Thursday, 13 October 2016

UK Games Expo 2016


Image result for uk games expo
As a child I always loved board games. I have fond memories of playing games such as Sorry, Pac-Man and Lost Valley of the Dinosaurs. I remember the games of Frustration, creating elation when I sent my Mum home, when she was so close to victory or despair when she did the same to me.
I was then introduced to the role-playing world with M.E.R.P (Middle-Earth Role-Playing and Dungeons and Dragons. The natural progression was then to pick up my sword and enter the war strewn worlds of Warhammer. After spending many a merry year killing and maiming, the group of friends I played with “grew up” and moved on with their lives. I put away the dice and games, like an old warrior who puts away his weapons, knowing maybe one day they might be needed again.
In the last couple of years, I started noticing strange new games appearing, and heard rumours that boardgames were going through a renaissance and so I decided to find out what was going on. I was shocked to see the change, in the themes, types and variety of new games available.  I started to buy games, (some are still shrink wrapped-I know it's wrong) and have joined a couple of groups, and have enjoyed gaming immensely. 

This year I decided to go to my first UK Games Expo. It fell fortunately in a half-term holiday, and I was able to stay one night. After hearing about some of the problems of last years show, from the excellent Gameburst podcast, I wasn't sure what to expect, but was encouraged to hear that they had expanded into the NEC, rather than just using the Hilton hotel. The organizers had put trade into the NEC, along with the ‘bring and buy’ area, while the competitor events and evening festivities were held in the Hilton. I booked a hotel that was close (The Arden-recommended even if it is a short walk away from the NEC) and away I went.

I arrived on the Friday with the day starting on a positive; a two day parking pass for the cost of one-bargain!
It was the first time that I had been to the NEC, and it was a very pleasant place. It features a large lake, surrounded by hotels, numerous shops and places to eat.
I picked up my ticket, which was quick and efficient, however despite this efficiency the queues on Saturday looked long, and there was a wait.
I received a lanyard along with a very nice 64 page booklet, that had interesting articles, including one on the history of the Expo, but most importantly it featured a map, which is a must for any event.
There were quite a few people about, and I just wandered around, taking in the sights and orienteering myself. this was fairly easy, with the walkways being named and in a grid fashion. 

I then made a beeline to the famous ‘bring and buy’ area. This is where people bring their own board games to sell at the Expo, with the Expo charging 10% of the sale price, which is given to one of the Expo’s chosen charities.
The line was short, but even this early the area was full with people searching for a bargain, or hunting for that game that had eluded them, before going out of print. I saw many games that I would have liked, but made a rookie mistake by not bringing enough cash, since that was the only method of making a purchase. So the only game that I could afford was The Great Fire of London 1666, a game I had been interested in due to my love of history.
I also learned that the area where new games are checked in and placed on shelves, was really busy with people just waiting, causing road blocks for others who just wanted to browse.  Of course I joined in,and added to the crush.It was fun seeing a lot of classic games, I wanted but missed out due to no cash (next time Heroquest and Space Crusade you'll be mine!).

After a spot of lunch, which was surprisingly good, when compared to meals at venues, I wandered around, looking at stalls, watching games being demoed,  and just enjoying the atmosphere. Despite there being a lot of people, there was room to walk around freely, and at no point on the Friday did it feel cramped.

I was then able to play one of the most popular board games-Ticket to Ride. This was the 10th Anniversary edition, which comes with a larger board, and more detailed train models. This edition was lavish and the board when compared to the standard edition was beautiful. I hadn't  had a chance to play Ticket to Ride, but had heard so many good things about the game, so I wasn’t about to let this opportunity pass.
The game lived up to the hype and I thoroughly enjoyed the game. The premise is a simple one, in which you have to complete routes across USA. However this does hide a deeper strategy game, that is fun for all the family. I would recommend the game, and personally the 10th Anniversary edition is the one to go for.

I wandered across to the Hilton. Here the organisers had set up food trucks in the car park, so people were able to get the energy to continue their gaming. In addition to the tournaments which were taking place at the hotel, people could play their own games, or rent them from Thirsty Meeples.

I made an early start on the Saturday, but not as early as the horde of people that were waiting to pick up their tickets. Saturday looked it was going to be busy, and so it proved. I headed towards the ‘bring and buy’ section, this time armed with cash. The queue to get in was huge and stretched around the corner into part of the hall that wasn’t used, however it moved quickly. Soon I was in the hustle and bustle of eager hunters. I managed to pick up a few games that I wanted, all in excellent condition, with some even unplayed. I did notice that the games in the bring and buy section were overall in brilliant condition, which suggested that boardgamers treat their games with care, and don't attempt to sell mistreated products to others.
Board Games can be heavy and bulky, especially when you have a few, so I was glad to discover that the Expo offered a place you could store your games for a small fee and collect them later.

