It appears to have become something of a tradition for me to post my write up about UKGE late. The first year, 2014, was written the day after the event. 2015 went up five months late. This year I’ve really outdone myself. TEN MONTHS! Ten months after UKGE 2016, here are my notes…
Because it was so long ago things are not exactly fresh in my mind, but I do have my notes. When I go on these things, or leave the house at all really, I have my notebook in which I write notes about what I see and where I am, and reminders to myself. I have decided that for this year’s UKGE (2017) I’m going “live blog”. I’ll be writing all the notes in my books, which marks for photos I take, and then when I get home I’ll just type it all up as I’ve written it. You’ll get to experience it through my wacky random ramblings and my completely nutty brain.
In preparation for that, and because I can’t remember all the minutiae of last year’s event, I’m just going to type up the notes. I won’t know exactly where to stick the photos, but I’ll do my best.
Spot the convention goer – guy with a Mayfair Games tote bag at Basingstoke Train Station.
Spot the convention goer – guy in a Gryffindor hoodie getting off the train at Birmingham.
Spot the convention goer cheat – dozens of people with bright yellow lanyards at Birmingham Train Station.
There were taxi drivers at the taxi rank outside Birmingham station walking in circles to keep their fitbit steps up.
I have no anxiety here. I sent a tweet to the relevant hashtag asking if there were any other solo attendees who fancied meeting for a drink. Completely unlike me. And then I actually met someone! Sasha – very nice, heavily bearded man.
Scavenger hunt note for next year – how many beards?
- cape (check: 2 kids dressed as elves)
- steampunk (check: madhatter)
- animal ears (check: purple fluffy thing)
- chav looking lost (check)
- superman shirt (check)
- dice shirt (check)
- impressive beard (check: sasha)
- a zombie
- animal backpack (check: shaun the sheep)
- 10 x “keep calm” (check for 9)
- mohawk (check)
- dalek (check)
- rainbow of hair (check: Red, Green, Blue, Purple, lots of Pink)
- grumpy cat
- fez (check)
- something TARDIS (check: shirt, dress)
- how many incarnations of the Doctor (check: 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 11)
- someone I’ve met at expo before (check: Ursula)
Scavenger hunt idea for next year – how many different fandoms recognised in 5 minutes of people-watching?
Breakfast 8.50am on Friday was quick and easy. No queue. Most of the guests at that point were traders who were all up earlier.
White t-shirt covered in beans by 9.10am
Unlimited cold fresh orange juice available at breakfast. One of my favourites, but my IBS doesn’t like it so much. Make sure I was heavily dosed on meds.
Scavenger hunt idea for next year – someone overloaded with stuff.
Scavenger hunt idea for next year – disgruntled looking hotel employee.
Scavenger hunt idea for next year – mini gamers (find a preteen, find a kid, find a toddler, find a baby)
Friday – people watching from my favourite spot. Now they’ve moved half the convention to a different building it’s quieter, but sill adequate.
Not fussed at all about being at main hall for opening. There’ll be a rush, and I’m happy to sit and people watch.
Scavenger hunt idea for next year – UKGE tshirts from various years.
Scavenger hunt idea for next year – elf ears.
4 day old baby! Youngest attendee ever. Brother was a 16 month old who had a drink with his dad and they did “cheers”. It was adorable.
Scavenger hunt idea for next year – how many Superman logos?
The weather wasn’t too hot this year, which was nicer. Not a summer person.
Scavenger hunt idea for next year – Bazinga shirt.
Walk from hotel to second venue (Hall 1 of the NEC) – really not bad. I’m just unfit. Chose to sit on grass halfway for a bit. No rush. No point in overdoing it.
Despite being a convention centre, it was pretty. Grass, trees, lake, sculptures.
Scavenger hunt idea for next year – trench coat.
Scavenger hunt idea for next year – a Disney princess.
Cosplay – Ghostbuster.
Very cool cosplay – Farscape Peacekeeper.
Guy speaking German – clearly heard the word “meeple”.
Stop for a rest again on bench outside main entrance.
Cosplay – an Orc? Impressive face paint. Would have sweated off me ages ago. Stayed in character too. I asked him about being hot and he said “this is my skin”.
(not my picture)
There’s a shuttle from carparks to NEC, but not run by Hilton or Expo. Run by NEC. Pick up point was just as far as walk to NEC.
