Day 2 (Saturday)
I was very much intending that I post each morning of the Expo regarding my experience of the day before. That was a foolish idea and anyone who attended would know that. I should have known that!
Saturday arrived. I got up a little later than intended, much to the chagrin of my room mates and to the shouts of “Chris, breakfast finishes in one hour! There’ll be nuffin’ left.”
I didn’t care. My head was pounding. My eyes felt like someone had pressed hot pokers into them. Apparently that ‘one last beer’ could do some harm (or was it the one last beer I had earlier?)
Anyway, I am sure you are all feeling suitably sorry for me.
I arrived at the Hotel and the realisation of Saturday hit home. Crowds of people, queues everywhere… more costumed folk than you can shake a stick at. The Expo had arrived proper! It was an awesome spectacle. Here is a very small sample.
My first port of call was PSC Games and The Great War. I was keen to get another close up look as I had backed this on KickStarter. I had high hopes and they were all realised! It looked pretty amazing. Will and Chris were showing it off in their full regalia (sorry, another picture I forgot to take, but they were so busy I didn’t want to disturb them).
You can find out about The Great War on PSC’s site, here.
From one war game to another… I was immediately strong armed into a huge game of Memoir ’44. This took out a fair chunk of my day, but it allowed me to sit down and watch with keen jealousy, all the people in the pool opposite me. I love board games, but there was a huge irony in it all. I digress, three axis players and three allied players. It was a tense game, with the Allies pulling it out of the bag at 2-1 (each board was scored separately). Reactions to this epic game were quite mixed. I am not a big fan of Memoir ’44, but I really enjoyed this, whereas those players who seemed to enjoy normal Memoir enjoyed this less as it took about twice as long.
After that, my friends went of for a large game of Wings of War (Glory or whatever it is called these days) and I headed off to the trade halls to see what was happening. In particular, I want to go and see the Hawk WarGames and the hugely impressive carrier they had. While I was not present at the Wings of Glory game the pictures I saw of the game were glorious and I feel I have to share them. It is only a shame I didn’t get one of the whole map.
Meanwhile… elsewhere in the show, I was mooching around and came across this behemoth. It really needs to be seen to believe. This was to promote Dropzone Commander from Hawk Wargames. As you can imagine it was quite busy, so this is the best angle I could get, but this thing was huge and alsmost impossible to fit into the shot without it being obscured by passing bodies.
Evening was closing in now and I have no idea where the time really went. Once again, plans were out of the window, though I think that was in part due to running around the Hotel trying to find people I needed to complete game trades with. My next appointment was with Paul Grogan of Gaming Rules!. He was running demos of the 4th edition of Through the Ages for Czech Games Edition. It is a game I own, but have never played and was eager to see what I have been missing. This took several hours to play and we called it toward the end of the second age. Simply put, I loved it. It certainly made a difference to have it taught by Paul (teaching two separate games of it at once and also managing to provide rules assistance to the demo of The Gallerist that was being played on a nearby table). Paul then offered up another prototype of a game called Codename by Vlaada Chvatil (there is not entry on BGG for this yet).
It is a simple party game where you form two teams and each team is trying to find and eliminate spies present in the grid. Each team has a Spy Master and a team of code breakers. The board is a 5 x 5 grid of tiles and each tile has a single word printed on it. The Spy Master is provided with a grid that shows where the spies are and will then say a word that is not present on any tile, but that connects to the tiles he wants his team to pinpoint. Along with this the Spy Master will state a number. The code breakers can then try to pin point which tiles they think are being referred to up to the number plus one stated . If they get the correct tile then they can continue. If they hit one of the other teams tiles then their turn is over. There is also one tile that if hit will be an instant lose.
I wasn’t expecting too much, though I had heard a little bit of the game and how much fun it was. I must say, I haven’t laughed so hard while playing a game for a long time. I played three rounds; one was an outright victory with me directing, the other two were abysmal. I think Paul showed great resolve not to throttle me as I managed to misinterpret time and again his clues. Of course, I blamed the drink.
With both games over it was time to head back to my room and recuperate and prepare for Sunday.