Friday 31 May 2013

'Divinare' on the SDJ recommended list

Congratulations are in order for Playtest UK member, Brett Gilbert, whose game, 'Divinare' has been included on the recommended list for the SDJ award

The German Game of the Year prize (it translates as Spiel Des Jahres) is the most prestigious among designers, as it is widely respected across Europe and the US.

'Divinare' was published in 2012 by Asmodee. It is a family game involving bluffing and deduction. The prototype for the game also won the Granollers design competition in 2012 and was playtested at the Playtest UK club.

Here are some links to the game:

Thursday 30 May 2013

London Meetup Sunday 16th June

The June Meetup will be on Sunday 16th June from 1pm to 8pm at the Jugged Hare pub, Victoria.

Following on from the success of the Playtest @ UK Games Expo 2013, we will be returning to the usual meetup schedule. 

If you've designed a game, bring it along and give it a play or just enjoy playing other people's prototypes in a friendly and constructive atmosphere. Everyone is welcome.

If you would like to bring along a new design, contact Rob Harris (Organiser) and we will add your game to the list. 

We have pre-registration to make the sessions run more smoothly. Designers are encouraged to pre-register their games to be playtested before the meetup by leaving a message on the meetup page or contacting Rob Harris (Organiser).

You are still welcome to bring along other designs on the day, but time slots will first of all be allocated to pre-registered games.

More details:

We also have a guild at

Some of the games to be playtested (TBC):

Master of Elements - light-medium auction game, 30 mins, 3-5 players (Robert)
Unfair - new card game prototype, variable duration, 2-10 players (Frank Molbech)
Alchemists of Venice - new board game prototype, 2-4 players (Peter Burley)
Eternal Gateway - fantasy/medieval game, 120-180 mins, 2-6 players (Andy Yiangou)
Untitled - Kickstarter economic/ social game, 40-70 mins, 4-6 players (Behrooz Shahriari)
Shape Up! - card placement microgame, 10 mins, 2-3 players (Mo Holkar)
Les cartes de Louis - collection of card games, 30 mins, 3 players (Coraline Chane)
Warbot Peacetime Jobsearch - game about finding work for unemployed death machines, 60 mins, 3-4 players (Andrew Rowse)
Cursed Temple - asymmentric version of Zombie at your Heels, 60 mins, 3-4 players (Andrew Rowse)
Fishy Business - light eurogame, 45 mins, 2-4 players (Mo Holkar)
Soul Binder - trading card game, 45 mins, 2 players (Daniel Forster)
Terror at Graveport - cooperative game, 90 mins, 5 players (Andy Oakey)
Brent Crude - oil industry game, 90-150 mins, 2-5 players (Andrew Bond)
Send in the Clowns - colour matching card game, 30-60 mins 2-4 players (Andrew Bond)
Trinity - dice rolling, card drafting game, 45-75 minutes, 2-5 players (Matt Dunstan & Brett Gilbert)
Artisans - dice allocation, worker placement game, 60-90 minutes, 2-5 players (Matt Dunstan & Brett Gilbert)
Untitled - card drafting, route building and action selection game, 45-60 minutes, 2-4 players (Matt Dunstan)
The Empire Engine - bluffing microgame, 20 minutes, 2-4 players (Matt Dunstan & Chris Marling)
Sheepie Sleepy - dice game based on counting sheep, 30 mins, 2-4 players (Jazz Aujila - ASAE)
Freight Chain - euro-gamer style card game based on the Industrial Revolution, 45 mins, 2-4 players (Jazz Aujila - ASAE)
ConSTARlations - light card/board game with little stars in space, 20-30mins, 2-4 players (Dave Cousins)
Hitched - board game with rival gangs of Orcs attack an Elven wedding, 30-40mins, 2 players (Dave Cousins)
Angkor Thom - city building/ light strategy, 60 mins, 2-5players (Brett Gilbert)
Scene Life - Details to be confirmed, 180 mins, 4-5 players (Kim Berg)
Imperialism in Space - 90-120 mins, 3,4 or 6 players (James Moulding & Kateryna Onyiliogwu)
Fiefdoms - Details to be confirmed, 45 mins, 2-4 players (Adam Taylor)
Command & Colours - Skirmish - short wargame, 30-60, 2 players (Adam Taylor)
Screenplay - movie-writing story-game, 120 mins, 3-5 players (Edward Croft)

Wednesday 29 May 2013

Playtest @ UKGE 2013 Competition Winners

To add to the excitement of the UK Games Expo 2013, Playtest UK ran three competitions.

First of all there was the annual prize draw for all playtesters who sat down to play a prototype at the Playtest Zone. On each feedback form there is a little entry slip that goes into the lucky dip.

The winner was Scot Symonds, who receives a £30 gift voucher to spend at

Thank you to Paul at BoardGame Guru for the support:

Playtest UK was also running the QR Code Treasure Hunt on both days of the Expo. Players had to find ten treasure maps scattered around the venue, using their mobile phones to decode clues hidden in QR codes. There were great prizes on offer.

Saturday's Treasure Hunt prize went to Maria Jones.

The prize included Junkyard Races by Gen 42 Games, Fzzzt! by Surprised Stare, and the 'Fortune's Fool' Roleplaying Game published by Chronicle City.

Sunday's Treasure Hunt prize went to Alex Green

The bag of swag included Anyways by Ragnar Brothers, On the Cards by Surprised Stare, Mijnlieff by Hopwood Games and 'The Wyld Hunt' signed novel by Gunnar Roxen.

Congratulations to the winners! Look forward to seeing you at the UK Games Expo 2014!

Thank you to the kind sponsors of the QR Code Treasure Hunt:

Tuesday 28 May 2013

UK Games Expo Board game Re-design competition

UK Games Expo Board game Re-design competition

Playtest UK are supporting Leisure Game's Re-Design Competition that was launched at the UK Games Expo 2013 last week. More details here:

The competition is to re-design a board game called 'Wilderness' into something new and is being organised by Kara Gander. The finalists will be chosen by Leisure Games in January and then Playtest UK will provide a day of playtesting to give the shortlisted designers some feedback to help improve their games. The final  judging will be at the UK Games Expo 2014.

The winner will receive a year's mentoring from top board game designer, Alan Paull of Surprised Stare and a review on the Shut Up & Sit Down podcast.

Monday 27 May 2013

Playtest @ UK Games Expo 2013 Debrief

This was the third year running that we have presented the Playtest Zone at the UK Games Expo and each year it gets bigger and better.

This year the Expo moved to the new plush surroundings of the Hilton Metropole, near the NEC Birmingham. The event was very well organised by Richard, Tony and their team. We were given the Arden Room, which was right next to the main entrance to the Palace Suite and provided us with a great position to benefit from the footfall of the attendees.

We set up the room on Saturday/Sunday morning, placing our new roller banners outside the door to the room. Matt came up with a great idea of having the tables around the outside with a large table in the middle to provide a path around the Zone. It allowed people to watch the games being played as well as form a queue for the next playtest.

A schedule was agreed with several designers before the event, but we also wanted to leave a drop-in facility to just turn up with their prototypes and start playtesting. It worked well with all of the tables occupied throughout the weekend. 

The games ranged from 2-player wargames set in the Middle Ages to football games and designs involving chariot-racing wizards. There really was something there for everyone and the the designers received useful feedback to help improve their games.

Our playtesters were made up of Expo attendees of all ages and background, which provided a great cross section of the gaming community. At times it got really busy and the red--shirted Playtest UK team did a brilliant job: Brett , Dave, Katarina, Lawrence, Matt and Rob.

Also there were two games launched at the Expo that were originally playtested at the Playtest UK London meetup. Rock, Paper, Scissors, BANG! is a design by Dave Cousins and is being published by North and South Games 
(Details here: 

The other game is called Steeplechase, designed by Gavin Birnbaum and published through Cubiko Games (Details here:

All in all the weekend was a great success and the feedback from the attendees and Expo organisers was very positive. We are already looking forward to the UK Games Expo 2014.

Details of the prototypes played can be found here on a BGG geeklist:

Here are some photos of the event:






Thursday 23 May 2013

QR Code Treasure Hunt at the UK Games Expo 2013

For pirates and adventurers, I have created a QR Code Treasure Hunt to run at the UK Games Expo 2013 this weekend.

Details here:

The object is to find all of the treasure maps, which when scanned give clues to other locations. When you have found them you can solve a puzzle to be entered into a prize draw for a hoard of gaming goodness.

Players will need smartphones with a QR Code reader and a sense of adventure, but the game doesn't require internet or network access to play. 

Be sure to download a QR Code Reader app from the Android or Apple Store before playing.

Looking forward to seeing you all at Expo!

Wednesday 22 May 2013

Playtest Zone roller banners have arrived

The roller banners for the Playtest Zone at the Uk Games Expo 2013 have arrived. And they are huge. Seems strange to see the artwork so big.

Surely this will attract attendees to come and sit down to play a game.

See you at Expo!

Tuesday 21 May 2013

May Meetup 2013 Debrief

This was the last London Playtest session before the large public playtesting event at the UK Games Expo next weekend, so everyone was polishing their designs, ready to be unleashed on the general public. We welcomed 7 new attendees this month: Daniel, James, Sel, Jane, Tyrone, James and Katarin.

The May meetup saw the debut of the video countdown display on the TV in the corner of the room. It had a largely positive response from the playtesters, although some questioned the need for split-second precision ;) and this will be changed for next month. Also announcing it's arrival like chitty-chitty-bang-bang was the old style horn, which was a good way to get everyone's attention between playtesting sessions. So popular that everyone wanted a go.

During the four playtesting rounds, there was an interesting mix of 17 prototypes: a clever party game, an oil industry simulation, new rules for a fantasy wargame, some inventive new card games, mechanical dwarves and many more.

Details of the games played can be found here on a BGG geeklist:

Here are some photos of the event: