RogerBW's Blog

UK Games Expo 2018: Saturday 13 June 2018

On Saturday I was mostly out in the show rather than at the table, because there was a team of extra demonstrators coming in just for that day.

Incidentally, having looked at the prices of hotels on-site, I'd given up on that and stayed in an Ibis in Coventry – in a pocket off a trunk road next to the Jaguar Land Rover plant. It's a strange place: usual good Ibis breakfasts and clean room, but a blatant concrete box of a different style from the usual one, and a pervasive feeling of damp that never quite became visible condensation. (Actually, that was true all weekend since it was quite hot and sweaty, but most places I went to didn't have water-stains on the carpets.) Well, it is in a flood risk area, particularly the corner where my room was. On Thursday and Friday nights there were only about six cars in the car park, which can't have been making a profit; on Saturday night there were about twenty, plus a coachload of Americans (raving over the bread at breakfast).

Just before the hall opened, a pigeon got in and wandered around our stand for a bit. I suggested it should be lunch, but nobody was that desperate; we'd all brought food, having tried to eat at the NEC before.

(Advertising screens were offering "three bottles of Kronenbourg for £10". Presumably the second bottle is to blot out your memory of the first, but what's the third for?)

More demonstration games, with some interesting tactics and some shockingly bad die-rolling.

These chaps seemed happy. (Not cosplayers, but actual bashing-people-in-armour enthusiasts.)

A tactic probably not to be emulated much: yes, your leader is a powerful fighter, but lose him and you've lost the game.

Once the extra demo people for Wotan turned up, I went to look at the traders. Star Trek Ascendancy finally won me over, especially with a solid show-only discount on the expansions. (Much like Firefly: the Game, while I've quite enjoyed the various TV series I'm not especially enthusiastic about Star Trek as such. But the game itself looks rather good.)

Yes, there are Official Space Marines Armour Hoodies. I was expecting a disclaimer: Does Not Offer Actual Armour.

What more do you need? A more interesting-looking actual game, maybe?

The Dark Sphere miniatures setup got the fire marshals called, as it was putting out a bit too much smoke.

I got together with a friend and we tried out Ice Cool, aka "the flicky penguin game". We found ourselves oddly unmoved: yes, it's quite fun, but is that really all there is to it? Always the same starting positions and goals? Might I suppose be better with more players; can't recommend it for two.

And more Rhino Hero because we could.

I dashed back to the car with my boxes of Ascendancy (side benefit of smart phone: take a GPS fix where you park, and be guided back to it), and brought back the crate of games I'd packed for this evening's 1PG meeting. As it turned out, the only one I'd brought that got played was Steampunk Rally, a pretty close race with a second place finish for me.

We went on to Modern Art next, a classic auction game that I found rather dry; it's not terrible, but I wouldn't rush to play it again. I didn't come last, but the winning player had at least twice my score.

Startups again with several of the same people as before; I did much worse this time.

Xenon Profiteer, a game I discovered at Airecon… using the copy bought, since that game, by one of the people I was playing with then. I'm increasingly impressed with this resource-management deck-building game, and I ordered a copy of my own as soon as I got back from the show (I'd been vaguely hoping to find one second-hand).

Finally for the evening, Troika, another of Oink Games' small-box productions: in fact it's from the same designer as Startups and has many elements in common, though I found it less enjoyable. Perhaps I hadn't quite grasped how to go about it.

And so back to Coventry and to bed.

[Buy Rhino Hero at Amazon] [Buy Star Trek Ascendancy at Amazon] [Buy Ice Cool at Amazon] [Buy Steampunk Rally at Amazon] [Buy Modern Art at Amazon] [Buy Xenon Profiteer at Amazon] and help support the blog.

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