List of UK board game exhibitions. This post is about board game conventions held In the UK. This is *not a comprehensive list of every single smaller event held in all the town halls. There would be too many to list in a single article! This is a list of medium and larger shows hosted across the UK – although I dare say there are many more hidden away.
Where are the board game conventions typically hosted?
There is a wealth of UK board game conventions and exhibitions you can attend. Some of these conventions are based in the big cities and in convention centres across the country. You may also be lucky enough to find a show in your local town hall!
Whether you are wanting to attend a board game convention to promote a new game or attend because you want to play. There are a variety of UK board game conventions to suit different needs, tastes and interests.
What is a board game convention?
And what board conventions are there in the UK exactly?
- Jump to board game convention list
- Jump to brief shortened summary of board game conventions
- Attending Board game conventions – tips
What happens at a board game convention | UK?
In terms of what happens at a board game convention, you will get the chance to play board games and share your passion with other board game enthusiasts!
Boardgame, or board game, conventions, whether they are for party games or something else, also allow you to buy and play board games.
Board game conventions
Boardgame conventions or board game shows are a great way of exploring your hobby. When you attend a board game convention you are likely to come across a plethora of all things to do with board games. Certain shows and exhibitions are dedicated to large board game publishers, smaller board game publishers, board game manufacturing, playtesting games, printing games, party games, wargames and RPGs!
In terms of what happens specifically at each show. Certain board game conventions are dedicated to family games and you get other conventions geared toward Wargamings. Each convention has its own unique stamp and its own niche.
Reading further down the list will tell you a bit more about what you may find at the shows.
Where are the UK board game conventions? Board game exhibitions
UK board game conventions are held all over the country from smaller regional shows to large international shows in the big cities. Some of the larger international board game conventions are held at the NEC in Birmingham and at the Excel Centre in London. As mentioned in the opening paragraph.
These board game conventions are not the only places in the UK that hold expos. Smaller regional shows in all likelihood, equate to a larger percentage of the total amount of UK board game conventions.
This is a list of ‘some’ of the shows and where they are held.
List of UK board game exhibitions and conventions
*It should be noted here that at the time of writing this post, the information is accurate. But, there is nothing saying that these shows will be cancelled, postponed or move in the future. Always check the ‘show’ websites or social media for the latest information.
Airecon is a board game show that is held in the Harrogate ( hurhuh-get) in Yorkshire. The show is one of the larger shows in the area that has a wide range of stands – especially for those that like miniatures and wargaming.
UK (Board) Games Expo – UKGE
Otherwise known as the UKGE, is a large board game exhibition held at the Birmingham NEC in the summer. The UKGE convention has a mix of board games and miniature companies. At the UK Game expo you will come across a range of stands from party games to wargaming. The UKGE expo is one of the largest conventions held in the UK.
Salute is ‘predominately’ for historical wargames and wargaming. As a show, it also tends to be much less geared toward party gaming. The stands at Salute, often sell miniatures themed around fiction and history. Salute is a large show that is held in Excel in London – typically in April in ‘normal’ times. It should be noted that although Salute is mostly themed around historical themes, it does also cover some other areas of games and genres.
HandyCon is a board game convention that is held in Maidenhead in the UK. The show dates appear to be held twice a year, in January and August.
SELWG is a convention that is dedicated to tabletop wargaming, but also covers over genres of tabletop games and RPG’s. In the past, it has been held in Crystal Palace in South East London but has now moved venues to North London.
The show is now advertised as being held at the Lee Valley Sports Centre – Presumably due to expansion and popularity. You can either get there by car or by train.
Check their website for the latest details and check the information is accurate!
Dragon Meet is a smaller convention that is held in Hammersmith in London. Dragon Meet hosts some fantasy big names such as Ian Livingstone – the creator of fighting Fantasy and Death Trap Dungeon.
This show tends to have a range of fantasy and fiction stands that can suit a variety of tastes. Although it is a show that is less geared towards party games or drinking games, you still might spot a few.
Dragon Meet is a good quality show with a warm and friendly vibe. The show is usually held on the first weekend of December.
A great time if you are looking for present ideas!
Fighting Fantasy Fest
Fighting Fantasy Fest is held at the University of West London, if you are a local to London, this may be worth a visit. This show has been running for 40 years! It’s a show to attend if you enjoy gamebooks!
