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UK Games Expo


jonnyalpha
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I had a great time today. I was half expecting to spend most of the time on my own, but half of my regular group spontaneously decided to come along.

 

We played:

 

Flick 'em Up, a cute dexterity game with a western theme. It looks great but is pretty pricy for cowboy Subbuteo, apparently they are planning on releasing a cut-down version with fewer wooden pieces.

 

Some lovely little wooden tank game from a guy who hand made everything called something like Fog of War.

 

Quadropolis, a simple-looking yet mind-crunching city-builder from Days of Wonder. Really enjoyed it, and one of us bought a copy.

 

Jungle Speed, which was basically Snap but we all had a brilliant time playing it, so much so that one of us bought it.

 

Doctor Panic, a strange party game based around an app where you're all doctors doing minigames to save a patient. Wasn't so keen on this, would rather play something like Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, but this might work better with non-gamers.

 

There were so many games to play, and so little time! Tomorrow I might try to play some of the titles from the smaller/independent publishers.

 

Got to meet Tom Vasel!

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I was there today. Crikey hall one is big and I think it's great to have all the sellers in one room. Much more room to move between the stands compared to previous years. It was busy today so it should be even cosier tomorrow.

No problems for me moving between there and the Hilton, and it's not like you do it that often. I got the train to International, 10min walk to hall one to pick up your tickets and then I went straight over to the Hilton for a 10am game, only heading back over to hall one for a look about 2ish.

 

Played in a Call of Cthulhu game in the morning and a Traveller game this afternoon. Great stuff. Didn't buy anything this year (apart from food) as there's nothing I am immediately after.  Only the one day for me this year, will be back for more again next year.

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Last year we managed to get two demos of games; one was alright and one was shit. Today I could have done with another day to come back and have more demos - there was just so much to do and not nearly enough time to fit it all in. We managed nine individual games, some shopping and a break for lunch at the food festival, with zero rushing.

 

Would recommend Trambahn (available on site, £14, two-player card game) and Battle for Olympus (another two-player card game, releases July) at the Mayfair stand, and Port Royal (2-5 player push-your-luck card game, eight quid) at the Pegasus Spiele stand.

 

Bring and buy is still a nightmare and was completely rammed at 1pm today, so godspeed any of you who venture there tomorrow. It being a pain didn't stop Pele and I spending well over sixty quid in there though.

 

Only real downside is that a few of the really tiny vendors haven't made it back this year - presumably they've been priced out of a space which is a shame, but other than that it's been easily the best UKGE I've attended by a mile. Have a great time everyone!

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Had a fantastic day. A massive haul (including haggling Imhotep down to £20, and finding O'm Nom Nom for £4 in the bring and buy, as well as the 2 player competitive FF books).

 

got excellent feedback on my playtested prototype, saw some good friends I haven't seen for too long, and Tom Vasel came to our table for a game of Imhotep and a chat in the evening. Just hitting the bed now, after doing an escape room game. Amazing day.

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Just to echo what Donk said, we went yesterday and it was a revelation. In fact, I've been going for 5 years now, and this was the best day I've had there (I only ever do single days).

 

The past couple of years we've done Sunday's and it's been decent, but a combination of the vendors flagging and the Hilton sometimes exceeding capacity have meant it's hard to pick anything up. Last year was so bad in terms of pick up games Donk, Moose and myself almost called it quits. Fridays are the new Sundays for me though. It was positively peaceful. I'll be interested to hear how people find Saturday and Sunday in comparison, but I can't imagine it being anything but better regardless.

 

Like Donk said, 9 games played. My verdicts!

 

Fight/Battle For Olympus - lovely little 2 player card game that is thematically nice and played quickly in its demo format. Smashed Donk, so best game evah.

Carrotia - Donk was more forgiving of this than me, but I thought it was turgid shit that just didn't work at all. Daft real time mechanics, tile placement that's meaningless ("just change it!") and a stupid movement mechanic killed it dead.

