Tome of Knowledge

Tome of Knowledge

UK Games Expo Pt2

UK Expo 2013Posted by Sir Keith Sun, June 09, 2013 10:58:59

And so to Saturday PM….

Firstly I have to say that the halls were filling quickly. With over 3000 through the doors on Saturday, at times it seemed a little overwhelming. So I was extremely happy that I had the foresight of booking my second RPG game of the weekend for that afternoon – Tunnels and Trolls. This meant that I had an old and new experience at the Expo and I have to say that both were absolutely brilliant. This time we were a party of Dwarves, trying to find the "heart of the mountain". Some of the escapades were very funny and all around the table fully participated. Even the poor DM just went along for the ride (like my dwarf in the mine cart!!). The adventure ended prematurely when we reached the Heart of the Mountain and encountered an Observer (Beholder being copyright of WOTC). As half the party died, I took the obvious route of falling to my knees in worship – it didn’t help and I became the Wafer-thin Mint.

The rest of the afternoon was going round the Con, talking with people and continually meeting up with fellow Thirsty Knighters. I spend quite some time checking the Bring and Buy, which was in an excellent room with plenty of space for everyone. This was very well organised but you had to search for a bargain. I was able to pick up three D&D box sets, all in pristine condition. I was very happy with the find. I also considered the MERP books for £5 each. However, the condition was not great and I couldn’t quite get balance this with the cost of £25 for the five books that caught my eye (and I didn’t have). I am sure I will regret this at some point but with money pouring out and purchases piling up; I felt I had to draw a line somewhere.

All too soon the time was up and the Expo drew to a close. The squire found a table at the bar, near a TV so we could keep an eye on the football (Champions League final). We ordered some of the expensive bar food, got some drinks and settled in for the night. The main evening was spent talking with the guys from Gublin Games. They had just released a game called Cornish Smuggler onto Kickstarter – a smuggling game that I promised to try the following day. I also tried Luchadoe – a wrestling game that was being trialled by Mark Rivera. I have to say it was great fun. See this excellent video, where Michael Fox from Little Metal Dog Show talks the smack to Paco from GMS Magazine.

The next day, not so bright but quite early we joined the long queue for breakfast. Again the hotel seemed ill-prepared for the number of guests and was a little overwhelmed. However the food kept coming and was hot, so I was content and fortified for the day ahead. With five people to be seated we were lucky that large tables seem to come free just as we arrived every morning!

Sunday was a lot quieter than the Saturday. The Bring and Buy was extremely quiet and there was time to walk round and look at what was on offer. However most of the good stuff was gone (including the MERP) and there was a real lack of new stuff arriving. As such I only spent little time there.

In the main hall, I continued to talk with RPG publishers and suppliers. I picked up more books and the entire stock of Shattered Star miniatures from Leisure Games!! As I was going round Chris from UK Games Media called me to ask me to do an interview with Sam Richard from Tweet RPG. I was happy to do this as the concept of a Twitter RPG was intriguing. You can see the interview here and I am now an avid player – if you use twitter then please have a look… I then interviewed Sir Steve about Every Round Counts – again please have a look at his kickstarter campaign…

After this, I went to trial Cornish Smuggler by Gublin games. I enjoyed a good few rounds of the game with Henry, discussing the game and the work that went into it. It really is an interesting euro, with plenty of crunch to the rules but a lot of theme as well. The research into the game, with actual convicted smugglers and known smuggling coves integrated into the game made it really interesting and even educational. I really enjoyed it and then backed it about halfway through playing – so much was I enjoying it! I am a little worried about analysis paralysis but if we can get this to 5-players, I think it will become a firm favourite for Thursday night.

After this, the Expo was almost over (sob). There was just enough time to run round to speak with the guys from Hula Gaming, a new game store in Bristol. This was their first Expo and it was interesting to get their view on it. They had a very positive experience and will there next year. I read their first newsletter with interest!

So overall I think that this weekend was very positive. It was a chance to catch up with old friends and new and the Hotel space was great. Just needs better signage and more staff at the bar and everything would be great. The gaming spaces also need to be better displayed for the casual gamer. We stayed the Sunday night (to squeeze the last drops out of the Expo) and Monday morning packed up the car and headed home. Once home, the wife and kids were out so I managed to squirrel away a lot of the purchases and get rid of the evidence!!!! Here’s to next year – hope to see you there.

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UK Expo 2013 pt 1

UK Expo 2013Posted by Sir Keith Thu, May 30, 2013 18:47:52

This is my first report from the UK Boardgame Expo that I attended with the rest of the Thirsty Knight crew. This is the fourth year we have been to this great event but this is the first in its new location of the NEC Hilton Metropole Hotel.

Firstly a quick note on the new location. Firstly I was very impressed with the organisation. The Expo team have now got this down to a fine art and we were made very welcome when we arrived. The goodie bags from Mayfair Games were very generous with games and a RPG book included. However the price of food and drink and the signage needs to be reviewed for next year. With over 3000 through the doors on Saturday, it is vital people can find their way round, especially in a new location. As for the price, it was expensive but I think everyone is aware of that!!

So the Friday had a few locations open, but I played a quick game of Kingdom Builder and spoke with a few old friends (quick shout out to Bez!!) In the evening Sir Animal and I headed to the RPG area to play a game of Achtung Cthulhu! This was played using the Savage World rules. The setting was Iwo Jima and we were an advanced allied force, investigating strange Japanese activities on the island. The scenario was especially written for the expo by Achtung designer Chris Birch and many thanks to him. I played the part as a fanatical American sergeant and led the squad to a very satisfactory outcome, with only the loss of one man (the corporal I ordered down a ladder!!) It really is a great setting and I will be reviewing all the Achtung books in the Cthulhu part of the site.

The Saturday was as hectic as only an Expo can be!! I attended several seminars that Paco from GMS Magazine was doing a great job organising. Then I went round speaking with the many game designers and publishers. Firstly I spoke with the French RPG designers from Agate RPG, who was selling their new setting and system, Shadows of Esteren. It was great to see them at the Expo and it was very interesting to discuss with them their game and how it worked. I bought a copy of the book and the prologue, with a map, for a very reasonable £40. The artworks in the books are very special and please look it up here. I was then very lucky for them to do some unique artwork for me inside the cover. I will do a full review at some point, but I have a stack of books from the weekend to work through.

I also spoke with Sam Richards from Tweet RPG (picture below). This is a game set on Twitter and anyone can join in. Please follow the link here: @tw33tt_rpg. I then spoke with Dominic from Cubicle Seven about The One Ring and the next few releases. I also spoke with him about the new Folklore book (which I bought and will review) from Cthulhu Britannica. I also had the chance for a lengthy chat with Chris Birch and picked up the two current Achtung books, Three Kings and Heroes of the Sea. I can’t wait to read them through and then run them, in anticipation of the Kickstarter books being posted!

Speaking of which, most of the weekend speaking about Sir Steve’s game – Every Round Counts – and the Kickstarter campaign currently underway!! - The art is by the very talented artist Vicki Paull

Will do part two (Saturday PM and Sunday) shortly….

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Latest from Modiphius

UK Expo 2013Posted by Sir Keith Thu, May 23, 2013 07:25:38

This week we plunge in to the Empire of Steam with Cogs, Cakes & Swordsticks - the pulp Steampunk roleplaying game, and launch our official Trail of Cthulhu versions of the Achtung! Cthulhu Zero Point Adventures!

Cogs, Cakes and Swordsticks is Lynne Hardy's game of steampunk pulp adventure, designed to be played in the comfort of your favourite tea shop with your friends, and requiring nothing more than your imagination, a pen, napkins and a sugar cube (should a six-sided die not be readily forthcoming). Inside you will find a nice, simple introductory guide to get you playing as quickly as possible (including a short adventure with its own pregenerated characters), as well as ever so slightly more detailed rules on how to create characters of your own, and how to run a full game of Cogs, Cakes and Swordsticks. Also contained within are details of the fantastical world in which the game takes place, and another, longer adventure, set against the backdrop of the British Museum.

So grab the cake of your choice and a piping hot cup of tea, settle down and allow us to welcome you to the Empire of Steam - an age of marvellous gizmos and mad inventors, Babbage Engines and flying steamships, dashing heroes and femme fatales, and the odd fiendish villian for good measure. In short: a time of exploration, intrigue and high adventure! We're glad you could join us.

- 55 pages of Steampunk pulp adventure - Introduction to The Empire of Steam setting - Introductory & full rules - 2 Adventures with 4 pregenerated characters - Fabulous art steampunk art by Geof Banyard & Richard Hardy - Layout & Interior design by Michal E Cross.

RPGNow Link:

New Adventures for Trail of Cthulhu!

Both Three Kings and Heroes of the Sea, the first adventures in Sarah Newton's Zero Point campaign for Achtung! Cthulhu have been converted to Trail of Cthulhu by Christopher Smith Adair, and you can now get them at RPGNow!

RPGNow Link:

Let us know if you need any more information from us! We hope to see some of you at UK Games Expo in Birmingham, UK this weekend! Chris will be on the Chronicle City Stand and speaking at the Kickstarter seminar on Saturday morning at 11.30am.

A FINAL NOTE: We can still accept last minute Achtung! Cthulhu Kickstarter backers until May 30th, just email with the name of the Reward Level you want.

For more info please check out :

ACHTUNG! CTHULHU is copyright Modiphius Entertainment Ltd 2012, 2013.

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May News

UK Expo 2013Posted by Sir Keith Mon, May 20, 2013 12:47:49

One week to go, before we go to the Birmingham Expo. Hope some of you can make it and I will be about – look for the Thirsty Knight t-shirts! I have spoken about the Con previously so do not want to go back into it before. I will also be pushing the Website, so if this is the first time you have read my blog, welcome – hope you find it useful and entertaining…. This is a mixture of news, releases and my view of some of the rumours. I also update you on my own campaign. You can find actual play reports from the campaign here. You can find out my campaign reports and other tips / hints on role-playing in general here

The AD&D second edition premium rulebooks are due to be released shortly. The main thing to note is that the Monster Manual is in book form – not the binder format that I have at home (due to the issues the binders gave in regards to size of text for monsters). There is an interesting thirty minute blog from WOTC that goes into the history of Second Edition and why it was released. The main reason of the release was to make the rules of AD&D more open to new players. 1985 was when the idea of a new edition was first mooted to TSR executives. The Oriental Adventures rule book was the big turning point as the new mechanics in this book were directly lifted into second edition. However they had to make sure that first edition scenarios had to be convertible and many books should be compatible also some changes were and were not deemed as correct to change. This is why the AC continued to reduce instead of changing to increasing (as per third edition and up). Certain characters were dropped – Monk, Cavalier, Assassin were all not included as all were highly unpopular and felt detracted from the game. Kit’s were released and gave an option for expansions, something of interest to the TSR execs!

The main part of second edition was the amount of support given to the new worlds. Forgotten Realms, Al Quadim, Planescape, Spell Jammer, Ravenloft, Dark Sun, all came to the fore in Second Edition. What are interesting are the worlds that did not get published. The Shadow World where good lived on top of mountains and evil existed below in the ruins of the old civilisation was one that was published (shame!!). This approach to campaign settings gave more freedom to the DM and did not pollute the core game. Though these did fragment the games slightly later in it’s life cycle, early on it showed the flexibility of the product that you could play in many different genres. However the one thing that did not happen was scenarios were no longer the main product. Many of these were out-sourced to other companies and led to the open game licence of third level….

A quick MMORPG update – the Beta Test of Neverwinter is out and I have a quick update from Sir Nick, who is our resident online expert. Firstly, he reported that the graphics and storyline are very good. The controls are very simple, with a 4E slant that ensures you have Encounter and Daily powers. However these just recharge at different rates – you do not actually have to wait 24 hours to cast a second fireball! At the moment it is getting an “interesting – show me more” from Sir Nick, so check it out if you are interested in this game or genre.

