• Mike Douglas

Guildhall Games Festival

This weekend Portsmouth Guildhall has played host to the now annual Guildhall Games Festival.


The event provides a great opportunity to discover new games, revisit your old favourites and even discover the future of gaming.


The Games Festival seems to grow each year and is one of the things I think sets Portsmouth apart from other cities. The diversity in events is great to have, but it’s the turnout at the events themselves. There’s a mixture of ages and groups; with families, friends and I even heard a group of guys talking that sounded like colleagues, so a real mixture of people groups.


The event was well planned and set out, with every table, game, computer in use most of the time. But not too much of a wait to try anything.


It was very interesting to see the Reign Team with their VR setup, which looked amazing and Insomnia’s tournament area.

I was also pleased to find out more information about Game Over, having walked past their venue a few times, but never having time to visit.



It was great meeting Dave, founder of ET Games, who I ended up discussing wellbeing activities with before we talked about his awesome business ET Games.



The other events I found a few details for were: Sneaky Dog Escapes in Southampton and Comic Con, Portsmouth. Obviously I’m hoping to be back at Comic Con this year, but I’m going to look into Sneaky Dog Escapes too. Their events/ activities looked really interesting and a great way to discover parts of the city. I think their activities could be a great geocaching/ Pokemon Go alternative (yup, I’m still on Pokemon Go).

I really enjoyed wondering around and checking out a couple of games, I was tempted by Azul, Hostage Negotiator and DC Legends. But in the end managed to keep my spending to just one game, Pucket.


Everyone was very friendly and encouraged walkers by to try games (without being pushy), it was a great atmosphere. I even decided to give ‘Bomberman’ a go. Spoiler, I was rubbish. Apparently this is a very popular game? I must admit, this ones past me by.



I’ve found games to be a good tool to support my wellbeing, particularly the card game simply called ‘The Game’, which is one player. More than just my own wellbeing though, I’ve found games a great way to support and navigate friendships and conversations. Taking the focus off ‘us’ for a while, but also not being so engaged in a task. This is why I now favour board games, because I can get too immersed in computer games. They are still fun, but they don’t necessarily support me communicating with others.

Let me tell you learning some of these games takes time! Annoyingly, once you get the instructions, it doesn’t seem that complicated at all.


I have enjoyed making board games a more regular thing over the last two years and learning my own preferences with games. Which currently is medium length cooperative games.




It really is worth following Guildhall‘s social media channels to see what events are coming up, and make sure you visit Dice in Southsea and Game Over in Old Portsmouth too.

Big thanks to the Team for inviting me along and to everyone involved in setting up the Games Festival; and for continuing to facilitate awesome community events at the Guildhall.





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