I have been looking forward to the UK Games Expo for ages, well certainly since the last UK Games Expo! 2021 was a smaller affair but I loved the intimate nature of it. Meeting people from the board game community in the flesh for the first time made it a very memorable event that will always be close to my heart. I must confess, I was worried that with bigger crowds and more to see, this year’s UKGE might be a bit daunting, despite being bigger it still had a lot to live up to! Biggest isn’t always best. Well fresh from the press preview I am excited by the gaming spectacular that will be UKGE 2022!
Let me spoil you with a sneak peak of what games I got instantly excited for…
Top of the list is a game that I was fortunate enough to play a prototype of a month or so ago. Akropolis published by Gigamic and distributed by Hachette Board Games in the UK is a fascinating tile-laying puzzle of a city builder. Build your city up and out to meet scoring objectives. Think NMBR 9 meets Quadropolis but with each puzzle piece being three conjoined hex tiles. It is the game I am most keen to own next!
Stuff by Bez
One of the highlights of last year’s UKGE was briefly meeting game designer, Bez from Stuff by Bez. She is one of the real characters of the board game industry and is always worth making a bee-line for. So I did. The variety of ‘Bezzy Budget Bags’ is growing and they are all full of whimsy and hilarity, I was glad I stopped by and recommend you check out this range of games too.
The Old King’s Crown
The box art tart in me was in overdrive when I saw The Old King’s Crown. The artwork in this ticks all the boxes for me and all I wanted to do was draw up a chair and play. The gameplay sounds like my sort of thing too. The thought of battling over regions with some hand management and bluffing got the board game geek in me drooling!
Nodus Celtic Knot Conundrum
Surprise of the show was a puzzle that captivated my kids like nothing else on offer. Nodus Celtic Knot Conundrum could’ve easily been overlooked. It’s a solo puzzle of placing plastic pieces together to form shapes, Celtic knot shapes unsurprisingly. Just as George and Max were beginning to wilt, playing this perked them up no end. As my boys like solo puzzles such as Feed Me, Rush Hour, Genius Square and Dog Crimes, the board gaming radar pinged very loudly for this one.
Horizon Zero Dawn
My teenager, almost whelped with excitement when he saw that one of his favourite video games was turning into a board game. Horizon Zero Dawn board game had some luscious minis and some really interesting sounding game play that I got excited for knowing nothing about the digital version. He said it looked sick but I thought comparing it to vomit was a little harsh!
Speaking of video game adaptations, Sniper Elite, seriously peaked my interest. Although I’m a little gutted I missed the Kickstarter I was buoyed that it was coming to retail. In this ‘one versus many’ board game one player takes on the role of sniper with two secret objectives, while the other players have to track them down. They receive tiny clues when the sniper pushes their luck too far and makes a little noise. The board looks amazing, the minis look fantastic, and the gameplay is intriguing, be sure to take a look!
Osprey Games were showcasing Cryptid: Urban Legends, a two player game in the same family of Cryptid. They also had the latest Undaunted, Stalingrad, which was in a bigger box than I was expecting. However, I was drawn most to a charming game called Village Rails which has a lovely vintage feel about it.
Kosmos had the children’s game Dodo on the table that looks awesome but my eyes were captivated by the newly announced expansion for Red Cathedral Contractors, if you are a fan of the base game this will be of serious interest to you too.
Moonlight Castle from HABA with its gimmick was also grabbing attention and readers of my review will know why! They also gave me a sneak peak of the new King of The Dice Board Game, a follow up to the King of The Dice that looks like it had more to it than its predecessor.
The bevy of good-looking crowd-funded games on offer was strong. Most were soon to launch or just launched. They included Drags 2 Riches, which was as fabulous in the flesh as I could’ve hoped for and I loved the diversity on display.
Death by Coconuts looks a lot of silly fun. Players will be betting on the most deadly activities and judged by how many people die by ludicrous means. This may sound macabre but it looked everything but morbid.
I didn’t get much time with Amulet of Thrayax from Trolls n Rerolls sadly as they were deservedly popular, but I will be heading back their way to check it out in more detail as it piqued my interest a lot and is on Kickstarter now.
It was nice to see Heroes of the Shire in the flesh too after its recent successful Kickstarter campaign – backers are in for a treat!
Moon from Sinister Fish looks ace. I was gutted I missed the opportunity to play it in the open gaming arena, but my boys had done extraordinarily well and it was time to go say goodnight. It’s probably time for me to say goodnight too.
I must remember to seek out Andy Hopwood tomorrow too. He wasn’t at the preview and I know he has a new game to show, I can’t wait to find out more!
Happy gaming and be sure to say hi if you see me at UKGE – you’ll be in board gaming utopia if you are lucky enough to go!