BEGINNER’S GUIDE

Attending a convention for the first time may be a little intimidating, but we hope that this guide will help you have a fantastic time. AireCon is a great event to choose as your first convention, as it’s big enough to give you a sense of the buzz and excitement, but not so big that it’s overwhelming, it’s also super-friendly, relaxed and welcoming. It's also great for people coming with friends, or for those coming alone, there’s plenty of opportunity to meet others and play games with them.

WHAT TO EXPECT

AireCon is spread out through a couple of halls, and we’d recommend having a walk around to get a sense of the space and the event before you do anything else. The best place to start is Entrance 2, where you can pick up or buy your tickets. As you come in you’ll find yourself in the middle of Hall Q. Straight ahead of you is the giant AireCon light-sign with the Exhibitor Area behind it and to either side of you are large open gaming areas. Depending on the time of day, there will likely be a good number of people milling around and lots of people already stuck into games. As well as loads of games to try in the exhibitor areas, you’ll find more people showing off games in development or games to try out in the various demo zones.

As you follow the hall around to the left you’ll see the Family Zone by Imagination Gaming ahead of you, to your right are the doors that lead outside to the Outside Food Faire for tasty food, and on your left is the Tuck Shop where you can pick up snacks and drinks at reasonable prices, buy AireCon merchandise or collect any pre-ordered T-shirts or AireCups (these are branded mugs that give you discounts on hot drinks).

Ascending the steps at this end of the hall you’ll find yourself in the mezzanine area, on your left you’ll see some giant games to have a go at, where you are the playing pieces! On your right are some toilets and as you follow the mezzanine round you’ll see the bar and another food vendor. Over to the right is the Kings Suite, the location for a lot of our events and as you continue straight ahead you’ll see the Conservatory, which houses our huge Games Library provided by Travelling Man. Continue past this for now, there will be plenty of time to have a look at this later!

Going through the doors at the end of the Conservatory you’ll find yourself in the foyer of Entrance 3, which can also be used to access the convention. There will be some helpful volunteers here that can speak to, or follow the signage to other parts of the convention. Upstairs you can head to the Queens Suite, which houses the RPG Zone, the Bring n Buy and a Quiet Gaming room, as well as Hall D, which is open on the Saturday of AireCon for even more open gaming. At the end of Hall D you’ll find the Crown Suite, where a lot of the seminars, talks and live podcasts will take place.

At this point you’ll have a good sense of where everything is, and can start planning your next moves!

WHAT TO DO

Exhibitors and demos - We have a great range of exhibitors attending AireCon where you can purchase games and related accessories or have a go at some games that they’ve published. In the various demo zones you’ll find people willing to show you how to play some of the hottest games or perhaps games that haven’t been released yet! You can see more information about all the exhibitors and demoers here.

Events - We have a variety of events that are designed around fun! Everyone is welcome, and they’re a great way of meeting others. You can see what’s happening over on the Events page.

Bring n Buy - Perhaps you’ve got some games that you’re looking to move on, or you’re hoping to pick up a bargain. The Bring n Buy is the place to go! If you’re wanting to sell games you’ll need to pre-register them, if you’re looking to buy just head on over, or you can browse what’s available on our G.A.M.E system, which will go live shortly before the event. More information on the Bring n Buy can be found here.

RPG - Whether you’re an RPG veteran or you’ve never played before we’ll have plenty on offer for you. You can book into games in advance through the ticket shop when it goes live, or head to the RPG Zone where our experienced GMs will find a good fit for you.

Playing games - There’s loads of space to sit and play games, you can bring your own, but some there, or borrow games from our huge library for free (just a small returnable deposit of £10 is required). If you’re looking to get into a game play just look out for the flags or balloons around the halls, or wear one of the ‘Gamer Available’ badges. You can also sign up to games and demos on our G.A.M.E System when it goes live. For more information have a look at the Play page.

GENERAL HINTS AND TIPS

Don’t plan too much - it’s tempting to fill up your time and plan to the second, but great things can happen in the unplanned moments. When scheduling games, overestimate the time it’ll take so that you’re not bouncing around like a pinball!

Wear comfy shoes - You do a surprising amount of walking during a convention, take a step counter to see just how far you manage to walk!

Stay hydrated - There’s plenty of drinks and snacks available at the Tuck Shop at reasonable prices, as well as free to use water fountains in both halls

Try something new - Being at AireCon gives you loads of chances to try something you normally wouldn’t, whether it be a fun event or a type of game you’ve always wanted to have a go at, there’s plenty of time and space to have a go.

Exhibitors and demos - There’s exhibitors and demoers of all shapes and sizes showing off a wide variety of games and related goodies, make sure to take time to browse their offerings, you may find your new favourite game, or find that accessory you couldn’t do without!

DAILY GUIDE

HOW MANY DAYS DO YOU PLAN TO BE AT AIRECON?

ONE DAY - You can get a good feel for the convention in one day, it’s tempting to try and do as much as possible, but be wary of trying to do too much!

Morning

  • Doors open at 10am every day, if you’re just there for one day, get there early to squeeze in as much as you can.

  • Start by having a wander around the halls and get your bearings, start in Hall Q and pick up any merch you’re after from the Tuck Shop, then make your way up to the Queens Suite.

  • If you’ve got some games you’d like to sell in the Bring n Buy, head up there to check them in, it shouldn’t take long, make sure you’ve pre-registered them on the G.A.M.E System.

