pre-pax tabletop discussion for east 2014

zerzhulzerzhul Registered User, Moderator mod
So I have no clue if this is going to be popular or useful, but I wanted to give this a try since we have these separated forums now, and this won't cause clutter.

Let's talk about tabletop at pax! I'll throw out some questions (these may look very familiar in other threads!) to get things started.
  • What do you want to see for this next pax?
  • What are your favorite tabletop games to play at pax?
  • What are some games that you wish you tried that you missed out on?
  • What games would you like to see more tournaments and events for?
  • Did you have an awesome tabletop experience at a previous pax that you want to share?

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  • zerzhulzerzhul Registered User, Moderator mod
    Personally I try to find time to play at least one game of Battlestar Galactica at every PAX. Even better if I can have at least one new player to teach in the session.

  • SchmulkiSchmulki Registered User regular
    Things I want to see:

    1) More organization for "looking for games." Twitter wasn't being used very often and it seemed like there were a lot of lost people looking for a game.

    2) More folks showing off new/unreleased/just released games. Yes, I know Catan is new to some. To some of us, new is new, and it's more fun to see more of that.

    3) I know this is taking a HUGE leap from how tabletop is run right now, but it would be great to have a GM or 3 that can actually help teach people a game. It's still a relatively young and growing hobby, I'd love to see that help expand it.


    Favorites for PAX:

    Honestly, the shorter ones. 1.5 hrs is about max for me at PAX, that's the biggest gap I tend to have in my schedule that I want to fill with board gaming. Don't get me wrong, I love me a longer, more in-depth game, just not so much at PAX. There's too much other great stuff to do!


    Missed Games:

    Hmm.....I can't say there were any. Honestly, the only thing I'd be upset to miss is "the new hotness." If, around that time, we were able to try out something like (sorry if my timing is off, trying to remember what was hot around then) Tzol'kin or Village, I would have been ecstatic. The hottest thing I saw to try last year was yet another Ascension expansion, so I can't say I missed out on a ton.


    Tournaments:

    The biggest thing is that whatever has tournaments, realize that there needs to be MANY copies of the game. I have been going and trying to get into at least 1-2 tourneys every year and without fail, every year, I'm locked out because there's only a couple of copies of the game being played. And of course, things that don't take TOO long. I don't want to devote my whole weekend to one game.


    Awesome tabletop experience:

    I had 2 of em, but both weren't exactly PAX experiences. The first was taking the Sonic Line up to PAX, which was AMAZING. I knew a few people on the train, and met some other awesome people. It was a great time gaming our way up the northeast, taking over the dining car for board gaming (mostly lighter stuff, Munchkin, Cards Against Humanity, etc., but we did get a game of Glory to Rome in, even though the train was trying hard to thrwo cards everywhere!) and the last car of the train for video gaming. The second was when we got to Boston, the board game night at the Westin was great. Met some great people, got in a game of Agricola, great times :)

  • zerzhulzerzhul Registered User, Moderator mod
    Sonic Line is totes a pax experience :) just not *at* pax! Some of the best parts of pax are the community events.

  • xenardxenard Registered User regular
    Pax East 2014 I'm making it my mission to play more tabletop games. I did enjoy a magnet game called Attraction this year. And that's actually my awesome experience. I was shocked I had fun playing it with a group of strangers. But then again that is what Pax is all about.

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  • iltailta Registered User regular
    edited August 2013
    I had a great time getting a game of X-Wing Minis in last year (that's a real head-turner), and I managed to get Innovation going during a particularly long Penny Arcade Q&A line one morning. I was also really excited to play someone's game of Lords of Waterdeep, which was super-hot right then.

    It's hard to tell what I'll be excited about come April, but I'd wager that a number of the games I backed on Kickstarter will be really fun to play with this crowd: Dungeon Delve (just came out!), the Eminent Domain expansion, Story War, ***MACHINE OF DEATH*** (I am ridiculously excited about this one in a convention environment), etc. It's been a great year for Kickstarter and a lousy year for my wallet. :)

    And I've also got the new Settlers expansion that was demo'ed at PAX East '13, but I'm not sure I'll want to carry it around. We'll see how things shape up in April...

    ilta on
  • GreenizdabestGreenizdabest Southeast CT - USARegistered User regular
    I'd love to see them squeeze even more room out of the tabletop area, but I'm really not sure how to do it. Maybe move all vendor booths to the perimeter of the tabletop area and make the entire swarming center nothing but a sea of tables?!

    Definitely would like to see Fantasy Flight representation this year (I understand it was a schedule conflict last year) with full setups for educating on their games since they tend to have bibles for rulebooks.

    X-Wing Miniatures tournaments would be fantastic too.

  • redfield85redfield85 Registered User regular
    What do you want to see for this next pax?
    I forget how it was set up, but was there a specific area for TCGs? I'd love it if there was a "trading" area for all different TCG (Pokemon, Magic, Yugioh, etc).

    I would suggest even MORE tables for the whole area. It was my first year using the tabletop area and it was a blast. The four of us found a table no problem, but it seemed like most were taken and it is such a fun area to hang out in.

    What are your favorite tabletop games to play at pax?
    At PAX, we played Star Trek Catan. I forget if we picked up a second game.

    At home, we love Zombicide, Munhckin, Penny Arcade: Gamers vs Evil, and Catan.

    What are some games that you wish you tried that you missed out on?
    I rented Flash Duel but we never got around to playing it. I'd love to actually play/trade in some TCG that I own.

    What games would you like to see more tournaments and events for?
    I don't know if there was this year, but 2012 I played in the Penny Arcade: Gamers vs Evil tournament (at the Cryptozoic booth). I really had fun and wanted to participate in it this year with some friends, but don't believe there was one. You would figure the Penny Arcade convention would have a Penny Arcade card game tourney. ;)

    Did you have an awesome tabletop experience at a previous pax that you want to share?
    It was my first time utilizing the tabletop area this year and it was a blast. Randomly, another group of our friends were a few tables away and another set wound up randomly showing later. Everyone at our table was friendly, as is expected of everyone at PAX. The best was actually participating in the assassins game and looking for fellow assassins in the tabletop area. Heh.

    We definitely plan on spending more time there next year. At least I do.

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  • DelaneyDelaney Registered User regular
    edited August 2013
    I would love an easier or more organized way to find open games to join as I was most definitely one of those lost people vainly looking for a spot last year. I tried more than once last year and failed every time, which was one of the (happily few) disappointments at PAX for me.

    The shorter games are better, I think, because while I'd love to spend time with fellow Tabletop gamers at PAX, the time I'm willing to spend while the floor is actually open is limited. Citadels is an example of what I think would be a good game for this.

    As far as tabletop gaming goes in general, a highlight for me last year (by comparison) was the Pre-PAX gaming night at the Weston. I was thrilled to read that the Weston was as happy with us as we were with them allowing us there, and I look forward to going again next year. And with some luck, if there's an earlier Sonic Line train, I'll have a Thursday full of gaming goodness.

    Delaney on
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  • KythosKythos Mister. Registered User regular
    I would play more tourneys if I knew more of the games. At 2013 I joined a Catan tourney but the games were just so long and the breaks as well I just didn't have enough time.

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  • Lady LilybellLady Lilybell Geeky Crafter & Baker South Shore, MARegistered User regular
    2013 was the first year my husband and I utilized the tabletop area. It was the best nightime PAX experience we had and people came to play with us.
    Next year we thought we would bring a gatorclip sign holder. The game box on it's side saying "come play" worked less than 50% of the time. We picked up most players by them just slowing wandering around the area. We figures some extra large index cards saying, "LFM For Quarriors. About 1/2 hr 4 player Dice Game. New Players Welcomed."
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  • zerzhulzerzhul Registered User, Moderator mod
    Yeah, these signs are great. They are in use at some of the local meetups here in Pittsburgh. The key is to get them really tall though!

  • ShrefShref Registered User regular
    edited August 2013
    last year was my first pax. but one thing i found strange is that with all the magic tourneys, there weren't any constructed ones, or even drafts. they were all sealed deck, i believe. is there a reason for this i may be missing?

    Shref on
  • Lady AmaltheaLady Amalthea Registered User regular
    What do you want to see for this next pax?
    #1 I want a bigger room for the TT Panels. All of them looked so interesting and of the four I tried to get into, I could only get into one, despite getting there an hour early because the room was so small.
    #2 I love that the TT area keeps getting bigger and bigger, but I do wish there was a tad more organization. A clear area for Company Demo's, A clear area for tournaments, A clear area for free play, and a clear area for folks looking for a group.

    What are your favorite tabletop games to play at pax?
    New games, usually shorter games as well. I played the DC Deck Building Game, Munchkin, Chrononauts, Sentinels of the Multiverse, and a bunch of dice games last year. During the PAX after hours was when I played some of the longer games - Shadows over Camelot and Battlestar Gallactica. The only time during PAX that I would play a long game would be for an TT RPG

    What are some games that you wish you tried that you missed out on?
    I didn't see a lot, but there were some kickstarter games I missed out on - I forget it's name, but the artist was there doing sketches (anyone remember this) and I was pretty bummed to miss that.

    What games would you like to see more tournaments and events for?
    I'd love to see a PvP D&D Character Tourney - that would be a blast! Other than that, I think the ones that are there are great. I've only done one tourney, and honestly, they just take up too much time IMHO.

    Did you have an awesome tabletop experience at a previous pax that you want to share?
    TT is my favorite area of PAX, along with the new indie section. I always see old friends there and catch up, play new games... it's the best place (other than the Westin) to be social.

    Who is going to PAX South?
  • Yog70Yog70 Registered User new member
    What do you want to see for this next pax?
    More organization. We need a better way to let people know we looking for players, or looking for a game. I was one of those people wandering around looking for a PUG. I think that at GenCon they have a flag system. Just knowing that a table is looking for more players would be great. A player could walk up ask what they are playing, then he or she could decide to play or check the next table displaying a big red flag. As innovative as the twitter #ttlfg is, people don't use it.
    What are your favorite tabletop games to play at pax?
    I like just about anything.

    What are some games that you wish you tried that you missed out on?
    D&D Next, Xwing Minis game. I tried to get a demo, but it was always full.

  • zerzhulzerzhul Registered User, Moderator mod
    I'm really surprised that more people don't bring their own large LFG flags for TT. Providing some is a good idea though, and maybe they could be signed out with the game library games.

  • BearTheHumanBearTheHuman Registered User regular
    I said I was going to bring a giant poster board LFG/LFM sign last year and got sick the week leading up to PAX, so I didn't do nearly as much prep as I would have liked. This year I'm preparing early just in case I get sick again. Haha.

  • klzklz Registered User regular
    As a demo assistant at TT, I can't answer all of the questions, since my experience is different, but I'll make some comments. :)

    I think the ideas to have official demo tables labelled (or at least recognizable) would be helpful, especially the demo tables in the larger area that got swallowed up, even if we had the standing banners.

    I think one person noted that it would be helpful also to have the TT layout available on the website or on Guidebook prior to the convention, especially since it's become so huge.

  • SchmulkiSchmulki Registered User regular
    zerzhul wrote: »
    I'm really surprised that more people don't bring their own large LFG flags for TT. Providing some is a good idea though, and maybe they could be signed out with the game library games.

    Really? Not to be snarky or anything, but that kind of thing seems like it should fall on the con to provide. If someone is checking out a game at a con like that and looking for strangers to play with, the situation is probably going to involve teaching said strangers how to play the game. That's providing quite a bit of value to the con already, the least the con can do is provide a simple way for people who want to play a game/be taught a game, an easy way to do so.

  • zerzhulzerzhul Registered User, Moderator mod
    Didn't I just say that it was a good idea for the con to provide them? I just *also* am surprised that more people don't bring them on their own.

  • zerzhulzerzhul Registered User, Moderator mod
    zerzhul wrote: »
    I'm really surprised that more people don't bring their own large LFG flags for TT. Providing some is a good idea though, and maybe they could be signed out with the game library games.

  • BearTheHumanBearTheHuman Registered User regular
    Schmulki wrote: »
    zerzhul wrote: »
    I'm really surprised that more people don't bring their own large LFG flags for TT. Providing some is a good idea though, and maybe they could be signed out with the game library games.

    Really? Not to be snarky or anything, but that kind of thing seems like it should fall on the con to provide. If someone is checking out a game at a con like that and looking for strangers to play with, the situation is probably going to involve teaching said strangers how to play the game. That's providing quite a bit of value to the con already, the least the con can do is provide a simple way for people who want to play a game/be taught a game, an easy way to do so.

    Eh, honestly, I like the idea that the con would provide them, but I feel like it's not necessarily their responsibility. I feel like a large portion of people at PAX in tabletop already have groups that they are playing with that they know, and it's not really that hard to either make a sign or actually talk to someone.

    Last year I got groups/people to play with by holding up the box top and yelling things about the game and also that we were looking for people to play with. We must have played with 12 different people over two long sessions in tabletop on different days, with different games. If you're too shy to approach people then it's not really hard to have a cardboard sign that you make yourself. I'm going to bring a small whiteboard (that fits in my backpack) and dry erase markers so I can change my sign up when I want to this year.

  • FruhmannFruhmann Registered User regular
    table top play at pax is the biggest draw for me. last year was great. lots of friendly gamers and i was even introduced to the game City of Horrors, a game that is truly a friendship ruiner.

    i would have liked to play the bioshock game, but i never saw anyone from the company demoing it. unless those were just advert banners.

  • CoanCoan TorontoRegistered User regular
    Starting with Zerzhuls questions...

    1) I'll have to second what someone said about Fantasy Flight, it'd be cool to see them or some of the other non-wizards companies there. Not that I don't love M:TG and D&D (more than enough invested in both), its just for variety. If they still had the Marvel license, Marg Weis games would be good...but I'm biased in still playing that system regularly.

    2) I missed out on TT last year, I kept wanting to get into the Next games and came up against lines for games vs lines for panels and panels won for me. I did enjoy seeing some of the other people playing and still spent enough time in that corner to look at stuff.

    3) as per above, everything :/

    4) I got nothing, Events are nice for everything, tournies are hard...to me, you need a game that can draw out competitiveness and still be played in a short timeframe and attract people. King of Tokyo comes to mind, Munchkin...but then these start to come in more on luck than strategy, where Catan is a bit of both.

    5) Best I got was in line for the DM panel on Sunday and just hanging and talking to a few other guys as I was preparing to DM for my first time in the next week after East. Really kicking myself for not grabbing some contact info or something, they were pretty awesome. Plus picking Perkins brain after the Panel ended due to time.


    OP questions aside, I will be making more time for TT this year, hopefully. I will likely have my wife in tow and I got a feeling she'll want to spend more time gaming than listening to people talk. Also, since I like listening to people talk, more room for when you've got any panel with anyone from wizards in the room would be great, they will fill a room.

    Posting on the phorum again like its 1999
  • DelaneyDelaney Registered User regular
    edited September 2013
    zerzhul wrote: »
    I'm really surprised that more people don't bring their own large LFG flags for TT. Providing some is a good idea though, and maybe they could be signed out with the game library games.

    I would be grateful if they were available as I think it would have been a great help last year. I know I mentioned it before in this thread, but not being able to play any TT games as part of PAX was hugely disappointing.

    Delaney on
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  • QuintiousQuintious Registered User regular

    What do you want to see for this next pax?

    I'd like to see the big box games better represented at the library. The library had a great array of games, but I can bring Chez Geek or Dragonheart from home if I want to play it. Chaostle, Exodus Proxima Centauri or Descent? Not so much. I saw some people above say they wanted more space, and the only thing I can say to that is "are we talking about PAX East?" Because the space for TT at East is enormous, and I found worked really well. I would like to see some nicer spots to play ala the Olive 8 at Prime.

    What are your favorite tabletop games to play at pax?

    I like playing games that I haven't played before. That's about my only thing. Want to see something new; want someone to teach it to me. I am most interested in the 60 dollar type games so I can try before buy.

    What are some games that you wish you tried that you missed out on?

    At Prime? I never got to demo Golem Arcana - they were gone on Monday, and that caught me offguard. I somehow never get involved in euro games, even though I love them.

    What games would you like to see more tournaments and events for?

    Games that don't have obsessed followings and which haven't been played to death? I like Dominion. I think Dominion is a great game. But I've played enough of it. Give me something new. Ditto 7 Wonders.

