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UKGE17 – Final Thoughts

I don’t know why I call this my final thoughts, it’s not as if the posts about the expo have been in-depth and insightful. But hey ho it is what it is.

After watching a demo of Bear Park, and having the game explained to me – I wasn’t impressed. Unless I’m missing something about the game, I don’t see how it is better than say Patchwork. Jonathan bought it, so I’ll try and get a play of his copy. But I just don’t get the attraction. I like the economic side of Patchwork, and the denying or not of tiles to an opponent based on which of the three available you go for. I can’t deny the game seemed popular Mayfair sold out of it on their stand.

RANT ALERT! RANT ALERT! So you are Warlord games, you have splashed out money on a big name IP. A much beloved character, that appeals to young and old (despite the attempts of the current show runner to kill off the Doctor with poor scripts and wasting a great talent). You create a Doctor Who miniatures game. Fine no problem with that, makes sense (kinda). Then you make it so that the models are on sprues! So you have to cut off the bits of the model (carefully) with a scalpel, then glue them together! I get that people into miniatures “love” doing this. But they are not the market you are aiming for here. You bought the IP because you want to appeal to a wider audience. Bring new people into the hobby, and buy your product. That new audience are not miniature gamers, they are ordinary people that are fans of the show. They don’t want to buy the game, open it up and discover they can’t play it until they have spend hours putting together all the figures. WTF were you thinking Warlord? I actually listened to a guy on the stand demoing the game to a grandfather and grandchild explain about the cutting, gluing and painting. At one point he even said that he “cut off the Dalek eye stalk so he could re-glue it back in different positions.” This is not the way to attract new gamers into the hobby. FFG/CMoN can produce high quality molded miniatures for their games. I can buy them and be up and playing within 20 minutes. A game that has an IP that is meant to appeal to a wider audience should also have this ability. Not buy and then spend hours piecing it together. That’s assuming that they have a scalpel and the correct glue in the first place. Otherwise it could be days before they get to play the game. I fear for how Warlord are going to ruin my favorite 2000AD characters (see announcement here).

I did express this opinion to the Modiphius who have acquired the Fallout licence. This is clearly aimed at trying to attract fans of the very popular video game franchise. And yet they seem also intent on making the same mistake as Warlord and shooting themselves in the foot. Fans of the video game will not want to spend hours cutting and gluing stuff together before playing. I can’t see how this escaped them. Steamforge did it correctly with Dark Souls. Doesn’t matter your opinion of the game itself, the fact remains you can buy the game, open it up in the store and be playing in minutes. I told the guy at Modiphius that I spoke to, in no uncertain terms that there would be no way in hell I’d buy them game if I had to glue stuff together. Nor would my students, who would be his target audience.

I’m gobsmacked at how the likes of Warlord and Modiphius can spend money on getting very popular IP’s and then do everything they can to make sure it won’t appeal to fans of the game. Even that Alien vs Predator game did a 2.0 that used pre-made minis, and dropped it’s price. Modiphius still have time to pull the rabbit out of the hat, and correct this big big mistake.


I saw yesterday evening the figure of 16,500 for the attendance to the expo. That’s massive growth. Last year I’m sure that the attendance was in the 10k to 12k area. It definitely for the next two weeks anyway makes the show bigger than Origins in the US of A. So with this sort of growth and numbers will we see publishers taking the UK more seriously? Normally game announcements and releases are saved by the publishers for Origins, GenCon and Essen. So you would think with these numbers the UK and Europe deserve a bit more respect and have some of those announcements and releases at UKGE. It was nice to see a couple (and there may have been more) of games/expansions getting to us before the Origins announcement. I was able to buy the new expansions for Onitama, Sensei’s Path. Which apparently was due to be officially released at Origins in 2 weeks time. Which means we may see it here on the shelves of our flgs by the end of the month if we are lucky. Plus I was able to get the new 51st State expansion, Scavengers from the Portal stand. And it was nice to see Portal have a stand at the show this year. Hopefully they will have a bigger presence next year. Which is a good example of publishers taking the show more seriously.

Wow I know I met Tom and Sam last year briefly. But they would never remember that. However they are so approachable, including Zee! They really are nice guys. And whenever you saw them people were always talking to them, having photos taken (see Jonathan’s third trolling Eric photo below). Now other bloggers/reviews didn’t seem as approachable. The SU&SD guys looked anything but approachable and miserable as feck.

I will say there seemed to be lots of bloggers/reviewers at the show as press. Videos being shot all over the place etc. I wonder how many got recognized. Maybe I’m not good at self promotion, because I never once mentioned to anyone I wrote this blog, I didn’t have a tee on promoting it. Oh that’s right I’m there to just enjoy myself, with no pressure, and not have it feel like work. Stuff all this got to interview people, try every game etc etc. This is my main holiday of the year, I’m there to enjoy myself.

