OK, in an attempt to kick some life into the UK boardgames industry, two chaps have organised the first UK Games Expo on the 2nd and 3rd of June. That's just a fortnight away.
I've mentioned before that I'll be there, running a demonstration and particiption game of Heroscape.
I've seen too many wargames shows where someone's idea of a "demonstration" game was to have lots of pretty things for the public to look at, but get too close to the action and they'd just growl at you. Almost as bad are the "participation" games where you have to give up three hours of your day to play something ill-thought out, untested, and where the organiser just tells you exactly what to do turn-by-turn anyway.
Thankfully Heroscape lends itself to both the people who want to just look, and the people who want to get stuck in but can only spare an hour.
Now I've been taking Heroscape to several local cons and events over the last 12 months, including Beer & Pretzels last week, and the reaction has always been very positive. In the meantime, I think I've managed to pick up a few ideas and avoid a few pitfalls in ways to get people to play and enjoy the game in the confines of a public event. I know for a fact that my efforts have managed to sell more than a few games (though you're never going to empty all the local Argos stores on the back of one public event).
Anyway, my preparation for the Expo is largely done (though I'd love Hasbro to wake up and contact me about the event, given that it is their product I'm showing off). I've accumulated a rather daft NINE sets of Heroscape, and designed a map that will allow several games to be played at once (as well as providing what I hope is something of a "wow" factor). Various bits and bobs have been purchased or prepared to make the whole thing look as porfessional as possible, because professional-looking is often approachable in the minds of the public - I've seen how they react at Europe's biggest games show (Essen, 150,000 attendees, which usually includes me trying to demonstrate something) to organised exhibitors, and how the same public shuffle past anyone who looks like a clueless amateur.
The centrepiece to make Heroscape look good will be the map itself. As I say, nine sets have gone into this; all the necessary pieces are all boxed up in my games room, to help with a smooth setup on the day, and there are just a couple of small details to iron out (one being how we're going to allocate the copies that Hasbro have promised to send as prizes).
Anyway, here's the map:
Although I had a last-minute idea of getting some new dice towers together and trying to sell a few at the Expo, that's not going to happen. I contacted three firms that do acrylic cutting for a quote at the start of the week, and so far none have got back to me with numbers, let alone enough detail to put me in a position to place an order for the components. I'm still hoping to make some more, but there won't be any for sale at the Expo.