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How is PAX South as a solo experience?

MythrilRobMythrilRob Registered User regular
Hi! I've been to PAX east for the past three years and had a blast at all of them. However, my group of 4 might not be able to make it this year, leaving me solo for the first time. I figured this year, instead of going to East, I might go to South, get some travel in, and do some cool things? So my question is as the title asks; how is South as a solo attendee


  • mnemonictutormnemonictutor A Mnemonic Tutor in Silicon Valley DominariaRegistered User regular
    It all depends on what you're looking to do. I usually go with one of my good friends, but that being said, I would not mind going alone at all. Being that it is held in the - well - south, there are more southerners in attendance. They are generally nice people who are easy to get along with, especially the ones at PAX. We have never had issues joining in on multi-player games, participating in any events, or just sitting with another group at a table to rest/eat. I think going solo would be an OK experience. Perhaps this thread will attract some people who are also planning to go solo, and you can 'group up' so that you're not alone too much. Most people are also generally talkative in lines, so you can always make new friends there. Sure, some people have their head buried in their phone, but since the internet doesn't work in the facility (well at least) and cell signal is very spotty and weak, most people just use them for pictures. I'm curious to see how the release of the Switch will affect this year's PAX, as I myself have one, and I plan to bring it along. My friend does not have one, so I'm not sure how much game time I will get in as I think it would be rude to be playing on it while he just stands there, but perhaps we can switch off (see what I did there) or something.

    The one thing I would think would be not so much fun, but obvious at this point, is things like playing 'vs' matches in games, specifically the retro games. My buddy and I had a f-ing blast last year playing so many retro titles, especially the old fighting games like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat. I will say this though, at one point my buddy needed a rest (guessing he just got tired and overloaded), so while he chilled out on one of the sofas outside of the arcade, I went in the arcade to play some games, and people immediately joined in on the fun. This also happened to me in the retro area when my buddy wanted to play a different game than I did...I was sitting down playing a game and some random guy came by and asked if he could join in because he loved the game. Again, people are very friendly at PAX in general, and more so at South imho. I think you will be fine.

    One more thing, there are several social events that are planned, which are not official events for PAX. Two that come to the top of mind are the pub crawl and the Brazilian steak house dinner. I can't remember if both are the night before PAX starts, or just one is, but either way, you can go to these and meet a ton of people - many of which are also there solo. Make some friends and then enjoy PAX as a group for the next few days.

  • StinkyTurdStinkyTurd Registered User regular
    edited July 2017
    Pub crawl is the night before pax the Texas de Brazil dinner has been Saturday nights so far since that has seemed to interfere with the least other evening events :) there has also been the prepax tabletop night on Thursday the San Antonio tour thing on wed and Thursday greybox has hosted parties on the last 2 Saturday nights so if they are at south again that's something to look in to they have been fun.

    StinkyTurd on
  • MythrilRobMythrilRob Registered User regular
    @mnemonictutor Thanks for write up, much appreciated. I'm pretty good at doing things by myself but it's always been my group of 4 at PAX so it'd be a new experience for me. Also, PAX South sounds radically different from how I've seen East the past 3 years; waiting in line for panels and games is very much a solitary experience. I remember waiting for a panel two years ago, at least fifty people waiting with 45 minutes before the panel started and dead silence.

    @StinkyTurd Thanks for the list, all of those sound interesting. I'm always down for a cool little community thing going on. I hate clubbing and loud, flashy nightlife though so as long as those events aren't clubbing/nightlife, it'd definitely be worth a look.

  • The AviatrixThe Aviatrix Registered User regular
    While I don't truly go solo to PAX, the way my group functions, I spend much of the days solo. (We meet periodically, but if somebody gets distracted by a shiny, they wander away, eventually the group is all individuals.) Many lines have somebody to chat with.They obviously have at least one interest in common, so no need to be too shy. Demo'ing tabletop games is great. You can usually sit down pretty quick (if not immediately) and that often starts great conversations. I really cannot express how wonderful the people are when solo.
    Wandering around Tabletop after expo closes has always provided game opportunities - there's always a group happy to invite more.
    I also went to A Shot of Ice and Fire solo this past year, and had a lot of fun. I don't go to bars (or clubs or any nightlife) outside of PAX. But there's something special about being surrounded by nerds. A group of folks on the street wearing black cloaks, kneeling before another guy dressed in black, all taking an oath as member's of the Night's Watch. It's beautiful.
    Even flights often have awesome interactions. I met a photogropher I follow on a flight to West. I had like a two hour conversation with a PAX couple during a layover. And when flying with my friend, the third person in our row was also a PAX person and ended up splitting an uber with us (and the uber driver was surprised when we said we met the guy on our flight because of the ease of conversation.)

