If you are a tabletop game enthusiast in the United Kingdom, the UK Games Expo is the one event you want to attend. The convention is the largest and most prestigious gaming convention in the UK. Held annually in Birmingham, the event showcases the latest and greatest in games and accessories. With a diverse range of exhibitors, demos, tournaments, and special guest appearances, the Expo offers its attendees an exciting but crowded experience. With its vibrant and inclusive atmosphere, the UK Game Expo provides a platform for gamers of all ages and interests to connect, discover new games, and celebrate their passion for gaming.
We were thrilled to be part of the UK Games Expo 2023, where we had the fantastic opportunity to meet distributors, publishers, and game designers. We had engaging conversations throughout the event and even played some of their latest or upcoming game releases. In this article, we want to share our favorites from the show. The Expo was filled to the brim with many incredible games, making it impossible to rank them in a “Top X” list. It would be unfair to do so. Instead, we will highlight the ten games that left a lasting impression on us, showcasing their unique and impressive features. Get ready to discover some truly remarkable games at the UK Games Expo!
Kutná Hora – GCE
Welcome to the captivating world of Kutná Hora, a historic city-building eurogame inspired by the enchanting Czech Republic town bearing the same name. Get ready to unleash your strategic prowess as you embark on the challenge of constructing a thriving city. This game brings out your competitive spirit, as each player assumes the role of a city planner controlling three guilds represented by valuable resources.
In this innovative game, you’ll utilize coins instead of resources to make strategic moves instead of using multiple resource components. Resources value fluctuates throughout the game, adding an exciting dynamic to your decision-making. You’ll need to manage your finances carefully, purchasing the necessary resources to expand and beautify your city.
Kutná Hora’s market mechanics seem unique and intriguing, offering a fresh take on resource management. As you construct your city, you’ll aim to meet specific constraints, strategically positioning buildings and landmarks to maximize your score. Mining also plays a significant role, adding another layer of depth to the gameplay. This highly anticipated game debuted at Essen Spiels and is scheduled for release in October, promising an immersive and unforgettable gaming experience.
Moments – Van Ryder Games
During a fascinating chat, A. J. Porfirio showcased one of his latest designs, Moments, a standalone game within the universe of the game Keepers. Moments is one of the latest releases from Van Ryder Games, widely known for the Final Girl game series.
Moments is an enchanting expedition into fantastic nature photography. It is a delightful and accessible game suitable for the whole family. In this light-hearted experience, you’ll explore nature’s beauty through stunning photographs. In contrast to Keepers, a competitive game, Moments is a cooperative game, a welcome refresher.
Engage your creativity and strategic thinking as you dive into this word & card matching game. With its easy-to-learn rules and charming gameplay, “Moments” is the perfect choice for family game nights and casual gatherings. “Moments” is simply delightful and offers some unique twists on the party game genre.
Aliens – GaleForce Nine
Immerse yourself in the heart-pounding world of cooperative survival horror with Aliens. This thrilling game captures the same intense emotions found in the movies. Brace yourself as you embark on an unforgettable journey through iconic scenes, reliving the suspense and terror that made the films memorable. Galeforce 9 has taken steps above and beyond to bring as much IP into the game as possible, ensuring an authentic and immersive experience.
The game captures the feeling of constant danger, where aliens lurk around every corner, ready to strike. Every playthrough is a rollercoaster of stress and tension, guaranteeing moments that will test your nerves. Whether facing the unknown alone or teaming up with friends, this game will push you to your limits.
Get your copy today and prepare for an unforgettable gaming experience that will leave you breathless.
Distilled – Paverson Games
We met Dave Beck, designer of Distilled, a fascinating game for spirits enthusiasts, which was released worldwide during the UKGE.
In Distilled, you take on the task of restoring a distillery to its former glory. Your mission is to become the master distiller and create the most prestigious spirit in the game. At the start, you’ll only know how to craft vodka and moonshine, but as the game progresses, a whole world of unique spirits awaits.
This is a heavily thematic game, where the real-world art of distilling inspires every decision and gameplay mechanic. From the intricate distilling process to the aging and gathering of flavors, you’ll experience the authentic essence of the craft. Learn the secrets of different spirits and uncover their distinct characteristics to create wonderful concoctions that set you apart.
Can you rise to the challenge and become a renowned master distiller in this captivating game of skill and creativity?
Moon – Sinister Fish
Moon is a highly anticipated game from Haakon Gaarder that completes a trilogy of games that started with Villagers and later with Streets. We talked with Haakon Gaarder, and he confirmed that Moon is the last game in the series. However, we can crave and expect upcoming and bigger games in the near future.
Haakon Gaardner’s signature is lightweight gameplay that comprises multiple game mechanics in an authentic, fun, and heartwarming way. Moon should break the mold and challenge Haakon Gaardner’s design as it brings Eurogames elements to the table. It is presented in the traditional box and coherent and consistent artwork from Villagers and Streets.
Stay tuned! We’ve got our hands on Moon and will review it before release.
Shape Invaders – Camden Town
Space Invaders is a dexterity game where two players duel against each other using the so-called Shape Invaders.
The idea of the game is simple. There are three types of shapes: spaceships, shields, and one mother ship. To attack opponents, you flick your ships against theirs in an attempt to push them off the table. Be careful not to kill your own spaceships. Shields cannot attack. If a mother ship is destroyed, it can respawn in the place of a shield. And that’s all! Could it be simpler? Don’t be deceived by Shape Invaders’ easy rules, though! It is absolutely addictive and highly joyful to play.
I played the game against its designer Dave Wethersall, and, to my surprise, I won! Dave is a brilliant designer, full of creative ideas, but he still needs more practice to challenge my flicking skills! I’m looking forward to seeing you soon, Dave! And who knows, you will turn the table (not literally) next time?
Misfits – Akn Design
Misfits is a piece-stacking game packed with brilliance and standout design. Each piece is special and can be combined with others in infinite ways. From the wooden components to the box, everything is stunning. The attention given to the tiniest details is remarkable; every detail was polished and compelling.
Alexander Neumann is the mastermind of Misfits, and it is clear that his passion and dedication to design are his core signature. We had a lovely time with Alexander, who demoed us this stacking game, and we cannot wait to get our hands on it to build the most absurd towers ever.
Look At The Stars – Studio Bombyx
Get ready to gaze at the stars and create constellations with “Look At The Stars,” the latest game from Studio Bombyx.
In this charming and peaceful game, you’ll draw constellations in the sky, creating a beautiful celestial panorama. It is a “flip and draw” game where you can add your artistic touch to the constellation boards for each card flipped. The beautiful artwork and enchanting theme will transport you to a peaceful realm, offering a truly meditative experience. As you connect the stars on the board, you’ll witness your constellations come to life, creating a visually stunning display that is uniquely yours.
Fateforge: Chronicles of Kaan – Mighty Boards
Fateforge: Chronicles of Kaan is an enthralling cooperative campaign brimming with unexpected surprises and exhilarating battles, presented in compact episodes lasting less than an hour. This mythical action-adventure game provides an accessible board game experience reminiscent of RPGs, accommodating 1 to 4 players. Engage in action-packed combat scenes and make meaningful narrative choices that lie at the core of the gameplay. Through an app-guided narrative, navigate a city steeped in mystery and suspense, where the consequences of your decisions will ultimately determine the empire’s destiny.
Fateforge: Chronicles of Kaan is an upcoming release from Mighty Boards and designed by Prof. Gordon Calleja from Vengeance, Vengeance Roll & Fight, Posthuman, Posthuman Saga, and Excavation Earth. We had the pleasure of talking with Prof. Gordon Calleja. He confessed that with every upcoming game, he challenges himself and pushes himself out of his comfort zone. He revealed that Fateforge: Chronicles of Kaan is his biggest project ever and “whispered in our ears” that they are working on it and there’s more to come soon.
The game has a fabulous table presence leaving us mesmerized and intrigued. It is one of our “must-buy” games of the year.
Cranium – 25th Anniversary Edition Game – Funko Games
Cranium is back, and it’s better than ever. With the 25th anniversary of the game, Funko Games is releasing four Cranium games.
During the Expo, we were pleased to play Cranium – 25th Anniversary Edition with the Funko Games team. The game expands on the original with many new activities and even more madness and joy. We had a blast, and it was a very entertaining experience. We couldn’t stop laughing. It is a party game for non-party gamers (don’t look at me). It is such fun and delightful that it will capture everyone’s heart.
The War of the Worlds: One More Day – By Matthew Robinson
The War of the Worlds: One More Day is a real-time deck-building game for solo play based on the science fiction novel by English author H. G. Wells. The game takes about one to two hours to play. In addition to the solo version, the designer is currently working on a two-player version.
Players begin by choosing a Survivor character, each with an initial deck of Survivor cards, and setting their Health and Hope trackers accordingly. They then select one of the various Stories to play through, each providing different objectives for the game. There are diverse decks in the game. Players can purchase Survivor cards from the Market Place to build their Survivor deck. Events in the Event deck can negatively impact the player. The Incoming deck makes the Event deck even more challenging.
Last but not least, six Location decks modify Events and add Market Place cards exclusive to each location. Various resources and measures are provided in the game, including shillings for the purchase of cards, an intuitive token for traveling to new locations, a stamina token that can be used for a variety of purposes, such as drawing additional Survival cards, and a health and hope tracker that can be used to keep track of your hope and health. Players draw five cards from the Survival deck, one Location card, and two Events on each turn. To mitigate the adverse effects of Events and Engagements, players must play cards from their hands or use resources to play cards from their hands. After resolving any remaining Events and Engagement effects, they may travel to a new location or purchase new cards. Engagements can be exhausted, evaded, or destroyed. The player can also move to a different location to flee from the Engagement in play.