Thursday, 9 June 2022

UK Games Expo round Up

 After two years of virtual conventions and Covid restrictions, the UK Games Expo was back in full force for 2022!

Over 450 exhibitors had packed out the massive space which is the Birmingham NEC taking over three halls and offering after hours gaming in the function rooms of the Hilton Hotel.

My last visit to the Expo was in 2019 just before the pandemic and I had been working as a games demonstrator for Ares Games, and this year I managed to get the same gig. 

I was absolutely over the moon to be selected again to work with Ares. They are a fantastic company and Roberto, Cristoph and Fabio had travelled over from Italy and were just as lovely to work for again.

The show was extremely well received as over 35000 people had attended over the weekend and apart from the usual few niggles (mainly bring and buy and the occasional unwanted seller pushing) in my opinion it was one hell of a successful show.

Thousands of people from all walks of life, ranging from small children to the occasional Methuselah from every type of background and multiple nationalities, just enjoying the same things - friends, food, gaming and fun.

As a demonstrator, I didn't get that much time time to actually wander the halls and see a lot of the show, or try out many games, but the time I did get was used to catch up with numerous friends and colleagues and I got to spend the evenings gaming with some close friends.

Ares Games was massively busy as we were demoing the New version of The Thing Board Game (as well as Masters of the Night, Diabolik, Quartermaster General 1914, Wings of Glory, Sails of Glory) along with the premier reveal of the new War of the Ring Card Game, which had massive crowds at the reveal seminar followed by constant demos.

On the Sunday we ran a massive dogfight of Wings of Glory with 24 players which concluded with everyone receiving a prize ranging from Participation Certificates and promo material to free planes and a massive Handley Page Bomber model for the overall winners.

I had an absolute blast and the 3 days went so fast. Cant wait for next year to do it again.


The Crowds

Saucy Elf

The Orcs

Peeka boo!

John Robertson of The Dark Room Fame - Ya Die Darren


Star Wars Cosplay

Star Wars Cosplay

Who ya gonna call?

The Vikings

Vault Boy

Vault Boy


Alex, Me, Andy -  Friends!!!

Wings of Glory participants

Ares Games Crew

My haul

Saturday, 26 February 2022

Warlords of Erewhon - War of the Grudge

Its been quite some time since I have played a game of warlords of Erehwon, but I finally got a chance the other night to get my Elvish force onto the table against my friend Nic's Dwarfs.

A true battle of the Beard was to be had. We chose 1000pts and a 4'x4' board and just went for a straight pitched battle. Nic had seven order dice to my 8 so I would have to remove 4 order dice to win whilst he would have to remove 5 of mine.

After both sides deployed the first turn mainly saw units advancing or running into position ready for the perceived onslaught of turn 2.

Dwarf and Elven Rangers trade shot and arrow with first blood going to the dwarf's, who dropped a couple of Elves in a hail of lead.

The Giant Eagle and Dwarf Gyrocopter duelled constantly for a few turns until finally the Avian hunter ripped the infernal machine from the sky. A big loss for Nic as the Gyrocopter had 2 order dice.

After downing the Gyrocopter (2 Dice) the Eagle was wounded by a Lightning Bolt hurled from the Dwarf Runesmith, whilst a horde of frenzied slayers charged towards the Elf Infantry.

Harried by Elven Cavalry and shot to pieces by Elven Rangers a unit of Slayers (1 dice) was wiped out by the talons of the Eagle. Not before however, they had destroyed a unit of Elven Guard and whittled down my Cavalry to two models.

With the Dwarf Runesmith (1 Dice) also being dispatched the game was technically won for the Elves but we decided to carry on.

Carrying on for the last couple of turns actually turned the game into a bloodbath for the Elves. The remaining unit of Slayers as well as the Dwarf Lord and his bodyguard, scythed though my lightly armoured units and my Hero and Elf Lord were both cut down by the massive axes of the doughty Dwarf's - I hadn't needed to throw them into combat but as the game had been technically won - why not eh?

In the finally throes of the game, again it came down to my mighty Eagle and the lord of the skies rent destruction upon the Dwarf Lord, sending him to his ancestors and thus causing another entry into the book of Grudges.

