I’m Jordan, and can’t wait to see you at the UKGE!
I have attended the UK Games Expo for the past several years and have loved every minute of it (apart from the crippling foot cramp from walking 200miles in 3 days… but I refuse to get a scooter because I’m not fat, I’m big boned!).
I have seen it grow and change with every year and I imagine this year will be no different… However, this is the first year I get to attend as a member of the press and have the honor representing MeepleGamers.
With this in mind I have put together a short-ish list of games and publishers that have caught my eye that will be attending the expo this year. This is, in no way, an exhaustive list of all of the games and publishers that will be on site over the weekend but just a few of the ones that I’m excited to see in person.
I also haven’t included some of bigger publishers here like CMON, naturally I’m excited to see what they bring to the party but they probably don’t need more advertising (insert sarcastic comment about big oil).
So, I hope you enjoy the break down and please feel free to leave a comment if you think there are some games or publishers that I have missed off the list that deserve a shout out.
3C Board Games
“Multiverse War is an area control/character progression/wargame where players recruit armies, explore the new lands and battle for better strategic positions to secure more space for development. The only way to advance through the eras is by killing enemy units or destroying buildings so players must do their best to outmaneuver their opponents and earn those valuable kills. You gain access to more powerful units and buildings by making kills with those units but do not underestimate Heroes. They are special units with increased Health, Action points and many unique and powerful abilities. Veteran heroes are formidable opponents, a strong hero can easily sway the odds in your favor!”
Multiverse Wars sounds like a massively aggressive and combat driven game but the concept of it seems intriguing. I haven’t been able to find a massive amount of information about it online so I’m hoping the Expo will clear things up. The art work already looks strong so I look forward to seeing what the rest of the game quality and game play is like.
Battle Systems Ltd
“Core Space is a deluxe fully modular three-dimensional board game for 1 to 6 players. The game can be played as single missions or campaigns with each player in charge of a team of traders, their sole objective, to survive in a dangerous galaxy!
Each of your characters can be levelled up with new skills and equipment to help them in their mission, but it will not be easy. The rival teams, gangs and the Galactic Corporation will hinder your every step… but the real threat is the ever-expanding plague of synthetic life forms that are slowly purging the galaxy of all life…
Play using our unique ‘real search’ system and advance your characters between games. It’s fast to set up, fast to play, and fully compatible with all the Battle Systems terrain products. To win you will need to follow the trader credo: salvage, trade, adapt and survive…”
I can’t decide whether this game will be unplayable or at least the experience lessened without the Battle System terrain… if that is the case then the buy-in for this game changes exponentially. This is just another fantastic reason why I’m excited to see it at the expo, I’ll be able to ask these kinds of questions and see for myself.
Black Box Adventures
Adventures in Neverland (Kickstarter Coming Soon)
“Experience Adventures in Neverland…
…as imagined by Vicky Swers, based on J.M. Barrie’s “Peter Pan”. Take the role of the wayward Peter, the notorious captain Hook and many more, while you explore the ever-changing island. Your adventure will guide you from the seductive merfolk in the lagoon, to the brave natives in the mountains and all the other secrets the island has to offer.
As everybody’s Neverland is different, every game will be a new adventure, with new possibilities and new challenges to face.
Adventures in Neverland includes 6 playable characters for 3-6 players, with a load of adventures and numerous sidequests. The doublesided gameboard, random locations, and the global events all effect the island, re-imagining Neverland every time you play the game. The immersive stories ensure you’ll find yourself in a world of wonder and mystery.
The game is suitable from the age of 10 and takes about 15 minutes per player.”
Climate Oasis (Kickstarter Coming Soon)
“It’s the year 2070…
…climate change wasn’t a lie and the world has seen numerous changing disasters. First the weather, then the bees, followed by 90% of the entire flora, including the crops. Europe has long been divided and all major governments have fallen. Drones and CRISPR babies rule the day, while antibiotics immune bacteria and EbolAIDS infests the remainder of human kind.
But not everybody seems to suffer, as money can ALWAYS be made. Enter “All$eedkorp”, a big corporation that has patented new crops that need to be fertilized by genetically modified honeyBEES™, owned by the same company. Babies are born indentured to the Korp Store for their genetic enhancements, and can never pay off the debt.
