Wednesday, 15 June 2016

UK Games Expo 2016 - Day 3

[Catch up with Friday or Saturday]

Sunday arrived, bringing with it one last day of gaming awesomeness at the UK Games Expo and the jarring realisation that all the games I'd carried up to my hotel room over the weekend would have to be carried back down again for packing into the car. After multiple trips through the hotel (including one where I almost caused Tom Vasel to miss a lift by wittering at him) it was time to head back to the NEC and see what we could cram into the final few hours.

Having looked forlornly at full Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu demo tables for the last two days, this was our first destination when the doors opened. Our hope was to try and sneak in a play of this latest horror-themed offering in the Pandemic series before the hall got too packed. Katie and I had apparently timed it perfectly and were lucky enough to get seats for a game - only to be beaten on the second turn. Not second round, second *turn*... I didn't even get a go!

Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu at UK Games Expo | Random Nerdery
Well, that escalated quickly...
This game can be mean! Luckily because it was still quiet we were allowed to start again and have a proper go - I've written a separate post on my first thoughts of the game here.


Temp Worker Assassins

Keen to try more new and exciting things we headed over to the Playtest Zone run by Playtest UK, where designers can book a space and try out their game on the general public. We were quickly shepherded over to meet designer David Newton and try out his worker placement deck-building game Temp Worker Assassins.

David Newton - Temp Worker Assassins
Great game, and extra points for his The Dark Room shirt!
Sneaking into Bureaucrat Castle as the eponymous temp workers, it's your job to gather improvised weapons from the stationery cupboard and take out as many of your amusingly-titled office co-workers as you can before the end of the week.

Sadly lights, game sleeves and my poor photographic skills have combined to ensure that most of my pictures are 90% shine, but I'm sure you can get the general idea:

Temp Worker Assassins - meeple worker placement

The various meeple-placement-locations allow you to draw cards, add new cards to your deck, trash cards you don't want or launch an assassination attempt. Here are some of the unfortunate colleagues you'll be looking to dispatch including one of my favourites, the Regulatory Compliance Paladin:

Temp Worker Assassins - assassination cards

As much as I liked the game-play, one of the best things about Temp Worker Assassins for me was its sense of humour; every card I drew made me smile. Being a game that's technically about murder, that possibly makes me a bad person... Oh dear!

I've never had to play a game with its designer before and was a bit panicked about what to do if I didn't enjoy the game. Luckily any massively awkward situations were avoided, as the game was great fun. Being able to play the game with David there was great, because we got to hear about its history and development. For instance, based on previous feedback the artwork was being updated from this:

Temp Worker Assasins - weapon cards - old artwork

To this more gory and colourful style:

Temp Worker Assasins - weapon cards - new artwork

Personally I preferred the understated old version we were playing with on the review copy, but it was cool to see the design process in action!

A lot of hard work and love has gone into this game, so I'll definitely be keeping my eye out for the Kickstarter campaign when it goes live on 28 June. Check out the Temp Worker Asssassins website for more information.

Labyrinth

I was really excited to see the Labyrinth board game on display at the River Horse stand:

Labyrinth board game - River Horse Games

This was one of my favourite films as a kid, so I'm crossing my fingers for a good game. We didn't get much of a look because of how busy the stand was, but watching a play-through with the designer on the Beasts of War YouTube channel I'm a little bit worried that's it's not really my kind of game, with lots of roll-and-move involved and not a lot of choices to make. Still, I won't know until I've played it, and in the meantime the board looks lovely and the miniatures are amazing. Ludo has to be my favourite:

Ludo - Labyrinth board game - River Horse - UK Games Expo 2016

Dark souls

When my husband heard that Steamforged Games would be at the UK Games Expo I was immediately presented with a shopping list of things to pick up for their new miniature sportsball game Guild Ball.

Steamforged Games - Guild Ball - Dark Souls

He's also recently signed up for Steamforged's Dark Souls board game Kickstarter campaign, so I was interested to try the little trial games they had set out for people to have a go at. True to the original video game, this was really hard! All of the Dancer's moves were super-dangerous and we were horribly killed in a fairly speedy fashion. The mechanics were really clever though - all the moves are on cards and come out in the same order, so you can memorise the pattern and learn where not to stand. That is until he gets to half health, when they get shuffled up and another horrible move gets added in. This game is going to be painful, but coming up with strategies should be fun and the miniatures are amazing! You can still get a late backer pledge for the Dark Souls campaign here.

There is so much to do and see at the Expo that it's close to impossible to cover everything. We missed out on tickets for the Pandemic Live show, didn't see much of the tournaments taking place over the weekend and only got to try out the smallest fraction of games on show. I think that means we just need to try harder next year! Here are a few other shots from the weekend's happenings that haven't fitted anywhere so far:

Looking at amazing furniture I would love to have (but could never afford, or fit into my house) from Geeknson:

Geeknson Furniture - UK Games Expo 2016

Meeting the third Doctor Who, complete with TARDIS:

Doctor Who and TARDIS

Checking out awesome models and cosplay:

Wall-E and BB8 models - UK Games Expo 2016

Staring in disbelief at this massive Dropzone Commander model on the Hawk Wargames stand:

Dropzone Commander - Hawk Wargames

So that was my Expo! Three days of friends, fun, games, awesome new people, cider, pizza, shopping, learning, tired feet, annoyingly photographing everything and generally having an amazing time.

This was such a brilliant weekend, which wouldn't be possible without a huge amount of behind-the-scenes hard work from the UKGE team and all the volunteers who helped out, so I'd like to say a massive thank you! I can't wait to go again next year and I hope the Expo continues to go from strength to strength (attendance this year was over 25,000, almost double last year's figure!)

See you in 2017! I may have booked my hotel already...

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