I could easily not buy a ticket and just sit outside people watching, but I know there’ll be a LOT more to see inside. Not to mention dice.
Finally made it in to Hall 1 – 11.53am.
PEOPLE! So many people!
Long check in queue for selling at Bring and Buy. Waited 35 minutes, nearly fainted, totally not worth it. Skip next year.
Cosplay – skin tight Green Lantern suit.
Cosplay – full on Snow White.
Walked right past a friend from local gaming group who has a stall – he called me back.
Cosplays – Jedi, Suicide Squad, Lara Croft.
Cosplay – full dalmation suit with a cape? No idea who he was meant to be.
Cosplay – teeny tiny Yoda.
Cosplays – Darth Vader, Stormtroopers.
Cosplay – Captain Janeway.
Cosplay – Penelope from Wacky Races.
Cosplays – preteen Rick and Daryl from Walking Dead.
£2.50 for a bottle of water – NEC is a rip off.
Cosplay – the guy from Who Framed Roger Rabbit – complete with rabbit. Jessica Rabbit too.
Cosplay – giant furry white wolf thing in a purple coat.
Cosplay – lots of Rey (Star Wars)… best was a preteen.
Cosplay – MASSIVE Space Marine things.
NEC is very hot and muggy.
May have spent £50 on meeples at the Tritex Games stand. It’s for crafting purposes.
BAYMAX!! Giant inflatable Baymax!
£63.50 on dice.
Return visit. £5.50 on dice.
Games bought: 7 Wonders, The Game, Dalek Dice.
Child called Fenris – brilliant name.
Lady who knitted herself a Doctor Who scarf dress and matching bag.
Sat under the tree on the grass again on the way back to the hotel. It’s bright, but I’m in the shade and the bright sky ball is behind me. Pleasant. Enough to make a nap tempting, until the ride-on lawn mower turned up.
Made it back. The walk was doable, but not easy for me. With any luck I can get a friend to collect my Bring and Buy money tomorrow (it closes at 5, as does the tournament I’m in) and I won’t have to do this walk again. Just as well, I’m running out of money.
Ahh, back in my favourite people-watching spot.
I should wear one of the staff yellow shirts – where I’m sat is prime for offering directions to lost people. They have a sign post in this lobby for which way to the NEC, but people coming in have no idea where to go.
Very many tasty bits of eye-candy. I even did a location search on Match.com and sent a few messages. No joy though.
Scavenger hunt idea for next year – how many “choose your weapon” t-shirts?
I’ve picked prime peole-watching time too. NEC hall is just closing. People coming here for gaming, dinner and seminars.
People-watching wouldn’t be as much fun if I stayed in a different hotel.
I’m speaking to so many strangers!
Scavenger hunt – there was a Mario on the “lego” stall. Does that count?
I haven’t played a game yet, but I’m not fussed. This show isn’t so much about playing for me as it is about shopping and people watching.
Girl with epic boobs and I had to tell her she looked fantastic. Apparently I made her day.
Scavenger hunt idea for next year – how many Genki Gear t-shirts in a certain time period?
Cosplays – Princess Peach and Anastasia
Seen on a t-shirt: Evil keeps me young.
3 week old baby – nearly the youngest attendee, but not quite.
A school trip group?! My school never did trips like that.
Scavenger hunt idea for next year – someone Jedi-ing automatic doors.
Seen on a t-shirt: Minion on a throne of bananas.
Rainbow of hair – about a squillion shades of blue and purple. I’ll come in yellow or orange next year.
£2 ice cream from a hotel-run stand – Seriously White Chocolate – this was DELICIOUS!
Rainbow polyset of dice – got the wrong freaking purple one.
Cosplay – Kahleesi
Saturday – small breakfast queue. Guy started chatting to me. We shared a table and talked D&D.
Relatively quiet in the lobby on Saturday morning, but adequate people watching.
Nice easy day today. Tournament. People watch. Train.
Got to tournament table first and had the fun of unpacking the box and picking a colour. I packed the purple trains Sam made for me, and left them on the bed upstairs.
Round 1: table 10: Me 122, Ray 141, Becki 89, Carly 168. Maximum points available = 4. Minimum points available = 0. I scored 1.
4 points for 1st place, 3 points for 2nd place, 1 point for 3rd place, 0 points for 4th place.