Table Top Gaming Live
Table Top Gaming live! If you read magazines such as White Dwarf, you may have also heard of Table Top Gaming? No?
“Table Top Gaming Live” is, as you may have guessed, all things to do with tabletop gaming. In past, it was held at Alexandra Palace in North London and contained a range of board games. From Wargames, to party games, to miniature sellers, to indie game makers.
Table Top Gaming Live has been held in London but now appears to have moved to Manchester at the time of writing this article.
The show is now held: In the Manchester Historic Warehouse, in the Old Cotton Sheds. Always check the websites to make you stay up to date with the latest information.
***Some shows have a habit of changing location, make sure to check before you travel and book tickets!
Bastion – Wales
Although there are not many visuals at this time, Bastion is a board game convention that is held in North Wales. Check online or on their website for further details.
Gaelcon – Northern Ireland
Gaelcon is another board game convention that should get a mention! At the time of writing this article there, are few details to go on with regards to where the physical event is typically held. They have a discord that can be checked for further information.
A search on the internet advertises it as being held in, or near Dublin.
Table Top – Scotland
Table Top Scotland is a board gaming event that is held in Scotland in the late summer.
Where are ‘all’ board game shows held in England / the UK?
There are too many smaller shows to list in a single post about “UK board game exhibitions”. Many shows are regional and take place in community halls and smaller exhibition centres.
But, for the topic at hand, which covers board game exhibitions and conventions in the UK. Many of the larger board game exhibitions and conventions are held in or around Greater London, the Midlands, Birmingham NEC, and Yorkshire.
There are other shows are that are held in parts of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and in the southwest of England.
Convention & Show Summary
Although this post merely scrapes the surface for the total amount of UK board game conventions, here is a list of items for ‘some’ of the potentially more mainstream board game exhibitions and conventions in the UK.
- Dragon Meet
- Fighting Fantasy Fest
- Table Top Gaming Live
- Table Top Scotland
Remember that this is a snapshot of what is available to the avid board game convention enthusiast. In order to look for smaller and regional shows, carrying out a local search on the internet in your region may return some interesting results – or not so many!
You may also find some more underground board gaming events by asking around at a local board game cafe or by joining Facebook groups.
Which board game conventions should I attend?
It all depends on your interests, reasons for attending and what you hope to get out from the board game conventions.
Certain board game events are more dedicated to party and family gaming. While others concentrate more on fiction, fantasy RPGs and Wargaming. Shows such as Salute have a strong focus on historical for example.
The Take Away | board game exhibitions and conventions in the UK
Remember when you are looking for board game exhibitions and conventions in the UK certain conditions should be considered.
UK Board game convention tips ( attending )
- At the time of writing this post, it is / was / is in the pandemic. It cannot be said for certain whether these shows will be the same, whether physical or digital.
- Shows move! These board game conventions may change their locations to different parts of the UK. As shows expand and get more footfall this is quite common. More people, requires more space!
- Tariffs change | The prices for tickets for shows can vary. Most board game events require pre-booked tickets to attend are of pay higher tariffs on the door.
- Not all shows have the same vibe. The conventions and shows all have different atmospheres and vibes. Some are friendly, small and cosy. While others are big, loud and lively!
- Check the shows social media and online marketing to try and get an idea of the types of board games they will show. A good way of trying to get some more information in person or by speaking to somebody in person. Say, at a board game cafe.
- Always, Always check the website. I can’t press upon this enough and doubly so with how things have gone with the pandemic. Shows may change locations, dates, requirements and all sorts! Make sure to go onto the conventions websites’ and for the latest details. You don’t want to turn up to an empty exhibition hall.
- Dates can also change! Make sure to check the dates of the shows.
List of UK board game exhibitions | Trade days Vs Open to the general public days
The vast majority of conventions and board game conventions are typically open to the public most days when they are held. But, not all. When you attend a board game convention check you have signed up for a day that allows the general public. Companies at shows may be looking to sell a board game, playtest a new board game or network with other businesses such as board game distributors or board game manufacturers. Check the dates and the small print make sure to attend on the correct day.
Why go to a board game convention or exhibition?
Boardgame conventions or exhibitions are a great way of sharing your hobby with like-minded people that enjoy board games. When you attend a board game event you may also get the chance to my new games, find exciting miniatures or even get your hands games for a flatshare or general games night.
These are to name just a few reasons to attend a board game convention.
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