It is difficult to believe that a whole year has gone by since we last went up to Birmingham for our first experience of the Games Expo. But indeed a year has passed. Ed, Joe and Mike went up on the Thursday evening, and Dan and I joined them on the following morning. Unfortunately Pete, (Sgt. Slaughter), was not able to attend this time around. Oddly Dan and I played our first game at the service station on the M40. In a game of Dashboard Gladiators, my wind up chameleon, Chuck Chuckleson (below), was all conquering over Dan's wind up, hand standing, Panda, Pendleton. For an instant replay of that battle, please visit the Orbital Bombardment Twitter entry for the 3rd June @OBDZC.
Above: Chuck, my dashboard champion and new Facebook picture.
Dan and I arrived to collect our tickets at the NEC (where the traders were this year) and awaited the opening of the venue doors at 11.00 where a vast array cosplayers stood. And a more diverse range of sci-fi and modern culture references you will never see. For instance, on the Sunday I saw The Stig checking tickets for those entering the trader's hall, or rather, some say, that is what he was doing.
We all split up, and Mike and I went looking for games to play. The first we found was a football game called.......The Football Game. The good people at the London Board Game Company were the game's creators, and they explained that they were not far off going to Kickstarter with the project.
It was a fairly easy game to pick up. You take control of a football team and you are in charge of choosing the team, buying new players, and if things take a turn for the worst, firing the manager.
To make up for Tottenham finishing behind Arsenal this year, Mike won our game by a country mile. His team finished as champions, whilst my bunch of no hopers suffered the shame of relegation.
Above: Mike; giving us his best managerial face
Above: To the victor the spoils.
Above: The final league table at the end of the season.
I had a number of items on my shopping list and traders to visit; Steamforged, Hawk, Darkops.co.uk and All Rolled Up (the latter I had seen in the show guide, and they were up for an award in the accessories category for a fold away dice tray which came in a multitude of colours. It certainly seemed to be the darling of the show, by the number of gamers who had one by the end of the weekend. I am pleased to say they deservedly won the award).
Above: The dice tray being used in a Drop Zone game.
Above: A less conventional use for the dice tray. Mike, later on Friday evening, makes a lacklustre attempt at cosplay using the dice tray as Batman's cowl.
My visit to the Steamforged stand allowed me to purchase my final player for my Fishermen GB team, Fangtooth.
Above: Fangtooth. No assembly instructions required.
Next stop was Darkops.co.uk where Steve and his colleague has designed some brilliant Drop Zone buildings.
Above: Steve and his stand.
Below: Darkops provided a bespoke DZC table for the Hawk stand. It was lovely. A particular favourite part was the underground monorail.
Above: My constructed Nakotumi Plaza, Dual Generator and the Power Node. The more observant of you will notice that I have constructed doors on the Plaza and Node so that I can use them as futuristic Infinity N3 buildings. Blasphemy. Mike will not be pleased.
After ordering my Expo ticket in May, I began to receive e-mails about the many and varied things to be seen at the event. Therefore, I knew about the game Ice Cool. The main objective of the game is to flick your penguin around the playing area (a number of boxes designed to look like school rooms) to either, collect fish from doorways, or to act as a penguin hall monitor. Simple premise really. A much impressed Mike bought the game to play with his daughters, although, it didn't stop us having games later in the evening.
Above: The happiest wargamer in the world.
We managed a number of other participation games at the show. one in which you were tasked with rebuilding society after nuclear war, and another, where you were in charge of building one of the seven wonders of the world.
Above: Inspecting all our DZC purchases. A ginger Tribble, aka Dan.
Above: whatever the question is, Ed does not know the answer. Over Ed's shoulder can be seen another table playing Ice Cool. It is necessary for all four players to stand up when playing.
Above: Come the evening, Mike, Ed, Joe and myself played Shogun. A particular favourite of mine. Unfortunately, Joe and I got a little carried away with combats. And although we pretty much destroyed Ed's empire, we didn't build many structures and Mike romped away with a victory.
Above: the mysterious interior of the Shogun dice tower.
Above: Shogun. The position mid-game. Ed's shrinking red empire and Mike's many black buildings are already very obvious.
Next was the Game of Thrones board game. Dan rejoined us, and explained that we would not be finished until at least 2.00am. I managed to last until 1.00am, when Hawk James kindly took over my faction. Dan was the eventual winner. And so, a very enjoyable first day came to an end.
I plan two further Blogs regarding our exploits over the weekend.
In the meantime happy wargaming to you all.