I don't think either of us really knew what to expect from UK Games Expo, but it was an amazing weekend and I've finally got round to writing it up. We met a whole bunch of awesome designers, producers and distributers, we also played (and bought) some excellent games. So in no particular order here are some of our highlights...
I played Tatsu a new game from Gen42. A simple game of oriental dragons moving around an elegant and simple board, the gameplay is pretty simple but the strategy looks intense. I experienced some of what my friend Dave struggles with though - for four turns I needed to roll an 8 to win the game, but no joy and so I lost my first game of the day.
Mage Company had an amazing stand where people were playing endless games (something we always love to see) and were kind enough to give us copies of 12 Realms and Wrong Chemistry as well as expansions for both games.
HexAgony have a beautiful puzzle game for three players and have been following us on twitter for a while (yay!) so it was great to meet them in person and have a game.
Jess is a huge fan of Chamelon Circuit who play rock music about Dr Who, so when she met Alex Day she fangirled out a bit. He was there promoting Sopio cards and was generous enough to give us some promos.
Basically Wooden make custom wooden boxes for board games and we particularly loved this amazing box for Carcassonne.
I played Lugu from Card Tower Games with the guys on the stall and we told the epic tale of Sir Prancelott in this simple but compelling game of joint story telling - if I remember correctly our goodly knight didn't have the best day!
Linkee founder Dean tempest talked us through the three new party games they will be launching soon in John Lewis. Silly quiz games that will be perfect with friends over drinks.
Backspindle Games has the new disworld game, Clacks which Jess played and loved. The game is hugely versatile and can be played co-operatively or competitively. It's now available on pre-order and you can be sure we'll have a copy in the store.
I managed to grab a game of Lords of War in their extensive play area - I first saw this game (and bought a set) at Dragonmeet a couple of years ago and it impressed me then how much effort they put into letting people play the game they clearly love, something they're still doing - great job guys!
Had a chance to play and chat with the creator of the excellent skill game Push It that can be played anywhere and looks gorgeous, and I only just got beat!
I played Stack Bots a fun little card game with adorable little bots like the Reaper Bot, fun art, clean rules and a wonderful 'something must be destroyed' mechanic that gets through stalled game states brilliantly. The guys at the desk were kind enough to give me a copy for the shop.
Had a great time talking to the guys at Czech Games Edition and trying out their amazing new game Codenames, the game involves a spymaster trying to lead his hunter to their team's agents while avoiding locating enemy agents , civilians and the deadly assassin! Sounds complex right? but the game is actually wonderfully clean and most of the difficulty comes from how you and your team mates read the clues from your spymaster. Would have bought a copy on the spot if I could and will definitely be grabbing a copy as soon as we can!
Spoke to the guys from Hopwood Games and grabbed a copy of Mijnlieff and 6, also had a good chat with Tom about Wizard's Academy which has some interesting mechanics, just sorry I didn't get a chance to try it out.
I love Magic: The Gathering so when I hear about a similar card game that fixes some of the frustrations commonly found in the game I'm all ears.
Oligarchy is set in a dystopian future of mega-corps, secret societies and criminal families and I love some of the interesting mechanics. Had a great conversation with Gary and played a game which he graciously let me win (it was about time!).
Librium is a bizarre little game that's awfully simple, addictive and frustrating! A simple balance and dexterity game it's also visually attractive and completing to watch. They do branded version so I imagine a Coffee and Dice version may be coming our way soon!
One of the last games we played at the Expo was Z War One. This game is beautifully produced and wonderfully terrifying. In my first attempt Ciaran was dead within seconds, tripped and then buried under a heap of dead bodies that unfortunately were still trying to eat him - that game ended very quickly. The guys running the stand were kind enough to let us try again and this time we got moving fast! On the edge of our seats the entire time this game pushes you right to the limit, we ran, hid and made use of every charge in the stink tank to escape and evade the horde of undead that relentlessly pursued us.
A wonderful event a chance to play new games and an amazing opportunity to meet loads of people who love games as much as we do. I leave you with some photos of the wonderful cosplayers who made the whole event that much more colourful.