UK Games Expo 2017 : Books and Boardgames Seminar

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Unfortunately our recording hiatus continues due to real life getting in the way.  To fill that void here’s a recording from this year’s UK Games Expo where I had the pleasure of sitting in on a seminar about using Boardgames in libraries.

The seminar was hosted by Darren Edwards and he was joined by Chris Standley from Imagination Gaming and Dr. Michael James Heron from Meeples Like Us.

Covering a multitude of topics the seminar is full of ideas on how to promote boardgames in general but specifically within a public library environment.

Alongside that Darren talks about International Games Week @ Your Library.  Whilst an American led initiative there are a number of locations in the UK that are participating this year too with Darren leading that charge to promote it across the UK.

Let me know what you think of the seminar and apologies for the poor sound quality in places!

UK Games Expo 2017: Costa Rica Review

This weekend I was demoing at the UK Games Expo on the Mayfair stand, and got to play quite a few games! Over the next few days I will be giving a review of some of the stand out games I got to play over the weekend, and what I thought after playing them at least 20 times each! Sadly I don’t have any/many photos of the games in action, due to being busy demoing!

First up: Costa Rica!

Players: 2-5

Time length: 30-45 (First game may take 45 minutes, but will be closer to 30 minutes once you have played it once)

Ages: 8+

Times played/Demoed: 10+


Costa Rica is a pretty simple “push your luck” style of game. You are intrepid explorers exploring the country looking to photograph the most wildlife, while also trying to photograph the most varied wildlife. The map is made up of hexagon tiles which forms into a large hexagon itself. The hexagon map tiles are split into three different biomes: Forests, wetlands and mountains. On one side of the tile will be a picture representing the biome, and on the other side will be creatures. In each biome, you will find different wildlife, as well an increased chance of danger which is indicated on the tile with a mosquito.

At leach corner of the hexagon map, each player places one of their explorers. Then the start player is given the exploration leader token. They choose one of the parties around the board and flip one of the tiles that the exploratory party is next to, and see what is underneath. Then they can choose whether to take the face up tiles, or continue exploring. If they choose to keep exploring then going clockwise each player in the party chooses whether to take the face up tiles, or to keep exploring. If somebody chooses to take the face up tiles they collect them all and remove their explorer from the party. Only players with explorers still within the party may be involved in deciding whether to keep or continue exploring.

However, there is always a risk that danger could strike! If a two tiles with the mosquito symbol are turned up, then the lead explorer leaves the party but takes any tiles without a mosquito with them. Then the exploration leader token is move on clockwise.

This continues until all accessible tiles are used, or all explorers have been used. Then it is a quick task to tally up the points of each of the players to discover the winner!

So, with the very brief explanation of the rules out of the way, how does it feel to play? For such a simple game it is an absolute blast to play. It is nice, light and quick to play. You can try and gamble for more tiles, and risk somebody else taking those tiles away from you when you choose to continue exploring, or you can turn over a mosquito and suddenly lose those two leopards that you so desperately needed!

The joy of suddenly getting a lucky streak as you push on and gather more tiles than you imagined, or the bad luck of turning over two mosquitos in a row can make the table howl with laughter as your misfortune. The fun of risking turning over a mountain tile with already a mosquito shown as you desperately need that toucan to get one of every type of creature is as much fun as nabbing the tiles from a friend who decided to explore further and you need those frogs is great.

I really view this game as a breath of fresh air after a more heavy strategic game. 30 minutes to clear the air and head after a heavy game of caverna, scythe or other big games is exactly what this game is and absolutely perfect for.

There are strategies you can consider (knowing there are 61 tiles on the board, fighting to make sure in a 5 player game you can get the average 2 tiles per explorer is something to think about when you gather none from one of your explorers!) however overall I view this game as something fun and relaxing.

I would say I much prefer the game with 4 players rather than 5, as I think with 5 there is a little too much competition for the tiles with 5 players, however I wouldn’t say it detracts from the game by any stretch.

Liz’s Score: To give you an idea how much I look forward to taking this game to my gaming table, I currently have a copy in my backpack I am taking home to play with my friends, even after demoing it for hours over this weekend, and demoing the playtest version last year. This is one to pick up to play with friends, and we will have a laugh between gaming marathons without a heavy rulebook slowing us down.

