As this pops up on your RSS feeds (ooh, how 1990s), I'll be thrumming up the M50/M5/M42 to the NEC for 2019's UK Games Expo: Lord love us!
For demos and for recreation (John Company and Off the Rails)
I'll be picking up 60 copies of Foothills from Asmodee UK (though another 60 or so copies will be available from other retailers, apparently?!) plus some shiny reviewer copies of Alubari: A Nice Cup of Tea. I've got an order in for some stuff from pal Jimmy and the bring-and-buy awaits my fiscal pleasure - talking of which:
I have rough plans for the in-and-around of the show BUT COME AND SAY HELLO, why don't you?!
Day time: Asmodee Retailer Event plus stand set-up plus fetch Foothills plus drop-off B&B stuff plus check in at the Ibis Styles NEC; games in the bar in the evening, probably - looking for someone to teach me Root? Hoping for a John Company with Maddox, Uli B & whomever else wants a fucking marvellous time! Meet up with my French Alubari chums? Hoping to pick up mine and Arthur's KS copy of Miremarsh.
'The Stand' whereupon to meet Ben Bateson and give him his Pass; demo & sell Foothills (him), Attention All Shipping for me. Maybe sneak in to the Bring 'n Buy before the Hell descends upon it. Meet up with my German Lookout Games pal! Maybe the Who Dares Rolls podcast record at 5PM (Tout Suite) - hopefully more than 10 people will turn up this year? More games in the evening at the Ibis.
'The Stand' plus a wander plus spending some dosh on precious things; chinny-wagging with whomever and generally Lording it about. I may get the irresistable urge to grab a coffee and hide in a dark corner for a couple of hours. We're all off the Genting Arena Sports Bar in the evening to watch the Liverpool match: there shall be much howling, cheering and beering - it will be aces!
'The Stand' plus more wandering; more demos and chinny-waggery. Arthur and Mrs B will join us later and Arty will be helping me pack for the journey home - Father and Son in a reprise of our 2018 Essen Spiel adventures!
And then it will be over and there's work on Monday morning.
Life and Games (but mostly games) from Tony Boydell: Dad, Husband and Independent UK Game Designer.
Archive for UK Games Expo
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It has arrived!
I can confirm that we, Surprised Stare Games Ltd, shall have 60 (sixty) copies of hot-off-the-presses Foothills at the UK Games Expo:
RRP is £30 but - hold! - why not pick up a copy of The Cousins’ War, North American Railways, Ivor the Engine and/or On the Cards while you're there? Or perhaps, if it's more your style, pick up a copy of Alan's Mission Command wargame ruleset?
And if you've got an hour or so to spare, why not try out Attention All Shipping, Alubari: A Nice Cup of Tea, Fweeep! or Off The Rails (a visual dash party game)?
Lots and lots to see and do...and that's just on Stand 1-T5!
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Been musing this morning - in between mugs of free coffee and Outlook Calendar notifications - about the splendid UK Games Expo and how, next year (and forever after), we - Surprised Stare Games Ltd - may decline to attend. I'm not saying we've decided anything BUT I don't get that excited wibble in my tummy when thinking about it.
Why? Well, here's the thing(s):
1. It's really expensive to stay in the area - yes there are places around-and-about but its a real fag having to commute around a draining day's work.
2. The market for our oeuvre is a relatively small part of the overall Expo attendance. Sunday was absolutely DEAD for sales this year
3. Unless we are launching something brand, spanky new (and not always then), the returns barely cover the costs of attending.
4. The Bring and Buy is overwhelming - I shudder just thinking about it!
5. There's no room to play games at the Hilton if you're an exhibitor because by the time you've made it out of the Halls, all of the tables are taken.
6. The 'awards' are a little 'corporate'.
7. I'd much rather spend the weekend wandering about with Mrs B and Arthur than hoping for someone to stop by for a demo of something.
Oh, I don't know; maybe it's the change in the weather?
Whenever I think of Spiel, I get a 'semi' on; whenever I think of the Expo, I feel sad.
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A day on which the weariness finally caught up with me but a splendid time was had by all (despite the best efforts of others)
04 Jun 2018
I really didn't want to get out of bed Sunday morning; the sky was cobalt blue and the sunrise was reflecting dazzlingly on Hall 9 on the horizon. Breakfast was, like Saturday, to be 'taken' in a side-room because although the main restaurant looked half-empty it was evidently being crushed under the weight of sausage demands! The waiting staff were - and I'm being charitable now - catastrophically inept; we were shown to a small table only to find it's prior occupant returning with a laden fruit bowl and a cheery "What the fuck?!". A be-suited flunky with the voice of a hoarse mouse redirected us to another only to have three people in the line for coffee chorus "We're all sitting there!". Mr Whisper then told us to sit down at two spare chairs on a table occupied by a pair of delightful Lady Masons without even asking them if it was alright to do so! Naturally, being the gentleman that I am, I posed the question and they were gracious in their accommodation. We quietly nibbled our repast until I remarked upon my diet and Ben's veganism which elicited a snort of laughter from one lady because Ben was choffing down on a heaped-and-steaming plate of pork products! Ice broken, we then had a marvelous 20 minute chinny-wag about games, traveling with Masons and the Acting profession! Sweet are the uses of adversity!
