Published by Z-Man Games, Aerion is a solo game (with a 2 player cooperative mode) that takes place in the mystical dream world called the Oniverse. There are several games in this series, all designed by Shadi Torbey, and Aerion is the 5th and latest of the series. For a look at all the games in the Oniverse click here.

In Aerion, you are a shipwright tasked with building six airships. To do this you will roll (and re roll) six 6-sided dice and use them to acquire the items required to build your ships. You can only work on two ships at a time, one in each workshop. One of the elements needed for each ship is your crew, and that will need to be the last piece you add before launching a ship. The cards you’ll be choosing from are shuffled into six decks with eight cards in each. One card is drawn from each deck and placed face up in front of the deck. Ideally, you’ll have six cards to choose from at the start of each turn. After rolling and if you are able, you’ll purchase only one card from the six face up cards and add it to one of your two workshops. Occasionally you will acquire a book, which you can discard in the future to re roll your dice, return two cards from a discard pile to the top of its deck, or store cards which won’t fit into the workshops for later use. Additionally, you’ll get three tiles that can each be used to change the face of one die as needed during the game.

Each turn you roll, acquire a card, and refill any discarded cards if any remain in that respective deck. The cards in the decks have certain icons which represent the different elements required to build the ships. The idea is to collect sets of icons on each of the airships you are working on with the crew icon being the last item acquired. You will obviously be relying a lot on luck, but it can be mitigated by using the tools mentioned above to manipulate dice and decks. Additionally, instead of spending a book or token you may simply discard one of the displayed cards and re roll any number of dice. Problem is, if you ever run out of cards the game is over and you lose. This provides additional tension when deciding when or if to discard cards in order to re roll. You may be getting rid of the very cards you will need to win the game.

Aerion feels a bit like a puzzle or tower defense game because you need to acquire certain icons at certain times while also being at the mercy of what cards are revealed each round. It’s a balancing act of what you can get now and what may be coming next, all with an eye toward completing one of the two ships currently in your workshop. The tension is present but not overwhelming, in a similar sense to Solitaire – that’s right, good old fashioned, ancient, Solitaire.

The game comes with six (that’s right six!) expansions right in the base game box. The expansions add new obstacles, more books, clouds, buildings, and a mean looking kite miniature, so you get plenty of variety. The art in the game is very colorful and has to be described as whimsical. The drawings on the cards are very well done. Kudos to artist Élise Plessis. The game box is small and has a cool insert that looks like clouds. The components are sturdy and fit nicely into the box as well. If you enjoy the previous Oniverse games or just like good solo games, you definitely need to check out Aerion.

Thanks for reading and keep nerding on.

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Rob Fenimore
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