Details and dates of the online convention replacing this year’s cancelled UK Games Expo have been revealed.
Virtually Expo was first announced following UK Games Expo 2020’s cancellation at the end of last month. The tabletop gaming show, held each summer in Birmingham's NEC, had originally been scheduled to take place from May 29th to 31st before being delayed to late August as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The convention’s organisers subsequently confirmed that the physical event would not take place at all this year due to government guidance concerning social distancing and large gatherings in the wake of the coronavirus.
Virtually Expo will take place from Friday August 21st to Sunday 23rd, the dates to which UK Games Expo 2020 was moved before being cancelled.
The event’s organisers said in their announcement that the online convention will include game demos, tournaments, workshops, seminars and other elements of UK Games Expo, such as cosplay and the show’s awards. Virtually Expo will also offer physical merchandise via home delivery.
Exhibitors due to appear in person at UK Games Expo 2020 will be offered the ability to be part of Virtually Expo for free, UK Games Expo said, with no publishers or games confirmed for the event as part of the initial announcement. Publishers due to appear at UK Games Expo included Ticket to Ride maker Days of Wonder and One Night Ultimate Werewolf studio Bezier Games.
The online event “will not charge a set fee” to visitors, its organisers added, saying that attendees would have the option to “pay for Virtually Expo at whatever level they are happy with”. No details were given on what the different pricing levels could include or how much they could be. Tournaments and tabletop RPG sessions were confirmed to have “a small cost” to encourage those taking part to turn up.
UK Games Expo is the latest tabletop gaming convention to head online following the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on the world of board games. US game fair Origins will be replaced by Origins Online in mid-June, as the physical show moves to autumn. Meanwhile, publishers including Zombicide maker CMON and Clank! studio Renegade have announced their own online events.
The world’s two biggest board game conventions - Germany’s Essen Spiel and the North American Gen Con - meanwhile remain on track to be held in July and October respectively, with no plans to delay or cancel either show announced.