Beer & Pretzels 2009

Just a quick reminder of the next UK convention in the calendar:

The 20th Beer & Pretzels Games Weekend 2009
16th and 17th May
Town Hall, Burton on Trent, Staffs.
More Beer!
More Pretzels!
More Games!
Confidently expecting a good turnout, all three halls in the Town Hall have been hired, so there will be space for anyone planning something a bit bigger, or just more normal games. We have dug out the giant Labyrinth game and No Dice Games have confirmed that they will be running a selection of their RPGs, the usual VTES and Star Wars Tournaments will be running as well. More details as we get them.
The venue is still:
Town Hall
Burton on Trent
DE14 2EB
Times are still:
10.00am – 10.00pm Saturday
10.00am – 7.00pm Sunday
Tickets are still:
£4.00 per day
£7.00 for both days
Ample free parking, close to the railway station, local B&B’s and restaurants

Spielbox 2/2009 and Dominion (German) card offer

The latest edition of Spielbox turned up today. This included a set of Black Market cards for Dominion (with German text for obvious reasons). As I already have the English version, I’m happy to send these to the first UK person to contact me via the comments section below. (Don’t worry if your comment doesn’t appear straight away. My spam filter asks for my approval before publishing anything – can’t be too careful as I’m up to 500,00 spam comments received on this blog offering viagara and other unsavoury services).

This edition also featured reviews of Valdora, Wind River, Planet Steam, Senji, Steel Driver, Comuni and Fits. The last had mixed ratings but seems to have been widely played at Alan Moon’s Gathering of Friends and fairly well rated by some of the people I know from Essen (Valerie and others). I may have to investigate this further.

The issue also has fairly extensive coverage of the Nurnberg trade show and a feature on the latest electronic gaming gimmick trying to integrate a console with traditional board games.It’s called YVIO, produced by PublicSolution, for anyone interested in exploring further – I’m not!

Saturday gaming fun

I went along to the Telford mini-con on Saturday and spent around 9 fun hours gaming and chatting. Many thanks to Paul and David for organising this.

I managed to catch up with Paul Oakes, whom I’ve not seen for about five years or so, and I think he managed to twist my arm into going along to Midcon this November. It’s been a while since I last attended that convention and it is about time I put in another appearance.

Anyway, when I arrived, everyone other than David was busy playing other things so I took the opportunity to introduce him to two short two-player games by Reiner Knizia. Los Banditos is in the excellent Schmidt Spiele easy play line and is essentially Schotten Totten played with dice. Embarrassingly, my dice-rolling was appalling and David ran out winning that game 10-0. Ouch! I then showed him Robot Master, which is a tiny card game utilising a Euphrat & Tigris scoring mechanism. We played two games of this with each of us winning one game.

By this time we were able to mix up the groups but I showed off my Tumblin-Dice skills to a few of the guys while we were waiting. Next up was Islas Canarias by Leo Colovini, a game of using cards to develop an island based on the island’s features. Gaining a majority in each colour of building gave a special ability and this was what let the game down a bit as the ability to protect from the pirate and re-direct the attack to an opponent seemed extremely strong. Added to that, once a player had acquired the ability, it proved impossible for anyone else to take it away. I may need to check we were playing it right but, as I was the one with that ability, I couldn’t complain as it enabled me to claim the win although Chloe was pretty close in second place.

After that Steve and I played a relatively quick game of Oregon, which Steve won rather easily – unsurprising as he has played it so much online.

For my final game of the day, I sat down with four Power Grid fans and Chloe to play the China map of the game. I’ve played Power Grid maybe three times before and, although I think it is a very good design, I can’t be bothered to do the maths to optimise my turns / bids, preferring to go with my instincts. Having bought the highest numbered power station on my first turn, I found myself last in picking cities and was forced to go into an area competing with Steve. When the second phase began, he did his best to block me in but I managed to find a route out that wasn’t too expensive and enable me to expand further. By this stage, Chloe was rolling in cash and everyone felt she was in an excellent position to win. However, it turned out that she had left herself just a little too much to do to catch up in network expansion. As it turned out, Steve and I both managed to link to and power 14 cities at the same time and it came down to remaining cash to break the tie. Satisfyingly, I had a single Electro more for a surprise win.

And that was it for me. I left a bit before the end but had enjoyed the day very much. If they repeat the event, I’ll definitely be keen to go again. 

Tumblin’ Dice

I seem to be playing Tumblin’ Dice a fair bit at the moment, as it seems to go down really well with everyone who’s tried it. Over the weekend, we played four games at a family barbecue and, last night, we introduced it to Catherine’s boyfriend, Steve. In fact, the game last night featured a fantastic last round performance by Catherine when she scored over 60 points to overtake Jan’s 20 point lead going into the last round. The less said about my score the better.

