Monday 28 May 2012

JG at the UK Games Expo 2012

So this weekend I went to the UK Games Expo (again), this time as a guest of Tin Man Games. Neil Rennison (the Tin Man himself) and I were there to promote Gamebook Adventures but also to bask in the reflected glory of Tin Man having gained the licence to produce Fighting Fantasy gamebook apps.

Having battled the traffic (an hour and a half to get to Birmingham, half an hour to get into Birmingham!) I arrived just in time to miss the RPG designers' panel (featuring Sarah Newton and Ben Counter) but that was the only negative of the whole weekend.

Saturday saw a lot of traffic coming by the Gamebook Adventures stand, where the two games being demoed were Temple of the Spider God and Judge Dredd: Countdown Sector 106. Some people were curious about what we were (or rather weren't selling), some were Twitter followers making themselves known and there was a ton of Fighting Fantasy fans, excited that the premier 80s gamebook system was coming to digital platforms later this year. We were also opposite the Cubicle 7 table where Nick Robinson, author of the soon-to-be-released Judge Dredd Gamebook Adventure was helping out while Dom McDowell* showed off his latest Doctor Who games.

 The Gamebook Adventures stand in all its glory.

Other visitors to the stand included Eve Weaver and her husband Steve Cotterill (steampunk friends of mine and gamebook fans to boot), Andrew Kenrick of White Dwarf fame (who chatted to me about Path to Victory gamebooks), and Dean of the Ready Up gaming website.

However, the most pinch-me-I-must-be-dreaming moment of the whole weekend was when Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone stopped by the stand to say hello, at the same time as Tony Hough, my collaborator on such FF classics as Knights of Doom and Bloodbones**.

Fighting Fantasy and Gamebook Adventures unite!

Tony Hough (artist) and Jonathan Green (writer), the creative team behind Knights of Doom and Bloodbones.

Tony and I then went along to Steve and Ian's talk about their Top Ten Games, which was as packed out and as entertaining as you would expect. I know the pinch-me-I-must-be-dreaming moment of the whole weekend as far as Neil was concerned was when Ian announced to the crowd that Tin Man were going to be producing gamebook apps and bigged up Gamebook Adventures in general.

The talk was followed by a signing at the Arion Games stand where Graham Bottley was promoting the Crown of Kings expansion for AFF Second Edition. I seized my chance and made sure that Steve, Ian, Tony and myself all signed a copy of Bloodbones (another first!) leaving space of Martin McKenna to leave his mark some time in the future.

Gaming legends Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson sign Fighting Fantasy gamebooks for the fans at the Arion Games stand.

One of a kind!

The rest of the day passed in an excited blur and come the evening Neil and I retired to the Garden House for real ales and boar burgers, where we were joined by Nick and Dom. During the evening Dom and I talked about... Actually, I'm going to have to leave it at that for now, but you won't believe which well-loved property he would love to make a game of. ;-) (And I won't tell you what we all heard Angus Abranson announce to the world as we moved to the Strathallan bar after chucking out time at the Garden House.)

Nick Robinson and Dom McDowell test out the potential hit of the UK Games Expo 2013 as Neil Rennison looks on in wonder.

Sunday morning, bright and early, Neil and I were back on the GA stand where we met Vicki Paull, digital games artist, as well as Olivier Gavrois of Blue Flame Publishing, while I (apparently) slipped back into teacher mode when presenting Gamebook Adventures to games fans of more tender years. Oh, and I think I sold another gamebook idea. ;-)

Can you tell which one's the boss?

The very pleasant surprise of Sunday was bumping into Jake Thornton, writer and games designer, who stopped by the Mantic Games stand (just across from the GA booth). In case you don't know, Jake commissioned my first work for White Dwarf magazine back in the day***. It was great to catch up with him again, and I think Neil and I succeeded in persuading him to have a crack at writing a gamebook.

The rest of the day was a mixture of bacon baps, Diet Coke, signing FF books for slightly anxious-looking mothers and their more excited children, and being interviewed by G*M*S Magazine (who interviewed Neil and I at Dragonmeet last year).

Before you knew it we were deconstructing the set and deconstructing the weekend, and discussing plans for what would be launched by Tin Man Games at UK Games Expo 2013. So hopefully I might see some of you there.

And lastly, farewell to the Clarendon Suites. It's been fun, but the expo has steadily grown over the last few years so next year's it's going to be hello the Hilton Metropole!

* Congrats to Dom and Cubicle 7 for winning the award for best RPG for Airship Pirates!

** Soon to be released in French!

*** i.e. the mid-late 90s.

1 comment:

Gaetano Abbondanza said...

Great post! Perhaps someday, I'll be lucky enough to fly across the pond and attend one of these expos and meet the entire team!