So as the afterglow of Games Day fades over the horizon of the passing week, one last post with my final thoughts on the event, accompanied by some photos of Forge Worlds grand Horus Heresy diorama.
In this the 'Second Age' of my Hobby saga, it was my fourth Games Day and if you care to delve into the archives of this blog you'll read that I've had both good and bad experiences at past events.
I've never felt Games Day quite lives up to expectations, which perhaps it never can; we're a demanding lot us Hobbyists, with an insatiable appetite for new experience, be it new miniatures, stories, rules etc. You can only do so much in a day I suppose.
On an organisational level GW have appeared in the past to be indifferent to obvious problems or at least very slow in addressing them; in particular the retail side of the event and the curse of queues longer than Soviet era bread lines. This has always surprised me as Games Day is a sure fire way to generate extra revenue, having thousands of Hobbyists, their appetite stoked, let loose in a proverbial 'sweet shop'; you would have thought that GW would want to optimise this to get the maximum amount of customers through the tills.
This year, the positive wind of change that we've already seen blowing through the offices of White Dwarf would seem to have lifted the organisers of Games Day along with it.
The biggest change and to my mind the greatest improvement was to the retail planning; giving over a whole Battle Barge hanger worth of space to the combined stands of GW, Forge World and The Black Library, allowed them to expand the sales areas, which were subsequently well staffed cutting down on wait times hugely.
Baskets were handed out, to assist in the gathering of goods, queue lanes were ordered with metal barriers and they had set up an Aegis Defence Line of tills to process the purchases as you came away from the area weighed down with mountains of loot.
I visited the sales area twice that day and both times, breezed through with the minimum of fuss despite my rapidly emptying wallet sobbing for mercy in my back pocket. Even the staff seemed much more at ease, no hordes of disgruntled Hobbyists waving pitchforks and flaming brands baying for their blood this year.
The rest of the event felt similarly well ordered, with a fairly logical layout, appropriate amounts of space given to display stands (if Forge World keep expanding at the rate they are, they'll need a Games Day sized event of their own) and a good variety of things to see and do.
As always, all the staff from the various studios and teams were friendly, approachable and forthcoming with advice and information (well as much as the security strictures of the Ordo Workshop would allow). Having managed to attended a seminar for the first time, I think it's something that will remain on my objectives list for future years.
The IT stand was particularly good, although at first I thought it was an Apple store! ;o) With tablets and phones on hand to allow try outs of the digital Codex and the Psychic Deck App. I was surprised at how much I liked the afore mentioned App and I'll maybe cover it in more detail in another post.
Overall I had a really great time this year, the whole event had a much more chilled and mature vibe and by that I don't mean to deride the playful nature of our Hobby or it's appeal to Kids, after all, that's where most of us began our love of the Hobby and we are most if not all just children grown old; but I think even Kids can enjoy a Games Day without having to shout WAAAGH every few seconds.
There was fun and professionalism in just about the right equal measures and if GW can continue to build on this success, I for one will remain a happy and hungry Hobbyist.