Ankle is killing me. I’m wearing the strap and I’m nicely medded up, but I need to elevate it.
Round 2: table 11: Me 108, Tony 111 (Dear lord, a thinker), Ian 124. Maximum points available = 4. Minimum points available = 1. I scored 1.
Food deliveries. This was a genius idea. 50p extra to phone up one of the food trucks and they’ll bring the food to you. No queue. BBQ taster box delivered in 2 minutes, very yummy.
Baymax was wearing a Deadpool mask inside the inflatable suit – insider knowledge from volunteer who sat by me to have his lunch. Also says Colin Baker wasn’t an ideal guest – complained about there not being a green room.
Lady who made a gorgeous Dalek dress – kinda steampunky corset.
Cosplay – Madame de Pompadour.
Carly from tournament got me the purple dice I needed for my rainbow set, and wouldn’t let me give her the 50p for it. Lovely lady.
Would consider volunteering. The perks are tempting. But I don’t have the energy. And those polo shirts look stifling.
Round 3: table 12: Me 47 (WTF!!), Nella 110, Victoria 122 – I have done many shameful things in my life. This TTR score is the worst. Maximum points available = 4. Minimum points available = 1. I scored 1.
Round 4: table 12: Me 90, Leanne 81, Andy 96, Alistair 97. Maximum points available = 4. Minimum points available = 0. I scored 1.
Total maximum points available = 16. Total minimum points available = 2. I scored 4.
(Results from Halesowen Boardgamers website (they run the tournaments) later: I came 47th out of 58 players.)
Cosplays – Wonder Woman and Superman. Wonder Woman was a fantastic looking curvy girl.
Kid with a Toothless hat.
Scavenger hunt idea for next year – tail. Why didn’t I bring mine?
Bring and Buy got me £28.25 and I sold 5 of my 6 games. Not worth the nearly fainting though.
Scavenger hunt idea for next year – Tabletop tshirt.
Cosplay – soldier in a gas mask.
Seen on a tshirt – Stormtrooper on a Space Hopper.
Scavenger hunt idea for next year – all the Hogwarts houses, plus the Hogwarts crest.
Seen on a tshirt – “Crit happens”
Scavenger hunt idea for next year – how many Batman logos in a certain time period.
Scavenger hunt idea for next year – a bow tie.
Scavenger hunt idea for next year – how many TARDIS things.
Cosplay – Rorshach. Unfortunately no Dr Manhattan.
Cosplay – Indiana Jones.
Cosplay – The Stig!! In a yellow UKGE tshirt.
Seen on a tshirt – “Shift happens!!!!1!!”
Crap – I forgot to collect my tournament promo cards.
Little girl in a princess dress with added fairy wings and a hefty sword.
Don’t know if it was deliberate but just saw a guy who looked exactly like G.R.R.R. Martin.
I got complimented on my hair 😀
Old guy – normal hotel guest – complaining about all the people.
Seeing cosplayers in normal clothes – like seeing your teachers out of school.
Seen on a tshirt – “why skinny dip when you can chunky dunk?”
Cosplay – a Musketeer.
I came, I saw, I blistered…
Saturday night – people watching in the lobby. Lots of very dressed up looking people who have nothing to do with the convention.
Guy who had a balloon animal gun – and a note pinned to his backpack that said he was looking for RPG gamers in Birmingham/Black Country.
The lady who dressed up as Jessica Rabbit yesterday was in another gorgeous dress today, but I couldn’t tell if she was meant to be something specific. While waiting for the shuttle she walked past me, so I asked her. Apparently it’s just a pretty dress. Point of this paragraph is that she admired my hair and my TARDIS skirt. Asked if I was in the cosplay contest. Maybe next year?
Having to leave early sucks. Originally I’d booked the hotel for Thursday night to Sunday. Then several months ago in a fit of depression I decided I didn’t want to come and cancelled the booking. When I came to my senses, the Saturday night wasn’t available any more, so I have to leave early. Putting a big post it note on my notes for next year to remember how sucky it feels to be leaving early.
Get off train at Basingstoke station. Get insulted by gang of chavs. The nerd fest is over. I am well and truly back in the real world.
Other pictures I took…
And a couple of screenshots from the relevant hashtags.
I didn’t see Mr Bowie walking about unfortunately.
I didn’t see Batman or Catwoman either.
Next year, I need to take more photos. I say that every year.