Many try to escape the Korp, and some even survive: rebels, who seek a life outside the corporate. You are one of those rebels. Together you must survive the environmental dangers and build your Climate Oasis, while being hunted by the corporation. Work on sustainable projects and reinvent old technology like 3d-printing, and maybe there will be a future…”
These are two very mysterious projects. I have barely been able to find any info on either of these games but I’ll be honest, the box art and blurb alone are enough to peak my interest. I’ll be very keen to see what they have on site to show off for these two… ill hopefully get some sneaky snaps too. Watch this space.
Bad Cat Games
Gladiatores: Blood for Roses
“Gladiatores is a devious bidding and betting combat card game for 2-5 players.
Play as a powerful Editor, owner of one of five famous gladiator schools, vying for control of the colosseum in Rome by attracting the most famous gladiators in history to fight for you in exhilarating arena battles!
Win the game by impressing the crowd, outmaneuvering the other players and showing off your gladiator’s best fighting skills to gain the precious gold glory wreaths of victory!
Each round of the game is an event where each gladiator school gets to bid for a famous gladiator available in the market. The gladiators then enter the arena for a pitched battle to win fame and glory. Hidden tactics, skillful card play, betting on fights, bluffing or just showing off to the crowd, are all excellent options required to get ahead of your opponents, take the champion’s gold wreath and secure the keys to the colosseum.”
Gladiatores sounds like a very different kind of card combat game than I’ve personally ever played before. With the mechanics including gambling, bidding and bluffing I expect the game to be fairly rich with player interaction and to be left with serious feeling of victory if you manage to out maneuver your opponent through sheer cunning.
Black Spindle Games
“MourneQuest – Based on the teen novel of the same name by Irish author Garry McElherron, MourneQuest is a cooperative board game for 1 to 4 players. Average playing time 60-90 minutes.
Players assume the roles of the book’s heroes and must journey in the Mourne Mountains to work together to defeat the evil Shimnavore. On their quest they’ll encounter many enemies: infuriating Bogbeans, terrifying Nightmares like the Banshee, Changeling and Dullahan. To triumph, heroes must gather charms, equipment and magical relics. They must also increase their powers and use their skills and combat abilities effectively.
The game offers three different levels of difficulty, from easy to normal, then hard. You can also play the game solo if you want a real challenge.
Can you defeat the myths & legends of Ireland, or will be be doomed to have the Nightmares released on the world of the real?”
“A crack team of deadly Ninja are on a mission to take on the evil Shogun of Aomori. In a fast-paced game of sneaky moves & rooftop risks the Ninja Squad try to reach the Shogun’s Palace.
The first part of the mission is through darkened city streets where the Ninja must beware of Guards, Lanterns and other hazards. They must work together towards their ultimate aim. However, once they have got to the Shogun, the game changes. It’s every Ninja for themselves, as they race to escape before dawn out through the stunning Imperial Palace.”
Both Mournequest and Ninja Squad caught my eye for very different reasons. Mournequest looks to be very story driven with deep characters with back stories due to the game being based on a book. Co-op games normally aren’t my thing but I think Mournequest would certainly be worth a look.
Ninja Squad just sounds like all out fun as you play a team of Ninja’s on a quest to assassinate the Shogun… if you ever seen some of the old Japanese samurai and ninja films this will probably help scratch the itch of never personally being able to leap from rooftop to rooftop.
Chip Theory Game
“Cloudspire is a medium-weight MOBA-style tower defense hybrid set on the islands of Ankar, high above the world. The energy keeping these islands apart is waning and as these floating land masses join, war breaks out between their inhabitants. Four factions stand at the heart of this conflict, each ready to assert or protect their claims to Ankar.
These four factions each have unique ties to the Source and how it affects kingdom-building, expansion, and the units and spires available to each. Factions come with six base “minion” type units, two heroes, eight spires, and an upgradeable fortress with over 20 different build options from unit and spire advancements to better fortress defenses and trade enhancements.
A typical game of Cloudspire plays in about two hours and begins with the creation of your particular island of Ankar. Starting in the center of the table, large neoprene hexgroups are attached until the center group is fully surrounded always connecting path to path. Then players will choose to place their fortresses. The World chips (containing mercenary minions, heroes, equipment, and schematics) are mixed, Event cards are shuffled, and Point of Interest (POI) chips are placed on all Source positions on the map.”
