UK Games Expo 2010

Well the UK Games Expo was this weekend and came the day after the end of my exams, giving me a really great way to celebrate the end of finals. The show was even busier than last year, although I think there were slightly fewer companies on show. The biggest news was Steve Jackson and Ian Livingston who were promoting the re-release of their Fighting Fantasy series of books and doing signings. They also gave a talk about how they got going in the industry which was really interesting and illustrated just how much luck is needed in the gaming world as the margins are so slight, especially for a start-up. The two of them clearly have a great friendship and the chemistry between them made the talk a joy to listen to.

Gaming-wise I got to try out a load of RPGs including a long overdue look at D&D 4th. All in all, I'd play it again... not really a ringing endorsement, but it's not an outstanding revolution of the Role Playing world, it has some interesting changes, it has a fair few that seem just like a way to sell extra merchandise (though nothing like as bad as WFRP 3rd). My biggest issue is the healing surge system which reeks of 'game mechanic' to such an extent that it pulls me out of the game. I also continued my exploration of Triple Ace Games' systems with a game of Hellfrost and another of Sundered Skies. I have to say I was a little disappointed, Daring Tales of Adventure inspired me to start GMing sessions. I think I had set my expectations too high, they are both good settings, and I'd happily play in a game, but I wasn't driven to suggest running a game. Finally was a surprise game called 'Soviet Cthulhu' I had agreed to play with the missus. I love the Cthulhu mythos, but take issue with the BRP system at times. Having said that, this game was a lot of fun. a few of the players were a little frustrating (I think this was exacerbated by being in a noisy room meaning people often had to repeat themselves, never fun). The real gem was the GM who was clearly experienced in the system, the mythos and the period of Russian history that it was set in.

As I was technically working at the Expo, covering the event for GeekPlanetOnline.com. I use the Expo as a way to try out new games, many of which are from independents, or amateur publishers that are looking for a foot in the door. This year I got the chance to try a load of new games, but nowhere near as many as were on show nor as many as I wanted. Reviews for Tri 3D, Pandemic, Cubiko Word, Graverobbers, Forbidden Island, Dominion and Shuuro should be appearing on the site over the next few weeks. They might get held up a little as the site is subject to new submission guides that I'll have to adapt to. Do keep an eye on the site: http://www.geekplanetonline.com