Aerion Card Game Review

In a tabletop game industry, any game can have expansions. Usually an expansion will introduce extra modules that we can add to the base game. They can introduce new features with different opportunities and challenges to make the game fresh.

Usually, publishers or the designers will release the expansions some time after the launch of the base game. Hopefully, players who love the base game can revisit the game again with new content.

On the other hand, there are also some games that will include one or more expansion modules inside the base game box. This will give a lot of content right from the start, assuming the players will love it.

Such is the case of this next game, Aerion. This is actually the fifth game in the Oniverse series which always has 6 expansion modules in every game of that series.

So, what is this Aerion card game? How do we play the game? What is the best expansion modules to add to the base game?

Those are probably just a few questions that came to mind after hearing about the game. Well, in this article, I’m going to share with you my Aerion Review based on my experience on playing the game and what I can find from the internet.

Hope this helps. Is Aerion going to be the best game from the Oniverse series?

Click or tab on any sections from the table of contents to jump right to that part. Use the red arrow button on the bottom right corner of the screen to head back to the top.


Game Title: Aerion
Genre: The Oniverse Series, Dice Rolling, Cooperative, Fantasy Setting, Aviation Setting, Set Collection
Designer: Shadi Torbey
Artist: Élise Plessis
Publisher: InPatience
Number of Players: 1 – 2
Playtime: 15 – 30 minutes
Official Webpage: Aerion (

Release Year: 2019
Price: $25

1 Rulebook
7 Ship Tokens
6 Dice
3 Pixie Tokens
1 Hellkite Pawn
6 Stone Cloud Tokens
133 Cards (58 x 89mm):
Crew Cards (12)
Material Cards (12)
Blueprint Cards (12)
Book Cards (12)
Factory Cards (6)
Hourglass Cards (24)
Pier Cards (3)
Worker Cards (12)
Egg Cards (12)
Hammer Bird Cards (12)
Outpost Cards (8)
Lair Cards (8)

About Aerion Card Game

Aerion is the fifth game of The Oniverse series after Onirim, Sylvion, Castelion and Nautilion. All of them were designed by Shadi Torbey within the same setting, which is the mysterious surreal dream world.

Up to this fifth game, they were originally published by Z-Man Games. The designer has decided to self publish these games and the sequel under InPatience in 2022.

From what I understand the designer has a plan for 9 games total in this series. Each game in this series usually has a unique gameplay and theme so people can collect them all and have different experience.

As a signature, all of these games comes in the same size square box with a miniature that is specific for the game. They are all mostly solitaire games but has a variant to be played cooperative with one more player.

Another signature of this game is, each of them comes with several expansion modules in the base game. Players can choose to add one, some or all to increase the challenge or difficulty if they think the base game is too easy. Usually within each module there is also a way to modify the challenge.

In the case of Aerion, players are air-shipwright builder. The goal is to build 6 airships before the time runs out. Each ship require a blueprint card, a material card and a crew card.

To collect these cards, we will be using 6 dice. Every round, we can roll them all. From that result, we can choose to reroll all, some or one of them with a cost hopefully we can get the right face. This mechanism was first introduced by a game of Yahtzee.

These cards can come from 6 different decks in random order. Each deck require a different set of dice like a pair, three of a kind, full house, four of a kind, straight, or 3 pairs.

So, if the roll has the right set of dice, we can take the card from the display area and put it into one of the 2 Workshop areas. Each area can only hold the work on one ship so we need to finish it first before start collecting a different ship.

As mentioned before, each ship require 3 different elements. However, the crew must come the last, so we first need to collect the blueprint and the material.

The challenge is that we don’t know which will come out first. It can be one of the 3 materials, one of the 6 different ships or even one of the 2 different crews.

If the display area is filled with cards that we cannot collect at the moment, we have to discard them. Each one discarded card give us a chance to reroll once, which can either one, some or all of the dice.

So, we need to figure out which card can be discarded first for rerolling and which to collect for building the ship. We cannot just discard any card but each element card has several copies.

There are also some limited way we can bring back the discarded cards to the deck again with the Books feature. It also allow us to store element cards outside the workshop.

The game ends when all of 6 decks run out of cards, which becomes the timer. If we haven’t finished building 6 ships before the time runs out, we lose the game.

Like other Oniverse games, Aerion comes with 6 expansion modules that we can add to the base game. Flagship module will give additional ship to build and factory cards that can give special power as long as we keep the card.

Hourglass modules will just add 6 different hourglass cards that we need to collect in order to win. The difference is that if we don’t take the Hourglass cards from the display, they will be automatically discarded.

The Stone Clouds will add 6 Cloud tokens that we need to destroy in order to win. This module also adds Hammer Bird Cards that if we can discard more of them, it will give higher value to destroy more Cloud in the same round.

The Pier module adds Pier and Worker cards. Each Worker cards allow us to reroll the dice but we have to pay their salary later. The Pier cards themselves are additional objective that require 5 of a kind from the dice to build the Pier.

Hammer Bird Eggs module will add Egg cards that will block the display area. Either we have to collect them or it will stop cycling through the deck and eventually can make us lose the game. After we have acquired these Egg cards, we can spend them to reveal the face down cards of one deck with the same amount of cards.

The last module is the Hellkite. The Hellkite will keep moving in a row of Outpost and Lair Cards. The Outpost will determine which element card that we cannot take if the Hellkite is on that card. While the Lair card will give bonus if we can attack when the Hellkite is on that card.

Aerion is nominated for the Best Solo Game of the 2019 Golden Geek Award. This next video is an overview by from Origins Game Fair 2019 for Aerion with the original publisher.

Shadi Torbey also shares his design diary for Aerion which we can read more from BGG page. He considered Deck Management as the main mechanism.


Aerion comes with the same square box as other Oniverse Games. The size is about 16 x 16 x 4.2 cm. This one has a purple background with the blue Hellkite flying around in the sky. We can also see some of the ships we will build in this game on the cover.

On the back of the box, there is a list of component in general, some illustrations of the components but not really the setup when the game is played.

Inside the box, we will find a purple insert, two decks of cards, a bag of 6 dice, the Hellkite pawn, two sheets of cardboards and the rulebook. All of these is wrapped by a cardstock paper that has a shape as if there are some layers of clouds covering the content.

The insert will have two slots for cards, dedicated slot for the pawn and a long form slot with the bag of dice. I think this last slot is intended for the cardboard tokens after we have punched them out.

The smaller tokens can definitely fit in that slot. However, some of the big ones will have to stay in the cardboard sheet. Maybe the publisher wants us to place the big one in the same slot as the cards.

It definitely has more rooms if we don’t use any sleeve. The cards will not fit in if we use premium sleeves. I use the 60 micron sleeve from Sleeve Kings and the slot is already full. If somehow they release a promo card or such, I guess there is no room for it.

All of the cards have the same size, which is 58 x 89mm. With the 60 micron sleeve, we can use the Standard USA Chimera size (57.5 x 89mm). If I understand correctly, this is also the same card size for all of the game in the Oniverse series.

This copy of Aerion is the first edition from Z-Man Games. According to BGG, other than this English version, the other language is the French version.

InPatience, the new publisher will release the second edition in Q3/Q4 of 2022. From what I understand, this second edition will have the same exact content. But there is a chance that the designer will add some promo cards as part of the marketing or so.


On BGG, at this point, there is only a digital file from the Z-Man for this English Rulebook. I couldn’t find any links from the new publisher site at this point. There is still a link on the Z-Man Games page here, but I’m not sure if they will keep it forever.

The rulebook is in square shape with 24 pages and almost the same background art as the box with purple cloudy sky. Here is the table of contents.

Cover and art (Page 1 – 2). As mentioned before that the cover of this rulebook tries to be part of the envelope with purple cloudy skies covering all of the components and insert. The second page has a bigger picture for one of the Ships we are building in this game.

Table of Contents (Page 3). This is a rare thing in this industry. Not every tabletop game will have the luxury to have a page for table of contents in their rulebook. But this one has it.

Game Overview and Objective (Page 4). This part has a flavor text about the theme a bit and the general idea of what we will be doing in playing this game to win.

Components (Page 5). This part is divided into 2 sections, one for the base game and the other for the expansion module.

Both of them have the illustration for each type of component and cards. The expansion part doesn’t really tell which components for which expansion though.

Base Game Setup (Page 6). This part has an illustration of how the setup will look like. Not only that, it also mentions additional room that we will need when we are playing the game like discard pile, workshop and reserve area.

Key Concept (Page 7 – 8). This part explains the idea of Element cards, Workshop areas, Books, Reserve, and Pixies. Basically, how to read the symbols from Element cards and all of the variants we can find in this game.

The part about Workshop is where we can find the rule that we need to place the Crew card last to build a ship. Books can be used to reroll 3 times, different dice each time, put element to reserve or retrieve 2 element cards from one chosen discard pile.

We can only have one book in the basic mode but we can have as many Element cards in the Reserve. Pixies work just to change 1 die each but can be spent any number in the same turn.

Gameplay (Page 8 – 11). This part explains the general turn order with 3 main phases that we need to resolve every round.. Then, the section ends with how the end game is triggered and how to increase the difficulty. These are just for the basic mode, not adding any the expansion modules.

Important note from this part is that we will keep rerolling until we can and choose to acquire something or the display runs out of card. Also, set of results do not need to be different. AA+BB can also mean AA + AA.

Increasing the difficulty is by removing one, two, or three Pixies.

Rules for 2 Players Base Game (Page 11). This part explains the rules for 2 player mode and how to modify the rule and setup from the basic solo variant.

Each player choose the 3 ship  tokens which they need to build them on their own, unless they place it on the communal workshop. Players also have their own Pulpit, Workshop and Reserve. The player who has the ship token must be the one to add the Crew card to complete the ship in the communal workshop.

The rule didn’t say about the pixies, so I assume that both players share that 3 pixies.

Expansion 1: The Flagship (Page 12 – 14). There are 2 parts of this module, the Flagship token itself and the 6 Factory Cards which can be used separately.

However, the additional win condition comes from the Flagship itself. We have to build it to win. To increase the difficulty, we need to add the 6 Factory cards to the deck and collect them like we collect Element cards instead of just choosing 2 from the start.

For 2 player variant, both players get the benefit from the same Factory cards and both players can contribute in building the Flagship.

Expansion 2: The Hourglasses (Page 15). For this module, we will be using 24 Hourglass cards. As additional victory condition, we need to collect one Hourglass card from each deck.

For 2 player variant, players can work together to get one of the necessary 6 Hourglass cards. To increase the difficulty, we use only 18 cards instead of 24, removing one card from each deck.

Expansion 3: The Stone Clouds (Page 16 – 17). For this module, we will be using 12 Hammer bird cards and 6 Stone Cloud tokens. As additional victory condition, we must demolish all 6 stone clouds.

There is no additional rule for 2 players but there are 2 ways to increase the difficulty. The first way is that if we want to discard Hammer bird cards to demolish, we need to discard at least 2.

As the second way, we put the Stone clouds on the Ship tokens. Before we can build the ship and flip the ship tokens, we have to demolish that stone Cloud token on them first.

Expansion 4: The Piers (Page 18 – 19). For this, we will be using 3 Pier Cards and 12 Worker Cards. As additional win condition, we need to build all 3 Piers and pay all of the Workers in Payroll.

For 2 players, each player will have their own payroll that they need to pay. To increase the difficulty, we can only have 1 worker in our Payroll at a time. For 2 players, we will have a shared payroll.

The important value is 26 which is printed on every Worker Cards.

Expansion 5: The Hammer Bird Eggs (Page 20 – 21). For this module we will use 12 Egg Cards. There is an additional Save Shell rule where we can move directly to Phase 3 if there are only Egg cards left in the display without acquiring any card.

As additional rule to lose, if there is one Egg card in the display, we have to acquire them or lose immediately. To increase the difficulty, we can ignore that Save Shell rule and immediately lose the game if the display area only has all Egg Cards.

For 2 players, the acquired Egg cards will go to the common pile. Both players can use them in their turn.

Expansion 6: The Hellkite (Page 22-23). For this module, we will use Hellkite pawn, Outpost Cards and Lair Cards. Not additional rule for 2 players with this module.

The important value is 15 or less to destroy any of these 2 type of cards. As additional win condition, we need to destroy all Outpost and Lair cards.

To increase the difficulty, we can only destroy the cards from the right most or the left most. Also, we have to destroy all Outpost cards first before destroying the Lair cards.

Important note from here is that the Hellkite moves twice if we also destroy one card. One after the destroying and the other is at the start of Phase 3.

This one actually need an illustration for the setup as this is the most complex one by adding a row of cards just for the Hellkite. Sadly, they didn’t have any even though there is enough space for it.

Credits (Page 24). Here we can find more about the people involved in the process of designing this game, including the one who made the resin sculpture.

I think for the most part, the rulebook explain everything very well. But there is some possible misinterpretations. Or just things that is not very clear like the process between acquiring card and placing into workshops.

This happens in the same phase but some people thought it as the same process that we need to resolve. We can even acquire card and just discard it immediately if we think the card will be useless. This can be a good strategy when all cards in the display are Crew cards that we cannot use them yet.

For people who didn’t know that, they can choose to just keep rerolling until all cards are removed from the display.

Most of the questions in the forum regarding the rules are related to expansions. Some can even come when mixing two or more expansion modules like Security Department Factory card and the Hourglass cards.

