AireCon 2020 – Saturday 14th March

Day 2 of AireCon, in Harrogate…

As expected, Saturday proved to be a very busy day at AireCon, and although I’m sure the dreaded C-virus probably had an effect on numbers, you would never believe it if you visited the Bring’n’Buy stall earlier in the day. Indeed, I’m convinced the increasing number of boardgame releases every year is having a very direct impact on just how much space this particular part of the Con is taking up (no doubt it’s similar with other conventions offering a Bring’n’Buy service). And much as I may joke about it, I can’t help wondering if AireCon itself will eventually get sidelined as an extension of the AireCon Bring’n’Buy Mart in future years… lol

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I chose today as the day I’d spend the first hour or so of my time at the Con actually taking a good look around the whole site before setting up my Demo stall, just to grasp how much the event has grown in the few short years that I’ve been attending, and if I’m being honest, I also wanted to check out the Bring’n’Buy section at least once over the weekend!  I was pleased I did, ‘cos I managed to pick up a copy of Throne of Allegoria, a game that was on my Temptations list for October last year, and also mentioned in my Essen 2019 Preview

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It was still early, so there was no shortage of available gaming space in the hall upstairs (Hall D), but I knew it wouldn’t stay like that, and sure enough had several people telling me it got quite busy relatively quickly a short while thereafter. A couple of very brave souls from my local gaming group (Beyond Monopoly! in York) were also camped up there, playing a mammoth game of Western Empires no less…

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Demos, more demos, and a few playtests, too…

Quick tour done, it was down to the heady business of playing more Aliens Ate My Planet! throughout the day, and I certainly did a lot of that. I wrote at length about the game in yesterday’s post (AireCon Friday), and it was gratifying to receive plenty of positivity and support from players who had never seen it before, and yup, I got more praise for the tight balance and agonising choices the numbers give:  which at least suggests the amount of time invested in getting them right was time well spent…!

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Post-trading time (after 6pm), I took the opportunity to playtest a couple of other people’s games, including Numbers Station and The Glade

Numbers Station proved to be a very clever rondel management game in which players are jamming radio signals, influencing spies, and rigging elections… almost like reliving the US Elections presidential elections of 2016 all over again! Actually, truth be told, I really did enjoy this: there are multiple boards and ladders in play, and the choices you make on your rondel heavily influence everything else on the various other boards; all this alongside an area placement vibe —with the option of making your opponent’s agents defect to your own side!— makes for a quite fascinating playspace, and no shortage of options every turn: needless to say, I really did like this, and wish Robert every success with it (Twitter: @StartPlayer).

 

The Glade had a relatively small footprint, and a woodland plains-style theme revolving around occupying areas of the board with animals: the rather neat ‘sliding in from the edge’ mechanic is milked to its fullest here, with larger numbers of animal pushing out smaller numbers (correction: scaring and dispersing them, ahem). The mix of animal placement and pattern matching was a novel combination, and it had a few clever touches, although there’s clearly still room to playtest things further. I enjoyed it nonetheless, which is quite important, too, of course…

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All told, ’twas a good albeit rather busy day, and I’m going into Sunday fully expecting something similar for the first half of the day, with things dying off quite quickly early evening, I suspect…

If you’re free and available, please join me on stand E4 for some pleasant alien-bashing…!

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