Sunday, 31 May 2015

UK Games Expo Day 2 and Final Thoughts

So day 2 has been and gone and I'm sitting on the train heading home. (Dam you work!)

So yesterday was the mission of the day - arrived at 10am and then left at 10pm.

What did we see and play?

Well first up we hit up some quick family games.

Go! Sushi. A game where you collect sets of cards, which you then score. I have to admit it had some similarities to Aquanauts. (is that the name?) Much quicker though and easier to explain. (Rob bought it, his only purchase of the weekend!) 

Dodekka was another filler game. Its a push your luck game where you have to collect set of a colours, but cards that don't match are a negative at the end of the game. I won with 5 points, though we where told it is easy to win with a negative score at times. Fun and cheap at £8, but we passed.

I'd seen Lords of War before but never played it. It did remind me of another game where you used cards as an army. (Will you own it - can't remember the name.) You place cards to engage with other cards, it is an aggressive game you have to be constantly on the offence. There are different types that have special abilities as you would expect from a card battling game. Artwork on some of the cards was terrible, though I did like the lizards though. Didn't purchase though as have similar things and needed a few desks to play.

Space Frontiers, I've wanted to play this game for ages and finally got a chance at the Game Salute demo area. It is a resource management game where you have to colonise a planet. Parts reminded me of Quantum in that you have dice you roll that are your ships. Depending on the roll you can use the ships to perform about 8 different tasks. This is all in the pursuit of placing colonies on the planet, once the last colony has been placed the game ends and the person with the most points wins. Liked it and bought it. It has loads of expansions to add more players and game options. 

Played a quick demo of a game called Random Encounter (here on Kickstarter)

You make 4? encounters with 10 cards you have been dealt. You then attack each other with your encounters. compare the scores apply any card effects and someone wins. The object of the game is to get the most loot. You win loot by having won the most encounters in a turn, but you can also steal loot off each other as your pile of loot is always stored behind one of your encounters. Seemed fun and quick. I liked the pixel art style on the cards. I liked it and have supported it already, £10 is so cheap.

After that all we met up with some other fellow gamers (Hi Ant,  Christina, Dan, Tom and Jen) and played a game from the games Library, the new version of Super Dungeon Explorer. Now I own the original and so have played this before. The new game seems to have introduced some new game modes and stripped out some rules from the original. But after playing it again I have decided that the game just isn't that much fun. The rulebook is terribly written and there is too much to remember to do when playing, we played more than a few things wrong. One I'm glad we borrowed and now the one in my collection is going to be moved on.


Finally I played in a sealed Tournament for a game called Xi, which is a CCG in the realm of magic.

I liked this game yesterday so for £4. its seemed a nice way to play the game again and get a load of cards. The game is a card battling game where you have 40 life points and you play spells and monsters to reduce that. Sounds very familiar.
The differences I liked is that you have 10 Time (or mana) to spend each turn. You can choose to store time for another turn,  which lets you play larger creatures/spells. The cards follow the 4 elements, stone, wind, aqua, ember, these have weakness against certain types. You can play mono decks or mix them completely. You also have Shadow and Celestial cards that are more special cards. 

I didn't do well at the tournament (unsurprisingly) but had fun and I will be picking up the basic desks to let others play.

I still missed games and would ave liked to played Pints of Blood and The Captain is Dead.

Thats all for the weekend.

By the end of the day we had bought.
  • Go Sushi
  • Dino Race - One for Lee, that we saw at Essen last year.
  • Space Frontiers
  • Xi Boosters
So down to the important question,  is  UK Games Expo a valid Essen alternative?

Simply put yes. With a group coming along you can have a great time. There are loads of games to buy at good prices and plenty of opportunities to play demo games, join in with tournaments (There was a Heroclix and an Epic), go to talks and see loads of new things. 

Essen is much, much larger show but based on the conservations we have had over the weekend the UK show has grown lots and is continuing to grow.

Essen does have more euro style games and of course more wacky german games that we will never seen over here. No one had any HABA games which I love so that is a shame. 

Bottom line, if you are on a budget I would come to UK Games Expo in a heart beat. If you have the money I would visit Essen every year. But I think you could definitely do both in a year. They are 6 months apart and new games come out all the time.The UK one is worthwhile and should be supported.

So boys next year we all need to come to the UK one. :o)


  1. Well you've sold it for me as long as it is always in the half term I'll be there from the Friday! I hadn't thought about how far the two shows are apart and would take some of the pressure off me wanting to go to Essen for four days so that I wouldn't have to keep going cap in hand to the head for days off!

  2. Nice writeup Nic, might add my own soon :) it's definitely bigger and better now since my first visit in 2013, more open gaming spaces, food in the car park and the games library all really made it much more enjoyable. Will do my damndest to go every year.

    1. Thanks. Next time we will have to meet up.