My main issue specific for this game, and probably this series is that I’m having a hard time separating which rules from which modules. This is usually happens after a while from not playing the game.

For example, at one point I thought one rule about the number of Books is the base game. It turns out having more than one Book is part of the 1st Expansion. I think this is mostly about the Factory cards.

The thing is that, we know how to separate the card but the card themselves don’t explain anything. So, it’s like we have to read again from the base game and then check every expansion. Then, we also don’t know whether it is the basic rule of the module or the expert variant unless we check them again.

It’s not a big deal but I did play the game wrong a couple of times before realizing that.

I also wish that the rulebook include some guidelines for how to include expansions. Like which one is the easiest and which one will be the most difficult. The rulebook only says that we can add and mix them individually.

A lot of fans of this game even created a ranking and review for each expansion telling people which module is necessary and which one is not. I just wish that the rulebook has a summary page or so.

I also didn’t realize that the game uses a different pattern and color on the card for each expansion module. The rulebook only shows the color next to the title but no where in the rulebook suggesting that other than the base game cards.

It’s just that the color doesn’t really represent anything about the module and the pattern or shape they use can be similar between one and another. Maybe this is a minor issue and those who have color blind will not find it very problematic.


The first game component of Aerion is the 6 D6 dice. These identical dice have turquoise base color and purple pips. The size is about 1 cm. They come in a sealed transparent plastic bag like a candy.

At first, I thought the size is a bit smaller than regular dice. But after playing more games with dice, I think if we have to roll this number of dice everytime, it is better to use a smaller one. Even with 6, we can properly roll them in one hand. While if we use a bigger one, we might need both of our hands because with just one hand, the dice don’t roll that much in our hand.

On the other hand, if the die falls off the table, it kind of harder to find than bigger. Maybe it’s just me but I find it that the die will roll further away. So, I guess using a dice tray is recommended. We can even use the lid.

These are very standard d6 with rounded corner. The shape, size and color doesn’t really matter to the game. We can easily replace or use different d6 that we can find from local game store.

In this game, every round we will roll all 6 of them and we may reroll one, some or all of them a couple of times. The goal is trying to get that Poker Sets like Two Pairs, Three of a Kind, Four of a Kind, Full House, Straight or Three Pairs.

If we can get any of them, we may acquire a card from the corresponding deck that require those set. For each reroll we have to spend some resources that can eventually bring us closer to losing. While there are a lot of ways to mitigate, but it’s not really something we can spend them recklessly.

Other than rerolling, the only way to manipulate is to change straight to the value that we want using the Pixies. More about this later. There is a minor way to flip the die if we use one of the expansion but no change of value like plus or minus 1.

So, after the first roll every round, we will sort them out from lowest to highest or sort by group hoping that we can make the right set. Obviously, unless we are very lucky, we will not always get what we want.

Even if we do get the harder set like 3 Pairs, maybe we don’t need the corresponding card at the moment. What that means is, knowing how and when to pivot from that first roll to a different set can help us a lot to win the game.

For the base game, the value doesn’t really matter that much. We can make a pair with any value. Not only that, 4 of a Kind can become two Pairs, so it doesn’t need to be AA+BB, it can be AA+AA. The exception is the Straight but we can still either use 1 to 5 or 2 to 6. So, the game gives some flexibility.

There is a discussion thread about probabilities here. From that, AA+BB has the highest chance to get, followed by AAA, Full House, 3 Pairs or 2 Thrice, AAAA and lastly ABCDE. But that is just the probability of the first roll doesn’t say much about how easy to pivot to different set.

From my experience, getting to ABCDE is somehow easier than the 3 Pairs. Mostly because if I choose ABCDE, the first roll is probably already close to it while the 3 pairs is kind of still far away.

For some expansion modules, the value becomes matter but in total. One module requires a total of 15 or less to do something while different module may requires a total of 26 at least. Some people say that those two modules work together very well because one covers high total value while the other  covers the higher one.

I feel like it’s not always true. It still depends on the first roll and how likely we can reroll less to get to the next set.

With all of that in mind, luck or randomness is a huge part in this game. This can be frustrating for some people including me. Moreover, that is not the only random element. But some people love it.

Pixie Tokens

The next component is the Pixie Tokens, from the cardboard sheet. We get 3 Pixie Tokens with different shape and sizes but all 3 works the same. I guess they are just utilizing more cardboard sheet space with the bigger pixie token.

Because the surrealist style or dream world, the pixie doesn’t look like a human or elf. This looks more like a yellow string with red wings.

In this game, the purpose of this token is to change the die value. We can spend them after rolling the dice and each token is to change one die to any value.

There are only 3 tokens and that is the limit. In the game, there is no mechanism to get more of them or retrieve those 3 back after we spend them. So, it’s not a resource that we can manage in that sense.

There is no reason not to use them. We just need to find the right or best time to use them.

In the game where we need to collect a set of 4 or 5 with specific value from the dice, this is very helpful. Most of the time, we roll, and we get the right 3 or 4 dice and we need just one more dice for certain value. However, we keep rerolling and we still cannot get that value.

Usually, this is the case when we want to get the Straight set or 3 Pairs. Because the Pixies are limited, sometimes it is a difficult choice. On one hand, we have cards on the display that we can discard them first. However, as I said before, there is no guarantee that rerolling will get us there.

What usually happens is, we lose those cards and we still end up spending the Pixie. If that happens, it is very heart breaking because losing those cards can lead to additional retrieving we need to do.

Because of that, I usually just spend the Pixies as early as possible so that I don’t have to rely on them later and make those mistakes. If I need to change more than one die then I will wait from using the Pixie though.

I think this idea doesn’t scale very well. If we use the 2 player variant, we still only have 3 Pixies for both players. Even with solo variant, the more expansion module we add, the token become less matter.

If we only play the base game, there is a good chance I may not use one of them. With all modules, the game will become longer time to play and for me, I have probably spent them in the first few rounds.

I understand that the expansion modules add excess cards that we can discard for rerolling. Some even allow us to reroll more 3 times per card. But as I said that rerolling just doesn’t give the same result as these Pixies.

Of course, adding more Pixie tokens will make the game way easier. Maybe the idea is to give us a chance to shift from relying on Pixie tokens to other mitigation mechanisms.

Maybe the Books, or other cards from any of the expansions. The problem is that those cards can be buried at the bottom of each deck. In that case, instead of shifting, we will end up losing those Element cards early.

Ship Tokens

The next component is the 7 Ship Tokens. 6 of these cardboard tokens are part of the base game and one is from the first expansion module.

These are the goal of the game. In order to win, we need to build those ships. We do that by collecting a set of element cards that are matching with the requirement for each ship.

At the front of the token, we will see the illustration of a completed ship. The back of each token will have 3 Elements required for the ship. Each ship from the base game will require 1 Material, 1 Blueprint and 1 Crew. While the Flagship from the expansion requires 3 Materials and 2 Crews.

Each ship token themselves has unique shape and size that follows the illustration different from any other ship. But aside from the skinny one, most of them looks the same, at least from the back.

In this game, we place the token face down and we flip it once we have fulfilled the requirement. While the back shows specific icon of the elements but they are just black silhouette. It also doesn’t help telling us which deck to find, especially the Blueprint which each ship is specific to just one deck.

As we can see, the illustrations might look like a weird fantasy ship but it seems that they are inspired by real idea. We can find the name of each ship from the rulebook page 7.

There are also some poll and discussion thread about the ships that we can learn more from here.

Here are the details in this game.

Bee (AA-BB)
Material: Helices (Blue)
Crew: Sognae (Yellow)

This could actually be the trickiest ship to build. While we can get the Blueprint pretty easily but getting the Material and the Crew are harder. So, if we commit early because of the Blueprint, we might end up losing a lot because we are stuck with the other two elements.

Get the Material to the workshop first, then we can pivot between Bee (#1) and Glider (#6). Then it’s either we get the Yellow Crew to the Reserve next or that Glider Blueprint.

If we have to use the Book to retrieve the cards for this Ship, deck #5 or 6 are the one to go.

Nacelle (AAA)
Material: Nuts (Green)
Crew: Sognae (Yellow)

This one is also tricky, might be even harder than the Bee. The crew is the same but the material is from either deck #3 or #4. We cannot really rely on deck #4. Getting its blueprint itself is relatively easy but just don’t commit without having access to the crew first at least.

For this ship, only deck #4 that has several elements for this ship and we might want to avoid that when acquiring. So, that is another challenge.

Hellinaut (AAA-BB)
Material: Cocoons (Red)
Crew: Sognae (Yellow)

The challenge for this one is usually getting the Yellow Crew. If we can get it early and put it into reserve, then completing this should be the next thing to do.

None of the required elements for this ship come from the same deck.

Hornet (AAA-BBB / AA-BB-CC)
Material: Cocoons (Red)
Crew: Incubi (Blue)

The problem with this is probably getting the Blueprint from deck #4 while we can get the other two elements rather easily. We have to wait for the blueprint to come out first. So, this is low priority before we can find the blueprint.

At least, if we have to use Books for retrieving, we can choose deck #1 or 2 as they have the Crew and the Material.

Trihellix (AAAA)
Material: Nuts (Green)
Crew: Incubi (Blue)

The problem with this is also the Blueprint but easier than the Hornet. This also relies a lot from deck #3 for the Crew and Material. At least we can retrieve both from the same deck.

Glider (ABCDE)
Material: Helices (Blue)
Crew: Incubi (Blue)

Two of the required element for this come from deck #6 so at least when retrieving cards for this one, we can choose this one. However, it includes the blueprint. Most of the time, we already get the Blueprint first before we look for the other elements. So, it is very unlikely we are retrieving both.

Flagship (Expansion #1)
Material: All 3 Materials
Crew: Both Crews

So this one from the expansion doesn’t need any Blueprint. However, it needs 2 more Materials and 1 more crew. The challenge is more about getting the Crew later. If we use the Factory Book from the deck #6, then it is easier.

While completing this ship will add the challenge but at the same time, it also serves as additional storage, at least for the Material before the crew.

Based on those details, we can see that one ship can be completed rather easily while the others can be very tricky. It’s a good thing that we don’t need to complete them in order.

But there is still some randomness from the deck. We can acquire cards from the deck rather easily but we don’t know when the card will come out. The more important resource to manage is the Workshop area.

We have 2 but once we have committed to certain plan by placing the element cards, we cannot remove them. So, we have to finish what we have started before opening the area for the next ship.

The easiest should be to collect the crew first. But then there is a restriction that we can only place the Crew card as the last one. Because of that, we can only try collecting the material first then. That way, from each type of Material we can pivot between 2 Blueprints.

All 3 of them are equally distributed but the required set of dice for each deck will still limit the strategy.

I guess the idea should be utilizing both Workshop Areas differently. One for the long term if we somehow stuck with some difficult ships while the other has to be more flexible.

In most of my play, I thought I just take and commit to any cards. So, if I see a Blueprint from either deck #1, 2 or 3, I will immediately just acquire and place them into the workshop.

In my mind, there is another challenge that we cannot get those cards again without using books. Maybe that is not really an obvious choice then.

Stone Cloud Tokens (Expansion #3)

This is the last components in Aerion that are made of cardboard. These are the 6 tokens with elliptical shape that are supposed to resemble a cloud. They are called the Stone Cloud Tokens.

On the back of each token, we will see a number 30 then, equal sign, and an arrow that is supposed to say flip. If we flip the token, on the front side, it will say 30, followed by equal sign and a red X.

All of them actually have unique shape, art and color but they look the same. The different shape and size is very minor and doesn’t matter to the gameplay. For those who keep the cardboard sheet and use them to keep the tokens, it is easier to return the tokens to the original spot by spotting the color.

We will only use these tokens if we are playing with the 3rd Expansion module or the Stone Clouds. As additional winning condition, we need to flip all of these 6 tokens to the front side. Thematically, we are destroying these clouds so the ship can fly through.

We do that by rolling the dice and if we have a total of 30 in the value, we can flip them. The expansion also has Hammer Bird Cards that will give extra value if we discard them in a round. That way, we can destroy multiple Clouds at the same time. More about the Hammer Bird Cards below.

Also, there is a way to increase the difficulty with this expansion. Instead of just flipping the token out of nowhere, the Stone Cloud will now block the Ships. We put one Stone Cloud on 1 Ship from the base game.

Before we can flip the ship, we first need to destroy or remove the Stone Cloud token from that ship. So, thematically it is an interesting additional challenge.

Some people say that the basic mode of this expansion is kind of unnecessary. Even I thought we don’t need to use token at all. But with the idea of the token blocking the ship, then it makes more sense to use cardboard tokens.

I will talk more about the expansion itself in the related cards section below.

Hellkite Token (Expansion #6)

This is the signature component of any game in this Oniverse series. Usually each game will have a villain that we can see from the box cover. These villains will have a resin pawn. So, they become like a collectible element for the game but can also serve some purpose in the game.

In Aerion, the villain is the Hellkite which has the shape of a kite with a demonic face. The color is not blue like in the cover but a turquois color. The length is about 3.8 cm, with 3.2 for width and 1.7 in depth.

In this game, we will be using this pawn if we play with the 6th expansion module or the Hellkite. We also need to use the Lair and Outpost Cards from that expansion.

Those two type cards will create another row of 6 cards and Hellkite will start at the left most card. Each round we have to move the Hellkite one space to the right and once it has reached the right most card, it will return to the left most again.

