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Quick recap on UK Games Expo and Exploding Kittens Giveaway

I just did a video where I briefly outline what I got up to at the UK Games Expo and the “swag” I managed to get. Malachi joins me and we have a good old chat. I’m also doing a giveaway as we’re close to 100 subscribers, I’m still on a post UKGE high and I just feel like being nice. So I’m running this through gleam where you have to do certain actions to enter. I’m running it until the 31st June where I will draw it on the 1st July 2016.

We look forward to creating more content and I hope you join us on our journey.

Win Exploding Kittens

StateCraft – A Political Strategy Game – Inside the Box

StateCraft Game Logo Politics can be a confusing subject for many, and with the US Elections underway and the upcoming referendum on whether Britain should leave the European Union, it’s a wonder why people are baffled by the spin that is pumped out by the media outlets. I’m sure there have been many conversations down the pub where a group of mates are discussing politics over a nice cold pint of Cider. Of course, one of them will utter the words:

If I was in charge…

Well, now they can be in charge of their own policies. Inside The Box Board Games are launching a new game on KickStarter called Statecraft – a Political Strategy Game. It is a game for 2-6 players and it is described as a game where you can build your own political party and develop a manifesto of winning ideas to gain as many supporters as possible. As a player, you will to need to use everything you’ve have got – sabotage, slander and subterfuge – to survive the political chaos and dominate your opponents.

“President Trump has just renovated the White House to include a casino”

“In other news, millions of ex-pats from Spain have hit the United Kingdom shores after Britain leaves the European Union”

“Since we no longer want to be in Europe, France have bricked up their end of the Channel Tunnel”.

“Hillary to star in Season 4 of ‘Orange is the new Black”

Just like real-world politics, you’ll probably end up with u-turns, contradictory policies and scandals abound. How will you fare when assassination hits, or an international emergency throws your well honed plans into disarray?

At the UK Games Expo, their booth was insanely busy with the demo tables always full.

Here is their press release:

Fed up with the EU referendum? Inside the Box Board Games has launched Statecraft, a new political card game, where you can run your own political world

The game combines political theory and carefully engineered mathematics to represent real politics, creating the same incentives which drive the choices that face real politicians. For example, the supporters on the table will determine whether a player should choose to remain a member of a certain political union…

As social media teems with posts from ardent Brexiteers and Bremainers “the appearance of Statecraft is particularly timely” notes Riad Al Khouri, Former UN Political Consultant.  

Live on crowdfunding platform, Kickstarter, Inside the Box Boardgames aims to raise £8500 to fund the first print run of Statecraft. To many, board games might seem to be a dying industry. However, in 2015 alone over half a million people backed tabletop games on Kickstarter and they raised $88 million – almost twice as much as video games in the same period.

The market is clearly booming, but it’s not all plain sailing, with only 33% of games projects reaching their funding goals. Peter Blenkharn, Managing Partner of Inside the Box Board Games, knows this feeling only too well; despite raising over £6,500 for Statecraft earlier this year, they didn’t quite reach their fundraising goal. Due to the all-or-nothing Kickstarter model, they’ve had to go back to the drawing board to make the project better and more viable.

“All of the original backers were really involved in reforming the project for the second time round and their ideas were instrumental in the relaunch of the project” said Peter “you’re not making things for customers, you’re making them with customers – in fact they’re not even customers at all, they are a whole community of fellow enthusiasts, brought together by Kickstarter.”

The collaborative vibe of crowdfunding, along with a revamped campaign, means Inside the Box Board Games are optimistic for the future of Statecraft; it is now up to individual backers to make it into a reality.

  • Two school friends, both recently graduated from Oxford, are looking to raise £8500 by 14th July to make their political board game a reality.
  • Bucking the board gaming trend of orcs and wizards, players take on the role of politicians, fighting to win the support of demographic groups.
  • The game is now live on the crowdfunding platform, Kickstarter, which has given a new lease of life to the board game industry.

OXFORD,UK – June 14, 2016 – In 2015, Peter Blenkharn and Matthew Usher turned their board game hobby into a business, when they launched their first game, Molecular. This June, they are launching their newest title, Statecraft. Players take on the persona of a political leader, making manifesto promises in order to win supporters as well as employing some more underhand tactics to survive in the cut-throat world of politics.

About Inside the Box Board Games (ITB)

Inside the Box Board Games LLP is an independent tabletop publishing and design partnership, based in Oxford, UK. ITB was founded by two Oxford University alumni in May 2015 and successfully funded its first title, Molecular, through the Kickstarter platform in July 2015. ITB is now developing half a dozen new titles with an international team of creatives and has received critical acclaim from educators and hobbyists alike.

Stand and Deliver – Highwaymen Kickstarter Preview

Board Game  Highwaymen
Highwaymen Preview – Fat Chance Games
  • Mechanics: Action Point Allowance System, Dice Rolling, Grid Movement, Modular Board, Roll / Spin and Move


  • No zombies, fantasy dragons or post-apocalyptic theme. A refreshing theme based on the post-Napoleonic
  • The rule book and the rules within are easy to understand
  • Nice modular tiles that are weighty and solid to hold and place
  • It was nice to have models of riders to move around, it felt more thematic than pushing different colour cubes around.
  • The setup of the game is very quick. Place eight tiles to form a road, place your riders and the coach/escorts and the game is ready to go.
  • Once people understand the rules, the game does not take to long to play and can move quite fast.
  • Even though it is not official, I cannot see a reason why this cannot be played solo.