Elements - the new game from the creator of Love Letter. HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT in 2 player. It just doesn't work at all. Might be interesting with more players, but won't be looking it back up.

Port Royal - push your luck card game that we had the rules terribly explained for, which Donk dropped on regardless and then we tried again that night and it was still fun. Liked this.

Tatsu - This started feeling really light and fluffy but quickly got devious. I'll pick this up at some point, I think.

Trambahn - really lovely little card game about building tramlines. Semi-wish I'd picked up a copy.

Costa Rica - A strange communal push your luck game which I enjoyed playing but it seemed so light as to offer no depth at all. I'd play at someone else's but not fussed about picking it up when it comes out.

Hive - ooh, this was devious and lovely and has the best tiles in anything ever.

Wasteland Justice - Formula D with guns and less interesting tracks, but could be a decent beer and snacks game.

 

We managed to snag a communal and unopened copy of Risk Legacy in the B&B for £30, while I collared Dead Winter for £22, so happy with that. I also picked up the Adventure Time battle card game, Tokaido (already played, GOD IT'S GORGEOUS) and Portal.

 

Recommend anyone buying checks out Chaos Cards, they seemed to have the best prices on lots. It's definitely worth shopping around - I saw Tokaido for £36, 33 and 31 (getting it for the latter) in the hall.

 

The hall! God it made it so much better having ALL THAT SPACE. Someone told Donk and I the NEC insisted on them having another 1,000 sq feet (which seems odd that the NEC don't just lease out the hall, they lease out parts of it?) and I imagine that made a lot of difference to the walkway sizes. And the walk to the Hilton for food (though the food in the hall looked good too) was a nice break and I had a massive hot dog and it was lovely.

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There is a big area in the middle of the trade hall for open gaming, lots and lots of tables at publisher stands for trying out their games too. The Hilton has a lot more space for gaming, everyone moved over there when the hall closed at 5pm.

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Great day today with the family - had quite a long shopping list and managed to either acquire or rule out everything. Bought Beyond Baker Street on impulse, and was convinced by Hive after about 2 minutes. Agree with the comment above about Chaos Cards prices - they had Rebellion for £59! Highlight of the day was my daughter beating the UK Backgammon Federation dude (with a backgammon!) to win a free set.

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Great time yesterday (turned up, quick short queue ticket at 8.50, there till about 4.30)

 

Good wander round and lots to watch/observe (2 of our group had fit bits and were surprised how few steps they've taken - most was standing about though)

 

Lots of shops - but busy. Strange prices some with a mix of cheap/exspensive, others purely one way or the other. Seems odd that you get such variety in one area (e.g. I saw Quadroplois for 28 to 35, Home One from 22 to 30). Mostly though there were normal prices, so nothing too much got impluse purchased

 

We didn't queue for Bring and Buy, which is where people seem to say the best bargins could (if you're lucky) be found.

 

Think we "played" it a little wrong - generally constantly moving in a (comparative) 'rush' as loads to see/do so staying still felt like wasting time, when standing around and waiting for games demo might have got us a couple of more plays .

 

Got to see/experience

 

Orction Game is ok (a little over baked), but the chap who took us through a game [and made it] was very entertaining. Not going to set the world alight (from numbers he's quoting, it'll be his last game). Group ended up with 2 copies for £15 each. You aren't going to see it elsewhere, the chap gave us an very enjouable 45min and it's an ok gme

 

Game of Blame Liked the look of this, stood around for a couple of minutes waiting for one of the demonstators to finish. Turned out one demonstrator wasn't demonstrating, just talking to another demo. Turned and dismissively said they were off [somewhere] now, they'll be back later. Real sour taste, and didn't want to wait for another demonstrator to be free.

 

Super Zombies Didn't get to play this - we sat for 5 minutes while the demonstrator struggled to put it together (seemed to be a series of very similar looking cutouts that need assembling in a certain order). She was very apologetic, and we said we'd leave her to try with less pressure. (Looking across later she'd done and group seemed to have fun)

 

IceCool: Saw quite a few of these being sold, but mainly to groups with kids. Seemed very over-developed (why a school?) for what is effectively a flick chase game. Didn't seem to be any real depth to it. Couldn't work out how the board was set up/unboxed either. Demonstrator was alright and let us flick, but didn't have a full game.

