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UK’s biggest tabletop gaming convention, UK Games Expo, delayed due to COVID-19

National and government bodies move to ban large events in wake of Coronavirus.

UK Games Expo 2019
Image credit: UK Games Expo via Facebook

This year’s UK Games Expo - the largest dedicated tabletop gaming convention in the UK - has been postponed in response to the growing COVID-19 virus pandemic.

After a government source claimed that ministers were forming plans to ban mass gatherings across the country (via the BBC), UKGE’s directors announced their decision to delay the upcoming event from its planned May 29th to 31st dates.

The decision was said to have been made after considering the advice from national bodies and the UK government, as well as holding discussions with the event’s sponsors, show partners and the show’s Birmingham venue of the NEC, with the UKGE organisers agreeing that postponing the event would “protect the health and well-being of all [their] attendees”.

Co-founders Richard Denning and Tony Hyams added that postponing would enable the event to be held without additional difficulties.

We consider that a postponement at this stage maximises the chances to [...] hold a successful show in 2020 so that participant exhibitors sustain the least disruption and financial difficulty.

UK Games Expo 2020 will now take place from Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd August 2020, in the original venue of Birmingham’s NEC. The show’s location has changed from three larger halls (1, 2, 3) to four smaller rooms (Halls 9, 10, 11 and 12), as the result of other events taking place during the same weekend.

In an official statement, UKGE assured customers that pre-purchased tickets would remain valid and apologised for any financial impact caused by the delay, with efforts apparently being made to work with local hotels and providers to reduce the cost. It also confirmed that ticket holders who could not attend the new dates would be able to get a full refund, with ticket sales currently suspended until further notice.

The organisers acknowledged that the new dates would coincide with Tabletop Scotland, another UK event taking place over the same weekend. UKGE’s directors reportedly apologised to Tabletop Scotland’s organisers for the clash and claimed that there were no other possible dates due to limited options.

UK Games Expo is an annual tabletop gaming event held since 2007 that hosts a number of publisher showcases, open gaming events, tournaments and distributor stalls for the public. This year, the UKGE showcase was expected to include publishers such as Bezier Games - creator of party board game One Night Ultimate Werewolf - and Days of Wonder, known for beginner board game series Ticket to Ride.

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