Category Archives: Conventions/Exhibitions

Boardgames in Blighty – EssenSpiele 2016 – These games caught my attention…


EssenSpiele 2016 – These games caught my attention…

ESSEN!!! Yep it’s the best games faire in the world and its time again to take a look.

This year sees another huge leap in the growth in this DADDY of all board game faires with 1074 publishers. This is crazy in a wonderful sort of way of course. 🙂

Sadly, I can’t go to Essen this year for health reasons but I’ve had a look at the BGG Preview list and here is my list so far of games that I find interesting. To be honest, I just can’t get overly excited about what’s on offer this year. I’ve probably grown too fussy, but there is a lot of the “same old” stuff and a lot of derivative stuff. Not a lot that I would consider fresh and really interesting.

Unfortunately there are Legendary Deck-building games for Firefly and Big Trouble in Little China but I’m not a fan of deck-building games as they tend to be about the mechanics, and don’t drive the theme. Shame really.

Anyhoo, there are a few gems which really suit my interests as follows…


Hannibal: Carthage vs. Rome

Publishers – Phalanxx

Booth 2-C110

20th anniversary version – Its always intrigued me and I’ve never got around to it. This looks like the version to have. 



Publishers – L4 Studios, Mr. B. Games

Booth 7-F120, in space shared with co-publisher Cloud Island

A huge fantasy war game which looks pretty impressive.


Days of Ire: Budapest 1956

Publishers – Mr. B Games and Cloud Island

Booth 7-F120, in space shared with co-publisher Cloud Island

I saw the Kickstarter on this one and it does look brilliant. Probably my number 1 choice if I was going.



Publishers – Triton Noir

Available for demo games at SPIEL 2016 ahead of the game’s release in 2017

A cooperative commando operations game? Take my money please! My 2nd choice if I was going…

Boardgames in Blighty News – 20th Annual Mind Sports Olympiad to take place in London this August

Olympiad 1

Boardgames in Blighty News – 20th Annual Mind Sports Olympiad to take place in London this August

For those of you who are competitive gamers, you time has come! Check out this press release about the 20th Annual Mind Sports Olympiad – a week of non-stop competition playing classic games and some very familiar games for board gamers. Here is your chance to become a World Champion! Errr… Diving Chess???

For the final week of August, Sunday 21st – Monday 29th, hundreds of board game enthusiasts will descend upon NW3 in London to take part in the 20th Annual Mind Sports Olympiad. Over the course of the week over 12 World Champions will be crowned and a host of other winners will get to add the title of Mind Sports Champion to their accolades.

The championship kicks off with a splash on August 14th with the Diving Chess World Championship at the Third Space Gym in Soho, London. Diving Chess is similar to normal chess with the exception that it is played in a swimming pool using a submerged chessboard. Each player can only plan their next move for the length that they can hold their breath. Once you’ve made a move and come up for air, your opponent must dive and stay under until they’ve decided their move, and then it’s your turn to dive again…

olympiad 2

The tournament features a range of games that test your mental agility, from familiar games such as chess and Monopoly to the cult classics of Settlers of Catan and Oware. There really is something for everyone and every level. The Championships even has a Learn to Play space where parents can bring their children to introduce them to new games. Other games include Poker, Chinese Chess, Shogi, Dominion, Cribbage, Scrabble, Bridge, Backgammon, Carcassonne, Agricola and even a Tetris competition (in battle mode on a Nintendo). Additional highlights include a Sudoku competition, the Eurogames World Championship, the Memory World Cup, and a lecture on how games can improve decision making in real life.


The Olympiad’s popular Creative Thinking World Championship is returning again with new mind-bending questions and will be hosted by former British Chess Champion, William Hartston.

We would be delighted to welcome UK Gaming Media to cover the event and we can set up an interview with the chairman of the MSO, Etan Ilfeld, before and during the Championship.

For more information visit the website: or contact Vicky Hartley on or 07463 751771.

Happy International TableTop Day! Why Are Board Games on the Rise? Here are a bunch of mainstream media articles to tell you what you are missing…


Happy International TableTop Day! Why Are Board Games on the Rise? Here are a bunch of mainstream media articles to tell you what you are missing…

Board games are on the rise. Deal with it.

