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Evocatus Consulting Ltd

UK Games Expo

By Ant Sharman
Friday, June 7, 2019

Although most of our experience comes from military training and planning, we are also very aware that there is a huge range of methods to promote engagement and create that all-important emotional response, and that the hobby gaming industry absolutely depends on getting this right. So, in the interests of research (and nothing to do with getting our geek on) we visited the UK Games Expo over the weekend of 1st June. The event runs annually for 3 days at the NEC, showing off examples of everything from traditional board games like chess, through more modern board games such as “Carcassone” and “Settlers of Catan” and on to miniature-based wargames such as Games Workshop’s “Warhammer” series of games and role-playing games like “Dungeons and Dragons”.

A busy time at the Expo

Image © UK Games Expo 2019

The most interesting observation from our point of view this year was in the arena of role-playing games; less so the big and popular swords-and-sorcery style, but more the innovative idea of one-page games, which simply describe a scenario, provide some objectives and then let the players get on with the game. Some of these were designed to deal with some crucial issues, such as telling truth to power and managing upwards, but in a fun and fantastical setting. While we won’t describe anything we run in the business world as a role-play (because all that happens is people roll their eyes and stop listening), these simple little games have a lot in common with some of the work we’ve done to support consent-building in change management; admittedly we prefer to tell the story using video content, but the simple structure of the one-page roleplaying games still offers a good basis to build professional games on.

We also took some confidence from the sheer size of the expo. As our lives are increasingly lived in digitised worlds, it is fascinating to see the extent to which the appetite for analogue games played across a table is holding up and even growing. The meteoric rise in Games Workshop’s share price, up nearly 800% over the last 3 years, would appear to support the line of reasoning that people, both consumers and employees, are increasingly open to engaging with each other through playing games. We certainly hope so!

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