I’ve always been told that PAX is the gaming experience of a lifetime. What I have been told came nowhere NEAR preparing me for the true wonder that we beheld at Boston Convention and Expo Centre this past weekend. Between nigh incessant games of Magic, Cards Against Humanity, Dungeons and Dragons, and the opportunity to test all manner of new releases and a myriad of riveting panels, it took the three of us working together to see a FRACTION of what was offered. I will be honest, this year was a learning experience. For example, I am unlikely to pack my satchel quite as full next year and use some of the added space for snacks. The ALD crew sat down tonight to write a recap of the event but stay tuned in following weeks for more PAX coverage as we go into detail about what we saw while we were there!
Zach: So PAX was quite a blast. I think we all came away with a slightly different experience though. I, for one, spent the majority of my time networking and meeting people. I think it’s to that extent that PAX allows you to sort of play your strengths.
Chris: I think my experience was about improving my D&D games, working on painting free minis, and socializing
Paul: Well this was my first big convention. We used to have a small one back in college that just lumped games and anime and everything else under the sun together, but it was NOTHING like Pax. My only disappointment was that I expected the Swag to be a bit more prolific and I expected better vendors. Our convention had a whole hallway dedicated to vendors. You always knew exactly where to go to find them. At PAX, they threw the vendors in with the rest of the folk on the expo floor, so it was damn near impossible to find anything. I really wanted one of those minecraft swords
Zach: I agree. The other problem I had with the vendors is they were too focused on simply taking your money. The thing I like about comic book vendors is that they are willing to talk with you, adjust their prcies, and generally be GREAT customer servants. I tried to buy a few Magic cards from one guy who REFUSED to budge his price even after I pointed out some obvious flaws with the card AND indicated that I’ve been playing for years (possibly longer than he had) and really knew my stuff. Two things that, in the comic market at least, would have convinced almost anyone to reduce their prices a bit.
Chris: Yeah, I think they’re there to make a killing though and would rather hold the merch for N00bs since there’s enough people there they don’t necessarily have to be picky.
Zach: It’s the truth. From the game I played with Matt from Loading Ready Run, it was apparent to me that those of us who knew what we were doing weren’t really there to buy and indeed already HAD the cards they needed. Although I did run into one vendor who had an interesting dice game. For five dollars, you could roll 7D6 and win MtG product based on your roll. I won a pack and two foils. Granted, that’s what you’re guaranteed for the price but it’s a fun way to interact with the customers as opposed to just moving product the standard way. One kid apparently won four booster boxes.
Paul: I actually have to add one more disappointment to the list: Some of the pannels were little more than glorified advertisements. It was weird going to this con after GDC and expecting the same amount of information out of the panels- you aren’t at a professional development event, you’re at an expo. Everything is geared toward selling you something, INCLUDING most of the panels, some more shamelessly than others. But there was some really cool stuff in there amongst the commercialism. For example the one talk in question for a game called Novus Aeterno really got into some of the philosophy behind their core mechanics, which was neat. Not what the talk was supposed to be about, but neat considering the fact that I was eager to learn more about real time strategy design.