  • Pop back down to the Exhibitor Area in Hall Q have a good browse of the stands and perhaps try out a couple of demo games

  • It’s probably about lunch time by now, head over to one of the food vendors to grab something tasty, there’s a range of diets catered for and lots of choice

Afternoon

  • Grab a table and play a game, you may want to browse the library to see if there’s anything available that you’ve always wanted to try out

  • If you put any games in the Bring n Buy, now would be a good time to check the G.A.M.E System to see if you’ve sold anything, then head up and collect your money

  • Go and have a browse of the Bring n Buy games for sale, and see if you can grab yourself a bargain!

  • Perhaps time to squeeze in a quick game before dinner

Evening

  • There’s always some great events on in the evenings, and they’re a superb way of meeting others, check out the Events page in advance of AireCon to see what’s going on

  • Game for as long as you can, halls will close at 11pm (6pm on Sunday)


TWO DAYS - When people come for two days, it’s usually the weekend there’s lots going on to keep you entertained.

Day One Morning

  • Doors will open at 10am get there early to ensure plenty of gaming time

  • Start by having a wander around the halls and get your bearings, start in Hall Q and pick up any merch you’re after from the Tuck Shop, then make your way up to the Queens Suite.

  • If you’ve got some games you’d like to sell in the Bring n Buy, head up there to check them in, it shouldn’t take long, make sure you’ve pre-registered them on the G.A.M.E System.

  • Whilst you’re up there consider signing up to an RPG, there’s loads on offer and even if you haven’t tried one before, the experienced GMs will find something that would suit you.

  • Pop back down an squeeze in a quick game before lunch, there’s loads of great food on offer from the vendors

Day One Afternoon

  • Take the time to have a good look around the Exhibitor area, have a go at some demos and pick up some great games and related accessories followed by some dinner.

Day One Evening

  • There’s always some great events on in the evenings, and they’re a superb way of meeting others, check out the Events page in advance of AireCon to see what’s going on

  • Game for as long as you can, halls will close at 11pm (6pm on Sunday) and there’s usually gaming happening in the hotels nearby the centre if you wish to keep pushing some cardboard.

Day Two Morning

  • If you’ve stayed overnight in Harrogate use the morning to have a wander around and get yourself some tasty breakfast then get down to the venue for opening time around 10am.

  • Assuming you booked into an RPG now is a great time to schedule it for whilst you’re still feeling fresh! Then chat with your fellow gamers about your experience over some lunch

Day Two Afternoon

  • Grab a table and play a game, you may want to browse the library to see if there’s anything available that you’ve always wanted to try out

  • If you put any games in the Bring n Buy, now would be a good time to check the G.A.M.E System to see if you’ve sold anything, then head up and collect your money

  • Go and have a browse of the Bring n Buy games for sale, and see if you can grab yourself a bargain! And see what other things you could pick up in the Exhibitor area before it closes then head for some dinner

Day Two Evening

  • Game for as long as you can, halls will close at 11pm (6pm on Sunday)


THREE DAYS - You’ll have plenty of time to take it easy and play loads of games, but don’t forget to check out what else is going on, and perhaps even explore the beautiful spa town of Harrogate

Friday Morning

  • Doors will open at 10am get there early to ensure plenty of gaming time

  • Start by having a wander around the halls and get your bearings, start in Hall Q and pick up any merch you’re after from the Tuck Shop, then make your way up to the Queens Suite.

  • If you’ve got some games you’d like to sell in the Bring n Buy, head up there to check them in, it shouldn’t take long, make sure you’ve pre-registered them on the G.A.M.E System.

  • Whilst you’re up there consider signing up to an RPG, there’s loads on offer and even if you haven’t tried one before, the experienced GMs will find something that would suit you.

  • Pop back down an squeeze in a quick game before lunch, there’s loads of great food on offer from the vendors

Friday Afternoon

  • Take the time to have a good look around the Exhibitor area, have a go at some demos and pick up some great games and related accessories followed by some dinner.

Friday Evening

  • There’s always some great events on in the evenings, and they’re a superb way of meeting others, check out the Events page in advance of AireCon to see what’s going on

  • Game for as long as you can, halls will close at 11pm (6pm on Sunday) and there’s usually gaming happening in the hotels nearby the centre if you wish to keep pushing some cardboard into the early hours!

Saturday Morning

  • Consider a visit to Betty’s tea rooms and have a look around the delightful spa town of Harrogate

  • Assuming you booked into an RPG now is a great time to schedule it for whilst you’re still feeling fresh! If you’ve enjoyed it you could book straight into another one later, or even Sunday morning. Then chat with your fellow gamers about your experience over some lunch

Saturday Afternoon

  • Grab a table and play a game, you may want to browse the library to see if there’s anything available that you’ve always wanted to try out

  • Have a look at some of the seminars and talks going on, or join in one of the many events before getting some dinner

Saturday Evening

  • Get involved in some of the events happening, particularly the Charity Raffle, last time we raised over £1200 for our charities in just 1 hour!

  • Game for as long as you can, halls will close at 11pm (6pm on Sunday) there’s usually gaming going on until the wee hours in the nearby hotels.

Sunday Morning

  • If you’ve stayed overnight in Harrogate use the morning to have a wander around and get yourself some tasty breakfast then have a relaxed stroll through the town down to the convention.

  • If you put any games in the Bring n Buy, now would be a good time to check the G.A.M.E System to see if you’ve sold anything, whilst you’re there have a browse of the Bring n Buy games for sale, and see if you can grab yourself a bargain!

  • Have another look around the Exhibitor area before it closes at 4pm, play something might just catch your eye that you’d missed previously, play some more demos then get a bite to eat.

Day Three Afternoon

  • Game for as long as you can until the halls close at 6pm