In case you have been asleep over say, the past 10 years, board games have gone mainstream and are very cool again. You may not have noticed that mainstream shops like Waterstones in the UK and Barnes and Noble and Target in the US have been carrying a selection of board games that are not retreads of the tired and not very good at all Monopoly, Cluedo, etc. for some time now. You may not have noticed that board game cafes are starting to pop up in major cities. You may not have noticed that board games have been featured as part of the story line in shows like the Big Bang Theory.


Well, today is International TableTop Day, an annual worldwide celebration of playing board games which was instigated by the good folks Geek and Sundry, led by none other than Will Wheaton and Felicia Day.

To help you understand and hopefully motivate you to join in the festivities, I’ve collected a number of mainstream media articles. These articles tell the story of what has happened in the board game industry and why the number of people getting involved in this awesomely fun activity is continuing to grow year on year.


Quite simply, the quality of games available has risen hugely compared to the same old dross being pushed by traditional publishers and people have realised that the social aspect of playing board games is a wonderful enhancement to the quality of their lives.


So, clear out your old copies of Monopoly, Cluedo, Game of Life, Uno, etc. and open your eyes to the truly wonderful world of the new age of board games!

NBC News – Board game renaissance in full swing

BBC  – Christmas boom in board games



Attention EssenSpiel Shoppers! Here is the Boardgames in Blighty “Check it out” list to save you time and money!

Attention EssenSpiel Shoppers! Here is the Boardgames in Blighty “Check it out list” to help save you time and money!

742 listings on the Boardgamegeek Essen 2015 list means it will be difficult to choose won’t it? With Kickstarter, our hobby has exploded and although that’s a good thing, it also creates a huge problem in terms of sifting through to find where to spend our money. Well here is my list of those chosen few which truly have attracted my attention because they stand out as being original and interesting rather than the same old rehash of tired old themes and mechanics.

My criteria:

  • needs to be refreshing to me. Probably pretty different then what I’ve played before including mechanically so probably not worker placement, pick up and deliver, spreadsheet-like (ugh) or just pushing cubes with the theme pasted on
  • more likely to be somewhat Ameritrashy or Wargamey as that’s where my interests mostly lie so forget about farming, mining, stock trading, politics, trading in the Mediterranean (or anywhere for that matter), civ-building (yawn) but also unlikely to be a dungeon basher or a tactical combat thing either
  • needs to be a refreshing theme so unlikely to be fantasy, horror, cthulhu, sci-fi, pirates, spies, etc. and probably not a big box game with lotsa Minis
  • I lean towards small publishers as they take more risks

Yeah I’m biased but that’s the spice of life! Feel free to take it or leave it. But I know what I would consider buying…

Hope this helps, even if it steers you away from these to what you do like! Just have fun at Essen without me will ya!

Sad Panda…



Lembitu is a co-operative board game inspired by the events of the Livonian Crusade in Estonia. Definitely worth a look because its a refreshing take on a Euro wargame and an unusual theme.

Price €25

2D6.EE Booth 7-E106



In a distant future, scientists were able to build small alternate Earths. Exactly 504 such Earths have thus far been built. The scientists programmed each of these Worlds with an individual set of laws and rules which the residents strictly follow and consider most important for their lives. These may be exploration, consumption, economics, military, etc., and each is unique. You can visit all of these 504 alternate Earths to experience how the people are living, and decide which of these worlds harbors the best civilization. On which World do you want to live? Explore them all and decide!

This looks really cool, very different and heck, you have 504 game options!

The English-language edition of 504 can be found at the Stronghold Games booth (3-M107)

Price €65 for sales at Spiel 2015



In Aya, you have to cooperate to connect as many landscape tiles and animal photo tokens as possible to arrange a chain of dominoes placed upright one after another. At the end of the game, they will fall onto each other, each one toppling the next – in a cascade effect – to reveal the ultimate number of landscapes and animals and bring back the greatest photos. Working as a team, the players try to score as many points as possible.

This could the one I’m most excited about. Sounds like cooperative and social fun!

Booth 3-P104, which is the location of Blackrock Games

Price – €27



Clacks: A Discworld Board Game is based on the “Clacks” semaphore messaging system — the fastest (non-magical) messaging system on the Discworld — featured in Sir Terry Pratchett’s novel Going Postal.

Play against your friends and claim the title of Fastest Clacks Operator on the line, or play together as a team to win the race across the Discworld and prove that Clacks is here to stay. In more detail, Clacks: A Discworld Board Game contains rules for a player vs. player game, a co-operative race game against the Post Office, and a children’s introductory game.