Because the resin is very thick, it is very easy to pick up the token and move it even if we lay it down instead of put it standing. The token itself has a dedicated slot in the insert and came in a plastic zip lock bag.

Even though the plastic may seem unnecessary, it helps to lift the token out from the insert. Somehow, even though the insert provides 2 finger holes, it is not that easy to lift the token out., at least, for me.

That is the last component of Aerion that are not cards.

Pier Cards (Expansion #4)

I start with these 3 Pier cards as they are a bit different from the rest. But these 3 are from the 4th or Pier expansion module with the orange pattern at the bottom of the card.

All of these 3 cards have unique artwork on both sides but they serve the same purpose in the game. On one back side which has an icon that says AAAAA followed by a flip arrow, has a construction illustration.

While the other side has a built Pier illustration where passengers of the ship can get on or off the ship. Not sure if the orange color has any meaning related to the aviation.

In this game, as additional win condition from this expansion, we need to build the 3 Piers, flipping those cards from the construction side to the built side. We do that by rolling 6 dice and have the 5 of a Kind set with any value.

So, it is not an easy task or something that we will get to it immediately unless we are being very lucky. Most of the time, we can probably get like 2 or 3 of a kind and we need to use every mitigation feature that we have until we can get that 5 of a kind.

The expansion also adds Worker Cards that each card allows us to reroll 3 times if we take them from the display. More about this later. Even rerolling those 3 might not be enough and we probably need to use other means like discarding cards from the deck or Books.

If then, none of them is available, maybe, it is not a good time to flip these cards. The additional challenge from this card is just one challenge from the expansion. We also need to deal with the Worker, if we take them from the display.

Unlike the Worker which the rerolling bonus can be used for other parts of the game, these Piers just don’t add anything else. It feels like an introductory for the Workers part because without the Pier, if we only use the Worker module, it probably makes the game very easy.

It’s still challenging though to complete these 3.


The 6 Decks and Timer

Now, it’s time to talk about the rest of the cards. Excluding the 8 Lair and 8 Outpost cards, these remaining 114 cards come from several different types but all of them will be distributed into 6 different decks. Each card will have the same one of 6 back side.

The back side will all have the same main icon in the middle. We can see the two crews with some red wings with cloudy background. Not really sure what they are but that is not the important part. The important part is the other icons.

First, in the middle top part of it will have the Poker set. They are either AA+BB, AAA, AAA+BB, AA+BB+CC / AAA+BBB, AAAA and A+B+C+D+E. These indicates the set value of the dice that we need to have in order to take the card from that corresponding deck.

If we put a deck number from 1 to 6, it is supposed to follow that order, as indicated by cards from the Flagship expansion module. The first three are probably the easiest to acquire while the last three are arguably the hardest but not necessarily in that order.

Next is the icon at the top left corner. Icons at this part are the Crew Icons either the Incubi (Blue) or Sognae (yellow). So, if we look for specific crew, we can check from that corner of each deck to find out which deck will have that crew without flipping the card.

Since there are only 2 type of Crews, Incubi are available from deck 1 to 3 while Sognae will be in the deck 4 to 6. From that, we can tell that getting Sognae is more difficult than Incubi.

At the top right corner, is the icons for Materials to build any ship. There are 3 Materials in this game, the Cocoons, Helices and Nuts. Cocoons will be in deck #1 and 2, Nuts in the deck #3 and 4 while Helices will be in deck #5 and 6.

From that, we can tell that getting Cocoons is probably the easiest. Nuts is tricky as it is relatively easy from the deck #3 but probably the hardest among all materials from deck #4. Then Helices might be a harder material to acquire.

Lastly, at the bottom middle part of the card, we can find a single unique icon for each of 6 decks. These are the icons for the Blueprints. One deck will have one unique ship and each deck will have 2 cards.

So, those 3 icons are just ELEMENT CARDS which are essential to build Ships in the base game of Aerion. But the deck will have more cards than those like Book cards and cards from the expansions.

All of the cards from the expansion will be distributed equally for each deck. Depending on the expansion module, those cards may have the same function regardless of the deck or differently.

If we just use cards from the base game, each deck will only have 6 cards. With all of the expansions, each deck will have a total of 19 cards. Here is the breakdown for each deck.

Crew Cards: 2
Material Cards: 2
Blueprint Cards: 2
Book Cards: 2
Factory Card: 1
Hourglass Cards: 4
Worker Cards: 2
Egg Cards: 2
Hammer Bird Cards: 2

The cards from each modules are identical. Even if we are not allowed to look through the active deck, we can still examine the discard pile and check which card are left.

As I have mentioned before that the cards from these decks also serve as a timer. We can acquire or discard card from these decks and flip a new card until all of them runs out of cards. If we haven’t completed all the objectives, we will lose the game.

That means, the more expansions added to the base game will increase the playtime. Increasing the playtime can make the game easier but with the extra winning condition, it can make it harder if we don’t manage how we discard those cards. Also, longer playtime doesn’t necessarily make the game better.

The box says that the playtime is about 30 minutes which I think accurate for the base game only. With all expansion, it can take like 45 or 60 minutes. For some people, they may like those flexibility.

I just wish I can find some threshold like which combination to choose for which playtime or so.

Another thing is that it will also increase the randomness. When we mix all cards to each deck, we shuffle them separately. The order of how they come out will be different from game to game.

As I have mentioned before, some important element cards can be distributed in the deck evenly or it can all be at the top or at the bottom. Those different situations will give different challenges and require different strategy to solve.

The last thing is that mixing more expansions also increase the complexity of the game which contributes to the additional playtime. It can be either good or bad. On its own, each expansion probably doesn’t add much to the complexity but as a whole, it can be very exhausting to deal with a lot of information.

Element Cards

These are the 36 cards that we will be using in the base game of Aerion to build the ships. There are 3 types: Blueprint Cards, Material Cards and Crew Cards. All of these cards have a blue cloud pattern at the bottom.

With 6 decks, each type of cards will have 2 cards which will be 2 identical cards for each deck. There are 6 different Blueprints, 3 type of Materials and 2 types of Crews.

As mentioned before in the section for Ship Tokens, to build a ship from the base game, we need 1 Blueprint, 1 Material and 1 Crew. The required combination for each of these 6 ships will be unique.

The Blueprint cards will have the required Poker set at the top with its own icon at the top corners. At the bottom it will show the other two Element cards required to finish the ship.

All of the Blueprint cards have a pencil sketch style for the art. Not just the illustration of a finished ship but component parts of the ship. They look like a real blueprint sketch with the white background.

The Material Cards have a distinct illustration and colors for the 3 types of materials. Cocoons has a red color, green or yellow for the Nuts and blue for the helices. Similar to Blueprint, at the top, we can see the Poker set requirement in between the Material icons. At the bottom we can see the two possible ships we can build using the said Material.

So, if we place this in our Workshop, then we can check by looking at the card which direction we should pursue next. The problem is mostly that we either have to look at the 6 decks again or memorize which shape the Blueprints are.

I said it before that maybe going after the available Blueprints right away is not always the best strategy. We need to prioritize some ships from the difficult deck first. So, if we just match them because what is available for now, might lead us into a trap with the Workshop area restriction.

Maybe it’s not a big deal but I kind of wish that there is a better way to remind the player using just icons.

There are two types of Crew cards, the Incubi (blue) or Sognae (yellow). I don’t know about Sognae but Incubi looks like the villain character from the first game of this series, Onirim. Just from the silhouette, I thought Sognae is like a bear or something. Maybe they represent something in this dream world Oniverse but sadly, no explanation for that.

The illustration on each card shows like 5 characters. Incubi seems to be wearing an airline pilot uniform. Maybe Sognae is more about the stewardess. Not that any of it matters to the gameplay though.

Like the other 2 Element cards, at the top, we can find the Poker set required to acquire those cards, and it’s own icons on both top corners. At the bottom part of the card we can see the 3 possible ships that need that specific Crew.

We can get Incubi from deck #1 to 3 while Sognae from deck #4 to 6. So, any ship that require Sognae are usually more difficult to complete. Not only the combination is harder but the fact that we can only place the Crew as the last Element on the Workshop to complete the ship.

So, if Crew cards came out early in the game, most of the time we have to discard them. This means we probably will need Books to take them back but not necessarily. Because of that, using Books to put these crew cards into reserve is probably as good as for retrieving the card later.

If we don’t have any Book or the 6th Factory card, then those Crew cards will become a bottleneck for other cards of the same deck that we might need first.

Just with that extra restriction can make the game significantly more challenging. Thematically, I guess, it makes sense because if the ship is not ready, why how can the crew fly them.

We probably want to keep Sognae a bit, depending on our progress with certain Ships. While Incubi will probably get discarded right away.

I guess the game try to make it balance by combining Crew from more difficult decks with the Blueprint from the easier decks. For me, if I can acquire the Blueprint from the difficult deck first, I will try to finish it right away. If not, maybe put them into the reserve while working on the easy one.

That extra restriction for the Crew cards is also the reason why the 6th Factory card can be very helpful. If we choose to use the card from the start, it will make the game easier in my opinion. At least, if we see any Crew cards, then we can immediately just acquire them.

Book Cards

These are also cards for the base module with the blue pattern at the bottom. All of the 12 Book cards are identical for the 6 decks with the exception for the Poker set requirement at the top.

The illustration depict a book somehow with a boat icon instead of airship in the middle of the book cover. At the bottom of the book we can find a reminder for the purpose of this Book Feature.

As it says on the card, we can Discard the Book from the Pulpit to either:

One. Reroll up to 3 Times
Two. Place 1 Element Card to Reserve or
Three. Take 2 discarded cards from the discard pile to the top of the corresponding deck. But we are not allowed to retrieve Book cards again.

So, this one type of card introduces several features to the game. One is Pulpit. Pulpit means our storage for Book card and it can only hold 1 Book at a time. So, after we acquire a Book card from the display, we put that Book card in our Pulpit Area.

If we already have 1 Book in our Pulpit, then we can acquire a new one but we have to discard the existing one first. The rule suggests to use that chance for retrieving some cards. Of course we can choose to discard it for the rerolling purpose.

The second thing that the Book introduces is the Reserve area. Reserve area is to hold Element cards that we have acquired from the display but for some reason we cannot or don’t want to place them into the Workshop area.

Unlike the Pulpit, we can have as many cards in the Reserve and at any point in the game, we can choose to move cards from the Reserve to one of the Workshop. However, it cannot be done in the other way.

With that reserve idea, I think it will be useful to store some Element cards from the harder deck, whether the Blueprints, Sognae Crew or the blue Material. If any of them came out the deck and we don’t have any room in the Workshop, then we can choose to store them in the Reserve using Books.

But that means, we need to acquire the Book first and there is no guarantee that it will, even from 6 decks.  Even if we can get one but then instead of cards from those difficult deck, it is possible to find just another Book.

Sure, we can discard the existing one to either reroll or retrieve, but what if we don’t need any of them? Discarding the other Book means we will lose them for the rest of the game. So, even if the Book allows us to do powerful action but it also add some challenges.

How do we manage them so we can get the best use of the book? We cannot just discard them because we probably need to retrieve some Element cards which can be essential to win the game.

Retrieving cards cannot be done with other ways so we want to wait from using the Book for that purpose. I think this idea is my least favorite aspect of Aerion.

There will be times when we can tell that we cannot win the game a couple rounds ahead if we do not have any Books left. It is more disappointing for knowing that it is not only because we do not manage it very well but also because the cards just came out early.

Rerolling is the least useful thing from Books. Discarding other cards and some expansion modules allows us to reroll as well. In a way, it’s like the game encourages us to include those expansions.

Not every expansion allows us to reroll per se but just by adding cards to the deck already allows us to discard them for rerolling. But at the same time, they also add some challenges to the point where we may need to spend Books for rerolling or even retrieving.

Retrieving is also very expensive. It’s just two cards or up to 3 with one of the Factory cards. On one hand, it gives additional control because we know the next two cards that will come out from that deck.

But there is no guarantee that we will get those cards from the roll. We might end up discarding them again. Ideally that means we need to make sure that there are enough cards from the display to be discarded so we can reroll enough.

That means, it’s either retrieving is just for cards from easier deck or for difficult deck, we have to do it early. Like when we still have cards from all 6 decks. Doing it towards the end is a recipe of failure, I guess.

It also depends on the initial roll and how close to complete those Poker set.

Factory Cards (Expansion #1)

These are the 6 unique cards that only has a text of special Power at the bottom of the card. Factory cards are from the 1st expansion module which I think can be use separately from the Flagship part.

These 6 cards will be distributed equally, one card for each deck. One major criticism is that instead of showing the Poker set requirement at the top, the card use numbers from 1 to 6. The only reason that I can think why they do that is to make it easier when talking in the rulebook.

Actually, the rulebook mention the name of each card which are not printed on the card. Some people assume that any Factory card can go to any deck even though the back of the card still follows the same pattern. Each card has different name and illustration.

When we add this first expansion module, related to these Factory Cards, we have 2 options. Either we choose 2 random cards from the start and only use those 2 cards for the rest of the game or we mix all 6 cards into each matching deck.

For the latter, we need to acquire them the same way we acquire the Element card. The nice thing about this variant is that we can change from one pair of cards to another.  We can only have 2 Active Factory cards and must discard the existing one if we want to acquire a different Factory card.

There is no additional victory condition from Factory cards. That comes from the Flagship token itself.

Here are the details of each Factory Card.

