Monday, 6 June 2011

UK Games Expo 2011

When it comes to UK Games Expo I take the attitude that it's a pleasantly diverting day out that is only 20 minutes drive away and a social meet with gamer mates. It doesn't really satisfy me as a shopping trip (not really being into non-confrontational Eurogames with wooden blocks and the thinnest of themes pasted on afterwards such as being a carrot farmer in Amish Pennsylvania or a town planner in 17th century Lille or similar nonsense) nor as a gaming trip - I get annoyed when stallholders try and button hole me to try their pre-production game and if I am going to sit down to a miniatures skirmish game I'd rather play a full one rather than a 15 minute sample. But it's on the doorstep and we all meet up and have a pint.

This year was no different. The overhead of moving house meant I could only spare the Sunday to attend.

Being reknown as a Brit OSR blogger you'd have expected me to feel morally obliged to buy Advanced Fighting Fantasy when I saw it on sale and so of course I didn't. I did get collared by somebody selling it (and a reprint of Alexander Scott's Maelstrom which sweetly reproduces the original Penguin cover, "FF Zigzags" and all) but didn't like to say that while I fancy Titan (my original copy is long lost) and Out of the Pit (my original copy is v. tatty) I'm wasn't that interested in AFF back then and am even less interested these days. I like the simplicity of "Orange Book" FF and never felt the need to further elaborate upon Steve J's original rules. And, what I was trying to avoid telling the chap concerned, I can get the books through Waylands Forge and thereby support my local FLGS.

Which I actually found to be a bit of a theme with attractive purchases on Sunday - Mantic Games, Mongoose, M:tG, AFF et al are all readily available to me anyway at the end of a short train ride on a Saturday so aren't likely to appear on a shopping list when other, less attainable items, might be.

Just spoilt, that's my problem. No doubt somebody who lives nowhere near a decent FLGS would have been delighted with the goods on offer at Expo.

Still, I did keep up the Brit Old Skool credentials by snagging a second-hand copy of Derek Carver's Warrior Knights - original GW printing, not the modern FFG one. I remember reading about this game in Games Review magazine back in about 1990 and thinking it sounded interesting but I think it had disappeared from GW shelves at that time. I also have a GW printing of Blood Royale, Carver's other GW-published game that I picked up at a wargames show about six years ago. I don't know when we'll get to put Warrior Knights down on the table for a game (it's apparently a looooonnngggg game as was the fashion in the 1980s) but I'll shift through the components and rulebook and report back soon.

Of lesser Brit Old School interest (i.e. none) was my other long-desired find, a copy of Speed Circuit (Avalon Hill printing with the Formula 2 cover - clearly cheaper reproduction rights than Formula 1 or the Indy 500!). The pair of old games together came to £35 which is pretty reasonable when the combined man-years of "I want these OOP games" must total about 30+.

I did see copies of Raggi's Weird Fantasy Roleplaying (sorry mate, but I can't bring myself to refer to it by your favoured acronym - the Brit Old Skool was there first) and Zak's Vornheim in the wild, although it did appear that Vornheim had fallen to the clutches of the bloke behind OSR's favourite producer of little mans, Otherworld Miniatures. Otherwise I think I would have snapped that up as well.


  1. "That Chap" selling AFF and Maelstrom was in fact me! I am the publisher of both, so have a strong vested interest in getting you to buy one. Of course, i will be happy wherever you buy one!

    You are right though, it was a damngood con

  2. Don't worry, Titan and OotP are definite purchases and I know they have them in stock at the FLGS!

    I have an original copy of Maelstrom (as I think I said to you at the time) so perhaps I'll blog about it in the near future.

  3. I also liked the orange book FF rpg - at first. But really it was too simple. I ran the whole Riddling Reaver campaign with it, by the end of which I'd had to make up so many new rules the whole thing was a mess. Sadly the old AFF was a bit of a poor effort really, completely broken. You should give the new one a second look. It works nicely and for old-school types, it's a great rules-light system. Better than any of the others I've seen recently. No gimmicky dice mechanics or tiresome storytelling, just 2d6 and a list of skills and spells.

  4. I have a copy of Maelstrom to review thanks to Graham (Thanks!), and I grabbed a copy of Vornheim as soon as I saw it. Was disappointed that there was not a copy of the Grindhouse Edition of WF RPG to buy as I would have bought that.

  5. I am forced to concur; the Forge is only a half hour train ride or two hours on the bike away from me and already sells most of what I'm interested in.

    Did play a few demos, though; I like the opportunity to have at least a quick play-through of something that looks interesting but is too unproven to be anything but a 'try before you buy' choice.

    As far as AFF goes, I've only just gotten around to playing the original...