We take a look at a handful of the upcoming releases and in-development games that caught our eye on the tables at the UK Games Expo 2017 press preview.

Dice Hospital

UK Games Expo 2017 Press Preview - Dice HospitalPlayers: 1–4
Play Time: 45–90 mins
Age Guide: 12+
Publisher: Alley Cat Games
Kickstarter: Autumn 2017

When I was a far younger cretin, with an Amiga home computer, I’d sometimes enjoy playing a game called Life & Death, which puts you in the scrubs of a hospital surgeon. In my case a grossly incompetent one. In fact I would usually call my character Dr Death, as I felt it was best to be up front concerning my inability to carry out the simplest of appendectomies without killing the patient.

UK Games Expo 2017 Press Preview - Dice Hospital 2

Thus I was intrigued by Dice Hospital, which appears to allow me to be just as dangerous, without actually putting a digital scalpel in my hand. In this worker placement game the hospital is made up of a customisable selection of hex tiles featuring isometric rooms, which players use to treat victims, errr… patients (the poor doomed souls.)

UK Games Expo 2017 Press Preview - Dice Hospital 3

Each player has their own hospital, with the titular dice representing the unfortunate patients. The pips represent their current health. The idea is to use your hospital to increase a patients health to a “7” at which point they can be discharged and you’ll score points. Go below a “1” and they’ll die.

There’s only limited beds available and patients arrive all the time, so if you can’t make room for them by healing folk they’ll start dropping like flies. It looks like Dr Death is back in business, and I’m already looking forward to the planned September release of this on Kickstarter.

Perfect Crime

UK Games Expo 2017 Press Preview - Perfect CrimePlayers: 2–5
Play Time: 90 mins
Age Guide: 14+
Publisher: Grublin Games
Release: 2017

This One vs Many game of building and breaking bank security is billed as “authentic to real-life bank robberies as we’re allowed to make it!”. One player controls the bank, installing a complex security system in order to foil the attempts of the other players to break the system and steal the loot.

UK Games Expo 2017 Press Preview - Perfect Crime 2

The longer the criminals take to prepare their heist, the more time the bank has to refine its defences, so it’s a case of balancing the gang’s need to execute a flawless plan with not giving the bank time enough to guard against all eventualities.

UK Games Expo 2017 Press Preview - Perfect Crime 3

With asymmetrical game play, modular boards, hidden information, tech tree upgrades and an interesting format of co-op, semi co-op and competitive game play, this is one we’re certainly looking forward to getting to the table.

Magnificent Flying Machines

UK Games Expo 2017 Press Preview - Magnificent Flying MachinesPlayers: 2–6
Play Time: 60–150 mins
Age Guide: 12+
Publisher: Medusa Games
Release: Late 2017

Coming hot on the heels of the beautiful Nine Worlds is Medusa Games’ Magnificent Flying Machines, harping back to the days of powered flight infancy. Moustachioed daredevils take to the skies in canvas and wood contraptions to compete in flying races for cash and glory.

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The prototype looks stunning, both in terms of the artwork, flying machine playing pieces and custom dice. The character portraits really enhance the turn-of-the-20th-century theme and one can imagine lots of Terry Thomas impressions around the table as players go up-diddly-up-up!

UK Games Expo 2017 Press Preview - Magnificent Flying Machines 3There’s no set date for release but it looks like it’s soaring to our tables and FLGS in late 2017.

Carcosa

UK Games Expo 2017 Press Preview - CarcosaPlayers: 2–4
Play Time: 30–45 mins
Age Guide: 12+
Publisher: One Free Elephant
Kickstarter: Funded!

In a market almost saturated by Cthulhu, it’s nice to see a game branching off slightly in its theme to the King in Yellow. Carcosa features an interesting tile-laying mechanic with double-sided tiles that makes it more than simply “Cthulhu Carcassonne”.

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The tiles feature both stable and unstable sides, both with their own rules. Players have to think strategically as they want to lay tiles beneficial to themselves but also deprive other players of opportunities.

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There’s secret plans, bluffing and of course insanity to mix up the game play further. The artwork is wonderful, the components look great and being a cultist has never been so much fun.

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There’s not much more to say about the game that isn’t covered on the Kickstarter page as the campaign is live now, so head on over, check it out and give them some support if it looks like it may flick your switches.

UBOOT: The Board game

UK Games Expo 2017 Press Preview - UbootPlayers: 1–4
Play Time: 30–120 mins
Age Guide: 12+
Publisher: Phalanx, Playway
Release: TBC

With great artwork, cool miniatures and a companion app, UBOOT looks to be slick submarine fun.

In this fully co-op real-time game (sister game to a digital counterpart of the same name), 1–4 players take command of the crew of a type VIIC U-Boat in World War 2. The companion app not only manages many of the aspects of real-time gameplay, but also provides a challenging AI to give the players a run for their money, and even a 3D periscope!

UK Games Expo 2017 Press Preview - Uboot 2

The action is both strategic and tactical, always demanding teamwork, efficient crew management, and quick situation assessment. Although the app runs the game, rest assured that most of the action still occurs on the board, with the app simply providing the players with up-to-date information as the game progresses.

UK Games Expo 2017 Press Preview - Uboot 3

Added to that, an atmospheric soundtrack (something we’re keen on here at Tabletop Tribe and sought out elsewhere at UKGE!), video tutorials, and multiple difficulty levels might make this one of those perfect blends of analogue and digital.

Nimbee

UK Games Expo 2017 Press Preview - NimbeePlayers: 2–4
Play Time: 20–40 mins
Age Guide: 10+
Publisher: A-Muse-Ment
Release: July 2017

This beautiful little “bumblebee simulator” sees players buzzing around a hive in a race to be the first out into the meadow, where the big point cards lie.

You can walk or fly around the hive and activate three different types of actions depending on the space you land (with the Queen Bee always acting as a blocker). This is your main strategy for getting ahead or staying behind in the hive race.

UK Games Expo 2017 Press Preview - Nimbee 2

Why lag behind? Because whilst it’s beneficial to get out into the meadow to grab yourself the choicest flowers, thanks to a little randomness in the end game, you might also be trying to slow yourself down to avoid a honey-guzzling bear.

UK Games Expo 2017 Press Preview - Nimbee 3

For such a small, cheap game there are loads of decisions and there’s great fun to be had at all the stated player counts. Successfully crowdfunded on Kickstarter, Nimbee is set for general release July 2017

Mars Rover

UK Games Expo 2017 Press Preview - Mars RoverPlayers: 1–5
Play Time: 90 mins
Age Guide: 12+
Publisher: Spiral Galaxy Games
Release: 2018

This strategy game sees players as rival scientists controlling a rover on Mars. It’s competitive, with each scientist trying to be the most influential at the end of the mission, but sharing control of the only piece that moves around the board : the Rover.

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Sometimes, players work reluctantly together to find interesting landmarks or obtain valuable samples, and sometimes they’ll stab each other in the back like the vicious academic rivals they are.

UK Games Expo 2017 Press Preview - Mars Rover 3

The designer is trying to get some partnerships with some of the space agencies for this deck-building programming game, so hopefully the sky won’t be the limit with this project. Look for it from Spiral Galaxy Games in 2018.

ReFloristation

UK Games Expo 2017 Press Preview - RefloristationPlayers: 1–5
Play Time: 45-90 mins
Age Guide: 12+
Publisher: Spiral Galaxy Games
Kickstarter: June 2017(unsuccessful)

It’s going to be hard for any flower-related game to replace Lotus as my favourite floral flutter, but until now I hadn’t heard of a game about florists.

UK Games Expo 2017 Press Preview - Refloristation 2

In ReFlositation players compete as rival florists to complete orders and earn points and become the most successful flower shop. You do this by acquiring the necessary flower cards to fulfil the order, whilst at the same time depriving your rivals of the necessary blooms to complete theirs.

UK Games Expo 2017 Press Preview - Refloristation 3

There seem to be some fairly solid, dependable mechanics at work here, and the idea is original, but I’m not convinced yet that players will necessarily be searching for a games night escape from reality in a flower shop. We shall see, as it’s due for a Kickstarter launch today (14th June).

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