Saturday (but we hope being on a bank hol weekend that MIGHT be less so).
    Attendance circa 2200+ sat and 1500 sunday.

    we will be doing a lot of promotional work (as we do every year) to get local in -in the case of the NEC locals ARE that bit further away but do exist. That said the bulk of our attendees are gamers and gamers families.

    I think that public transport is a good option for those who mind carparking fees. When I go to the NEC for an event a carpark fee is just something you build in but trains and buses are an option for those who want to avoid it.

  7. Hi all

    just to note.. moving next to the airport doesn't attract international companies at all. If they are willing to travel several thousand miles an extra 5 to the venue clearly isn't going to put them off. as we have stated in our newsletter, at the 2 seminars we held over the weekend of the expo and in an article in the free programme, it is about space.

    This seems to be a recurring theme though with various convoluted theories all ignoring the obvious thing that we have no space left at all.

    We share everyone's concerns about costs especially as we have to foot the bill :) But if we want a UK con that attracts the big companies while having room for the new, small one man band affairs then this seems the only way to go. Is the UK ready for such a con.. we can only plan well, do our best to reduce the costs and have a go.