On Saturday morning I drove across the Midlands from Droitwich to the NEC and the new venue for Games Expo. I have previously reported on this event, which used to be held at The Clarendon Suite on the outskirts of Birmingham. This year the organisers have decided to move the event to the Hilton on the NEC site.
I will say from the outset that I was against this move as I rather enjoyed the intimate atmosphere of The Clarendon Suite with its two main halls and loads of smaller event rooms.
Firstly, the carparking was free, although there was some discussion as to whether there would be enough for the whole day. I was pleased with my initial impressions and within minutes had passed through the main reception and registration areas. At just £8.00 entry for the one day - I thought is was reasonable.
I quickly made my way through the first hall (it was too busy) and into the second gaming area where there were loads of gaming tables and spare seating. This was a pleasant surprise as it meant that I could take stock of the rooms and enjoy a quiet browse.
I did not take many photos as the bulk of the areas were board games, however these two displays were very well done, a Gladiatorial game and my first real look at X Wing, which was being displayed on a fantastic gaming table.
There was the usual Dr Who area and the two named guests were soon mobbed by fans. Sergeant Benton - John Levene was particularly talkative and approachable. The second character Dorium Maldovar - Simon Fisher-Becker, was less identifiable without his blue face paint.
Within the first hour the event got even busier and I decided to browse some of the outer rooms where the various tournaments were being held.
There were a number of rooms similar to this one where ardent gamers were engrossed in beating their opponents. As with last year I was ultimately very disappointed with these displays as they are not set up for display to the general public or browsers. This maybe an unfair criticism although I think it is the job of the organisers to make all sections open to all and to set up gaming tables with some WOW factor.
The Bring-and-Buy hall was the usual scrum, but with little of interest for me. I picked up just one magazine.
By 12.30pm - just three hours after arriving I was ready to go. It is difficult to pass too much negative comment on this show at it "does exactly what it says on the tin". It is a gaming exhibition to allow gamers to try out new board games. I was used to the eclectic mix of wargame, gaming and traders that I had seen at The Clarendon Suite and as such was a little disappointed.
I spent very little, buying a couple of magazines some figures and a book - total spend below £30.00.
I do not expect that I will be attending next year. However do not be put off if board games and new gaming ideas are your thing. It is just that I was expecting something a little different from what I found.
It would be interesting to read reviews from others who attended - to see if I was alone in this view.