UK Games Expo 2013 - Board and Card Games

uk games expo card & board games
Board games where the heart and soul of the UK Game Expo. No matter which direction you looked in there where groups of people huddled around boards, rolling dice, shuffling cards and re-arranging meeples of all shapes and sizes. There was also a fair balance of game styles going on all around from euro designed cube shufflers to fully pimped out dice heavy Ameritrash.

Here we outline some of the best British made board and card games on display at the UK Games Expo 2013.


Board Games Mantic Dreadball
He shoots, he fumbles, the ork kicks his head in.
I’ve already talked about Deadzone, Mantic’s upcoming hybrid game in my write up of UK Expo miniatures games but I also managed to get a play in of Mantic’s fantasy, or is it science fiction, sports game Dreadball. Dreadball has obvious links to Blood Bowl and it’s hard not to compare a game about orxs playing American football in the future with a game about orcs playing American football in a fantasy realm (I think I’ve confused myself here). As with any other sports style games the aim is simple, grab the ball, get it into the goal and smash the face in of anyone stopping you from achieving steps 1 and 2.

The first thing that took me by surprise was how compact the game is, the board is actually rather small but again I’m probably comparing things to Blood Bowl and my ancient polystyrene pitch. I played a cut down game but the rules are based on Mantic’s dice pool system which makes it easy to grasp the basics and the game plays fast, it was a cut down game but we managed to play in around twenty minutes.

I resisted a purchase of this game, not because I didn’t like it but because I wasn’t in the market for a two player game at the time but if a few of my friends, or members of my regular gaming group where to get into the game I can see myself picking up a team.

For more information, check out the Mantic’s game site and


board games xi card game
Its four cards against one, bring it on.
Some games you are drawn to by the miniatures, some by the designer and some by the artwork and I was drawn to the play testing stand for Xi, the collectible card game, by the amazing artwork on display. Xi is a trading card game that takes a lot of influence from Magic. It’s not a direct copy but you can definitely feel Magic’s influence and see how the designers have attempted to overcome the weaknesses they saw in the system. The game isn’t available yet and a Kickstarter is planned later in the year.

The artwork for Xi is quite simply stunning. It gives the game a very distinctive style that reminds me of some of the illustrations from Planescape. The gameplay though is a little disappointing. Okay that may be a bit harsh. Xi follows your normal card combat tropes of getting cards onto the battlefield to whack your opponent or anything that stands in the way but rather than using resources from your deck you have a number of points, called Time, which you can spend each turn to play your cards. These time points can be also be stored away for future use which gives the game a few more strategic options than first seem apparent. Cards are made up of your typical combat units and spells. In the demo game I played it came down to the wire, me playing a fast fire based deck and the demo player using a slow turtling stone based deck. I won but only just, as one more turn and I would have been obliterated. One aspect I did really like was that a lot of my fire attack cards where more than a little indiscriminate doing just as much damage to me as to my opponent.

Xi isn’t a bad game; it’s just lacking that spark to put it ahead in an already crowded marketplace. A lot of work has obviously been put into its development but I’m worried that it lacks the ‘oomph’ to take it to the mainstream. I’m also worried about the creators are attempting to make a traditional CCG purchasing model with starter sets and random booster packs. It’s going to be tough for the developers to break through but if Xi were released in something akin to FFG’s living card game format or as faction boxed sets I can see Xi having a much better chance of success.

For more information about Xi check out or the Xi Facebook page.

Lords of War

Board games Lords of War
Poisonous Lizrdmen are great and sneaky, and then get blatted by an orc.
Lords of War was the standout game of the show for me, Deadzone came a close second but Lords of War’s simplicity, portability and straightforward tactical gameplay shone through. The game has such a simple concept, you have a gridded play mat and a deck of cards, each card has a defence value and a range of directional attack strengths. You place a card down each turn but must place the card in an attacking location, you then add up the attacking strength against each enemy and if it beats the defence you take the killed unit. Collect 20 enemy cards and you win. It is as simple as that. The game is slightly more complicated in that you also get generals and artillery and other abilities to add a bit of variety. It is quick to learn, quick to play and I was reaching for my wallet as I played it.

At first the game seems very similar to Summoner Wars, but I would suggest that this is what happens when you boil down Summoner Wars into its simplest form. There’s no dice, no magic to build, it’s just a simple tactical game.

At the moment the game only includes two factions, orcs and dwarves (available as a single boxed set). The lizards & elves boxed set is out soon and an iOS version is currently in development. I got very excited about this game so expect Polyhedron Collider to be tracking its progress and we’ll be running a review when the second boxed set is released.

For more information on Lords of War check out their website.

This concludes our reports on the UK Games Expo 2013, check out the review of the show and the showcase of the best miniatures games and see you at UK Games Expo 2014!
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