My Visit to the UK Games Expo 2018

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The UK Games Expo is an annual celebration of tabletop gaming held in Birmingham every June since 2007. This year, more than 300 exhibitors and 21,500 visitors enjoyed three full days of gaming and games-related entertainment, spread over two halls of the NEC, and multiple reception rooms of the adjoining Hilton Hotel. As you can imagine, I wasn’t able to see everything there – but what I did see was great.

Double L Games had a stand where they were demonstrating their first game, Build, which lets players run their own island nations. Rogue Artist Creations was featuring Top Hats & Tretchary, a game I was lucky enough to playtest back in 2016. Play Again Productions had Metro City Meltdown, a co-operative game about managing a city hit by disaster.

On top of all this there were merchandise stalls, tournaments, live events, and (of course) cosplay. My personal favourite was Rincewind, complete with Luggage and Librarian. I’d like to show you an iconograph of the costume, but my imp ran out of red.

My Game: ‘More Tea?’

While I was there to have fun, I also had a game of my own to pitch to publishers. Unfortunately, circumstances meant that I didn’t have a playable version with me. However, I got some interest just by describing it to people, so this week I’ll be emailing out the print-and-play version to the companies that asked for it. For everyone who didn’t ask, here’s the basic idea.

‘More Tea?’ is a card game that uses a board to keep score (like Dixit, or cribbage). Most of the cards in the deck represent a topic of conversation, and the game consists of a simple ‘draw one, play one’ mechanic that lets the ‘conversation’ flow freely around the ‘tea table’.

The aim of the game is to enjoy the discussion by having your favourite topics discussed, and your least favourite topics avoided. These ‘favourite’ and ‘least favourite’ topics are drawn at random at the start of the game, and each player keeps their ‘triggers’ hidden, so that half the skill in the game is working out what other people’s hidden trigger cards might be. When a card is played that matches one of your triggers, you move either up or down the board, depending on the type.

The real challenge of ‘More Tea?’, however, lies in using your ‘interrupt’ cards wisely. There are five different types, in varying frequencies, and they have the power to block, enhance, or redirect the effect of the topic card in play. Of course, the most common ‘interrupt’ card is the eponymous ‘More tea?’ card, that lets you derail the conversation by offering everyone refreshments. After all, who doesn’t like tea?

Current Status: Brewing

‘More Tea?’ has already had over two years’ worth of development, both from me and from Spiral Galaxy Games. SGG were initially planning to publish the game themselves, but are not able to follow through on that right now. To their credit, SGG avoided entering into a contract with me once they knew that their publishing future was uncertain, and they have encouraged me to take ‘More Tea?’ elsewhere. No matter where I go from here, Spiral Galaxy Games will remain an important part of ‘More Tea?’s story.

There are all sorts of fun extras in development, too – like a combo that lets you switch one of your secret triggers, and variations for younger players and/or shorter play. Watch for more news as it becomes available, both on this blog and on social media.

Introducing ‘Beyond the Script’

You may be wondering what any of this has to do with Penna Scriptum’s writing services. The answer is, of course, not a lot. Penna Scriptum is currently a one-woman show, and that means that anything I work on has a place here. Writing, game design, CPD, and even my sideline as a distributor for Wikaniko – all these things will show up on this blog, and in my social media.

To help you find what you are interested in, and only what you are interested in, I’ll be splitting my posts into categories. These are:

  • Better English (BE): Tips and tricks for improving your written English. Posted every other Monday, starting 11-June-2018.
  • This Week I Learned (TWIL): A weekly natter about anything from life lessons to professional studies. Every Friday, starting 8-June-2018.
  • Beyond the Script (BtS): Posts like this one. Contains two subcategories:
    • Eco-Aware: News and ideas for living a ‘mid-green’ life. May occasionally contain product reviews for Wikaniko. Every four weeks on a Wednesday, starting 20-June-2018.
    • Creative Work: Exactly what it sounds like. News about my creative work, ranging from game design to songwriting. Every four weeks on a Wednesday, starting… well, today.

You can subscribe to any or all of these categories by using the RSS links in the sidebar. There will also be a monthly newsletter coming soon, containing a round-up of the month’s posts. If you would like to be notified when the first issue comes out, please sign up below.

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This post is a lot longer than usual, so thanks for sticking with me to the end. I’ll be back on Friday with my first ‘Life Lessons’ post. Something about setting reasonable goals, probably.