So myself and friends from the Orbital Bombardment podcast jumped in three cars and went to the UK Games Expo 2015 at the Hilton Metropole Hotel at the Birmingham NEC. We stayed for two nights and this was by far the best way to drink in the atmosphere (as some of my colleagues did!). And I must say thanks to all the organises, traders and other attendees who made it such a great event. We all had a very good time. Although I have never been to an American convention, like Adepticon or Nova, I imagine it would be something like this centred around a hotel.
Picture below - A room of happy board gamers
Friday was spent playing board games (see picture below showing the OB Boys enjoying the King of New York Game). We also visited the very nice and generous people at Hawk Wargames where I picked up a box of the new PHR Long Rifles.
Saturday was the Drop Zone Commander tournament. I played three very good competitors, but unfortunately my generalship skills and luck ran out. I drew one game and lost the other two. In game two my Zeus was destroyed in the first shot against it in turn two, and in game three I put a load of wounds on a UCM Phoenix Command Gunship, but my poor Helios was cursed by bad dice and couldn't bring down the large tin tray down. I consoled myself with trip to The Dice Shop (www.thediceshoponline.com) and bought some more cubes of happiness and misery. My day was further improved by Arsenal winning the FA Cup (smiley face).
Picture below - The Phoenix - also useful for carrying the dice indicating the number of wounds!
Picture below - further consoling with the aid of an Etonian Mess Waffle.
Late Saturday evening we played my first ever game of Shogun the board game. I was terribly impressed, and although I was playing in a tournament the next day, kept playing until 2.30 in the morning. The Shogun dice tower was one of my favourite things from the weekend. Unlike, other dice towers, it actually keeps back some of the dice you put into it when determining who wins a battle. It is a very clever gaming mechanic and I will be building one for myself in the future just for the hell of it. So there!
Day three, Sunday, and it was the Infinity tournament run by Pete from the www.Lead-rising.com website. A complete review of the tournament, with pictures, is already on his blog. Despite not having the opportunity to play much Infinity at our club I managed two wins and a loss and came 14th out of 22. Next time I should attempt to get more victory points. Although I tabled my third opponenent in turn two (sorry Dominic), it does mean you lose a whole turn of being able to score further victory points as the game automatically ends. I always thought that was a little harsh in the tournament system. It penalises an army for being too successful. And a new experience for me, my vanquisher in game game two was John from the Totally Crit podcast, and he interviewed me for their episode on the event. I only hope I didn't sound like a twit, as I certainly played the game like one!
The eventual winner of the tourney was an old friend of mine, Chris, who belongs to the Hydra Gaming Club. Here are some of my own pictures from my Infinity games.
I don't play X-Wing, but here is a picture of what I believe was the final game for their huge tournament. As you can, lots of avid interest.
I only have two little gripes about the whole weekend. Firstly, the hotel car park was full very early on the Friday, and although the overflow car park was not that far away, it was no picnic carrying bags, armies, and stuff for the bring and buy. Secondly, the difficulty in finding a spot to play games in the evenings. I understand that next years event will move the traders to the actual NEC buildings, but I imagine that there will be drop of sales when attendees at the hotel will need to make a special trip. I know it was helpful for me to buy stuff between rounds during the tournaments.
It was a brilliant weekend and I am certainly going to make an effort to go next year.