After playing through two full campaigns of Too Many Bones I can tell you my excitement levels for Cloudspire have gone through the roof. The use of neoprene for the hexes is unique and inspired. I expect the remaining component quality to be top class and i’m sure the game play will be solid… just need to get my hands on it now.
Czech Games Edition
“Sanctum, once a great city, is now the last beacon of light in a world shrouded in darkness. The lands surrounding the city are home to the demon horde lead by the Lord of Demons. It’s up to a handful of heroes to rise up, battle through the horde, banish the evil that plagues the world, and restore the realm to its former glory.
Sanctum is an epic adventure game, inspired by classic hack-and-slash, monster-slaying, and loot-grabbing videogame RPG goodness, converted to a modern board game. As one of the heroes, you will embark upon on a quest to rid the land of a demonic invasion, fighting your way through countless enemies and gearing up to face the Lord of Demons himself. In the process of venturing deeper into the land, ever so much closer to the Demon Lord, the heroes have to improve their equipment and adapt their combat tactics to face the increasing difficulty of combat.
The deceptively simple dice-throwing mechanic turns out to be a tactical delicacy once you realize that equipping the correct gear is a crucial part of surviving in these hostile lands.”
Czech Games Edition have a very good history of backing winners, I have no doubt that this will be in that category… well, so long as it has enough to distance its self from its counter parts. I’ll be fascinated to see how they differentiate this game from all the other dungeon crawler/campaign games out there… what I will say is the mini sculpts look great so far.
Decking Awesome Games
“Summoners build their army using the occult symbols on the dice. These symbols gain and activate spells, creatures, auras and curses from a common pool of cards. Deplete your enemy’s health to eliminate them and win the battle.
Dice Summoners is a light, quick game for two players. It’s ideal for couples or small groups looking for a fun game to start an evening. With 38 interchangeable decks it is also ideal for a whole day of gaming. The game only takes a few minutes to set up and takes 30 minutes to play.”
I am very excited about this little game. I’m not normally a fan of dice rollers in general but from what I understand this game uses dice manipulation to mitigate a certain amount of the luck based game play. It also various decks to completely change the way each game pans out… I hope I get a chance to get a close up look at the art work too.
“You’ve entered the red zone that brings you within spitting distance of the sun. The red zone is a no-go area, but you had no choice. Suddenly, the entire spacecraft shakes, warning lights start flashing, and alarms start ringing. The spacecraft is caught in a solar storm which has taken the energy core offline and keeps damaging other areas of the spacecraft. Even worse, the spacecraft is now being pulled into the sun itself. You and your crew will need to use what you can find to direct the remaining power to the energy core whilst also making sure the rest of the spacecraft doesn’t take too much damage. Have you got what it takes to bring the systems back online, or will you perish in the scorching abyss?”
Solar Storm is another mysterious game where the general information above is pretty much all I know about it. Perhaps a co-op space game where you and the players play the crew trying to save the ship… but is it card based? Minis heavy? Etc etc… I’ll have to wait and see… the art looks sweet so far though.
“From majestic Maples to ancestral Oaks, players nurture their trees aiming to thrive over the course of a year in a beautiful National Park.
In the spring, players carefully grow their trees, scoring as hikers enjoy traveling the trails in summer.
When autumn comes, leaves fall in the ever-changing direction of the wind, guided to cover the terrain and other players’ leaves. Points are awarded in winter for the most coverage of each region in the park.
Gain your ground in the park to be victorious in Bosk!”
3 Laws of Robotics
“A Deduce Your Own Identity Game for 4 to 8 Law-Abiding Robots
3 Laws is a lively deduction game for 4 to 8 players where you know everyone’s information except your own!
Each round you ask a single question to try and figure out who is on your side, being sure to obey the laws as they’re added. Ask the right questions, find your team, and boot up victorious in 3 Laws of Robotics!”
Two very different games being presented by Floodgate Games this year but both sound equally as fun for different reasons. Bosk is a forest building seasonal game with beautiful looking components that seem very fitting with the theme.
3 Laws of Robotics is a deduction game with a twist, let’s be honest, everyone loves a twist. This one could be more classed as a party game which isn’t really my genre but I’m still looking forward to seeing what it’s all about.
