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UK Games Expo Show Preview: A Run Down

We did it. Two years writing this blog, 470,000 words, and we have just attended our first Press Preview event! Can I get a “what what” on the blog?

Well…that just happened. I’ve written it now. It’s staying there.

Tonight myself and Beth attended the amazing and wonderful UK Games Expo Show Preview and spoke to some amazing, incredible, wonderful, and fantastic individuals. We have seen all kinds of games – from games themed around building futuristic floating utopias to games about coffee. It’s been a brilliant evening and I thought it would be worth just doing a quick rundown on some of the games we have seen this evening.

Lander

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So, I’ll be talking about Lander a bit more on this blog in due course, and I actually spent a while talking to Dan, the designer, tonight as he gave us a rundown.

Lander is, what I imagine to be, one of the next big strategy games to hit the market. It is innovative, different, and exciting in more ways than I can list whilst writing this in the car.

So, what is Lander? Well, Lander is a completely unique concept that seems to take the best parts of Catan, Terraforming Mars, and some space RPG and merges them together. It really does look amazing, and I can’t emphasise enough the love that the guys have put into the game. It has a beautiful modular board, interesting mechanics, and a crew building/developing aspect I adore.

Lander deserves to be big, and I think everyone should check it out.

Solar Storm

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I have an addiction to space themed games, and Solar Storm is no different. It is a cooperative space themed game in which you have to survive a solar storm with your ship still on one piece.

Reminiscent of Pocket Mars, Space Alert, and MultiuniversumSolar Storm has a few interesting points that make it both new and slightly familiar at the same time.

Solar Storm is a small box game that looks great and can be played with 1-4 space adventurers. Apparently the solo mode is really good, so if you like solo games in particular it could be worth checking out.

Blood on the Clocktower

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I don’t think any board game reviewer can top the Shut Up and Sit Down reaction to Blood on the Clocktower in which they proclaimed it the best game they have ever played.

Hearing all about it, it is easy to see how someone could have that reaction.

Blood on the Clocktower is a party game that takes the concept of games like One Night Ultimate Werewolf to the extreme.

What makes Blood on the Clocktower different? Well two things massively stood out.

Firstly, when you are out/die you remain in the game as a ghost. No player therefore ever has to sit through the full game while being “out” and watching the other players play on.

Secondly, it has a really cool “traveller” system where players can drop in and out of the game. So if a friend has dropped in unexpectedly during the middle of a game, they can start playing straight away.

Blood on the Clocktower will be huge when it hits Kickstarter. It is definitely worth looking at.

Team 3

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Team 3 is bananas, in all the right ways.

In Team 3 you are placed in (wait for it) teams of three. One player can see a pattern made of 3D blocks – but they cannot speak. One player can talk, and needs to transfer the visual cues he/she gets from the first player to the third player. The third player had to build the pattern out of blocks, but they cannot see.

All in all Team 3 takes the see no evil, hear no evil, see no evil concept to a whole new level. It is a team communication game and, having demoed it this evening, it is a lot of fun.

If you have a social group who like to game together, and you want to try something a bit different, Team 3 is definitely a game worth trying out.

Slackers

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Slackers is a game that is currently still in prototyping; however, it sounds brilliant.

You, the player, work in an office and you want to avoid your boss. Each turn you must hide somewhere or pretend to be busy. You boss may find you, or they may not, but in each location you need to avoid doing work.

Slackers is, at its heart, a comedy game and we really hope it gets made into a game for retail. It is fun, funny, and cartoonish. It is light and cheerful, and well worth it for the satire element alone.

Megacity Oceania

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A dexterity game meets Eurogame, Megacity Oceania is a game that looks and feels fantastic. The goal of the game is to build the best structures in accordance with guidelines laid out by objective cards; however there is a twist, and this is a twist I really like.

You build your structure in front of you, and you have to physically move it (in one piece) to a joint city in the middle of the board.

With three different types of building materials and a whole host of different objectives, Megacity Oceania is a really tactile game that is so aesthetically amazing that I can’t wait to give it a go at the show tomorrow.

Megacity Oceania is one of those games that rivals the likes of Meeple Circus and Tokyo Highway, and is a real competitor in the dexterity arena.

Arcworlde: Second Edition

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A miniature skirmish game with RPG elements, Arcworlde has both beautiful miniatures and interesting rules that allow for custom components.

The passion project of the designer, Arcworlde not only looks great, but the rules have a few interesting quirks in them. If, for instance, you wanted your troll to fell a tree on his opponents then there isn’t a rule for that. What there is though is a difficulty scale that has guidelines attached for achieving any feat. Once the players have agreed on a difficulty for any action then, even if there isn’t a rule for it, it could be worked out.

It is this that makes Arcworlde different as it was created to allow for all kinds of awesome actions whilst not breaking its own rule system. Again, this is a game I really look forward to play testing, and (once again) it is worth checking out.

Wibbell++

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What can be said about Wibbell? Well, firstly, Wibbell isn’t so much a game as it is a Swiss Army Knife of gaming.

Designed by Bez (of Stuff By Bez fame), Wibbell is a deck of cards that just has game after game after game built in. Each game is different, ranging from simple pattern matching to more complex word games. There is even a musical game apparently, and all kinds of other goodies held beneath the surface.

What is more, Bez apparently releases one extra game that can be played every single year with that deck.

I have to admire the ingenuity of Wibbell. The cards are well made and there are apparently a few tweaks made since the first edition of the deck was made. There is something fantastic about having someone who has created a deck that can be played in around 70 different ways and you can’t help but tip your hat to that.

Seize the Bean

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The final game to talk about this evening, before wrapping this article up and moving onto writing about some of the games in more detail is Seize the Bean.

Seize the Bean is a coffee shop simulator with some of the best components I have ever seen of any game. The whole game oozes theme and really is a thing to behold. You need to produce coffee, doughnuts, and all kinds of other things in order to please customers and get good reviews.

Seize the Bean was originally Kickstarted and will be coming out soon, and again it is one of those games I am really looking forward to trying out. The pieces are beautiful, and apparently there are also coffee blends made after the game that, as a caffeine addict, I can’t wait to try.

There were so many awesome games there tonight that I haven’t been able to mention in this article, and games we can’t wait to cover in more detail over the next few days. All in all, it was an absolutely fantastic evening. Bring on tomorrow.

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