RogerBW's Blog

Handycon 5, January 2019 29 January 2019

Still at the larger venue in Maidenhead, but squeezing a lot more people into the space, this local boardgaming convention continues to grow.

With images; cc-by-sa on everything.


I ran into some friends and joined their game of New Frontiers, otherwise known as "Race for the Galaxy meets Puerto Rico". And I liked it rather a lot.

Compared with Race, you're much less reliant on the right development cards coming up; here they're tiles, and while the numbers are restricted they're all available for purchase. More significantly to me, the annoyance of knowing that almost all of one's hand full of interesting cards will need to be thrown away to pay for just one of them is gone; one accumulates (generic) cash and colonists, which one later uses to buy development tiles and settle worlds.

We had a very close finish, with four out of five players within two points of each other and one a bit behind. It was great fun, but I can't help thinking that every game is likely to be a lot like every other game. For the £55-£60 that this costs, I could get Race and one of its expansions, maybe two, and have more variety. (And while there may be expansions for this, there aren't any yet.)

Next was Onward to Venus, which I didn't know was a Martin Wallace game when I agreed to play it. (I've only really enjoyed one of his games, Exodus Paris Nouveau, and for me even that is in the "good" rather than "great" box.)

It reminded me a little of the 1980s Buck Rogers boardgame: there are troops which can be moved between planets, and others which are more powerful but can't be moved. Each round, various crises and opportunities arise, and one moves troops to deal with them.

It's all rather abstract, but fairly enjoyable – helped by a pleasant group of people. Still, not one I'd seek out to play again.

I met Lizzie, with whom I occasionally contribute to the Our Turn! podcast, and we played Suburbia. I was beaten fairly hollow. I should really try the solo mode of this some time; I think I like it more than most people with whom I usually play.

Joined by a friend, we went on to Railroad Ink

and, still one of my favourites, Xenon Profiteer

…and Star Realms: Frontiers.

After that I was between games for a bit, so played a solo V-Commandos game, just a single tile… which started off quite well, and then, in the way of these things, fell apart suddenly and completely when the enemy massed. From full health to both critically wounded in a single turn. (Though the objective was achieved…)

Lastly a few rounds of 6 Nimmt!, at which I did terribly. Time for bed.


There were the usual slight problems of getting into a game, or getting players for one's own; in my experience tables tended to stay together once they'd started. But a friend didn't get that impression at all, so maybe it's just me. I spent the morning mostly socialising, and looking at the Bring and Buy.

And playing more Star Realms: Frontiers, this time solo. (Another defeat against the Blob Assault.)

I'd signed up for the Flamme Rouge tournament, and was on a table of four reasonably experienced players. We got off to a decent start, and my team ("Wizard Sugar") ended up taking first and second places. But we were using tournament rules, so I had a fair bit of exhaustion to carry over.

The second race didn't go as well, but I took second and eighth… leaving my Sprinteur with no exhaustion cards at the end.

Then it was time for the final, which was the winners from each table. (A second table gave the fastest of the remaining players a chance to try to beat our times.)

And I took the win! (First and sixth, I think.) This ended up getting me the triple crown: winner of the race, fastest team, and fastest individual.

These were the courses, in case anyone feels like trying them.

I got together with Lizzie and friends and family, and we played more Railroad Ink.

And, by request, more Flamme Rouge… at which I came, I think, fifth and sixth, being beaten by people who'd never played before. Ah well, no swelled head here!

Decrypto next, out of the games library, and it worked a lot better than when we tried it on the Shut Up and Sit Down forums (better record-keeping helped a great deal) – I still don't think it's a Codenames killer, but it's not bad.

Sushi Go Party!, also from the games library, and when did I get so terrible at this? Dear me.

Last game of the evening was Not Alone, in which I played as the Creature… and, much to my surprise, won!


Well, what a surprise, more Star Realms: Frontiers, while I was waiting for the others. And this time I nailed the Blobs!

(I think these solo challenges are improving my game. I hope so…)

Lizzie and co had requested Automobiles, so we played that next; the asymmetrical track makes things much more interesting, and while I ended up in last place we all had a good time.

Finally, Terraforming Mars, vastly improved by the variant rule of drafting cards rather than simply drawing a hand each turn. I was able to focus on specific things, and while I came last and the game still ran to something over six hours I did at least enjoy it. (Though this was definitely helped by the pleasant people with whom I was playing; I don't think I'd want to get into a game with people who took it all Terribly Seriously.)

The next Handycon is the first weekend in August, a week before the Worldcon.

[Buy New Frontiers at Amazon] [Buy Onward to Venus at Amazon] [Buy Suburbia at Amazon] [Buy Railroad Ink at Amazon] [Buy Xenon Profiteer at Amazon] [Buy Star Realms: Frontiers at Amazon] [Buy V-Commandos at Amazon] [Buy 6 Nimmt! at Amazon] [Buy Flamme Rouge at Amazon] [Buy Decrypto at Amazon] [Buy Sushi Go Party! at Amazon] [Buy Not Alone at Amazon] [Buy Automobiles at Amazon] [Buy Terraforming Mars at Amazon] and help support the blog. ["As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases."]

Comments on this post are now closed. If you have particular grounds for adding a late comment, comment on a more recent post quoting the URL of this one.

Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action advent of code aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio audio tech aviation base commerce battletech beer boardgaming book of the week bookmonth chain of command children chris chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup covid-19 crime crystal cthulhu eternal cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi economics en garde espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 essen 2018 essen 2019 essen 2022 essen 2023 existential risk falklands war fandom fanfic fantasy feminism film firefly first world war flash point flight simulation food garmin drive gazebo genesys geocaching geodata gin gkp gurps gurps 101 gus harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo 2018 hugo 2019 hugo 2020 hugo 2021 hugo 2022 hugo 2023 hugo 2024 hugo-nebula reread in brief avoid instrumented life javascript julian simpson julie enfield kickstarter kotlin learn to play leaving earth linux liquor lovecraftiana lua mecha men with beards mpd museum music mystery naval noir non-fiction one for the brow opera parody paul temple perl perl weekly challenge photography podcast politics postscript powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha python quantum rail raku ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs ruby rust scala science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans smartphone south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance the weekly challenge thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel type 26 type 31 type 45 vietnam war war wargaming weather wives and sweethearts writing about writing x-wing young adult
Special All book reviews, All film reviews
Produced by aikakirja v0.1