In support of its first ever appearance, Sabrina and I went to Ally Pally for the TableTop thingummy. Primarily, this was to play some games. But if I were to find a game or two, well, I wouldn’t say no.
by iello Games
In not saying no, we were barely there before being enrolled in the King Of Tokyo tournament. It was a quiet start to the day and we barely had enough to form a game, but eventually there were six and so the game commenced.
I played as Cyber Kitty and using my kitty destructive powers, I obliterated to opponents early on (apologies to Sabrina). One by one another two lucked out leaving just myself and a guy playing as Meka Dragon. It came down to a single roll to determine the final outcome. Fortunately for the other guy it meant he won.
The top four players won some nice goodies (1st place also won a T-shirt).
Not bad for playing a game.
Following the tournament we wandered round the place checking out the stalls and picking up a couple of things. We bought Stone Age, and sensibly had the stall hold it for us to pick up later, rather than drag it round it day.
We also took the opportunity to play some games.
by Lookout Games
This was a gentle tetris-style tile placement game where you picked different shapes from the available supply and added them to your ‘quilt’. The theme worked well with the use of time, which was represented by each player having a pawn on the time track. Each piece would require an amount of time to complete so the pawn would move forward that amount. An enjoyable two-player game.
I wanted to try out a couple of games by Days of Wonder I’ve yet to play: Quadropolis (a game I’ve never liked the look of) and The River (which isn’t out yet).
Unfortunately, those two games were already in play and we got roped into playing a Ticket To Ride game, mainly because I pointed out that they’re all basically the same and they wanted to prove me wrong. So, Ticket To Ride: Germany is basically Ticket To Ride, but with coloured meeples randomly sitting in each station. Completion of a line gives that player up 2 two meeples (one from each station, if available). At the end of the game, players owning most of each colour meeple wins a bonus 10 VPs.
Strategy-wise, there’s a slight leaning to complete a non-route line just to collect some meeples, but at the risk of giving up the opportunity to claim the line you need. Didn’t add much to the game and I’d rather just buy a bag of meeples (or counters) and add them to my Ticket To Ride Europe game.
by Fantasy Flight Games
This was a game I’d wondered about for a while. I’d seen Wil Wheeton play it on TableTop and it looked fun. However, I had a couple of reservations. Firstly, I recalled playing a similar style game with world world II fighter planes at a friend’s house (years ago) and had found the experience somewhat boring. Secondly, the game components, though really nice, do take up a fair deal of space.
My wife played as the two TIE fighters, I played as the X-wing. After a few turns of this, we’d both had gotten quite board and so we left it there to find something much more interesting.
My next purchase came in a nice cardboard box, but could only be played once.
by Hans im Glück
After lunch we retrieved Stone Age, found an empty table and played it. This is the quintessential worker placement game where you take turns sending you tribe members off to hunt for fod or other resources, build better stone tools, develop a more self-sufficient agriculture, build huts, or make more tribe members (they even have a specific hut for that – room for two only).
We both very much enjoyed this one. I won.
by Games Quest
After wandering around a bit more, and picked up a few choice items. We got accosted by someone asking if we wanted to play a game. Of course we did.
PetEvil is a combative card game in it’s infancy (due to go on Kickstarter by the end of the year, all going well). It is essentially a less-manic variation than Epic Spell Wars. Players need to create and deploy missiles made up of a rocket, payload and as many explosives of the same colour as they wish. Rockets made up of 1, 2 or 3 differing colours will do different amounts of damage. This is made trickier by the 7-card hand limit. There are also other cards that can be drawn that can reduce damage, regenerate health or redirect the incoming missile. Players who launch the nuclear missile do so knowing they are going to cause ongoing havoc to all for the rest of the game. Now there’s a message there…
The plethora of adorable animals, puns and references offsets this otherwise inherently violent game. A very enjoyable game and I don’t just say that because I won.
One to look out for, particularly if you find Epic Spell Wars too much.
Back to base of operations (my parents’ house) for the night where we tried out
by Renegade Game Studios
A deck-building game where, as well as using cards to buy cards and do damage, you get to move a meeple about on a board to do a thing. Really enjoyed this one too.