#1 The Library (AA+BB)
Power: The Pulpit can hold any number of Books. Discard a Book to reroll up to 4 times.

This is probably want of my favorite one and maybe the only one with 2 benefits. The Library increases the capacity of our Pulpit and allows us to do extra reroll that the basic Book.

Increasing the capacity is very helpful when we get a lot of Books early. Letting them get discarded is a waste and without this Factory card, we cannot keep them.

Having this card, it is possible to have f or more Book cards at the same time. However, it is also very fast to lose them all when we don’t have other option left for rerolling.

I honestly forget about the second benefit because we still need a Book and rerolling is not the best way to use a Book. There is still no guarantee that we can get the right result even with additional reroll.

For this specific card, the rulebook doesn’t say whether we lose the extra Pulpit storage for Books if the card is no longer active with the higher difficulty setting. I assume we can keep the extra books even after that but we can no longer get more than 1 Book afterwards.

The illustration shows a lot of flying books. It’s like the library in the sky where each cloud is it’s own room with a pile of books.

#2 The Archive (AAA)
Power: Discard a Book to retrieve up to 3 cards from a discard pile.

By having this Factory card, instead of retrieving the usual 2 cards, we can now retrieve one more card. In theory, this can be very powerful, especially if we combine it with The Library with a lot of Books in our Pulpit.

The problem is that, we still need a Book to get the benefit and we still only choose 1 deck. If we only need 1 Element card, then we can probably retrieve both of that same type from the deck.

Since we have a restriction to add Crew cards as the last card to complete a ship, that means, we are more likely to retrieve Crew cards than other element cards. Again, retrieving doesn’t mean we will get it.

If we want to increase the chance on getting them, then we can only rely on this card to retrieve Incubi which are available from the easier decks. Maybe Sognae from just deck #6 or so.

I guess this will be useful when we use more expansion modules. Maybe we need some cards for the additional victory condition of those modules.

I can see that this card can be very useful long term. If we use all Book cards just to retrieve, we get 12 additional cards to discard or acquire. But is it significant enough or will it happen like that? I don’t think so.

The illustration shows shelfs of archive folders on a cloud.

#3 The Security Department (AAA+BB)
Power: If you discarded 1 or more cards from the Display, you can go directly to Phase 3.

So, instead of keep rerolling and discarding cards until there is no card left in the Display, we can go straight to replenish to start a new round by just discarding 1 card. I can see the use of this is when we know which card to collect but the initial roll is not even close to the required set.

So, we can sacrifice one card and just start over with a new roll. The next use if there are multiple cards in the display that we want to acquire. We have worked to get to one set but somehow we fail. Then, we are discarding that card and avoid discarding the other, hopefully we can get it on the next round.

Personally, I’m not sure if I’ve ever been in that second situation. It’s more like hypothetical situation.

Usually, once I started pushing my luck with the discard to reroll, I probably will keep doing it until I get the result, even if I still can fail. This Factory card somehow suggests to change my mind half the way. Sure, if I get into that hypothetical situation, I get how this can be useful.

It’s just it feels counterintuitive from the idea of pushing the luck. Like if I have multiple cards to chase, maybe it’s not a good idea to push to just one card because I may end up removing the other. Why not get the easier one first, hopefully the next card is good for discarding to get the harder one?

So, it is very situational and I may have avoided to be in that situation. If not, then it’s just a bad luck. There is no guarantee as well that when I get into that situation I have access to this card. Most of the time, I will just use this one to discard.

The illustration for this shows a room on a cloud for emergency squad with equipment from fire department or first aid kit or so.

 #4 The Research Lab (AAA+BBB/AA+BB+CC)
Power: After rolling for the first time each turn, you may reroll all 6 dice.

Usually, we can reroll all 6 dice but we need to discard something. By having this book, we have the chance to get one extra reroll for free.  But it has to be all 6 dice which makes it less useful.

This assumes that the first roll is too far away from the required set. But is there a guarantee that the next 6 dice roll will be better or just as bad as the first one with different value? If I get a bad one again then I’m very tempted to cheat as if I can keep rerolling then.

It doesn’t improve the idea of Yahtzee where we can set aside some good dice and work on the rest. If not about the base module, what if it is for the other expansion module where I either need high value or low value dice? Maybe the first roll, two of them is good but if I want to use this, then I let go that one.

Sure, it is still an idea of push your luck but it doesn’t make this a special one. I could just cheat even without this power. If this is just one free reroll but doesn’t need to be all 6, then, it is a bit helpful.

The illustration itself shows more like a garage or workshop room to build or repair a ship. I guess the multiple propellers can be used as part of the testing or researching.

#5 The Logistics Department (AAAA)
Power: Discard a card from the Display to change 1 die to its opposite face instead of rerolling.

This can be very powerful mitigation for the dice. We can turn between 1 and 6, 2 and 5, 3 and 4. While we still need to discard a card but because we can get a guaranteed result makes this a very helpful ability. Of course, it still depends on the roll like there is a chance that even after flipping it, it doesn’t help.

It’s very often to find a situation where we need just 1 more dice to complete the set but even after rerolling, we still cannot get them. By having this, after every reroll, we can try to evaluate whether flipping is going to help. If not, we don’t lose anything and just discard a card maybe to reroll.

It will be more helpful with the reroll 3 times from either Book or Worker cards. We may not need to get the right dice from the reroll but there is a chance we can flip it.

We probably also need to make sure that there is enough card to discard before we try to reroll, hoping we will get a die to flip. Maybe we should use this right from the start because towards the end, we will have less card to discard, maybe even less deck to play with.

I don’t exactly know what the illustration is depicting. It looks like a lever that can move things to specific position.

#6 The Game Room (A+B+C+D+E)
Power: Can acquire Crew cards before Blueprints and Materials.

To clarify, the rulebook says that the power is about when placing a Crew card to the workshop. We can still acquire Crew and put into reserve even without this card.

This is definitely very useful because it breaks that one restriction. With this, we don’t have to worry about discarding a Crew card early because we don’t have the Blueprint and Material yet. Without this, then we probably have to spend a Book just to retrieve the discarded Crew.

But towards the end of the game, this is probably not as useful. If place the Crew as the first one on workshop, then we have 3 choices of ships to work on. We probably will still discard some because of the limitation from the number of Workshop area. Still, this card minimize that effect with less Books we need to spend.

The illustration on the card shows the two Crews on paper planes. I’m not sure about why there are catapults.

Clearly from all these 6 Factory cards, having most of them as early as we possible, can make them more beneficial as we get more chances to utilize the power. So, it makes sense that just choose 2 randomly from the start is an easier mode than if we have to acquire them from the deck.

The problem is that some cards seem to be more powerful than others. If we choose random and we stuck with a bad one for the entire game, then there is no point on even having them.

On the other hand, with the higher difficulty setting, while we have the option to switch but it can be very expensive. Like if we already discard them early, we need to retrieve, using a Book and then acquiring it may cost several cards to discard. Usually when we come to that situation, we probably don’t have that many cards left in the Display.

I think Factory 1 is a must as it allows us to have more Books which can be useful for a lot of things. The rerolling 4 times can even boost the effect of the 5th factory card.

I also think the Factory Cards part of the 1st expansion is essential to be added to the base game. It’s just that not all of the cards are equally good. I probably just choose card #1 and 5 or 1 and 6 right from the start instead of letting the dice randomly choose which card to use.

Hourglass Cards (Expansion #2)

These are cards that depicts an hourglass on each card. There are 24 cards from this second expansion module, The Hourglass. Each card from this expansion has yellow pattern at the bottom.

From those 24, they will be distributed equally to the 6 decks. So, each deck will have 4 identical Hourglass cards with different art from other deck. However, the purpose remains the same.

We can see 6 different hourglass pieces with the Poker set requirement at the top and a reminder at the bottom. The reminder says that DISCARD BEFORE GOING TO PHASE 3. On the background are mostly just white or cloudy color.

If we play with this, as additional winning condition, we need to collect one hourglass card from each deck. So, the other 3 cards can be used for discarding purposes.

If somehow we failed to acquire them, we can still use Book card to retrieve them just like any other Element cards. The tricky part is that everytime any Hourglass card is in the display and we do not acquire them, it will get discarded automatically by the end of the round.

What that means is, if we haven’t acquired them, and they show up in any of the deck, usually they will become the first priority to be acquired. Especially those from the more difficult deck.

If there are multiple Hourglass cards in the display, then we can acquire one but the other will be discarded immediately. The good thing is that, we just use the other for rerolling right from the start which is also true when we have already have a complete set.

For higher difficulty setting of this module, we only use 18 cards. So, it will be more challenging as we have less chance for them to come out and less card to be discarded. For 2 player variant, both player will work on the same set so we just need to have 1 set of 6 Hourglass cards.

In my opinion, this expansion module doesn’t really add something interesting but it doesn’t hurt to add. Some people might even think that the game will be easier as we have more cards to discard.

Counter argument for that is more cards can also push some important cards to the bottom, which can make them more difficult to acquire. But that is true for most modules.

The challenging one, like the basic game will be about acquiring cards from the difficult deck. We might end up just discarding more cards that we need because of keep getting bad rolls because we don’t want to miss that one card.

Maybe the better way to acquire those cards will be by using the Egg cards where we can discard egg cards to reveal the same number of cards from one deck. We roll and get that specific Poker set first, then begin searching from that one Hourglass card instead of dealing with randomness.

Hammer Bird Cards (Expansion #3)

The next type of cards is the Hammer Bird cards. These are the 12 cards with identical art on the front with what is supposed to be a red bird. When playing with this module, we will distribute those 12 cards into 6 deck evenly. We will also combine them with the Stone Cloud Tokens.

They serve the same purpose, to help us destroy or demolish those Stone Clouds. Unlike the previous modules, we don’t acquire the Hammer Bird cards.

Instead, we can discard one or more of them from the display and it will increase the Demolition value. To destroy a single Stone Cloud tokens, we need a total value of 30 points.

Discarding 1 Hammer Bird card will give 5 points, 2 cards for 40 points and 3 cards for 100 points. These will be added to our dice value of the round. It is possible to get 30 points from the 6 dice so we don’t need to discard any Bird cards.

On the other hand, when we do want to discard Bird cards, then the reasonable way is to make sure we can get the increments of 30 points total. With just 1 card, we want the total from dice to be 25 just for one Stone Cloud token.

Discarding 2, we can get 40 points just from card and we only need 20 points from the dice so we can destroy 2 Stone Cloud tokens. With 3 Hammer Bird cards, we also need 20 points from the dice so we can destroy 3 Stone Cloud tokens.

After we have demolished 6 Stone Cloud tokens, then we can just discard Hammer Bird cards for rerolling purposes. We can also retrieve them back using Book.

The rule has two suggestions as how to increase the difficulty using this module. One is specific with the Stone Cloud tokens themselves as mentioned above. The other is for the Hammer Bird cards.

To increase the difficulty, we now need to discard 2 Hammer bird cards. We are not allowed to just discard 1 but we can still destroy Stone Cloud tokens using just total value from dice.

What that means is we need to wait until there are 2 or more Hammer Bird cards. It seems like most people say that it is actually the same way they play the game. Wait for 3 Hammer Bird cards before destroying because it is more efficient.

In my experience, that is not always the case. I think it is possible that those Hammer Bird cards will become the obstacle as we hold that card from one deck then cycle through the other deck hoping more Bird cards will show up. There is also a chance we have to let go of that Hammer bird card that we’ve been holding.

This will be easier with less module. The chances of multiple of Bird cards to show up at the same time will increase. But when we use more or all modules, it’s not rare that we can stuck with just 1 bird card for a couple of turns. Even having 3 is less possible.

That means, the more difficult variant where we need minimum of 2 cards when discarding will actually be more difficult. I really thought that maybe we should destroy those Stones one by one and relying on just 1 Hammer bird card.

Getting to 25 from just the dice is still possible. 30 will probably deplete more cards for rerolling.

Worker Cards (Expansion #4)

The next cards are Worker Cards which is from the Expansion #4: The Piers. These are the 12 cards with a human figure as identical art. The figure seems to be a mechanic with a lot of tools in their pocket ready to fix something.

Like the other modules, these 12 cards will be distributed evenly to the 6 decks. So, each will have 2 cards.

This expansion has the orange color pattern at the bottom, which is the same as those on Pier Cards mentioned above. At the bottom part of each Worker Card, we can see a number 26.

When we include this module, the card will come out into the display area but we don’t acquire them like other Element cards. Instead we can just take them and put it into our Payroll Area. By doing so, each card allows us to reroll 3 times.

Then the card stays in the Payroll Area. As additional winning condition, we need to pay their salary. To do so, we need to have a total value of 26 or higher from our dice. Then, we can return them to the discard pile of the corresponding deck. So, the Poker Set printed on the card is just to tell us where to put that card back to the deck.

Other than that purpose, we can also discard the Worker card for rerolling and retrieve them back using Book.

There is also a suggestion to increase the difficulty by limiting the number of Worker card in our Payroll at a time to 1. So, after we first have to pay the salary of the previous worker before taking another Worker.

For the 2 player variant, each player can hire their own Worker but they also need to pay their worker salary on their own. This module also has different rule for higher difficulty 2 player variant where they share one payroll only and can only have 1 at a time.

So, the main purpose of Worker is to help us get a 5 of a kind set to build the Piers. However, after we have built all 3 Piers, we can use the rerolling for the other challenges.