  • No matter how well you play, if you have poor dice rolls, then it can go out of the window. If, as a player, you like to have total control over your actions, then this game might not be for you.
  • Can be a bit fiddly to remember the damage to the coach and if playing as 2 players, which rider has reduced movement.
  • Gameplay can be repetitive
Highwaymen Game

Have you ever pretended to be Dirk Turpin, Snow from ‘Once upon a time’ (Spoilers: she was a bandit at one point) or even Adam from Adam and the Ants?

Good, because stealing is wrong and illegal. You should be ashamed of yourself. Instead, why not pick up a copy of Highwaymen from Fat Chance Games where you can rob stagecoaches and each other without the worry of going to jail.
Highwaymen is a modular tile board game where players are tasked with attempting to rob a stagecoach that is laden with gold and other spoils. Each player works with the others  to disable the stagecoach before it leaves the forest. It won’t be easy as there are military escorts surrounding the carriage who have no qualms about stopping you by any means necessary. One dead bandit is not going to ruin their day.
For this review, I used a prototype reviewers copy, but this not affect my thoughts about the game.

You tear off the shrink wrap, you marvel at the cover depicting a highwayman shooting behind him and you look at the contents inside. What I saw were modular tiles, lots of dice and prototype pieces.What you, will get in the retail version are, the modular boards that depict the road and the forest. There are twenty road tiles and six forest tiles. Unlike me, who had red cubes to represent the escorts and coach, you, the player will marvel at the detailed coach and escort miniatures.

There are two types of tiles, road tiles, these tiles make up the route that the stagecoach and the military escort take to get out of the forest. Each tile has arrows that depict the direction that the coach will be moving. The road tiles also have obstacles that block the line of sight as well as prevent movement across the grids. There are also forest tiles that can be placed for the bandits to go into to hide or ride across to ambush the coach.

Compared to most games, there is a fair number of dice in the box, in total, there are nine dice. 3 dice for movement, 2 dice for shooting and 4 dice of various colours to depict the four highwaymen in the game.

Last but not least are the coins, the spoils, the reason that you as a bandit get up in the morning.


The setup of the game is straight forward, each player lays out a road tile after the initial road placement and continues until the road is eight tiles long, the riders are placed on the corresponding starting positions and the coach and horses are placed on the respective starting points.

The wife and I have played this game numerous times to the point where we can flow through the game quite quickly. In Highwaymen, the turn order is basically

  • Bandits Shoot twice, move and then attempt to shoot twice again – Repeat until all bandits have taken their turn.
    • Roll 1D6 twice to shoot – 4 or over is a hit, Target has to be within 4 hexs with line of sight established. If an escort is hit, then it is removed, if it hits the coach, then the coach health is reduced by 1 and spoils are dropped.
    • Roll 3D6 to move – Add all dice to determine total movement
    • Roll 1D6 twice to shoot
  • Coach moves to the next tile and shoots at the nearest highwayman
    • Roll 2D6 to shoot nearest highwayman – Six is a hit, highwayman must -1 movement die
  • New military escorts arrive and to protect the coach
  • Previous escorts catch up with the coach and attempt to shoot the nearest highwayman
    • Roll 1D6 per escort – score six to hit the nearest highwayman in line of sight.
  • Determine who goes first and repeat from the top again.

As you can see, it’s not complex so the players can concentrate on rolling dice and determining whether they want to get rid of the escorts or focus on the coach itself. Each time the coach is damaged, it drops spoils behind it so that a highwayman can come along and pick it up.

This is repeated until the coach reaches zero health or it escapes from the forest road (it leaves the eighth tile).

The game progresses, and you as a player notice that your “friend” has quite the loot on them, the coach is getting away and you know that you only need a couple more spoils to be the richest highwayman in the land. So, as an upstanding citizen, what do you do? You decide to rob your fellow highwayman. It’s a high risk venture, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.


I’m sitting here thinking about what sort of tactics you can apply to a game of Highwaymen and I’m thinking it all depends on how you play it.

This game is semi-cooperative in that even though you are working together, at some point you do have to keep an eye on your fellow players to take their gold and come out on top as the winner.

As a full cut throat take-that game, the highwayman can let others do the hard work, as they damage the coach and cause it to drop the gold. They then swoop into grab the gold before running off back into the forest or stopping in such a way that their opponents happen to be the closest to the coach and the escort. It’s not nice but such is life.

The strategy that the wife and I take is that we focus solely on the coach. Yes, this means that the potential of getting shot at is high, but since the act of banditry is not exactly a long term career, we take the risk of shooting and positioning our fighters in such a way to ensure that we have line of sight on the coach. Yes, it is harder considering the amount of escorts that eventually turn up, but hey, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

To reduce the number of new escorts arriving, the players can use their movement to move to the spaces where the new escort spawn on the new tile grid. This could potentially mean that out of six escorts that arrive, four could be prevented from spawning. If the players have reduced the previous escorts, then the line of sight on the coach is greatly improved. If Lady luck is looking down on the players, then 16 points could potentially be knocked off the coach’s health after the initial tile. It can be done, but extremely unlikely.


This game is for you if you like the theme of highwaymen on horseback chasing down the stagecoach trying to get the spoils. It’s for you if you like to play with miniatures and like looking at painted representations instead of pushing cubes around the board.

For our family, it was nice to play a game where we were not zombies (I do like zombies), or trying to kill each other with Viking clans or praying to the ancient ones. It’s a theme that I’ve never really come across in my short time within the board game sphere, and it’s a good change.

If you like the take that element of games, then this game does deliver in that you do have the chance to swoop in and take the spoils of war that the coach has dropped.

