This weekend (29th-30th September 2018) I’ll join thousands of other gamers at Alexandra Palace in London for Tabletop Gaming Live. It’s the new kid on the UK tabletop convention block, brought to us by the team behind the Tabletop Gaming magazine. With a brilliant line up of tournaments, panels and game demos, it boasts being the first UK event where you can play the hottest new releases and games that launched at Gen Con earlier this year.
So far, my convention experience has been limited to the UK Games Expo and my local International Tabletop Day (hosted by Rules of Play, Cardiff). So I’m really excited to have another major convention here in the UK. I’m looking forward to walking around the trade halls, and soaking up the atmosphere as part of the gaming community.
Unfortunately, I’ll only be attending Tabletop Gaming Live on the Saturday, I’ve had to have a good think about what to see whilst I’m there! So, in no particular order, here’s my top must sees:
Luxor (published by Queen Games)
Luxor by Queen Games has a really engaging theme. I love the idea of competing groups of treasure-hunting, temple-exploring adventurers on a race to reach the pharaoh’s temple. It’s very Lara Croft or Indiana Jones (whichever is your flavour!). I’m not going to lie to you, when I first saw the game board I was underwhelmed… but when I dug a little deeper into the gameplay of this Spiel des Jahres nominee, I realised there was more to this game than first meets the eye.
I can’t wait to pop by the Queen Games stall at Tabletop Gaming Live and try the unique hand management system in Luxor. Your hand is transformed into a strategic ‘conveyor belt’ of cards moving from the middle of your hand to the outsides so they can be played. You can only play the cards on the outside of your hand and any cards drawn on your turn are placed into the middle. I feel this will add an interesting strategic element to the game, which I just have to try.
Keyforge: The Call of the Archons (published by Fantasy Flight Games)
KeyForge was announced earlier this year at Gen Con, and is the new Player vs Player card game from Richard Garfield (best known for Magic: The Gathering and Android Netrunner). It’s one of Fantasy Flight’s first ‘Unique Games’ – games designed to put the emphasis back on the gamer experience, rather than constantly releasing content of varying rarity for players to collect.
I’ve been looking for a trading/collectable card game that I can learn and really get into, but I’ve always been put off by how much I’d need to invest in the existing card games (Magic: The Gathering, Android Netrunner or Pokemon TCG) to get a good deck (or even play competitively). KeyForge has the potential to have a low entry cost because you’re buying unique, ready-made decks that can’t be altered. There are no expansions or boosters to chase. Instead of buying strong cards to build your deck around, it’s about learning to manipulate and master the decks you have to defeat your opponent.
Tips for teaching games with Gaming Rules!
Paul Grogen from Gaming Rules! will be sharing his tips for teaching games to new players. Teaching new players or introducing new games is a key part of most game nights: the first encounter with a game can hugely impact whether someone will want to play it (…or any another game) again. So I think anyone regularly hosting games nights should look to improve their teaching skills. Paul’s talk should provide some valuable insights – for anyone who doesn’t know, Paul is well known for his work on rulebooks and how-to-play videos. He’s worked with a number of the biggest board game publishers in the industry. With his experience, It’s bound to be an informative talk. I’m really looking forward to it.
Forbidden Sky (published by Gamewright)
Tabletop Gaming Live is hosting the official UK release of Forbidden Sky published by Gamewright. It’s the third game in the Forbidden series, designed by Matt Leacock. I’ve escaped from the Forbidden Island and survived the Forbidden Desert -now it’s time to tackle the sky! Being a big fan of the this series, I pre-ordered Forbidden Sky with my Friendly Local Game Store (Rules of Play, Cardiff) way in advance, so if I don’t have time to check it out at Tabletop Gaming Live, at least I won’t have long to wait ‘til I get my own copy. Still, I might not be able to resist the opportunity to demo the game this weekend!
Escape Tales: The Awakening (Published By Board & Dice)
I was lucky enough to demo Escape Tales: The Awakening at the UKGE earlier this year and was blown away by its heavily narrative-driven style. I don’t want to give too much away about the story, so I’ll just share the blurb with you:
Your daughter has all the doctors puzzled because despite being perfectly healthy, she has been in a coma for months. In your desperate attempts to find answers you meet Mark, a father who experienced something very similar with his son. Mark explains that by carrying out a ritual called ‘the awakening’ he was able to pass into another dimension and bring his son back….
During my demo, I found that every decision you make is meaningful and directly impacts the story, keeping you immersed in the experience each step of the way. Unlike other escape room games, Escape Tales has no time limit and offers a non-linear story with multiple endings. How your tale ends is completely dependent on the choices you make. I strongly recommend you check Escape Tales out, if you haven’t already. And whilst you’re at the Board and Dice stall, it’s worth checking out their other games! The Board and Dice crew are a friendly bunch and I’m looking forward to popping by to say ‘Hi!’
What’s on your hit list for Tabletop Gaming Live? Are there some games you really want to check out that I’ve left of my list? Let me know n the comments below. I might have time to squeeze them into my day!
Disclosure – I’ve been fortunate enough to be granted a press pass for Tabletop Gaming Live 2018. My views, opinions and discussions about the convention are not affected by this and remain my honest opinions.
All images in the post are credited to the respective game publishers.