Confessions of an UK Games Expo Noob

The UK Games Expo took place at the NEC the last three days. I think it's safe to say that this is the UK's largest board gaming related event. With it getting bigger next year! (More on that later).

So the thing I think most people will want to know is what did I get at the show.

As the photo above shows I have finally caved and got Krosmaster Arena. What swung it was it was being sold at a very good price, saving about £15 on it, plus it came with two promo characters. I also found a copy of Get Bit! Which was on Tabletop a while back, and looked a fun filler game. Now Sushi Go! Was bought after having a demo game at one of the stands. It was really good fun, quick to learn, and not that expensive.

At LAST! I was able to get a Machi Koro playmat. It's a lovely mat in my opinion.

Naturally I got some Netrunner stuff. Luckily the new data pack Chrome City had just come out, and was available. Plus I picked up a couple of old data packs I didn't have. Plus as the photo below shows an awesome beautiful looking official playmat.

I managed to get a copy of Roll For The Galaxy along with three Wolf Dice bags.

Then finally today I also picked up a spare set of dice for Krosmaster Arena, another two characters and a second map for the game.

While waiting with Zoe and the boys for Todd to have his lunch break from playing in the Netrunner nationals I got talking to one of the X-Wing competitors who was on a break. He made an interesting statement that he had looked at getting into Netrunner but was put off by the “high” cost of entry to be competitive at a competition level. His argument was that in the two or so years that Netrunner has been out with the expansions it is now too costly to buy them all.

I disagreed with him over this, pointing out that X-Wing at the level he was playing at could also be looked at that way, having to buy ships that you may never play with just for a card, and the game he had once played Magic The Gathering was astronomical to get into at a competition level. I also pointed out at least with Netrunner you could either just buy the cards you needed or the data packs with them in, which would of been one solution. Thinking about it, you could probably buy everything for Netrunner for the cost of one or two of the more rare Magic cards (I know some of the cards go for two or three hundred pounds each, maybe even more).

However it got me thinking. You don't need to buy all the data packs in one go. I'm not, I'm buying a couple a month, targeting specific packs if I need a particular card.

But then I'm not looking at the moment at playing at competition level. I know this is what some people like about playing some of these games the competitive competition side. But for me the first and foremost side is that I'm having a good time playing the game. I want to be good at playing the game. But if I don't get to a competition level then it won't kill the game for me.

Saw the guy today and found out how well he did in the tournament. He did well finishing 36th, just in the top third, and if I remember correctly he said yesterday he was flying two IG-88 ships.


On Friday I took part in the D&D Dicemasters tournament. There was only four of us in this, the majority of players were taking part in the DC/Marvel tournament.

At the start there was some confusion about the format of the competition, on the Facebook page for the show the format was declared as rainbow draft, while the organiser was going to have it as a constructed match. I'd only bought my basic action cards along for this because that was all that was needed for a rainbow draft game.

The organiser settled on the rainbow draft format, which gave each player twelve packs each to open. So after the passing round of cards you end up with twenty four cards and dice to choose a team of eight from.

The organiser was generous in that we were given a playmat plus a Pheonix Force promo card. PLUS to make up for the confusion over format we got an alternate artwork Beast Mutate #666 card plus an alternate artwork Harley Quinn card.

To cut a long story short I came fourth or last depending on the spin I want to put on this. I could of come joint second! How? Well my last game was against Scott, and after a mega, and I mean mega long first game which I won I was drained. Scott took the second game, which was a lot quicker. But I was exhausted by now. So I conceded the last game giving Scott the win. That put Scott into second place with two wins. If, and it's a big if I had gone on and won the third game that would of given three of us out of the four players with one win and making it a three way draw for second place.

I have to say it took me a while to work out how best to play my team and what the possible win conditions were. A more skilful player would of got to that point a lot lot quicker.

But still I got ten boosters for the D&D set as a prize. So for the ten pound entry fee, a playmat, twenty two boosters, three promo cards, not a bad return on the investment.

Plus this was my first time playing rainbow draft which was a great experience, and an afternoon playing Dicemasters.

I was down for taking part in the constructed nationals for Dicemasters but I hadn't really had time to look round and there were a couple of things I wanted to get before the show closed, and I was enjoying my time with Zoe, Todd and their two boys Ethan and Tristan.

Final Thoughts

I had a great time at the expo. I bumped into people I knew from my local FLGS, and a friend or two. Plus I met up with Zoe, Todd and the boys.

It was very hectic. On Saturday the main open play area was taken over by the Netrunner and X-Wing nationals which meant there was a severe shortage of space to play games.

The expo could of done with more space. Which I know from the expo guide they will have next year.

The expo staff were really polite and helpful.

Lots of cosplay especially Dr Who related, the two daleks were great fun, and a few Star Wars related ones, the Stormtroopers were very popular.

I think the half hour lunch that the Netrunner nationals and also the X-Wing were allowed was rediculous. The queues were ridiculously long for food, over fourty minute waits to be served. Unless you had the foresight to bring a packed lunch there was no chance of players getting something to eat, let alone have time to eat it.

There were no previews that I saw. With Origins on next week in the US I think they are being saved up for that. So why weren't we allowed to have previews? I'm talking of stuff like the new Imperial Assault expansions, or cards from the Age of Ultron Dicemasters, or games that will be out a month later at GenCon (another US show). Do we not warrant the same treatment as the US games buying public? Is this a drawback of timing? Would we have gotten some if the show was between Origins and GenCon? It does kind of make me feel we in the UK are not treated the same as our American brethren. Oh wait we aren't.

I was hoping to get a copy of the new artwork Resistance but the only copies I saw were the original/current artwork.

It was great to get a game of Netrunner with Todd, managed to answer one burning question I had about the game, and getting some advice on my deck. Naturally I lost. There will be a better write up of the deck in another post.

Overall a great first time experience at the show. Definitely going next year.


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