DAY 1: Set-up
2018’s UK Games Expo was held at the Birmingham NEC between 1st – 3rd June. As the UK’s biggest tabletop gaming show (and currently vying with Origins to be the third biggest in the world!), it was only right that we at Room17 Games were in evidence at this prestigious show. With Museum Rush and Flicky Spaceships to sell and our forthcoming Miremarsh Kickstarter to promote, it would have been remiss for us to miss it. Thus we descended on the show with a full complement of staff, a cracking stand in a prime location, and boxes full of awesome games.
This also marked a special weekend for me. Despite being in the tabletop games industry for nearly five years, the 2018 Expo saw me attend the show for the very first time…
…And, whoa! That thing is big!
We arrived at the NEC in Birmingham on the morning of Thursday 31st May with a truck load of boxes and a handful of smiles. Well, I say smiles, but it was more like matchsticks to keep our eyelids open after such an early start! I was immediately struck by how easy it was for exhibitors to get into the show; we literally drove our van into the hall and unloaded next to our stand. I’m not saying any old Jim lad off the street could have snuck in as there was a fair amount of security, but I was impressed with how well organised the whole thing was.
The walls and carpet for our stand had already been set up and laid (which was a massive relief for me as it was my job to get things sorted and ordered!), so our stand already looked awesome, even without our stuff! We unloaded the van and unloaded our stock, tables, chairs etc. This was especially tricky for me as I had a torn shoulder tendon, but I soldiered on.
As we began to set up our stand, we realised something was wrong: where were the artboards I ordered for our walls? Trying not to panic, I asked one of the Expo’s staff if he knew where the errant artboards were. He confessed he has no idea, but said he would find out. This was typical of how helpful the Expo’s staff were across the entire weekend.
As I waited for the promised answer I decided to get some more of the operational things out of the way. It didn’t take long to collect our exhibitor passes, car park passes etc, although I did get a few odd looks as I counted out seventeen exhibitor lanyards and plastic wallets. By the time I got back to the stand our awesomely huge desk (as built by N-FX) had been assembled. It made our stand look even better, even if I say so myself. Better yet, Expo Staff Man (an underwhelming superhero, I grant you, but a helpful one, nonetheless) had dropped by to tell us our artboards were on site, and the contractors would put them up in due course. This was, I must say, a relief, as I think I’d have spent the weekend in the naughty corner if they hadn’t arrived.
Sharing our stand with us was Eastar Game Manufacturer, who’d travelled to Birmingham all the way from Ningbo, China! We (by which I mean our boss, Ricard) helped them get set up and build a Kallax, and then we all went for lunch. At this stage there was still no sign of those artboards, and I just couldn’t shake the awful feeling they wouldn’t arrive, and I would still be consigned to the naughty corner.
After a fulsome lunch at the local TGI Friday we returned to our stand to discover not only had the awesome demo tables we’d ordered for Museum Rush, Flicky Spaceships and Miremarsh been delivered by Dice Sports, but … wait for it … the artboards had finally appeared!
So we were good to go! Taking a step back from our stand I realised I’d never seen anything so beautiful (don’t tell the wife and kids!) Good job, Team Room 17, we looked pretty good…
…And we were ready for whatever tomorrow would bring!
Our next game, Miremarsh, hits Kickstarter on 2nd July, 2018. Guide dastardly goblins as they prowl the swamp, kills creatures, hunt unicorns and try not to die. Again.