If you are videogamer then you can't have failed to hear about Dark Souls, the game that is hard but fair, but will still laugh at your pathetic attempts (certainly mine) to beat it. There is now a Dark Souls boardgame that was one of the most successfully funded games on Kickstarter,  and was being demoed at the show. I have to admit, having a vested interest, since I did back the game.
The section of the game that was being shown was a boss fight. Like the video game it looked very difficult. The boss had its own movement deck and so it attacked in the directions the cards dictated, when drawn. As such a player would be able to predict the movements of the boss, however when the boss lost half of its damage new stronger cards were inserted into the deck, and the deck was reshuffled.  This feature made the boss devastating and unpredictable. The players also had to balance their stamina and health bar, since running out of either would result in death.Talking to people, the boss had only been defeated a few times, so the challenge is there and for Dark Souls fans this should be one to relish,

One new game that I played was Pandemic Cthulhu, despite me having never played the original which I own. Pandemic is a massive success in the industry, and this version has you trying to stop Cthulhu, entering the world. Each player has a role, and you have to work together to close the four warp gates, while cultists spawn all over the board, like the virus in the original. To close the gates you need to collect enough clue cards of the same colour, and get to that colour gates. Shoggoth’s (big demons) will also spawn and if they are drawn into a gate, one of the 10 Cthulhu cards on the board will be revealed, making things harder for the players. If all cards are revealed then  the game is lost. In addition if there are no more cultists to spawn the game is lost.
Your characters have different special abilities, and can perform a variety of actions, such as swapping cards with other players or killing cultists . each character also have have sanity points. These can be lost either through travelling through a warp gate or fighting the Shoggoths. Once all points are lost, the character is considered insane, however you are still in the game, but not able to perform as many actions.
The game mechanics are very good, and with the possibility of things going wrong at the start (a greater demon spawned right on a warpgate at the start of the game), it can be a real challenge. However despite losing I had a lot of fun with the game, and look forward to playing it again.

Part of the Expo was devoted to new game ideas, where people can play new prototype games. One I played was a cryptic card game. It was a basic game where you had to decipher the clue on the card and you won the card. The game had potential, but I have a dislike for cryptic clue games, where I have to flounder by myself, so did not enjoy the game.

Another game that I had the pleasure to play was Bear Valley from Stronghold games. You along with the other players are lost in the woods trying to get to the escape camp. All the characters have a weakness, which makes it harder to escape. e.g. my character refused to enter caves due to a fear of the dark, so was unable to travel across cave tiles.
It had a Carcassonne feel to it where you randomly selected tiles, and had to match these up to the tiles already placed. The more tiles you took, the greater the chance you were going to be lost, which ended your go. Other hazards were water and bears, so safe routes were long in the creation. I did enjoy the game, while the theme to me had meaning to me, since I have have had close encounters with bears in the woods.

I chatted to the makers of Table Top Magazine. They were really friendly and nice people, who talked about their future plans such as possibly going bi-monthly. They also had recently gone on sale in Tesco, due to the chairman of Tesco loving boardgames. The magazine is brilliantly written, and needs the support of board gamers, to justify the faith shown by Tesco and WhSmith. So shameless plug-go buy it!

There were also talks and shows going on such as The Dark Room hosted by John Robertson, however this was fully booked, but I hear it was a highlight. Tom Vasel and Sam Healey from The Dice Tower hosted a couple of shows. Queues were long for the first one, but those who failed to get into the first chat were guaranteed tickets for the second which was good of the organisers.
A couple of criticisms about the talks, were that there should have been a stage, which would allow people people at the back to see what was happening.  In addition the NEC announcer did drown out the speakers, so it was difficult to hear people speaking.

So with that my time at the UK Games Expo ended. It was an awesome experience. The show was well organised, with a variety of things to do. The use of the NEC pleased the people that I spoke to, and the separation of retail from tournaments worked extremely well. People were extremely friendly and always willing to talk, and even though the Saturday was busier, you were able to wander around fairly easy.
A personal disappointment was that I only stayed a couple of days, so next year I will try and stay for the whole Expo.

Andrew Pidhajeckyj
https://www.ukgamesexpo.co.uk/ 

Friday, 7 October 2016

LGR 2016: Episode 32 - EGX Roundup

Direct download: http://lapsedgamerradio.podbean.com/e/lgr-2016-episode-32-egx-roundup/

After a fun weekend at EGX Mark, Ali, Cev and the Stuarts run through the games they played and discuss their highlights, their lowlights, their beverage consumption and their thoughts on VR as a platform and the very noticeable absence of some major players in the games industry.