End The Turn – Episode 9 – Gaming Gadgets

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This is quite old, we recorded it in November with the intention of releasing it earlier, stuff happened that meant it’s being released now!

Liz was at the UK, Ireland & South Africa Magic Judge conference. She’d also played Scythe for the first time. Read her review here. You’ll be pleased to know she know owns it.
Dave had played a number of games – Splendor, Tsuro Of The Seas, Bomb Squad Academy and Betrayal AT House On The Hill.

Focus for this episode is gadgets, accessories and other stuff we use to enhance our gaming experience.

Dice Trays – All Rolled Up Dice Tray – and UK Games Expo 2016 winner –
ARU in general –
Numenera ARU –
Modiphius Conan ARU –
Dave’s Wipe Book –
The Noteboard –
Liz’s Square Hex book –

Portals / Applications

Lone Wolf – Hero Lab –
Realm Works –
Obsidian Portal –
Scabard –

Online play via –

Dice Towers –
“Fancy” Dice Towers – and

Tables –
Geek Chic Tables – The Sultan –
Geek’n’Son Tables –
Denis –
Henry –

Playmats galore – Companies like – + +

Other games referenced –
Rippers –
All Flesh Must Be Eaten –
Fiasco –
Seasons –

Bottom line is that none of the gadgets are NEEDED to play the games we play but at the same time they can enhance the play experience.

Let us know your thoughts on the gadgets we’ve mentioned and if you have a must have gadget get in touch!

End The Turn – Episode 8 – Game Clubs

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Sorry for the serious lag since our last episode. Combination of Real Life and an unplanned change in webhost for the website etc contributed to the delay. Fingers crossed that we’re over that hump and are able to get things back on schedule.

Games Clubs & Communities

Specific Clubs Mentioned – ORC Edinburgh / DWARF Dunfermline / ENT Anstruther / Forth Magic Rosyth

How do you find them?

Lots and lots of websites around these days.

Finding Gamers – | |
MeepleMapper –
Google / DuckDuckGo –
BoardGameGeek –
Tabletop Gaming Magazine –
Your Friendly Local Gaming Store –
Facebook – Tabletop Gaming DiscussionScotland Tabletop – Board Game Trading and Chat UK

What do you do if you can’t find them?

Build it and people will come (Field Of Dreams clip)
Use the connections you have to help you build it.
Spreading the word via Facebook Group / Twitter (using local hashtags) / BoardGameGeek (Fife Player search example) / Posters put in public spaces.
Venue selection is key.
Publicly accessible venue.
Venues cost money which requires some legal stuff like bank accounts and keeping paperwork.

Why are they important?

They advertise the hobby and encourage gaming.
Mostly games clubs have a regular schedule for people to get involved.
Games clubs are inclusive by their very nature.
Diversity of the hobby and exposure to lots of different games whether they be “classics” or the shiny and new.
Gives you that “try before you buy” opportunity.
Provides more options to try more games whether that be the new or those classics from the dim and distant past.

What else should you consider?

If you can’t find something local or entirely convenient then you’re going to have to be prepared to travel.
Make sure you understand and exhaust the existing club-base before starting a new club. If there are other clubs locally then ensure that both clubs have some sort of synergy to avoid conflict.

Games referenced in this episode –

Warhammer Fantasy RPG
Pathfinder RPG
d20 Modern RPG
d20 Star Wars RPG
Ticket To Ride / Ticket To Ride: Europe
Magic: The Gathering / Organised Play
Warhammer Fantasy

Reminder –

The internet has many ways of finding things.
Let us know if you can’t find anything then Get In Touch with us and we’ll see what we can do to help you.
Also, let us know what other options you know about finding gamers and clubs.

Episode 7: Gaming Resolutions!

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In this Episode we talk about our plans for 2017 and our gaming resolutions! How Liz plans to play more games, and how Dave wants to attend more conventions! Perhaps Liz will start editing the podcasts much earlier and stop procrastinating until the last minute? We can all hope for miracles!


