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.

END OF RANT! END OF RANT!

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?

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