 

Quodropolis Really liked this - simpy enough city bulder, but surprisingly deep behind it. Not worth £35 quid, but 29? Yeah. Again a good demonstrator helpded.

 

6 Innit - A fairly standard card game. It looks really complex (and on explanation appeared so for a simple looking game). Absolutely no desire to buy it or play it again, but if someone at our groups brought it out I wouldn't object)

 

The Little Prince - One of our group bought this and we played during a break. Utterly charming so I went and bought a copy for £13

 

Pandenmic: Cuthulla - Didn't get to play this, but watched a game. Looked very different from normal Pandenic, and not just adding a mechanic or two like previous expacs. None to try for us though and non to buy.

 



For 24 (parking and ticket) lovely day though. Sat in house looking and chores wish we arranged 2 days

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I had a great time on Saturday too, even if it was much more difficult to move around and find open spots at demo tables to play. Regardless, got a good few games in:

 

Concept: Charades with a big map of icons on which you place tokens in an attempt to communicate one of a selection of concepts of varying complexity on the card you draw. I found it a good giggle, but it wasn't for everyone in our group.

 

New Earth: I've never heard of Ergo Sum Games before, but they had a relatively large presence at the Expo, and were pushing this game hard. I'm sad to say it's pretty awful though, an extremely bland post-apocalyptic area control game with far too many tokens and cubes. I'm normally happiest with a crunchy Euro game with loads of wood, but New Earth was extremely dry, and didn't offer anything I hadn't seen before. It used paper money too.

 

Good Cop Bad Cop: A social deduction game which sits somewhere in between The Resistance and One Night Ultimate Werewolf. You're all cops, either honest or crooked, trying to take down the Kingpin or Agent amongst you. The twist here is that your identity is the product of three cards instead of one, so investigating one identity card or revealing one in order to grab rule-bending equipment only gives you partial information.

 

Skull: This has no shortage of great reviews going for it, but I only got to play it for the first time yesterday. It's a very sharp little game, where you bluff and bid against each other with these wildly designed beermats.

 

Blood Rage: Another critically acclaimed game, Blood Rage is about clans of vikings all battlin' and pillagin' to obtain as much glory as possible before Raganrok comes along and ends the world. We had a blast playing this, and in our final round I heard a couple of gentlemen talking behind me, observing our game. Turns out one of them was none other than Eric Lang, the designer, and he was lovely enough to sign my friend's copy of the game.

 

 

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Here's my haul:

 

games.JPG

 

Over £200 spent, but did some haggling (got Why First? for free, and £10 knocked off Imhotep). Would have also bought Isle of Skye, but it sold out. In fact, loads of stuff sold out fast, I don't know if they underestimated demand or if some companies wanted to keep a varied stock rather than push one game above all others.

 

I saw those Ergo Sum Games people too, and thought the game looked visually unappealing. It's weird, there was no buzz about it at all, despite them having such a big area, they needed to have spent some time before that generating buzz somehow. Was never drawn to it (same with a bunch others). Played Cornwall (carcassonne ripoff) and Codenames Pictures (just what it says) yesterday. Also Celestia, which I bought.

 

Loved the whole thing. Except the heat and noise of open gaming in the Palace Suite.

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Oh, and I always enjoy looking at the horrors in the Bring and Buy, managed to sell 4 of our games, and should have priced the other two a few quid cheaper (under the magic tenner), but they had some expansion, which were 8 for £6 in the Expo, for £5 each. And other terrible terrible gouging attempts.

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My acquisitions:

 

IMG_20160605_172639.jpg

 

Wetland is a sad-looking game about ugly frogs on lily pads I was given for free by Board Game Guru.

 

Good luck getting all the Babel pieces into the box once punched, @therearerules! The insert is genuinely awful. I've finally caved in and poured all my 7 Wonders stuff in the base box after throwing away the tray. It just about fits.

