The UK Games Expo is the largest hobby games convention in the United Kingdom. It covers all types of hobby games, including board games, card games, RPGs, war games and many, many more. After a break of a couple of years, I was finally ready to make my way up to the NEC, Birmingham again in 2022. However, this time, a friend from my games group joined me. I was really looking forward to finally meeting many of the people I only knew via social media. I also wanted to introduce myself to some of the publishers exhibiting there. My schedule was really full. It was going to be exhausting, but also a huge amount of fun.
My last board game convention was Airecon 2020 and it was the last event of its kind in the UK – and as it turned out, there wasn’t going to be another in-person UK board game convention until 2021. It was a wonderful event, even though everything felt weird. Nobody was sure whether to shake hands or not. The special guests who had flown in from the USA weren’t even sure if they would be able to get back home. Luckily, they did make it back safely and it wasn’t long until the UK went into full lockdown. So, I was keenly looking forward to Airecon 2022, the first board game convention I was happy to attend after a two-year break.
It feels like a long time ago now, but thinking back to AireCon, which took place last month, still puts a smile on my face. It meant a long car journey for me, travelling over five hours from the South Coast all the way up to Harrogate in deepest Yorkshire. I started early, around 6am, on the Friday, because I was aiming to get there by lunchtime. I wanted to see a few people who were going to be there – one of my wonderful Patreon supporters, a game designer who I got chatting to on Twitter and who was demoing his new game at the event, a more established game designer who I was hoping to arrange an interview with, as well as the board game “celebrities” who had made their way from across the pond. It was going to be busy.