UK Game Expo’s Kate Evans on Taking the UK’s Largest Hobby Games Show Online
UK Games Expo — Friday, August 21 to Sunday, August 23: A Community
This is the 14th year of UK Games Expo, the UK’s largest hobby games show and possibly the third largest in the world. We have exhibitors and visitors from Ghana to Grimsby, Indiana to India, Hong Kong to Hanover, and a wealth of folk in between. These are great accolades of which we are proud. But the key thing that people don’t experience until they’ve been to the show, played all variety of games, taken demos, gotten help from our volunteers, watched live shows, participated in seminars, fought some Vikings, run from Daleks, and soaked up the atmosphere, is how much of a community and family vibe there is, both from everyone who attends Expo and those behind the scenes who make the show happen.
It’s this community and family which we were missing when we decided we had to cancel the 2020 physical show … and almost immediately decided to produce something that had as many of the games, fun, and features as the physical show. The idea is that the experience will be Virtually Expo!
It’s Virtually Expo: Keeping in Touch With the Community
The pandemic has made regular social and gaming evenings challenging at best. It was important to us to run some sort of UK Games Expo to ensure we could act as a central point bringing the gaming community together. But this is no small feat. From the initial idea where two of our number stayed up for a weekend on Dallas time in order to experience Fnord Con from Steve Jackson Games, to talking to our user experience and coding experts to see if we could actually make this happen, it has been a journey of invention. We have gained new skills, launched new channels, and had a terrific response from our audience in testing this tech in an initially muppet-like, but increasingly professional fashion!
We have redesigned our website and continue to update this daily ahead of the show to make it easy to log in, find content, ask questions, and play games.
Virtually Expo is not just about clicking on links on a website, but meeting and talking with people. We have launched our Discord channel to enable the social side of the Expo and there have been folk in the queue (a great British tradition) for over a month now.
We have had a wonderful response from Tabletopia who have set up our shortlisted games for the UK Games Expo Awards on their platform so you can try them ahead of voting for your favorite. We have teams of Ambassadors training in how to best help anyone at the online show. Our exhibitors have set up their stands in our Virtual Trade Hall with videos, links to content, offers, lists of their events and demos, as well as being able to video chat directly with an exhibitor via their stand. We want this to be a great convention for anyone who attends.
Life Is Better Playing Together.
Virtually Expo is free to attend — the majority of events are either free or have a small charge for participation. In a time of world crisis, many people are worried, anxious, uncertain, and isolated. We cordially invite you to Virtually Expo so that for three days — from Friday, August 21 to Sunday, August 23 — you can forget your worries, play some amazing games, talk with people, and be part of the community whose shared culture is games.
Life is better playing together.