Hall of Nothing
Gloom of Kilforth
“Gloom of Kilforth is a card game of high fantasy with a Gothic edge, playable in 1-3 hours, where 1-4 players, working individually or together, must take their humble adventurers on a journey through a dark world of magic and peril. They will visit strange places, stranger people and overcome powerful enemies in their mission to discover mysterious artefacts and mystical Spells. Players follow their Hero’s tale from modest beginnings through an epic story to an exciting climactic battle for the fate of the world. Gloom of Kilforth takes about 45 minutes per player to play.”
Hall of Nothing has done a fantastic job of creating this rich world for their game to live in. The art is outstanding and from what I’ve seen the component quality is excellent… I have intentionally not learned a dramatic amount about this game as I hope to spend some time with it at the expo… I also don’t know if it’s going to retail and I missed it at Kickstarter so these will be some of the questions I’ll be asking.
“FellBound is a fast-paced two player card game, in which players pit their band of warriors against one another in ruthless combat. Though the rules may be simple, strategy lies in deploying your characters, coordinating their attacks and out-maneuvering your opponent.”
I honestly don’t know what to expect with this game. From what I can see on their website the art and component quality look pretty solid but I haven’t pieced together the game play at this point. Perhaps there will be some hands on time at the Expo and I can give a slightly more informed opinion (cos I sound daft right now).
“The year is 2100. Faced with a booming population, the governments of the world combine their resources to develop a solution. Massive advances in science and technology have led to the creation of immense ocean-going platforms that can safely hold towering buildings. Linking these platforms together will create new floating MegaCities – and you are the architects tasked with shaping the first one, located thirty kilometres off the Gold Coast of Australia. This is the dawn of a new age… but whose name will become synonymous with the future of city building?
Designed by Jordan Draper (creator of The Tokyo Series) and Hub Games’ own Michael Fox, MegaCity: Oceania is a game for 2 to 4 players where you will construct a unique city every time you play. Inspired by and using the block designs from Jordan’s 2018 release Tokyo Jutaku, we blended in contractual requirements and an easy to understand ruleset, making MegaCity: Oceania into a city building game like nothing you’ve seen before. Combining dexterity with solid building skills and a light Eurogame style, players must heed the demands of the urban planners and create buildings using the included blocks as they strive to gain the most prestige. Even better, as players build when it’s not their turn, there’s no downtime!”
I am one of the clumsiest people in the known universe… I don’t have shakey hands or anything I literally just have no sense of awareness at all… so for all I love the sound and look of this game I’m slightly concerned I could destroy it within the first 5 minutes of playing it. I really hope they have a demo copy at the expo that I can handle and see how badly my clumsiness will affect the game play.
Exit: The Catacombs of Horror
“Gloomy crypts lie under the city of Paris. The catacombs swallow light, secrets, and – apparently – also people. After the mysterious disappearance of a friend in the catacombs, you and your team embark on a search into the catacombs. Making your way through the puzzling underground labyrinth in search of answers, what will you uncover in the depths? Will you be able to find your friend in time and escape this cavernous world of darkness?
This double-sized EXiT game is presented in two separate parts.”
Roll for Adventure
“The old kingdom is in danger. Enemy armies are attacking from all directions thanks to the Dark Lord, who seeks to bring eternal darkness across the land.
The only chance the players have is to band together and collect the fabled power stones in order to complete the magical amulet. If the odds are in their favour and they succeed, they’ll save the empire. However, should even one area fall under the control of the Dark Lord, the old kingdom will be lost forever.
Roll for Adventure is a fast-paced dice-rolling game where players must react to the different threats they face. Using their dice, players will defeat monsters, collect crystals and finally forge the amulet to win the game. However, players must be careful not to over-extend themselves or risk running out of dice to complete their mission. Roll for Adventure features variable difficulty levels to keep the game quick and challenging for any party of adventurers!”
The Dawn of Humanity
“Experience 30,000 years of civilisation in 45 minutes! Players must lead their tribes in short, fast turns through the early history of humanity, discovering agriculture and taking their tribe through to the Bronze Age. The tribes must settle unknown lands and use their valuable resources in order to discover the new inventions and tools they will need to progress.
Each turn, players will select an action from the shifting action display: moving, exploring or growing as needed. Player will start with a small tribe at first, but through these actions will grow and become more powerful as they set out to discover new lands and the valuable resources they provide.
