Ooh, it’s a big, long one this week! Not just because I went to the UK Games Expo, but I got a fair amount of other gaming in too.
This week in development
No real development work this week. And while UKGE did give me a lot to think about, I didn’t go about making any connections there. They had some events set up aimed at game designers, but as I was only there for a day, I mostly couldn’t go to them. And people working at stalls were mostly just there to demo/sell games. I didn’t want to be the dickhead trying to pitch games to someone who couldn’t do anything about it even if they were interested.
Maybe next year I’ll focus on it more. At the very least, I’ve now got a big list of companies I could get in touch with.
This week in games
First up: Wednesday was a two-player affair.
I broke out Murder of Crows for the first time in quite a while. It’s a decent game but not one I’d usually choose over any other. And you know I can’t resist a game with corvids.
As you can tell from our next game being Crows Overkill. Similarly light but with art as gorgeous as the theme is nonsense. And, of course, there were obligatory comments about having “so many cocks”.
Finished off with a round of Kokoro: Avenue of the Kodama on the advanced board. Matt won with about double the points I had.
Time for the big one! Oz, Alex, and I headed down to UKGE on the Friday. We played a whole bunch of stuff – all of which were new to us. I’d definitely recommend going with a couple of friends as it meant we always had a play group ready to test out whatever we wanted.
After stopping off at the Shut Up & Sit Down booth to admire their handmade signage, have a quick chat with Matt and Quinns, and pick up a pin badge and a sticker, we moved on to the rest of the expo. We started off at the Artipia Games booth and tried out Whoosh: Bounty Hunters. It’s a kind of souped-up “snap”, where you’re drawing cards and checking against symbols on monster cards. When you match all the symbols on a card, you grab for it. A bit more to keep track of (including wildcards and cards with broken items) than other similar games and with some nice art and character design.
Alex bought that one, so it’ll likely show up here again. I picked up Treachery in a Pocket, which thematically feels like Dogs of War, but in a Love Letter-sized package. Looking forward to trying it out.
Next, we moved on to the Room 17 booth and tried out Flicky Spaceships. It’s quite a simple dexterity game where you gather resources based on where your ship starts, then flick to another part of the board. There’s a bit of complexity added where you buy upgrades with your resources, which I felt bogged the game down a bit, but that could be because the expo isn’t the best place to concentrate on reading a menu of upgrades.
We also got an overview of Museum Rush, which seems similar to Burgle Bros, but competitive, but we didn’t get a chance to play it.
Oz wanted to check out Sub Terra, which was a lot of fun as we all chose to act recklessly, which generated amusing events. Notably when my scout knocked herself out reviving the diver, who proceeded to knock himself out trying to make his way back through the cave. I could see things being a lot less fun in a group where some people are trying to take things seriously.
The fact you could have a partial success was good. It made things a lot more pleasing than our recent game of Burgle Bros where we’d put in all that work, only to fail right at the end. Instead, everyone else abandoned the scout and the idiot diver and made it to safety.
Our next playthrough was Dead & Breakfast. A light game of laying tiles to make a haunted hotel – making sure to include the right kinds of scary things that will scare the guests that come to visit. It was a lot of fun and looks lovely. I was disappointed that I couldn’t buy it immediately, but I’ve put a pre-order in and it should be here in July.
The last game we played as a demo was Mystic ScROLLS (I didn’t notice the pun until I looked it up to post about it). Frantic, simultaneous dice-rolling to charge spells to use against each other. It had a nice mechanic where you only attack the player to your left, which means no one’s ganging up on anyone else. But then you can’t exact revenge on someone for doing something horrible.
After we were done checking out stalls, we retired to the open gaming area and made use of the game library. We started off with playing the first two scenarios of Magic Maze. It was a lot of fun, but definitely too stressful for me, especially coming at the tail end of a long day. I’m also not big a big fan of real-time games at the best of times.
We sent Oz off to find another (hopefully more relaxing) game. He came back with Wakanda (no Black Panther connection at all), which turned out to be a quick two-player game. After getting a bit confused by the rules, we tried it out and it fell pretty flat.
So, it was off to the library again and this time I went as well. I spotted Arboretum and immediately pounced on it. I’ve wanted to play this for a while and now I’m glad there’s a new edition coming out as it was a lot of fun. Even if the SU&SD review means I can’t resist the urge to pronounce arboretum incorrectly and constantly hear Quinns’ voice saying “gimme that sweet, sweet jacaranda”.
Outside of playing games, I also bought a lot.
Alongside Treachery in a Pocket, High Society was the other game I’d planned to get. I picked up Evolution: Climate as I’d been considering it for a while and I couldn’t say no for £30 (and I’m shallow and can’t resist a giant dinosaur meeple). I also snapped up One Deck Dungeon: Forest of Shadows (£10!), Speakeasy (£7!), and Guilds of Cadwallon (£5!).
Outside of board games, I got the Fiasco Playset Anthology vol 1, 2, and 3 for £5 each, and a printed copy of Jason Statham’s Big Vacation (another one-page rpg from Grant Howitt, creator of Honey Heist).
A copy of the Great Fire of London 1666 (another game I’d wanted for a while) was also purchased for me, but I’m not allowed it until my birthday next week 🙁
On Sunday, we had a brief trip to Leicester’s Riverside Festival, but after discovering there wasn’t a proper beer tent, just a mobile bar, we headed to the pub instead.
I took the opportunity to play High Society for the first time. I failed miserably at it – ending up with the least money left both times (I actually had no money left at the end of the first game). But it was a lot of fun!
And because all that wasn’t enough, I’m currently in line to throw money at a couple of Kickstarters. First Monikers: More Monikers, as the base game has been such a hit. So I’m picking up the new expansion, as well as the original two smaller expansions. And The Board Game Book isn’t a game, so it doesn’t add to the excess (just ignore how many books I have as well).
This week in everything else
Oh, God, I don’t know. What do you think of the new site design? That’s what I did most of last week when I wasn’t at work or out playing games. Hopefully I’ll be able to leave it alone now.