Author Topic: UKGE 2018  (Read 3505 times)

Offline Rich_The_Fish

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Re: UKGE 2018
« Reply #15 on: April 20, 2018, 03:31:46 PM »
For those parking at the NEC, 2 days is same as 1 day at £12. Thinking this is easier than trying to find a space at Hilton (non-residents can park there too and from what I recall it wasn't too expensive either). I'd be tempted to park at the the hotel though if I was only going for 1 day.

Offline Rich_The_Fish

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Re: UKGE 2018
« Reply #16 on: April 20, 2018, 03:38:11 PM »
Parking
Self parking: £12.00 (See Amenities & Serv)
Valet: £17.00
http://www3.hilton.com/en/hotels/united-kingdom/hilton-birmingham-metropole-BHXMETW/index.html

Offline Rich_The_Fish

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Re: UKGE 2018
« Reply #17 on: April 21, 2018, 02:22:41 AM »
Right, think we've decided and will book our tickets this weekend. Luke and I will be there on Fri and will do the Ian Livingstone session 5-7, hopefully followed by an evening of gaming with you guys (at NEC / Hilton rather than in Coventry). I'll be back on my own for the Sat.

Offline Rich_The_Fish

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Re: UKGE 2018
« Reply #18 on: April 21, 2018, 03:49:17 PM »
Would love to play Ex Libris on Friday eve if it's available to borrow from Thirsty Meeples game library. Anyone else fancy playing this?

Offline Decar

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Re: UKGE 2018
« Reply #19 on: April 22, 2018, 12:48:08 AM »
Sure! Assuming we can get hands on it!

Offline Decar

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Re: UKGE 2018
« Reply #20 on: April 22, 2018, 12:50:59 AM »
For those parking at the NEC, 2 days is same as 1 day at £12. Thinking this is easier than trying to find a space at Hilton (non-residents can park there too and from what I recall it wasn't too expensive either). I'd be tempted to park at the the hotel though if I was only going for 1 day.

It was already full when I got there at 8am last year, so ended up in an empty space near the nec. Cant rwmember how much it cost though. Didnt think it was terrible.

Offline Rich_The_Fish

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Re: UKGE 2018
« Reply #21 on: April 22, 2018, 12:53:39 AM »
Sure! Assuming we can get hands on it!
Yeah, it could be a bit of a challenge

Offline Decar

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Re: UKGE 2018
« Reply #22 on: April 22, 2018, 04:24:53 AM »
No doubt we'll have bags of new games to try! :D

Offline Rich_The_Fish

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Re: UKGE 2018
« Reply #23 on: May 31, 2018, 04:35:08 AM »
Looking forward to catching up with you guys tomorrow / Sat. The more the merrier!

Offline danisthirty

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Re: UKGE 2018
« Reply #24 on: May 31, 2018, 04:38:28 AM »
Looking forward to catching up with you guys tomorrow / Sat. The more the merrier!

See you there! :(y)

(5900 posts! O0)
Heroically snatching defeat from the jaws of victory since 2018

Offline Decar

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Re: UKGE 2018
« Reply #25 on: June 03, 2018, 07:32:30 AM »
No doubt the others will tell their tales, but the UK Games Expo 2018 was held over the weekend.

Danisfourthy, Squiffything, Rich the Fish, Mrs Decar and I had arranged to all meet up during the event.
For those who don't know it's the largest gaming event held in the UK during the calendar year.  This year was about 40% bigger than last year (and last year was about 50% bigger than the year before).  It's now about 10 times bigger than the first one I went to back in '15 where it was still held at the Hilton Hotel rather than the NEC.

I have to say I'm starting to get concerns that if the event gets any bigger than 3-days will be a necessity for most people.  Last year I managed to see what I wanted over the course of one day; this year I was grateful for the extra time.  But let's not worry about that until it happens!

DAY ONE - FRIDAY
We were up at the crack of dawn to get in the car and start the 2 hours drive to the Birmingham on Friday morning.
On the way from the carpark into the NEC, I recognised SquiffyThing!  The chances of recognising someone in the crowd of hundreds of people was quite surprising.  We had to queue for ticket collection, which took a lot longer than last year, but there was plenty of time to waste before the main halls opened at 9.30am.

We started in hall 2 - which is mostly small exhibitors - Squiffy and I stopped off to look at "Towers of the Sun" - a very well presented abstract game about building and climbing towers to collect the last sunlight.  I have to say the artwork is wonderful and the abstract game looks similar to Santorini, except you use cards to 'battle' each other when sharing a pillar.  I can't remember when it's coming to kickstarter, but I rather liked the look of it:


Squiffy and I then stumbled into a demo of an abstract, balance game - where you move spheres across the board trying to tempt your opponent to tilt the board so they break the spheres.  A win to squiffy and though it was a nice game, I don't think the production quality would match the abstract nature, as it seemed a bit temperamental.  I'm pretty sure first of last player could force a victory too given the same starting conditions.

My wife bought a million T-shirts and then played a prototype word game - Squiffy and I sat down to play Thieves:

The idea is to roll 2 dice, which have coloured edges allowing your blocks to move through 'doors' of the same colour.  You have to grab the coin in the middle and escape via the other side of the board.  You can steal/move a coin from a neighbouring thief by rolling the correct door.  You escape the dungeon by rolling black while in the corner, with having a friendly thief in a nearby square.  You also HAVE to move if you can. Squiffy and I had fun - for the first 10 minutes anyway.  He took the coin easily at the start but couldn't get our of the maze.  I was able to snatch the coin, run the diagonal length of the board uncontested and then.... couldn't escape the maze, then we had some back and fourth and eventually, neither of us wanted to play any more.  The production quality was excellent and the chaps on the stand were very kind, but I told the designer that I thought the victory condition was too random and though the middle part of the game was fluid enough, it meant you had no way of mitigating or apply a tactic in-order to push the odds in your favour.  He told me that that's the way of all dice games (he's obviously never played a Stefan Feld game).  He also said that 4/5 games take 20 minutes and 1/5 games either take 5-minutes or 90-minutes.  Will be giving this one a miss.

We started to head towards Hall 2 and got a demo of 5-Minute Chase.  Which I think was the only new game premiered at the Expo!  Unfortunately I didn't grab any photos (Edit: Thanks for Rich The Fish grabbing us a photo)!  It's a real-time tile laying game.  One person tries to lay a path of tiles, but avoiding cops and following matching rules; while the other person is quickly assessing which direction the path is going in and looking at all the pedestrian-faces are looking in that direction determine what symbol needs to be placed there.  The robber needs to find their sack of loot, the keys to their hideout and the map to their hide out before they can escape; while the cops are trying to catch up with the robber.  It's a silly 5-minute game that's frantic to play and we both loved it.  It supports 1v1 and 2v2 and no reason for 1v2 to not work.  We grabbed a copy immediately - it was great!



Next up we went to Osprey games - I was a tad annoyed last year because I didn't go to their stall because I'd already bought all their games, but it turned out they had a promo for 'The Lost Expedition' - this year they had 2, so bought 2 games:

Zoo Ball - which is a hilarious tabletop flicking game where 3 defenders and 1 attack attempt to score goals against each other.
Sakura - which we demoed - you play cards in order to move the Emperor or the characters.  You need to stay close behind the Emperor to stay in his favour, but not bump into him and lose points.  It's a Knizia classic:


Over lunch we caught up with Dan and Rich the Fish (and LukeyDukey) -  I have to say that the choice of food at the UKGE is rubbish.  Over at the Hilton are some wonderful food stalls but that's a good 15 minute walk from the venue and no one has time to give up 90-minutes for lunch!

We all visited Alley-Cat-Games to try out a prototype for 'Chocolate Factory' , which is a essentially a programming game.  You get to draft enhancements and fuel to use on your engine to make and improve chocolate bars.  A note for any budding designers - if you have a prototype - at least make sure the iconography is correct.  We had the added bonus of a guy being kind enough to explain the rules - but it wasn't his allocated demo game, so though he was doing us a favour it made it pretty hard to follow.  I'm going to say it now:  If you want to play a game like this - play Otys - Play Otys, PLAY OTYS!
The prototype games upstairs had more time spent on them than this demo:


We had a quick round of Ice-cool because the table was free - I appeared to be the chief pengiun flicker!


