Games Day is a yearly run gaming convention sponsored by Games Workshop. It was started in 1975, after another games convention scheduled for August that year cancelled. Games Workshop decided to fill the resulting gap by running a gaming day of their own. As a result, after some delays, the first Games Day was held at Seymour Hall, London on December 20, 1975. The convention was important because there were few outlets for gamers to meet each other and play, and Games Workshop used this in their efforts to build the gaming scene in the U.K.
Following this successful start, and encouraged by mainstream media coverage, the second Games Day was held at a different venue, Chelsea Town Hall, London, on February 12, 1977. The event was somewhat delayed, owing to the logistics of running a rapidly expanding business. It followed rapidly by a separate "D&D Day" at Fulham Town Hall on March 12, this being their core funding stream at that time.
Today the Games Day convention is held regularly in the United Kingdom at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham. It draws enthusiasts of Games Workshop's three main games (Warhammer 40,000, Warhammer, Lord of the Rings). Not just a commercial venture, gamers go to play their games. However, the event also includes presentations by special guests from the Games Workshop's head office in Nottingham.
Alongside the gaming is a dealer's area, which commonly includes products from Citadel Miniatures, who display their upcoming products — armies for all the game systems scheduled for release. Another attraction is the Golden Demon, a painting competition of miniatures. There is also a competition of varying degrees of seriousness, the Scrap Demon competition, in which competitors create a models from plastic sprues.
Game Day conventions outside the United Kingdom
Within the US, Games Days are held at Los Angeles, California; Baltimore, Maryland; Chicago, Illinois; and Atlanta, Georgia. In Canada, the venue is the Queen Elizabeth Building at Exhibition Place in Toronto, Ontario. In France the venue is Le Stade De France, Paris.
Timeline (partial; to 1978)
|Games Day I||December 20, 1975||Seymour Hall, Westminster, London||Reported as "Britain's largest gaming convention" in The Times, but as "several hundred" in Owl and Weasel #12, compared with "circa 900" for South London Warlords annual wargaming convention in 1975 (same issue).|
|Games Day II||February 12, 1977||Chelsea Town Hall, London|
|"D&D Day"||March 12, 1977||Fulham Town Hall, London||"est. 200"||Separate event following Games Day II, but advertised within that programme.|
|Games Day III||December 17, 1977||Seymour Hall, Westminster, London||"1,000+"|
|Games Day IV||October 28, 1978||Seymour Hall, Westminster, London||"over 2,000" to "circa 2,500"||Stated in WD that would have ranked #2 (behind Origins) if had been held in the US.|
- Jackson, Steve (May 1975). "Ed's Page". Owl and Weasel (Games Workshop) (4): 7.
- Pardoe, Darroll (March 12, 1975). "Wargames". Checkpoint (60). Retrieved 2008-08-28.
- "Games Day Programme". Owl and Weasel (Games Workshop) (11). December 1975.
- "Play time" (The Times Diary). The Times (London). Mon, December 22, 1975. (59584), col G, p. 10.
- Livingstone, Ian (January 1976). "Games Day". Owl and Weasel (Games Workshop) (12): 3.
- Roberts, Peter (March 1977). "D&D Engulfs All". Checkpoint (80). Retrieved 2008-08-28.
- Ian Livingstone & Steve Jackson (February 1977). "Editorial". Owl and Weasel (Games Workshop) (23): 2.
- Livingstone, Ian (Feb/March 1978). "Games Day III". White Dwarf (Games Workshop) (5): 15.
- Livingstone, Ian (Dec/January 1978/79). "Games Day IV". White Dwarf (Games Workshop) (10): 13.
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