What are your gaming resolutions for the near coming? Any interesting plans for the New Year to get more games to the table? Or perhaps try some new ones?


Whatever your plans are for the next year, or indeed tonight, we hope you have an excellent New Year!

Glasgow Games Festival 2016 – A Dave Visit

So this was supposed to be an interview with Nick from Glasgow Games Festival but Dave failed this podcast…

So to try and make up for that failure I figured it was only right that I did a review of the event and try to cover some of the things Nick and I discussed in the interview-that-never-recorded-properly.  Plus do a bit of a retrospective on my attendance at the event itself.Continue reading

End The Turn – Episode 6 – RPG Length

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RPG Length – A no rapping zone.

In this episode we cover –

  • RPG Game Session Length
  • Story Arcs
  • Campaign Length

We both tend to use a 4 hour “slot” but actual gaming is 2-3 hours per session – faff level pre/during/post session

Sessions which are 2 hour / 12 hour / 24 hour “slots” are unusual and a different experience.

Story Arcs – split over 5 “sessions” on average. Campaigns are built from multiple Story Arcs with a story line going through each arc.

Story / Campaign building should have an element of structure / framework using the arcs to introduce and re-introduce plot hooks and characters. Arcs sustain momentum in a campaign.

Dave mentions Kilranthia again! Having to choose between the lesser of two evils over the campaign and the story arcs drove the direction the player’s decisions would take them towards the end game. Gave the players an element of control but demonstrated that there was a bigger storyline going on that whilst they were involved in it, there was an end game that would happen with or without their involvement. Sustaining player involvement even when they become “passive” in their attendance through outside of session discussions.

Liz mentions Of Darkness And Light, one of her favourite RPG experiences ever, where at the end of the story her character died to save another. Emotions!!!

One off / One shots are a different beast. They need to be something that can both be flexible but also need a bit more framework to handle the random elements.

Games that Dave and Liz think work better as oneshots over campaigns.

Dave’s never managed to get Superhero games to work as a campaign. WHY!?!?! After all they’re episodic by their very nature…

Campaign tangents / “player led choices” are a key part of any campaign. As a GM you need to be open to those tangents and avoid an overly prescriptive plan to ensure that everyone at the table enjoys the game.

  • What do you think of One Offs and Campaigns?
  • How long are your game sessions / story arcs / campaigns?
  • Are you a forward planner or do you “stumble” into campaign games?

Liz does the outros and gets a gold star!

End The Turn – Episode 5 – Player Absences

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In this Episode, we cover my player absences are difficult, and what we can do to resolve them. What are your thoughts on this? How do you handle players missing from your game?

Mentioned in this podcast:

Never Unprepared: The Complete Game Master’s Guide to Session Prep – available from Engine Publishing!

Pandemic Legacy – 10/10 must be tried!

Let us know on Facebook, on Twitter or even via email what you think of this episode!

  • Can you tell Liz was put in charge of this one? – L

End The Turn – Episode 4 – Kickstarter

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Episode 4!

We’re sticking around, we’re still both really busy but most of all we’re still podcasting about games and stuff.

So Kickstarter… For those unaware this is Kickstarter –
This is Kickstarter’s Tabletop Games section –

Things referenced in the podcast:

Friendly Local Game Stores – UK Map –
Pencil Dice Kickstarter –
Knights Of The Dinner Table –
64 Ounce Games – Braille Sleeves for Card Games –
Cool Mini Or Not Kickstarters –
Pathfinder video game –
Yogscast –
Doom That Came To Atlantic City – Cryptozoic – – and original Kickstarter –
Pillars Of Eternity –
Early Access – Battlefield 1 –
Reaper Bones –
RimWorld –
Sentinels Of The Multiverse OblivAeon –

Greg Stolze –
Unknown Armies RPG –
Reign RPG –

Patreon –
Greg Rucka – DC Comics –

Steve Jackson Games OGRE –

Edinburgh Playtesters –
Dundee Playtesters –

Dave references a post on his blog – A2ndChapter
Only Buy It If You’re Going To Use It –

Let us know about games that you’re currently backing or if you’re a publisher that you’re launching.  Especially if you’re in Scotland!

Let us know on Facebook, on Twitter or even via email!