I did try Xi cards, which is a Magic the Gathering style game. The guys at the Critical Twits podcast were in love with this game. And they were the reason I tried the game. It was described as like Magic but without the mana/resource issue. I did mention that it was like Epic then. But the guys hadn’t heard of Epic! It was ok. The time points system for buying actions like drawing a card or playing a card was ok. The permanent damage to creatures on the board was fine. Plus you need a lot of tokens and dice to track use of time points and damage on cards. But I can see why in what three years this hasn’t really got any traction. Go look at the bgg page for the game, it’s a ghost town. £30 for four decks of fifty cards, seemed a bit expensive. I can get Magic Duel decks for less than that for the full Magic experience. Or buy Epic plus expansions for a better Magic like experience than this game gives. I mean at least Epic allows me to do constructed, and various draft formats. Plus Epic will have a pretty great app too (I really must play more of the Alpha release of the app, well play it full stop).

Now Zephyr: Winds of Change is a game I can see myself playing more of. This co-op game had enough to intrigue me, and tempt me to at least try one or two scenarios/missions.

I did go to the expo not having had any real games I wanted to buy. I was going to pre-order the 51st State expansion. So that was a very pleasant surprise to be able to actually buy it, and also get the promo cards for the game as well. The guys on the Portal stand were super nice and friendly, even got a cookie!  I do hope this was a successful show for them. There stand just needs to be easier to find and in the expo programme next year. Plus I wanted some of the Dice Tower promos. But other than that I had nothing in particular I wanted. So I’m pretty happy with the haul I bought back. Which was mostly funded by selling some games in my collection I no longer wanted. So glad to get rid of Cthulhu Realms (how to ruin a great game).

A successful show for me I think. A much better experience than last year for sure. I’d definitely recommend The Stables, Deer Farm for a place to stay. Same time next year?

UKGE17 – Day 3: The Final Day

I had a decision this morning check out of my hotel and be on my way to the expo by 8:50 the latest or stay trapped in the hotel until 1:15pm! The second option also came with a free bacon sarnie at 11am. A tempting sweetener to stay put. I had been faced with this choice because the local roads were going to be closed after 8:50 for a fun run that was being held.

I didn’t fancy sitting around for the morning. So I made a flask of coffee, packed the brioche, loaded up and was off to the expo by 7:45! Just after 8am I was sitting in front of the lake at the expo drinking my coffee and having the brioche. 

Sadly no new promo on the FFG stand for Destiny.

The morning at the expo was spent just browsing. I was sitting on the fence over Statecraft, Friday and Lanterns. But resisted.

I did share with the guys behind the new Fallout miniatures game my opinion about having to cut stuff off sprues and gluing it together. As in I wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole. Nor would my students who would be the target audience. I’ll have to write a rant about this sometime. 

Midday was about right to head off home after two whole days there already. 

The mornings haul:

Not shown some Star Wars:Destiny boosters.

Games Played:

  • Star Wars: Destiny
  • Xi 

UKGE17 – Day 2

I decided to avoid being packed in like cattle as the masses squashed each other waiting to dash inside to grab that elusive bargain.

With Diego, Jonathan and Charlotte at the expo today I was able to enlist them in my scheme to get the second promo card available for Star Wars:Destiny.

The target of my cunning oceans four plan!

Naturally with all the Dice Tower crew in attendance trolling photos for Eric Summerer had to be taken (and tweeted).

We also had the obligatory Fenland Gamers group photo taken.

Today’s haul:

Games played:

  • Santorini 
  • 51st State Master Set
  • The Cousins War
  • Star Wars: Destiny

UKGE17 – Day 1 

What follows is a brief summary of the day.

The days haul:

Not shown 8 Star Wars Destiny Booster packs, and Onitama Dice Tower promos.

Spotted one or two YouTube “Personalities”. 

The Doctor Who miniatures game switched me off totally. No excuse for this whatsoever. Tom Vasel agrees with me too on this one. 

But the coming soon to Kickstarter Batman Boardgame showed them how it should be done.

FFG schooled CMoN on how to show off your new miniatures game to the public.

Finally games played:

  • Star Wars Destiny for the alt art Jyn.
  • Onitama 
  • Zephyr 

UKGE17 Day 0 – Arrival

This morning I kicked off my UKGE with seeing Wonder Woman at the cinema. Wow Gal Gadot is not only stunning but a really great Wonder Woman. Her little spell in BvS didn’t do her justice. This movie is really well done. I’d say it’s the best DC Cinematic Universe movie so far (if we are not including the Nolan movies in this). It doesn’t try and tell half a dozen different stories, it’s fairly focused. Naturally after fighting a god, you do ask yourself why didn’t she wipe the floor with Doomsday in BvS? Disappointingly there is no end credit sequence. So you have been warned no need to sit through the credits hoping there is.

After Wonder Woman it was a fleeting visit to Tesco to get a cheese slicer, and some more cheese. This was very important. I made the decision I’m having cheese salad sandwiches during the day at the expo. And just chilling out in the evening with cheese and biscuits back at my room.

I finally left for Birmingham around three, and got to my hotel at five.

My room is a single. Certainly not the largest. But wow, location wise! The Stables is a working deer farm. Didn’t see any real deer on way in but I did see a couple of alpacas and a llama. I love these. Naturally I blame Jeff Minter and Llamasoft for this. 

As you can see I can sit outside my room in this weather and enjoy the evening while I enjoy my cheeses with a nice chutney (sadly not home made this time). The room has a small fridge in it. Plus a microwave, toaster, and crocks.

I did bring my Aeropress and a Pact Coffee. My order arrived in perfect time, i.e. this morning. 

As you can see with this coffee it’s meant to have hints of Strawberries and Cream! I’m looking forward to trying this one. 

The photo of the room shows I have a nice selection of cereals and brioche (even toast if I want it, although I did bring a loaf to make sarnies with). Plus the fridge has two little juice cartons, a yogurt, small milk, butter and jams. I’m impressed. 

Right I’m going to just enjoy this thing called a bed (first one I’ve slept on since I visited Nath last year!) and then organise the pick up of the games I sold at the expo.

Too much like work

This selling stuff is too much like hard work! No wonder I only do it near to the UKGE. Pick up only at the expo is how I like to do it. I can’t be doing with all the hassle of wrapping and posting stuff.

It was after a lot of heart searching I decided to sell my Android Netrunner collection. If it doesn’t sell then I won’t be too upset. I’ll be pleasantly surprised if it sells.

I’m curious as to how much I raise. 

Fifty Percent Milestone Reached!

At the start of the week I had set myself the goal of reaching the 50% mark on the number of pairwise comparisons I have to do to rank my game collection.

When I ran my stats program this afternoon it gave me the following information:

You have done 11514 of a total 23005.0 – that is 50.04998913279722%

That’s a lot of pairwise comparisons. And the same number still to do. The aim is that by the middle of June I will be able to say that I have my definitive list of ranked games that I own.

I thought this would be a good point to look at my current Top Ten games in my collection. So here is my current Top Ten games in my collection:

1 Scythe
2 T.I.M.E Stories
3 Star Wars: Destiny
4 Viticulture Essential Edition
5 Star Realms
6 Kemet
7 Istanbul
8 Santorini
9 Lords of Waterdeep
10 7 Wonders Duel

I know this is kind of a spoiler for any top 100 list I will do. But who cares?

Right on wards and up awards to 75%…

Current UKGE17 Plans

We are now a week away from the UKGE. Naturally after the events at the start of the week the shows organizers have informed those attending that there will be increased security at the show.

We have just set a meeting spot for the Fenland Gamers meet up at the show. On the Saturday at 1pm our play group will meet up out front of the Dice Tower stall.

I have one person to meet up with at the moment. With potentially another two. These two potentials are with friends who want to play particular games. So I’m going to have to tie them down to a time and place before hand. I don’t want to be taking games along I am not going to play. But then again I’m pretty sure I could find folks to play Scythe with, or even Onitama  and Santorini.

I want to catch the Dice Tower guys. Mainly to buy some of the promos. But also to talk to them about their top 100 games and how they choose the positions. I’m determined to get to the bottom of this.

Hopefully I can pre-order the new expansion for 51st State. Which I believe I should be able to do. But if I can buy it and walk away with it I’ll be even happier.

I’m hoping to sell some games, and need to get those booked in. Which I think after the Gaming Breakfast tomorrow is my weekend task.

If you are at the show and see a man who has seen better years, looking lost and bewildered, and wearing this t-shirt, that’s me. Stop me and say hi. Or even take pity and invite me to play a game.

Grail Expansions – my current hard to get items

There was a post this morning on one of the Facebook board gaming chat pages where the question was asked what are folks Grail games. 

A Grail game is one that is hard to find or get. Usually they are out of print for some reason.

But the question got me thinking, do I currently have any Grail games? I didn’t think that I did. But then I got thinking not games, but expansions. I have Grail expansions. So my response was the following:

None of them will be reprinted. All of them stupid money when they go up for sale. Stupid money I’m not prepared to pay. 

What are your Grail games and expansions?