UK Games Expo 2024 – looking ahead (Topic Discussion)

Another year has gone by in a flash and it's time again for me to start another convention season. Well, I say "season", but that's exaggerating it. I'm actually only attending two board game shows this year. I just can't afford to fly everywhere and spend time away from home. So I chose two events that I really enjoyed last year and that won't cost me the world. The first of these is, of course, UK Games Expo 2024.

Sea of Thieves: Voyage of Legends (Saturday Review)

Build your reputation, they said. Complete voyages, defeat foes and gather treasures, they said. Visit the outpost to sell cargo and make repairs, they said. Having two sloops under my command was supposed to make this easy, but the truth was far from it. A pirate's life for me, my barnacle. It was a huge challenge from the start. It was almost impossible to safely navigate this Sea of Thieves: Voyage of Legends by Mat Hart, James M. Hewitt, Steve Margetson, Sherwin Matthews and Sophie Williams from Steamforged Games.

Paper App Dungeon (Saturday Review)

Welcome, adventurer. You are about to embark on a very unique dungeon crawl. Sharpen your pencil and be brave. You are about to face an almost endless cave system stuffed to the brim with coins, treasure chests, spiders' webs, enemies and even the odd portal. So off you go, brave fellow, and descend the stairs into the amazing Paper App Dungeon by Tom Brinton from Lucky Duck Games.

Boiling Point – why tension and escalation matters in games (Topic Discussion)

Hi, it’s Joe Slack here. I’ve written a few guest posts for Oliver in the past and I was delighted when he requested another guest blog, so here we go! Something I think about a lot as a game designer is how to create tension in a game as well as ensure that players feel a sense of progression as they play.

Star Trek: Away Missions (Saturday Review)

After the battle of Wolf 359, the team consisting of Commander Riker, Lieutenant Commanders Data and Shelby and Lieutenant Worf on board the U.S.S. Enterprise were doing all they could to protect the ship against the invading Borg, led by Locutus of Borg, formerly Captain Picard of the Federation. It was a strange situation. The alien drones seemed oblivious to the starship's crew as both sides went about completing their objectives and overall missions. Our training kicked in and it was as if we were on Star Trek: Away Missions by Andrew Haught, Mike Haught and Phil Yates from Gale Force Nine.

Like Cain and Abel (Saturday Review)

As the first two sons of Adam and Eve, a lot of responsibility had been laid upon our shoulders. We were a farmer and a shepherd who had to offer our harvested grains and livestock to God. We were never sure if either of us was in His favour. So we carried on and made wilder and wilder boasts about our gifts to Our Lord until it was too much and one of us struck down the other. We were Like Cain and Abel by J.L. Reid from Bent Pin.

Exotic Games – cultural appropriation in board games (Topic Discussion)

I grew up at a time when "cowboys and Indians" were a popular topic in literature. Westerns, spaghetti or otherwise, were on television pretty much all the time. Similarly, Kung Fu films were regularly shown on the small screen. The jungles of India also often featured heavily. Board games often followed the same trend and portrayed these seemingly exotic and alluring themes and settings that appealed to children of my age. Yet, much of what was created was clearly guilty of cultural appropriation. So in this article, I want to look at the trend in our hobby specifically.

I Found Bigfoot (Saturday Review)

I had my camera ready. The tripod was weighed down to ensure I got a clear picture and the telescopic lens was attached to get me as close to the action as possible. It wasn't going to be easy because this creature was hard to find and very camera-shy. I was sure I was in the right spot though. There had been footprints in the ground, so there was no doubt. I stood to make good money from my photos. Then, almost out of nowhere, there it was. I almost couldn't believe it, but it was true - I Found Bigfoot by John David Wood from Thing 12 Games.

Twist Taking – trick-taking games with a twist (Topic Discussion)

I've written about my love of trick-taking games and the genre in general many times. Just check the archives... Now that my game group has also gotten into the genre, I've discovered more and more games that take this ancient card game mechanism to new heights. They apply new twists and add different mechanisms to create really exciting new titles. In this article, I want to share with you which ones I am particularly excited about.