So after a heady weekend full of boardgames, itching to see all the wonderful things around, and then more boardgames, Airecon is over for another year. But apart from a wonderful pun which still gets points despite moving away from the river, what else has Airecon got going for it?
Well, a lot actually. Here are some lessons from Airecon…
- It’s just so damned friendly! And I’m not just saying that to embellish us Yorkshire folk our reputation. The first Friday evening strangers quickly became friends over a game of Fear, the boardgame pub quiz was a room of smiles, even when the entire room realised they’d forgotten to take one of the bags for the feel-a-piece round. People were able to just turn up and join teams for that and the escape room games. All in all I think it’d be the games con I’d feel most comfortable attending alone.
- There are some great games coming out:
Villagers, designed by Haakon Gaarder and published by Sinister Fish is a nice little card drafting game/ set collection game. Lovely artwork and an intriguing cascading sets system, where each card can only be played if you’ve played the prerequisite card first (I’m sure there’s a better reference, but if not think evolving pokemon in the card game). I want to play it again, to check occupational balance, but definitely one to keep an eye on.
Flicky Spaceships by Room17 games is the winner of the UKGamesExpo 2015 redesign competition (the first design competition I entered, but not the last). What might appear as a simple dexterity game has a lot more to it with resource collection and power-up cards. I played two player, which was fun, but I imagine this really shines with more players. Especially as you collect resources at the start of your turn based on where you are, leading to some bowls style nudging.
Newspeak was there! Clearly I’m going to be biased here (designer), but ITB have knocked it out the park with the production on this. It was a real shame about the Kickstarter issues (more information on the We’re not Wizards podcast), but rather than resting on their laurels they’ve made it even more accessible to all. If you can get the chance to play this I urge you to do so and let me know what you think.
Gloom of Kilforth’s Tristan Hall is one of the nicest designer’s you could meet, and his game is beautiful. Also I actually learned it has nothing to do with Gloomhaven, which was a mistake that’s been lodged in my head for some time now. And really, I’ve no excuse for it.
- People who playtest games are awesome. I owe a massive thankyou to all playtesters for not just playing 3 Districts, but for then playing it again to really delve into what makes it tick and where to focus ideas. As always it’s a privilege to have such people giving up their time to help improve mine, and I hope I helped out back in some way.
- When I give a group of boardgamers an Escape Room puzzle to do, never promise a prize for beating the quickest time. I’d need to buy a lot of prizes.
- At some point I’ll actually have to make time to do the things I planned to do before I get there, and speak to the people I only know from consuming their media (such as the Unlucky Frog Podcast or Rodney Smith).
- People love playing games. Obvious perhaps, but whereas most cons have a tiny space for gaming and then ‘sales!’ Airecon was the other way around. It was incredibly hard to do anything other than play games where everyone you look someone’s setting up a new game of Snowdonia or Captain Sonar. Actually playing games really was the order of the weekend*.
Overall an absolutely fantastic weekend. Brilliant to see this convention gain traction and I can’t wait to see what next year brings!
*For the record I played Cockroach Poker, Beastie Bar, Snowdonia, Professor Evil and the Citadel of Time, Enigma, Fear, Hab & Gut, Deep Sea Adventure, Nyet, and I’m sure some more that I just can’t remember. More games played in one weekend than at all UKGamesExpos I’ve been to I think.