The only two main downsides that I have is that it while simple to understand, the actions are the same in that it is roll, move, roll so for some people, that can be repetitive in nature if they are looking for a really heavy game. For me, I would place this game in the top end of light. It has enough strategy in that you do have to think about where you want your riders to be in order to maximise the chances of winning the game.

When it comes to the dice, I’m in two minds. It makes sense that to hit, you and the escorts/coach have to get a certain number to score. In that, back in the day, having gun deals was down to luck, it wasn’t a sure thing that your bullets would hit. The dice represents that. However, in my opinion, the best strategy that you have formulated all comes down to the dice rolls. If you keep rolling 4 and under for the majority of the game, you are not going to have a good time. Luckily, this is mitigated by the fact that you can swoop in and take the gold that has been dropped without firing a single shot. This is a nice touch by Fat Chance Games.

One thing that would be nice to include is a track that charts the coach health, it’ll reduce the need for pen and paper.

To conclude, this is a game that has been around with me on my travels, it has come with me to hotel rooms (we played it during the evenings at the Expo) and we have played multiple games in one evening trying to find that strategy that will make us win every time. Do we go straight for the coach and be overwhelmed or do we tame the number of escorts to ensure that we don’t get crippled by their shots.

I hope that I’ve given you a balanced view of Highwaymen – A game of robbery on the open road! If you like what you have read, then pledge on Kickstarter.

UK Games Expo Preview Perfect Crime PlayTest – Grublin Games

Perfect Crime Board Game

If you ever wanted to be Mr. Black and not Mr. Pink?

Have you wanted to be part of the gang and be cool like George Clooney in the Ocean Eleven films?

Perfect Crime by Grublin Games

One of the first things that I did after the Press Event on the Friday of the UK Games Expo was to go for a wander around the floor. “Somehow”, I managed to walk past Grublin Game where they “just” happened to have Perfect Crime on the table. It’s currently on KickStarter and they want to raise £14,500 and they are currently on £10,809 with 15 days to go.

Of course, none of this was by accident, stopping by Grublin’s booth was my number one priority for the weekend, the opportunity to test a game was too much to pass up considering that testing is my day job. I had heard of Perfect Crime for a while before the Expo, so I was eager to have a look.

What is Perfect Crime? It’s a heist game that pits criminals against a bank. The criminals have to plan, infiltrate and steal the valuables from the bank without getting caught. The bank just has to stop the criminals by upgrading their bank.

It should be noted that Perfect Crime can be played 1 vs 1, or 1 versus many where the criminals can work together as one team or they can “work” with each other until it’s advantageous for them.

Perfect Crime Game Character

Note, that I played on a prototype of the game with Erin and Drew from The BoardRoom podcast, but even if the general look of the game remained the same, I like the fact that the bank is shown as a blueprint. From the criminals point of view, it feels like you are looking at the blueprint of the bank, not knowing what to expect. Security is unknown and guard routes are unknown until that first reconnaissance mission. From the banks point of view, as a manager, it feels like you are looking over your domain on the bank of monitors before you. It’s a nice touch that I think will work will once the map look and feel has been finalised.

Each turn, the criminals take time to plan, tool up and finally they are ready to enter the bank. At this point, all the bank can do is place guards and install security. However, some of the upgrades for the bank can only be brought when the criminals have raised the suspicion of the bank, in essence, the bank have to have a reason to upgrade. To me, that makes thematic sense, the bank is not going to waste money on a hunch.

It really is a game of cat and mouse with each side trying to outwit each other, the criminals want to tease the pressure points of the bank, figure out where the weakpoints are, but if they spend to long in the planning stages, then the bank will be that much harder to crack. It’s a good touch to see that when the criminals do infiltrate the bank, they leave evidence behind which dictates the police response.

I also like that as the bank upgrades, the equipment gets more sophisticated, the security measures become hidden and the vault door gets that much harder to pick. It will be interesting to see what the end game is like with a fully kitted out crew versus a Fort Knox style bank.

I have a feeling that this a game that will generate an experience, each game will be a story to tell. Heck, maybe as I sit on my rocking chair in my old age, I can tell my grand children of the day I robbed a bank with nothing but street smarts and a stick of chewing gum.

I’ll be transparent, I’ve backed this game even though I’ve only had a brief exposure to it, I will download the print and play and have a ‘crack’ at it. I’ll report back and tell you all my findings. I’m interested in the asynchronous play and that the downtime is limited. I image that tensions could get high between the criminals as they determine the best course of action. As the bank, I loved seeing the criminals walk into the traps that I had laid down, I did get a nice warm fuzzy glow.

I do have some thoughts.

  1. I could see Erin and Drew discussing what they wanted to do, obviously I couldn’t see their cards but it might be worth having a screen between us.
  2. Since it is a co-operative game, how could it mitigate the alpha player (The most obvious way is that that alpha criminal could be stitched over by the other criminals).
  3. Should the bank have armed guards from the beginning?
  4. Depending on the nature of the infiltration, the alarm should go off immediately (breached wall) or still have to be pressed (e.g. Criminal steps on pressure plate).
  5. I did like Erin’s idea about getting caught by the police should reduce the buying/planning power of the criminals, if there is gunpowder evidence, then it’s harder for the criminals to acquire firearm related tools.

Regardless of my questions, I am looking forward to this type of game, it has a NetRunner feel to it that is making me want this.

P.S – Maybe they should talk to Playmore Games about putting the rule book on the Dized app *smile*

UK Games Expo 2016 – Day 1: Press Preview

UK Games Expo

The dust has settled on another successful UK Games Expo, the halls have been swept and cleared and people are trundling back to work eager to get home to play their newly wrapped purchases from the weekend (If you’ve managed to hold out that long). I’m sad that it’s over because how often do you get to walk around a convention looking and playing boardgames for several hours in a go. I’m glad it’s over, because I can give my feet a rest and I think I’m getting a sore throat from all the talking.

First Impression, Great, Awesome, and I look forward to doing it again next year !

So after arriving on the Thursday at the hotel (and moving rooms because we wanted a view of the airport at the hotel we were staying at), the family and I began to plan the weekend and relax knowing that the next three days were going to be non stop.

Friday – 1st Day of the Con – Press Preview

So the morning arrived after not getting much sleep due to a condition known as nerves, I started to prepare what I needed for the press release where I would have the chance to meet with publishers who wanted to tell me all about their games. So after a light breakfast, I drove to the NEC and arrived at the venue at just before eight. I wanted 1) To be sure that I found the right hall considering that I had only been to the Metropole last year, I had no idea where the new venue of Hall 1 was. At first, I went to the Metropole to see if it was in there (It wasn’t).

As 9:00 approached, more people turned up and I started to recognise people by what they were wearing that showcased their media outlet (Creaking Shelves , Luke Hector from The Broken Meeple) or I recognised them (Efra and Elaine from No Pun Included, Breacher 18, Polyhedron Collider).

I didn’t have to wait long before they ushered us in and I could tell immediately that things would be different, the space within Hall 1 was huge compared to the rooms at the Metropole. For one, you could actually breath and it looked like a proper convention with all the stalls laid out and what’s that, a bus in the middle of the room (yeah, that was due to Wontan Game).

Suddenly, they let us loose and the intrepid reporters (who knew what they were doing) went through the rows looking at the wares like shoppers on market day. I had a loose gameplay in who I wanted to talk to but as with everything, you roll with what you’ve got. So on to the designers, people I talked to.


CoiledSpring Games

Hannah was one of the first people from a game publisher to reach out and offer me games to review so I’ve wanted to talk to her about the range of games that CoiledSpring Games had on offer. As you can see from the brief clip, Hannah had brought a wide selection. However, I wanted to focus on a few games

Supertooth (Gamewright – Neil J Opitz) – Supertooth is a set collection game that features dinosaurs and what kid doesn’t enjoy dinosaurs (in fact, what adult doesn’t enjoy dinosaurs). There is an element of dinosaurs scaring or eating other dinosaurs but this is all done in a family friendly way. I didn’t get a chance to sit down and play this with the family as I was doing the ‘media’ thing, but my son and wife have played this numerous times and this is one that he always carries around in his school book bag to play when we’re out.

Neferious (USAopoly – Donald X Vaccarino) – I’m always interested in science, so it was only a matter of time before my eyes were drawn to this whacky game designed by Donald X Vaccarino. In this game, players are mad scientists to trying to threaten the world into submission and racing to build terrifying inventions before your opponent can do the same. Now, you can pretend to be a mad scientist like Brain (from Pinky and the Brain) or Dr. Doofenshmirtz (from Perry the Platypusand TAKE OVER THE WORLD!!!! *EVIL LAUGH* – This is on my wishlist.

DragonWood – This is a nice simple game where players have a set of cards, that has a rummy mechanic in that you are an adventurer going through the woods. As you ‘travel’ through the woods, you come across creatures that you have to defeat by three different methods (Strike, Stomp or Scream). Each action is dependant on what cards you put down, so Strike is a card run (3,4,5,6), Stomp is the same number (7,7) and Yell is the same colour (blue). The player than grabs the number of dice that is equal to the number of cards that you put down (so in the example of Strike, I can roll 4 dice). In the middle of the table is a creature that has a Strike, Stomp and Yell value. It is up to the player to roll the dice and hope that the total dice result is equal to or greater than the creatures value. It really teaches children maths skills as well as the risk/reward element. We played numerous games within the Family Zone and enjoyed it so much that we brought a copy. This game is just as enjoyable for adults to play without children around. This one is Angel approved. I’ll do an unboxing, playthrough and review ASAP.

Sneaky Cards (Gamewright – Cody Borst) – In my travels around the board game universe, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a game like Sneaky Cards, a game where the other players could be anyone in the world. In the pack, there are certain cards that tell you what to do? Some are simple tasks while others get you to push yourself out of your comfort zone. The card I was shown was to give the card to someone that was dressed up as a superhero. (Which at an expo, would have been pretty easy). So, you give the card to that person and as the originator of that card, you can register that card online and see where that card ends up. It’s a novel way of socialising and as soon as I buy a copy in the future, I’ll be sure to review it.

Bring your own book (Gamewright – Matthew Moore) – Bring your own book is a, let’s be honest, different concept that I haven’t seen before in my gaming journey. In this game, you are given a phrase and you have to scan your book, leaflet, shopping brouchure, comic book to find a line or sentence that is entertaining and funny to the other players around the table. If you think of Cards of Humanity, it’s the same concept but family friendly. As a parent, this would be a great addition if you wanted your children to read more books.

Playmore Games

Dized – Have you ever grabbed a rule book and sit down ready to digest the rules, only to give up 5 minutes later. On maybe, you’re the type of person that prefers to play the game while having the rule book open. I know that while I can digest information in a rule book, I learn better by doing. I guess I’m the visual/tactile type of learner. There is also the other situation like I am, where your colleagues are new to board gaming in general and you have to explain the rules to them in such a way that everyone at the table gets it. Sometimes, it’s easy while at other times, it’s a headache.

This is where the app ‘Dized’ comes in, this is an app developed by Playmore Games that aims to ‘teach players how to play the game’ at the table. By using the easy to use UI, players will be guided through the game as they play. At this particular moment, the app only supports ‘Race for the North Pole’. However, as more publishers get on board, it’s only a matter of time before this app will be rich with content. It’ll be interesting to see how well it does on a good heavy euro.

Fat Chance Games

Highwayman – Highwaymen is a game where you are playing as bandits trying to rob the stagecoach that is attempting to get through the words. In a nutshell, you get to pretend that you are Dick Turpin attempting to get rich before the coach escapes from the woods. It boats modular tiles that ensure that the landscape of the woods is different every time you play. There is also another mechanic where you get to steal the gold from other players. I mean, it’s not like you’re playing upstanding citizens.

It’s not an easy task to ride up the stage and rob it as there are guards that are protecting it. Each turn, the guards replenish as the word gets out that the stagecoach is in danger. If the bandits are lax in their robbery, they will soon face a gruesome end as they get overwhelmed.

So throughout the game play, it is a balancing act of dispatching the guards and attempting to rob the stagecoach. It can get tense and frustrating when you realise that things are not going your way but hey, that’s the fun of it.

Currently they are on Kickstarter

Tinkerbot Games

Ghostel – Back in 2003 when I was a younger lad, I remember playing a game called Ghost Master, a game where you had to play as ghosts to scare away that particular levels inhabitants, so when I saw Ghostel designed by Gino Brancazio of Tinkerbot Games, I knew that I would be impressed. In summary, Ghostel is a dice rolling worker placement game for 2-4 players that plays in roughly 45-60 minutes. In this game, you play as ghosts scaring visitors away from a hotel that used to be YOUR haunted house!

The artwork is superb, and reflects the comical nature of the game. It’s a shame that it was only available as a KickStarter pre-order as the wife would have parted with our money to take one home. She hadn’t heard of it before so she was just impressed on how it looked and a quick look at the Tinkerbot booth, so expect this one in our collection.

No Loading Required

Lantern: Lost in the Dark – When it comes to the Ancient One, I’m not that well versed on Cthalhu or HP Lovecraft so I know it’s quite popular (hence Pandemic: Cthalhu, Elder Signs – Which I like to play often). So I was impressed when I was told about Lantern by Cari from No Loading Required. This is a cooperative horror game for 2-8 players where investigators go around to try and defeat the darkness. It has elements of Arkham Horror and the PC game Amnesia, a game where you explore without any weapons of any kind, just a light. In this game, you have to survive the dark armed with only a lantern in an effort to collect relics so that you can perform a ritual to defeat man’s primal fear, the darkness!

As you search and your lantern gets depleted, your panic grows and if it ever reaches maximum, it’s game over. No, I jest, it’s worse than that, you succumb to the darkness and become the very thing that you were afraid of, a monster that is now pitted against your former colleagues.

This game has been developed by indie developers and has not got a distributor which is a shame, I’m keen to get this and add it to my collection. I’m kicking myself that I didn’t get to have a go at the booth, but I’m glad that Cari stopped me in the press preview. Hopefully, in the future I can interview No Loading Required and as soon as I do, I’ll let you know. I have no doubts that this game will do well, I wish them all the luck and I’ll be keeping a close eye on them.

I also liked (and it just might have been how the light was hitting the stand), but the booth was in a weird shadow as if the darkness was encroaching on the game. If this was intentional, then well done. Presentation was tip top.

No Loading Required, Print and Play – I want to play now *cough cough*

Alley Cat Games

Lab Wars – Caezar and Kuly designed a game called Lab Wars. It is a science themed card game where you build up your lab and sabotage your competitors all for scientific glory! It’s a game that plays between 2 to 4 players. I had a close look at the components and the cards and artwork is great to look and feel. I didn’t get a chance to sit down and play a demo but everytime I walked past the booth (later on), they Caezar was always busy showcasing Lab Wars. It’s currently on KickStarter and has been funded already (at time of writing). They have raised 23k with only a 5k goal. That is very impressive and shows you the quality and faith that the public has with this game.

BackSpindle Games

Codinca – This is a new game from BackSpindle Games that was released at the UK Games Expo. It’s an abstract game where players have to complete their own code of four patterns using double sided tiles on a board to win the game. When I was shown it, it looked complex but after a brief demonstration, it became very apparent that this was one of those games that is easy to learn, difficult to master with lots of strategy.

Clacks – I’ve heard of Terry Pratchett, but I’ve never read the books or watched the television adaptions. So when I saw Clacks, I had to ask what a Clack was. In essence, the clacks is a system of shutter semaphore towers which occupies roughly the same cultural space as telegraphy in nineteenth century Europe (shamelessly copied from Wikipedia). In the clacks game, there are three games in one, a vs. game where one person is switching on the towers while the other player is the ‘Post Office’. In these modes, the player has words that they have to spell using the clacks semephore system. The final play mode is a simple version of the game that is aimed at children.

The manual is endorsed by Haynes so it looks like a proper Haynes manual that you can see in Halfords. It’s quite a nice touch, it’s easy to read and well illustrated. I’ll be keen to pick this up in the future to see how it plays. I’m confident that I’ll still get enjoyment out of Clacks even if I don’t know the source material. I mean I always carry a towel around with me.

Formal Ferret Games

The Network – I had only seen this briefly on Rahdo’s channel when he did the run through, but that was a while ago. So, when I saw it on the table, I knew that I had to have a look. This is a game where the players are networks that are trying to get the highest ratings possible. This is achieved by putting on shows at certain times with actors and stars that can maximise the ratings within the particular season. I’m keen to see how the solo mode plays. All I know is that I can now choose when things go off the air, maybe we’ll get one season of ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ and multiple seasons of Firefly.