I really enjoy this game and its not too taxing and rules heavy. Overall its fun and that is what matters.

Saturday, 12 February 2022

7TV Fantasy day - Board in Brum

Last week I attended the 7TV Fantasy Day, hosted by Simon Coldrick at the wonderful Board in Brum venue. For those that don't know, 7TV is a wonderful skirmish game produced by Crooked Dice and has a few different sets - these include, Pulp, Apocalypse, Spy-Fi and of course Fantasy. Using these sets you can basically play great narrative skirmish games in any type of TV/film trope you like.

So onto the Fantasy day. This was the first major outing for the Fantasy set and saw a very good turn out of fourteen excited souls all with their well designed casts, well 13 people and then me - I had had absolutely no real time to put anything together or paint any new minis, so I raided my old Heroscape collections and put 3 casts together, all completely different so I could try a cast a game as we would be playing 3 games over the course of the day.

Arriving at the venue it was great to catch up with friends old and new as I don't get to see them that often and its rather nice to be able to chat and get completely engrossed with like minded chums.

So - onto the games. Simon had arranged a nice narrative for the day set around the myth of Pandora's box. This meant it didn't matter if you had Heroic or Evil casts as only the result of what happened to the box really mattered.

Game 1 vs Kay Hill - Pandora's Box

Travelling far to the west in search of Pandora's Box, both forces were closing in on the group who had control of the Box. We must capture it and drive off the opposition.

A small NPC party was featured carrying the box and both casts had to fight off them and each other to capture it. Each cast could control the NPCs in their phase.

My Cast for this game was a Goblin Horde led by a Dark One:
Dark One, 2 Goblin Champions, Goblin King, Goblin Warriors, Goblin Sneaks, Goblin wolf Rider, Ogre and Troll.

K's had a adorable cast made up of Cats and Dogs miniatures representing:
Dashing Rogue, 2 Wise Mentors, Promising Apprentice, Bard, Warrior Monk, Herbalist, Beserker and Night Watchman.
The NPC watchmen in control of the box set of across the board cresting the large hill in the centre. 

Suddenly it was raining cats and dogs and magic as well as the sky being blackened by goblin arrows. The Box party fell quickly with only its attendant hunter causing the pets trouble with a few well aimed shots from his bow.

The fluffy spell weavers crested the hill and nearly took control of the box and made away with it as fast as their little paws could move.

However a charge from the wolf rider tied up a group of the annoying critters in the centre of the hill, allowing the Ogre and Troll to attack their flanks.

With some of the animals seeming to have 9 lives (critters killed were suddenly magically returned to life) Kay's menagerie crowded around the box and one agile puss leapt away with it.

The Ogre roared and with a swing of his might club, laid the howling pack out and the Dark One used his magic compass to fling the box into the waiting hands of the troll.

With the Goblins rounding up and putting down the poor fluffy tykes the Dark One laughed maniacally as Pandora's Box was his.

Lunchtime Interlude - Deathtrap Dungeon.

As an extra side plot during lunch break each player picked a co-star from their cast and entered into Deathtrap Dungeon. The aim - to survive against the dungeons many traps and monsters, as well as against each other and exit via the magic portal.

Each player started in the outer ring of the Dungeon and went in turn. The opening moves saw a few backstabbing moments and soon characters were falling to a knife in the back or the odd magic missile. My Angelic avatar tried a couple of crossbow shots against what were perceived as evil doers and was suitably attacked in return.

Surviving against these disciples of evil my next few turns were spent helping out taking out the many zombies and werewolves that were roaming the dungeon. 

The outer ring soon filled with poison gas which claimed a few more unlucky heroes and the next ring was full of malicious traps which caught out the adventurers. 

With a quick dash towards the room with the portal my hero suddenly came across the portal guard, in combat with a burly barbarian, a massive Minotaur! It charged and knocked us both down but i was still alive.

Another hero came to our aid and ran the Minotaur through leaving the portal open for us to escape.

