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Can't wait? Speculate!

gonexallgonexall PhiladelphiaRegistered User regular
What will an analog Omegathon look like? What panels can we expect? What publishers will show up? Will PAX change it's format and have a method for signing up for games in advance, or will we wait in the famous PAX lines for our turn to play RPGs and hot new tabletop games? Who be the Storytime Speaker?

Concerts? Who might rock the stage at Unplugged?

How "unplugged" will the con be with so many cell phones, tablets and 3DSs out in the wild and Nintendo going full mobile?

For those of us who don't want to wait for real news, here is a place to make prediction, speculate, and dream.



  • SchmulkiSchmulki Registered User regular
    Heck, we don't know that it's even going to be a similar format to traditional PAX's. There is no model for a tabletop con that looks anything like PAX. Given how few people can do each thing (since a game usually plays 2-6 people) and how long a game takes to play (easily 1 hr+), and how much more of it needs to be hands-on, so fewer events can be as passive as panels, it could look VERY different.

    What I'm really hoping for:

    -Giant open-gaming area with a well-stocked library, a good system to check out games and a clear system (flags and whatnot) for LFG so people can match up well.
    -People who can teach games.
    -Companies/game designers with their own tables off to the side (read: NOT in the middle of a show floor where it's impossible to stop/sit for long periods of time) showing off new games.
    -A playtesting area. I love playtesting!
    -Concerts. I mean, why not? And no, I don't just want an acoustic set. Unless Paul and Storm make their way up here. Then I'm quite good with that :biggrin:
    -Unplugged Omegathon. Man, that would be great. Have a card game, board game, miniatures game, and of course, 3' tall Jenga.
    -Swag. I love me some free promos for games!
    -Vendors.....with reasonable prices. Yes, I want to buy games. No, I don't want to pay MSRP or higher for the right to buy the game at the con and drag it around with me all day.

    What I can definitely do without:
    -Companies showing up with anything that makes a lot of noise, flashing lights, and/or smoke.
    -If there's highly-coveted things to do/try, no good way to queue up for it other than standing in a ridiculous line. Whether it's a ticketing system, a virtual queue, prereg signups, or anything else like that, please don't make us spend half the con on actual lines.
    -Buying tickets being a mess and scalpers buying up tons of tickets.

    What I predict? About 2/3 of what I listed comes true.

  • gonexallgonexall PhiladelphiaRegistered User regular
    @Schmulki Nice! One thing I have learned by listening to too many board game podcasts (I have really dived in deep since getting into the hobby) is that bringing games to a convention is very expensive for publishers, so you will almost never see discounts at a convention. I just wanted you to be prepared for that one probably not coming true, unless the Penny Arcade guys can figure out a way to make it cheaper for them. This not only means lowering the price of booth space, but also the cost of getting the games on site. On the plus side, you purchase is going directly to support the publisher without any distribution middlemen.

    Peronally, I would like to see panels on boardgame design and on RPG topics for both players and GMs and a big D&D event.

  • HazelHalfBloodHazelHalfBlood Unapologetic Dungeons and Dragons Enthusiast New HampshireRegistered User regular
    I wouldn't mind seeing a large open play area with a game library. Pax East is normally a good time for our group to try out games we've had our eyes on without committing to the price of some of the more expensive games. Also, I would really love to see a larger selection of gaming supply stands. Don't get me wrong I LOVE Chessex but sometimes I want some more unusual offerings to augment our rpg games.

    I wonder if True Dungeon is going to be there! They were at PAX South and I heard it did really well.

    PAX East 2018 .... We Have Our...Passes [..] Hotel [..] Bus [..] Packed [..]


    Proud Cookie Brigade Supporter
  • SchmulkiSchmulki Registered User regular
    gonexall wrote: »
    bringing games to a convention is very expensive for publishers, so you will almost never see discounts at a convention.

    While that's absolutely true, it's not necessarily the same for stores and the like. I've found plenty of good deals (read: game for the same or lower cost than your usual online suspects) at cons before. The best example was at Gencon, Coolstuffinc's "ding and dent" section which no one could find a single ding or dent on, where everything was ridiculously cheap because of. Picked up Aquasphere for $10 with a free CSI tote :)
    gonexall wrote: »
    On the plus side, you purchase is going directly to support the publisher without any distribution middlemen.