I was impressed with Gil Hova’s pitch and enthusiasm that the first thing I did on the Saturday was go buy a copy so watch out for an unboxing, how to play and thoughts.

Lessons Learnt

Considering this was my first time as press, I think what I’ll do next time is:

Branding – I’m talking with my graphical designer colleague in designing me a logo centered around the Angel of Dice. That way, next year I can get a t-shirt made that I can wear around the expo. I will also have some cards made up so that I can hand it to publishers and game companies as there were numerous times when they asked for one.

Networking – While I think it went well, next year I’ll spend more of the Friday when it’s quieter to look around more stalls and talk to more people about their games/products.

Games I picked up during the event
  • Supertooth
  • The Network
  • Lucador
  • Battle of the Band
  • Waggle Dance
  • Ember
  • Dragonwood
  • Pengaloo
  • Codenames
  • Beyond Baker Street
  • Pokemon Cards

Pengoloo Review by Malachi- CoiledSpring Games

During the board game expo, my family spent some time in the Family Zone where Malachi played Pengoloo, a children’s memory game where you have to find the eggs that are hidden underneath penguins. Enjoy the unboxing, gameplay runthrough and his thoughts about the game.

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Hoard Review – Cheeky Parrot Games

  • Mechanics: Hand Management, Memory, Press your luck, Set Collection


  • Quick to set up.
  • Rules are simple to understand.
  • The artwork matches the theme, I like it.
  • A big plus which shows forward thinking from the designer is that the cards are distinctive from each other. You will not get confused as to what type of card you are holding. If people have trouble telling the cards apart due to colour blindness, then each card depicts a shape and symbol in each of the card corners.
  • In the games that the wife and I played, there did not seem to be evidence of runaway scoring.


  • Slight con depending on your point of view is that the length of time to play the game has elements of Fluxx, it can be over quickly before you get into your stride. However, this is a minor point as you can quickly get into another game without much setup and at the most, the length of time for a decent game is around 10 minutes
  • The layout of the cards prevent this from being a true travel game, however as long as you have a decent table (train or hotel room), then you can easily play this.
Hoard - Board Game

I was lucky enough to get a review copy of Hoard from Cheeky Parrot. As of writing, they are at $13,667 New Zealand Dollars out of a $16,000 goal on Kickstarter.
Hoard Card Game Box

Hoard is a game where you are adventurers trying to steal the gold and treasure from a dragon’s lair without waking it up.


So when you open up the treasure trove of delights that is Hoard, what do you get? For starters, the box is nice and bright depicting a thief on top of a pile of coins. It’s compact enough that you can pop it into your manbag or handbag without much trouble. Once you pull the top off and inhale the new box smell, you will be greeted with the following:

56 game cards which are made up of Treasure cards which each depict different types of treasures which include coin bags, diamonds, rings, goblets, emeralds and treasure chests. The game also comes with the three double sided dragon cards where the blue side is the dragon sleeping and the red side is the dragon starting to awaken.

Hoard Playing Cards
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My UK Games Expo Wishlist

Do you know how hard it is to have a list of games that you want to look at, let alone buy? Hmm, do you? I’m looking at the Trade Map and I swear it’s more difficult than the traveling salesman conundrum. I will be frank, if you ply me with tea and biscuits, I will put you at the top of the list *smile*

So UK Games Expo is closely approaching and here is my list of games that I want to have a look at, buy and/or playtest.

Esdevium Games – Stand D14
Pokemon Electric Eye Theme Board Game

Pokemon – My son has just got into Pokemon, so I promised him that I’ll see if there is a booth there, I’ll get him a pack or two. He’s already got the Electric Eye Theme pack so it’ll be interesting to see what else is on offer. Then I can play against him, I’ve played the online version and I can really get into it, it’s easy to learn but hard to master. I have a feeling that this is going to be his ‘Magic’esque addiction.

Mystic Vale – Mystic Value is a game published by AEG. A curse has been placed on the Valley of Life. Hearing the spirits of nature cry out for aid, clans of druids have arrived, determined to use their blessings to heal the land and rescue the spirits. It will require courage and also caution, as the curse can overwhelm the careless who wield too much power. In Mystic Vale, 2 to 4 players take on the role of druidic clans trying to cleanse the curse upon the land. Each turn, you play cards into your field to gain powerful advancements and useful vale cards. Use your power wisely, or decay will end your turn prematurely. Score the most victory points to win the game!

Grublin Games – Stand C12
Perfect Crime Board Game

Perfect Crime – I’ve talked about the upcoming kickstarter (2nd June) and press release in a previous article, but I’m looking forward to play testing Perfect Crime by Grublin Games. I’m looking forward to meeting Rosie and the rest of the team. I may even pick up Waggle Dance.

District 31 – Stand E7a
Ember Card Game Cover Box

Ember: The Magical Card Game – I backed this game by District 31 when it hit KickStarter earlier this year. It’s a card game where you are a wizard attempting to summon mystical and magical creatures by getting sets (think Rummy). It’s a nice quick game that has numerous playing modes and I’m excited to pick it up this week.

Mage Company – Stand A2
Warrior From The Ancestors Legacy Game

Ancestors Legacy – This is an expansion to 12 Realms and the main reason I’m interested in this is because I’ve binged watched ‘Once Upon A Time‘ and ‘Grimm’ on Netflix, so I’m really into the whole fairy tale mythos. Hopefully, I can grab some time to speak with Alexandra from Mage Company (One of the sponsors of the UK Games Expo) to showcase this as well as other games that they’ll be playing.