For the Pier, as I said before, usually we have to wait until we have 3 of a kind or 4 of a kind before attempting to get the fifth one using the rerolling from the Worker. Even after that, it probably is not enough. We need different way to keep rerolling or even to hire more workers.

The rule doesn’t say specifically whether we can keep hiring or not. They only say that we can have multiple workers with the easier difficulty.

I personally have not tried using the limit of 1 Worker at a time. I feel like it can make the module or Worker less useful since we probably still need additional reroll.

On the other hand, I haven’t really won by paying all of the Workers using all of the modules. At the end I can get like 5 or 6 in my payroll left. So, in a way, it needs a limit from the players themselves.

There is a chance that we may not need to hire worker at all, even to get 5 of a kind set for 3 Piers. We can still do 1 reroll for discarding the Worker cards though and retrieve them later if we need it.

Is that mean, this Worker is actually a trap? Can the extra difficulty setting actually help us win the game?

Egg Cards (Expansion #5)

These are the 12 cards with the Giant egg among clouds as the art. We can see the egg is hatching and find multiple of the Hammer Birds in a single egg. They are from the expansion module #5 or the Hammer Bird Eggs. At the bottom we can see the green pattern.

All of the cards are almost identical except for the Poker set to which deck we should put them in. At the bottom there is a reminder that says REVEAL CARDS FROM A DECK AND PUT 1 IN THE DISPLAY.

This module may not be the most complex module but it took a while before I understand how it works. Once we understand that, they can be very powerful to tackle the randomness issue from the deck. Most of the mitigation only works for the dice but not this one.

Like other modules, the cards will come out randomly in any of 6 deck and we can acquire them by having the poker set from our dice and place them in their own pile. The tricky part is that they cannot be discarded for rerolling.

So, the display area can actually be filled with all Egg cards and block the cycle. Instead of additional rule to win, this module adds additional rule to lose. If there are only Egg cards in the Display area, we need to acquire one of them or we lose the game.

Unlike the other module they introduce an easier difficulty variant where we can just skip Phase 2 if we cannot acquire any of the Egg cards and go to phase 3. If we still have cards from all 6 decks, then acquiring at least one of them is easy.

But if it happens when we only have 2 or 3 decks left, then it will be easier to get stuck in that situation. So, having those cards added to the 6 decks already become an additional challenge to the game. Then what is the benefit that it gives to the player?

After we acquire any of the Egg cards, we can put them in our storage area and there is no limit. Anytime during the game, we can spend those cards to reveal cards from one deck. One Egg card for one card from the top of the deck.

We can keep revealing as long as we have Egg cards we can discard. Once we find the card that we want from that deck, then, we can put that card into the Display area of that deck and return the existing and the unchosen revealed cards back to the deck, shuffled.

This is very helpful for 2 things. One is to combat the randomness of the deck. We don’t know the order of how those cards will come out from the deck but we have a mean to chase specific card and increase the effect. Just collect as many Egg cards and then we can use them.

So this module only draw the card and put it into the display. But if we still do not roll the dice and get the Poker set requirement, we still cannot take the card.

That’s one situation that we will mostly find in Aerion. The other situation is when we roll the dice and get the perfect set but we don’t need the card that is in the Display area. This Egg card is exactly for that situation.

But sure, if we don’t have enough Egg cards, then, it doesn’t really matter. So, to make this module works, we need to collect them as soon as possible.

The issue is then, what if they are at the bottom of the deck? Then it will become useless. We may no longer have any deck to reveal again.

So, we have 12 Egg cards added to the 6 deck. Each deck can have up to 19 total cards which 2 of them are these egg cards if we use all of the expansion. The lowest number of card per deck from the base game plus just this expansion will be 10 cards.

Clearly, those 12 cards will at most help us to dig through just one deck. This is not to solve all decks. Also, that is if we assume we can get them all right from the start. We need to spend them wisely. Obviously we should probably target the 3 difficult decks then.

There is still a chance of bad luck. Even after spending all of those egg cards and reveal cards from the deck, we still cannot find anything useful. This module encourages us to be aware of what’s in the deck, what has come out and what’s still left.

It also introduce a different type of push your luck idea to the game. Somehow in theory, this module can give a lot of benefit. In practice, this is more like one shot or one time ability.

On one hand, we want to accumulate those cards first while waiting for the deck to get thinner. But if we wait too long, as mentioned before, maybe we no longer need them and there is no use for it.

In my opinion, I think this is also essential when playing with the Hellkite module. The Hellkite might prevent us to take certain type of cards even if we have the complete poker set.

In that case, we can spend this Egg cards to reveal a different card. This is useful when dealing with the deck #4 with 3 pairs. That way, we won’t feel the roll and all of the things we let go to reroll are wasted.

While we can retrieve those egg cards again to repeat the process but we are still spending precious books for retrieving.

Lair Cards and Outpost Cards(Expansion #6)

These are the 2 last types of cards that will be used alongside the Hellkite Pawn for the Expansion #6. Both types of card use a pink pattern at the bottom. Also, both types will have 8 cards and in each game, we will only use 6 of them.

Lair cards are cards where we can see the illustration the depicts blueprints, books, materials and the crew characters being held in a room as hostage. Both side of the card will show the same art but one side will show the icons of either 3 of element cards or book cards. With 8 cards, each of them will have 2 identical copies.

Outpost cards are those with what looks like an erupting Volcano on both side of the card. One side will also show icons like the Lair cards but the Outpost cards will have a huge red cross on top of those icons.

When using this module, these cards will create one more row of 6 columns at the top of the grid from the base game. Each column will have a random Lair card at the bottom and Outpost card at the top.

As mentioned before, the Hellkite will start on the left most column and every round it will move one space to the right and circle back to the left most again.

The Hellkite is just activating the one card beneath it which, at the start, just the Outpost card. What the Outpost card do is adding a restriction for type of cards that we cannot acquire in that round as shown by the card.

However, we can also destroy that active Outpost card by having a total value of 15 or lower from the dice. When that happens, the Hellkite will get one additional move to the right.

At the same time, we will reveal the Lair card below the destroyed Outpost card. What the Lair card does is it will help us gain the indicated type of cards from the display.

We have to wait again until the Hellkite pawn is on that Lair card and if we can get another 15 or lower we gain the benefit and destroy that Lair card. The Hellkite will get another move one space to the right.

We can acquire any of the available card in the display area with the corresponding type as the benefit.

As an additional victory condition for using this expansion module, we also need to destroy all of the Lair and Outpost cards. For higher difficulty, there are a couple of extra restrictions.

One is that we have to destroy all of the Outpost Cards first before we can start destroying the Lair Cards. Two, we can only destroy any of them from the rightmost or the left most card.

For the first couple of plays of using this expansion module, I keep forgetting that there is an additional row and I have to move the Hellkite pawn. The rulebook actually doesn’t say where we should place the Hellkite row.

I assume I have to place at the top, above the discard pile. As we know, that at the start, the discard piles are all empty. So, I guess, placing them up there makes them kind of disconnect with the entire grid. Maybe I should try placing them below the display area.

This definitely increase not just the challenge with the restriction but also the complexity. While we might be blocked from acquiring certain type this round, but we will also begin seeing where the Hellkite will land on for the next couple of rounds.

Maybe we have multiple cards that we can take now but we know that in the next round, one type will be blocked. However, if we go with the other type, we still need to change the set a bit and maybe discard some cards.

The thing is, aside from destroying those cards and move the Hellkite just 1 additional space, there is no other way to change the Hellkite movement.

The thing is, aside from destroying those cards and move the Hellkite just 1 additional space, there is no other way to change the Hellkite movement. I think it’s a good thing that there is none or it will increase the complexity even more and it will take longer to make decision. As it is, we can plan ahead, at least between the current and the next round.

Then, with the Lair cards if the Hellkite lands on it, it creates an opportunity. Instead of trying to chase the cards from the display directly, we can try destroying that Lair card. If that can happen, we are progressing both objectives in the same round.

On the other hand, getting 15 or lower is not exactly that easy. The lowest total value will be 6 with all just 1s. To get 15, the average will be all 2 which is if not impossible, very lucky to get from the initial roll.

Maybe it is to be expected that most of our rolls will be between 17 to 24 range. At least, that is from my experience. So, we still need to do some rerolling.

I think this is the part where the 5th Factory card will be very useful. It allows us to flip dice to the other side, 6 to a 1 and 5 to a 2 instead of rerolling and a chance to still get higher value.

The question is, is getting 15 or lower easier than the getting some of the Poker set? I think it’s about how to pivot from the initial roll.

The problem with that is, it is very situational. We still cannot stop the Hellkite movement or the discarding cards from the display.

Maybe we get the right dice set but then the Hellkite isn’t on the right Lair card anymore. So, it’s another thing where, in theory, it works, but not sure the practice.

As mentioned before, maybe if we have the Egg cards, they can give us more control. Every deck will always have the same type of cards that we can take advantage when we are stuck with the additional restriction from the Hellkite. But of course, this is only true in earlier rounds.

The higher difficulty variant means The Hellkite will maintain in 6 spaces longer. Otherwise, we can destroy both cards in the same column and the Hellkite will revisit the same card again sooner.

It also creates more time where we have to ignore the Hellkite because we cannot destroy the Lair cards just yet. Even in the easier variant, I still ignore the Hellkite for the most part.

I only check whether I can take cards or not, move the pawn and go back to the basic objective. Only when I think I have a shot on getting 15 or lower, then I start considering the Hellkite row.

Of course, this is not the best way to defeat the Hellkite. My point is that with the extra complexity and the randomness, it is very easy to forget about it.

So, that’s all of the components from the box. Now, we can learn how to play Aerion.

How to Play

So, how do we play Aerion? Aerion is intended to be a solitaire game but there is a variant for cooperative play for 2 players with some tweaks to the solo rule. The game also comes with several expansion modules that we can mix some or all of them.

With the base game only, the playtime will take like 30 minutes while adding all of the expansions module can increase the time to 60 minutes. There are also suggestions of how to increase the difficulty just from the base module and also for every expansion module.

In this article, I will discuss the base mode first. Then, in a separate subsections,  I will discuss the expansion modules individually.

This next video is a tutorial and playthrough for the solo base mode by Michael Kelley from One Stop Co-Op Shop channel for Aerion.

Setup (Base Game)

1st. Place all of the 6 SHIP TOKENS on the table with the project side face up. Instead of the colorful one, the Project side will have the 3 black silhouettes for the Element icons.

2nd. Place all 3 PIXIE TOKENS next to the Ship Tokens. During the game, if we spend these, we will have to return them to the game box.

3rd. Take all of the 12 BLUEPRINT CARDS, 12 MATERIAL CARDS, 12 CREW CARDS and 12 BOOK CARDS and separate them into 6 decks based on the same back side and shuffle them individually.

Then, place all 6 decks on the table while leaving empty space for discard piles above the deck and for the DISPLAY AREA below the deck for each deck. So, it’s like having a grid of 3 rows and 6 columns of cards.

Reveal the top card of each deck and place the card to the Display area (3rd row) below the corresponding deck.

4th. In front of the player, we should leave some table space for 2 WORKSHOP AREAS, PULPIT AREA and RESERVE AREA. Each Workshop area may take a space for up to 3 cards while the Reserve can have as many cards as we can.

The Pulpit in the base game can only hold one card.

5th. Player takes the 6 DICE.

That’s the setup for the solo mode base game of Aerion. We are now ready to play.

Gameplay (Base Game)

Aerion is played over multiple turns (for solo play) or rounds (for 2 players). Each turn or round consists of 3 phases: ROLL, ACQUIRE, REPLENISH. After the 3rd phase, player immediately start with the 1st phase: Roll of the next round or turn.

If player can complete all 6 Ships before all 6 decks run out of cards, player wins the game. Otherwise, they lose.

Phase 1: Roll

In this phase, player just roll all 6 dice. If they can get a matching Poker set with one of the deck with available cards in the Display area, player can proceed to the next phase.

Otherwise, player have to REROLL but with a cost. There are 2 main ways to get a reroll. One is by discarding a card from the Display Area and this will give us 1 Reroll.

After discarding, the display area will not be refilled by a new card immediately. We will have to keep discarding card and rerolling until we can acquire one of the card. If then all of the Display area is empty and we still cannot acquire anything, then we will proceed to Phase 3: Replenish, skipping Phase 2.

Remember that discarding a card from the Display area means we are moving closer to defeat as we have less number of cards in the deck.

The other way to get a reroll is by discarding a Book card from our Pulpit to get 3 Rerolls if we have any.

If we reroll, we can reroll all of the dice or just some of it. For multiple rerolls, the next reroll can be for different dice than the previous one which is good if we want to pivot into a different set of dice after the first reroll.

In this phase, we can also SPEND PIXIE TOKEN to change ONE DIE to any face or value. Then we have to return the Pixie token back to the box. We can spend any number of Pixie Tokens in a single phase. Remember that once spent, there is no way to get Pixie tokens back.

Phase 2: Acquire

Acquire means taking one of the card from the Display area if we have the required Poker set using our roll from Phase 1. If the roll allows us to take multiple different cards in the Display area, we can ONLY TAKE 1.

In the base game, there are 4 types of cards we can take: BLUEPRINT, MATERIAL, CREW and BOOK card. What to do next with each of them after taking the card can be different.

If we take a BLUEPRINT CARD, we can place them in one of the empty Workshop area or Workshop with a matching Material card with the Blueprint. Each Workshop can only hold the work for one Ship. That means, no more than 1 Blueprint can be placed in the same workshop at a time.

