Not for want of trying but I haven't been to Games Expo since it moved off the Hagley Road probably 5-6 years ago. But this year I finally got there, and boy has it grown!
As well as the big trade hall there was also at least 1/2 a hall for competition games, and a great bring and buy.
The British Historical Wargames Society had a competition going on, most Art de l'Guerre by the looks of it with some huge ancient & medieval armies in 6mm. Pity about the blue cloths though!
There was also a hug X-Wing championship going on, and by the end when it was down to just a few tables there were big crowds and sporting "whoops" around all the final games.
The main thing about Games Expo though is always for me trying out new games. There was a neat "playtest corner" full of short games in development that you could try out where the authors were after specific feedback. I tried one game out there, a card game based around skateboard tricks - slick mechanics, easy to play. In touring the stands I also tried a very good robot game, Robot Royale which starts on Kickstarter this week, and was very simple but needed a lot of thought and played out in about 15 mins - so exactly my kind of game! I'll post the link once its up as I'll certainly be buying a copy.
In terms of trends - lots of games with "oversized" pieces - a whole forest in one! Lots of brand extension - eg Westeros Catan, lots of miniatures with "tabletop gaming" a real thing, some nice 3D printing of pieces, some good kids games. Overall a great mix.
In terms of my loot, very limited, but was deliberately trying to avoid buying any big boxed games as I know I don't really have the time and have two at home (Thunderbirds and Traveller Crad Game) still to play when Jo get's home. But this is what I got:
A 2' x 2' one-inch generic mat for modern and SF skirmish.
The Traveller Mindjammer setting book. Not aware of Mindjammer but interested in SF-RPG takes on transhumanism and talks about rules to adventure in the "Mindscape" caught my eye.
Worth the trip for this as far as I'm concerned - the only real gap in my Traveller Alien Module collection (not too concerned about Darrians!), and last time I saw one and failed to buy it (as they had lots else I did buy ) was about 6 years ago in Vancouver!
Plus that Kickstarter....
So overall a great show, and will still plan to go every year (even if I only make 1 in 5!)