During the previous day Sabrina had made a list of games we wanted to try, so we headed straight for.
by Blue Orange Games
This was a fascinating tile-placement game with a difference. Each player had their own dodecahedron ‘planet’ on which at affix magnetic land tiles. Each tile had six sections which could have water, ice, forest, dirt or desert. Players would have a secret goal but would also compete to win cards requiring specific land requirements. Though there was nothing inherently wrong with the game, it was fun enough, there was definitely something lacking. Beyond the novelty of playing on a magnetic dodecahedron, this was a straightforward tile-placement game that offered little more than that.
The awkward shape also made it difficult to ascertain just how much big a sea you have. This would have been better as a flat board upon which extra tokens or animals could have been placed to make a richer game. Glad I played it, wouldn’t buy it though.
by Lookout Games
From one 3-d tile placement game to another. Gingerbread has a wonderfully illustrated fairy-tale theme where players build a gingerbread cottage using cardboard ‘dominoes’ where each tile shows two types of gingerbread. Placing on tile on other will provide the gingerbread that is covered up in the placement, which, in turn, can be used to buy cards (VPs). Handy 1×1 tiles can be won, claimed or acquired by missing a turn to fill in those pesky gaps. This game is not yet available (they themselves only managed to get hold of a copy from somewhere in Italy). Highly recommended and worth looking out for.
by Czec Games Edition
A quick look through my games list will quickly tell you I’m a sucker for space-themed games. We were intrigued by the look of this one the previous day so took the opportunity to try it out. Really glad we did. Far to complex to describe here, it’s a game with many different facets and paths to success. Sabrina focused on harnessing Pulsars whilst I built up my space stations. Wonderfully produced and a whole lot of fun.
Had we seen this on the shelf, I would have picked it up. It’s on my Christmas list.
by Edition Spielwiese
In a similar vein to Patchwork, Sabrina really liked the look of Indian Summer, but Spring Meadow was the one available to try. Like with patchwork, players take turns claiming a shape and adding it to their board. Complete lines score as do holes that line up with burrows (printed on the board). The snow-filled board slowly fills from one end to the other with lush green grass as we play the role of Thaw – no not the one with the hammer, helmet and mother’s drapes. The game-play was pleasant enough but the bland colour palette (particularly set against the glorious colours of Indian) were a letdown. If we could have Indian’s colour scheme with this game-play (Indian’s more of a race), then we’d say yes please.
As we concluded Spring Meadow, Carpe Diem became available at the next table, so we gave it a go. With no idea what we were getting into, we found ourselves building our own little Carcasonne-style areas, collecting resources for completed zones and scoring against achieved (or failed) cards. This was a real surprise and very enjoyable. Another one to get.
Back to Days of Wonder where I finally got to try out Quadropolis. This is a city-building game that at no point give you the impression that that is what you are doing. The game itself was fine, nothing particularly special, but the theme just didn’t work at all for me. Compared to the brilliant components in Yamatai or Ticket To Ride, this felt a bit cheap. Had we been placing actual building miniatures – with the stack-able residential buildings – this might have a better appeal. Glad I played it, but not one I’ll be getting anytime soon.
The River conveniently became available so we mistakenly sat down to play it. Now, I can’t really give this game a fair review because the chap who demonstrated it to us, after two days of non-stop demonstrating it, was clearly fed-up to the back teeth of it. The fatigue of repetitiveness had clearly got to him. He poorly explained the rule which meant Sabrina had no idea what she was doing so also didn’t enjoy it. I was getting bad vibes from both of them which seriously damaged my calm. This is a worker placement game where stuff happens. The demonstrator was too busy totally destroying us to bother explain anything properly. A game to try again another timer, preferably with someone else.
by Sensible Object
This is a game we’ve had our eye on for some time now. This is a stacking game with a difference. The items you stack score according to a complex app-based world in a beautifully designed and implemented game. The only thing against it was the hefty price tag, but with the ongoing development and the addition of some very lovely expansions (which would make some very nice mantelpiece ornaments in the own right) this has got even more tempting. This stall had been busy all weekend, but towards the end of the day it was free, so we got to get another go at it. (Last time was Expo 2018). We didn’t do very well, but had fun at failing miserably.
On the whole we had a thoroughly good time. I found the limited crowds very pleasant, but did worry about the success of the event. Though not as big as Expo, with less available, I’d say I preferred TableTop because it was quieter. We got to try many, many games and picked up some wonderful things.
Here’s a video of me talking about those things here:
Hoping to do this again next year.