If we take a MATERIAL CARD, we can place them into an empty Workshop area or if the Workshop has a Blueprint for a ship that requires that exact Material Card.

If we take a CREW CARD, then we can only place them into the Workshop Area only if the Workshop already has BOTH the matching Blueprint and Material cards. This means, placing the crew card will be the one to complete the Ship.

For these 3 type of cards, after taking the card we can immediately choose to DISCARD the card and place them to the discard pile. This will be considered as ACQUIRE action and we can proceed to Phase 3: REPLENISH.

NOTE: If we somehow place a wrong Element card to one of the Workshop area, we can only remove them by completing the Ship, even if we already have completed that ship in this session.

We are not allowed to discard them before hand or replace them with a new one. That is how DISCARDING before placing becomes handy.

After completing a Ship with 3 Element cards in the same Workshop Area, we can flip the corresponding SHIP TOKEN to its built or FLYING side. Then we can discard those 3 cards back to their respective discard pile with the matching deck.

If we take a BOOK CARD, we can place them in our PULPIT AREA. The Pulpit can only hold one Book card. So, if we already have one, we need to discard that Book, gain the benefit then place the new card to the Pulpit Area.

If we do have a Book card in our Pulpit, we can discard the Book during this Phase 2 for one of 2 things as the benefit. First, we can RETRIVE 2 ELEMENT CARDS from ONE DISCARD PILE and place them back on top of the matching deck.

NOTE: We CANNOT retrieve BOOK CARD from discard pile at all.

Second, we can place either the Blueprint, Material or Crew card that we took into our Reserve Area. Discarding the Book card means placing it to the discard pile of the matching deck.

After we have acquired one card, we can proceed to Phase 3: REPLENISH.

Phase 3: Replenish

This phase is simply preparing for the next round or turn. For every deck without a card in the Display area, we reveal the top card of that deck and place it as a Display Area.

If the deck has no more card remaining, the Display area for that deck will remain empty for the rest of the game. Unless, we use Book to Retrieve cards from the discard pile of that deck.

We can do that in this Phase and the retrieved cards will form a new deck. Then, we reveal the top card into the display if the display is empty.

Any cards remaining in the Display Area after that Acquire phase are not replaced until they are either discarded or acquired.

End of the Game

If all 6 Ships are completed by flipping them to the Flying side, we win the game. However, if there are no cards left from any deck and Display area, we lose the game before we can complete all of the Ships.

Increasing the Difficulty (Base Game)

To increase the difficulty, simply remove the number of Pixies by one, two or three tokens during the Setup. So, in the hardest mode, we will not use the Pixie at all.

2 Player Variant (Base Game)

In this variant, players will play cooperatively. Each player will take 3 Ship Tokens randomly. They will take turns going through 3 phases each turn as in solo mode.

Each player also has 1 Pulpit, 1 Reserve and 1 Workshop area. The other player cannot place any card in that Workshop area. Players share the 3 Pixie tokens.

However, both players share a third Workshop area which they can both place cards in. Except that the owner of the Ship token must be the one to complete the Ship by placing the Crew card.

So, each player must complete their own 3 ships even if some are not done on their own using that shared Workshop area. Players can still build a Ship without having the Ship token but only the owner can flip the Ship token.

That is it with how to play the base game of Aerion. The next subsections will be about each expansion Modules. We can mix them all or just add one or several of them to the base game.

Expansion 1: The Flagship

This module has 2 parts which in my opinion, can be used separately. One is the FLAGSHIP TOKEN and the other is FACTORY CARDS which have the purple pattern at the bottom of the card.

As part of the setup, we place the FLAGSHIP TOKEN next to the other 6 Ship tokens, also face down or with the Project side face up. Then we reroll 2 dice until both of them shows two different values.

After that, we can take the 2 FACTORY CARDS that have the same number as the dice roll. We place these cards face up next to the Reserve and Pulpit area and return the unused Factory cards to the box.

Factory Cards simply give special abilities that remain in effect throughout the game as stated by the card. The Flagship token is the additional challenge that comes from this module.

In order to win, we also need to complete this ship and flip it to the Flying Side. It doesn’t matter when we complete the ship whether before or after the ships from the base game.

Flagship works differently from the other ships in several ways. One, it doesn’t need a Blueprint but instead it requires all 3 Material types and 2 Crew types. We still need to place all of the Materials first and the two crews as the last 2 cards, unless we use The Game Room Factory card.

Another thing is that the Flagship is not built in the Workshop Area. When we take the Element card from the Display, we can simply place it under the Flagship token. So, it becomes an additional workspace.

After we have collected the 5 cards, we can flip the token and discard the cards to their respective discard pile.

For 2 player game,  both players get the benefit of the active Factory cards and both players can place Element cards for the Flagship.

To increase the difficulty, we start the game with no Factory cards. Instead, the Factory cards will be added to the 6 matching decks, shuffled. We need to acquire those card before we gain the ability.

Also, we can only have 2 Active Factory cards at a time. We can take a new one but it will replace the previous one or we have to discard it.

If a Factory card is in the Display Area, we can discard it for a reroll and retrieve them back using a Book from Pulpit like the Element cards. Or we can acquire it and immediately discard it to move to Phase 3.

Expansion 2: The Hourglasses

For this, we will be using the 24 Hourglass cards with the yellow pattern at the bottom of the card. As part of the setup, these cards will be distributed evenly to the 6 different decks with each deck has 4 identical Hourglass cards, shuffled.

The Hourglass cards will show up in the Display Area and we can discard them for reroll or acquire them. Then, we can place the acquired Hourglass card next to the Ship tokens. We can also retrieve the discarded Hourglass card later using a Book in the Pulpit.

However, during PHASE 3, instead of staying in the Display area, the remaining Hourglass cards will be discarded. Then, we reveal a new card from the top of respective deck.

As additional victory condition, we need to acquire at least one of each 6 different Hourglass cards. This can be done before or after completing Ships from the base game.

For 2 player variant, both players work for the same set of 6 different Hourglass cards.

To increase the difficulty, instead of 24, we only use 18 cards. So, each deck will only have 3 identical cards and we return the total 6 back to the box.

Expansion 3: The Stone Clouds

For this expansion, we will be using the 6 Stone Cloud Tokens and the 12 Hammer Bird Cards with the red pattern at the bottom of the card.

As part of the setup, we shuffle the Hammer Bird cards into their matching deck. We place all of the 6 Stone Cloud Tokens near the Ship tokens with the Intact side face up, with the flipping arrow icon.

This expansion module adds new action for Phase 2. Instead of Acquire action, we can also do DEMOLISH action. Demolish action allows us to destroy Stone Cloud tokens and flip them to their CRACKED side.

To demolish each Stone Cloud, we need a total of 30 demolition points which can be from the dice roll and by discarding the Hammer Bird cards from the Display Area.

Discarding 1 Hammer Bird card will add 5 points to the demolition points, 2 cards for 40 points and 3 cards for 100 points. So, 1 card alone is not enough to demolish any Stone Cloud.

We still need a total of 25 points from the dice. It is possible to demolish using just the dice without Hammer Bird card but that means all of the dice must be 5 or higher.

The Hammer Bird cards will come out in the Display Area but we cannot Acquire them. We can discard one of them for rerolling just like the other card or we can wait until there are 2 or 3 of them for the Demolish action.

The discarded cards can be retrieved back using Book in the Pulpit.

If we do DEMOLISH action, we cannot ACQUIRE card even if the dice roll matches with the required set.

As additional victory condition, we also need to flip all 6 Stone Cloud tokens in order to win. This can be done before or after completing Ships from the base game.

To increase the difficulty, the rule has 2 suggestions: THE FLOCK and PINNED DOWN!. With the first variant, if we want to discard Hammer Bird card to gain demolition points, we need to discard at least 2 Hammer Bird cards.

That means, we need to wait until there are 2 cards in the Display area. We can still demolish using the points from dice without Hammer bird cards.

For the second variant, during the setup, the Stone Cloud Tokens will be placed on the 6 Ship tokens. We can only flip the Ship token to its Flying side after we have demolished the Stone Cloud token on it.

Expansion 4: The Piers

For this expansion module, we will be using the 3 Pier Cards and the 12 Worker Cards. Those 2 cards will have an orange pattern at the bottom of the card.

As part of the setup, we shuffle the Worker cards into their matching 6 decks.

Then, we place the 3 Pier cards on the table with the Construction side face up, with the AAAAA icon. We also need to leave a room for a new space for PAYROLL AREA.

Worker cards will come out of the deck to the Display Area. We can discard them for rerolling and later we can retrieve them back using Book from Pulpit.

The other way to use the Worker is to take them from the display and place the card into our Payroll Area. This is NOT AN ACQUIRE action, so we don’t need to have the dice set to take the Worker card. By taking a Worker Card, we are allowed to reroll 3 times.

We can have as many Workers in our Payroll but they will stay in the Payroll area until we pay their salary. To pay their Salary, we need to have a total value of 26 from our dice.

This will create another action for Phase 2: Payday. If we choose the Payday action, we cannot do Acquire action in the same turn, even if the dice has matching set to take card from the Display area.

After we pay the Worker, we discard the Worker card and place them to the discard pile of the matching deck.

The Pier Cards also introduce a new action for Phase 2: Build action. If the dice roll has a 5 of a Kind or AAAAA, we can flip one Pier card to its Built side.

This action will also replace the Acquire in Phase 2. So, if we choose to Build, we are not allowed to acquire any card from the display even if the dice set allow us to.

As additional victory condition, we need to Flip the 3 Pier cards to their built side and we cannot have any Worker in our Payroll at the end of the game. These can be done before or after we have built the 6 Ships.

For 2 player variant, each player will have their own Payroll area with any number of Workers. However, only that player can do the Payday action for their own Worker. Both players cannot have any worker to win the game.

To increase the difficulty, the NO DEBT POLICY variant, we can only have 1 Worker at a time in our Payroll area. We need to pay that Worker first before taking another Worker.

For 2 player variant with this higher difficulty setting, both players will share 1 Payroll area. I assume it can only have 1 Worker at a time.

Expansion 5: The Hammer Bird Eggs

To play with this module, we will be using the 12 Hammer Bird Egg cards with the green pattern at the bottom of the card.

As part of the setup, we shuffle those 12 cards into their matching 6 decks. We will also need a table room to keep these Hammer Bird Egg cards after we acquire them.

The Egg cards will show up in the Display Area just like any other card. We can acquire them and place the card into our storage. There is no limit to how many Egg cards we can have at a time.

We can spend the Egg cards from our storage to reveal cards from one chosen deck. One card revealed for one discarded Egg card. The Egg cards that we will discard to reveal doesn’t have to match the chosen deck.

From the revealed cards, we choose one card. That chosen card will replace any card in the Display area of that deck.

Then, the replaced card from the Display area and the unchosen revealed cards will be shuffled back to the deck. This can be done anytime during our turn but it will be most useful when we already have the dice set but not with the right card of the corresponding deck.

We only reveal a card and replace the existing one in the Display area. The card still must be acquired by the right dice set.

The challenge is that we CANNOT DISCARD the Egg cards from the Display Area.

If there are only Egg cards in the display area and the dice roll doesn’t allow us to acquire them, we immediately proceed to Phase 3 and replenish the empty Display Area as usual.

As additional DEFEAT condition, if there are only Egg cards in the Display area at the beginning of our turn, we have to acquire one of the Egg cards. If we fail to do so, we will lose the game immediately.

For the 2 player variant, both players will have access to the same Egg cards storage. They both can spend the Egg cards in their turn.

To increase the difficulty, instead of proceed directly to Phase 3 when the Display area only has Egg cards and we cannot acquire them, we will lose the game immediately.

Expansion 6: The Hellkite

For this module, we will be using the Hellkite pawn, Lair cards and Outpost cards. Both types of card will have a pink pattern at the bottom of each card.

As a setup, we first randomly choose 6 Lair cards from 8 and return the unused one to the box. Then, we place these 6 cards randomly face down to create another row, above the 6 decks.

We do the same with the Outpost cards, by taking 6 of the 8 cards randomly and return the unused cards to the box. Then, we place the 6 cards randomly on top of the 6 Lair cards face up with the icons.

Last step of the setup is placing the Hellkite pawn on the leftmost Outpost card. The Hellkite pawn will move only in this row from left to right and once it has reached the rightmost, it will move to the leftmost again.

We will move the Hellkite pawn at the beginning of Phase 3: Replenish. Only the Outpost card with the pawn on it is the active one. The icons on the Outpost cards means we are not allowed to acquire the Element card depicted by the icon, whether, Crew, Material, Blueprint or Book cards.

However, this introduce a new action for Phase 2: HUNT. Hunt means we are destroying the card where the Hellkite pawn is on. To do so, we need to get a total value of 15 or lower from the dice.

If we manage to do so, we move the Hellkite one space to the right and return the card whether Lair or Outpost card to the box. The Hellkite will move again during Phase 3 after the Hunt action, so it’s like the pawn gets 2 moves in a turn.

If we do Hunt action, we are not allowed to do Acquire action in the same turn, even if the dice set matches one of the deck.

We can also do HUNT action if the Hellkite is on the Lair card. This will destroy the card and move the Hellkite one space like when we destroy an Outpost card.

The Lair card will tell us which type of cards we can take from the Display area as a bonus for destroying the lair. We take that one card, if available, as if we acquire them.