Game 2 vs Simon - The Pursuit

I had possession of Pandora's Box and was being chased by Simon's cast. My objective to get the Box off the opposing casts deployment zone or Axe him (cause him to retreat)

For this game I used my Heroic cast made up of:
Divine Mortal, Valkyrie, Man at Arms, 3 Nephilim.

Simon's Cast was an Undead horde made up of:
Malevolent Sorcerer, Vicious Henchman, Gristle on the Hoarfrost - Death Knight, Ingram the fallen - Death Knight, Bear, Skeletons and Skeleton Champion.

Both forces set up across from the desolate camp in the woods. With the Undead horde flanking my Angelic group.

The Sorcerer strode purposely forward and with a malevolent cackle started to form an evil spell. However the winds of magic were clearly in the Heavenly hosts favour and the magical backlash of the failed spell knocked the evil witch over.

Gaining the initiative the Nephilim flew forward and descended on the witch with mighty hammers which crackled with power. A few mighty blows later and all could be heard was the screams of I'm meltiiiiiiiiing!!

With the Undead shambling forward to slowly to affect the outcome, the Vicious Henchman and his Bear couldnt hold against the radiance of the winged Nephilim. 

Lightning split the sky, Angels descended on the Undead and the decrepit remains of the unfortunate crumbled to dust.

Game 3 vs Shaun - The Revealing

I still had possession of Pandora's Box and now it was time to reveal its secrets. A Magic Fulcrum had been unearthed next to the Mighty Castle Mourn. However hearing that forces from the West could possibly reveal the secrets of Pandora, the Mighty Monkey King from the East had come to steal the box for his own ideals.

Again as per the other episodes/games I used a different cast, this time I had and Elven host:
Agile Archer, Elven Warden, Elven Sword Dancers, Elven Scouts and A Forest Dragon. Also I was given a Warlock NPC who was to open the box.

Shauns cast was made up of some wonderful Chinese/Oriental Monkey King miniatures:
Dashing Rogue, Devout Mystic, Warhound, Assassin, Fire Elemental, Sgt at Arms and Soldier at Arms.

The Oriental Menace had taken possession of the castle, whilst the Elves were still hugging trees, although the Monkey King got too carried away on his magic cloud, scudding over the castle towers crenellations and right into the range of the massed Elven Scouts and their Agile Archer Star. A hail of finely crafted arrows whistled through the air and into the Monkey King felling him off his cloud and sending his primate soul back to the Eastern domain.

Seeing their Leader fall so swiftly, the Han Dynasty Soldiers marched forward and loosed off their crossbows but their skills fell shorty of those of the Elves and no Sylvan troops fell.

Now the Forest Dragon took to the skies and plummeted towards the opposing forces, lashing out with its razor claws and tail, rending and sending soldiers flying whilst bathing the warhound in its flame breath.

The Assassin burst from the shadows and with a shout of cowabunga dude, managed to cause a wound to the Dragon. 

Now out of his hiding spot though, the Assassin was quickly peppered with Elven arrows.

The Oriental forces were reeling, the Dragon crested the tower chasing the Mystic who took cover against the solid stone ramparts.

By this time the Warlock had started his ritual with Pandora's box at the Magic Fulcrum and soon what was sealed would soon be released.

Seeing the eddies of magic energy swirling below the Devout Mystic leapt from the tower, hoping her Diving Hawk attack would take out the warlock..........splat, that would be no then!!

The forces of the Monkey King retreated and all they could see whilst leaving the area was the bright glow of the hope that was left behind last time the box was opened, no finally released back into the world.

Some of the casts on display

Kay's Animal Magic

Barbarian Horde

My Goblin Horde

My Angelic Host

Forces of the Monkey King

Simons Undead with Sorceror

Tavis's Dragonheart 

Simon Quintons Dwarven Party

Another fantastic, fun day and the addition of Deathtrap Dungeon during lunch was really fun. Kudos to Simon Coldrick and Board in Brum for another great event.

More so that win, lose or draw, these events are more about fun and the narrative. Its not hyper competitive and catching up with friends and playing games, rolling dice and having a damn good time is definitely what I enjoy the most.