It’s that special time of the year again, so off we trot to:
We only did the Friday where it’s supposed to be “quieter”, not so sure about that, but I digress.
The morning was spent shopping and just walking up and down the aisles looking at lots of game-related stuff (and some stuff that was not game-related). We were impressed by the greater variety of wares than seen in previous years. Many stalls had a good collection of items the other stalls didn’t stock.
Our first proper stop was at the always amazing GamesLore where I picked up a game for a friend (not saying what as it’s a surprise), one of the few copies of
at the show (and the main item on my shopping list).
Elsewhere (and I can’t recall all the places I bought stuff-sorry), I picked up another game on my shopping list, a game we tried at the TableTop Gaming Live event last September:
Here they were also demonstrating the Disney baddies game Villainous and its first expansion (due out this August). (Get Photos from Sabrina).
White Wizard Games were there with a wonderful stand, courtesy of Eclectic Games full of stuff and Rob Dougherty himself was there demonstrating his new game Sorcerer (which I already got via Kickstarter). There I picked up the fantasy version of Star Realms:
as well as the five character packs:
I also thought I’d picked up enough matching card sleeves to sleeve the lot, but I think I’m one pack short.
From there I also picked up this beauty:
As they didn’t have any for Star Realms or Hero Realms for some reason. This came a bunch of matching card sleeves and a promo card too. Oooooh!
They did have some very nice playing mats, and I caved in and got this one:
Very nice it is too.
Lunchtime called so I partook in a Beast Burger while Sabrina enjoyed a Hazelnut Latte and a bowl of chips.
Refreshed and refuelled we set forth once more with the view to playing something.
The first game we tried our hands at was Seekers of Asterod:
Despite the awful and cumbersome pizza-style box, this Cludo-style space game was actually not all that bad. Not much substance to it, but a fun little game of narrowing down clues to be the first to find the correct planet. As it’s remotely linked to Cludo, Sabrina won.
Providing further proof that you can’t judge a game by its cover or artwork we had a go at Fireworks:
A game where players construct a pretty fireworks display on their boards by chucking a big die at a pile of tiles and collecting the number rolled if any tiles flip over. A game designed to have players spending most of their time under the table retrieving game components. Also the pretty artwork is not easy to make out the two very similar styles of explosion (a non-jaggerdy one and a jaggerdy one). The obviously translated instructions are also not easy to read. Not so impressed with this one. Sabrina one.
Finally we had a go at Ghostbusters: The Card Game:
In this set-collecting game, players take turns playing cards to move the trap and then trapping the card it finishes at. Some cards are slimy and will deduct points to the player with the most, unless they also have Slimer.
Thematically, not really that Ghostbustery, but the artwork was fun, the game-play was easy to pick up and there was enough in it to keep it interesting. A good filler game. Had there been a copy of this for purchase, we might have picked it up.
Two games I was looking out for were Tiny Epic Mechs and Tiny Epic Tactics, but after consulting the good ol’ internet, I learned they’re not out yet.
One stall that surprised us was one sporting a load of Pillowfight Warriors goods. Not so much soft toys but more like actual pillows or cushions shaped like weapons and shields looked fantastic. Thinking of the boys we bought a pair of swords.
After subsequently hacking at family members over the course of the weekend, we may well invest in some more gear from here. They were hugely successful.
Two items that we’d seen earlier were calling to us, so we tracked down a copy of:
that Sabrina liked the look of. I’d bought her the original Herbaceous at last year’s Expo and she’d enjoyed that. This one seems to follow the latest trend of being redone as dice.
I’d previously acquired a few copies of Keyforge, but had yet to get a starter set with the extra bits and counters and stuff. Eventually, I managed to find one of the rapidly dwindling copies of:
from the good people at Zatu Games. Apparently, the UK have had their orders for this title reduced across the board, so there’s less copies about than expected.
This contains my first Age Of Ascension, but has the improvement of the original starter sets in that the 2 decks contained within are standard unique decks rather than specially constructed decks.