Clever game and a must for Discworld fans!

Backspindle Games – Booth 1-F148

Price €40


Race to Berlin

Race to Berlin game portrays the last months of World War II in Europe. In the West, after the landing in Normandy and forcing German troops to withdraw from France, the armies of the Western Allies stand over the borders of the Reich, being ready to get across Rhine. In the East, mighty Red Army preparing itself to final offensive, which goal is the capital of Nazi Germany, Berlin. Both Allies are set for the race to ultimate victory.

Looks a bit different from the usual wargame fare.

Gry Leonardo Booth 1-G137

Price €25


Raid & Trade

Raid & Trade is a post apocalyptic game of negotiation and resource management for 3-5 players. From the ashes of a devastating third World War, a precious few golden cities emerge offering hope to those who struggle for survival in the wastelands. Players explore the ruins of the modern world completing quests, honing their skills and maneuvering for social status in order to claim a precious spot as a citizen with a Golden City.

This one appeals to me and looks like fun. Its got a few minis and that is fine.

Mage Company Booth 3-P103

Discounted to €45



Planned for release in Q4 2015 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the cult TV show, the co-operative game Thunderbirds will feature the iconic Thunderbirds machines and a high octane world full of disasters for players to come to the rescue.

Set in the year 2065, Thunderbirds follows the exploits of International Rescue: a secret organization committed to saving human life, secretly founded and funded by the millionaire Tracy family, with the motto: ‘Never give in, at any cost!’. International Rescue has a host of technologically advanced land-, sea-, air-, and space-rescue vehicles and equipment ready to launch at a moment’s notice.

A criminal mastermind known as “the Hood”, operating from a temple deep in the Malaysian jungle and in possession of strange powers, often engineers events to allow him to spy on the Thunderbird machines with the goal of selling their secrets to the highest bidder.

Players will work together using Thunderbirds characters and vehicles to complete rescue missions and save the day. For instance, to help complete the ‘Attack of the Alligators’ mission card, players will try to assemble Thunderbird 4 and Virgil in North America. All the time, being mindful of the influence of The Hood.

It’s pricey but how could I not want Thunderbirds designed by Matt Leacock? I mean really!

Modiphius Entertainment Booth 2-A126

Price €63


Stronghold 2nd Edition

Stronghold is a two-player game telling the story of a siege. Players take opposing sides: one has to defend the stronghold, and the other has to break into the castle as soon as possible. The game board represents the stronghold itself as well as the surrounding terrain, where enemy forces are placed and whence they proceed to the walls.

The defender has a small number of soldiers manning the walls, while the invader has an infinite legion of attacking creatures. A desperate fight takes place every single turn. The invaders build war machines, equip their soldiers, train them, and use black magic rituals to achieve victory. Meanwhile, defenders repair walls, build cannons, train soldiers, and do everything they can to hold the castle as long as possible.

If the invader manages to break into the castle before the end of seven rounds, they win; otherwise the defender wins.

I was intrigued by the 1st edition of Stronghold but never got around to playing it. This edition sounds better and shorter in gameplay so I am very interested.

Portal Games – Booth 3-N113

• Price €60


The Last Spike

In The Last Spike, players must cooperate to build a continuous railway from St. Louis to Sacramento. Different routes are possible and some towns never get a railway link. Each player competes to accumulate the most money from land speculation before the “last spike” is laid.

I’m a fan of Columbia Games so this one is on my list. It sounds family friendly which is a key factor for me in these kind of games.

Booth 2-D150, which is the location of UGG, which will be selling the title listed below, along with older releases, for Columbia Games.

Price €35


Rattle, Battle, Grab the Loot

Take to the high seas as the captain of your very own pirate ship. Seek out valuable merchant ships and raid them for their goods! Hire new crew, upgrade your ship, and give your treasure to the Pirate King for fame and glory!

I don’t have a pirate game and this is one that seems to put the fun into being a Pirate! Arrrgh!

So Portal Games’ Ignacy Trzewiczek scores again!

Portal Games – Booth 3-N113

• Price €50

Ok so out of all those games at Essen, these are the one’s I would be seriously interested in. Good luck to you all in finding games for you amongst the veritable treasure trove that is Essen!

