RogerBW's Blog

UK Games Expo 2019: Friday 06 June 2019

Friday was the first "proper" day of UK Games Expo.

The Whart House was a cottage set up on farm land, with a dirt track leading a short way to the road.

Alas, the pond was home to an awful lot of insects, so we had to shut ourselves in overnight, and (being well-insulated) the place was very warm. What happens at Expo, stays at Expo… thanks to antibiotics.

The Viking Village was set up outside. Once more, I didn't get round to beard-braiding.

Wotan Games were here, and the bus was back. (Technically, the new bus was here for the first time.)

Some years ago, when the show was still at the Hilton, the organisers sent a survey round the retailers: since increasing numbers of people were turning up on the Friday afternoon to get a start on Saturday's gaming, did they want to make Friday a trading day as well? Everyone I talked with about it was negative: particularly for the small guys, it's hard enough to close the shop, rush to the site and set up on Friday night, without having to start a day earlier and lose a day of normal trading in return for being seen by a relatively small number of people. But, well, Growth Is Good apparently. And I did meet a few people who were only at the show on the Friday and Sunday.

I was walking around with a friend, who suggested the basic principle of "when someone asks you to try a game, say yes, unless there's a really good reason not to". So we started with Ominoes, which I'd played once before – a good filler game, and Andrew's a mate.

We tried out Pocket Landship, a small solo-only dice placement game – and, particularly given the "small", I'm very tempted.

(Some Indian guys were selling sodium acetate gel heater packs, bog-standard reusable handwarmers. Apparently they thought people wouldn't have heard of these; they were very taken aback when I said I already had some. Quite bizarre.)

A new Austrian company "Strudel" was showing off a game with a working title of "Chapter 2"; each of two players shuffles together three decks of elemental powers, taken from nine total. You then duel with these across five lanes, either placing cards or activating their powers to damage the enemy's cards.

I very much enjoyed it, and I'll be interested in the final version… except that I really liked the basic iconic images on the cards, and the demonstrator was insistent that they were going to commission art and make it all much prettier when it gets commercial release. Maybe I'll just make my own version on Tabletop Simulator.

I went to do my first demo shift – Kodama and particularly Kodama Duo today, with a bit of Coup later.

Then back to walking around the show chatting with people, and admiring this hugely complex miniatures setup (not really for gaming, you understand, just for looking pretty).

The Order of Women Freemasons were back at the Hilton.

We went to see Knightmare Live (a decent comedy show which would probably have resonated more if I'd ever seen the original), then on to more games: first, Escape the Dark Castle, a resource-management challenge where we fell in the last fight (which is probably about right for a first play, though I don't see a lot of possibility for variation)…

then Exploriana, in which you're pushing your luck and collecting sets of things; the rules seemed a bit uncertain (and the rules on BGG are for a substantially different version of the game), but I still had a decent time. (And even if the game hadn't been ended a turn earlier than I wanted it to, the major coup I was about to score wouldn't have got me first place.) Very Eurogamey and not really thematic enough for me.

[Buy Ominoes at Amazon] [Buy Kodama at Amazon] [Buy Kodama Duo at Amazon] [Buy Coup at Amazon] [Buy Escape the Dark Castle at Amazon] and help support the blog.

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