All the games that we cover and all the rest of the games that were at EGX are listed at this link https://www.egx.net/egx/2016/show-floor

A lot of the games listed in the Rezzed and Leftfield collection have links to the respective game’s websites and many of them have demo versions of the games available, so even if you couldn’t make it to EGX you can still have a go at the games


As always LGR still have a few free games to give away and the doc can be found at:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1HTHbVerYJ2PF1gTcDMmBL24HeuIrN67896Ncn3R_1l4


The Lapsed Gamer Radio Team created this episode and it was edited by Cevin Moore.

Original LGR themes, FX and music cues created and composed by Cevin Moore.

Other music selections used in this episode were chosen by Cevin Moore


You can stream or directly download our episodes via our Podbean homepage: http://lapsedgamerradio.podbean.com/ and if you’re enjoying our content, please subscribe to Lapsed Gamer Radio on iTunes. All reviews are most welcome and appreciated in order to allow our little community to thrive.

Ways for the community to get in touch… send us questions, suggestions new segments you’d like us to start doing, what are we already doing that you like or don’t like, or anything for us to read out on the show etc.
Email to lapsedgamerradio@gmail.com
LGR Blog: lapsedgamer.com
LGR Twitter Feed @LapsedGamer
Like our Lapsed Gamer Radio Facebook Page and add yourself to the LGR community FB Group

LGR 2016: Episode 31 - The Sonic the Hedgehog “Trilogy”

Direct download: http://lapsedgamerradio.podbean.com/e/lgr-2016-episode-31-sonic-thrush/

Welcome back to another LGR PlayList episode. Today it’s all about the gold rings as we race through every level of the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive classics SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 1 + 2, before briefly touching upon SONIC 3 + KNUCKLES along with the everlasting legacy of Sega’s spiky blue blur mascot. For this 16-bit, nostalgia infused show, our resident Sonic fanboy Adam Ducker is joined by the ageing and somewhat slower speedsters Stuart Neill and Lee Howard.

WARNING: The discussion on this episode covers the entirety of all three games and includes key details on the levels and boss fights of each zone. So beware of spoilers when listening.

SONIC THE HEDGEHOG was released in 1991 and remains one of the best selling games ever, helped in part by it being bundled with purchases of the Genesis/Mega Drive console. This success elevated the creators Yuji Naka and Naoto OhshimaIt to Sega royalty and they changed the name of their development team to ‘Sonic Team’ in recognition of this breakthrough title.

Useful link: For a full copy of the ‘Mean Machine’ review online and scanned PDF please click here; http://www.meanmachinesmag.co.uk/review/152/sonic-the-hedgehog.php

SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2 introduced Miles "Tails" Prower and was released worldwide on November 24th, 1992. Dubbed "Sonic 2sday," the simultaneous release was an unusual move for the time. The game eventually replaced the original SONIC THE HEDGEHOG as the default pack-in title for the Genesis/Mega Drive, being bundled with the redesigned Mega Drive II model (which reportedly had an inferior sound chip).

Useful reference: ‘Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation’ by Blake J Harris (ISBN 978-0062276698) is available in Hardback, Paperback, Audio and all popular digital formats.

SONIC 3 was released in February 1994, as a standalone release and was well-received. Significantly, this was soon followed by SONIC AND KNUCKLES in October of that same year. The two games were originally intended to be a single game. However, due to time constraints and the cost of a large-memory-capacity cartridge, Sega split the game into two. Notably, this two parts of one game, saw the introduction of series stalwart Knuckles the Echidna.

Interesting related stories:

Did Michael Jackson create the music? http://info.sonicretro.org/Michael_Jackson_Involvement_with_Sonic_3

Pop Fiction episode uncovering the mystery: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFgnUa1v8uA


The Lapsed Gamer Radio Team created this episode. Edited by Stuart Neill, with music and audio selections by Stuart Neill.

Original LGR themes, FX and music cues created and composed by Cevin Moore. Other music and audio sampled in this episode comes from all three Sonic games composed by Masato Nakamura and various artists, as well as some selections from other Sonic games.


You can stream or directly download our episodes via our Podbean homepage: http://lapsedgamerradio.podbean.com/ and if you’re enjoying our content, please subscribe to Lapsed Gamer Radio on iTunes. All reviews are most welcome and appreciated in order to allow our little community to thrive.

Ways for the community to get in touch… send us questions, suggestions new segments you’d like us to start doing, what are we already doing that you like or don’t like, or anything for us to read out on the show etc.
Email to lapsedgamerradio@gmail.com
LGR Blog: lapsedgamer.com
LGR Twitter Feed @LapsedGamer
Like our Lapsed Gamer Radio Facebook Page and add yourself to the LGR community FB Group

As always, thank you for listening and best wishes in your own efforts to pick up the controller and play!

LGR 2016: Extrasode #6 - prEGX

Direct download: http://lapsedgamerradio.podbean.com/e/lgr-2016-episode-31-extrasode-6-pregx/

In the fastest turnaround in LGR history, seasoned EGX vets Stuart Cullen and Ali Cornwall prepare to pop Mark Hamer’s EGX cherry and offer us all an invaluable survival guide to boot.

There’s a contingent of the LGR crew making an appearance throughout the event, so keep your Twitter app open on @LapsedGamer

LGR still have a few free games to give away and the doc can be found at:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1HTHbVerYJ2PF1gTcDMmBL24HeuIrN67896Ncn3R_1l4


The Lapsed Gamer Radio Team created this episode and it was edited by Mark Hamer.

Original LGR themes, FX and music cues created and composed by Cevin Moore.

Other music selections used in this episode are:

Carpenter Brut - Time To Wake Up [From the Furi OST]

Danger - Danger 6:24 [From the Furi OST]

Carpenter Brut - Enraged [From the Furi OST]

Waveshaper - A Picture In Motion [From the Furi OST]

Waveshaper - Wisdom Of Rage [From the Furi OST]

Lorn - Unraveled [From the Furi OST]

Lorn - Set Me Free [From the Furi OST]

Carpenter Brut - What We Fight For [From the Furi OST]

The Toxic Avenger - Make This Right [From the Furi OST]

Hava Nagila [Jewish folk song]


You can stream or directly download our episodes via our Podbean homepage: http://lapsedgamerradio.podbean.com/ and if you’re enjoying our content, please subscribe to Lapsed Gamer Radio on iTunes. All reviews are most welcome and appreciated in order to allow our little community to thrive.

Ways for the community to get in touch… send us questions, suggestions new segments you’d like us to start doing, what are we already doing that you like or don’t like, or anything for us to read out on the show etc.
Email to lapsedgamerradio@gmail.com
LGR Blog: lapsedgamer.com
LGR Twitter Feed @LapsedGamer
Like our Lapsed Gamer Radio Facebook Page and add yourself to the LGR community FB Group

Listen out for the golden easter egg at the end of this extrasode...

LGR 2016: Episode 30 - Lapsed News XXI

Direct download: http://lapsedgamerradio.podbean.com/e/lgr-2016-episode-30-lapsed-news-xxi/

Last week was the drawback before the oncoming tsunami. It’s arrived with this episode. Horns are locked over the latest news from Sony. In the blue corner we have Mark Hamer with Stuart Cullen in the green while Andy Pidhajeckyj tries desperately to keep it a good clean fight.

Normally there’s a look at what’s going on in the game world this week, but sometimes things don’t quite go to plan...

Games discussed in this episode are: Overwatch, Pokemon Go, Final Fantasy VIII, Grow Up, Halo 5, Hue, Binaries, Heroquest & Madden 16

LGR still have a few free games to give away and the doc can be found at:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1HTHbVerYJ2PF1gTcDMmBL24HeuIrN67896Ncn3R_1l4


The Lapsed Gamer Radio Team created this episode and it was edited by Cevin Moore.

Original LGR themes, FX and music cues created and composed by Cevin Moore.

Other music used in this episode was chosen by Cevin Moore


You can stream or directly download our episodes via our Podbean homepage: http://lapsedgamerradio.podbean.com/ and if you’re enjoying our content, please subscribe to Lapsed Gamer Radio on iTunes. All reviews are most welcome and appreciated in order to allow our little community to thrive.

Ways for the community to get in touch… send us questions, suggestions new segments you’d like us to start doing, what are we already doing that you like or don’t like, or anything for us to read out on the show etc.
Email to lapsedgamerradio@gmail.com
LGR Blog: lapsedgamer.com
LGR Twitter Feed @LapsedGamer
Like our Lapsed Gamer Radio Facebook Page and add yourself to the LGR community FB Group

Seconds out...

LGR 2016: Episode 29 - Lapsed News XX


Direct download: http://lapsedgamerradio.podbean.com/e/lgr-2016-episode-29-lapsed-news-xx/

Like a drawback before an oncoming tsunami, this episode is a quiet, easy going skeletal affair hosted by Stuart with Cev & special guest Connor McKervey, writer and podcaster for JoyPadAndMe.com.

The crew salvage what they can from the constant slew of games news whilst having a chat about what’s floating their boats just lately.

Games discussed in this episode are: Citizens Of Earth, Abyssrium, Uncharted 4 Multiplayer, Abz├╗, Fahrenheit, The Unfinished Swan, Hocus & Noodles

LGR still have a few free games to give away and the doc can be found at:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1HTHbVerYJ2PF1gTcDMmBL24HeuIrN67896Ncn3R_1l4

The Lapsed Gamer Radio Team created this episode and it was edited by Cevin Moore.

Original LGR themes, FX and music cues created and composed by Cevin Moore.

Other music selections used in this episode are:

Left field - Filter Fish

Barry Adamson - “Suspicion”

The Legend Of Zelda - Main Theme

Nine Inch Nails - Deep (Instrumental)

Excerpts From Uncharted 4 Soundtrack

Excerpts from Abzu Soundtrack by Austin Wintory

Shriek back - Coelocanth


You can stream or directly download our episodes via our Podbean homepage: http://lapsedgamerradio.podbean.com/ and if you’re enjoying our content, please subscribe to Lapsed Gamer Radio on iTunes. All reviews are most welcome and appreciated in order to allow our little community to thrive.

Ways for the community to get in touch… send us questions, suggestions new segments you’d like us to start doing, what are we already doing that you like or don’t like, or anything for us to read out on the show etc.
Email to lapsedgamerradio@gmail.com
LGR Blog: lapsedgamer.com
LGR Twitter Feed @LapsedGamer
Like our Lapsed Gamer Radio Facebook Page and add yourself to the LGR community FB Group

So long and thanks for all the fish.

LGR 2016: Episode 28 - Lapsed News XIX

Direct download: http://lapsedgamerradio.podbean.com/e/lgr-2016-episode-28-lapsed-news-xix/

After the mammoth Gamescom review episode Mark and the rest of the team kick back and discuss some games they’ve been playing recently. They also have a look at the news and try our best to answer some listener questions which uncovers the true addiction that plagues some of the LGR team.

Games discussed in this episode are: Hitman [Bangkok level], Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist, Titanfall 2 [Technical Test], Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Ratchet & Clank, Steam Controller, Zombies Run, Rock Band 4, Dropsy, God of War Ghost of Sparta, Tearaway & Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

LGR still have a few free games to give away and the doc can be found at:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1HTHbVerYJ2PF1gTcDMmBL24HeuIrN67896Ncn3R_1l4

The Lapsed Gamer Radio Team created this episode and it was edited by Stuart Neill

Original LGR themes, FX and music cues created and composed by Cevin Moore.

Other music selections used in this episode are:

Okami - Cursed Shinshu Field

Evil Dead OST - Kandarin Dagger & Book Burning

ICO - Castle in the Mist

Thomas the Tank Engine Theme

William Regal's Theme

There Will Be Blood OST - Prospectors Arrive

The Imperial Guard - Unsung Heroes

Ratchet & Clank - Title Screen Music

Ratchet & Clank - Groovitron A

East 17 - Steam

Dirty Bomb - Main Menu Music

The Binding of Isaac - Sacrificial

ZombiU - Brick Lane

ZombiU - Buckingham Palace

Zombi - The Cranberries [Accapella Cover]

100 Rock Riffs Go Ukelele

Dropsy - Intro

Dropsy - Happy Sad Song

God of War Ghosts of Sparta - Atlantis

Tearaway - The Orchards

Hitman - Francesca De Santis Seduction

Hitman - Paris Combat & Cooldown

Deus Ex Mankind Divided - Opening Credits

Deus Ex Mankind Divided - Trailer Music

Hitman - Bangkok Club Song

Beethoven - Symphony No.7 - 11 - Allegretto

Titanfall - Cosmology

Titanfall - Welcome to the Marauder Corps

Titanfall - Peace and Order by Force

Deus Ex Mankind Divided - 101 Trailer Music

Xenoblade Chronicles - Main Theme

Xenoblade Chronicles - Colony 9

The Division - Precinct Siege

Battlefield 4 - Oppression

Photo - Ni Ten Ichi Ryu (Two Swords Technique)

Moby - Broken Places (Full Length Version)

65daysofstatic - Burial Scene


You can stream or directly download our episodes via our Podbean homepage: http://lapsedgamerradio.podbean.com/ and if you’re enjoying our content, please subscribe to Lapsed Gamer Radio on iTunes. All reviews are most welcome and appreciated in order to allow our little community to thrive.
We at LGR love our games, so it’s been a blast and as always, thank you for listening.