In Games: The UK Games Expo 2017

Sunday

Santorini

Sunday morning saw us joining the crowds to be let in. I think the doors were opened late because of security checks but we were fine with that. So, we headed straight to the Family Zone for a couple of games of Santorini before someone else swiped the copy. Sarah was desperate to get the game straight in her head!

We played a couple of games and I could tell Sarah was understanding the game better and better. She began to block my path to victory and the games took longer and longer which I always take as a sign that the opponent’s are evenly matched. I managed to win both games but it was getting harder and harder.

I enjoy the game, as does Sarah, however it suffers from the same problem as Raise Your Goblets. It is completely over produced! Considering it is essentially a 5-10 minute abstract game the price tag on this is whopping! I like it but I’ll probably never buy it.

Chariot Race

A banner for this game had caught my eye on Saturday but the demo table seemed to always be in use. The table was free on Sunday so Sarah and I sat down to play. Nobody from the Pegasus Spiel staff came over to explain the rules so I had to read them. Luckily they weren’t very long so we soon got stuck in playing on the giant demo set.

Chariots tearing round the corner in giant Chariot Race.

The game was surprisingly fun. It kind of plays as a cross between Yahtzee with players throwing a handful of dice and Formula D with players adjusting speed for corners. It’s about Roman chariots, which is always fun. 🙂 Fitting with the Roman theme, players can also drop caltrops (Sarah was horrified to find out what these are!) or chuck javelins at each other. It’s as much a demolition derby as a straight out race!

There’s some nifty things going on in this game. Some stuff you expect like chariots get slower as they get more damaged. Some stuff is very clever: the faster your chariot is going, the less dice you get to roll each turn so the less control you have.

It plays pretty quickly and a game is over in two laps. In a two player game each player controls two chariots thus filling up the track a bit more so it plays well with two. With more players, each player has just one chariot. The components are pretty basic (and surprisingly small after you’ve played the giant version!) but it’s a lovely little game a very cheap. Yup, we’ve bought a copy and it should be getting played more! 🙂

Dimension

Balls! I’m not being rude but that is basically what Dimension is about. One of the more interesting games we played and I forgot to get a photograph! D’oh!

In dimension, each player gets a board and a number of balls – three each in several colours. A number of cards representing rules are revealed and the players must build a pyramid of balls whilst breaking as few rules as possible. Rules will be things like “orange balls must touch green balls”, “there must be two green balls”, “black balls can only be on top”. All of that and you’re against an egg timer!

It was good fun. Definitely tests a player’s spacial awareness. We played a few rounds, but it did start to feel a bit quick and I was beginning to get the ‘Is that it?’ feeling. A shame, because it looks great!

Mars Rover

Sarah headed over to the Games Lore stall to see if there were any bargains waiting. As I walked up, I saw a prototype of Mars Rover and the designer offered to demo a game for me and another random guy. I told Sarah I would be sat down and joined in.

This was an unexpected highlight of the show. A game where the players all play cards to move a single piece on the board to map Mars and gain fame. The twist is that this is not co-operative but a competitive game.

The action in Martian Rover. The red cube in the middle is Jobby Mountain!

Each card that is programmed by a player can be supported by one or more other players. They will then share in some of the benefits that card gives the programmer. However, a player may re-program a card to make the Mars Rover do something different but this costs more if a lot of others have supported that card.

The designer, the very lovely John Brieger, took us through a semi-scripted demo. This worked very well as he started us off simple and introduced new concepts as the demo went on. The highlight of the game for me was discovering Jobby Mountain on Mars (I discovered it so I got to name it!).

The game plays really well. There was plenty of backstabbing, and plenty of gloating when someone forced a manoeuvre that went horribly wrong for them. I thoroughly enjoyed this game and I’m really looking to its release in 2018.

Galaxy Trucker

The last game of the show for us was Galaxy Trucker. I’ve had my eye on this game for years, literally years. It’s been up and down my wishlist on BGG as I um and arr over it. Since CGE were demo-ing this (and all their other games) I took the opportunity to try it out.

We found a demo guy who certainly knew how to take us through the game and had the right sense of humour. Galaxy Trucker is a bit of a daft game about building a spaceship out of junk and flying it across the galaxy whilst dodging meteors, picking up goods from planets and fighting smugglers.

Sarah and I had a lot of fun with the demo. The first phase where everybody builds their ship by grabbing face down tiles and adding them to a board proves to be very amusing as it leads to some awful looking ships which possibly don’t have much firepower or are low on engines or simple have bugger-all crew!

The flight themselves are amusing with all the players working through a single deck of adventure cards. Some cards one player gets the effect, if they turn it down the next player choose, some cards effect everybody all at once and some cards effect everybody in turn. The problem is that it’s not clear by the card itself as to how each card works. This leads to a lot of flipping through the rulebook.

Still, a lot of fun it was so we then tried to remember where we’d seen it to buy it. By this point we’re both feeling fatigued and some walking around the Expo hall didn’t reveal it anywhere. Dejected, we called it a day and headed home.

(The good news is that we’ve picked up a copy of Galaxy Trucker in a shop local to us)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *