Record crowds attend GAMA Expo, but retailers still below pre-pandemic peak

A record number of people descended on tabletop gaming trade show GAMA Expo last week, although the number of retailers attending the event is still below pre-Covid levels, ICV2 reports.

Visitor numbers were up more than 20% compared to 2019, the last year before the coronavirus pandemic began impacting in-person events.

Numbers were up about 50% compared to the 2020 and 2021 instances of GAMA Expo, which is run by the US-based trade organisation The Game Manufacturers Association.

ICV2 added that retailer numbers had recovered somewhat from last year’s 271 stores, up 31% to 356 this year. But that total is still well below the record 480 stores which attended in 2019, which saw the venue hit capacity for exhibit space.

This year’s event is the last of four being held at the Peppermill Resort & Casino in Reno, Nevada, following multiple years in Las Vegas.

Next year GAMA Expo moves to The Galt House Hotel & KICC in Louisville, Kentucky, with future expos booked at the venue until at least 2026.

Previous GAMA Expos have been held around the middle of March, but the 2023 event was pushed to the end of April due to fallout from the organiser considering cancelling its 2021 event, which did eventually go ahead as a virtual offering.

GAMA executive director John Stacy told ICv2 last year that it decided to extend its contract with Reno by a year to avoid a penalty, but said that March 2023 was already sold out at that point.

GAMA Expo bills itself as the professional trade show of the tabletop games industry, and features four days of seminars and panel discussions, review and demos of new products.

New games on show at this year’s event included Scythe sequel Expeditions, standalone Sagrada legacy campaign game Sagrada Artisans and a game based on the Halloween film franchise from Trick or Treat Studios.


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