On the way out at the Expo Merch desk, we also picked up this nifty poster:
I did a vlog on this too, more of the same but more waving about at the camera:
In support of its first ever appearance, Sabrina and I went to Ally Pally for the TableTop thingummy. Primarily, this was to play some games. But if I were to find a game or two, well, I wouldn’t say no.
by iello Games
In not saying no, we were barely there before being enrolled in the King Of Tokyo tournament. It was a quiet start to the day and we barely had enough to form a game, but eventually there were six and so the game commenced.
I played as Cyber Kitty and using my kitty destructive powers, I obliterated to opponents early on (apologies to Sabrina). One by one another two lucked out leaving just myself and a guy playing as Meka Dragon. It came down to a single roll to determine the final outcome. Fortunately for the other guy it meant he won.
The top four players won some nice goodies (1st place also won a T-shirt).
Not bad for playing a game.
Following the tournament we wandered round the place checking out the stalls and picking up a couple of things. We bought Stone Age, and sensibly had the stall hold it for us to pick up later, rather than drag it round it day.
We also took the opportunity to play some games.
by Lookout Games
This was a gentle tetris-style tile placement game where you picked different shapes from the available supply and added them to your ‘quilt’. The theme worked well with the use of time, which was represented by each player having a pawn on the time track. Each piece would require an amount of time to complete so the pawn would move forward that amount. An enjoyable two-player game.
I wanted to try out a couple of games by Days of Wonder I’ve yet to play: Quadropolis (a game I’ve never liked the look of) and The River (which isn’t out yet).
Unfortunately, those two games were already in play and we got roped into playing a Ticket To Ride game, mainly because I pointed out that they’re all basically the same and they wanted to prove me wrong. So, Ticket To Ride: Germany is basically Ticket To Ride, but with coloured meeples randomly sitting in each station. Completion of a line gives that player up 2 two meeples (one from each station, if available). At the end of the game, players owning most of each colour meeple wins a bonus 10 VPs.
Strategy-wise, there’s a slight leaning to complete a non-route line just to collect some meeples, but at the risk of giving up the opportunity to claim the line you need. Didn’t add much to the game and I’d rather just buy a bag of meeples (or counters) and add them to my Ticket To Ride Europe game.
by Fantasy Flight Games
This was a game I’d wondered about for a while. I’d seen Wil Wheeton play it on TableTop and it looked fun. However, I had a couple of reservations. Firstly, I recalled playing a similar style game with world world II fighter planes at a friend’s house (years ago) and had found the experience somewhat boring. Secondly, the game components, though really nice, do take up a fair deal of space.
My wife played as the two TIE fighters, I played as the X-wing. After a few turns of this, we’d both had gotten quite board and so we left it there to find something much more interesting.
My next purchase came in a nice cardboard box, but could only be played once.
by Hans im Glück
After lunch we retrieved Stone Age, found an empty table and played it. This is the quintessential worker placement game where you take turns sending you tribe members off to hunt for fod or other resources, build better stone tools, develop a more self-sufficient agriculture, build huts, or make more tribe members (they even have a specific hut for that – room for two only).
We both very much enjoyed this one. I won.
by Games Quest
After wandering around a bit more, and picked up a few choice items. We got accosted by someone asking if we wanted to play a game. Of course we did.
PetEvil is a combative card game in it’s infancy (due to go on Kickstarter by the end of the year, all going well). It is essentially a less-manic variation than Epic Spell Wars. Players need to create and deploy missiles made up of a rocket, payload and as many explosives of the same colour as they wish. Rockets made up of 1, 2 or 3 differing colours will do different amounts of damage. This is made trickier by the 7-card hand limit. There are also other cards that can be drawn that can reduce damage, regenerate health or redirect the incoming missile. Players who launch the nuclear missile do so knowing they are going to cause ongoing havoc to all for the rest of the game. Now there’s a message there…
The plethora of adorable animals, puns and references offsets this otherwise inherently violent game. A very enjoyable game and I don’t just say that because I won.
