Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over the last few years and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

Get in touch by emailing thegameshelfblog@gmail.com

Friday, 6 October 2017

The Game Shelf are going to Play Expo Manchester

It's always great to stay connected with the gaming community. Although I don't actively participate much in many of the Facebook groups I'm a member of, I am a lurker and this week I saw someone talking about the Play Expo in Manchester which they were going to attend because it has a mixture of board gaming and video gaming. The date caught my eye and I realised that, by chance, we will visiting Manchester on 14th/15th October and might be able to attend. Quickly, I made a plan and we'll definitely be there on Saturday 14th and possibly Sunday 15th too, depending how much there is to see. It will be our first time at this convention and my first time attending a convention with a focus other than board games, but our personal interests span both categories, with Amy being a big video game geek.

Details

PLAY Expo Manchester is the North's biggest ever gaming expo. Now in it's 6th year, this year's event will run at the EventCity exhibition centre, near The Trafford Centre, Manchester. With an expected 25,000 attendees over the two days, I'm expecting something pretty impressive. This is something like 50% more people than the UK Games Expo and I'm finding that hard to imagine!

The convention runs on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th October from 10am-6pm. Purchasing tickets in advance gets you in before general entry at 11am.

Tabletop gaming

It appears that tabletop gaming is a pretty new, but growing feature at PLAY Expo. I do not have high expectations - I don't think we'll discover anything new, but it does seem like Esdevium will have a decent size presence and Fan Boy Three, a great game store based in Manchester City centre will also be there. There are a number of games confirmed as having demos, but the only one I'm excited to play is NMBR9, otherwise we've played everything on the list - a curse of being board game addicts. Nevertheless, I'm still excited to see what is on offer and report back on whether there's anything there that's interesting for tabletop gamers or whether it's just a good opportunity for the board gaming hobby to expand by striking up an interest with some video gamers.

Other things we're excited to see

Generally on this blog Amy keeps her geekyness confined to board games, but the truth is she's been playing video games sine back when they were loaded from cassette tapes.  Play Expo should be a great opportunity for Amy's video game geek side to flourish. So here's what sh'es looking forward to...

Indie games are always something people should get excited about. There’s no denying the formulaic brilliance of “triple A” games, but if you want something more off the wall then look no further that the Indies. Sure, breaking the mould doesn’t create something perfect every time, but if you ask me it’s indie games that bring out some of the most memorable gaming experiences. Minecraft was an indie game once! Some of my fondest modern gaming experiences have been with the likes of The Sexy Brutale, Kerbal Space Program, The Binding of Isaac, Spelunky and Stardew Valley. Play Expo promises to have a huge indie zone with opportunities to try games before release, I’m particularly looking forward to trying BeeBeeQ (A VR game where you try and protect your BBQ from other players who are bees trying to steal your food) and Boom Boom Barbarian (think guitar hero, with strumming replaced by cutting down hordes of invaders).

We’ve also recently begun collecting retro consoles and games and with ~500 retro machines at the convention there should be more than enough opportunity to try out some potential new additions to our collection. Of course there’s also an arcade machine section where hopefully Amy can again wow a crowd playing Ms Pacman (one of our weirdest pub experiences).
Looking from the past to the future they are going to have several VR choices to try out. Much to my shame I’ve yet to actually try any VR device. For several months I was itching to pull the trigger on getting a Vive, but ultimately we don’t have a room with enough floor space to make the most of it. I’m truly looking forward to being fully immersed into a game with the HTC Vive, I really hope that they have some of the “Knuckles” finger tracking prototypes for use.  VR is a technology that easily could be the next big thing, if and when the kinks get ironed out. And if you are thinking this has no repercussions on board gaming... Tabletop simulator is VR compatible. In 20 years time you could be playing a board game with people all across the world, feeling like you are right there in the same room!

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