RogerBW's Blog

Airecon in 2018 19 March 2018

I went back to this year's Airecon, still growing fast in Harrogate (1593 people through the door this time). With images; cc-by-sa on everything.

Friday

It's a fair drive, about four and a half hours with traffic and breaks; as I did last year, I stayed at an excellent bed and breakfast a few minutes' walk from the venue.

First game of the day was Sagrada, with the "no duplicates" goal cards that I won with first time round, but still not working well for me. Whatever I did on the first game I played was apparently a one-off.

Illimat next, starting with three players and then adding a fourth part-way through. Still enjoying this, and not just for the weird look.

Aeon's End next, and we very nearly won – if I'd been a bit more aggressive about buying charges we'd probably have exhausted the Nemesis deck.

A couple of games of NMBR 9, hit of Essen 2017 which I'd unaccountably not played before. And now it's on my wish list: a short, enjoyable, puzzly game that nevertheless doesn't demand total brain engagement.

Saturday

A short game of Firefly this morning - I only had one other player (even with the "please join the game" balloon, an excellent idea and much more visible than the usual table flags), so we played the introductory scenario to get the hang of the system. I had a cunning plan involving the Walden, but it didn't work.

Flamme Rouge came next, and while I hadn't been hugely impressed by the reviews this is definitely one I want to play again.

More Sagrada.

And then Bärenpark, very well taught by the owner, and which (much to my amazement) I won, mostly by snagging the area-completion bonus tiles just before the other players could.

A quick round of Red 7 before people had to dash off to other things.

A longer game, Flash Point with the Tragic Events deck. This was a tough game; we nearly won, and had the fire mostly suppressed, but ran out of damage.

We wanted a bit of a mental reset, so borrowed Escape: the Curse of the Temple from the games library. On the whole I think I'd rather play Magic Maze again, but for a quick dice-chucking game it did its jobs.

We went on to The Godfather: Corleone's Empire. I quite like the basic area control approach (some figures can be placed to give a single benefit, others to give benefits from multiple areas), but I felt that there was a large positive feedback effect: once a player got behind, it was hard to catch up. On the other hand, the player whom I'd thought was fairly close to my last place actually lost only on the tiebreaker. Still, not one I'm likely to go back to.

Last game of the night was Fungi, where you're making sets of edible mushrooms and then cooking them for points. Fiddly but quite fun.

Sunday

This was my day for not staggering to a table with a big crate of games (memo to self, buy folding sack truck) but instead wandering around and chatting with people.

Got a few games in, though, starting with a demonstration game of Darwinning, with a theme similar to Evolution (you're competing species acquiring new traits), but actually fun to play. It's described as "trick-taking", but actually it's about making poker hands. (It's on Kickstarter for a few more days as I write, and I'll probably buy a copy.)

I dropped into a game of Kodama – the first time I've actually played it, though I owned a copy for a while as part of my demo compensation from a couple of Essens ago. (Having not opened it for a year, I felt that I probably didn't need to give it house-room.) Enjoyable, but I have to be fairly selective about my game buying these days.

The game looks a bit heavy for my taste, but I do like this poster for Carcosa.

Last game of the show for me was Xenon Profiteer, in which you're distilling air to extract and sell the xenon. It's a surprisingly thematic deckbuilder with clean mechanics, and another game that's gone onto my want-list (at least if I find it at a decent price).

I left about 2.30 to drive home, and games were still going strong.

[Buy Sagrada at Amazon] [Buy Aeon's End at Amazon] [Buy NMBR 9 at Amazon] [Buy Firefly at Amazon] [Buy Flamme Rouge at Amazon] [Buy Bärenpark at Amazon] [Buy Red 7 at Amazon] [Buy Flash Point at Amazon] [Buy Escape: the Curse of the Temple at Amazon] [Buy The Godfather: Corleone's Empire at Amazon] [Buy Fungi at Amazon] [Buy Kodama at Amazon] [Buy Xenon Profiteer at Amazon] and help support the blog.


  1. Posted by Nick Marsh at 10:09pm on 21 March 2018

    Very much hoping to make it next year! I forget how early in the year this is, but I'm wondering if it might be a better con than the bloated & very expensive Expo now/

  2. Posted by RogerBW at 10:25am on 22 March 2018

    Next year's Airecon is on 8-10 March. I certainly plan to be there.

    Expo this year is meant to have more actual gaming going on - in past years they've relied on the Hilton to provide table space in the evenings, and the Hilton doesn't care, but this year they're using NEC hall 2 for that.

    (Now, Spiel has no gaming space at all except for demos - it's purely a trade show - but Spiel somehow has a vastly better atmosphere. Maybe that's just me.)

    That said, at Airecon I basically turned up each morning, started playing games, and didn't stop till I went back to the B&B at night, and that's pretty much what I want from a boardgaming convention. I see Expo as basically a "do game demos, shop, talk to people, and possibly pick up a bit of work" show (must get some 3d-printing business cards done), like Spiel. If I weren't demoing, I'd probably only turn up for a single day, "do" the hall, play games in the evening and go home.

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