Who will best prepare their tribe against the events such as natural disasters, predators and more? Who will forge a path forward and lead their tribe to victory?”
This is a completely mixed bag of games, but Kosmos sit in a similar bracket as Czech Games Edition, they back a lot of winners. All 3 of these games have very much caught my attention and I look forward to meeting the guys from Kosmos to discuss these more.
Super Fantasy Brawl
“In the land of Fabulosa, powerful magics have rendered war obsolete. With nothing else to compete for, the bored populace has turned to the Super Brawl for entertainment. These same powerful magics are now used to reach back into the timelines to pluck out the finest warriors; they must compete against each other in the greatest entertainment spectacle ever staged.
By designer Jochen Eisenhuth and artists Johannes Helgeson, Bayard Wu, and Stephane Gantiez, Super Fantasy Brawl is a fun, fast-paced competitive miniatures board game. Players will select a team of three Champions and combine their unique Action cards to create a synergistic Action deck. The game is faction-free, so players have their choice of any combination of Champions they wish. Each turn, the players will use their hand of Action cards to maneuver, attack, displace enemies, and claim objectives to score Victory points. The first to reach the Victory point threshold is the winner. They then advance towards victory in the Super Brawl tournament.
The wizards who oversee the Super Brawl ensure that all Champions return back to their timeline unharmed. There fore Champions cannot die. The defeated Champion returns to the field of play whilst the one who delivered the blow levels-up to become even more powerful; but beware, if someone defeats your levelled-up Champion then it will return to the action reset back to its less powerful version.”
The gameplay of Super Fantasy Brawl sounds very familiar to me… like a mash up of krosmaster and Brawl Stars (mobile game). This is far from being a negative thing! I have every faith that Mythic could bring a game like this together and make it work. However, I would still like to see it in action and get an idea of the price point before getting too excited. Kickstarter is a fickle beast and I have no doubt this will go to Kickstarter just like their previous projects eg Mythic Battles, Joan of Arc etc
Renegade Games Studio
Lanterns Dice: Lights in the Sky
“The harvest is in, and now it’s time to celebrate! The emperor has declared that this shall be the best harvest festival yet. Players act as artisans, decorating the palace lake with floating lanterns and launching fireworks to light up the sky. The player who earns the most honor will make the best impression on the emperor and win the game.
Roll dice and choose which colored lanterns players can fill in on their scoresheets.
Earn gifts to perform special actions, fill in additional colored lanterns, and create powerful combinations.
Cover completed shapes with fireworks tiles to score points and put on a spectacular show!”
Following the hit success of Lanterns it seems the next logical step was to release a dice based spin off… My sarcasm aside this does look like a very pretty game and could potentially turn the basic concept of Lanterns into a more rounded experience. Time will tell if the luck based mechanics that dice rolling brings will improve the game or be a detractor.
“Galactic Era is an epic space civilization board game (also known as 4X game). Each player controls a fledgling space-faring civilization ready to venture out into the Galaxy. You will discover and take over new planets, advance your technologies and battle your enemies.
You can play on the “light” or the “dark” side. Be aware of the consequences though!
Players on the “light” side must play more peacefully. You will thus be more trustworthy to others. You can also easily ally with any advanced civilizations you discover. As player on the “dark” side however, you have the freedom to be as aggressive as you want. You can also switch your alignment during the game at a cost.”
From what I can understand Galactic Era is still very much in the prototype phase but I will always be interested in new 4x games. Twilight Imperium is one of my favourite games (even though it takes about 2 years to work through a 6 player game) so I am always wondering if something will come along to knock it off its perch. Hopefully I can get a better understanding of this at the expo.
Sinister Fish Games
“You are the founder of a new village during the middle ages, in the years after a great plague. The loss of so many people has created big problems for the survivors. Many of the people the villagers used to depend on for essential things like food, shelter and clothes are gone. Craftsmen find themselves without suppliers of raw materials, traders have lost their customers and many have lost their farms and workshops as they escaped the plague.
The roads are full of refugees seeking a new beginning. They come to you, hoping to settle down on your land and make a living. Your grain farm is the ideal starting point for a village, reliably providing food for many people. You must choose wisely who you allow to settle with you, as your food and resources are limited.