Before settling in to what would a hugely-busy DEMO day (but a barren wasteland of sales TBH), I had to return my borrowed copy of Agricola (see yesterday's blog) because the game library only ran until 2300HRS despite the Open Gaming rooms running until well after 0200HRS! I wanted my £10 deposit back though, failing that, I could've gained a cheap spare copy of 'Gric!
(clockwise from top L) Alubari: A Nice Cup of Tea and Foothills in full flow, first thing on a Sunday morning; myself, Edward and Matt Green discuss something or other; no sooner had we set everything up than we'd packed it all away again; and, goodbye everyone. In the middle is Matt's tres amusant trolling of the nearby Starbucks for our mid-morning beverage!
I was joined by Matt (see back of his head, above) and we chatted and I introduced him to various peeps: Hanno from Lookout, Wolfgang from Kosmos and Edward from Heavy Cardboard (see above also); Matt has been woefully abused by previous publishers of his (tremendous) games and it's about time he got some proper Euro publisher love!
Around lunchtime, my copy of Foothills was packed up and shipped off to foreign lands for further evaluation (yay!) leaving the afternoon for nothing but tea. In order to ensure a timely parking space for the 'take down', I retrieved the van and queued up in the Exhibitor's holding area. Running some obscure logistics algorithm, it was almost TWO HOURS (!) before were actually granted access; if I wasn't on these pills, I may have exploded with frustration and clubbed a Traffic Attendant to death with my snack banana! As it was, I chatted between windows with Martin (Admin of the BGTAC Facebook group) and tried to get some dancing going with a doors open/volume up mix of Elvis Costello and Fishbone. There were no takers. Eventually, we were granted entry and it only took us 10 minutes to decant from Hall 1 in to the Peugeot and high-tail it the Hell out of there!
The Completely-Obligatory Convention Haul shot (COCH) - as in "The facebook group feed is full of COCHS", "Would you like to see my COCH?" and so on.
Home, home again; I like to be here when I can. And, when I get home cold and tired, I like to warm by bones beside the fire.
P.S A big shout out to Joe Browes, Neil Yates, Mark Lewis and Hanno Girke for their extremely-generous gifts!
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03 Jun 2018
The day begins with another in a long line of healthy breakfast options:
Followed by an early-as-possible browse around the ridiculously-huge Bring & Buy selection:
Sweet Jesu, but it took a while! Happily, I located a selection of old and new goodies for the Princely sum of £74 and then scuttled back to the Stand for "proper work":
The ever-lovely Hanno from Lookout Games pays me a first-thing (time-off) visit and I rope him in to a game of Foothills
The morning flew by full of demos and the first raspings of "convention voice" began to appear; thankfully, the iPhone dinged to announce the arrival of Mrs B and Arthur - a three hour leave-of-absence duly followed. It's been so frenetic that I was stunned in to a tear-eyed stupour when we met in the atrium; only two days yet I was struck by how much I'd missed them!
After a snack lunch - camped out in a far corner of Hall 1 - we met up with our dear pal (long not-seen) Neil and his eldest to play some games in the excellent Family Zone:
Pikoko (Hanabi meets Whist) was fun - if confusing for Arthur - but the hit was (naturally) Animal Upon Animal: Crest Climbers
All too soon, it was 4PM and time to return to the booth; deep (and held) breaths stopped me getting all daftly weepy as they disappeared across the plaza toward the Car Park.
I managed to catch the Bring & Buy when the Public had been hustled from the building (or in to Hall 2 for the Open Gaming) and 'cashed out' my fecund earnings. I am always amazed at the stupidity of those who expect a secondhand - easily available - game to go for almost it's MSRP; the line of twelve TI3s all for a minimum of £60 was especially-hilarious!
And so we transition from the Day of Business to the Night of Play. First was Paul Grogan's charity raffle:
The auction raised a magnificent £2700 (!); unfortunately, I'd forgotten it was a raffle rather than an auction and neglected to buy any tickets! No matter. Next, in the depths of the Conference workshop rooms of the Piazza Suites, was the Who Dares Rolls 'Sparring Bants' podcast:
From the sublime to the ridiculous: we were, one stage, in real danger of outnumbering the audience in what was a rude, silly and (hopefully for both of them!) entertaining hour. Having expressed a melancholic side with friends and family, I now expressed a rude and stupid side which can only be described by listening to the 'record' when it's released. One of the panelists, Charlie, soldiered gamely on with eminently-sensible and well-considered answers while the rest of us swore and told knob jokes. I was particularly pleased with pitch for 'The Oscar Pistorius Game': a dexterity 'flicker' where you were trying to propel a wooden disc through a 3D cardboard bathroom doorway at a 'girlfriend' standee. I'm going straight to Hell for that one.
