It’s that time of year again, we are almost as far away from the next UK Games Expo as possible in a calendar year and that’s sad. However, there is still some good news from the world of UKGE – one has just finished and what a fantastic show it was! Various members of the Coaching for Geeks team are going to write up their thoughts on the show, (FYI my review is basically that it was amazing and I can’t wait to go back) but I will be talking you through the best of the best that we saw in a variety of categories.
These are the games, shows and other things that the team found to be the best and in a semi award/highlight reel, I will tell you a little about them and how to find out more.
Please note – it is not possible to play every game at the show, we missed an awful lot out so do tell us how wrong we are and what your games of the show are in the comments below. And please also note we have included a few affiliate links where we have them if you buy a game that helps fund our own gaming habits. So buy loads of games.
Let’s start with the little ones.
BEST KIDS’ GAME
RHINO HERO SUPER BATTLE
By Scott Frisco, Steven Strumpf
Published by HABA
This fun game pits you against each other and those pesky little spider monkeys, in this bigger version of the previous game Rhino Hero (for slightly younger kids). Build your skyscraper and defend it from up high, but be careful, the higher you go, the wobblier it gets!
HABA has a giant version of Rhino Hero Super Battle on their stand which every pub should now get.
From the kids to the whole family.
BEST FAMILY GAME
Published by Gutter Games
Egolympics is a perfect family game, it’s hands on and just a little bit crazy. It will test skill, dexterity, nerve, and will see just how lucky you are. Pick a card and perform one of Egolympics many crazy tasks. From bouncing ping pong balls, to balancing dice between cuphands. This is a game that’s coming soon and we think it can’t come soon enough.
Now we move on to expand our minds.
BEST EDUCATIONAL GAME
HISTORY HEROES: SPACE
Published by History Heroes
Ok so any one of History Heroes games could have taken the crown really, but I do love Space. The history heroes lines are a fun, educational and easy to play series that caters to all ages, tests your knowledge on the subject by having you win cards for correctly working out who is the hero being described. This one balances to any age, with a series of clues, from hard to easy on each card.
There are loads of categories available in the series.
Check out History Heroes here: https://www.historyheroes.co.uk/
Education time over, let’s party!
BEST PARTY GAME
By Jonathan Franklin & Phillip Melchers
We love Barpig at CfG! It’s a merciless climb to level 5 and victory! Everyone grab a level card, a bar tab and character card and get challenging. Barpig demands you leave your comfort zone at home as you slap, seduce, and dance to not lose sober points. If your anthropomorphic pig character gets too drunk they’ll blackout and go back to level one, so a hand of ‘take that’ items are on hand to help you mess with the other swines around the table. Ridiculous, fast-paced, fun. Goes well with actual drinking
Barpig After Hours, the standalone expansion, is currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter and hit its target in just 36 hours.
Now we have finished in the tavern and tempers are up it’s time for war!
BEST MINIATURES GAME
A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE: TABLETOP MINIATURES GAME
By Eric M. Lang, Michael Shinall
Published by CMON Limited
Not happy with how Game of Thrones ended? Take this chance to do it your way with A Song of Ice and Fire The Tabletop Miniatures Game. This expansive (and expensive), beautiful, game has tons of different sets, amazing sculpts for you to build, and one hell of an impressive lore for you to take inspiration from. Join a friend and go take your frustrations out! The Hound for the throne? No?
War is a horrible thing, let’s make friends and work together
BEST CO-OP GAME
ESCAPE THE DARK CASTLE
By Alex Crispin, Thomas Pike, James Shelton
Published by Themeborn
You are imprisoned. Probably innocent (at least for what you are in for), and with no court willing to hear your plea you and your fellow “probably innocent” inmates need to escape. The trouble is this castle is full of horrors and challenges, so you and your party need to use your unique skills to escape. It will take might, cunning and wisdom. This great introduction to atmospheric RPG style games will always make you want to come back for more.
Friendship is always a good strategy surely?
BEST STRATEGY GAME
By Dan Alexander
Published by Intrepid Games
Time to start up your own space company. You have 2 crew members, some kit and some sectors to call your own. Trouble is, so does everyone else. Take your time, train up your crew and claim more sectors for yourself. Lander is a strategic gold mine, with varying gameplay styles, lots of missions and crew to help you accumulate mission stars and take the win. Think carefully about each move and enjoy this 5 round space adventure, coming soon to Kickstarter.
Check out Lander here: https://www.landerthegame.com/
After being a pig, a corporation and Stark, we are all roleplay masters!
BEST ROLEPLAYING GAME
THE BLACK HACK 2ND EDITION
By Peter Regan
Published by Gold Piece Publications
This is the long awaited follow up to the brilliant Black Hack, which was a streamlined, fast passed yet simple RPG that anyone could pick up and play. This time they have added a ton of additional content. Great user guides for budding GM, battle maps with gorgeous art, character creation ideas and what’s even better is that the rules are easy and can be picked up in only a few minutes. If you have wanted to play D&D, Pathfinder, etc but are scared of the sheer volume of rules etc, then this is the ideal launch pad.