Carrotia – Another new game from Mage Company. Carrotia is a light co-operative, tile placement game for 1-6 players where the team collectively works together against a timer to build three different mazes of increasing size. The master rabbit needs to dash from entrance to the exit within a specific number of moves according to the current mission card, scooping up the precious carrots while avoiding the owl, hawk and other birds as they swoop low over the zones causing mayhem and mischief.

Wrong Chemistry – Another game in the Mage Company lineup, Wrong Chemistry is a game where scientists are in a lab are trying to create new elements, and they get it all wrong! In Wrong Chemistry (W.C.) you change a molecule in order to create new elements out of it. A fun, easy to learn, but hard to master, game, with funny references to the real elements from the periodic table. According to the press release, this game will have an updated cover.

Playmore Games – Stand A9
Logo Dized Application

Dized – I’ll be honest, I’m not the kind of person that can read a rulebook and get everything that I need to do, I’m the kinda of person that likes to watch videos, or play through a round or two with the pieces before everything clicks for me. So to have a resource like Dized, an app that can teach you how to play, this can only be a good thing to utilise.

CoiledSpring Games/Family Zone – Stand C1, D1 and C2
Nefarious – The Mad Scientist game is a strategy game by Donald X. Vaccarino.  You are a mad scientist attempting to destroy the world.  To do so, you must build terrifying inventions which require research, hard work, and espionage.  Unfortunately for you, other mad scientists are trying to steal your evil glory by destroying the world first.  Overtake your rivals and become the most notorious mad scientist in history!

Bring your Own Book – This has been termed as a literary alternative to Cards Against Humanity and considering that I’m not a big fan of CaH, this looks intriging for me to check out. Who doesn’t love books?

A new party game with a literary twist!

Your old favourite book is now your new favourite game! Draw a category card, grab a book and then quickly skim to satisfy the chosen prompt (and the judge!) with the most entertaining phrase. Can you find a “ridiculous tabloid headline” in the best selling book?

Supertooth Cards And Box

Supertooth – Trap the Triceratops! Apprehend the Apatosaurus! Race to capture sets of matching dinosaurs in the ferociously fun card game Super Tooth. The bigger the set, the bigger your reward — but don’t bite off more than you can chew, or you may fall prey to a Velociraptor, a volcano, or even the dreaded T. Rex! Collect the most sets and you’ll go down in prehistory!

Yay Games – Stand B1
Ominoes Board Game Box

Onimoes – I’ve seen this around and I do like chucking dice around (hey, it’s my nickname for a reason). I’ve never played it before but I have seen the various videos on how to play. So I’ll be going to the Yay Games stand and pester them to a round or two. ‘Ominoes’ is a 2-4 player dice tactics game that plays in 15 minutes. Roll, Move and Add an Ominoe to the play board to get your colours into groups of four. Sounds simple – well it would be if your opponents weren’t moving your pieces around, or changing them into something else.

Geek Attitude Games – Stand D15

Not Alone – I was browsing through the UK Games Expo news site and I came across this game. Reading the description, I was hooked by the premise enough for me to put it down on the list.

It is the 25th century and it has already been a long while since humanity set off for the stars. Humans have travelled to the edges of the galaxy, yet they have never encountered other intelligent lifeforms. While searching through the central archives of old Earth, you discover that a planet named Artemia has been removed from official maps and that no other data is available. Intrigued, you set up an expedition…

NOT ALONE is an asymmetrical card game for 2-7 players, with one player (the Creature) playing against the other players (the Hunted).

If you play as one of the Hunted, you explore Artemia using Place cards. Using your Survival cards, your aim is to avoid being hunted down by the Creature until help arrives.

If you play as the Creature, your aim is to hunt down the Shipwreck Survivors from space and assimilate them into the planet’s biomass. Using your Hunt cards and Ar­temia’s various flora and fauna, you repeatedly attack the Hunted in order to wear down their will and inescapably bind them to the plane

When you read that, it’s obvious that I have to swing by the booth and have a look.

Honourable List

The above is a small selection of what I’ll be interesting to look out for. I hope to see the following traders:
Syrinscape – Stand D17 – This year, attendees of UKGE will have the unique opportunity to become immortalized in the world of the Pathfinder RPG as the voice of Ithanothaur, the terrifying CR 15 Umbral Dragon, star of Chapter Five of the Pathfinder RPG Hell’s Rebels Adventure Path. A live microphone will be set up in Syrinscape’s trade hall stand (#D17) where fans will be invited to bring forth their heartiest dragon roar, with the chance of being transformed into the mighty dragon on the spot using the powerful Syrinscape SoundSet Creator.

GeeknSonStand E38/F45a – Come to UK Games Expo on the Saturday and you will have the chance to win one of these amazing games tables.  That’s right: Geeknsons are offering a table to be won by one lucky visitor – prize includes delivery to a UK address. You will collect your free entry to the draw at a help desk from 11am on the Saturday.  The draw will be just before 5pm on the Saturday and only visitors in the hall get a chance to win.

Ice Cool by Brain Games – Stand E32

The Networks by Formal FerretStand G9

Codenames Pictures, Expansion for Alchemists by Czech Games EditionStand A15

Ghostel by Tinkerbot Games – Stand F23

Lab WarsStand G10a – The science themed card / board game to build up your lab&sabotage competitors for fame & glory! – KickStarter to go live on June 7th (12:00 GMT/

Final Flight Games – Stand E31 – Love all things Star Wars, plus I promised my work colleague to check out Star Wars related stuff.

