UK Games Expo 2011 – Friday, Day 1 Part 1

Meeting up with the UK Gaming Media Network Team

The banner for the UK Gaming Media Network
As planned I met up with Mark Rivera (the man behind the Boardgames in Blighty blog, and one of the key players in the UK Gaming Media Network (UKGMN) ) at Euston and we got the train together. Coming at the hobby from slightly different angles (my focus being Euro games and his being more Ameritrash) we had a lively conversation and as you would expect played a couple of games Convoluted and Cold War: CIA vs. KGB.

At Birmingham station we bumped into Will from Clarendon Games, heading to the Expo to launch their first game Perigon. [I did get a very brief demo of the game on Saturday morning just before the Imagination Gaming team pitched up but shortage of time meant it was too brief to really assess the game and be able to say more than that it is an abstract strategy game with a wooden board.]

Richard Denning explaining The Great Museum game to Mark Rivera with Chris and Michael in the background
At the show venue we found the UK Gaming Media Network (UKGMN) area where we met Chris Bowler (Unboxed: The Board Game Blog) and Michael Fox (a contributor to The Little Metal Dog Show and recently the US Dice Tower - one of the largest and most respected games review sites), two more key members of the UKGMN who were preparing the kit for a number of interviews with games designers and other hobby luminaries. We barely had enough time to dump our bags before Mark was
interviewing, firstly Richard Denning (chief architect of the UK Games Expo) about his two games 1066:The Battle of Hasting Card Game and The Great Museum, followed by Patrick Ruediscueli for x610z  and Existenze. Each of these games is still in prototype so it was interesting to hear some of the background behind their approach and what is driving the design as well as how the games are expected to play.

There were many other interviews over the weekend perhaps most notably for me with:
  •  Martin Wallace talking about his new game Ankh Morpork based on Terry Pratchet's Discworld (one of the two Discworld based games being demoed at the show, Guards Guards being the other);
  • Larry Roznai the president of Mayfair Games;
  • My friend Paul Grogan talking about Dungeon Petz one of the new games from CGE and 
  • Most importantly of all the one with Andy Hopwood talking about Zoom Zoom Kaboom were my wife and nephew manage to appear on camera – well unwittingly move very quickly across the background midway through the film! 
  • If you would like to check them out then click here.
[As this is the first effort by the UKGMN to produce live podcasts there are a number of teething issues including the advert that may appear at the beginning of each video.]

Mark Rivera, Chris Bowler & Michael Fox in front of the UK Gaming Media banner

It was really interesting to get a chance to talk to my fellow bloggers, sadly there was not as much time as I would like and my commitments in the Family Zone on Saturday meant I was unable to join them for the panel session in the seminar rooms - a session that attracted over 60 people, a lot more people than had been expected. Hopefully there will be a video if this session soon.

In the afternoon I hooked up with Tim Cockitt (one of the team I met at last years show) and Bob from the x610z team for a game of Stone Age, a game Tim had specifically requested I bring along for him to try. I was convinced (as I think was Bob) that he was going to cruise to a victory based on his collection of civilization cards, but to both our surprises I sailed past him as we counted our scores.
Stone Age - Tim, Xander Bob and myself at the end of the game

With Tim heading into the main venue to help set up the Bring and Buy and my new found Dutch friends (Patrick, Xander and Bob the team behind x610z) needing to eat after their early start and an hour’s time difference, we all separated.

More photo's, including some shots of the games mentioned, can be found here

The following are links to my other blog posts and photos for the UK Games Expo:

Friday Day 1, Part 2 - An opportunity to play the Dungeon Petz protype by CGE here with more images here

Saturday, Day 2 - Most of my day was spent in the Family Zone a review of which is here. This was followed by an interesting dinner and then more games here with more images here

Sunday Day 3 - The final day plus links to many other views and reports here with more images here

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