Weary, and with the Fitbit calorie counter comfortably over the 4000, it was back to the Hilton for a game of - well, how could I pass it up as it called for me in the Boardgame Library? - Agricola.
I was fucking furious to find that I'd been booted out of a boiteajeux game on account of being 60 mins late on taking my move; I'm at a fucking CONVENTION, you tedious twats!!! I took my revenge - playing against pals Richard, Ben and Phil-the-Sheep - by getting a highly-respectable 48 points and a lead so comfortable you could put your friends up on it for the night! Sometimes it all comes together perfectly! Such a delightful way to end a long day: glowing with satisfaction in my special gaming place.
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I've had to rent a van at the last minute on account of the VW being unavailable*; this, as it turns out, is no bad thing because I wouldn't have been able to fit everything in anyway. Behold, my 'to do' list:Quote:Yes, I do need to remind myself to bring clothes - not for nefarious nudity-prone reasons but because it's a sort-of superstition thing. Aside from the physicality of loading, other details of preparation occupied my attention over the long Bank Holiday weekend:
Phone & Charger
Laptop & Charger
Parking Pass thing
Nusfjord and other things to play
Bring & Buy Stuff
NAR – all
Snod expansion – 16 boxes
Ivor the Engine – 4 boxes
Bad Grandmas – all
Rolling Stock#1 - lots!
On Sunday, I'd arranged a consultation with Boffo to get Foothills up-to-date; it's making it's public debut and we both want it looking its best! That didn't take as long as I'd expected (who said collaborative design is difficult?!) so we had some minutes to spare:
Leaving the boys to mow the lawn and strim the borders, much shed time was expended putting a second copy of Alubari together, seeing as my other is currently in Germany:
Packing the 'admin' stuff (pens, passes, gifts etc) and Bring & Buy booty:
Finally, after a mandatory day at work, Thursday 31st May dawns and it's time to fetch, and load up, the van:
Ready to go (and it's not even midday yet!)
*I think it is truly dead; already looking at a replacement...
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There’s no way to really spice up this kind of post apart from, maybe, liberally littering it with expletives but - because I’m wearing my nipple-teaser Surprised Stare Games Ltd pissyfishing hat today – I’m going to rein myself the fuck in. Some of you, of course, will be cocking well aware that the UK Friggin’ Games Expo (UKFGE) is next weekend (1st – 3rd Shitting June) and I’ll be hip-grinding my way up the M5/M42 with a bollocks car load of North American Railways (with a special show price of £20)
and these promotional (chest)puppies:
In addition, we’ll bastard have Snowdonia: The Siege of Petersburg / The Channel Tunnel 1881 for a titty tenner (£10) and – so I am ASS-ured – a few copies of the Tsavo Lions charity postcard (also for a tenner, all proceeds to the Ugandan Games Club fund!).
Apologies, again, for the humbumdrum nature of this jizz.
Oh, BTW; yesterday's cartoon was taken by some on Facebook as a veiled announcement of the passing of my own parental and was followed by some very kind wishes. Ho-hum.
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Ziggy the dog - who is making an excellent recovery, thank you for all your good wishes - woke me far too early this morning with a frantic yipping; this is unusual and, given his medication has made him constipated, I feared he was calling for urgent release so he could effect an 'urgent release'. Cursing under my breath (so as not to awaken the rest of the household) at the ungodliness of the hour, I walked him around the drizzling garden and - in the wet gloom - I had an epiphany while Ziggy had an (if you will) epoophany...
We've only just finished putting away the dishes from the Easter Sunday lunch and we're already haring towards May like a Coopers' Hill cheese roller hares towards a crushed face and twisted limbs. May contains a couple of our children's birthdays (a 19th and a 21st) so when the
dusticing sugar settles on the partying it'll be June and the UK Games Expo! The Expo looks like it's going to be bigger, brighter, louder and more wonderful than ever; we're gonna meet up with loads of gaming pals, sell some stuff and we've managed to get (cheaper) rooms in the main hotel so the end of a looooong day doesn't involve a looooong walk to bed! Why, then, when I think about it, do I feel dread?
Last year I wandered the free play rooms in a bewildered daze; hundreds of people playing hundreds of games, sound-tracked by the dull roar of the chattering crowd. There were queues at the Bar, queues at the food concessions, queues in the corridors for the LARP specials and pre-booked seminars and sitting-on-the-floor room only for gaming.
Away from the safe and familiar confines of our Exhibition Stand, there's so much to do and so many people doing it that I find it almost impossible to process and end up fleeing to my room instead. At the Expo, you never really leave the crowds - they've just piled OUT of the N.E.C and IN to the hotel. If I wasn't the custodian (and transporter) of 300 copies of North American Railways, I think I'd be disposed to close the curtains and stay at home!
I think, therefore, that I need to fill my evenings beforehand - just like I've settled in to doing for Essen Spiel - and that includes pre-planning specific games. So, who's going to the UKGE and wants to play some games/hang out with a neurotic, sweary 50 year old?
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