Apologises if I haven’t mentioned you, but if you see me a tall black guy that’s looking a bit lost (I should be wearing a Walking Dead or Civil War t-shirt) then put me out of my misery and call me over for a chat.

See you in a couple of days.


Airfix Battles and Thunderbirds: Tracey Island

Airfix Battles Game Box

Only 2 days to go and here is another press release to let you all know about another company that will be at the UK Games Expo, eager to show off their wares.

The UK Games Expo also starts this week and British tabletop publisher Modiphius will be there at the appropriately named Stand #D20! We will be launching two of our big summer releases the Airfix Battles Introductory Wargame, plus the first expansion to Matt Leacock’s Thunderbirds Co-operative Board game, Tracy Island.

Airfix Battles is a fast and fun introductory wargame playable with all your existing Airfix figures and vehicles, but it also comes with everything you need to play exciting World War Two battles straight out of the box, including die cut cardboard counters for tanks, infantry and guns. You’ll be able to pick up the very first copies of this exciting new wargame for just £24.99, but be sure to visit the stand early, as stock is limited!

Tracy Island

Tracy Island is the first of several expansions for Thunderbirds the 50th Anniversary Co-op board game, International Rescue fans get to take command of the Tracy brothers iconic base. There, you’ll confront a whole new series of man-made and natural disasters, operate new equipment. and pilot new machines, while still working to foil the evil machinations of the nefarious Hood. Join new characters like Tin-Tin, Brains and Parker and report for action while responding to exciting challenges from around the world.

On stand D20 itself, Modiphius will running demos of Airfix Battles, Thunderbirds  Tracy Island, plus short 2 hour RPG taster sessions of Conan, Mutant Chronicles, Infinity and Achtung! Cthulhu. You will also find stock for our full range of roleplaying games including core books, source books and campaigns for Achtung! Cthulhu, DUST Adventures, Mutant Chronicles, Mutant: Year Zero, Mindjammer, Fragged Empire, Symbaroum, Space 1889, Thunderbirds Roleplaying and others!

Miniature sets for Achtung! Cthulhu Skirmish will also be available with special 10 unit box sets of Badger’s Commandos, the Servitors of Nyarlathotep, Black Sun Troopers plus the Deep Ones War Party, an ideal time to assemble your forces for the release of the full Skirmish game in July. There’ll also be a full selection of brave Allied Investigators, nefarious Nazi villains and blood curdling Mythos creatures to supplement your existing forces.

UK Games Expo – A Spotlight on Breacher18

Interview with Breacher18 – YouTube Media Personality

During the approach to the UK Games Expo, I wanted to showcase publishers and people that are involved within the boardgame industry. One of these people is Jay also known as Breacher18.

I first knew of Breacher18 via YouTube and the UK Gaming Media Network. Later on, at last years UK Games Expo, I almost had the chance to speak with her, but she was manically running around gathering interviews and showcasing the latest games to her followers. It should be easy to see her, just look for the logo (that’s what I did). Which reminds me, I really need to design myself one.

So onwards to the questions.

1) How did you get the name Breacher18?
It started when I was at secondary school and I helped one of my friends with her physics GCSE coursework. Mr. Green was not happy with this and decided to have a rant at me on how I was breaching the school rules. My class mates were highly entertained by this and persisted to call me breacher in and around school. The 18 was added later as it’s the number of the house I grew up in. Breacher18 was born and this is the internet screen name I chose to use.

2) How long have you been involved with boardgames?
About 6 years now. I used board games to help me focus on something positive and enjoyable as at the time I was in a really dark place in my life and I attribute board gaming to one of the main things that helped me get through it.

3) What drove you to start producing content?
My love of gaming and being told that my spelling/grammar was atrocious and that I wasn’t very good at writing. This pushed me to do it because I enjoy talking about games and I wanted to prove to myself I could do something, despite being told I couldn’t.

4) Where do you see yourself in five years within the BoardGame Industry?
Still enjoying it and being able to bring new people to the hobby and spread the love of board games around.

5) Considering that you have segments on the Dice Tower, has the Breacher18 brand increased?
I think so it’s difficult to say, it’s certainly got me more criticism *laughs*. I love being a part of the Dice Tower, it means a lot to me on a personal level as it’s their videos that opened my eyes to modern board gaming, so to be part of that for me is very special.

6) Going with the food theme, if I asked you to design a boardgame menu (Starter, Main Course, Dessert and then the tea and biscuit option), what kind of games would you chose to put on the menu? (No Limitations)?
Ah man such a difficult question so many tastes to cater for. I shall do this purely on my gaming tastes.

7) Are you going to the UK Games Expo? If so, are there any games, publishers or designers that you are looking to meet and talk to?
Everyone and anyone. I have a feeling I’m going to be even busier this year. You’ll have to keep your eyes peeled for Breacher18 coverage.

8) What games do you enjoy playing?
I’m an omni-gamer so there is very little I don’t enjoy playing. It’s very mood dependant for me, but here are a few I’m really enjoying at the moment:

  • Fuse
  • Quadropolis
  • The Grizzled
  • Onitama
  • Star Wars Rebellion
  • Loony Quest

9) How do you relax when you’re not playing games?
I Sleep and then sleep some more. Even then, I’m still dreaming about games it’s all consuming. Other than that I enjoy watching a lot of films.

The questions above are just a snapshot of what Breacher18 is all about. No doubt that you will be seeing more of her. Check out her content at the following links.