The End is Nigh – UK Games Expo – Day 3 (Sunday)

Actually, it’s all over and has been for a couple of days…

After the chaos of the day before it was nice to arrive at the Expo on Sunday and find it a little calmer. It was also nice to have over indulged the night before and got 6 hours sleep!

We were four this morning and our first port of call was Warm Acre Games and Richard Galland to get a demo of his new game ‘Jane Austen’s Matchmaker‘.

This is a really quick card game for 3 – 6 players. The rules are really simple too. Each turn you either pick up a card, introduce a lady to society or use one of your gentlemen to propose a marriage. If a marriage is proposed and accepted then the two players involved will swap cards (these are removed from the game and used for scoring). Each character has a level of virtue and at the end of the game it is the total virtue value that will determine the winner. Now, I will be honest, I was not really sure why I was playing a game of marriage, but it was early(ish), I was tired and I just didn’t have the resolve to say ‘no’. However, it was quick, fun and generated plenty of banter.


With the marriage deals complete, one of our number hot footed it over to the Bring n Buy. That left a trio of gamers looking for a game and so we headed over to The Library to hunt out a game we wanted to try called The Front Nine from A-Muse-ment, designed by Nick Case. This had previously been on KickStarter, but unfortunately did not fund. Undeterred, Nick went down the self funding route to create the game.


The Front Nine‘ took me by complete surprise. David, our demonstrater, provided an excellent rules explanation and it was then I realised two things. 1) This is not a golf game really and 2) It was not going to be a simple 15 minute card game as I had imagined

While it has a golf theme, the actually idea is that you are building a 9 hole golf course. Points are scored for various things, from being closest to the club house with your final hole, the sum par of your holes being close to 36 and for the use of the various resources in completing your course. You select cards, buy and use resources and build a course. All this will take approximately one hour. I was berated repeatedly for my course design as with each new hole I placed my course got longer and longer (the first picture), when you should aim to make a horseshoe more akin to the second picture – I did not win, not even close, but I had a lot of fun losing.

By now it was time for a spot of lunch and a quick trip to the Bring n Buy before resuming the gaming activities. I was intending to spend the afternoon in the Playtest area, but before that there were a couple of other people I wanted to see.

First up, Andrew Harman of YaY Games. I wanted to find out how things had gone for the weekend for his latest game Sandcastles. Having reviewed it previously I was keen to see how things were progressing. (You can read my review here.) By all accounts the game had been very well received which is pleasing to hear. Also on hand was the ever popular Frankenstein’s Bodies. This was released last year and went down a storm in Essen, so it was not unsurprising that it was still proving a hit. I was also offered the ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity of helping on the stand at Essen… it is once in a lifetime, because it may very well kill you! Which bring me neatly to my next stop…


…Henry Jasper of Grublin Games… (I helped out at Essen with these guys the last couple of years and it is toughest job I have ever had). Alas, he was off doing his thing again (is he the busiest man alive?) So I had a quick chat with his minions… sorry guys, that’s a cheeky nod to the future and I was once more on my way.

And so I sought out Stuart Garside of District 31. I have been chatting heartily with this fellow over the past week or so (it feels much longer). I had a prototype of his upcoming game Kablooey and had been offering some thoughts and feedback. I was really excited to see the new artwork and to see how the game had progressed. Simply put, marvellous!


I must say the art is beautiful and really helps tie the theme together. The rules were essentially the same with a few tweaks here and there. But what is it about you ask? Each player is assigned three bases which they must defend while attempting to destroy everyone else’s bases. Bomb are placed on each other and move around the table. If any bombs are present in your area at the end of your turn they will explode. When you lose your last base you are eliminated.

The game is built on some simple rules and turns move very quickly. Bombs are constantly moving back and forth and more often than not they end up back in your area before you start your turn. If you like games that generate a healthy dose of chaos and banter then this game is for you!

Stuart is tweaking the game and attending games conventions to get as much feedback as possible. The game is set to launch in September on KickStarter, so keep your eyes peeled. You can follow the progress of the on facebook, here. I also posted a little bit about it on my blog last week (here).

I played my game of Kablooey with the designer of Great Scott, David Clarke. This was another game on my list that I really wanted to see, but sadly I missed out on playing this as the demonstrations and play testing had wrapped up by the time I arrived. I will keep an eye out for it nonetheless and wish him the best of luck.

And then almost as soon as the the Expo had started it all came to an end. Three days had vanished in an instant. I was working back to my car lamenting the fact that I had not said good bye to Henry Jasper or Mike Nudd, things were just too hectic. When who should I spy over my shoulder, but the very two people I dearly wanted to say good bye to. Providence, I thank you.

… Only another 360 or so days to go!