If there is only one Lair/Outpost card left, the Hellkite doesn’t move.

As additional victory condition, we also need to defeat the Hellkite by destroying all Lair and Outpost cards. This can be done before or after completing all Ship tokens.

To increase the difficulty, the IMPREGNABLE FORTRESS has some tweaks. The first one is that we can only destroy or Hunt the Hellkite either the leftmost or the rightmost Outpost cards. Secondly, we can only start destroying Lair cards after all Outpost cards have been destroyed.

Then, for the Lair cards, we can only destroy them from the leftmost or the rightmost Lair cards. The Hellkite must still be on the card if we want to destroy the card.

That is it with how to play Aerion and how each expansion module that come in the box works. We can customize the modules and difficulty of each module differently, however we want.

My Experience and Thoughts

I had some kind of love and hate relationship with this game. I know that we can mix and match the expansion modules but if we think like most board games, this is a different one.

Usually expansions are optional and there is a good chance we will only use one or some that we like. Only if we like the game that much, we will use all of them.

I started Aerion, of course, with the base game, which is fine. Then, I added from expansion 1. Immediately I think this first module was essential and I keep playing the game afterwards by including this module and using the higher difficulty variant.

Then, I added the 2nd module, the Hourglasses and beat it. Still using the easier variant and I added the 3rd module, The Stone Clouds which I also beat it. I kept doing that and added 4th which I started to lose in the first game and the 5th one was where I was stuck for a while.

I thought if I cannot beat this, why should I add the 6th one. But eventually I just tried adding the 6th one which I also lost. Then, I changed my mind, and tried just using the 1st module and just one more.

Most of the time I lost at that point. I thought, because of the dice, maybe this game is more about luck driven which I’m not a fan of. So, I almost gave up the game.

After a while, I read some discussions about it. What surprised me was that several people said that the best way to play the game is by using all of the modules. I don’t remember the exact reasoning but they said something like one module can balance the other module.

Mostly about Worker with high value dice and Hellkite with low value dice. Some did offer ranking or recommendation whether it is essential or not to add the modules.

After hearing that, then I started trying using all of the modules because what they said made sense to me. What I didn’t realized was that the game becomes significantly longer.

However, even if I still lost but I enjoyed the game better. Still, after a couple of plays with that setting and keep losing, it is still not a satisfying experience.

I like that I can do more things, complete more objectives. But at the same time, it is still nowhere accomplishing all of them. Either I manage to complete the 6 ships but ignoring the other additional victory conditions or even failed with the basic 6 ships.

Most of the time, the Hourglass is the first one to complete. The next one is probably the Stone Cloud tokens which is not that difficult. I can complete the Piers but usually I fail at paying the Workers. Usually I can complete the Flagship but fail the 6 Ships or vice versa.

The Hellkite is mostly ignored. Even forget that it was up there sometimes. I can destroy the Lair card but usually ignoring the benefit. Nowhere near destroying all of the cards. At most just half of them.

Increasing the difficulty? Why do I even try if I cannot beat the easier variant?

So, I started learning more about each module and how they work. Only then I learned about how to use the Egg cards which helped a bit.

My first mistake was thinking that these modules are just adding challenges and more cards so I just added them and use them when the time was right. Maybe somehow I considered them as just achievement goal to beat every modules.

Most of the reviews about each module that I have read are only assessing each module individually. What I found was that each module can behave differently when more or all modules were combined.

Like Hammer Birds will less likely to show up at the same time with more modules compared to just using that one module. Egg cards on the other hand, will fill all the Display area easier with more modules and we can lose faster.

I have to disagree a bit about combining Workers and Hellkite with one for the high value dice and the other for the lower values to balance each other. Most of the time, we still get the value in between but not exactly if we don’t get one, we will get the other.

For the Factory cards, I really thought that #1 and #6 is the best pair to get. After giving more thoughts about the other, then I started to consider card number 5.

It turns out, this one that allows us to flip the dice is the most important one. That ability will significantly give us more control. Then I started using it from the start and I finally got a major win.

I think #1 is still essential because Books is important to retrieve. That’s the only way to retrieve. It also add the second benefit with 4 rerolls instead of 3. So, I played with #1 and #5 from the start as if I roll those 2 as setup.

If I only rely on rerolling, I will have a lot of turns where I have to discard all cards in the display. That also still with a chance of getting nothing which is frustrating.

With that flipping ability, I had a lot of turns where I can just discard one and get the result. Even if I need to discard multiple, I will get that result. Combine that with the idea of adding more modules means adding more cards for more time and chance to flip, that ability will become very strong.

Otherwise, it’s just rerolling and we will waste a lot of cards. I didn’t even use one of the Pixie. The second one was almost at the end of the game even. While before, without that flipping ability, I would have spent all Pixies like in the first couple of turns.

That benefit also true for the Hellkite. Before the flipping, I will have like 1 dice that I need to change to get 15 or lower and it was always 6. With rerolling, there is a chance that I will get another higher one if it’s not another 6.

By flipping, we will instantly get 1 and that is a huge change. With the cost of just discarding 1 card, I will get that 15 or lower. The benefit is even bigger if I can take advantage of the Lair cards to acquire.

I honestly don’t think that I can say the same for the Workers with 26 or more. But mostly because I really don’t need to take them to my payroll to begin with.

We can just discard the Worker from Display to flip. In that one session, I probably use less than 5 Workers.

Also. if I remember correctly, regarding the Stone Cloud tokens, I only discarded once 2 Hammer Bird cards to destroy 3 Clouds. The other was mostly with just 1 Hammer Bird card and the dice roll with the help of that flipping again.

I found that the higher difficulty setting of Stone Cloud module will just slightly increase the difficulty. It’s just matter of  guessing correctly which Ship will be completed first and we can see that from our Workshop. It is also very easy to just cheat like switching the ships.

I really cannot imagine not using that flipping ability can really give the same result, let alone a better result. Even in that one, to be honest, I still cheat a bit in the last couple of turns but I managed to complete the 6 Ships without cheating at least.

In that session, I only used the Egg cards to reveal only once and still have half of the Egg cards in my storage at the end of the game. I really thought this feature will be the key to win but it turns out, it is not that significant.

I already mentioned in the component section regarding the deck that analyzing the deck can also really help. Knowing which deck to get certain resources the best can help instead of just getting them as they show up from the harder deck. This will deplete the cards even faster.

I don’t know if it is necessary but having a priority to finish certain Ship first can also help instead of just anything. Maybe having a priority and analyzing the deck are also the reason why I didn’t use the Egg cards that often.

That 4th deck is the hardest one so I used most of them for discarding right away and it get depleted the first. The only thing I need from that deck is the Blueprint even though if I can , I will acquire the other element from that deck but not the first priority.

Ultimately, the game still has a lot of luck or randomness. Maybe I won that time because I was lucky. The order of the card from each deck still play an important role.

If all of the important cards are all at the bottom of most if not all decks, I don’t know if I can still win. Actually, I thought that the Egg cards will solve this one but then we will only have like 12 cards. At most we probably will only use it once to dig through a single deck.

Then there is also the randomness from the dice. I was surprised from that one win about how often the initial roll got me to acquire the cards from that 4th deck. Getting lucky rolls really helped me with that deck and maybe the other. Every luck will minimize the amount of discarded cards which can help when discarding for the other chance.

When I was about to give up with this game, I learned that getting a set of specific dice faces is just difficult. Combined with the idea of rerolling as the only mitigation or major way to mitigate, it’s just impossible, at least to have fun.

With how they write the rulebook, seems to suggest that if we use the

Ever since then, I tried to avoid playing these kind of games where we need more rerolling. Rerolling is not a good mitigation especially if all faces of the dice are equal. This actually only works when we have to count the total value.

If initial roll only shows like 1 and getting a 6 is better, then it makes sense to reroll. There is a good chance that we will turn it into a 2, at least.

But that is not the case with the base game of Aerion where we need specific set. Actually, it is quite the opposite. The value of 1 doesn’t necessarily worse than 6 because we can make Poker set with any value.

I guess that means, we need the other modules with set that requires a total value like Stone Clouds, Hellkite, Piers. Those are better with the rerolling mechanism. Eggs module is for dealing with the randomness of the deck even if it works better in theory than in practice.

That leaves us with the first module which is the Factory cards and the Flagship. This is a must because of the special abilities.

Based on that assessment, maybe it’s true that the best way to play Aerion is to use all modules.

Personally, I don’t mind that. However, nowhere in the rulebook says that. This is a suggestion from other gamers. So, Aerion is more like a big game but they break down into smaller modules that we can turn on and off instead of basic game that we can add modules to.

The problem is that the totally different experience between the 2. On one hand, with just the basic mode, it is a fast game like 30 minutes which I think not the best way to play. To get the best experience, with all modules, it can take 60 minutes or maybe even more.

The playstyle is also different between the two. With just the base game, rerolling and discarding is much fun and fast. But with all modules, we will stop from every initial roll and evaluate every option. That slows down a lot even though in some rounds we will get the obvious choice.

From that one play with all of the modules, it took about 70 turns.

My complaint is that, we still need to use specific setup like that Factory card #5. While the game is open for customization, it doesn’t mean all of them are equal.

So, is it intentional by the designer that makes us think that we have a lot of replay value? Or is it has been tested enough that every combination of modules are balance? I really doubt this but what do I know about game design.

Technically, we don’t need to follow the difficulty setting for each expansion module. Like, we can simply add the cards from one module but ignore the additional victory condition. Or, we can use the extra benefit but ignore completing the extra objective.

Players can just say, the main goal is still just to complete 6 ships. The other additional objectives are extra points. I will feel much better playing this game if there is some kind of point system like that instead of either win or lose.

That is the potential of customization of Aerion and other Oniverse games.  I just wish that the designer started a discussion of how to customize it instead of letting players to do it themselves. At least give some directions.

modules, we have to complete the objective. Even the first module can be broken down into 2 individual parts that we can use separately. But nowhere in the rulebook states or suggests that.

It’s like this game or this series requires some experimentations. Players will have to test every combinations out one by one or do some online research hoping that there will be others that have tried it. That is if they are willing to do so. I’ve seen a lot of gamers have given up on it. Even I almost did with this game and this series.

I probably will not even touch the higher difficulty setting of each module. So far, I’ve only used it with the Stone Cloud module.

That one win play managed to made me reconsider trying this game and this series. But I cannot tell for sure if I can have the same experience, even with the fixed setup because of the randomness.

I really like that one play but it doesn’t seem to have a lot of room for mistakes. Especially with a longer playtime, it’s more heartbreaking if by the end of the game, I lost because of what I feel is the luck or just some setups are impossible to win and I don’t know which.

Aerion is not a bad game. It definitely gives a good value for that size. A big game in a small box with the option to be a fast game. It’s just that we need to really dive into it to find the best value.

Session Reports and Pictures

Usually, I share a session report of playing a game on BGG. Here are the links of each session for this game.

I also put turn-by-turn pictures of a session and unboxing pictures for every game on my collection that anybody can find on my Instagram. For this game, search for #AerionAtHomeOfMark on IG for all of the sessions.

December 2022 session and more picture of that session on IG.
November 2022 session and more pictures of that session on IG.


Aerion is the fifth game in the Oniverse series by Shadi Torbey. All of the games in this series will have a unique main mechanism within the same size box. They will also include 6 expansion modules that we can add to the base game.

The goal is to build 6 ships before the time runs out. Every ship will require 3 Element cards which are a unique Blueprint, one of 3 types of Materials and one of the 2 types Crews in the form of resource cards in 6 separate decks.

We need to get the card from the Display area by having a Poker set using 6 dice. The required set can be 2 Pairs, 3 of a Kind, Full House, 4 of a Kind, 3 Pairs or Straight using any value of the 6 dice.

The main mechanism in this game is similar to Yahtzee where we roll 6 dice which we can set aside some, then reroll the rest. The bigger set can also work for the smaller one so know how to pivot from one set to another can help us win the game.

However, there is a cost which is for every reroll, we will have to discard one card from the Display Area. So, there is a tough choice the card that we want to get can probably get discarded for rerolling purpose. If all 6 decks run out of cards before we complete the ships, we lose the game.

Those cards in the deck serve as a timer and become a resource that we have to manage.

If we get the right set, we can acquire the card and place the card in one of the 2 Workshop areas. Each workshop can only hold the work for 1 Ship at a time. We need to finish the current set of ship before moving on to the next one.

With the random order of the deck, sometimes the card that we need for now will not show up. On the other hand, if they do show up, there is a chance that both Workshop areas are occupied and we have to let the card go for now.

There is a way to retrieve the card back using Book feature. This is also a card that we can acquire from the deck and we can keep one at a time in our storage. If we choose to discard this Book, it will give us some benefits.

We can either retrieve some cards back to the deck, reroll or reserve the cards we have just acquired in a Reserve area. This reserve area can hold any number of cards which is an addition from the Workshop.

As an extra challenge, we can only place Crew cards the last after we have collected both Blueprint and the Material. Because some cards can come from the deck with more difficult set, but they show up at the wrong time, we need to put them into reserve.

All types of cards are distributed equally to the 6 decks. Some decks may share the same cards. Understanding and pursuing cards from the easier deck and use the one from the harder for discarding can help us win the game.

Other than rerolling, we will also get 3 Pixie tokens. We can spend this at any time to change 1 die to any value.

