KEEN gamers, history enthusiasts and Star Wars cosplayers alike descended on Bournemouth for the first day of the south’s biggest tabletop event.

Thousands flocked to the Bournemouth International Centre for Beachhead 2024 on Saturday, February 10.

The seventh edition of the event featured a huge convention alongside tabletop gaming tournaments featuring between 400 and 500 competitors.

Spread across multiple exhibition spaces and rooms at the BIC, there were card and board game zones and miniature games for fans of historical, fantasy and sci-fi alike to enjoy.

Bournemouth Echo: Matt and Lauren Wingrove

Matt and Lauren Wingrove travelled from Milton Keynes for the event with their club, the Titan Owners Club.

“It gets bigger every year, it gets more impressive every year,” Matt said.

“The people are lovely. There’s always lots of cool things to do and see, lots of things to spend money on as well.”

Lauren added: “We come from Milton Keynes, but our club members, we’ve had one guy fly over from Europe to come and game here today, so that’s his first time.

“We have people come from up north, a six-hour drive away. We’ve got loads of people come from lots of places.”

Bournemouth Echo: Chris Ray

Chris Ray, from Poole, attended because his local shop is Entoyment and he saw it advertised.

“It’s been good, it’s quite impressive,” Chris said.

“Some of the skill and talent in some of the building and painting of the models is quite cool, and there’s loads of different things here that I’ve not seen before.”

Adam Shepherd-Jones organised the Warhammer 40K tournament across the weekend, explaining it is played over six rounds of three hours.

“Warhammer is a tabletop game, probably the most tabletop game out there,” Adam said.

“There’s a few well-known celebrities that play it, the likes of Henry Cavill, Ed Sheeran.

“Covid had a massive impact, everyone was at home with nothing to do, so painting some little men, or women, or orcs, or aliens, whatever, just sparked some people’s imagination.

“I think globally tournament attendance is up 600 per cent.”

Bournemouth Echo: Adam Shepherd-Jones

Adam added Beachhead prides itself on a more relaxed approach, with some tournaments elsewhere being more competitive, whereas the event allows players to play as much or as little as they’d like.

Event manager, Aleks Valinski from organisers Entoyment, said the event had gone ‘better than expected’.

“It’s awesome to be here,” Aleks said.

“The turnout has been amazing.

“The tables and the traders have really mucked in and helped everyone, which has been awesome to see. They’ve really pulled it together, its thanks to them that is has gone as well as it has.”

Bournemouth Echo: Event manager Aleks Valinski.

Aleks said the event felt ‘busier than before’ with previous years attracting around 2,000 people across the weekend.

“It’s always getting bigger, and we’re always having fresh ideas to keep it going,” Aleks said.

“It’s always going places.”

Beachhead continues on Sunday, February 11, with tickets available on the door.