Lightsabres, Daleks and a lot of dice
This last weekend saw our first ever family trip up to UK Games Expo at the NEC, just outside Birmingham. None of us really knew what to expect, but we made a day trip for the Sunday of the two-and-a-bit day long event.
The event was actually at a Hilton hotel, and we were initially pleased with:
- the ease of access and (free) parking,
- the weather (I don’t think the organisers can take credit for that) during the short walk from the carpark to the venue,
- the fact that there was no queue at all to get in and the folks at the admin desk were absolutely awesome.
That makes for us all being in good moods right away, so we started exploring. We found two large halls full of traders and demonstrations alongside the family zone, and these are the areas we spent most of our time. Also around the place were a bring & buy room, several rooms for tournaments and general gaming, a room for prototype games, a room selling passable food at far better prices than the hotel’s own facilities, and some other stuff too. The whole place was pretty busy, but in general didn’t feel really crowded.
We were also pleasantly surprised by the number of families we saw around the place with kids of all ages. This is clearly an event a lot of folk feel comfortable bringing their offspring to. I’m sure this is helped in no small part by the family zone, a decent sized area where there was someone doing face painting (always a winner with Miss B), a giant Ticket To Ride set was ready for play, and an impressive games library was available (with people on hand to explain the rules) for play on the many tables in the area. Great stuff.
Much of Miss B’s afternoon was spent in the family zone where she got her face painted (as a tiger) and got herself signed up for a kids’ roleplaying adventure called “The Dwarf, The Wizard and the Wardrobe”, which involved saving everyone’s summer holidays from the Forces of Evil. It was, apparently, so good that she went back and played the same scenario again shortly afterwards.
All in all we reckon this was a great day out. I didn’t try out very many games, but I did buy several, so expect some posts about them soon. We’re already talking about how we’d improve on the experience for next year (bringing a picnic is actually one of the thoughts), so it looks like we have a date booked for this time next year…