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5 Best Card Game Conventions In The UK

best card game conventions uk

It’s time to take a trip with Card Gamer – as we whisk you away to the best card game conventions in the UK!

Tabletop gaming absolutely exploded in popularity during lockdown, and, now that we’ve moved away from being shut away in our homes, players are able to venture out into the real world to discover new games, find new opponents and take part in tournaments.

There’s few better ways to check out upcoming games or take on other players than at gaming specific conventions – and there are plenty of them in the UK each year.

Which are the best though?

Let’s find out, as Card Gamer checks out the best card game conventions in the UK!

1. UK Games Expo – Birmingham

uk games expo

Held annually in the middle of the year – with 2023 on the 2nd to 4th of June and 2024’s expo set for the 31st of May to the 2nd of June – the UK Games Expo is the largest convention of its kind in the UK.

It’s also, impressively, the third largest tabletop gaming show in the world!

Since 2007, the UK Games Expo has provided a way for board game publishers – large and small – to show off their new, upcoming and current wares, with card games very much in the mix alongside other tabletop gaming experiences.

So not only will you be able to play (and purchase!) new and existing card games, but also board games, miniatures games and RPGs too.

Expect over 20,000 visitors and 460 exhibitors at this enormous show, held at the Birmingham NEC. 

If you do attend, make sure you’re prepared to walk away with lots of new games!

2. Tabletop Gaming Live – Manchester

Tabletop Gaming Live
Image: Tabletop Gaming Live

Though relatively new in terms of events – with the first held in 2018 – Tabletop Gaming Live has proven itself to be a huge and important event for card gamers in just a few short years.

As an example for just how vital Tabletop Gaming Live is to the UK card gaming scene, in 2019, Tabletop Gaming Live hosted the UK’s only Dragon Ball Super TCG major qualifier tournament!

Initially held in London, Tabletop Gaming Live has moved to Manchester for the last few years – and that’s where the 2023 show event is set for too.

With over 5,000 visitors across a weekend of gaming fun – usually held in September – Tabletop Gaming Live is another great place to find your new favourite card games, as well as play your current favourites against new opponents!

3. AireCon – Harrogate

Image: AireCon 2017

Considering it sprung from a few friends playing games around a table, it’s impressive how quickly AireCon has grown to being one of the largest and best tabletop gaming events in the UK.

Held in Harrogate, AireCon took a break in 2021 (becoming ‘AireCan’t’ in the process) before returning triumphantly in 2022.

Again, though you’ll find mych more than just card games at AireCon, it’s a friendly and welcoming event that caters for just about every type of tabletop gamer you can think of.

It’s also one of the longest events on the list too; though many events take up a whole weekend, AireCon in 2024 will run from the 14th to the 17th of March – giving attendees plenty of time to play games and interact with likeminded tabletop gaming enthusiasts!

The expected attendee numbers for the next AireCon are at around 5,000 visitors over the course of the event – making it one of the biggest tabletop gaming conventions in the UK! 

4. Tabletop Scotland – Perth

Tabletop Scotland
Image: Tabletop Scotland

Returning in 2022 after a two year, COVID-related absence – like many other in-person gaming events – Tabletop Scotland returned to a 20% increase in attendance over its last show in 2019.

Held in August in Perth, Tabletop Scotland attracts around 1,500 visitors per day over a busy weekend of gaming.

As with the other events already listed, Tabletop Scotland features a wide variety of game types – board games, card games and much more.

The event has a great selection of exhibitors and open play spaces, with a welcoming and family friendly atmosphere.

5. HandyCon – Milton Keynes

Image: HandyCon

Though the majority of tabletop conventions are staged annually, HandyCon is an event that currently takes place four times a year!

Despite only having been around since 2017, Milton Keynes-based HandyCon has proven successful enough to be held a significant number of times already – and provides a great way to engage with other players and discover new games too.

At HandyCon, you’ll discover a games library – with games you can take for a test run over the course of the weekend – as well as exhibitors, who have games to playtest and purchase too.

As with all other conventions listed here, you’ll find it to be a friendly event, where you can play games for days on end to your heart’s content – and maybe you’ll return to battle it out against your opponents again, later in the year! 

Are there CCG & TCG Specific Card Game Conventions In The UK?

There are, but those focusing on specific games such as MTG, Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh tend to be smaller and more local.

For example, you can usually attend your local tabletop gaming store and take part in playing card games during regularly scheduled, weekly events.

Bigger events have arrived in the UK post-pandemic, but they’re not guaranteed to be here every year.

The Pokemon World Championships were held in London in 2022, but are being held in Japan in 2023

It’s always a great idea to keep up with events by signing up to newsletters from your favourite publishers – Konami, Wizards of the Coast and The Pokemon Company, as three examples – or events, so that you can be updated when events are happening in the UK.

Of course, we here at Card Gamer will also be keeping you in the loop and letting you know as and when events are announced, so keep your eyes peeled and we’ll make sure you’re the first to know when the next card gaming events are heading your way!

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