Hey everyone, hope you are all looking forward to PAX in ~1 week! If you’re attending, and are of the cardboard persuasion, here is all of the info that’s pertinent to you, from exhibitor info, to tourneys, to panels, and some other fun bits.
Are you an aspiring designer hoping to playtest your game? Register with the fine folks at UnPub
, who will have a dedicated game space all weekend to help you get your playtest on. You can also attend the Pre-PAX Game Design Night
(presented by Game Maker’s Guild) on Thursday night.
Looking to play in this year’s MegaGame? A brand new scenario is debuting this year, “The World Turned Upside Down” with an American Revolution theme. Registration costs $22, with proceeds donated to Child’s Play, and is happening NOW
. Remaining tickets will be sold starting 10AM on Friday, during PAX.
Will you be in Boston on Thursday and want to start your PAX early? The Unofficial Pre-PAX Game Night is for you.
Seating for ~500 board gamers at the Westin’s “Galleria” hall will open at 5PM! No tickets required. Tables are first-come, first-serve.
For those at home who want to pre-plan their PAX Tabletop hype, there’s always the Tabletop Library inventory page, now weighing in at ~1,100 total games
TT Exhibitors (Open until Midnight):
Asmadi Games (in Foam Brain Games booth)
Czech Games Edition (in Foam Brain Games booth)
Fun to 11
Greater Than Games
IELLO (in Foam Brain Games booth)
Looney Labs (in Foam Brain Games booth)
Ninja Divison (in Foam Brain Games booth)
Steve Jackson Games
Games on Demand (Indie RPG play area)
Pathfinder Society (Pathfinder play area)
The Role Initiative (D&D play area)
Armor Class 10 [Apparel]
Battleground Games [Game retailer]
Cascade Games [Game retailer]
Compleat Strategist [Game retailer]
Crit Success [Accessories/apparel]
Foam Brain Games [Game retailer]
Level Up Dice [Dice]
Modern Myths NY [Game retailer]
Pandemonium [Game retailer]
UnPub [Game playtesting area]
Techtonic Craft Studios [Accessories/Terrain]
Wyrmwood Gaming [Accessories]
TT Exhibitors in Expo (Open until 6 PM)
Cyanide & Happiness
Direwolf Digital/Renegade Games
Greater Than Games
Gut Shot Games
Indie Boards & Cards
Indie MEGABOOTH presents: Indie Tabletop (multiple publishers)
John Wick Presents (7th Sea RPG)
North Star Games
Paw Warrior Games
White Wizard Games
Wild East Game Co.
Carolina Game Tables [Furniture]
Eclectic Eccentricities [Apparel]
Elderwood Academy [Accessories]
Flipside Gaming [Retailer]
Foam Brain Games [Retailer]
Gaming Etc [Accessories]
Gaming Paper [Accessories]
Geek Chic [Furniture/Accessories]
Gemhammer & Sons Gaming [Accessories]
Troll & Toad [Retailer]
A full listing of all PAX East Tabletop Tourneys can be found on the PAX website
. Tabletop Tourneys will include all of your usual PAX favorites, as well as several new additions not previously seen at PAX East:
Star Wars Destiny
Batman the Animated Series Dice
Game of Thrones the Card Game 2nd Ed
Registration for tourneys is held at TT HQ. All registrations open at 10AM on the day of the scheduled tournament.
Chaos in the Old World
Twilight Imperium 3rd Ed
A Game of Thrones Board Game 2nd Ed
Need to block out time for an epic-scale board gaming experience? Registration for these “epic” games will open at 10AM on Friday to help players find a dedicated group.
Magic The Gathering
Daily tournament schedule to be released soon on the Cascade Games event page.
Edit: Magic schedule now live. Pokemon TCG schedule coming soon.
Ironmark Games is bringing a brand new MegaGame scenario to PAX East!
Get ready for The World Turned Upside Down, on Sunday at 11AM. Limited in-person registration will be available on-site on Friday at 10AM in TT HQ. Come take part in a gigantic game that is one part board game, one part live action RPG. Come to PAX, and leave having experienced a truly unique gaming experience!
Random: The Dirtiest Word In Tabletop - Arachnid Theater @ 11AM
Random mechanics are an important tool in the game designer's tool box. However, deciding when to implement a random mechanic is no easy task. On one hand, a well designed random mechanic may not feel random at all to players in the middle of a play, while an overt random mechanic that does not connect with players may feel uninspired, like a design short cut. Randomness in tabletop should not be taken lightly, as it may be the nail in your game's coffin, or the glue that holds it together. PANELISTS: Zach Given [Game Designer, Lay Waste Games], Tommy Maranges [Game Designer, Secret Hitler], Luke Crane [Founder and Head of Games, Burning Wheel and Kickstarter], Anya Combs [Games Outreach Lead, Kickstarter]
Thornwatch Preview - Dragonfly Theater @ 2:30PM
Join the Thornwatch team—Mike Krahulik, Jerry Holkins, Chad Brown, Kiko Villasenor, and Mike Fehlauer—as they talk about the lore and creative process on the first game in the Eyrewood Adventures line. As the game rumbles toward completion, you'll see all new art and maps, hear about new concepts, and get a look in on the development of the first expansion, Dark of the Wood. Many thorns shall be watched!
Roll Selection: The Art of Choosing Which Board Game to Play - Bumblebee Theater @ 3PM
There are over 87,000 board games in existence, with thousands more released each year, but your friends really just want you to pick one. How do you do it? Join some of the leading voices in board game media as they share, and debate the merits of, their preferred techniques. PANELISTS: Tom Vasel [President, The Dice Tower], Russ Wakelin [Co-host, The D6 Generation], Chris Kirkman [Co-host, The State of Games/Geek All-Stars], Charlie Hall [Features Writer, Polygon], Nate Anderson [Deputy Editor, Ars Technica], W. Eric Martin [News Editor, BoardGameGeek]
Omegathon Round 1: Codenames - Dragonfly Theater @ 4PM
And so it begins. We start with 16 teams (32 total Omeganauts) and we will reduce that number by HALF! How will we be culling the herd, you ask? By playing a dangerous game of espionage, deceit, and violence. A game called ... Codenames. Quite possibly the most dangerous game known to humanity.
Tabletop Design: Make Fancy Dumb Stuff! - CondorTheater @ 5PM
Are you thinking about making a game that uses weird and unique materials but there is a voice in your head telling you to do something easier and simpler? Or even real people saying its way too complex or impractical? Stick with paper and plastic? Come hear from industry professionals who followed different paths and how those choices affected their games and sanity.
PANELISTS: Maya Coleman [Community Manager, Secret Hitler], Luke Crane [Founder and Head of Games, Burning Wheel and Kickstarter], Jonathan Ritter-Roderick [CoFounder and Director of Operations, Lay Waste Games], Chris Cantrell [Riot Games, Product Manager], Trin Garritano [Businesswoman, Cards Against Humanity]
Play (Dirty) to Win - Bumblebee Theater @ 6PM
Ostensibly, you play games to win. (Assuming we're talking about competitive games: you're not playing to "win" Dungeons & Dragons… are you?) But are really? Shouldn't you be winning a lot more often? Maybe you should try that cheap strategy you've heard about. Punch below the belt. Memorize the deck. Read the FAQ. What's the line between playing to win and cheating? Is "playing dirty" even really a thing? Come for the degenerate strategies, stay for the soul-crushing revelations on winning.
PANELISTS: Brandon Rym DeCoster [Producer, GeekNights], Scott Rubin [Host, GeekNights]
The PAX Tabletop Big Game: Wits & Wagers Mega Edition - Dragonfly Theater @ 7PM
Some board games are just too big for the table. Join this game show edition of Wits & Wagers, history's most award winning trivia game, hosted by Tom Vasel of The Dice Tower and Ivan Van Norman of Geek & Sundry. Select audience members will get the chance to play on stage against surprise guests from Riot Games, Cards Against Humanity, Jackbox, and more! At the PAX Tabletop Big Game, teams will play for charity, but everyone will leave with a prize.
PANELISTS: Tom Vasel [President, The Dice Tower]
Designing Board Games from Life Experiences - Cuttlefish Theater @ 9PM
Have you spent a lot of your time devoted to a hobby, a job, family and friends? Do you want to create games? How do you incorporate the things you’ve experienced from day-to-day life into your creations? Just like an artist who paints from life, a great designer draws inspiration from the world around them. Join us and learn how to use your day job for a creative advantage! PANELISTS: Timothy Mattes [Game Designer, Devious Devices], Doug Lewandowski [Game Designer, Meltdown Games], JR Honeycutt [Game Developer, Artana], Luke Peterschmidt [Partner, Fun to 11 Games], Jeff Johnston [Game Designer, Pair of Jacks Games], Jeff Gracia [President, Greenbrier Games]
The Life and Times of a Board Game - Bumblebee Theater @ Noon
How do tabletop games go from ideas to actual games you can buy? Join us for an informative look at the entire process of making rad tabletop games. Concept and design, production and logistics, distribution and sales; we'll cover it all. It won't be quite as cool as when Mr Rogers visited the crayon factory, but I can guarantee there will be a lot more terrible jokes along with your learning!
PANELISTS: Matt Fantastic [Chief Princess Officer, Prettiest Princess], Josh Githins [North American Sales Manager, Czech Game Editions], Shari Spiro [Owner, Ad Magic / Breaking Games], Anna Fisher [Queen Bee, Freelance Artist], Paul Bender [Operations Director, Greater Than Games]
Please Don't Punch the GM: Adventures in Gaming Therapy - Cuttlefish Theater @ Noon
Games like Dungeons and Dragons are in the middle of a resurgence in pop culture, appearing in television, media, and now even being used therapeutically. Join game masters Adam Johns and Adam Davis as they return from the frontier of therapeutic gaming to tell stories, answer questions, and celebrate how the the games we love can make us better people.
PANELISTS: Adam Davis [Founder, Wheelhouse Workshop], Adam Johns [Founder, Wheelhouse Workshop]
Tabletop System Wars - Bumblebee Theater @ 1:30
The Panel Strikes Back! Come help us celebrate our fifth year at PAX East! Bring us your weird and wonderful one-shot and campaign ideas, and we’ll tell you which tabletop roleplaying system you should use and why. New rules or old school? Story game or simulation? Crunchy or freeform? Our team of designers, editors, geeks, and grognards will brainstorm and debate until you’ve got the system that fits. You bring the ideas, we’ll bring the nerd rage.
PANELISTS: Brian Liberge [Game Designer, Beer Star Games], Jim White [RPG Editor/Writer/Designer, Freelance], Brent P. Newhall [Game Designer, Brent's Museum of Fantastic Wonders], Matt Maranda [Game Hoarder, Gamer Assembly], Tresi Arvizo [Indie Game Hipster, Gamer Assembly], Meg McGinley [Fun Maker, Games by Playdate]
How to Make a Tabletop RPG - Bobcat Theater @ 5:30PM
Have you been hacking away at your favorite tabletop RPG to make it play like you want? Maybe you’re building your first homebrew? Or maybe you want to see how far you can take the roleplaying game medium? Game design veterans Vincent Baker (Apocalypse World), Luke Crane (Burning Wheel), Hannah Shaffer (Questlandia), Robert Bohl (Misspent Youth), and Joshua A.C. Newman (Shock:Social Science Fiction) are excited to share their creative processes with you and help you make your thing!
PANELISTS: Joshua Newman [the glyphpress], Vincent Baker [lumpley games], Hannah Shaffer [Make Big Things], Luke Crane [Burning Wheel], Robert Bohl [Robert Bohl Games]
Fighting Robots: Attacking a Theme from Different Angles - Cuttlefish Theater @ 6PM
Who lives fighting robots? We do. Five different game makers each created a different tabletop game with a similar theme at around the same time - all from the same inspirations. How did that happen? Come and learn about what it means to adapt a theme into a game, and how it can stand out from the crowd even when there are other, similar titles on the market.
PANELISTS: Ryan Richford [Creative Designer, Zephyr Workshop], William Hessian [Designer, Hidden Ladder Games], Patrick Fahy [Designer, Off the Shelf Games], Don Mitchell [Designer, Eye4Games], Alex Cheng [CEO, Cardboard Dynamo], Cooper Heinrichs [Designer, Outchasers]
Binwin’s Minions - Condor Theater @ 6:30
Binwin Bronzebottom is looking for a few good adventurers to help acquire all the loot from the Deep Mines of Yag'Onnadie. Join in the hilarity as Chris Perkins runs a live D&D game with Table Titans & Binwin's Minions creators Scott Kurtz and Tavis Mainden, along with a full party celebrity-esque level 1 adventurers!
Narrative, Balance, and Creative Chaos in Live Action Games
Live action games are spaces that invite players to immerse themselves in shared narratives and competitions. They challenge players to behave differently. And they require designers to build adaptive systems that thrive on chaos. No mechanism survives contact with the player. So how do designers balance rules that are meant to be broken? And how do facilitators know when to guide players down prepared narrative paths and when to relinquish control? Our panel will discuss these topics and more.
PANELISTS: Scott Silsbe [Chief Gaming Officer, Liveware Lab], Noam Strassfeld [President, New York MegaGame Society], Stefan Salva Cruz [Co-Founder & Live Games Designer, Ironmark Games]
Improvisation in Roleplaying: How to Run A Game In The Now - Condor Theater @ 11AM
Are you a Game Master that dreads when your players go off script? Does the thought of the adventurers wandering back into town instead of into your intricately planned dungeon make you want to throw your dice out a window? Well, then, Improvisation in Roleplaying is the panel for you. Join an expert team of authors, comedians and expert tabletop maestros and learn the secrets of how to improvise and adapt so that you can handle anything your players can throw at you. All while having more fun!
PANELISTS: John Serpico [Member of Board of Directors, ImprovBoston], Auston Habershaw [Professor, MCPHS], Melissa Carubia [Performer, Composer, Urban Improv, Minusworld], Bobby Smithney [Performer, Director, ImprovBoston], John Perich [Writer, OverthinkingIt.com]
Breaking Through: Creating A New Gamer Toy Line - Bobcat Theater @ 1PM
Two stay at home dads and a tabletop game manufacturer probably have no business making a toy line, but personal passion for games and toys pushed them to give it a try. How does the process from concept to creation happen? The mistakes, risks, wins and challenges of making pixels become plastic will be displayed.
PANELISTS: Steven Bailey [Designer, Game Yay Fun!], Shari Spiro [President, Ad Magic & Breaking Games], Blaise Sewell [Designer, Feels Right Design]
Acquisitions Incorporated Live at PAX East - Main Theater @ 1PM
Acquisitions Incorporated: The Series—live, on the main stage at PAX East! Join Jim Darkmagic (Mike Krahulik), Omin Dran (Jerry Holkins), Môrgæn (Morgan Webb), and special secret guest star, TV’s own K’thris Drow’b (Kris Straub)!
Join the adventurers, along with Dungeon Master Chris Perkins, on an epic adventure about adventuring. Much adventure will be ventured.
Escape Rooms: Moving Virtual Gaming into the Real World - Condor Theater @ 2PM
Escape Rooms aka Puzzle Rooms or Exit Games are a hot trend sweeping the world. Evolving from the point and click adventure games on the PC, into a real-life adventure game for groups. The premise is simple: you and your team enter a themed space and work together to find clues, solve puzzles and get out.. Come and learn about the history, tricks, psychology, design and future of Escape Games. Featuring owners from around Massachusetts. Check it out, ask questions, and maybe win some stuff too.
PANELISTS: Sol Gordon [CEO/GameMaster, North Shore Escape-Woburn], Jeff Boyer [Owner/Chief Joy Instigator, Room Escapers-Downtown Boston], Michael Paquin [Owner/PuzzleMaster, Live Action Escapes-Worcester], Chiu Chan [GameMaster/Designer, AmazeEscape-Arlington], Audrey Chow [Owner/Designer, Curious Escape Rooms-Fitchburg], Jason Loeb [Owner, Trapology Boston]