The people on the road have valuable and unique skills, but they all in turn rely on other people with very specific crafts to be able to work. Raw materials, tools and services must be provided by other people from the road.
If you manage to find people that can work together to make a profit, while increasing your food surplus and capacity for building new houses, your village will be prosperous.”
This was a huge success on Kickstarter so I am not surprised at all that it would be going to retail. It contains a few of my favorite Mechanics including deck building and village building (engine building) which together can make for a hell of a game. Once again I’ve steered clear of any reviews for this, I really want to see what its like for myself.
I have high hopes…
“You and your scheming friends are running a gang, dispatching professional thieves to complete heists across The Metropolis. Be careful though, one of them may be a Snitch! Your goal is to gain the most loot: either by working together or snitching on your fellow thieves!
Can you trust your friends?”
Another social deduction style game that, in the right group, could be a lot of fun… I’m not sure I personally have that group but I’m still looking forward to see what it’s all about. I’m not even sure I have what it takes to Snitch! I’m such a good boy.
Smirk and Laughter
“As a Koi fish, you spend your days (turns) swimming to and fro by playing a number of movement cards, with the goal of gobbling up as many dragonflies and frogs as you can every day. Each movement card has from two to four programmed moves, straight, turn, rotate any direction and leap over a space, with some moves being mandatory when played, and others being optional.
Your tranquil Koi Pond begins with some decorative stone and a few lily pads, but you will also receive Natural Beauty cards in your hand that allow a player to add more lily pads, cherry blossoms, ornamental stone and frogs – which both enhances the beauty of the pond, while at the same time, causes turmoil beneath the still waters for the other Koi.
Lily pads are great, as they spawn dragonflies every turn, each of which is worth 3 Victory Points when eaten.
Cherry Blossoms ripple the surface of the water as they land, causing all living things to scatter in the opposite direction – and if you play them wisely, right into your mouth! Stones prevent fish from entering a space and are best placed to block an opponent’s path to a meal. Frogs are delicious 1 VP meals all their own, but… they also eat dragonflies in adjacent spaces, so often they are placed to deprive opponents of their dinner.
As the weather changes, and a new event card is revealed for the day, so must your strategy. At the end of seven days, the game comes to an end, with the best-fed fish being declared the winner. Be wise, be quick, or go hungry. Persevere and you shall succeed.”
Such a beautiful looking game!! Everything about it oozes with thematic joy. If the art work is anything to go by then this game will be a pleasure… I guess my only concern would be… how much fun can you have being a fish!?!?! I’ll be happy to find out.
Donning the Purple
“It is the year 193 AD. The Roman Empire is not as great as it once was. Enemies are crossing the borders while famine and political intrigues are tearing the empire apart from within. The previous emperor was killed by his Praetorian bodyguard and has left a vacuum that the powerful families in Rome are trying to fill. Are you ready to don the purple yourself and be the new emperor? If you fail, the other families are ready to take over at a moment’s notice. While they wait for your doom, they will backstab and undermine you as much as they can. However you all have to work together as the fall of the Roman Empire is closing in.
You all fight over victory points and there are multiple paths to victory. The emperor can collect lots of quick points if he can manage to keep the empire happy and not die in the process. As the opposing families wait to don the purple themselves they can also gain victory points but at a slower rate.”
Ok, so I could read up on Donning the Purple and find out more about it. I’m sure there are reviews out there that would fill the blanks for me but I’ll be honest, this game looks really nice. I’m very excited to see it in person and make my own judgement of it. I think I could totally rock being emperor!
White Wizard Games
“Sorcerer is a 2-4 player dark fantasy game from the creators of Star Realms. This new character building game combines the best elements of a strategy card game and a tactical board game to create a whole new play experience!
At the start of the game, each player will create a unique sorcerer by combining one of the 4 Character Decks (which shows who you are) with one of the 4 Lineage Decks, (which represents the style of magic you inherited) and one of the 4 Domain Decks (which reveal where you honed your magical powers).”
Persevere and you shall succeed.”
Star Realms is one of, if not, my absolute favourite deck builder on the market currently. Its been expanded to the point that “randomized” doesn’t describe the deck you use to draw from.
Sorcerer is being produced by the same publisher and advertised as a “Character builder” with strategy and tactical board game style mechanics. It has various deck combos to increase replay ability. Oh, and the art work is astounding. I hope this lives up to expectation.