So the UKGE came to an end a while ago, and I finally have some time to write a couple of words about it. First, I’d like to say how well organised it all was, and how much bigger compared to last year. Hall 2, that previously was committed only to tournaments, had an open gaming area, game library, playtesting and some exhibitors. Either way, it was a great experience, and I cannot wait to go there next year!
Now, this post is gonna be longish, and made of separate modules :
1. Game haul
We haven’t bought many games prior to UKGE, so we had some budget, but also we started to be more of gamers, than collectors. Let me start with the smallest box, and work upwards.
GLOOM & GLOOM CTHULHU 8/10
So these two are together, for obvious reasons. Gloom is a great party game, that takes a different approach to a negative interaction. Each of you plays a family, and your aim is to kill your members off, whilst making your opponents’ families happy. The more miserable life you have lead, the fewer points you score. The lowest score wins!
Cthulhu edition just adds Miskatonic theme to it. You don’t need to know Lovecraftian world, but it definitely helps. That is why we bought two versions.
HARVEST DICE 8/10
We only recently got into roll and write with the purchase of Dice Castles of Burgundy, but it immediately became our favourite type of travel games. You are a farmer, planting carrots, lettuce and tomatoes, and feeding your pig. The vegetable that is not chosen by anyone, goes to the market, and adds to the value of all of its kind. You score points by multiplying the number of vegetables in your garden by the market value. Additional points are scored by feeding pig, and completing rows in your garden. It’s quick, it’s fun and it’s language independent.
EXIT! Forbidden Island, Sunken Treasure and Orient Express 5/10 — ??/10 — ??/10
We are huge fans of EXIT series, because we just love exit rooms! However, after playing through 4 scenarios with 6 of us, one with 3 and one with 2, we came to a conclusion, that it’s best played solo, or as a couple. Any more people just adds more confusion, and to be fair, most of the puzzles are linear, and with more people it becomes just… boring. So far we liked the Cabin the most, then Tomb, Castle, Lab, and Polar Station.
T.I.M.E STORIES : Endurance & Lumen Fidei ??/10 — ??/10
I hope I don’t have to introduce this game to anyone, it’s a great position for all escape room and puzzle lovers. Cannot say much about those two yet, because a) we haven’t played it yet, and b) it would be hard without any spoilers!
Well, that was a fun experience! We got to try it first, but I’ll write about it here, as we bought it immediately. You don’t have to be a fan of Warhammer 40k series to play this game. You are a goblin, and alongside others of your kin, you race through the wasteland, shooting at each other. You use cards as bullets and misses, sometimes explosion. What’s so fun about it, you ask? You don’t see your own cards. You can, however, ask questions to people, and they always have to answer truthfully. Oh, but you can only ask if you roll that face on a die. Dice? Yes, I forgot to mention. It all starts with real time dice rolling, and if you get what you want, you shout GHHHAAAA!, and everyone else have to stop rolling, and accept their dice. It’s frantic, it’s funny, it’s mean!
Ok, another position, that hasn’t hit the table yet. I have been reading about it, and many people said it’s the new Codenames. We haven’t tried it before buying, because we just couldn’t crack the rules. Why did we buy it then? Because we like a challenge, and we like word games and, quite frankly, got a bit bored of Codenames now. I will post a proper review comparing those two, soon!
NEAR AND FAR 10/10
Wow! Well this one is a big deal. We have never played Above and Below, but Near and Far not being really a sequel, drawn us with it’s beautiful visuals, and storytelling. And my oh my, it’s a winner! Me and Matt always buy games that work for two players, but they are mostly co-ops. This one is actually a very competitive one. You put down tents to establish routes, get money, people, food, treasures. You complete objectives, that give you good stuff. You chose, if you want to be good or bad. You can play it as a campaign, as a arcade mode or character mode – each of those tells a story, however the character mode does it best. The component quality is great, the board is a book, the whole game is just a gem!
We’ve played this one multiple times in a board game cafe, but never got to buy it for some reason. Got it this time, as the price was quite attractive. There is a tonne of reviews of this one, and I will post my one soon, too. So I will be brief, it’s Orléans with alpacas. Action selection + worker placement + beautiful setting + great components + fulfilling orders + bag building + warehouse filling + board upgrading + alpacas = 9. What is the missing 1? No player interaction. For me, it doesn’t matter too much, but mu group seems to have issues with it.
LEGENDARY ENCOUNTERS ALIEN 7/10
So here is another co-op game, deckbuilder this time. We got it mainly because of the theme. Matt loves Alien movies, and it works for me too. I don’t know the movies as well, so I just aim to fulfil the objectives, whilst he wants things to be thematic. The first game absolutely crushed us, but the other two we managed to win. It is good, but re-playability is low.
I am really glad, that there is a playtesting area! We had a chance to try some great games! This time I’ll go from the least to the most fun!