One to look out for, particularly if you find Epic Spell Wars too much.
Back to base of operations (my parents’ house) for the night where we tried out
by Renegade Game Studios
A deck-building game where, as well as using cards to buy cards and do damage, you get to move a meeple about on a board to do a thing. Really enjoyed this one too.
During the previous day Sabrina had made a list of games we wanted to try, so we headed straight for.
by Blue Orange Games
This was a fascinating tile-placement game with a difference. Each player had their own dodecahedron ‘planet’ on which at affix magnetic land tiles. Each tile had six sections which could have water, ice, forest, dirt or desert. Players would have a secret goal but would also compete to win cards requiring specific land requirements. Though there was nothing inherently wrong with the game, it was fun enough, there was definitely something lacking. Beyond the novelty of playing on a magnetic dodecahedron, this was a straightforward tile-placement game that offered little more than that.
The awkward shape also made it difficult to ascertain just how much big a sea you have. This would have been better as a flat board upon which extra tokens or animals could have been placed to make a richer game. Glad I played it, wouldn’t buy it though.
by Lookout Games
From one 3-d tile placement game to another. Gingerbread has a wonderfully illustrated fairy-tale theme where players build a gingerbread cottage using cardboard ‘dominoes’ where each tile shows two types of gingerbread. Placing on tile on other will provide the gingerbread that is covered up in the placement, which, in turn, can be used to buy cards (VPs). Handy 1×1 tiles can be won, claimed or acquired by missing a turn to fill in those pesky gaps. This game is not yet available (they themselves only managed to get hold of a copy from somewhere in Italy). Highly recommended and worth looking out for.
by Czec Games Edition
A quick look through my games list will quickly tell you I’m a sucker for space-themed games. We were intrigued by the look of this one the previous day so took the opportunity to try it out. Really glad we did. Far to complex to describe here, it’s a game with many different facets and paths to success. Sabrina focused on harnessing Pulsars whilst I built up my space stations. Wonderfully produced and a whole lot of fun.
Had we seen this on the shelf, I would have picked it up. It’s on my Christmas list.
by Edition Spielwiese
In a similar vein to Patchwork, Sabrina really liked the look of Indian Summer, but Spring Meadow was the one available to try. Like with patchwork, players take turns claiming a shape and adding it to their board. Complete lines score as do holes that line up with burrows (printed on the board). The snow-filled board slowly fills from one end to the other with lush green grass as we play the role of Thaw – no not the one with the hammer, helmet and mother’s drapes. The game-play was pleasant enough but the bland colour palette (particularly set against the glorious colours of Indian) were a letdown. If we could have Indian’s colour scheme with this game-play (Indian’s more of a race), then we’d say yes please.
As we concluded Spring Meadow, Carpe Diem became available at the next table, so we gave it a go. With no idea what we were getting into, we found ourselves building our own little Carcasonne-style areas, collecting resources for completed zones and scoring against achieved (or failed) cards. This was a real surprise and very enjoyable. Another one to get.
Back to Days of Wonder where I finally got to try out Quadropolis. This is a city-building game that at no point give you the impression that that is what you are doing. The game itself was fine, nothing particularly special, but the theme just didn’t work at all for me. Compared to the brilliant components in Yamatai or Ticket To Ride, this felt a bit cheap. Had we been placing actual building miniatures – with the stack-able residential buildings – this might have a better appeal. Glad I played it, but not one I’ll be getting anytime soon.
