We have just got back from the Games Expo in Birmingham. The experience has certainly been better than the family KFC we endured on the M1 on the way home! Wow, what a difference two years make since we last visited the show. Whilst the venue was the same, the volume of punters and traders has certainly increased. In the programme the organizers stated that last year saw seven thousand visitors with more expected this year. It definitely felt that the show had the growing pains of success. So much so that the organizers suggest that next year the show will be slightly split across two parts of the NEC site.
With that growth came a few limitations. The first one was the price! Quite a few people had commented on the cost of Sheffield Triples at six pounds an adult; double that and you have the adult price of entry. For myself, Lucy and William the entry cost was thirty one pounds - the price of a boardgame before you start. We arrived pretty early so joined the queue to get in at about 10.20am. Whilst long, the queue moved efficiently with the waiting punters all in seemingly good spirits.
You could definitely feel the squash as you entered the first display hall. Narrow aisles and eager customers made it difficult to browse many of the stands. Once you accepted this difficulty, there were many board gaming delights to look at. The first thing to catch the eye was a Zombie game called 'Brains and Bullets', a miniatures game of the brain eating variety. After some reflection (and a quick look at east street games website) I decided to save my pennies. We did have a quick rest break at the Hive game stand, where Will reminded me that he is still the Champ at this insect infested offering.
The most interesting part for us all was the Krosmaster booth. I had bought Will this boardgame about two years ago, where we have not yet really invested much time into it. So it was nice to sit with an open copy of the game and have one of the stand representatives remind us how the game works; the usual family dynamics occurred where Will and Lucy double-acted me - I'll get you both next time!!! I would have liked to have a look at the Bring and Buy, however the queue to look at the tables was about 25 Meters long, with the crowds and the slow movement we decided to move on. We looked to buy a copy of Sheriff of Nottingham but couldn't find a copy anywhere. This was made up for by the fact I picked up my Kickstarter 'The Great War by Plastic Soldier Company. A pleasure as the game has been released earlier than expected. Anyway, enough of my geek dribbles, here's what Lucy and Will thought about the show.
It was obviously a lot busier than 2 years ago which shows a positive growth in the hobby. The show was well organized however definitely in need of expanding premises as promised in 2016, as the visitors were limited to restricted viewing and traders were finding it difficult to reach their customers. It's a worthwhile, good day out, however the entrance fees for a family is possibly on the high side. This could put taking children for parents a costly affair, particularly if they are teenagers. The bring and buy was not effective, as everybody likes a bargain, but the wait was too long. All the staff and traders were friendly and all of the visitors appeared to be having a good time.The best bit was the family area where games could be borrowed and played with for free. The open boardgames did not seem as visually enticing as our previous visit, maybe that's just an amateur's viewpoint.
It was busy and cramped. I found it a little boring as I prefer miniatures and wargaming. My best bit was playing Krosmaster, and the Krosmaster display stand. The bit that needed most improving was the amount of space. I enjoyed playing Hive for a break.