GRIBBLIES 6/10 (so far)
We only came across this one, because it is being created by Matt’s colleague, otherwise we probably wouldn’t know anything about it. It is a pretty looking game with cool graphics, good for introducing new people and children to gaming. But for experienced gamers it’s average. No strategy involved, luck based and repetitive. However, if you’re looking for something to get your older children into board games, keep an eye out on this one!
CORAL ISLANDS 6/10 (so far)
Alley Cat Games stand was always busy, but we finally managed to squeeze at the table to play Coral Islands. It’s a dice stacking game, where you’re all building a coral reef, trying to fulfil as many patterns presented on cards, as you can. You also want your high numbered dice to be on top of the reef, because at the end of the game, you add up all of the pips on your dice. You can only stack them in an ascending order, so 5 on top of 4, 4 on top of 3 ect. BUT you can put a 1 on top of a 6, to deny someone points. Once per game you can also use a starfish to lock in one of your high scoring dice, and it cannot be touched. The game itself is gorgeous, the translucent dice make it all a feast for the eyes, however, you need to be able to ‘think in 3D’, that I am not able to do. Also, once you have used your dice to, and as pretty as the game is, it turned out to be quite a dexterity one, with the prototype dice being wonky and slippery. It was just too much for me, one of those I’d rather look at, than play.
ECHIDNA SHUFFLE 6/10
A great gateway game! Designed definitely for children, with big, chunky pieces, and simple rules, the game gets very cutthroat when played with adults only. The aim of the game is, to pick up three bugs of your colour, and deliver them to different tree stumps. The point is, on your turn you can move ANY echidnas you like! So you can re-route someone, who was close to their stump, to make way for your one. However, when everyone is left with one bug only, the game becomes a long and relentless experience. If I pick on blue, blue picks on red, red on yellow and yellow on me, we will probably never reach our stumps. Anyway, if you have young children, and want to introduce them to games, this is one to look out for!
Another pretty and simple one! It’s a set collection game, with lot of planning ahead involved. You’re trying to hide your gems in a waterfall, and put them in a certain order, to score you the most points. Not a mean game, luck based, with some elements to adjust the random cards. Good as a gateway game, again, to introduce new players to board games. It is pretty, looks gorgeous on the table, great component quality, and the price is decent, too!
This is one we tried, because I have heard lots about it, and because it just looked so pretty! The components are gorgeous, the tiles, the little suction thingies, the card design is simple and clear. Rules are easy to learn, and the game will be different each time you play it. Abstract with a theme, language independent, that’s what I like! It also supposed to be inexpensive. It’s a game I’d play with my parents, as a filler, easy to learn.
LOST EXPEDITION 7/10
Fancy a bit of a challenge? Robinson Crusoe seems too easy? Try this one! It’s a great little filler game, where you are exploring the jungle, and trying not to die! And I assure you, you’ll die pretty quickly.
PIONEER DAYS 8/10
New release, brilliant dice game by Tasty Minstrel, the creators of Harvest – one of our favourites! You have a wagon, and as you go through the wild west, you get people to join you, you collect resources and try to get to towns to fulfill orders. However, the dice that aren’t picked advance various types of disasters, that will come, sooner or later. Amazing components quality, quick game play, high re-playability!
SOLAR CITY 8/10 (so far)
Well, this one got me with the theme. It’s set in near future, the world is mostly made of concrete and smoke. You need to erect buildings, and turn them into gardens, in order to score points. Each game you’ll have six building types to chose from (over a dozen available in the box will make the game different each time you play it). You place a tile on your grid and activate either a row or column it has been built in, this column/row is not available for other players to activate. So you have to keep an eye on other players boards. The game has been compared often to Santa Maria, but it is different. Coming to Kickstarter on June 12, looking forward to this one!
THE AWAKENING 9/10 (so far)
The best experience during UKGE for us! A mix between T.I.M.E Stories and EXIT games, plus a pinch of paragraph comic books. You chose your actions, get clues, solve puzzles and… well, I can’t tell you 😉
I’ve been lucky to meet some fellow Instagramers and well known Youtubers, some very friendly, some not so much. People who run the stalls were mostly very enthusiastic and helpful, but we have encountered few, who seemed to be having the worst time ever. Just a tip, be professional! Don’t assume, if you’re in England, people won’t understand your mother tongue. But that experience didn’t spoil the whole expo for us.
We loved the panels we attended! First one was The Dice Tower with their Top 10 games they suck at!
||Magic the Gathering
||Near and Far
||King of Tokyo
||Legends of Andor
||Voyages of Marco Polo
||Die Quacksalber von Quedlinburg
||Rhino Hero Super Battle
||The Pursuit of Happiness
||Ink & Gold
The other panel was absolutely hilarious! A board game music quiz, run by No Pun Included, featuring some other famous youtubers, like Tom Vasel or Rahdo. They formed two teams of 4, trying to guess what board games NPI sang about. Some were very obvious to me, like Viticulture, some were too vague. But still, had so much fun watching it!
The whole UKGE was an absolute blast! We are so looking forward to next year! Save the date 31.05-2.06.2019!