Saturday, 12 December 2015

Dragonmeet Earl's Court

Last weekend, a few of us went along to the annual Dragonmeet exhibition at Earl's Court in London. Last year was very interesting, with a load of tabletop and board games being demostrated, loads of miniatures companies, tabletop terrain and so on, as well as the usual mix of new releases, a play-testing area and guest speakers.

We were expecting more of the same this time around, but left feeling, well, a little disappointed.


There were some beautifully painted miniatures


and a few people playing tabletop wargames

(for players who spend so long painting their miniatures and terrain, to make everything look so lifelike and impressive, the whole effect is ruined when they're actually put into play, and the tabletop is strewn with rules, cards, dice and other distracting paraphernalia)

but on the whole there didn't feel like there was a particularly large tabletop presence.


There were a few interesting people - like this guy doing live fantasy art drawings in pen and ink - but speakers were few and far between. One thing that was in abundance was card/deck-building games. And play testing. Loads of games being play tested.

I couldn't help but wonder if the relative success of Kickstarter has steered too many people into making their own games! Card games are obviously cheap to make and offer a high return (Exploding Kittens anyone?) and it showed in the offerings at Dragonmeet. There must have been about five deck-building games for every one other type of game at the show. And the play-testing room was filled with people handing out scraps of paper and inkjet-printed punched-out cards, trying to find the next Exploding Kittens.

But all-in-all, the excitement and enthusiasm of last year seemed to be noticeably lacking. Maybe it's because some of the "big boys" like 4Ground and Mantic had already had success last year with their earlier Kickstarter campaigns, they didn't feel the need to put much effort into this one? It was only after reviewing the traders list in the programme that we actually noticed Matic had been there - they certainly didn't have much of a presence this year! 4Ground were completely absent.

Dragonmeet was promoted this year as "...one of the most vibrant tabletop gaming conventions and the largest of it's kind in London".

It was certainly a large space.
But it wasn't particularly vibrant.
And there was very little tabletop gaming going on at all!

These days, it feels like the nerd club blog is just one wak-wak-oops report after another! Come on Dragonmeet, stop obsessing about Kickstarter - that's not the only place where the tabletop action is.