The UK Games Expo is only a week away and I’m becoming more and more excited. The event is growing year on year and I can’t wait to get there and find out what this year has in store. I’ve managed to get hold of a press pass for the event (thank you Paco) and will be attending the press only announcements regarding the future of the expo and what 2016 will bring.
I wanted to dedicate a couple of posts to discussing some Expo-related topics that have interested, or involved me over the past month or two.
First up, we have Tabletop Gaming magazine. A new publication that will launch at UK Games Expo 2015. Aimed at table top gamers, this magazine will feature the latest gaming news, reviews of numerous titles and features relating to some of the best gaming stores and events across the country.
Back in April, Nigel introduced me to Rob Burman, the magazine’s editor. We exchanged a few e-mails and discussed the story behind the magazine and the direction he wanted to take the content.
I had plenty of questions and Rob was more than happy to answer them. I’ve included some of our discussion below to give you all an idea of what the magazine’s all about:
Tom: “Who came up with the idea for Tabletop Gaming magazine?”
Rob: “It was something that I suggested to one of the publishers, which resulted in some lengthy conversations.”
Tom: “What was your inspiration?”
Rob: “I’ve been a tabletop gamer on and off since I was 11-years-old (I’m now in my 30s) and used to play a lot of Warhammer, Blood Bowl and Epic. About three years ago I started looking at Kickstarter projects for new games and joined a local games club. I thought it would probably be people mainly playing Games Workshop games but I was amazed by the sheer wealth of other tabletop games out there – whether it’s board games like Formula D, Pandemic or Takenoko, to miniature-based wargames like Infinity or Kings of War. We would often talk at the club about the fact there wasn’t a magazine out there covering this wide area of tabletop gaming and that was really the inspiration. A chance to showcase the huge amount of other great games out there and really celebrate this increasingly popular past-time.
In the first issue we’ve selected 101 top games covering a huge spectrum of tabletop gaming – hopefully to introduce people to some games they may never have heard of. We’re not listing the 101 in order of preference though… so number one on the list, won’t be the best ever tabletop game. Instead these are 101 games that are great fun and should appeal to a wide range of audiences.
Tom: “How long have you been working on it?”
Rob: “The discussions began before Christmas and then work started in earnest in the New Year.”
Tom: “How many people do you have working on it?”
Rob: “Here, we’ve got a team of four people, but we’ve also got a lot of tabletop gamers from the community who are contributing too. This was something I was keen to do because it’ll help bring a lot of different experiences and different games to the magazine.”
Tom: “Can you tell us who any of the authors are so we can give them a shout-out? Or, are there any particular names you want to call out as contributors?”
Rob: “We’ve got some established writers, such as Dan Griliopoulos who is putting something together for Netrunner, and I’ve also been speaking to Will Freeman, who writes games reviews for The Observer/The Guardian and Owen Duffy, who runs the Unplugged Gaming blog about getting them to contribute in the future. Plus, Phil Robinson who curates the Museum of Gaming is putting together a tabletop time machine to look at some classic tabletop games. However, we’ve also got some writers who have never been published before and that goes back to the idea of getting the tabletop gaming community involved.”
Tom: “When will the first issue release?”
Rob: “We’ll be selling a limited amount at the UK Games Expo in May but after that it’ll be available in WHSmith and independent gaming stores from 19th June. We’re also looking at a digital version too.”
Tom: “How often will an issue hit the shelves? Weekly? Monthly?”
Rob: “We’ll be testing how things go with the first issue but it definitely won’t be weekly or bi-weekly… I think that would potentially kill me off.”
Tom: “How many pages of content are we looking at per issue?”
Rob: “Well, for the first issue we’re currently looking at 164 pages.”
Tom: “What kind of regular features can we expect?”
Rob: “Things like reviews or previews of new/upcoming games, plus painting guides for those who like to paint their miniatures and news about the industry. Also, we’ll be travelling to clubs and shops around the country to do features about them to, highlighting all the great communities in the UK. We’ve already been contacted by quite a few shops/clubs interested in being featured.“
Tom: “What kind of specials can we expect?”
Rob: “Well, I’m really keen to get out there and interview the designers to find out more about the games. So, in the first issue we’ve got exclusive interviews with the likes of Spartan Games about the upcoming Halo game and Guillotine Games for Zombicide… that kind of thing. But, I’m also interested in some more unusual features, like an interview about the impact of Settlers of Catan in America with Lorien Green, director of the documentary Going Cardboard.”
Tom: “Will there be any exclusive promo items given away with issues? (For example German title Spielbox gives away a game promo with each issue.)”
Rob: “It’s something we’re looking at.”
Tom: “So one last time, where can people get hold of a copy?”
Rob: “We’ll be taking a limited amount of copies to UK Games Expo on May 29th and then it’ll be launched nationwide on June 19th.”
Tom: “Can members of the public contribute articles or ask questions?”
Rob: Absolutely! Check the Facebook page www.facebook.com/tabletopgamingmagazine to get in touch or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Tom: “Is there anything else you’d like people to know about the magazine?”
Rob: “Sounds a bit cheesy but I just really hope that people enjoy it. I’m so passionate about tabletop gaming – whether that’s board and card games like Machi Koro or miniatures games like Dropzone Commander – and think that a magazine that really celebrates the industry will hopefully give it the recognition it deserves.”
Following our discussion, Rob and I stayed in touch and I’ve since become involved in helping to write some of the content and reviews. The first issue will be released at UK Games Expo 2015, so check it out for my article on Ticket to Ride, and my mini reviews of Mice and Mystics, Arkham Horror, Eldritch Horror, Battlestar Galactica, Discworld: Ankh Morpork, 7 Wonders, Firefly the Game and Francis Drake!
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Driven Instructional Designer by day, board game fanatic by night! Tom has a long background in eLearning design and is a strong believer that story and narrative are crucial to creating excellent learning and gaming experiences. A passionate blogger, game reviewer and play tester, he enjoys spending his time playing games of all genres.