    And that's the other side of it. There's been plenty of games I've purchased directly from the maker of the game for a little bit more than I would have otherwise paid because, well, I'd rather see it go to them.

  • hutchbackhutchback Newark, DERegistered User regular
    It will be interesting to see what kind of publisher presence we'll see at the event. Most publishers will have already scheduled and budgeted their Con appearance for the year and there is another popular Boardgames Con that weekend.

    What I'm hoping for:
    • The strong push for community that has marked all PAX events. I've had some mixed experiences with tabletop gamers at public events. I am still amazed by the number of people who will sit and game with you for hours and never introduce themselves or get up and walk away without so much as a "Thanks, catch ya later!"
    • Lots of vendors selling geeky stuff and game accessories. I don't usually look for games at events, but love to find cool shirts and stuff.
    • A well organized selection of RPG sessions. I cannot commit to a regular RPG group so Cons are my time to indulge.
    • The chance to play some 2017 Essen releases.
    • A strong boardgame and RPG media presence (podcaster/reviewer panels, live casts, etc.)
    • A system to help attendees connect with gamers with similar preferences "Get yer dry soulless euros here!"
    • Miniature painting/sculpting panels
    • A massive open play area with a quality library

    I've only been to a single PAX and it was a great experience. I've only refrained from attending others because of the focus on Video Games. I have HUGE expectations for PAX Unplugged.

  • ishtraishtra Long IslandRegistered User regular
    I can't wait to hear more about what they'll have there. While I want to bring games to play, I want even more to try games I've never played and might want to bring Home. Was considering taking the train/bus in, but I need the truck space just in case haha
    I always have a list of what games/publishers I'm hoping to see, so having a system for finding gaming partners would be great.
    Having been to East a few times, I've never tried any of the tournaments, and I'd be tempted given the opportunity at Unplugged.

    Attendee: PAX East 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
  • AnarCHrisAnarCHris Trash Lord New York CityRegistered User regular
    I'm definitely expecting Unplugged to be more laid back and more like GenCon than PAX East/Prime. Probably going to see a dip in cosplay/concerts/streaming, and more on a focus on vendors, panels and of course tabletop stuff.

  • SchmulkiSchmulki Registered User regular
    AnarCHris wrote: »
    I'm definitely expecting Unplugged to be more laid back and more like GenCon than PAX East/Prime.

    I sure hope it's not like GenCon. We did that once and will never make that mistake again. It was the perfect storm of:

    -Terrible people who are not friendly at all
    -Literally every person we spoke to was either "in the business" or was trying to break in and if they found out you weren't, they would quite obviously stop caring to talk to you.
    -The "hot" things were basically impossible to get to/buy.
    -The ticketing system is TERRIBLE. If you miss an event, you feel awful since you just wasted money. If something turns out bad, not only did you waste money, you just wasted time as well. We ended up with a handful of extra tickets we can't refund and will never reuse because we are never going back there. The open gaming area even took tickets from us on our way in, then proceeded to tell us they're closing in 30 mins (a good hour or 2 before the con closed) and wouldn't give the tickets back.
    -The entire city was geared up in con mode, which meant jacking up prices all over the place for subpar goods/service.

    We hit a point after a while where we just hung out in the BGG-run open gaming room (separate from the normal open gaming room) since it was a place off the beaten path with actually nice people from BGG running things, actually had people there running/teaching games and people who would suggest games to try. There were a couple of booths on the show floor which had a good group of people running them, which helped things, but for the most part, Gencon felt as sleazy and terrible as a con like that could get.

  • KetarKetar Lacks the basic intelligence required for pretty much everythingRegistered User regular
    Wow. I'm very sorry you had such a bad GenCon experience, but that was almost nothing like my visit last year. After having a fantastic time at PAX South last year I decided to finally give GenCon a try, and I loved it. Enough that I decided to stick with PAX South and GenCon as my two cons for this year, rather than trying to make East or West work. Most people I met were friendly and I added a few on Facebook or Twitter, some of whom I've been in touch with again recently while planning out GenCon for this year. I already know I'll be repeating one late night event with some of the same people that made it so memorable last year. I got to meet a number of game designers whose work I really enjoy, and have interesting discussions with a few of them about some of their games (and no, I'm not in the business and have no intentions of ever getting into it either; I just like playing games). I was able to learn how to play a ton of games my group back home had been mulling over for a while, and had a good time in the process while meeting new people and learning more about some of their favorites.

    I know that there are limited run hot items that sell out super quick at GenCon, but last year I was able to buy 3 of the games that had the best word-of-mouth from the show and I didn't buy anything until the last day. If I'd started purchasing sooner I could have walked away with even more. There were definitely some demos I would have like to have done that always had too long of a wait for me to endure, but by and large I was happy with what I was able to experience and what I was able to buy.

    I had no problems with the ticketing system, other than many events selling out pretty much instantly (and that's not a fault of the system, but a natural side effect of such large attendance combined with signups in advance as opposed to on-site). I ended up missing 2 events I'd signed up for, but that was entirely by choice to pursue unexpected opportunities instead. One was a $2 event and the other was $6, so they didn't exactly break the bank. Zero regrets about any of the other demos/tournaments/play sessions I bought tickets for - I was happy with all of them. Tournaments in particular were great because for many of them simply participating got you promo cards/pieces that you might get for finishing first or second in a PAX tabletop tournament.

    GenCon felt somewhat more impersonal than a PAX, and it took me a day to really warm up to it, but I didn't encounter anything sleazy or terrible at all. I don't want PAX Unplugged to become GenCon lite - there's a different feel and character to PAX that I wouldn't want to see lost. But there is a lot that is good about GenCon, especially the overwhelming representation of board game designers/manufacturers/sellers and the sheer amount of organized game sessions that the ticketing system enables and sustains, that Unplugged could stand to emulate a bit. But that should come with an Omegathon, concerts, panels, an Acq. Inc. session and all of the other bits and pieces that make PAX PAX. There's no real shortage of board game conventions, and if I just wanted to attend another one I'd probably head to BGG.Con the same weekend instead. A PAX board game convention intrigues me though, and I'd like to see what they come up with. Being the same weekend as BGG.Con does worry me when it comes to drawing exhibitors, but I'll keep my fingers crossed.

  • SchmulkiSchmulki Registered User regular
    edited February 16
    Ketar wrote: »
    GenCon felt somewhat more impersonal than a PAX

    That's a great way to put it. I went to East for many years (honestly had to stop going because the cost to get up there, stay there, attend, and get back was just too much) and especially for a con that size, it felt so warm and personal. Every enforcer was nice and friendly. If you saw someone who looked lost, you also saw an Enforcer asking if they needed help. Anytime I had to wait on line, I was making friends with the people around me and usually playing some small games while on line. One time just walking by, I ran into Jerry, said hi to him, he said hi back (I didn't want to stop him or anything, so I kept going) and both of us seemed equally excited to be there. The cookie brigade is always walking around giving out awesomeness.

    At Gencon.....the staff was not friendly and usually not very helpful (I asked about where to get a program when I first got there, was pointed to a place where programs could have been, but were not, let the staff know there were none there, and was met with shrugs). I mentioned the people already, but to give another example, I saw someone standing around doing nothing who was wearing a Path of Exile t-shirt. It's a smallish indy game I REALLY like, and to get the shirt he was wearing, he would have had to donate quite a bit of money as they were given out in big supporter packs so I know he was a fan. I walked up to him and mentioned the awesome shirt and how much I loved the game....and was met with "uh huh, it's great, as you were" and he walked away.

    So at least from my experiences, I'm REALLY hoping the personality of PAX shines through this con as well and doesn't act anything like Gencon.

    Schmulki on
  • gonexallgonexall PhiladelphiaRegistered User regular
    edited February 16
    I haven't been to GenCon, but I go to Origins, where people are friendly, but it's not as warm and welcoming as PAX. I think the magic sauce for PAX comes from three places: the enforcers, a conscious effort to promote an inclusive and welcoming ethos (a part of which is Wheaton's Law, but even before Will uttered those famous words, PAX was fertile ground for those words spread and grow in significance) and Mike and Jerry.

    All three of these ingredients will be present at Unplugged, so we can expect the same wonderful vibe. Sure, Unplugged will attract more people and non-paxers who might not be familiar with the culture, but there will be enough who know to keep the culture of the con intact.

    gonexall on
  • nevermore13nevermore13 Registered User regular
    I expect it to feel like a PAX. So I expect the same warm and welcoming atmosphere I feel at East every year. I expect community events and things like cookie brigade.

    I would love to see a live thornwatch game in the vein of Acq Inc and of course would love to swe acq inc because it feels like a perfect fit.

  • gonexallgonexall PhiladelphiaRegistered User regular
    I have a few more unfounded predictions/wild speculations:
    -Games from Essen brought over by Penny Arcade game mules
    -Some kind of Mech vs Minions exclusive - promo or new game or swag (PA has a good reltionship with Riot Games, right?)
    -Omegathon games: Captain Sonar?, Life-size Robo-Rally? Catacombs? Junk Art?
    -Speakers: Felicia Day? Matt Mercer? Tom Vasel? Jamey Stegmaier? Eric Lang?

  • djlybsdjlybs Slayer of the Datas Boston MetroRegistered User regular
    Vasel & Dicetower will be there as confirmed via an DT outing to Lancaster. Also, Tom is from Allentown, PA and it would make sense, from a family perspective, for him to be in Philly around Turkey Day.

    BTW, my board gaming group ended running him into a TON at this year's East and no we weren't stocking him. He really is a nice guy and graciously took pictures with us. It became a running pseudo-game withing our group to see if we could all get pictures with him. I think only 3 out of 12 of us didn't get a picture with him.

  • Mike SelinkerMike Selinker Registered User regular
    I would love to see a live thornwatch game in the vein of Acq Inc.

    I don't know yet if this will happen, but I expect you will see quite a bit of Thornwatch at Unplugged.

    gonexallThe Hanged ManKetarKhadour
  • FrugusFrugus Podcaster Registered User regular
    What I'm hoping for: A little bit of everything that made the Tabletop area (and anything "analogue") great, but was not necessarily available at the same time throughout various PAX events.

    This being said, just having the play area as it usually presents itself at other PAX events would be enough to have me grinning from ear to ear all weekend.

    Here's the dream list:
    • A floor room filled with booths, prime vendors, etc. I expect this to be much tamer than a typical PAX Show floor.
    • A very large "play" area, subtly split into various sections: Free Play, Official Demos, Tournaments, Sponsored Play. Ideally this would also be peppered with more vendors, not unlike what we usually see at a PAX event.
    • The floor would close as the evening approaches, keep the play area opened for as long as you can, preferably past midnight. Vendors who are present in this area get to stay opened.
    • A couple of satellite rooms are present for panels, announcements and the occasional special activity.
    • And because I'm a cheap silly goose, hopefully there will be a good and strong vendor presence who will provide interesting prices like the ones I don't get to see around where I live. Bonus points if they offer interesting deals as the final hour approaches, which is something you get to see in this type of event.

    Le Frugus
  • gonexallgonexall PhiladelphiaRegistered User regular
    edited March 29
    @Mike Selinker Wow! A celebrity in our midst! Any chance Apocrtpha will be at Unplugged?

    I can's seem to get this to point at Mike Selinker correctly, but you know who I mean!

    zerzhul on
  • ishtraishtra Long IslandRegistered User regular
    I wonder what the Pax Unplugged 'thing' will be. Like East has scarves, so I'm intrigued

    Attendee: PAX East 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
  • gonexallgonexall PhiladelphiaRegistered User regular
    ishtra wrote: »
    I wonder what the Pax Unplugged 'thing' will be. Like East has scarves, so I'm intrigued

    I hope it's dice! Unless you mean something to wear, in which case hats would be good for Philadelphia in November.

  • zerzhulzerzhul Registered User, Moderator mod
    a pax toque would be pretty cool

  • KetarKetar Lacks the basic intelligence required for pretty much everythingRegistered User regular
    I would love to see a live thornwatch game in the vein of Acq Inc.

    I don't know yet if this will happen, but I expect you will see quite a bit of Thornwatch at Unplugged.

    But will there be a Sausage Party mega tournament?

    That was a good time at Gencon last year :D

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