Aireconuk – Board gaming in Harrogate

A couple of weeks ago, just before the national lock down,  I went to Airecon for the first time.  Airecon is a board gaming convention in its sixth year that is based in Harrogate, Yorkshire.  It started as a group of friends enjoying a weekend of gaming and then with a lot of hard work, effort, determination, and enthusiasm was turned into a major UK calendar event for board gaming.

This year I decided to go along and although I went alone, which always makes these events a little more difficult to get involved in, I had a really good time!

As you’ll read below, I didn’t actually play many games, but the whole day I was so happy because I was simply ‘there’.  The last 15 minutes of my 1.5 hour drive to Harrogate I was so excited to be there, for so many reasons.  I actually arrived on a bit of a high which kept with me all day.  It’s a little hard to explain without sounding a little strange, but I really enjoy playing board games and just being at this event was enough to make me feel really apart of the gaming community which reinforced my feelings for the hobby.  I told myself I was going to be brave at this event and join in more, play with strangers, say hello to some of the podcast/content creator celebs that I follow on twitter/youtube, and watch some of them do their live shows.   It was great BUZZ and I was very excited to be there for my first visit to this con.

There were plenty of opportunities to play with other people as the open table gaming space was vast.  There was a small but very decent library of games, and there were quite a few stalls selling games and associated ‘stuff’ plus a decent (if somewhat chaotic) bring’n’buy, but Airecon is much more about playing than selling.   I played a couple games that were being demoed and was joined by other attendees on both times although regardless of my earlier resolve to join in more I didn’t actually join in on any other games.

So why is that?  Well, for one I was only there the one day (Friday) and didn’t arrive until 10:30 and left at 20:00 – so once you add in an hour walking around getting the ‘feel’ of the event, a couple of 60/90 minute demo games, lunch, and a couple of hours to end the day watching some Boardgame celebs doing live podcasts (which was really fun and the first time I’ve joined the crowd watching these at all the events I’ve been to) then there wasn’t a huge amount of time.  I also spent a fair while in the bring’n’buy, over about three different visits watching out for games I was hoping to acquire and also minding a jolly expensive game I was selling and had trusted into their keeping (it went missing for a while which had me worried but it was a staff member who had hid it while they went to to get the cash out; but that had me very worried for 20 minutes!).  So that does leave a few hours loose, but I was content to relax and just soaking in the atmosphere and I’ll admit that I was also nervous about approaching people.

Now this for me was not an eye opener, as I have had this kind of anxiety before, however for some that know me it might seem strange as I am usually quite an out outgoing person so why the anxiety?  I don’t know!  I think we all have it in to some extent and sometimes it’s simply not worth pushing past if you are happy as you are, so I just sat back and read some rules on the games I had bought.

I also saw quite a few board gaming celebs, but each time they were with other people so I didnt intrude and left them to their conversations or games without interruption, but it was good to see them nonetheless.

All in all I had a great day and will certainly be going back next year for the whole weekend and will definately be playing more games!

 

Games I played:

The Great Fire of London – a game that tries to recreate the fire and the heroic efforts to put it out.  You have to expand the fire each turn, trying to avoid burning down your houses or areas of London you are trying to protect, whilst trying to cause as much devastation to your fellow players.  You also control Firemen and get additional points for putting the fire out, again strategically!  It was very simply to learn and really fun to play.  The base game is 3-5 player though they are bringing out an expansion this year to allow a 2 player variant and when they do I’ll be very tempted to buy this one 🙂

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On the Underground – each round you add to your own underground routes (each player has an amount of route colours depending on number of players; we played three player so each had 3 routes, but more players =  less route colours each). At the end of each round the ‘passenger’ token on the board moves to the nearest destination from a choice of random destination cards on display.  Whoever’s routes are used in the shortest possible route get points.  It was simple to start, but got more complicated and confusing as the game played out.  Whilst I enjoyed it, I wont be rushing to play this one again.

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Games I bought (one through the Facebook traders group for collection at Airecon and the other in the bring’n’buy).

I’ve played Gaia project before and have been wanting a copy for a long time.  Empires of the void II is another space themed 4x (eXplore, eXpand, eXpliot, and Exterminate) where you battle the other players to become the dominant species to win.

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