 

Edit: Oh, I also picked up No Thanks!

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Quodropolis is easy to get in the box. They even say in there "cus we give you so much punchouts, the box is too big. Keep the empty punch out sheets to pad your box insides otherwise the contents will move too much" :D

 

:(

 

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I made it to the expo on Sunday with my daughter and a couple of friends. We didn't organise ourselves terribly well and didn't get as many games played as we should have. Still managed games of Imhotep (which was lovely but sold out), Quadrapolis (all enjoyed but I haven't bought yet), Rhino Hero and an X-wing minis demo which we got dragged into and went on a bit long. 

 

I was disappointed not to be able to get Imhotep or Trambahn as it appears they both sold out on the Saturday. I was very happy to bag a couple of games that I was looking for on the Gameslore stand, Burgle Bros. and Paperback by Tim Fowers were both on my list but I hadn't expected to see them. Looking forward to getting those played. I also picked up Parade and Kodama from Boardgameguru and then a brand new copy of Flip Out from the B&B for £3 which I was very happy with.

 

Games were good, the food was nice and the extra space was lovely. My friends had a great time and thought it was much better than they expected. I hope we'll all get there for longer next year.

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Went yesterday, for the first time since 2013 (as far as I can work out). Moving to the NEC hall has been such an improvement - my wife was actually happy to spend lots of time instead of getting tired of the crowdedness and noise (PA notwithstanding). Felt like half my office were there.

 

We played ticket to ride india (no surprises), that Penguin Subbuteo game (my son got very frustrated with it very quickly), a sort of pyramid snakes and ladders with mice and a cat (my son really wanted to try it because he loves cats but it was a bit young for him these days), and my son had a demo game of Devil's run route 666 which he loved - though by that point of the day we'd hit our budget and so couldn;t get the game. bought a single car though, just for painting fun.

 

Got into a conversation with a guy on the fan-run Wings of Glory stand on who was bubbling over with infectious enthusiasm for the game, tempered with frustration at how badly it's been promoted/marketed by the publishers. It's been a game I've pondered getting into from time to time, but I prefer WW2 stuff to WW1, and the WW2 starter kit was really odd with 4 totally unrelated planes. I think if the Battle of Britain set he spoke about comes out, I'll definitely be in at that point.

 

(I didn;t mention that I played X-wing as I know some wings fans, and the game's designer, are a bit sore about it)

 

So, all together a really good day.

 

In the end, came away with

X-wing YT-2400

Imperial assault Princess Leia

Devil's run "Riot girl" Camaro

and my wife got lots of cute-animal related games

Happy Salmon

Pick a Dog

Pick a Pig

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I went Saturday with 3 friends, not been to a boardgame expo but loads of games ones - i was surprised how not-busy it was on saturday i found it really nice, enough room to move around, lots of demos available with little/no queues. The prices where good too, many the same or a few quid under the online prices - with the odd bargain thrown in. The bring and buy was too busy and had a proper queue so didnt go. Tried out one game at the old game stand, fire of london and rise of kage. Liked them all, would have grabbed rise of kage if it had a better offer (had an offer on game+Exp not just Game). My friends actually grabbed an old game + fire of london - so 2/3 conversion rate on game trys.

 

Only show i went to was the shut up and sitdown podcast, was cool - missed the dice tower ones. After the show ended the open games room was nice - we didn't plan it but just walked in and got a table - manged to play one of the new games we got Haggis for about 40 mins before we headed home.

 

All in all great experience - actually wouldn't mind doing 2/3 days next time as playing the demos where great especially as a group of friends + you can bring any others playing into any banter you have - the open play was cool too - so i can imagine us playing openly after for ages - and if we cannot get a table - crash someones room and play there.

 

I only spent £10 on games (dice masters starter and card sleeves) - behaving lots of games i wanted at good prices (few pounds off) but no major bargains that i wanted. Other friends spent £60 and £150 just on boardgames. 

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