Boardgames in Blighty News – Otherworld Games’ GenCon releases


Boardgames in Blighty News – Otherworld Games’ GenCon releases

7/18/2015 – San Francisco, CA – At GenCon 2015, Overworld Games will be releasing two additions to their line of hidden identity and deduction games with New Salem and Good Cop Bad Cop: Bombers and Traitors while demo’ing a third one that will be hitting Kickstarter right afterwards called Booze Barons. Booth: #2836.

New Salem

New Salem ($34.99) is the next great social deduction game about Witches and Puritans attempting to escape the horror of the Salem Witch Trials that plays in under 45 minutes for 3-8 players. Drafting allows you and everyone around the table to play at the same time as you gain clues about who may be a witch. Then you put your “Hope” in the right players so you can put the witches on trial before the end of the game. It gives you a taste of what it may have felt like to be a participant in the Salem Witch Trials where you can expect to say “YOU’RE A WITCH!” more than once during the game. Whether you’re an honest puritan or secretly a witch, you’ll constantly be faced with a decision of whether to help your team or play selfishly. The art by Andrea Olgiati (Winter Tales) will make it a contender for Best Art of 2015. Check out the Press Kit for it or the How to Play Video by one of the designers.

Good Cop Bad Cop: Bombers and Traitors

The nominee for the Dice Tower’s Best Party Game of 2014, Good Cop Bad Cop, will be getting a new expansion at GenCon called Bombers and Traitors ($14.99). It adds in more equipment, two new roles (the Bomber and the Traitor), and expands it to 3-8 players. It’s the same Good Cop Bad Cop fun where you unravel the mystery of who is on your team and point guns at your friends, but the expansion also adds more opportunities for deduction and deception.

Booze Barons

Just after GenCon on August 24th, the third game in this line, Booze Barons, will be hitting Kickstarter (preview link). This one takes place during the time of US Prohibition where you’re secretly bootlegging a specific type of booze as you try to make your mob the richest mob in town. There are always 3 teams (mobs) in the game so you’ll have to deduce who is on your team by the deliveries they make to the speakeasies around town. You can be confident in the pedigree of this game as it has been refined during playtesting at Protospiel Milwaukee, Protospiel Austin, Protospiel Houston, Protospiel San Jose, and Unpub 5.

About Overworld Games

Overworld Games is based in Sioux Falls, SD and San Francisco, CA. They specialize in light, social deduction games that have a high degree of player interaction. Questions? Contact

So why should you go to UK Games Expo next year?


So why should you go to UK Games Expo next year?

I had a great time at UK Games Expo 2015. It has been quite fantastic how the UK’s Premier Gaming Convention has grown and evolved from a small, rather claustrophobic affair, to a huge, game filled extravaganza which if this continues, will certainly be able to punch its weight against any of the major Conventions.

This year, the growth was obvious as a new dealer room was added to accommodate the demand of ever more publishers and retailers.

On the surface, UK Games Expo is an annual event celebrating Board Games. It is definitely a familiy affair with loads of opportunities for families to play new games together. Its also an opportunity for the board game playing community in the UK and beyond to meet up and play and socialise.

For me, it was an opportunity to get some game therapy and meet up with a lot of awesome people who I have made friends with and mostly only communicate with via Twitter.

Here are some reasons for you to go to UK Games Expo.

There are lots of open gaming tables although more space is really needed.
Star Wars Games!
In fact, there are tons of games for all tastes
Luchador! I had great fun running some demos and Andy here is an amazing demo guy
You can meet awesome publishers who are very friendly and fun! Like Ignacy from Portal Games
Awesome Steve from the Ragnar Brothers
The Looney’s from Looney Labs
Madcap Tony Boydell from Surprised Stare Games
Finding a gem of a game is always great. For me it was Colt Express.
And yes, you will find me there if you didn’t need any other reason 🙂

So why not come along next year? UK Games Expo will be expanding into the NEC in Birmingham next year so it will be even bigger!

Here is a link to the uK Games Expo website so you can get on their mailing list.

Boardgames in Blighty News -Going to UK Games Expo? – Tinkerbot Games are running a Compo to win a copy of XCOM!


Going to UK Games Expo? Tinkerbot Games are running a Compo to win a copy of XCOM!

The boys at Tinkerbot Games are running a competition for people to win a copy of XCOM at the UK Games Expo next weekend. Full info is here so check it out: