RogerBW's Blog

Airecon in 2019 13 March 2019

I went back to this year's Airecon, still growing fast in Harrogate (it's now apparently the second-largest boardgame event in the UK). With images; cc-by-sa on everything.


The drive was only about four hours this time. First game of the day was The Thing: Infection at Outpost 31, a social deduction game in the Battlestar Galactica vein. I fear that this may suffer from the same problem as Secret Hitler, in that if the traitor plays as though they were a loyalist their win is simply a matter of luck.

Next came newish hotness (it was out last year but most reviewers are only mentioning it now) The Quacks of Quedlinburg… and yes, it's rather enjoyable, even if it's not entirely unlike Zombie Dice in that you're pushing your luck to try to improve your score without drawing too many of the bad chits. Much to my surprise, I won. The bags are a bit rough, and it's easy to lose chits in the seams; a bit more attention paid to component quality would have helped here. But there's plenty of variation available in what the various tokens can do.

Then a surprisingly intense three-player session, starting with Senators

then Imperius… (the assassin countering assassin seemed a bit odd)

then Ominoes (a bit too random really)

then Antidote (which loads such a setup requirement onto the game's owner that I hardly ever play it).


Yup, it's Harrogate all right.

Some places try a bit too hard.

Some don't need to.

Started the gaming day with Aeon's End: Reeve, Remnant and Brama versus the Knight of Shackles. The plan was to persuade one of the other players that there was really no need to buy War Eternal as well as the other core boxes. I think we failed; it was a good and tense game.

I tried out Mint Delivery, pretty much a minimal pick-up-and-deliver game. It's all right, but the map is inflexible; I don't think it would have enough sustained interest for me, but I've had some ideas for a more complex game in the same style and this helps sort them out.

A slightly older treatment of an idea that's had a recent iteration in Treasure Island: in Tobago there are treasures on the island and you're playing clue cards (e.g. "not within two hexes of a statue") to reduce the number of hexes where a particular treasure might be. (You must reduce it by at least one hex, and you may not reduce it to zero; but there are four different places you can play cards, and you have a hand of four, so you can usually do something useful.) When there's only one valid hex left, someone can go there and dig it up - and both they and all the people who played clues to it get shares of the loot.

I'd never heard of this, and it's a great deal of fun (not to mention having lovely bits) - I even find myself moderately tempted to buy a copy.

Next came Ex Libris, a game of putting things into alphabetical order, in which my immediate response was to want to add up all those letter frequencies to work out roughly where any given card ought to go.

I'd play it again, and there's clearly plenty of variation available with the special powers of various tiles that come out, but I'm not planning to buy it.

Met some different friends and played Railroad Ink, then Mysterium. Oddly, the people who'd played with me most before were generally the worst at reading my mind…

Then I met the rest of the 1 Player Guild (bringing my rolling games library), and we played a full-rules Flamme Rouge (including weather and the breakaway). One rider got out on the first turn and managed to maintain the lead to the end, which I haven't seen work before.

Six-player Human Punishment, game flow not helped by one special ability that prevented the picking up of program cards; but I think I've worked out the trick for keeping this fun: keep the game moving, rather than letting people slow down and decide what to do, which can be fatal.

If in doubt, 6 Nimmt!.

And we started Complicated Board Game the Card Game, which seemed vaguely Fluxx-like only actually fun to play, but got thrown out before we could finish.


As last year, this was much less of a gaming day and more for walking around and chatting with people.

Duke's Pizza was back, which left all the other fast food in joint last place in spite of their best efforts.

(Though if I were Airecon management I'd invite a fancy coffee truck next year. Some people really want fancy coffee.)

And I played a prototype game inspired by Brexit, which should be on kickstarter any moment now. Players are various regions of the former UK, blind-bidding to try to get trade deals with other countries. It's basic but quite fun, and if it comes in a small box may well make it to my collection.

[Buy The Thing: Infection at Outpost 31 at Amazon] [Buy The Quacks of Quedlinburg at Amazon] [Buy Ominoes at Amazon] [Buy Antidote at Amazon] [Buy Aeon's End at Amazon] [Buy Mint Delivery at Amazon] [Buy Tobago at Amazon] [Buy Ex Libris at Amazon] [Buy Railroad Ink at Amazon] [Buy Mysterium at Amazon] [Buy Flamme Rouge at Amazon] [Buy 6 Nimmt! at Amazon] and help support the blog. ["As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases."]

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