UK Games Expo 2019 – Day 0

I was up bright and early today double checking I had everything packed and eagerly awaiting my friend Simon turning up at the door to head off to the gaming extravaganza that is Uk Games Expo.


Woo. Traffic.

A relatively swift drive down put us in about 3pm into Birmingham giving me some time to settle in, resolve some room drama, and meet up with my cohorts before heading to the press preview.


The not so Smart Party

I hit up a few folk that I just wanted to say hi to and prodded a couple about possible cast appearances. Laid some hands on some games and played a couple of quick demos.

Had my first look at Oathsworn, that whilst very pretty, the pitch sounded very much like Gloomhaven. I’m hoping to give it a spin at some point over the con to see if that is anyway a justified reaction. If I don’t get the chance I’ll share the impressions of the Polyhedron Collider crew who I believe are sorted out with a demo.


Not a fan of heavy minis games, but these were very nice (3D printed prototypes)

Got involved in a game of Team 3 from Brain Games. This was a really fun coop game, or the version we played was, where 3 people try and arrange tetris shapes in a vertical pattern. The person building closes their eyes, the person who can see what needs built can’t speak, and the person who isn’t building or looking at what to build is the go between and can speak. It was a fun minute or so to spend with Josh from the Unlucky Frog and Rich, honorary member of The Giant Brain for the weekend. One to check out if you are looking for a silly party game with some lovely chunky pieces. (thought I had taken a photo of that one though apparently there will be video from the Unlucky Frog appear at some juncture).

Managed to have a brief chat with Mark, of Wreck and Ruin fame, and Keith, Cardboard and Coffee, both designers who have been along to the local playtest group and was delighted to see them chatting away to punters.




Had a quick check out of Big Potato’s timer based game and it really is a cool little patent they have on that, definitely going to be checking them out over the course of the con as they have some pretty decent deals on and a kid friendly version of Scrawl. Had a quick play of Who’s got the Bone from Original Content London which was a little bluffing game with some nice black and white dog cartoons on it. They also had a prototype of a game called Mobsters on their table which I might need to try out if I get the time.


I was very excited to finally lay my eyes on Escape the Dark Sector for the first time by Themeborne. This is a follow up to a game I loved, Escape the Dark Castle, with what looks to be a bit more to the combat mechanics and that same gritty art style that I was so fond of from the first game. Really looking forward to giving that one a try.


Cybernetic implants, bigger character dice and bullet dice oh my!

I stopped by the Loke Battlemats stand and hat a chat with them about their new dungeon project that has just wrapped on KS. If you aren’t familiar with their products they are spiral bound books of dry wipe dungeon maps and I have found my Big Book of Battlemats to be invaluable. They also do a Giant version of that product and now the dungeon which is two square books that can be tiled together. Adorably they also have the little book which can be used as an additional corridor, dungeon entrance etc.


A little book leading into two of the Dungeon book. All their products tile together.

On my way out I stopped by the Call to Mind stand to have a chat about appearing on a future cast. This is a company making a game to help people with Dementia and I am fascinated by that aspect of boardgames: educational/ health benefits. I am hoping to do a special down the line somewhere and get them on the show to discuss the game. Last stop before the hunger became too much was Room 17 Games. I was hoping to get a little look at the Tenfold Dungeon product but they were only showing of their Conan: Tower of the Elephant game, which is indeed in a tower.


Yep, that’s a tower.  All of that squishes down into a box which is pretty cool.

The day was rounded off with foraging for food in the Resort World across the pond from the NEC, don’t worry the food trucks will be all ready for tomorrow, and then heading back to our hotel for a couple of beers and some games. I had brought Villagers and Ruthless with me and we played a couple of rounds of the former. It was lovely to meet Rob Harper who I have spoken to online a bit and play a round with him. This is the main reason I come to this con: to meet people and share my love for the hobby with them. I hope over the next few of these posts I can impart some of that to you.


Iain McAllister

Tabletop games reviewer and podcaster based in Dalkeith, Scotland.

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