Looking Forward to the UK Games Expo

There’s less than eight weeks to go until the UK Games Expo 2017 opens its doors. Here are the games, seminars and experiences we’re looking forward to the most:

Multi-table RPG extravaganzas

If a party of adventurers can achieve more than a lone hero, how powerful could they become if a whole collection of parties started working together?

This is essentially the premise of the two multi-table RPG experiences being run at the UKGE – one by the Pathfinder Society and the other by the D&D Adventurers’ League. Each will see dozens of players work together to achieve a single goal, while also attempting to score some nice loot for themselves along the way too…

The idea of coming together with a veritable army of heroes is a truly exciting one. Feeling as though you are part of something greater than the current quest is one of the best things about working withing a great DM, and this kind of epic set-up virtually guarantees such an experience.

Both events are running in the Saturday night slot so there’s no way to experience everything on offer, but no matter which one you choose – or manage to find a space on – you’re bound to have an incredible adventure.

Live RPG Plus

While some old-school gamers may scoff at the idea of watching other people play RPGs, there’s no denying that over recent years more and more people have found it a great way to get into the hobby.

At this year’s UKGE the crowds will get to experience the Live RPG Plus All-Star Gaming Event, run by tabletop soundtrack creators Syrinscape. It promises all manner of Cthulhu-esque adventures, as well as opportunities for audience interaction and more than a little silliness.

Of course, much of the fun comes from watching a party made up of interesting people. Fortunately, Syrinscape founder and game master Benjamin Loomes has put together a cast consisting of Munchkin and Dork Tower Artist John Kovalic; the host of Knightmare Live, Paul Flannery; Paizo’s editor in chief, Wes Schneider; Line Editor for Call of Cthulhu, Mike Mason; and and Pathfinder Society coordinator Tonya Woldridge.

The Catan UK Championship

Settlers of Catan is one of the games that taught us that tabletop gaming could be about more than random luck and endless bickering over rules on a rainy Sunday afternoon. Until very recently, however, none of us knew that there was such thing as competitive Catan.

This year the UKGE is home to the Catan UK National Championship, which is spread over the course of three days and several games. The winner of the four-person final will get an invitation to the Catan World Championship in 2018.

As casual fans we have no intention of trying our luck, but it’ll be fascinating to see what a high-level Catan game looks like. Will be there as many jokes wrung from phrase “wood for sheep” as there are around our dining table?

Seminars Aplenty

This may sound a little obvious, but the UKGE is an incredible place to learn about the games industry and make a few contacts while you’re at it.

One of the best places to do this is at the seminars being run over the weekend, which range from a lecture on how to get products into shops from Esdevium Games to panels with industry-leading artists.

For those with ambition looming large, there’s also the opportunity to take on the Wyvern’s Lair and pitch their ideas to designers from some of the world’s biggest gaming companies.

The Joy of the Unexpected

It’s a little cheesy, but some of the greatest things about conventions are the surpriuses they can spring on us.

Just wandering the hall and peeking into booths can introduce you to something utterly awesome and utterly unexpected. In the past we’ve chatted with designers casually hanging out by the side of merch stalls, found games and ideas we love, and bought a whole lot of stuff we never knew we needed!

So make sure to leave some time in your schedule for just having fun and seeing what – not to mention who – you run into.

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