…and we’re back!

It’s been three years since the last full-strength UKGE in Birmingham, and I couldn’t wait!

Part of my reason for going, of course, is pitching. As of this post I have 13 signed games, another 20 or so that are playtested and pitchable, and some appointments at UKGE to show off my games in the real world. I’ve gotten a bit rusty at making physical prototypes, but I’m really happy how these turned out…

Since hearing about me pitching isn’t why you’re here, let’s have a look at some of the amazing games at the con – starting with…

Thursday: preview night

This is a separate event from the main show, and a chance for some in the industry to get a sneak peek at what’s coming up.

Andrew Prowse’s SKAL – a “Viking dice-stacking, dexterity-based drinking game!”. During the con he asked people passing by to vote on which game they would back on Kickstarter – this one, or a larger game with gorgeous meeples called Merchants of Infinity.

Cake of Doom – a game where you try to take over different continents by baking cakes. Some really fun, colorful artwork here.

Dissent Games’ new roll-and-color greeting cards. Different patterns for different difficulties.

Edict – commercial exploration of the solar system, anyone?

Friday – day 1

Some of the coolest dice I’ve ever seen – each side of the black dice had a different color and shape. These went with an RPG called Shiver.

Ahh, yes, the shot you might have been waiting for – this is right where hall 2 takes the stairs down into hall 1 (the bigger hall). In case you needed any further evidence, things were back in swing here!

And now, your usual silliness. I rolled poorly.

Just imagine playing a game with these cards!

I had the chance to demo one of my signed games at the Board Game Hub – this game is called Rift Valley Reserve, and it’s coming to crowdfunding in the autumn. Go follow Board Game Hub’s Facebook page (though I’ll naturally be sharing updates as soon as I know them!)

An elegant game called Cubyria – plenty of 3D-printed pieces that are placed on the board as you play.

Pyramology – an abstract strategy game about stacking pyramids color-to-color to score points.. One of the few games I saw that used all three dimensions in a fun way.

With the two main halls closed, it was time for a bit of open gaming. I had the chance to playtest Parasite (a 9-card micro-social-deduction game) with a few people. There’s definitely going to be some changes coming soon on this one!

Day 2: Saturday

I didn’t catch the name of this absolutely enormous map of England, but man the setup time on this must take hours…

Ultra-sized King of Tokyo, anyone? Love the monster standees that were taller than most kids.

From Naylor Games and on the coming soon list is Boardgames: The Board Game (The Card Game). I know, I’m confused too, but it’s a board game about making a board game. This is like candy to a designer like me, and anyone that’s been curious to make a game might really enjoy the ideas in this one.

With the halls closed, I hung out with the Board Game hub crew to find some dinner. While the Hilton has always held a lot of events (mainly RPG’s and open gaming spaces), there’s also an excellent Chow Zone full of street food vendors. Would have liked a place somewhere nearby to sit down or get a drink, but it’s all good.

One of several open gaming areas. It was crowded and stayed crowded for much of the night.

Day 3 – Sunday

The Bring and Buy was one of the busiest areas, both in the ‘dropping off’ and the ‘trying to get in’ lines. I was able to pick up some bargains on Sunday morning for 1 or 2 quid, but this… was not one of them. Sorry, eBay card game =)

Another really cool little card game called Bounty Hunters. There were a lot of spaces for the ‘coming soon’ games, which personally I found a lot more interesting than many of the bigger booths.

In closing… we’re back!

And man, I couldn’t be more thrilled. It was great to pitch in person again, it was great to play in person again, and it was great to see so many friends I’ve only seen on Facebook, Discord, or in the online playtesting groups.

The Friday was quite crowded – it certainly helped that it was a bank holiday weekend, and I have to believe 3 years of demand / desire building up really helped things. I didn’t hear about any one stand-out game that everyone seemed to be playing, but I was also fairly busy trying to see a bit of everything.

Saturday was also crowded, but seemed to die down significantly after lunch. My best guess is that they went to the open gaming areas and planted themselves there for awhile. Sunday started slow and got a bit more frantic as people tried to see it all.

Overall, really happy I went, and can’t wait until next year!