Return to the Expo

So UK Games Expo, in its new and shiny home of the enormous NEC Hall 1 (as well as the Hilton that it has been in for the last few years!) has been and gone, and I attended for all three days, a fair bit of which was spent in the Playtest Zone (organised by the awesome Rob Harris of Playtest UK), with time divided between running games of Boogie Knights, playing other folks' prototypes, and helping to draw innocent victims in to the tables.

Proof that I actually had the attention of some players, despite wearing an obnoxious shirt.
Thanks to Namgyal Chatral for the pic.

I had two sessions of testing Boogie Knights, and during each session I managed to get two plays in, and it was pleasingly easy to fill the tables, though that was largely down to the efforts of the volunteers roping in passers-by.  In total that made for 17 people who hadn't played the game before, most of whom gave helpful feedback (mostly very positive, but some interesting points raised), and I even got an extra play that I joined in back at the hotel on Saturday evening with a couple I met, so this has extended the number of people who have played the game quite significantly.

I'll write another post to discuss the feedback I got in a couple of days or so.

Aside from that I got to play some really interesting prototypes, including one that has a The Resistance sort of vibe but is based on the prisoner's dilemma and ultimately has you choosing your own side, and a clever cooperative game about moving animals around fields.  Even volunteering at the zone for a while and wearing the Red Shirt (which makes us far more likely to suffer an unpleasant fate than the yellow-shirted Expo volunteers) was really rewarding, and I'll try to spend more time helping out next year.

Both at the Playtest Zone and elsewhere I enjoyed meeting people (several who I had previously met online) and making new friends and contacts.  Highlights included getting high-5's from numerous people; learning to play Guilds of London from the designer; Tony Boydell, and then listening to Gil Hova deconstructing it afterwards; a brief chat with Paul and Pip from Shut Up and Sit Down; cramming into the packed open gaming halls on Friday night and then having a really quiet little gaming session at the hotel bar on Saturday; discovering that the little coffee stall in Hall 1 near the Playtest Zone made damn fine coffee; and just getting to talk game design with heaps of interesting and interesting people.

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