Check out The Black Hack: Second Edition here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1730454032/the-black-hack-rpg-second-edition
One thing I love about RPGs (and spend too much money on) is dice, so let’s look at them
BEST DICE GAME
By Mark Littlewood and James Gillham
Published by Peruke Games
This is a clever yet simple little dice game where you will defend your numbered tokens and attack your opponents. Team up or go alone to build the most points, Peruke will have you strategising. It’s very easy to play, after just one round you will feel confident. Will take a lot more than that (plus some chucked in luck) to master it.
Check out more about Peruke here: http://perukegames.co.uk/
No attempt at a fun segue. Cards.
BEST CARD GAME
By Haakon Gaarder
Published by Sinister Fish Games
There’s always one game at UK Games Expo that has a massive buzz about it and everyone seems to have a copy. This year that game was Villagers.
Villagers is a card game about building up the most prosperous village you can. To do this you need to invite people into your village, by drafting from the road. You’re going to need to collect a lot of stuff too, those craftsmen will need raw materials, villagers need food, and if you don’t have the right craftsman in your village, you’ll be paying others for the privilege..Feeling up to the task? Go solo or with up to 5 people in this charming and beautiful game.
BEST AMERICAN STYLE GAME
By Peter Scholtz
Published by White Wizard Games
Based in a gaslit style fantasy world, Sorcerer has you pitted against another powerful ancient being to rival your own. Gain energy, get minions and take to the battlefield. The deck building element mixed with strategy and tactics keeps the luck of the dice feeling slightly less brutal at times but can still take its toll giving us a really fun experience.
BEST EUROPEAN STYLE GAME
TICKET TO RIDE LONDON
By Alan R. Moon
Published by Days of Wonder
We all know and love Ticket to Ride, but what do we love about Ticket to Ride London? It is a scaled-back version of the game with fewer stops, meaning it’s perfect for a quick game or for multiple rounds. The game is very 1970’s London, which was easily one of the coolest places to be at that time, so the game oozes style. A good one for all the family.
BEST ABSTRACT GAME
By Nigel Roper
Published by Merlin Games
Thieves is simple with incredible strategic depth. You find the treasure, you get the treasure and you get out! Like most things though, it’s not actually that simple, plan your moves and hope the dice gods are on your side in this head to head game, Thieves is easy to learn and has lots of hidden depth for how you cope with fortune.
Check out Thieves here: http://www.merlingames.co.uk/games/thieves
BEST UNIQUE GAME
FOG OF LOVE
By Jakob Jaascov
Published by Hush Hush Project
This is definitely a unique game. Choose your character, fall in love and use the cards to create a love story for the ages, or maybe for the bin! The game is genuinely moving with lots of ups and downs and it’s easy to feel for your character, connected. If you have played it, you know it’s hard to want to break up with it and it will have you going back time and time again.
Designers Hush Hush has responded to demand in the market by releasing a female couple cover and a male couple cover, plus a series of expansions including Paranormal Romance, Trouble with the In-Laws, and It Will Never Last.
Let’s mix it up a little and talk accessories
GIANT BOOK OF BATTLE MATS
Loke’s battlemats are glorious. The quality and art is breathtaking and is a must for anyone who loves tabletop gaming and wants a handy set of maps to hand. In big and giant sizes, and smaller dungeon maps recently successfully kickstarted, Loke keep on knocking it out of the park (the dungeon?)
We reviewed the prototype versions last year, and they keep on adding to the range with Sci-Fi, dungeons, and more to come.
Find out more at http://lokebattlemats.com/
Maybe you want something completely different, but still keeps that tabletop flair?
BEST UNIQUE GIFT
These are delicious gaming treats that will be loved by everyone. Currently, with a range featuring meeple sweets and prosecco dice, these tasty treats go down anywhere. Who wouldn’t want some sparkling prosecco dice wedding favours? Yummy!
Check out Food Pawn here: https://www.honeybadgergames.co.uk/
Now for the big 2! Let’s start with
BEST LIVE SHOW
TOM CROSBIE: THE PERFORMING NERD
This was a tough one, so many great shows to see during the weekend, including Knightmare Live and Star Wars Vs Star Trek, but Tom takes the crown. A brilliant show that’s got lots of laughs and wow moments all delivered by an unassuming chap in a mustard yellow sleeveless cardigan. What’s not to love? Oh and Rubik’s cubes! Lots of Rubik’s cubes!
Check out Tom Crosbie here: https://www.performingnerd.com/
Now the big one, bigger than the Oscars, the Grammys and my swimming certificate all rolled into one.
COACHING FOR GEEKS BEST GAME OF UK GAMES EXPO 2019
BARPIG from BARPIG
No, it’s not deep, strategic, or requires too much thought. After a long weekend of heavy games, we can’t get enough Barpig! Everyone wants to play it and talk about it. We love it and can’t wait for the expansion! That’s why it is our UKGE game of the year for 2019.
Also, it made CfG founder Robin do a lapdance, so it has that going for it too.
Until next year fellow geeks, happy board gaming!