That’s the basic mode to play Aerion which can be played within 30 minutes or less. There is also a cooperative variant for 2 players and a suggestion to increase the difficulty for this base game only.

The 6 included expansion modules will add new features with additional benefit and objectives that we need to complete in order to win. We can add one, some or even all of them to the base game.

Flagship module will have an extra ship that we also need to complete in order to win. This ship require a set of 3 Materials and 2 crews but no Blueprint that we can build outside the Workshop Area.

This module also introduce Factory cards that if we acquire them, can give us permanent abilities for the rest of the game. We can only have 2 of them at a time. One of them allows us to flip one die by discarding a card from Display, which is very useful in the game with a lot of randomness.

The Hourglasses module requires us to collect a set of 6 different Hourglass cards as additional winning condition. The challenge is that if we do not acquire them when they show up, they will automatically get discarded.

That will force us to chase them as soon as they show up. But after that, the remaining cards will be extra resources that we can discard.

The Stone Clouds module will add 6 Cloud tokens that we need to destroy by getting a total value of 30 from our dice in order to win. To help us with that objective, they add Hammer Bird cards that if we discard them from the display area will increase the value to destroy those Clouds.

The higher difficulty variant of this will make the Stone Clouds block the Ships we are trying to build. So, we need to destroy them first before completing the Ships.

The Piers module will require us to build 3 Pier cards. To do so, we need to get a 5 of a kind set. for each from our dice. We definitely need a lot of dice manipulation for that. The other part of this module will introduce Worker cards.

We can take one card of this from the Display and it allows us to reroll dice 3 times. However, by the end of the game, we need to have paid their salary by having a total value of 26 or higher from the dice or we lose the game.

While they can be helpful, we have to take them wisely or it will feel like a trap. Mostly because rerolling doesn’t guarantee a success.

The Eggs module is a bit different. These cards will also show up from the deck to the Display area. We can acquire them but we cannot discard them from the Display area. If the display area is full with these type of cards, we will lose the game.

On the other hand, after we have acquired them, later we can spend a number of Egg cards to reveal the same amount of cards from a chosen deck and choose them to be in the Display. This idea try to solve the issue with random order of cards from the deck.

This can be very helpful for the harder deck. Maybe we have the right set of dice but we don’t need the card that is available. We can switch the card using this feature.

The last module is the Hellkite with the signature pawn of Oniverse series. This Hellkite pawn will move in an additional row of 6 columns of cards each with 2 types of cards, The Outpost and the Lair card.

The Outpost card will determine which type of cards we cannot acquire when the Hellkite is on it. On the other hand, we can also destroy that card while the pawn is there.

Then the Lair card will show up. If we also destroy it, we immediately acquire one card from the display with the same type as stated by the Lair card. We have to destroy all of those 12 cards in order to win.

On the surface, it seems like each expansion module will work on its own. However, I find that the best way to play Aerion is probably to use all of the modules.

We don’t need to play using the higher difficulty setting of all modules. Just by adding the cards can actually help with the mitigation. But each module also behave differently between just using the module alone and using more or all modules turned on.

The problem is that using all modules is a completely different experience than just the base game. The playtime is longer. Instead of just rerolling and discarding, we will stop and evaluate every single objectives we can pursue on every turn.

The game also becomes more strategic while maintaining the tactical feel from the base game.

My problem with this game and this format is that even though the game seems to have a lot of setup variety, not every combinations will be equal or good.

Because a lot of random element, that Factory card to flip the dice is a must have in every session. Even using that from the start, there is no guarantee that the randomness won’t be frustrating.

Sadly, the rulebook doesn’t have suggestion or direction as how to customize the game while the potential is there. Players will have to do their experimentations or more research to find the best setup of this game.

Some may already have given up before even finding it. For those who are willing to look further, maybe they can get a great experience out of this.

More Similar Games

There are many tabletop games out there whether a board or card game that might share some similarities with Aerion. Some people may look for those similarities that they enjoy. It can be the mechanism or even just the same theme or setting.

Usually a board game will have a lot of elements. It is kind of difficult find another game where everything is similar. Which is why, in this section, I try to break them into things that I enjoy from the game and point out games that share the same experience.

Honestly, this game actually made me realize that I’m not a big fan of games where we have to roll multiple dice and we have to get specific set. So, I tend to stay away from games like this and some may think that the games that I will mention are not that similar.

These next games are just some games that I have tried, played and written a review for them, up to this point.  Check out the link to each article to find out more and also check this Complete list for more games.

Time Manipulation / Dynamic Market

In Aerion, we are essentially racing against time to complete all of the objective and the cards themselves become the timer that we have to manage. We can set the pace by keeping some cards, acquiring them or discard them. There is also a chance to retrieve them back to make more time.

The first game that I can think of is Finished!. This is a solo only game where we have to sort some cards in ascending numerical order. There is only one deck that we will cycle through up to 7 times. We also have to manage the candy tokens where we can activate some powers from those cards.

Like in Aerion, we will have to choose whether to hold some cards or just let them go. The difference is that we know every card will come back. Sometimes we want to retrieve the cards from the previous round because the numbers are closer to the cards in the current spot.

I think other games with moving or dynamic market can also have this experience. Dynamic market is where the card we didn’t take will slide  down to one end like cheaper slot and eventually will get removed from the market. The card that we want is coming out in the most expensive slot and we need to find a way to move it by taking the cheaper one first.

At some point, we will stop making rush decision and evaluate to find out what else can we do hoping that we can still get that card. Of course, sometimes, we just have to let it go.

One game that I can think of with this idea is the Quests of Valeria. It’s a game about completing quests. At least, in solo variant, the quest will keep moving and eventually get removed. The similar things also happens with the character cards that we will need to recruit in order to complete the quest.

Should we let it go and chase the next card? Or can we do something with the 2 actions we get per turn and the possible bonus action from each?

The other game with this experience, in my opinion is Walking in Burano. This is a city building game where we will draft colorful house card and create a small section housing of the Burano.

Similar to Aerion, in this game, the market has a grid of 3 rows and several columns of card and each time, we can only draw from one column. If we want to take the card from the second row, we also need to take the card from the other row. After the drafting, all of the remaining cards will slide down to fill the taken slot and the combination of each column will change.

Sometimes we will find good cards came out in different columns of the same round. If we choose the new one, we have to let go of the other or if we choose the old one, the new one will be more difficult to take.

For a tile laying game, Ankh’or can also give this experience where we can manipulate the market using the Ankh token. The token will remove one tile from the market and the remaining tile will slide down to fill the cheaper slot first and new tiles will fill the rest.

Each slot also have different combination of costs between 2 to 3 resources tokens of various color. We want to make sure that the Ankh token will move the tile that we want to land on the right slot or we won’t be able to buy that tile.

Dice Manipulation

Actually, the dice manipulation in Aerion is not that interesting because most of the time, we can only reroll which I’m not a fan of. Managing cards from different decks to keep or discard is the more interesting part.

The exception is when we use that Factory card that allows us to flip the 1 die in the cost of discarding 1 card from the market. That significantly makes the game more interesting as a dice manipulation game.

Other game where we can manipulate dice that I have played is One Deck Dungeon. Obviously this is a different theme from Aerion. We will play a character to crawl dungeon, fight monsters and level up before we finally fight the final boss.

To defeat an encounter we need to fill their challenge boxes using dice with the matching color and value. What makes this game interesting is finding skills to do different kind of manipulation. We can change the value, get more dice, change into different colors.

If we can find enough skills to do a lot of manipulations, we will have better chance to not just defeat any encounter but also the boss. Unlike Aerion, we will use more than 6 dice but there is still a limit that we have to manage.

For other city building games, I have played Tumble Town. In this one, we will also use more than 6 dice. We will construct a building using dice by stacking them like a Lego but there is a game as which dice and which building card we can take.

Each building have requirement like specific number of dice, color of dice and the value in total. This one is less punishing than Aerion, which is also a lighter game.

Instead of keeping some dice with a good value like Yahtzee every round, in Tumble Town, we can keep the dice in a storage that can be used for future rounds. We still need to find buildings that give special power to do more different dice manipulation abilities.

The total set of dice value for the buildings are similar to Aerion, even though not all the Poker set.

Working on Multiple Objectives

In the base game of Aerion, the main objectives are to build the 6 different ships. Then, if we add the expansions modules, we have more objectives that we need to complete as well in order to win the game.

Working on the ships itself is already limited to 2 ships at a time with the 2 workshop area. Those additional objectives means we can stop working on the ships and use the dice for the different objectives. Later, if the roll result is good, then we can go back to continue with the ship.

I think if a game can have those multiple objectives, then usually we will not get bored throughout the game. Maybe the random dice roll or card is not good for the main objective but we are not stuck and can work on different things.

In Aerion, once we have completed an objective, then the remaining cards related to that objective or expansion module will become extra resources that we can discard to help the next one.

A lot of games actually have this with set collection and multiple contract or objectives. They can either be smaller stand alone objectives or parts of the bigger one that are connected one to another.

I think I prefer the former where the objective is stand alone. It’s done and we can move on to the next objective instead of one objective becoming a requirement to access the next. That gives a sense of progression.

One game that I can think of with this experience is The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game. This one also use set collection for the objective where we have to have 3 of a kind to score with several types of cards.

We might want to try scoring a set as soon as possible because we can get higher reward. It is possible that the final card to complete the set just doesn’t show up but we can start working on the other type or sets. The difference is that this one is very rewarding, so completing one objective can help completing the other.

The Dice Game version also has this experience but more in spatial puzzle. In this one, we are expanding the territory of different types of buildings. Each building can have different number of hexes that we need to fill in roll and write mechanism.

Even with some manipulation to the dice, there is still a chance that the roll doesn’t allow us to complete the set. We can then use a different combination of 2 dice for different territory. The challenge is that we can only fill in the new hex adjacent to the previous one. So, we have to make sure that we have different open territory with various types to increase the chance of utilizing any color of dice.

I already mentioned Walking in Burano. In this case, we are building 5 houses using 3 cards each. Ideally, each house can only use 1 color so if we get several cards with different colors then we need to use them for multiple houses.

For another roll and write game, I think Riverside also have this experience. In this one we have to fill multiple tickets of multiple boats. Combined with the possibilities of bonus or combo from completing one to another makes it a good experience.

For a smaller game, Jaipur also has this. We can try to collect different type of cards but there is a hand limit. Waiting to get more cards of the same type to get higher bonus is possible but we will need to score them sooner.

Push Your Luck

With the rerolling idea from Yahtzee, there is a push your luck aspect in Aerion. We roll the dice and from the initial result, we can already acquire a card from the cheaper deck. However, we can push it by rerolling some of the dice, hopefully we can get the bigger poker set.

It’s not a Push Your Luck that we can do as many times as we want until we get bust. We are limited by the number card we can discard to reroll. For me, what makes this type of Push Your Luck game interesting is the possibility to improve the limit.

In Aerion, we can do that by waiting until we have multiple less useful cards in the Display so we can get more rerolls. The similar concept can happen with the Egg Cards module where the more Egg cards we can spend, the better chance to get a useful card from the chosen deck.

Once we know we have a better chance, then we can choose to push it instead of doing it everytime. We can build up first that chances.

One game like this that comes to mind is Gizmos. The Push your luck aspect that I’m talking about is the Research action. This action allows us to reveal a number of cards from one deck blindly hoping that we can get better cards than what’s in the market.

What makes Gizmos interesting is that we can improve that Research action. We start by revealing only 3 cards but we can use Upgrade cards that allows us to reveal 5 or even 8 cards. So, we have better chance when pushing our luck.

That’s not all. Even if we still get bust, we get consolation prize and we can improve the prize. At the start we get only one random marble but if we improve it, we can get more marbles or even victory points.

With those two, it’s like there are 2 layers of luck mitigations. Push your luck is not the main mechanism in Gizmos but that is the way I always play.

A smaller card game with push your luck element is Oh My Goods!, which can also be considered as an engine building game. In this game, we have a choice to guess whether we will get lucky from the next half of market cards or not and make decision before the next cards are revealed.

We can activate the factory engine either in full capacity with 2 resources required and higher reward or just half the capacity but with less resources but less reward. If it turns out the resources are not enough, we won’t get anything or bust. The interesting part is accumulating extra cards in hand to cover the missing resources.

There is also a second push your luck aspect where if we keep accumulating bad cards, we can discard all of them and draw the same number of cards at the start of next round. The chances are one or some of those new cards will be better.

Final Words

That is all I can share with you about Aerion, one of the Oniverse series. This is also the first game with the mechanism from Yahtzee. Not sure I’m a fan of that but Aerion does offer interesting ways to mitigate the luck.

I may have missed something that I should have discussed regarding the game. Please don’t hesitate to point that out and share what you know related to this game and I will update this article.

I keep saying that these tabletop games can be a good way to spend some time without looking at the screen of our gadget. If we do have someone close, that we can play with, there are other games where we can play cooperatively or competitively but with a lot of player interaction.

The game can be very fast or like a filler type or it can take hours to play. Some games can also be played in solitaire mode and they are still more engaging than other entertainment activity. Some may say, it’s like a workout for the gray matter of our brain.

So, what is your experience on playing this game? If you know other games similar or even better than this, please do share via the comment section below. I would love to learn and play that game, assuming I can get a copy.

This article is just my notes about what I can find from the internet. Hopefully this can help anybody who reads it.

Thanks for reading.


Mark M.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Translate »
error: Content is protected !!