Over to One Free Elephant - that fine company that produced Carcosa, the game I reviewed last year.  They were kind enough to give me a pre-production copy of Microbrew.
If there's one thing I like as much as tile-laying games, it's mint-tin micro-games!  This one is about brewing beer and winning patrons favour.
This is hitting kickstarter in September, and I'll likely have a review up before then -

We also got to play Ore-some, which is a light family game about stacking ore-cubes in your mine-cart and completing contracts.  Ore must stay in the cart while you move it around, it's a light dexterity game and has a bit of strategy with action cards to make it harder for your opponents:



Rich, Luke, my wife and I went to an Event, a reading of DeathTrap dungeon by Ian Livingstone (which was an early choose-your-own adventure game series).  Ian was joined by a 'comedian' who had prepared most of his insults.  Though it had a few funny moments, the event was quite slow and the adventurer had a habit of not choosing where the audience wanted to go - that was funny the first time, but the audience wasn't smart enough to either not participate or lie during the meta-game.  After the event it was time to play games!

We visited the thirsty-meeple games library, which was essentially barren by the time we got there.  Before we started we popped over to see Dan during the Carcassonne Tournament - he was so focused on the game he didn't notice is band of supporters all standing around his table :D


I'll let Dan fill in the details on the event!

First up, Kings of New York - I know this is quite popular, I managed to die pretty quickly and Luke took the victory.  It seemed quite complicated flipping over all the buildings and military tokens; I'm not sure I'd go out of my way to play this again tbh!


Next up was Arboretum -  I've played this before (I wrote about it in fact), but it did me no good - I still can't balance the cards right!
Mrs_Decar completed a wonderful garden however.  During the game Tom Vassal came over and in usual star stuck fashion, I couldn't think of anything to say - it seemed like he didn't either so I wished him well.  That's the second time that's happened!


Next up - was Citadels - everyone loves citadels!


A quick game of exploding kittens - first time I'd played it - have to say it was pretty good.


Red-7 - Wasn't really a fan of this - I liked the idea but it basically seemed to come down to whether you had decent cards of not at the start.


It was late o'clock - so it was time for Bed.  The hotel was about 15minutes away, but Squiffy and I managed to have a night-cap  :(y)

DAY TWO - SATURDAY

Up nice and early the next day and the wildest route to the 'nearest' McDonalds we couldn't find.  Well done for Squiffy saying so close behind!

We had booked a slot to see Tales of the Northlands at 9.45.  I'm a big fan of Noggin the Nog and Nick Case is actually a Carcassonne fan - we were able to sit down, have the rules explained after an hour got through the first 2-seasons.  This is a classic Euro-game.  Collect resources, build enhancements, score points, it also includes the objective that everyone is trying to get Noggin The King of the Nogs to collect more prestige than his Evil Uncle: Nog-bad. I was really impressed with the run-through and it was well explained by Nick.  There's a few more days to back it!  We played the game with a nice gentleman called John Sharp who blogs about his adventures in board-games - "It's more than Just Gaming"



Just before Noggin The Nog, we stopped off at a stall from 'The Nobel Artist' who had produced a card game called 'The Epic Game of Epic Fails' which is about a useless band of adventurers who are left after all the decent heroes have been killed by a dragon.  He explained the premise and gave us a poster.  Which was jolly decent of him.  I'll be sure to look for more information on this when it hits Kickstarter.  In the mean time: Hero Master

Next Mrs_Decar and I visited City of Games stand. I've been interested in City of Kings for a while, but it's a big layout for something that may or may not get played.  We did get a demo of Vadoran Gardens though, which is a simple game of following rules, to lay cards so terrain types can score you points.  There are limits to how the tiles can be overlayed; the art work is lovely.  I'll be increasing my KS pledge to include this game:


Next up was Villagers.  This is a drafting game where you encourage workers to join your city so you can build the best town.  It's light but follows some similar mechanics to 7-Wonders because you can purchase the use of tradesmen in other villages.  Most cards follow a 3/4-tiered economic structure.  So do you build horizontal or vertical money producing engines.  It's on KS so happily backing this one!


Rich the Fish wanted to play Abeone (?) which was a popular deck builder.  I found the game fun, but the iconography unecessarily complex.  I doubt it would work at 2p either:


Next up was a game about GuineaPigs, which is on kickstarter right now - (Floofs) - Jen and I thought this looked great, the artwork was wonderful.  But the designer said he wanted to create a game to: 'solve some of Catan's problems' - the game is nothing like Catan.  Secondly, the early birds on KS are paying £17, while the default pledge is nearer £30.  I don't think this crew have much idea about the industry, or the economic factors involved - I have a feeling they won't fund.  It's a shame the game looked pretty cool.

Next up was Deck Building Game of the show - 'Ruthless' - Thanks to Rich The Fish for identifying this - I'd already written it off, because I thought it was Just Another Deck Builder.  We were given a great run-through by the Designer and Artist (Roland) who happened to also be the guy who did the self-published deluxe edition of Battle-Line.



You have money and crew which perform commands.  Each card played and bought are used to produce tricks (poker hands) to score points.  The game is broken into 6-rounds and at the end of each round, the player with the most strength win Victor Points for end game scoring.  It played really really fast, but we sunk about 45-minutes into the game, all the different actions produced some really interesting choices and ways to enhance your deck.  We also played with a nice gentleman called 'Matt Thrower' who produced the Haynes manual of boardgames.

The last surprise was playing the prototype "The Dungeon Dice".  Quite simply you pull a die from a bag, roll it and placing the die into the dungeon waffle.  You can play the rolled face facing you or your opponent.  You're trying to make a path from one side to the other.  You can also roll magic spells you can hold for later, such as magical swords so you can combat monsters.
It's on Kickstarter right now and if one game needs some support it's this one!



Conclusion

Well here's the photograph of all my stash:


A very special thanks goes to SquiffyThing, who having heard about my rather expensive birthday present (a new A/V receiver and front speakers), knew I needed to venture into the world of vinyl records; or as we all know 'the world of real music'!  I'm somewhat daunted at the prospect of setting this thing up, mainly because I need to find a suitable home for it within range of the amp, but I was blown away by Squiffy's generosity!

You'll see some other bits and bobs I've collected at the Expo.  I picked up a 7WD insert from Basically Wooden; yard master (+ express), Okanagan a tile laying game somewhat similar to Walnut Grove and some other bits and bobs!

I do have my concerns that the UKGE is now getting to the size that it's difficult to a) see it all, b) find the smaller indie developers, c) find games premiering at the venue.  I would also say that there were probably 3 times more games on kickstarter now compared to previous years and though that's good, I think smaller developers are struggling to compete on cost when minimum orders at factories are now set to 1500 copies.  I was also quite worried to meet 2 people who had never heard of Carcassonne!

It was wonderful finally meeting Squiffything and it was fantastic being able to sit down on Friday night and play some games.   Thanks to Rich the fish for all his tip-offs and to Luke for showing us so many new games.  It was a long weekend but I've already booked by hotel for next year's event :D

Hopefully, we'll find some more time for gaming next year!

Now I need some sleep.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2018, 09:12:59 AM by Decar, Reason: Extra photo »

Offline Squiffything

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UKGE 2018
« Reply #26 on: June 04, 2018, 05:44:51 AM »
The UKGE Adventure – A first timer’s experience.

A few of the Carcassonne Slack members had been discussing heading up to the UK Games Expo this year so as I was unfortunately unable to attend the upcoming trip to Germany in July I was determined to get to this one and put a face to the guys I chat away to on a daily basis.

Hotel was booked for two nights and two days of tickets were booked for the Expo. My plan was to drive up on the Thursday, have a wonder around the NEC to get my bearings whilst it was still empty of people, pick up my tickets in advance and then make my way back to the hotel for a good nights sleep in readiness for the task of exploring the largest games expo in the UK.
Hmm good plan but as usual in life things never work out as you expect.

Two days before the trip the wife asks me, as I’m off work on the Thursday could I pick the youngest Daughter up from the airport as she’s coming back from her holidays? OK says I. Morning of the trip and we gets a call from said youngest from the airport in Greece, Planes delayed could be an hour and a half late, supposed to arrive around 1.00pm now more like 2.30pm. OK says I will be there.
Finally left home at around 4.30pm to head up to Birmingham and now having to deal with rush hour traffic and road works. What should have taken 2 hours now took more like 4 and after a 2 hour round trip to the airport.
Got to the hotel around 8pm by 9 I was fast asleep……

2.30am I was wide awake again! And I mean wide awake, no going back to sleep for me that night. 3.30am and I was down in the lobby having a chat with the night shift guy, wandering outside for an early morning ciggie etc. 5.30 and I’m showered, dressed and in the car setting off for the NEC. The night watchman said it could take time getting there due to the rush hour traffic so allow myself time, HA! Not at 5 bloomin 30 it doesn’t I was the only mad sole on the road! I got to the NEC was parked right at the front of the carpark and setting off to the halls by 6.00am.

6.30 I’m back in the car. Nobody was about just me and the squirrel.

I waited, I’m a very patient man, the people started arriving, the ticket office for the carpark opened at 8.00 and the queues started forming. Ticket purchased for three days (long story) and another long walk from the carpark. By now the people had started arriving and I saw who I recognised from the few pics that I had seen, Tom (Decar) and his lovely wife Jen. Another long wait in a queue for the pre-paid tickets and a further wait for the doors to open. And they did….. Eventually.

It was massive! Two main halls one full to the brim with trade stands the other divided into two areas half for competition gaming the other with trade stands although this also contained more of the prototype games to try out.
I spent much of the day with Tom and Jen, who I must thank for putting up with the ‘tag along’ and much happy banter, general chat, and gaming was had by all. In one of my few excursions away I came across a happy family of four who were the Chard Crew. I recognised Dan (Danisafatheratfourty) and introduced myself. He would join us later once the wife and children had departed.
When I returned to Tom and Jen they had found Richard and Jake (Rich the fish) and we carried on with them for the day.

Toms report above pretty much says it all for the day with the exceptions that I made my way to the Thundergryph stand to introduce myself to the guys there. I’m in on a couple of their Kick starters and wanted to pick up the other games that I had missed out on. Such a lovely dedicated bunch and I walked away with a bag full of games and goodies which completes my collection of their games list.
The other was in the evening. Whilst the others went to the talk mentioned by Tom I had booked into the Pandemic live show. Brilliant, fun, mad, and we won! Hard level game of Pandemic with the audience as the fourth player and we won.

Not too sure if I will ever use the infection replacement that they used to represent outbreaks when they hit though…….. Hmmmm then again maybe I just might 
Oooo, look at all the meeples

Offline Squiffything

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Re: UKGE 2018
« Reply #27 on: June 04, 2018, 05:56:41 AM »
Day Two began with a meet up with Tom and Jen in the hotel car park at 7.15. I forgot to mention that day one ended with us getting back to the hotel at around 11.30 and Tom and I having a drink in the bar and chatting till around 1 to 1.30.

We had a leisurely drive to the NEC if you can call breakneck speeds, last second indicating, traversing roundabouts two or three times at each one, speed humps through residential estates, hand break turns, two wheels off the ground on corners and jumps that would not look out of place on the Dukes of Hazard! It was Jens fault as she was navigating although Tom had forgotten to let her know that we were going to breakfast at Maccie D's.

Again Tom has done the report on games tried so its just enough for me to say what a great time I had, what fantastic people I was with and what a great show they put on. If like me you haven't been before then book up for next year and spend a couple of days with like minded people.

Offline Decar

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Re: UKGE 2018
« Reply #28 on: June 04, 2018, 02:20:29 PM »
It was Jens fault as she was navigating although Tom had forgotten to let her know that we were going to breakfast at Maccie D's.

Just for the record - the hazardous driving was all my own doing - only the direction to the 'nearest McD's' was Jen's fault!


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