Well that's about it for my (as Tony) relationship with the UK Games Expo. They did entirely what everyone else is doing in these troubled times and moved the event from end-of-May to end-of-August. Unfortunately, for me at least (and SSG mainly), the hotel won't re-book my place accordingly. That's unreasonable, you might say BUT I did book the rooms on the last day of the 2019 show with a 'no cancellation refund' policy.
"OMG Tony, why did you do that?!?!?!"
Because the scalping fuckers at the Ibis chain - advertising rooms 'from £99 per night' on the departure day in 2019 wanted to charge me £1200 for two rooms in 2020 with the cancellation option; instead, I plumped for the £850 option which came with the 'ha-ha! no get-outs!' clause: "Why not?", I thought; "If, for some reason, I can't go I could offer the room to someone who might need it instead!".
Naturally, that was back in the halcyon, optimistic, pre-Brexit (when there was still hope), pre-Boris Johnson, pre-failed-impeachment, pre-Coronavirus maelstrom days.
I tried, of course, to appeal to the hotel's better nature: I didn't want a refund, I just wanted to move the booking to August...of course, anyone who thinks it will go ahead in August will have jumped on-line to secure the first places. They won't have been cheap but the scraps that are left will be even less so...unless you fancy taking a punt on a 'no cancellation' option?
I can hardly blame all of this on the UKGE, though, can I?
Well, they've sat happily by and watched the Hilton Metropol hike its prices year-on-year, lost/given up the option for Exhibitors to get some kind of discount (we used to get one in the early days) and, generally, sat back with the air of 'not our problem, mate'. The one year we couldn't stay at the Hilton (after doing so every time before) was because they were sold out to punters first - no block set aside for those of us who were still 'taking down and loading the vans'; we ended up in the Premier Inn - a mile away across an unlit expanse of car parks - and paid the same amount. The accommodation arrangements are, for exhibitors, a fucking joke; to be frank, if I wasn't an exhibitor then there's nothing about the UKGE that makes it worth me paying that much of my own money for now. Not a thing.
I'd rather save my cash for Leiriacon (now properly cancelled) - which costs less for everything (flights, parking, car hire, fuel, tolls, hotel & food) than just three nights (all meals are extra) at the bloody Ibis Styles - AND, of course, Essen Spiel.
We had a good run, the UKGE and me, but we've gone from excited co-conspirators in a noble evangelising project to being an income line in their booking spreadsheet with no strings attached. I quite liked those strings, in the old days; they meant we all felt connected.
Life and Games (but mostly games) from Tony Boydell: Dad, Husband and Independent UK Game Designer.
- [+] Dice rolls