Televangelists are back with criticism of RPGs in the USA. They are bemoaning the fact the D&D destroyed lives and calling the system evil. It was given as an example of a game to avoid! However this attitude is thankfully very rare and I have never come across it in the UK – not to say it doesn’t exist! There is a Kickstarter now on called Dark Dungeons with the goal to make a movie – please back it!! This is the best way to show how ridiculous the attitude is.

Also currently on kickstarter, there is Robo-Tech RPG tactics – A wargame based on the popular RPG game from Palladium

I have also got the War of the Burning Sky and Zeitgeist, rewards from EnWorld for backing their Kickstarter campaign. There has been some issue with the free vouchers from RPG Now (I have not got WotBS as yet), but to get both these and the other rewards has shown what great value it was to back the campaign for this great site. For those who are not aware, both WotBS and Zeitgeist are adventure paths, made for the Pathfinder and D&D 4E systems. They both take the players from 1st to 20th/30th level respectively. The vouchers that have been issued are for the full series and all the supporting books – a big thanks to Morrus for such a great gesture.

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Expo expectations

UK Expo 2013Posted by Sir Keith Tue, May 14, 2013 10:02:08

We have just had a Bank Holiday in the UK and for once the weather was actually nice. It was an opportunity to get out with the kids and to look at garden – however not an opportunity to play any games! So this week, with UK Games Expo around the corner in Birmingham, I thought I would take this opportunity to talk about what is expected there and what out plans maybe.

Firstly Sir Steve is play-testing his game – Wiziots. This is a chariot racing game that has a card playing element. However the racers are actually wizards that throw spells at each other to try to destroy the opposition, all the while trying to improve their own chariot and race round the track. Also we are releasing our first game - Every Round Counts, the game of bar-tending in the regular town inn that all adventurers inhibit on their down time!

My main aim is to be around the RPG designers and publishers, finding out the latest news and plans so I can give you all a full round-up. I will also be playing a game of Achtung Cthulhu and Tunnels and Trolls. Thus I scratch my new and old school itches. I am really looking forward to playing these games, especially the Achtung Cthulhu as I have invested heavily on this game on Kickstarter and aim this to be one of the main games of the site. I will give you my initial thoughts and a quick play review after the weekend (won’t be in much condition to do it during).

As part of the UK Games Media Network, I will also be assisting the guys over the weekend. This will be my first con as a member so I am looking forward to getting involved.

So what else is happening in the news this week??

In regards to D&D, the main information has to be that a premium edition of the classic White Box has been announced. This premium reprint of the "White Box" includes not only the core three books (Men & Magic, Monsters & Treasure, Underworld & Wilderness Adventures) but also four supplements (Greyhawk, Blackmoor, Eldritch Wizardry, and Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes). The planned release for this is currently 19th November 2013 so get it onto Santa’s list quickly!

The Second Edition premium books are also being released at the end of this month. The players’ Handbook, DM Guide and Monster Manual (not as a binder!) are all being released, with new cover art. Then in June, Against the Slave Lords is release as a hardcover collection of four classic Advanced Dungeons & Dragons adventure modules that form a series -- A1: Slave Pits of the Undercity, A2: Secret of the Slavers Stockade, A3: Assault on the Aerie of the Slave Lords, and A4: In the Dungeons of the Slave Lords -- complete with original black-and-white interior art. Added to the collection is an all-new fifth adventure -- A0: Danger at Darkshelf Quarry -- that you can use to kick off an AD&D campaign that pits a group of adventurers against the evil Slave Lords! Module A0, designed for levels 1-3, sets the stage for events that unfold throughout the remainder of the "A" series.

Pathfinder continue to roll out the products, with a new book and new comic out this week. In addition, more bestiary pawns (card board stand ups) have been released. This cuts down the cost of models on the poor DM, but do have less of an impact on the game table. That reminds me…. I have to buy more monsters for my poor PCs to meet!

Apparently the reason for the loss of Marvel was that the licensing costs overtook the money Margaret Weis Productions were making from the products. As of now, the books and PDFs are no longer available, so if you see some of the ENNIE award winning books, I recommend you grab them!

Stay safe and I will post again before the Expo…..

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