RogerBW's Blog

Airecon in 2022 13 April 2022

I went to this year's Airecon – my fifth visit to the show. With images; cc-by-sa on everything.

For me, and I think quite a lot of other people, it was the first "big" boardgaming event I'd been to since early 2020. The organisers did a good job of arranging ventilation, though the rooms felt about as full as usual.

I usually stay in a small boarding-house but didn't get into it this time (and it turned out he wasn't doing breakfast this year anyway), so ended up in the St George, just round the corner from the convention centre. On the first evening, I got together with Nick of Whartson Hall in the "library" (part of the general bar and restaurant area).

Not to play pool, of course. We're not weirdoes. This was the first of several games of Sentinels of the Multiverse: Definitive Edition; Tachyon, the Wraith, Captain Cosmic and Unity versus Citizen Dawn in the Ruins of Atlantis.

At times the modifiers were getting quite fiddly. (We needed to have a certain number of the enemy in play in order to unlock the boss's invulnerability… and then Atlantis would kill them all before that happened.)

I do not regard this as sufficient breakfast to get a hungry convention-goer set up for the day. (On later days they sliced the mushroom and the black pud in half.) I know a lot of places aren't doing breakfast buffets any more but I was really unimpressed.

There were some minor compensations.

Portable Games Library, 2022 edition. I had a couple of crates for transport, but it was easier to leave them in the room and load the games directly into the trolley.

First game on Friday was from the new L99 edition of Sakura Arms (Kickstarter arrived recently). I enjoyed it, much more than in the virtual games on TTS that persuaded me to buy it, but I think it'll take time to get familiar with the iconography and conventions.

Then on to A Touch of Evil, three of us against the vampire. I need to tweak my integrated coop rules document a bit but it worked pretty well, and this is always an enjoyable game.

Food trucks! Poutine!

Back for more Sentinels: Fanatic, Absolute Zero, Legacy, Ra and Unity versus the Baron in Megalopolis,

then one player had to leave and the rest of us went on to play Fanatic, Ra, Legacy and Unity against Akash'Bhuta on Wagner Mars Base. This was a really tricky one, with Fanatic down to 2 HP at one point. (And the card that does damage equal to the difference between her base and current HP never came up…)

Lemminge! Can't go wrong with a lemminge.

Ashes Reborn: Rise of the Phoenixborn, first time I've got this out since I bought the upgrade pack. Really enjoyed it, and I still love the art too. I wish I could get in more two-player games… but at a game group meeting it feels antisocial to play two when one could be playing three or four or five.

Then we did the quiz. Beer is not a dipping sauce for flapjacks.

Last game for the night was Realm of Sand, which in some ways feels like a "greatest hits" of Splendor with a bit of Tetris, but I rather like it – particularly the timing mechanism which means the player who ends the game won't necessarily be the winner. It's sometimes a bit formulaic (each of the level-2 cards gives you one of the pieces that are necessary for all level-3 cards) and I don't think I'd want to play it every week but I do like to have it out once in a while.

What is it about hotels in Harrogate that they like having weird tile patterns in the bathrooms?

Saturday's gaming started with The Quacks of Quedlinburg (which I've only played once with the cardboard pieces – the resin ones make it So Much Better). First time with the Herb Witches expansion and I'll certainly use that again. I do need to get hold of Alchemists, then cut down my Big Box to a sensible size to fit everything… and get some better bags… and sort out storage…

Out for lunch from the excellent Thug Sandwich, who not only made very delicious food, but sold me enough for lunch and supper for ten quid, no small thing in Harrogate. (My phone led me past the local spooky-books shop, and Geek Retreat, and the games shop. Obviously a coincidence.)

What turned out to be the last Sentinels of the weekend: Wraith, Tempest, Ra, Tachyon and Bunker vs the Moonfall event (Baron Blade with a slight modification) in Atlantis. Another solid game, with tentacles.

This was the first chance I'd had to try Tobago with the recent Volcano expansion. My word it complicates things, to the point that I suspect I may sometimes choose to play without it. The spreading lava can erase landmarks and change the sizes of terrain features, so all of a sudden that treasure that's "on the largest beach" may be on the other side of the island from where you thought it was. Great fun!

One of the few games I played that I hadn't brought myself: Automobiles, and it's lovely to see it on the physical table again.

The obligatory short-focus arty shots. (And the brief moment when it looked as though I (red) might win.)

Silliness with Pirate 21, and a very slightly premature declaration of victory. Perhaps it's a bit long for a light game? Perhaps not.

Roll to the Top!: slow and steady doesn't so much win the race as leave you half done when the game is won.

More Lemminge; I don't think I've met anyone who's tried this and disliked it.

Finally for the evening, Senators, which ended quickly in too much war but I think still gave a good impression of what the game's about.

Sunday was mostly a socialising day, not to mention driving home, but I did get in a demo of Damask (designed by Barbara Burfoot, coming out soon from Radical 8 Games). Great fun; recognisable Euro-ish mechanisms but a pleasing arrangement of them.

All in all a splendid return to large-scale game meetings.

(I do appear to have picked up a dose of the plague some time about this weekend, but none of the people I spent the weekend with came down with it, so it may have been a coincidence. Also a very mild strain; if I hadn't had some tests left over I'd have thought it was just a moderate cold, and even the tests were all negative until it had nearly got better.)

[Buy Sentinels of the Multiverse: Definitive Edition at Amazon] [Buy Ashes Reborn: Rise of the Phoenixborn at Amazon] [Buy The Quacks of Quedlinburg at Amazon] [Buy Tobago at Amazon] [Buy Automobiles at Amazon] [Buy Pirate 21 at Amazon] and help support the blog.

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