This past Sunday was Games Day UK, the first one I've attended in a couple of years. I enjoyed myself immensely, got a lot out of it, but there were some format changes that left a lot of people cold. None of it stopped me from enjoying the day but I met some other people who were very put out.
For my own part I had a fantastic time wandering between the various stalls and talking to games developers, artists and authors. I had a chat with Phil Kelly about Chaos Space Marines (mainly to thank him for making the Lost and the Damned legal and canon once more) and Robin Cruddace about the Empire (my friend Matt asked why Grand Masters couldn't take demigryphs as mounts, turns out it was originally intended but pulled from the book when the budget wouldn't stretch to a model) and how inspiring the new Space Marine book is.
Matt and I had a nice long natter with Brian Nelson in front of the Dark Elves 3-ups display about sculpting (CAD versus by-hand) and the influence that modern dance has had on the design of the new Witch Elves (no, really). There was also a demonstration of 3D CAD (Computer Assisted Design) sculpting which was fascinating, the technology amazes me...
(Okay, all technology amazes the man who for years thought his internet worked better at night because the presence of the Sun caused interference but you know what I mean.)
… as well as a stage-by-stage display of the mock-ups, greens and 3-ups from the new Space Marine models.
I even dropped by the White Dwarf stall and got to wax lyrical about Black Templars with Matt Hutson, which was nice since it was his Templars army that provided the visual hook to get me into 40k, specifically the Dreadnought with the spiky halo off the Chaos vehicle accessory sprue
The basement level hosted Golden Demon and Armies On Parade which were, as always, a curious mix of inspiring and shaming (how is anyone that good?). Hopefully White Dwarf Daily will have pics up soon because the Armies On Parade winner was fantastic: a mostly-Slaaneshi Chaos Daemons army on a board built to represent a cityscape in the middle of an earthquake: there was a Keeper Of Secrets made from Gorgon, a Daemon Prince made from a Maulerfiend and a Carnifex and towers crawling with Screamers Of Tzeentch.
It was all very inspiring and there we come to the problem. One of the main sources of inspiration for me at Games Day has always been the gaming boards and armies made by GW stores across the country. This year there was no participation gaming, due I imagine to lack of space and the corporate decision to end in-store gaming. Games Day this year was more of a showcase, which is no bad thing to be, but it felt lacking.
There was one area that I have to say was much improved since last I went to Games Day: the retail area. There were queues, the last time I went it was a scrum, best elbows got the event-only miniatures. There was a queue for the GW area, a queue for the Forge World area that then fed into the GW area ad copious tills at the end of it. I was in the Forge World queue at its longest and was still at the front in only about twenty minutes and in the meantime I got chatting with a charming young couple from Nottingham.
A Games Day queue is a social experience that should be enjoyed as part of the day. The only cloud was the fact that Forge World were anticipating so many Horus Heresy sales that they weren't very well stocked on the Warhammer Forge products I wanted. Still, didn't stop me spending my money on Death Guard and Renegade Militia to resurrect my Lost and the Damned.