It’s two days since I went to Games Day with @CPJohnson80 and @freexerjin, and I have finally had enough sleep to enable writing a blog post about it all!
This year the event was moved from the large expanse of the Birmingham National Exhibition Centre (NEC) into the somewhat smaller venue that is the Birmingham National Indoor Arena (NIA) – the tickets were also cut down to 4000 (and raised £5 in price).
First impressions of the NIA are that it’s a little more hassle to get to as you have to drive into the middle of Birmingham which was fine on the way in but very traffic-heavy on the way out, so that’s not a plus point for me. I have no issue the the little price hike on the ticket, after all, the total amount of tickets were cut down by half (reportedly).
The main thing that struck me this year was the utter lack of any gaming tables at all. There were none. Games Day now has no games. 😐
I’m not sure why this decision was taken. Expense? Logistics? Who knows… they are all gone anyway. Also gone is the Scrap Demon/Kit Bash area.
The Golden Demon area and Armies on Parade were on a completely different floor and that meant exiting the main arena, going down a few flights of stairs and cramming into a dimly lit sports hall to have a look at the plethora of wonderful painting and conversion work – and there was a lot of really exceptional stuff. The space was limited, so I understand why that had to move something out of the main area but it’s a shame it was the Golden Demon stuff.
Forge World’s prices rose on the day – or the day before maybe – which was annoying as stuff was more expensive than some people were expecting. It’s only a little gripe really but it just irked me a bit.
Lastly, the eBay wankers. Those who got loads of pre-release limited number models and had them listed on eBay before lunchtime on the day at the expense of the genuine hobbyists who’d travelled to get a Fire Raptor or the Word Bearers Ashen Circle for themselves. I don’t know how Forge World or GW can really do anything to stop this and it’s certainly not their fault but it is annoying for those that miss out. I got a Ferrus Manus model and my copy of Massacre so this didn’t affect me personally but did affect some folks I know.
The Forge World designer stands were brilliant, as always, and the finished items on display as well as the work-in-progress stuff was excellent. We got to see Lorgar (pics below) as well as the huge Dropsite Massacre board – my photo does that no justice – and the Kharybdis Assault Claw which looked pretty much finished and has movable, magnetised claw arms. I wonder if Forge World will be using magnets in other stuff? Very interesting.
I spoke to Forge World writers Alan Bligh and Neil Wylie at length about what would be coming up in the next books and I was delighted to hear that Nykona Sharrowkyn will get a model! He’s just too good a character not to, however he won’t get a model/rules in Extermination (Book 3), it will be a later book. We also attended the Forge World seminar where Tony Cottrell told a room full of people about what some of the upcoming releases were and about future plans. He also ran a Q+A but more about upcoming stuff in the GDUK Future Releases post.
The Golden Demon entries were simply breathtaking. Apologies for the utter lack of photos here but my phone battery was almost dead and it takes crappy pictures in poor lighting anyway. I entered Golden Demon for the second year running but as last year, failed to make it past the first cut. I had a good chat with a judge and got some useful feedback, so I will try again next year but the standard is now insanely good.
Loads of the GW writers and designers were on hand to speak to hobbyists – one of our party had a frank discussion with a certain Matt Ward! – about all aspects of collecting, painting and gaming as you would expect and the ‘Eavy Metal live displays were very interesting to watch.
I sadly missed the Black Library seminars but I heard they were very interesting and largely Horus Heresy orientated – which I would’ve liked so I’ll make an effort to go to one next year.
I think GW kind of miss the boat when it comes to showing work-in-progress stuff. We saw a little cover shot of the first Space Marine Supplemental Codex and that was about it. Forge World have seminars showing some of what’s in the pipeline and answer questions about things they are thinking about doing or have nearly finished and most of us are left foaming at the mouth, giddy with excitement and drop a load of cash on new shiny resin kits as they’re released.
GW simply don’t offer this kind of build up anymore. I’ve read lots of articles about how doing secretive ‘drops’ when a new release comes along encourages impulse purchasing on a mass scale but, for me personally, Forge World get a load more of my cash because I have an idea what’s coming and can plan my armies and purchases in advance – this is important for me because of the expense of what is a luxury hobby.
Don’t get my wrong, I love the models and background and sheer depth of the Games Workshop universe, it really does stand apart at the moment despite other companies best efforts but it’s not cheap! There are of course other good games out there but they have work to do to compete properly.
The retail queues were totally insane. If you go to GDUK14, I recommend you pre-order your stuff, especially Forge World, or get there about 3 hours early. I pre-ordered the things I wanted and spent about 45 seconds at the reservation desk but I know some people wiped 2 hours out of their Games Day experience just queuing to pay.
That’s my little mini-report for this year. I’ve also posted a list of upcoming releases as detailed by the Forge World staff from conversations with them or from the seminar.
Cheers for reading,