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  • The UK Games Expo: a game 04 June 2018 | View comments

  • I’m trying to process everything I’ve taken in over the last few days at UKGE - it was my first time visiting the Expo and also the first time I’ve engaged with such a wide variety of games and different people who play them, learning more about peoples’ experiences beyond the network of people I play with in London.


    This is all going to be quite disorganised - there’s no overall message I want to push. But the whole weekend has made me want to be more creative, whether it’s regular writing challenges or thinking about the kind of scenarios I include in my own games, or simply playing a wider variety of games. So what better way to start than trying to write this blog-post in game format?




    Expo: Reflections*




    You will need:


    1 player

    A coin

    The internet (well, this specific page of it)

    Optional: a drink. The drinking version of the game is very similar to the non-drinking version of the game, except you drink whenever ‘…’ is written in the game rules or flavour text or more than one set of ‘()’ or ‘[]’ are used in the same paragraph. Or you can just drink when there’s way too much punctuation. It’s not like this is a serious game anyway.




    You are: an attendee of the UKGE. It’s your first time and you have absolutely no clue what to expect.


    Pick a character trait or feature:



    You’ll feel frustrated at one point during the weekend when you can find stickers to add to your Expo pass that say ‘gay’ or ‘ally’ but none acknowledging bi people (or any others, for that matter). You will take one of each as a compromise… -1 from your visibility stat.

    During a playtest for a game, the GM will respond to questions about inclusivity in the new edition with a noncommittal answer that also ends with not wanting to go too far and prompt questions from players of ‘why does everyone have to be [gay/bi/trans/etc]’. -3 from your perception stat - you’ll be too distracted thinking about this for a lot of the weekend.




    You will note two games that, upon close inspection, feature either artwork that highly sexualised female characters (with impractical and nonsensical clothing) or seem to base entire character classes around female sexuality. +2 to your speed, as you’ll be able to pass by certain stands pretty quickly.

    Whilst the gender split of attendees and exhibitors will be far from 50/50, you’ll be heartened by a) the ‘how to start GMing’ panel which will be comprised of two white women and one black man, thus helping to represent the increased presence of non-cis-white-men in the gaming community and b) the female exhibitors and game-makers you meet over the weekend. +2 to confidence.



    RPG player

    You’ll feel a little bit lost amongst all of the board games and card games - RPGs (at least as you know them) are in the minority. +3 to knowledge - you still won’t know *everything*, but wow are you going to learn a lot about a lot of different new games.

    Whilst being led through a demo of an RPG, you will realise that that game mechanics are being demonstrated, but not how to role-play/the role-play element of the game. -1 from linguistics - you’re going to struggle articulating how this makes you feel, at least succinctly so.




    You’ll realise - particularly during the ‘How to start GMing’ panel - how much performance, role-play and theatricality are features of your games and how much that defines your entire approach to gaming. +2 to self-consciousness.

    You will grasp onto what improvisation, role-play and storytelling elements of games are available, even if the game is a card game but the rules briefly mention that the winner of a round is ‘spoken of highly by the princess at breakfast’. +3 to nonsense for all the breakfast chat you drunkenly come up with.




    Round one: Spend approximately £60 on new games and dice.


    Round two: Flip the coin.


    Heads: you had an amazing time - plenty to thinks about, elements of the industry you want to be a part of changing, a sense of where to look for cool new things or collaborators, a faint dissatisfaction with theatre and its seemingly lack of a parallel to an event such as this and a desire to make lots more work that is centred around social interaction, having fun and encouraging people’s creativity.

    Tails: as above.

    The coin lands on its edge and stands upright: you fail to win a raffle for a gaming table that costs thousands of pounds. A dark cloud hangs over you for the rest of your days.




    *to be read - whether aloud or in your head - in as dramatic a way as possible, as though ‘Reflections’ had the same moody weight as ‘Revelations’/‘Origins’/any single word that follows a colon in a game’s title

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