Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over the last few years and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

Get in touch by emailing thegameshelfblog@gmail.com

Saturday 17 March 2018

Rundown of Airecon 2018

Last weekend we attended Airecon. A 3-day board game convention in Harrogate, UK. We were expecting a small, local convention but it turned out that there were over 1,500 unique attendees, with visitors from all over the country. 

The convention has a focus on gaming with a huge amount of gaming space, so that even on Saturday, which I assume was their busiest day, there was plenty of table space available. There was also some exhibitors and demos, as well as a board game library and a very respectably sized Bring and Buy.

We attended for the Friday afternoon and Saturday and our time passed far too quickly. We played a good number of games and had demos of a few new titles, as well as meeting some old friends and some new friends too.


Airecon is the first medium sized convention we have attended and there is plenty going on over the 3 days weekend. Open gaming seems to be the main focus, which is facilitated by the board game library, provided by Travelling Man, as well as so much table space!
The board game library. The passport system is great to ensure that all games come back. Unfortunately our passport didn't get very full - we should've played even more games!
Airecon is the first medium sized convention we have attended and there is plenty going on over the 3 days weekend. Open gaming seems to be the main focus, which is facilitated by the board game library, provided by Travelling Man, as well as so much table space! We met up with some of our Board Game Exposure colleagues for games of Nusfjord, Spires and Mombasa, as well as meeting up with an old school friend and with Luke - The Broken Meeple.
We were fortunate enough to join two people that had time at the Geeknson tables, here playing Azul. They're a lovely table to play at, but you are slightly out of the main action.

Probably the final aspect that elevates Airecon into a larger convention is their big list of events during the show, including game shows, giant games and live podcast recordings. We only attended the quiz which wasn't quite enough of a modern board game quiz for us, but we still enjoyed meeting some new people to form a team and did quite respectably in the quiz.

We wouldn't be being true to our blog if we didn't talk about the games we acquired at the convention. Airecon isn't a big sales convention, with only two or three retailers of new games, but the Bring and Buy is something I cannot resist!

The Bring and Buy!
Firstly I took part in the BoardGameGeek math trade so I traded away four games and in return I received; Oracle of Delphi, 5 Minute Dungeon, Dice City and Word Domination. I also sold a few games in advance, which in my mind justified some convention purchases!

The bring and buy was very popular and well organised - we didn't 'bring' anything but we bought a fair amount! Here's the list;
  • 12 Days of Christmas is a game to please my work colleagues who were upset that I didn't have any Christmas games last year for board game night!
  • Paperback Unabridged is an expansion for Paperback that I didn't know existed so I had to pick it up because Paperback is an awesome deck-building word game.
  • Shotten Totten is a two player game that I hear loads of good feedback about, and it's already hit the table since we bought it!
  • The Big Book of Madness is a game we played from the board game library at Airecon and loved, so Amy was really happy to get this in the bring and buy.
  • String Railway is a game I wanted to play when I found it in a pub in Southampton. Unfortuantely it was too big for the table, so for £4 it's definitely worth trying.
  • Aeon's End was purchased because I'm really excited for Aeon's End Legacy but want to make sure we've played the based game before we commit to a legacy game.
  • Fabled Fruit is a game we played at a board game cafe and I've just been waiting to buy it for the right price.
And finally in our bag we had a couple of review copies and a birthday present for our niece's 4th birthday.
Our AireCon 2018 Haul

Other than a kids zone and Asmodee UK where current games were being demo'd, most of the exhibition space was for demos by UK publishers with upcoming Kickstarter campaigns. We wanted to highlight a few games that we had the chance to demo and that we really enjoyed!
  • Defection is a game set in the same world as a successful Kickstarter comic book of the same name, from Thunder Vaults Ltd. It wasn't a game on our radar, but the art in the booth looked really well developed and we took the chance to play a demo. When the pitch for a game includes pick-up and deliver, I'm already interested. Defection is a mixture of space exploration, completing quests and many other mechanics - it's definitely an ambitious first board game project, but we played a great couple of rounds. We're really excited to see more of this game when it launches on Kickstarter, probably around September 2018.
The very ambitious table hog - Defection
  • Villagers is coming to Kickstarter from Sinister Fish. It is from a Norwegian designer, Haakon Gaarder, and for me, the art really evokes medieval times, but is a cool cartoon-y style. Villagers is an engine building and card drafting game where you draft cards into your hand from the central road and play two cards per turn, building upon your prerequisites and theming your card tableau to achieve better income in each income phase. I enjoyed the engine building and cards combos and would like to play some more of Villagers.
The quaint card art in the print and play of Villagers
  • The City of Kings is a Kickstarter that is just fulfilling from City of Games. We had a great demo, especially given that it was the first demo of the day and really enjoyed the few rounds we played. It's a cooperative exploration game of encountering monsters, levelling up your heroes and fulfilling quests. It's kind of a more lighthearted and accessible Gloomhaven and I'm pretty gutted that we aren't Kickstarter backers and will have to wait patiently for a retail reprint or play this at our local board game cafe. City of Games were also showing their upcoming Kickstarter Vadoran Gardens which looked really nicely produced, but we didn't get the chance to try it.
The City of Kings
Airecon was quite a long way for us to drive for a board game convention, but we totally think it was worth it! At this point it's probably the 2nd or 3rd largest UK board game convention, but it's still a friendly size with everything you need on site for a fantastic weekend! I hope we'll be going back next year.

1 comment:

  1. I love Aeon's End. My favourite co-op and my favourite deck-building game! I hope you enjoy it too!