RogerBW's Blog

Airecon in 2023 22 April 2023

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

Snow was falling on the way there, particularly in the stretch from the latitude of Birmingham to ditto Leeds; but the driving wasn't too bad, with the motorways largely clear except in the outermost lanes.

The venue was open on Thursday evening. This year it was at the south-west end of the HICC (thus the entire length of the venue away from the hotel), and it was all a bit hangar-like, but this didn't matter once we were playing.

First game was The Climbers, always quick to teach but with surprising subtlety if you want to get into it.

[Sentinels of the Multiverse: Definitive Edition]The Night Cage: Nightmist (me), Bunker and Wraith against Citizen Dawn in Rook City. (Rook City is tough, and we lost this one.)

On to Damask. Not a marvel of complexity, probably about the weight of something like Splendor, but I like the loose theme and I enjoy it each time I play.

Coldwater Crown: I continue to know basically nothing about competitive fishing, but I enjoy this set-collecty worker-placey game with a few interesting twists. (I suspect the Master Angler challenges are undervalued, though.)

Lastly, FUSE, which as usual I didn't manage to photograph. Kane Klenko has designed quite a few real-time games, but for my money this is still the best.

More snow on Thursday night, and by Friday morning it was still falling lightly. I had my usual games trolley, which was mildly awkward to manage, but shoe-spikes made things much easier.

First game of the day was Air, Land, & Sea: Spies, Lies, & Supplies; so far I'm not as impressed as I was by the original, but I had a good time, and I suspect as I get the feel of the cards I'll enjoy it more.

On to Ashes Reborn: Rise of the Phoenixborn, in which Nick and I have now completed our plays of the six pre-constructed Phoenixborn (we've each played each of them at least once). Having got the hang of the basics, we may now start experimenting with deckbuilding, or playing with some of the expansions…

A long game of Xia: Legends of a Drift System. I continue to love this: expect a whole bunch of random stuff, sure, but there's always something interesting you can do. It ended with player A discovering survivors on a dead world… and player B promptly jumping in to blow up A and take the win. ("Welcome back to galactic civilisation… argh!")

Game interrupted by poutine.

Cosmic Encounter next. This is the sort of chaotic fun that I can enjoy hugely, but then I'm satisfied for a few years without feeling the urge to play it again – which is why I sold my copy.

And then a couple of games of Regicide before we went off to the quiz (all a bit high-pressure without much time for the social aspect, probably won't bother next year) and a podcast recording.

On Saturday, we started again with The Climbers,

and moved on to SCOUT (which I have now bought, even though I'm quite bad at it).

Another game of Damask, in which I did much worse than on Thursday.

I got out my contributor's copy of Rallyman: DIRT, and five of us played a three-stage race. It's not ideal that the last player should have to slog through all the mudded-up corners, but I still love this game.

Counting the seconds:

(I've had trouble finding a decent freeware scorekeeping app for Android that lets me quickly enter arbitrary values; this is Score It.)

Another game of Sentinels, this time with Harpy, Nightmist, Haka and Absolute Zero versus Ambuscade in the Temple of Zhu Long. Harpy ended up at the centre of a tornado of birds, slashing the villain to pieces but also ready to turn on her; then Nightmist finished him off with a bonus power. This game continues to be a favourite.

On to The Night Cage, a gloomy co-op with a reputation as tough to beat – but we got through with no problems at all.

The same team went on to trash FUSE… with two minutes left on the ten-minute clock.

An "epic" team game of Air, Land & Sea next: but in this mode of play you only have one battle, which means that one of the best parts of the game (the way you can withdraw if you think you're going to lose, and the earlier you do it the fewer points your opponent gets) isn't in effect. I think this might have been better as two separate two-player games.

Palmyra, tactical tile-laying and money-gathering. I can see the appeal, but this didn't grab me.

To finish the evening, six-player Heat: Pedal to the Metal, in which I think we finally got the rules sorted out (for a beginner-friendly game the books really aren't as clear as they should be). It all went well until I got a hand full of heat a few corners before the end, and never managed to catch up again. It's not a bad game but I'd play Rallyman GT instead any day.

On Sunday morning I was pretty tired but got in a couple of games: Hanamikoji

and Piepmatz

before setting off for home.

(At least six people I played with got COVID, but I didn't. I imagine being the only masking person there probably helped with this.)

[Buy The Climbers at Amazon] [Buy Sentinels of the Multiverse at Amazon] [Buy Coldwater Crown at Amazon] [Buy FUSE at Amazon] [Buy Air, Land, & Sea: Spies, Lies, & Supplies at Amazon] [Buy Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn at Amazon] [Buy Sentinels of the Multiverse: Definitive Edition at Amazon] [Buy Xia: Legends of a Drift System at Amazon] [Buy Cosmic Encounter at Amazon] [Buy Rallyman DIRT at Amazon] [Buy Palmyra at Amazon] [Buy The Night Cage at Amazon] [Buy Hanamikoji at Amazon] [Buy Piepmatz at Amazon] and help support the blog.

  1. Posted by Owen Smith at 04:41pm on 22 April 2023

    I keep encountering people that say wearing a mask only protects others and not yourself. They usually say this when I'm the only one wearing a mask to collect my lunch at work, I wear it as these are people I don't see any other time at work. At my desk I don't wear a mask. Anyway, I don't agree as it would imply masks only filter one way. It may depend what type of mask is being worn, I'm using surgical masks as I find FFP3/N95 too restrictive for regular use.

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