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10 board games and tabletop RPGs to check out at UK Games Expo 2023

It's time to take a trip to Birmingham.

UK Games Expo 2023, Britain’s biggest dedicated tabletop convention, is happening this weekend and we wanted to highlight some of the most exciting tabletop titles that are set to be featured there. Though UKGE may not be the biggest tabletop convention in Europe, that honour goes to Essen Spiel in Germany, it certainly is still worth checking out for people based in and around the UK. UKGE is the perfect opportunity to catch up on any tabletop titles you might have missed.

This list of the best board games and tabletop roleplaying games at UKGE 2023 is a summary of titles that have either been recently published or are set to be released soon. These are games that we’ve had on our radar and are excited to get our hands on at the convention, with all of them being available to play and/or purchase there.

Board games and tabletop RPGs to check out at UKGE 2023

If you’re planning on going to UKGE 2023 or if you’re on the face, this list of the best board games and tabletop roleplaying games to see at the convention will provide some options for what to look out for. Dicebreaker will be attending UKGE, so you can expect to see some coverage in the near future once we’ve dived in ourselves. Otherwise, here are some of the most exciting tabletop titles to see at the UK Games Expo 2023.

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1. Star Wars: Shatterpoint

The studio behind Star Wars: X-Wing is releasing a new miniatures game

Star Wars: Shatterpoint miniatures
Darth Maul and Mandalorians are potential characters players can include in their Shatterpoint teams. | Image credit: Atomic Mass Games

The Star Wars universe has already seen several notable miniatures games, including Star Wars: Armada, Legion and X-Wing. Now a new iteration, Star Wars: Shatterpoint, will be making its debut at this year’s UKGE. Described as ‘Warhammer 40,000 but Star Wars’, Shatterpoint is being published by Atomic Mass Games, the studio currently responsible for the release of X-Wing.

Shatterpoint will be a skirmish miniatures game, meaning that players will be controlling small teams of miniatures on a map made from various terrain. Players will be commanding strike teams formed from a variety of different characters from the Star Wars universe, with certain rules dictating which types of figures can be paired together. From the heroic Ashoka Tano to the villainous Asajj Ventress and Darth Maul, players will have recognisable Star Wars characters to choose from, particularly from the Clone Wars animated series.

People who aren’t keen on the grim-dark vibe of the Warhammer series will definitely find an alternative with Shatterpoint, as the miniatures game has been inspired by Saturday morning cartoons. Rather than just defeating their opponent’s team, players will need to complete a set of mission objectives that will “evolve” over each match. Players will also have access to unique abilities and combat skills, depending on their chosen characters.

2. Death in Space

A dark examination of the terrifying reality of spaceflight

A layout image for Death in Space RPG.
The artwork for Death in Space feels reminiscent of abstract art such as the poster for Hitchcock's Vertigo.

Free League Publishing continues to pick up intriguing little tabletop RPGs and Death in Space is no exception. Co-created by Christian Plogfors and Carl Niblaeus of Stockholm Kartell, Death in Space is a rules-light roleplaying game, meaning that rather than the thick tome of rules that something Dungeons & Dragons 5E has, this TRPG is designed to be learned quickly. The TRPG has players exploring the fears and uncertainties of spaceflight, as well as the difficulties of finding sanctuary in the vastness of space.

As the crew of a spacecraft or space-station, players will be attempting to find safety within a dangerous universe. With resources scarce and competition intense, players will need to be prepared to commit some immoral acts. From managing power struggles to salvaging or stealing whatever they need to get by, players will need to consider what they’re willing to do to survive.

Players will be able to quickly create their characters and location in Death in Space, thereby enabling them to get into the meat of the game. As the player characters spend more time in space, they may notice strange occurrences, such as physical mutations. Death in Space could be the next sci-fi horror experience to blow your mind at UKGE.

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3. Maps of Misterra

Explore an unknown island and put your cartography skills to the test

A layout image for Maps of Misterra.
Players will want to match their personal maps to that of the main board.

This upcoming board game has several intriguing elements that make it worth checking out at UKGE 2023. Whilst tasked with exploring the mysterious land of Misterra, players in Maps of Misterra will also be looking to complete known – and hidden – objectives while ensuring that they utilise their cartography skills.

As players travel around the unknown island, they’ll be transcribing their various discoveries on their own personal map board. Players can discover aspects of the island by moving their explorer around the central board, unearthing new terrains by choosing and placing tiles. In order to validate a terrain type, players will need to explore it twice, which is important to ensure that their personal boards match up with that of the central board.

