Off to UKGE! Expo Preview
This weekend is the UK Games Expo 2018, one of the best weekends of the year. I've pulled up a few of the bigger name items below from the press releases that I will definitely be looking to play. As always though, there are so many stalls, new games and releases that it is just impossible to comb through everything before hand. Hoping to find a few hidden gems as well as, all of this lot:
Plan B Games - Century: Eastern Wonders
The follow up to 2017’s Century: Spice Road, Century: Eastern Wonders sends players as merchants off to the Far East for some spicy goodness. A fully standalone game, Eastern Wonders will also work as a pseudo-expansion to Spice Road, allowing players to combine the two to play in a completely different way called ‘Sand to Sea!’. It’s an interesting idea, and a good way to make players who picked up Spice Road recently not feel like their purchase is already outdated. The game is being soft launched at the Expo (yay) but only retailers will be able to buy it before the doors open to regular folk (boo). Demos will be running all weekend and should be worth a play.
Mayfair – All Creatures Big and Small
There’s a news article on ukgamesexpo.co.uk detailing all the games that Mayfair are bringing, and they are a major sponsor of the event, though they don’t appear to have a booth space on the floor plan in the show guide or in the app. Unless I am being thick and it’s there somewhere obvious. So, I’m not sure where these games will actually be (maybe at Z-man games?), but there is one of them I am super excited for. I’ve been asking about the reprint of Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small for years now, and it is finally being done this year! The 2-player variant of Agricola that comes with a whole farm-full of animal meeples should be available to play and purchase at the Expo in a box box version that contains both expansions. If I can find the stall where it’s at.
Fantasy Flight Games - X wing 2.0
Europe’s first chance to play with the newly announced X-Wing Miniatures Game 2.0. A lot of the components of the new base game and the conversion kits have already been revealed, and the weekly articles from FFG have done a good job so far of detailing all the changes. Should be worth a look to check out the components and new cards, but as a player of 1.0, I don’t think it’ll be worth the time to sit and play a full game with the new(ish) rules with so much other stuff going on.
Days of Wonder – Ticket to Ride: New York
Love or hate Ticket To Ride, it’s become the poster child of the ‘gateway game’. It’s something with sliiightly more
depth than a monopoly, it’s easy to explain how to play to the family after a few drinks at Christmas, and it has a theme that won’t scare away anyone. I have a certain soft spot for the game, and will still crack it out with family or new players occasionally. Though would definitely rather play one of the expansion maps with the additional rules to keep it more interesting. This latest version, New York, looks to be a pared down and quicker experience using the famous NY yellow cab instead of trains and set in the 60s. Not yet available to purchase but being demoed all weekend, definitely going to have a look if I happen to walk past it.
Greater than Games – Spirit Island
Spirit Island has been out a little while now but I still haven’t had the change to actually play the thing, so will be looking to rectify that as soon as possible over the weekend. An interesting take on the co-operative Pandemic style game where you play as Spirits who inhabit a tropical island when pesky humans come to colonize and ruin the whole thing. Seems like a good twist, and being on the side of nature and fending off the disease like spread of humanity makes this an intriguing one.
Wizama - Video/Board game prototype
A cross between a digital tablet game and a physical board game, Wizama’s board/video hybrid could be really interesting. There are few details at current, but looks like the game board will be a tablet and the game pieces, such as cards and meeples, will be placed on the board to varying effects. Whether the board is proprietary which could make it prohibitively expensive, or an app that runs on a user’s home iPad could make or break this when it’s released. Either way, if the tech works then it could be a cool innovation in a space that not a lot of designers are playing around in currently.
Alley Cat Games - Dice Hospital
A brightly coloured and unique looking game, Dice Hospital from Alley Cat games looks to be a real treat. Successfully Kickstarted at the end of 2017, this dice placement hospital sim has players carting their patients/dice around in ambulances and curing them of their ailments. Dice Hospital is really stirring up old memories of playing Theme Hospital, the old Bullfrog PC and PS1 game, and if it turns out anywhere near as fun as that then sign me up. Unfortunately seems like it won’t be purchasable at the Expo, but it is going to be demoed and I can’t wait to give it a go.
As always there are plenty of seminars, shows, and more at this year’s Expo. The Dark Room returns again and tickets have already been booked for the Friday night. The comedy/participation show where members of the audience try and Choose Your Own Adventure their way through a maze with various twists and turns. A great show that had a lot of chanting, yelling and plenty of laughs when we saw it last year. Looking forward to seeing live tapings of Shut Up and Sit Down, as well as The Dice Tower, two shows which never disappoint. There’s also plenty of open gaming, a Viking AND an Orc encampment on the riverbank, and plenty of eating and drinking to be had. Going to be a cracker!