Joe’s First UKGE

I had no plans to go to UKGE. I couldn’t help but be aware through the UK boardgame facebook group that is was a big event and a good time.  Most people seemed to go to buy loads of games, and I already have loads of games’. In terms of Strive development, it seemed unlikely we’d be able to organise any playtests of a 3 hour game anyway.

A couple of weeks before the event I was checking facebook and saw Game Brewer asking for volunteers at their stand to teach games. After a few quick searches of hotel sites and a look at train tickets I realised that I might be able to just about break even with the volunteer award of Mystic Vale and Clank so I signed up to go.

Arriving early on the Friday, I got my weekend Exhibitor pass, which got me in before opening time and headed to meet the Game Brewer guys. They had 5 games on their stand:

  • Chimera Station
  • Pixie Queen
  • Castellum
  • Gugong (Forbidden City)
  • Gentes

I had been sent a copy of Chimera Station early and had played a couple of learning games so I was confident teaching it but knew none of the other games.Unfortunately they already had someone teaching Chimera Station so I had to quickly learn and teach Gentes in the morning. I taught a very poor interpretation of the rules with the first two groups but quickly picked it up and settled on the best hierarchy of explanation for the game.

I wasn’t sure how much demoing would feel like ‘real work’ and how much it would feel like a game night. It ended up being strangely in between the two. Standing around and approaching people felt a lot like I was back in the electronics department of High Wycombe John Lewis but striking up conversation with gamers was much more natural than approaching customers. I had a lot of fun joking around with each group and everyone was in a good mood and eager to learn.

The time flew by but by the end of the day I was knackered. I wasn’t sure how well the networking event in the evening was going to go. I’ll let Charlie tell you about that in more detail in next week’s as he was definitely more alert than me.

The main event for me on Saturday was a Star Realms legends Tournament. I was planning on practicing the two formats (Core Set and Colony Wars) in the run up but never got around to it.

I knew at least one person from the Star Realms Community facebook group, Tim,  was going to attend and always look forward to putting faces to usernames. Although I play a lot on the app I was unsure how the tournament would go.

After the 5 Swiss games I had 4 wins and 1 loss, putting me joint second overall. The final Swiss game was against Tim where a 2nd turn Space Station led into a 3rd turn Brain World which won me the game easily.

In the first knockout round I was paired up with Tim, for a rematch neither of us wanted. I knew from seeing his posts in the group that he was a better player than his performance in our earlier game and his ranking after the Swiss rounds suggested. My concern was well placed, and in our best of 3 he outplayed me in the first game and narrowly beat me in the second. I was out but overall pleased with my performance. Tim went on to win, and being knocked out by the eventual winner always makes me feel better.

The final day was another full day of demoing. I learnt to teach Castellum, and spent the afternoon teaching Chimera Station. Once again, the time flew by and I started wondering how I could demo at more conventions as I really really enjoyed it.

I returned home with a quartet of new games

  • Mystic Vale
  • Clank! In Space
  • TIME Stories – The Marcy Case
  • TIME Stories – The Prophecy of Dragons

I’m hoping to persuade a lot more of the gamers I know in Brighton to attend next year as I’m now a complete convert to the joy of conventions.

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