Last year Dan and I went to PAX for the first time (you can read about my experience here!). We went for two full days and it was pure insanity. This year we went to PAX only on Saturday and it didn’t feel like enough. So what’s better? Feeling exhausted after an event or feeling like you didn’t do everything there was to do?
For those who don’t know, PAX is a gaming event with panels, expo hall, gameplay, everything you would expect to find at a gaming festival from tabletop freeplay to one big LAN party. There are console games, board games, card games, pc games and on and on. There was also a room full of kittens! Oh but that’s a sore subject because my friend Sarah found out the room had closed, nine minutes too late. But yes. There was a room full of kittens.
Originally PAX was only held in the Seattle area, but now there is PAX West and PAX Dev here in Seattle, PAX East, PAX South, and PAX Australia. That should provide some clarity on just how massive and popular this convention is for the gaming community. Even I, a casual gamer (who still plays games like The Sims), love PAX. Which is why I wish I had done so much more this year!
Last year I was all about the people watching. And I still LOVE people watching but this year Dan and I both thought there were way less cosplayers. Although I did see a ton of cosplay Jokers. Or maybe I just kept seeing the same guy over and over. PAX mysteries. Speaking of seeing people…I ran into a bunch of people I know. Last year that didn’t happen but this year I was super excited to run into a bunch of friends. That might have been the most exciting thing about PAX this year (is that sad?!) that I would turn the corner and be like OH HEY!! FRIENDSHIP! I was way too focused on friends this year to really focus on games.
It is hard though because people are super friendly at PAX. Probably because they’re so excited to be around what they love. It’s the type of event where introverts are so comfortable that they can come out of their shells and become extroverts. Total strangers will maybe ask to join your board game because they happen to know about it and really want to play. Let them play! We had a couple of people join our game of Secret Hitler (kind of like Werewolf but better) and it was fun, especially because it’s the kind of game where you try and see who’s lying so adding people you don’t know keeps it interesting. I gave some random girl in the bathroom my hair tie cause hers broke. So make new friends! Even for ten minutes. It’s just the kind of thing you do at these things, ya know?
My new favorite game is Red Flags, it’s like Super Fight (from the same people) and Cards Against Humanity but about dating. You pick one person each round to be the judge and the rest of you play two cards each with a positive trait that you think the judge would find attractive in a potential long-term mate. Like LOVES EVERYTHING ABOUT YOU and OWNS A VINEYARD. But the twist is that everyone also gets to play a “red flag” card to sabotage another player’s hand. Such as SLEPT WITH ONE OF YOUR PARENTS…RECENTLY. Oh yes. The excitement! Then the judge has to pick the best option. They also have awesome expansion packs including Dark Red Flags that are really messed up, Nerdy Red Flags with things like Jon Snow, and Sexy Red Flags. As you can see from my photo above, it’s very romantic.
Now that I’m a PAX vet (kinda), I’m going to finally do it right next year and go balls to the wall on Saturday. The expo hall closes at six but you can play board games until like midnight. So we’ll try to get there as early as possible to see everything in the expo area. Leave for a real lunch instead of wolfing down cliff bars. More expo hall. Then quality dinner somewhere in Seattle. And then board games all night. Whoop Whoop! Or maybe I’ll convince Dan to go two days again. Maybe. Until next year!