Players will also need to keep an eye on their opponents to determine what sorts of hidden objectives they might be attempting to complete, as well as their public ones. In order to win, the players in Maps of Misterra will need to strike a careful balance between completing their own personal objectives as well as creating an accurate map.

4. Here We Used to Fly

Revisit an abandoned amusement park in this experimental TRPG

The artwork for Here we Used to Fly.
Places in Here We Used to Fly have a surrealist edge to them, reflecting how things are different in our memories compared to reality.

Theme parks play a pivotal role in many of our respective childhood memories, which is why Here we Used to Fly is interested in returning to these places when we’ve grown up. An experimental tabletop roleplaying game about exploring the emotions of childhood as compared to adulthood, and the complexities of innocence, Here we Used to Fly sees players imagining themselves in an abandoned amusement park they used to visit as kids.

As a rules-light game, Here We Used to Fly is very straightforward to learn and play, with the emphasis being placed on exploring the opportunity to discuss thoughts and feelings through the medium of roleplaying. Players answer questionnaires to create a version of their characters as children and as adults. As players explore different attractions within the park, they’ll respond to differing prompts and play out the scenes of their childhood alongside that of their adulthood.

Each of these scenes will be stitched together into a complete narrative arc, with players being free to explore whichever topics they and their fellow players feel comfortable with. Unlike many other roleplaying games, Here we Used to Fly isn’t about indulging in power fantasy or saving the world, but the chance to have a safe space to engage in certain important themes.

5. Big Boss

Build the biggest business empire the world has ever seen

A layout image of Big Boss remake.
Players can acquire different businesses depending on where their current businesses are on the board.

Originally released in 1994, Big Boss is seeing a snazzy new re-release from the company behind the likes of the Funkoverse Strategy Game, Funko Games. Designed by Wolfgang Kramer, the creator of such classics as 6 Nimmt!, Big Boss is a board game about developing the most impressive and profitable business empire possible. By investing and acquiring various companies, players will be able to grow their businesses beyond their opponents’.

A potential alternative to Monopoly, Big Boss sees two to six players selecting from up-and-coming companies to buy shares from – with the hope being that they can sell these at a profit later on. Which businesses perform well is largely down to luck, but players will have the opportunity to make various cut-throat decisions to get what they want. As players acquire businesses, they’ll place 3D pieces representing their companies atop the places on the board.

Wherever pieces are placed also affects which companies players can acquire, with adjacency being an essential requirement. Players will continue to battle it out on the board until the end of the game, wherein the person with the most capital is declared the winner. Big Boss might just take its place as your newest favourite family board game.

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6. Beast

A one-versus-all competition between nature and humanity

A close-up image of the components for Beast.
Hogbad is one of several playable creatures featured in Beast.

Beast looks to play out the age-old conflict between civilisation and the wild, with one player taking the role of a great creature and the others becoming hunters. Taking place across the Northern Expanse – a place that was once rich in natural resources that have since dwindled – players will become either the titular beast, of a pack of hunters. As the beast, the player will be attempting to defend the land and its creatures from the encroaching humans, whilst the hunters will be protecting themselves from the beast’s attacks.

As a hidden movement game, Beast sees one player secretly moving across the board to remain ahead of their assailants, whereas the others will be attempting to devise their whereabouts from clues. The hunter players will only be able to see where the beast has been by travelling to certain locations and checking if they have visited there. Another way the beast’s location can be revealed is when they choose to attack an unsuspecting hunter.

Players perform actions in Beast by placing a card from their hand that represents that specific action, thereby forcing them to carefully consider which action cards to play when. Cards can be gained back at the beginning of each round through drafting. This hidden movement game provides players with a tense back-and-forth competition that will challenge their ability to strategise alone or together.

7. Broken Tales

Hunt a band of heroes turned evil as fairy tale villains given redemption

Broken Tales RPG layout
Broken Tales' dark fairy tale aesthetic utilises strong red and black tones.

Broken Tales is a horror roleplaying game that provides an Angela Carter-esque twist on classic fairy tales. Set in an alternate version of 18th century Europe, Broken Tales sees players becoming characters inspired by various fairy tale villains: including Baba Yaga, the Big Bad Wolf and the Queen of Hearts. After a child wishes for the fairytale villains to be given a chance at redemption, this rogue’s gallery is now responsible for protecting the innocent from the heroes of old – who have since turned into evil beings themselves.

As this fantasy-style Suicide Squad, players will be tasked with hunting down the ‘broken ones’ using their unique abilities and skills. Players can either embody one of the available hunters – gaining access to the powers that are appropriate to their character type – or can create their own hunter, selecting from the available abilities and skills. There is a selection of pre-set scenarios for players to dive into with Broken Tales, including several that are directly inspired by stories such as Snow White and Beauty and the Beast.

Whilst playing, the game master is tasked with narrating the events of the story and controlling all the non-player characters, whereas the players will need to roll a pool of d6 dice whenever they need to overcome an obstacle. Broken Tales enables people to live out all their dark-twisted adventures in a fairy-tale world.

8. Rome in a Day

Profit from the riches of the Roman empire

The cover of Rome in a Day
The aim of the game in Rome in a Day is to match tiles with different buildings.

A speedy and easy-to-learn board game, Rome in a Day sees players attempting to make the most of their privileged position in the Roman empire. Using a collection of tiles of varying colours, players will be trying to score the most points by placing their tiles adjacent to matching buildings or tiles. Over the course of the game, players will be placing their tiles to create a little Roman map in order to score as many points as they can.

Before players place their tiles, they will need to separate them into two groups. Players can divide their tiles however they wish, with the smaller pile getting a gem placed onto it. Then, players choose which pile to take from their neighbour, deciding between the smaller pile with the gem or the larger pile. Gems will become more valuable, the more players have. However, having access to more tiles gives players more options on scoring points via their board.

Whichever player has the most points by the end of the game is named the winner. Rome in a Day is a straightforward board game that nevertheless provides a fun experience in a short amount of time.

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9. Old Gods of Appalachia Roleplaying Game: Cypher System

A tabletop RPG set within a universe created within a horror podcast series

The world of Old Gods of Appalachia is an incredibly dark place.

Old Gods of Appalachia Roleplaying Game is a tabletop RPG inspired by the Old Gods of Appalachia podcast. This podcast sees Cam Collins and Steve Shell, alongside various writers and artists – telling stories about strange goings-on in an alternate version of the Appalachian Mountain range: think cryptids and ghost stories.

Inspired by various real-life and historical events that have taken place in the local area, the Old Gods of Appalachia Podcast has since become a playable RPG. Designed by Shanna Germain and based on the Cypher System, the Old Gods of Appalachia RPG has players exploring and investigating the strange activity happening around their home. Controlling characters each defined by a very literal statement, players will be hunting down terrifying creatures called Haints.

Along the way, players can expect to put their characters in some dicey situations, as well as make some difficult decisions that may have consequences for the townsfolk, as well as themselves. Fans of weird tales, horror and cryptids should check out the Old Gods of Appalachia Roleplaying Game at UKGE.

10. Cangaceiros

Fight for freedom in 19th century Brazil

The cover for Cangaceiros.
Cangaceiros takes inspiration from real Brazilian historical events.

Cangaceiros is a board game for two to five players that takes place in Brazil during the late 1800s and early 1900s. During this time, the land in the northeast was being divided between wealthy landowners called coronéis, who drove the locals into starvation by denying them access to the food being grown and cultivated on this land. In response to all the starvation and corruption, local gangs, called Cangaceiros, fought back and attempted to liberate the land from the coronéis.

As members of the Cangaceiros gangs, players will be trying to survive in the Sertão whilst being hunted by the Volantes, or law enforcement. Players will be able to choose from 20 potential chiefs to employ as their gang’s leader, each having their own unique abilities for them to utilise. Using their respective decks, players will need to spread their gang over resource collection, guard duty, prison assaults and fights with the Volantes.

The goal of the game is to gather the most fame points. Collecting fame points involves players defeating Volantes forces and helping their chief to achieve their goals, thereby enabling them to retire. Learn some interesting history and experience a tension-filled scenario with Cangaceiros.

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Alex Meehan avatar
Alex Meehan: After writing for Kotaku UK, Waypoint and Official Xbox Magazine, Alex became a member of the Dicebreaker editorial family. Having been producing news, features, previews and opinion pieces for Dicebreaker for the past three years, Alex has had plenty of opportunity to indulge in her love of meaty strategy board games and gothic RPGS. Besides writing, Alex appears in Dicebreaker’s D&D actual play series Storybreakers and haunts the occasional stream on the Dicebreaker YouTube channel.
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