So we’ve just spent the whole weekend dedicated to finding the best board games for the Sugar and Dice Café at the UK Games EXPO in Birmingham. It’s a hard job (haha), but someone has to research what’s new and fabulous in the board gaming world. We spent days wondering the huge exhibition halls playing games, talking to their creators, meeting distributors and most importantly chatting to attendees about what their favourite game was.
The whole place shuts down at 5pm and then the hotel next door opens its doors and thousands of people flood into huge rooms in order to test out those games they’ve just bought. We managed to stay up until 2am playing games with new friends. Then it all started again the next day at 9am for more trade fair fun.
I had such a great time exploring. We went to the world’s biggest board game expo in Essen in Germany last year and it was incredible. Even after two full days I felt like I had missed out on so much and it was so crowded. The UK version is still massive, but there is much more walking space between stalls, so you never feel squashed and because there are less people, you hardly ever have to wait long to play a game. In fact, we pretty much found an empty table at all the stalls we wanted to visit instantly and we met up with lots of creators of the games. At Essen, it was a quick ‘hi’ and ‘OMG I love your game’, whereas over the weekend in Birmingham we got a chance to really speak to the creators about their games and the industry in detail.
Tradespeople had more time to spend getting to know their customers and fans and the atmosphere was so happy and fun, the place was just a stream of beaming people. Absolutely wonderful. Even if you’ve never visited a games expo before, I can’t recommend it highly enough. Everyone is so excited to show off their latest board games and get you trying them out. There are areas for brand new games that need to be play-tested, huge versions of popular games, speeches and talks, famous people in the world of board gaming doing videos and podcasts for their fans, a bring-and-buy bargain second-hand games area, places to buy missing tiles or game inserts…
We will tell you all about the games we tested out soon, but for now, here is a photo of our haul for you to dribble over! They will all be on the shelf as soon as our doors are open and will be waiting for you to play them all!