After a hectic long weekend Jess and I are back from UKGE with a few new additions to the library and an extensive new buy list...
We marvelled at the size of XXL Codenames, saw the new expansion for Kingdomino, got a first look at Forbidden Sky, a sneak peak at Concept Kids and heard about the changed mechanics in Rise of the Inkas and that was just on Thursday at the Retailer's Summit and Show Preview!
Ranging the halls over the next three days we spoke to so many games companies, designers and played so many games. Here are some of the highlights:
A wonderful production, the art style is beautiful with an engaging theme the look of Tao Long reminds me of Onitama but is definitely its own game. Made for two players, this abstract game about dragons boasts a range of difficulty settings. You play as opposing dragons seeking to diminish each other through careful positioning. This was always going to be a game for us. I played, I loved, I lost.
I split, you choose; this is the simple concept that drives New York Slice. Wonderful attention to the theme runs throughout this game with a box look like a pizza box, a rulebook that looks like a menu and a score sheet that looks like an order pad. With quick turns and meaningful decisions, this game is a joy to play, but is likely to end with you craving pizza. Just try not to end up with the anchovy filled nightmare that I created in my demo...
Made up of gorgeous hexagonal tiles this game was my surprise of the con as I'd not even heard of it prior to finding it at the back of hall 1. Essentially you collect minerals by moving off tiles and the different colours have different values, but here comes the rub; the higher the value of the tile the further you have to move and if you can't make the move you get nothing. It sounds easy until a few turns in, when you realise each of your opponents is chipping away at the game area making it more and more difficult to take high value tiles. Simple enough that when the guy demoing it was called to another table we managed to play on using the brief rules description on the table. Another abstract that looks amazing and is easy to learn, this is definitely one we plan to kickstart.
Kickstarting shortly, this is another game I can't wait to add to our library. Based on an app game I hadn't heard of (but have since downloaded) Jetpack Joyride wasn't on my radar when I arrived. Featuring synchronous play and real time action each player is looking to enjoy a joyride in the jetpack they 'borrowed' from the lab. Its a race against the other players to escape the lab but with different objectives each time that stop the puzzle getting tired. Absolutely loved the demo we played and not just because I beat Jess so soundly...honest.
Albedo is a 2-8 player sci-fi deckbuilder where each turn presents you with a remarkable amount of choice. The focus of the game are the planets that players are able to exploit. To do so they must commit enough ground forces to be victorious, but also the space capability to get there first. Each card can be used as a specialist who is better at one or the other, or as generalist who adds less but to both counts. Do you arrive early to get the victory points and equipment you need or arrive late with the ground forces to maximise gains on what the other player leave? This range of choice is at the heart of a game where you will carefully consider where to commit every card. I was able to meet the designer Kai at the Expo and he was kind enough to give us copies of the game for our library, so why not check it out?
A dexterity game where each player takes turns to add ladders to the stack. How many other ladders you're allowed to connect with and if the one you're adding needs to be higher than the structure so far are controlled by the roll of a dice. A simple game that nevertheless had people watching turns from the sidelines and oooing and ahhing every play. Wonderful.
Fog of Love has a really attractive ascetic and clean visuals that drew me to it immediately and its been one I've been itching to try for a while. It's a story telling game over the course of which you'll discover if the couple you create were destined to be together, and if so, for how long.
A friend joined me for a demo of Fog of Love and we created Oswald and Wendy. Oswald was a parking attendant with a nose ring and a deep seated bitter streak, while Wendy was an internet celebrity with weight issues and a fancy tie who lied about her age. It was a harrowing tale and didn't end happily for either of them, but success in that sense is not what this game is about. Its about the journey and the stories you come up with together rather than if the couple are a match made in heaven.
An amazing event as always with more to do and see than you can possibly get to - can't wait till next year!