The River conveniently became available so we mistakenly sat down to play it. Now, I can’t really give this game a fair review because the chap who demonstrated it to us, after two days of non-stop demonstrating it, was clearly fed-up to the back teeth of it. The fatigue of repetitiveness had clearly got to him. He poorly explained the rule which meant Sabrina had no idea what she was doing so also didn’t enjoy it. I was getting bad vibes from both of them which seriously damaged my calm. This is a worker placement game where stuff happens. The demonstrator was too busy totally destroying us to bother explain anything properly. A game to try again another timer, preferably with someone else.
by Sensible Object
This is a game we’ve had our eye on for some time now. This is a stacking game with a difference. The items you stack score according to a complex app-based world in a beautifully designed and implemented game. The only thing against it was the hefty price tag, but with the ongoing development and the addition of some very lovely expansions (which would make some very nice mantelpiece ornaments in the own right) this has got even more tempting. This stall had been busy all weekend, but towards the end of the day it was free, so we got to get another go at it. (Last time was Expo 2018). We didn’t do very well, but had fun at failing miserably.
On the whole we had a thoroughly good time. I found the limited crowds very pleasant, but did worry about the success of the event. Though not as big as Expo, with less available, I’d say I preferred TableTop because it was quieter. We got to try many, many games and picked up some wonderful things.
Here’s a video of me talking about those things here:
On Friday 1st of June 2018, I returned to the UK Games Expo at the NEC in Birmingham.
I had a very specific list of things to get.
First up, I managed to get ahold of the Terraforming Mars expansion
which provides two alternative boards on which to play to increase game diversity.
Next up, I picked to the two Abyss expansions and
making Abyss a 5-player game with more stuff to do.
One particular item I really was hoping for was
thankfully I did find a copy, which I believe was the last one available in the entire Expo! Even one of the guys at the stall I purchased it from thought they’d already sold out of it (they only brought 4 copies). I then spotted it and didn’t let go.
Another expansion was for King Of Tokyo
so that all my monsters now have power cards, not just the ones from the expansions I’ve already picked up.
I then picked up a second expansion for Terraforming Mars:
which also allows the terraforming of Venus by using another terraforming tracker (this one’s not mandatory so shouldn’t extend the game time too much).
At the Dice Tower booth I picked up two promo cards:
Which was very nice. I even saw Tom Vasel in one of his hats.
After a little more wandering we stopped for lunch.
Then made our way to the DogEared Games booth, where I spotted the guy who sold me the StakBots decks last year. This year he got me interested in playing Colour Chess against his colleague.
After completely destroying him, we picked up a copy:
Back to awandering we spotted the Catan Sheep
Giant version games, including 7 Wonders, Ticket To Ride, Colt Express and Takenoko
We visited the good people at GeekNSon and picked up a couple of items.
The Wargaming section was most impressive, all those sets are amazing, particularly the Battle Of Hoth
During the wanderings I also picked up
The we once again passed this stand
and bought a copy.
In the Catan section we had a sit down to play
with two chaps called Gavin and Garath.
During the game we used our newly acquired GeekNSon Dice Tower
So many people came over to ask where we got it from.
We did some more wandering and saw some stuff:
The family zone with games to be played on nearby tables.
The GeekNSon Crew:
And just a few games stalls:
The last game we picked up was
Shortly before it closed, we made our way out.
That was a lot of fun!
For a closer look at the things we picked up check up the video I did on the subject:
This year I went to a Games Expo for the first time ever.
One game that caught my eye was Lander.
It’s still in the prototype stage set for Kickstarter in 2018, but looks very appealing. I was allowed a small dark blue 3D printed component.
Of course you can’t go to a games expo and not play any games. Beasts of Balance was the first one I got to try out. I’ve been watching this one since it’s prototype days and have been wanting to give it a go.
Next-up was the new multimedia game: .
It’s a trading card game with an accompanying free app with articulated and equippable figures that can interact with the game. We had a go at one of the mini games using the figure as controllers. It can be played for free on the app without the figures.
I was encouraged to have a go at Stak Bots by DogEared Games. I’d already picked up the yellow expansion but never played it. Walked away from this with the base game and the red expansion.
Finally, we had a play of one scenario in the Walking Dead: All Out War. A miniatures game of zombie survival by Mantic Games. With numerous expansions and scenarios to play through. Based off of the comic series not the TV one.
Survived the encounter with all the living still alive and as a draw with SC who managed an excellent double head-shot with a baseball bat.