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  • Writer's pictureKatrina Waldman

Spotlight: UKGE Round-Up!

Admittedly, it has taken me a while to get around to writing this rather late post! But I couldn't not write it because ever since attending, UKGE (UK Games Expo) has been at the forefront of my mind. It is an incredible convention to be at, and does a wonderful job of really showcasing the amazing talent we have in the UK TTRPG scene! Compared to my visit last year, I certainly saw a huge bump in attendee numbers, and I was incredibly pleased to see a lot more of the tabletop scene there too, both exhibiting and wandering around!


Now that I've had some time to really have a look at the various quickstarts and games that I managed to pick up, I'd like to spotlight some of my finds. Without further ado - here are some projects to get excited about!

 

Mappa Mundi (Three Sails Studios)


Gather your team of Chroniclers and step out into a living world on the edge of an extinction event. Travel the wilds, observe and document monsters, creatures, and cultures, and help the world regain its voice. 


Stories will save the world, and you hold the pen.


My first introduction to Mappa Mundi was actually when I accidentally stumbled upon its itch page, and popped it on my TBR pile ready for a read later. It very quickly became a priority after chatting with the team at UKGE and getting to play a demo game. This one is something special, folks. Not only does it absolutely speak to me personally (I spent my childhood pretending to scientifically document mythological creatures and I've definitely never let that ambition go), but it also does so in a way that is mechanically inventive! Mappa Mundi is GM facilitated, but relies on collaborative world-building (called 'shaping') as a key mechanic, and the resulting story is definitely a group effort. I love the simplicity of its three phase structure, I'm excited by the skill-trees in its character creation, and the fact that it eradicates combat and focuses on the curious documentation and peaceful study of the wondrous creatures it boasts is a HUGE draw for me. The art is spectacular too, do not miss this one.


Price: Quickstart is PWYW, Kickstarting in February!

 

ION Heart (Parable Games)


After years of war has ravaged the galaxy, the AU Federation has brought peace. The fighting forces of various factions all took advantage of pioneering mech technology. Now the war is over and people have returned to their normal lives alongside their trusted mech companions. But with no wars to fight what place is there for a giant robot in a peaceful universe? Explore, make friends and bond with your giant mechanical buddy.


Help their ION Core learn what it means to exist in a world where conflict isn't the centre of everything and transforms it into an ION Heart.


Mechs are a really fun element in plenty of TTRPGs, but the thing that really attracted me to this one was the cosy art style of it all, and the fact that ION Heart doesn't focus on the warring capabilities of both soldier and mech, but instead the sense of readjustment and healing that they'd face after war. I love that you get to create both a pilot AND a mech and have a character profile and stats for both, that there is a levelling system in place, and a very clear structure in place for creating a story! This one is Crowdfunding very soon, so check out the launch page and get hold of the FREE Quickstart!


Price: Quickstart is Free, Kickstarting 16th July!

 

Mausoleum (Crow & Crown)


The boundaries which divide life from death are at best shadowy and vague; who shall say where the one ends, and the other begins?


Welcome to Gravehallow! Where deals have a way of finding the power-hungry and foolish, where death isn’t feared, and the dead don’t always remain that way…


I have been a huge fan of Fen Inkwright's work for quite some time now, and what I particularly love about Herbarium, her last large 5e supplement, was that it contained so much content that is heavily inspired by real-world folklore and practices! Mausoleum promises a similar experience and is focused around vampires and the undead, with a deliciously gothic undercurrent, which I cannot wait to dig into! I got to see some of the gorgeous art and the stunning map that has been created of Gravehallow, and with tons of home-brewed content to pick through (subclasses, backgrounds, NPCs, adventures, locations, AND a journey to the Underworld), this is going to be an exciting addition to my collection. It is currently Kickstarting with less than two weeks to go!


Price: Digital £20+, Hardcover £40+

 

Paint The Town Red (SoulMuppet)


Something very bad happened to you a very long time ago: you died and it fucking hurt. 


Your blood is cold, but your skin is colder. Your heart might as well be made of stone. Your memory is like treacle. Sometimes, you even remember to blink. 


Being dead sucks, but I know what will make you feel better. Wet your mouth a little, have a drink! It’s time for a party. Let’s paint the town red!


A game about being sad, queer vampires? Count. Me. In. Paint The Town Red was on my list of games to be excited about at UKGE, and for good reason! Having flicked through the Quickstart (available digitally now for free!), not only does it set the tone of the game well with some gorgeous art from Johan Nohr, but it does a great job of explaining the mechanics and rules concisely, and they are both interesting and keep gameplay flowing very well. They marry well to the themes of the game too - for example, using 'Pulse' to activate your vampiric powers, comes at the cost of feeling human, which is something very precious to the vampires in this story. That give and take is often core to good storytelling, and I'm excited to see this out there! I cannot wait for the full release!


Price: Quickstart is Free, Kickstarting in September!

 

For Small Creatures Such As We (Anna Blackwell)


'For Small Creatures Such As We' is a solo/co-op RPG about being a human captain in charge of an alien crew. It is a game about exploration, not just of the wider galaxy, but of the aliens you share your ship with, and is built to create a narrative while still having enough mechanical depth to make it a fun game.


As you play, you'll have to keep your ship fuelled up and your crew-mates healthy and happy. Manage your food supplies, plot your course on the galactic map, juggle missions, and face off against the many threats the galaxy can pose or play it safe and stick to secure space at the cost of time.


Anna Blackwell is without a doubt one of my favourite solo journalling game writers, and I am always very excited to got to play any one of her games (Apothecaria remains my favourite!), and so I instantly backed For Small Creatures Such As We the moment the Kickstarter went live! I have mentioned it here because Anna was showing a physical preview at UKGE, and it looks incredible! One of the inspirations cited for this game is cited as Becky Chamber's The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet which is hands down one of my favourite sci-fi books, and I can already tell having read through the digital version of this game that it strikes an excellent balance between intuitive and fun mechanics, and the emotionally hard-hitting 'found family' narrative that I would expect from a game inspired by that book! You can pre-order a physical copy still, and the digital version is available right now!


Price: Digital £15, Physical £30

 

Maskwitches Of Forgotten Doggerland (Handiwork Games)


Maskwitches of Forgotten Doggerland' is a psychedelic Mesolithic storytelling game. This standalone book brings your stories to Forgotten Doggerland – the land that lies drowned beneath the North Sea.


Powered The Silver Road rules, you’ll take the role of the Maskwitches who struggle against evil spirits spawned by troubles of the hunter-gather community you protect.


Maskwitches Of Forgotten Doggerland ended up being a surprise gem that I happened upon while wandering the convention. I've not played a TTRPG set in the Mesolithic period before, but once it was pitched to me it set me down a rabbit hole reading about Doggerland, an area of land that is now submerged beneath the North Sea because so little is known about how it looked! The game is light on rules but has some great mechanics, my favourite of which involve donning masks to represent the things you are good at, and amulets that represent your weaknesses. As Maskwitches, you can change your masks around which gives a sense of fluidity that I loved! Combined with incredible photography, and a combination of history and the supernatural, this is a game I'm very excited to try, and it's available to pre-order now.


Price: Hardcover £26+ (with added PDF)

 

Serving Up Disaster (Molomoot)


In this game, one player takes on the role of the GM, narrating and hosting the game while playing the character of The Chef. The remaining players act as the staff of the restaurant Chef is visiting, playing out their own dysfunctions and disasters.


Over the course of each session, Chef arrives at a new restaurant with the aim to help the staff change their bad attitudes, repair their relationships, and overcome various problems to ensure a successful relaunch night.


I was sold on Serving Up Disaster from the moment I first heard its pitch, namely because Kitchen Nightmares is one of my favourite shows to binge watch and was a driving influence in its creation! Thank you so much Mol for letting me have a read-through of the initial WIP document, it had me laughing so hard and I can absolutely picture anyone playing this having a hilarious time. The Ashcan is now available to download, and within you will find some solid mechanics for character creation and play cycle, and some of the best names for playbook moves I have ever seen in my life! Consider giving it a read, you won't be disappointed!


Price: PWYW for Ashcan

 

UKGE has absolutely become my favourite convention for tabletop role-playing games! The community there has expanded so quickly, and not only do I get to see many friends in person, but it is also a great opportunity to get hold of games (even those difficult to source in the UK, I finally got hold of Mausritter!) and play them!


The UK scene is thriving, as shown with some of the amazing upcoming or currently funding projects found here. Did you attend the convention? What is your favourite con find?

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