It’s going to take a lot to topple the UK Games Expo as the UK’s top board gaming convention. But if anything is setup to tackle Birmingham’s finest, it’s the capital’s young and upcoming upstart, Tabletop Gaming Live 2019.
Last year’s event was a little sparsely attended (check out my coverage here). But it showed an awful lot of promise. For me, it got the important things right. There was loads of space to sit down and play games. Plus you could play a lot of releases planned for release at Essen a few weeks later – giving it that exclusive feel. Hopefully attendance will be well up this time, so hopefully they can keep that feeling.
I also love the fact it’s at Alexandra Palace at what should still be a weather-friendly time of year. The views across London can be fantastic, so it has that novelty factor of being in a place that’s a pleasure to visit (which is definitely one over the NEC!).
Tabletop Gaming Live 2019
So what can you expect if you head down this year? First, it’s important to say it doesn’t just cover board and card games. There’s plenty on show for war gamers, RPG fans and tabletop mini lovers too. Plus CCGs and some other cool nerd/geek stuff (T-shirts and the rest of it).
- Demos: This was a real highlight last year, with Asmodee UK and Fantasy Flight bringing fresh releases. You’ll also be able to try out RPGs like Starfinder, RuneQuest and Call of Cthulhu. New minis game If England Were Invaded 1910, plus Wings of Glory and Dark Side of the Moon. And up to 20-player team bluffing game Blood on the Clocktower.
- Shopping: Expect some of the biggest names in the business, including Fantasy Flight, Ravensburger, Iello, Czech Games Edition, Oink, Z-Man and Asmodee.
- Tournaments: Get competitive in a selection of regional and national qualifiers. Including Pandemic Survival, Catan, Dragonball, Kingdomino and King of Tokyo (note – you’ll need tickets for these events).
- Workshops and talks: Get hands-on with minis painting or game design. Or check out talks and discussions from designers and journalists including Ian Livingstone CBE (again, some of these events are ticketed).
- Open gaming: Bought something new – or brought something with you? Sit down and game to your heart’s content.
Check out the official website for tickets (from £16 for adults, with under-10s free) and loads more information – including the really rather good magazine that gives the con its name. I’ll definitely be there at some point (I’ll tweet when, I expect) – so hopefully catch up with you there.