UK Games Expo – 5th to 7th June 2009




Richard Denning has just sent me the latest info on this year’s event:

Book your Tickets for Expo 2009

We are happy to announce our booking system is now up with details of all our tournaments and RPG sessions so BOOK NOW!. Go to

This year we have 80+ demo/participation games of all types. There are dozens of RPG sessions across all 3 days being arranged as well as 300 seats in miniatures, board game and card tournaments and of course the most diverse range of games exhibitors in a UK convention. Board games, role-playing, cards and miniatures: you can see them all.

If you fancy more time playing games at Expo this year then make sure you get the extended weekend ticket to enjoy all three days. The ticket grants you admission from noon on Friday 5th June to the RPG sessions and open gaming areas at the Strathallan Hotel.

Chaotic Launch Tournament

Win Awesome Prizes in the Chaotic UK National Launch Championship!

The Chaotic National Launch Championship will be held on 7 June at UK Games Expo. This is the first-ever major UK tournament for Chaotic, and the winner will have bragging rights as the first national champion ever!

But wait, it gets better! The winner gets a free trip to Gen Con Indy in the US (13-16 August; prize includes airfare, hotel, and 4-day Gen Con pass), including entry into all Chaotic events at Gen Con! The runner up takes home a Nintendo Wii. Four top finishers each score two displays of Chaotic boosters, and some of them will qualify for the Chaotic world championship later this year.

Win a Nintendo Wii in the Huntik Regional Championship at Expo

Fancy walking a way with a Nintendo Wii or an iPod and other prizes. Get yourself to the UDE stand Saturday morning 6th June at UK Games Expo and register for the Huntik Championship to be held that same day.

Entrants MUST bring their own Huntik Cards to enter and must have played and understood the the game in advance.

Bigger and Better for Wargamers

This year we are excited to welcome more wargames traders than ever including some of those developing exciting new ranges of metal and plastic figures.

New Board Games releases and prototypes

Be the first to grab a copy of Sumeria from Reiver Games or Automobile from Treefrog as well as other new games. Try out exciting new games in development.

Roleplaying at UK Games Expo

There are RPG events on 3 days this year which will run from noon on Friday 5th June.

These sessions will include Pathfinder and Living Forgotten Realms, Call of Cthuluhu, New 4e Eberron run by Keith Baker, games from Triple Ace Games, Cubicle 7 and Men in Black, Team 8 and many others.

There will be a special Dungeon Delve as well.

The extended weekend ticket gives you access to all of this.

Read about our Exhibitors

The web site now lists the 80+ exhibitors planning to attend Expo this year with the list growing all the time as bookings come in.

Calling All GMs!

We need GM’s to help run three days of Role-playing. Fancy running some RPG for us and your fellow gamers this year? Email: Tony Hyams at

Dominion cards shipping

I got an email yesterday from the folks at Boardgamegeek to inform me that the Envoy and Black Market expansion cards for Dominion had now been shipped to me. Hopefully, the trek across the Atlantic won’t take too long and we can look forward to trying them out soon.

Update: And I get home today and they’re here already. Jan’s comment was that Black Market sounds confusing.

Lexio – computerised version

I don’t tend to play many computerised versions of board games – I much prefer the face-to-face experieince. However, Matthew Marquand has converted a number of games for solitaire play against computer opponents and I have occasionally given these a go.

His latest implementation is for Lexio and I have tried it a few times and enjoyed it quite a bit each time. I don’t think we’ve played it at the Shrewsbury Boardgames Club although I have played it with the family. The physical version is really nice with chunky tiles and I’m encouraged by the online experience to try the actual game again soon.

You can try Matthew’s version of the game here. 

Trip to Shire Games

Nipped into Shire Games on Saturday as I was collecting Catherine from Keele for the Easter break and had also agreed to pick up a copy of Diamonds Club for Nige. Naturally, I had a good look around and three new games found their way into my collection this time.

First up was Small World, a revamped version of Philippe Keyaerts’ Vinci, which looks really nice – hardly surprising as it is published by Days of Wonder. Hopefully, we’ll get to play this on Good Friday. The second game was Finito, another in Schmidt Spiele’s excellent Easy Play line. This is another multi-player puzzle game in the same vein as Take It Easy and High Score (Wurfel Bingo) that takes about 20 minutes so is ideally suited to finish off an evening. The third was Islas Canarias by Leo Colovini, whose games are usually quite mind-burning although this looks to be on the lighter side. Another game that plays with up to five people so could get its first appearance on Friday.

Has a new tax year really prompted me to start writing?

This site has been deathly quiet for a while as I seem to have got out of the habit of posting stuff. A lack of inspiration on my part and hardly any comments back hasn’t helped, but I’m going to try and do a bit better. In all likelihood, these are likely to be whatever comes to mind when I decide to start tapping at the keyboard so don’t expect any deep and meaningful prose (…when was it ever?..) Hopefully, some of it will make sense and even be vaguely informative / interesting. Comments are always welcome but, due to the abundance of comment spam I still get – now approaching 500,000 since I installed the Akismet spam filter – these have to be approved by me before appearing on the site. Right, first piece of game-related stuff coming up.