    Did you have an awesome tabletop experience at a previous pax that you want to share?

    The entire 2013 East TT experience was a positive one. My only complaints with that whole section of the convention centre were the seats I talked about above (and what can you do about that, really?) and how poorly the DM challenge was handled (which isn't even TT at all)

  • flatlineflatline Registered User regular
    One of the things that is a problem for some PAXers is the idea of talking to strangers. I don't have a problem with this, and have wrangled up strangers each of the past 3 years for games like Cards Against Humanity, Mad Scientist University, and my personal favorite PAX TT game, Betrayal at House on the Hill. I will just walk up to people in the Games Library or at empty tables and ask if they want to play a game.

    Personally I still need to play Battlestar Galactica and Ticket To Ride. I would also love to see Bully Pulpit return and do some Fiasco stuff as it's really hard to explain but pretty easy to grok when you see a good game in action.

    I offered to make a LFG app for Father Fletch after the first PAX East, but it was determined that cell service is too intermittent and the investment in a small computer and some displays probably wouldn't pay off, as it is possible to use twitter or just talk to someone. Getting some of those table clips might not be a bad idea.

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  • Lady LilybellLady Lilybell Geeky Crafter & Baker South Shore, MARegistered User regular
    If someone wants to go the white board route, Thinkgeek sells a foldable white board that come with in a small sack. We have one for drawing maps while playing RPGs.

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  • QuintiousQuintious Registered User regular
    edited September 2013
    A simple thing that can improve tabletop at East is to get a bunch of red balloons and fill them with helium. Then attach a little postcard that says "Looking for Group" on the string attached to the balloon, and attach the whole thing to a block of wood or something. If you're LFG, you put up the balloon so that passers-by can easily identify where tables have space open. When you fill your group, wrap the string holding the balloon around the block until it's no longer up in the air.

    That solution can't cost more than a couple hundred bucks for the entire weekend for the entire space. Hell, I'd pay that out of my own pocket just to help out.

    Quintious on
  • SnowDogSnowDog Central MARegistered User regular
    What are your favorite tabletop games to play at pax?
    Kind of abstract but...
    - Something new, something with a barrier to entry which has prevented me from getting into it.
    - My ideal PAX games work well for a variety of player counts and don't run too long, this way we can play it twice or three times with a variety of player groups/sizes

    What are some games that you wish you tried that you missed out on?
    Does the D&D Next fiasco from last year count? Urg, still annoyed at the way that was handled :).
    BSG is on my "want to try" list but it hasn't happened yet.
    Did you have an awesome tabletop experience at a previous pax that you want to share?
    Playing with random folks can be really hit or miss, but when it's fun, it can be really fun. Getting to know someone over the course of an hour or so, figuring out that your first impression of them was totally wrong, and enjoying the remaining time, is a great feeling.

    There's nothing like the feeling of a couple novices setting up a board game and having a third person swing by and offer to teach you the game, and then a fourth stops in, and next thing you know you're having a blast for 90 minutes. That's a big part of why I come to PAX.

    Also: playing with the "Games on Demand" folks was a great experience and I will definitely do it again.

  • SchmulkiSchmulki Registered User regular
    zerzhul wrote: »
    Didn't I just say that it was a good idea for the con to provide them? I just *also* am surprised that more people don't bring them on their own.

    Whoops, looks like I only read the first half of that then hit reply.

  • aBByNormaLaBByNormaL Registered User regular
    If I get to Pax I will definitely be checking this out .. I would be a newbie to tabletop (last real games I played liked that were D&D and GammaWorld back in the day) but always willing to learn :-)

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  • gonexallgonexall PhiladelphiaRegistered User regular
    What do you want to see for this next pax?
    Every year I go solo, and have a great time. I always find games in tabletop to play, but sometimes it can be more difficult. Anything to facilitate the process of finding a game would be welcome and utilized.

    What are your favorite tabletop games to play at pax?
    Unlike most others, I really like the longer games at Pax. Even though there are lots of other things to do, my game night friends here do not have the time/endurance for games that last much longer than 2 hours, so Pax is the one time a year I can try those games.

    What are some games that you wish you tried that you missed out on?
    Didn't even know about the Star Wars Miniature games demo until I read this thread, now I am sorry I missed out on it. I also talked to the games on demand folks and tried to carve out time for an RPG with them, but it didn't happen.

    What games would you like to see more tournaments and events for?
    Personally, I'd like to see more "quick" tournaments that do not take all day. I'd also like to see more formal role playing events.

    Did you have an awesome tabletop experience at a previous pax that you want to share?
    I loved playing D&D next, even with a group of strangers. Also, I was introduced to the great game ShadowHunters while in line for Pax to start (we had to play and guard the game from the beach ball). I had never played before and it was awesome, made better by the fact that the people I played it with were super cool and really into it.

  • GreenizdabestGreenizdabest Southeast CT - USARegistered User regular
    Quintious wrote: »
    A simple thing that can improve tabletop at East is to get a bunch of red balloons and fill them with helium. Then attach a little postcard that says "Looking for Group" on the string attached to the balloon, and attach the whole thing to a block of wood or something. If you're LFG, you put up the balloon so that passers-by can easily identify where tables have space open. When you fill your group, wrap the string holding the balloon around the block until it's no longer up in the air.

    That solution can't cost more than a couple hundred bucks for the entire weekend for the entire space. Hell, I'd pay that out of my own pocket just to help out.

    Something to simplify this: We do basically this at work to advertise events, and we use carabiner clips at the end of the string to keep the balloons from ballooning away. Clips can be had in bulk for like ~70 cents each. They could even just sell them for a buck to cover the cost of the clip and provide the balloon/string. The only problem with this is the cleanup with tons of balloons stuck to the convention roof.

  • FriendOfAnimalsFriendOfAnimals Registered User regular
    Tournaments

    Quicker games are a great idea - what about Lost Cities? If there were enough copies, you could plow through a tournament with a bunch of 1-on-1 games (maybe best of 3 for each matchup). Winners move on. Probably just a couple hours.

    I love Carcassone and hope there's still a tourney for it - but it always seems to be on Sunday. I would love to see it on an earlier day. Kind of selfishly. Sundays are kinda tough to set aside 4-5 hours. Maybe more late night tourneys? TT is hopping after 9.

    LFG

    That Twitter projection screen worked great the one year. Doesn't seem like people use Twitter as much since that screen disappeared. It'd be nice to see that return.

  • SchmulkiSchmulki Registered User regular
    The only problem with this is the cleanup with tons of balloons stuck to the convention roof.

    Then you're missing the obvious Sunday, 4:30 PM event: "pop the most balloons floating around the ceiling to win some leftover swag."

  • reverend_tobiasreverend_tobias Registered User regular
    I'm wondering if there's more information on Indie Games on Demand. Last year, I had no idea there was a whole booth for organizing indie rpg's, but it made running 13th Age and Dungeon World very easy. Is there a way to contact these guys, as I'd love to volunteer to help run games or help with the booth or whatever needs doing.

    I also have a buddy who I'm sure I could convince to run the old 7th Sea RPG if people are interested.

  • LexiconGrrlLexiconGrrl Registered User regular
    One more vote for a better way to find/advertise games to join.

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  • TheAggroCraigTheAggroCraig Ultimate Lucky Douchebag MassachusettsRegistered User regular
    Best way to find people to play: Ask people who just look like they're standing around looking for a game to play.

  • aBByNormaLaBByNormaL Registered User regular
    Best way to find people to play: Ask people who just look like they're standing around looking for a game to play.

    That'll be me ....

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  • TheAggroCraigTheAggroCraig Ultimate Lucky Douchebag MassachusettsRegistered User regular
    aBByNormaL wrote: »
    Best way to find people to play: Ask people who just look like they're standing around looking for a game to play.

    That'll be me ....

    Last year this is what my friends and I did. We had 5 of us playing Castle Panic, and there was a guy just wandering so we invited him to play. It turns out he worked for Riot Games, which after playing Castle Panic he had us demo a game he was creating himself, and it was really friggin awesome.

    It's a great opportunity to meet people, you never know who you're going to talk to. Ask to play games, or if you need more people invite others, it's very simple, just be willing to teach/learn rules :P

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