UKGE 2018 Show Preview
By Josh Hartley
As the days get longer and the air warmer it is time once again for the Unlucky Frog team to hit the road south, this time to Birmingham to the premier convention in the UK tabletop scene – the UK Games Expo.
The biggest of its kind in the UK and one of the biggest in Europe, UKGE 2018 will host over 300 exhibitors in Birmingham’s NEC from the 1st to 3rd June. To say it is a little overwhelming would be an understatement. So here, presented to you, dear reader, are the games and companies we at Unlucky Frog are most excited to see.
OK, so if this was a bingo card Fantasy Flight would have “this one is free” stamped over it. It is for good reason though. Ben and Charlotte have been playing a ton of the Arkham Horror card game so this is something we’re looking out for in particular but along with various expansions for X-Wing, A Game of Thrones the card game, Netrunner, not to mention the utter swathe of stand alone games that they publish, Fantasy Flight are not going to be ones to miss over the weekend.
Feeling a little more competitive? UKGE is also where the European Championships for many of Fantasy Flights games will be taking place, including the aforementioned X-Wing and Netrunner.
Two things I really want to check out from Paizo this year; I haven’t had a chance to try out Starfinder yet so I’m keen to take a look at Paizo’s take on Sci-fi, however of most interested in is grabbing a peek at Pathfinder 2 – and UKGE 2018 will be the first event in the UK where you can give it a go.
What’s more is that both the Pathfinder and Starfinder Societies will be running a bucket-load of games over the entire weekend. Check out the UKGE website for availability and prices.
In recent years Games Workshop have changed tact quite a bit when it comes to getting involved with the wider community and it’s certainly great news that they are coming down from that ivory tower of theirs more often. Good ol’ gee-dubs are one of the main sponsors so it’s safe to expect a strong showing from them at this years event.
Ben and I are going to be taking part of the Shadespire Grand Clash on Friday so if you find yourself across the table from one of us in our Unlucky Frog uniform please go easy on us!
A ton of stuff got revealed at the recent Warhammer Fest but we’re hoping they saved some goodies for UKGE – particularly with the upcoming 2nd edition of Age of Sigmar round the corner (maybe even a sneak peak at the boxed set).
Speaking of Age of Sigmar...
Age of Sigmar: Champions
As many of our regular listeners will be well aware, I am a complete sucker for a good TCG. Playfusion, the folks behind Lightseekers, have taken on the GW licence but with a twist – they are promising to combine paper trading cards with digital augmented reality to deliver a truly unique gaming experience.
Details are rather thin right now but watch this space as we find out more.
Wizama’s board game console
While we’re on the subject of crossing the tabletop and digital gaming space French company Wizama have developed a games console to combine the worlds of board games and video games. Shaped like a conventional tablet the system combines a touch screen with physical components like dice, cards and pawns to create a hybrid of the two styles of gaming.
Wizama will be demoing the prototypes at UKGE and is likely going to be the only opportunity to try it out in the UK so I’m definitely making a point of popping by their stand.
A Song of Ice and Fire
There’s this fantasy TV show called Game of Thrones running at the moment. You might not have heard of it, I don’t think it’s a big deal. Anyway, Cool Mini Or Not have picked up the rights for the books and have produced a tabletop war game boasting some absolutely stunning minis to go along with it.
Not only that but the game features non-combat mechanics and characters as well to help swing the fate of the battle without getting involved in the fighting – an interesting addition that will hopefully help this title stand out against the plethora of similar games.
Convention goers will get the opportunity to try the game out ahead of its release later this year so if you fancy yourself being like Ned Stark be sure to check it out (spoilers: Ned Stark gets his head chopped off, do not be like Ned Stark).
Currently live on Kickstarter right now there’s been a lot of buzz about this title from Sinister fish. In Villagers you are tasked with drafting the right people to settle in your village and build an economic engine to make the most money – either against up to four other players or in solo mode against the countess.
I should point out that I love both drafting and making money in games so I have high hopes for this one.
Alley Cat Games will be showing off this new deck building game which sees players assemble a crew of pirates and take to the high seas to fight for supremacy. The artwork for this game looks absolutely terrific and we’re hoping that it will have the gameplay to match.
Also, it has pirates. And if it’s wrong to think pirates are cool then quite frankly I don’t want to be right.
Fallout: Wasteland Warfare
The recent miniatures game from Modiphius Entertainment based on the massive video game franchise. If you have ever wanted to experience the horror of post-apocalyptic survival but without all the hassle of bringing about global nuclear war this will give you the opportunity do to so from the comfort of your tabletop.
As well as being able to compete in stand-alone battles players can look forward to a fully fleshed out co-op mode as well as an emphasis on campaign play – including the ability to build your own settlement to conquer the rest of the wastes from.
You know, I’ve spent so many games playing the group of plucky underdogs taking on the threat of an all powerful monster. It can’t be just me who would love to be on the other side and be the tyrant for change.
Well, evidently I’m not alone – Grimlord Games will be bringing Village Attacks to UKGE where players take the role of a team of monsters defending their evil domain against a mob of peasants who clearly have ideas above their station. I for one welcome our new undead overlords and am looking forward to helping fight off these plebs.
The one I’m not expecting.
Alright, I know this one sounds cheesy however my favourite game of Airecon was easily Football Rivals. I had no idea it even existed until we were down in Harrogate trying it out. And I’m in no doubt that one of my favourite games of the convention will be one I haven’t heard of that takes me completely by surprise.
Well, that just about wraps up our most anticipated games for UKGE 2018. What are you folks most looking forward to sinking your teeth into? Be sure to let us know and remember to tune in on Sunday when Ben and I will discuss in more depth what to expect there on the podcast.