    South happens to be right around my birthday, so I consider it to be my birthday party, and only my friends were invited because everybody at PAX is a friend, even if we haven't met yet. :P

    (And btw, outside of PAX I'm often terrified of talking to people.)

  • MythrilRobMythrilRob Registered User regular
    edited August 2017
    -The Aviatrix - Thanks for the response! The situations you're describing sound like the exact opposite of the ones I had at east. For the most part, people were very much in their own worlds. That kind of interaction was sparse. It's pretty much why I started this topic, because I was kind of afraid that there'd be no interaction whatsoever and with PAX South being smaller than East, wasn't sure how the expo hall/program guide would be for a solo attendee. I'm really liking what I'm hearing so far.

    Also, best birthday party ever it sounds like :razz:

    MythrilRob on
  • RILMSRILMS North BayRegistered User regular
    I go to PAX South with friends, but we're all kind of there for different things, so we don't really hang out, except for food or in the handheld area.

    I tend to bring card games and play with people as we wait in line for things. I've met a lot of cool people that way.

  • StinkyTurdStinkyTurd Registered User regular
    RILMS wrote: »
    I go to PAX South with friends, but we're all kind of there for different things, so we don't really hang out, except for food or in the handheld area.

    I tend to bring card games and play with people as we wait in line for things. I've met a lot of cool people that way.

    I think making the pax coins helps with meeting people to and that glorious hat :)

  • michaeldemossmichaeldemoss LouisianaRegistered User regular
    I have never been to a PAX solo, but I can say that I always meet people in line to talk to and hang out with. That's why PAX is such an amazing place, because it is so easy to find people with similar interests as you.

  • ChaiMoonChaiMoon Registered User new member
    I went to Pax by myself for the first time last year. My friend and I had different agendas so we met up a few times. Otherwise I talked to some people in line even though I'm usually pretty shy. I took my 3Ds and played a game with a few people in line too! I think this con is fun to go solo. Usually for anime cons I prefer company.

  • MythrilRobMythrilRob Registered User regular
    Well, I nailed it down and I’m going to PAX South. I’m excited and really looking forward to the event. Thank you so much for the responses and input!

    xThanatoSxThe Aviatrix
  • MurfMurf Registered User regular
    Last year was my first PAX ever. Was fun, even though solo. Wouldn't mind having a paxin pal if you're interested. 1st night of Post Pax celebrations will be on me. :D

  • electricstormelectricstorm Austin, TXRegistered User regular
    I went alone in 2016 and I met a lot of cool people in the handheld lounge. There's someone always willing to chat or play a game over there. Check it out!

  • thegirlinbldg8thegirlinbldg8 satxRegistered User regular
    I was alone for a day last year myself and enjoyed it. I second the game suggestion. It was suggested last year and I ended up buying Game of Phones and superfight and got to know some people in line queues real quick.

  • RILMSRILMS North BayRegistered User regular
    We are having a panel about meeting people at PAX and now to do stuff :D You should all come!

  • japesterjapester Registered User regular
    I'll add that I've been to Prime, East and South solo over numerous years. I started attending PAX as an exhibitor, so walking around was part of my time off. I have also attended with people, but invariably we split up to do our own thing. I'm a very sociable guy, however, so turning to a complete stranger and striking up a conversation comes easily to me. It has gotten a little tougher in recent years due to cell phones. More and more people tend to just stare at their screens. But I glance around (usually while in line) and try to spot someone nearby wearing something from a game/show I like, or I'll overhear people talking about something interesting. Someone like MythrilRob actually has an advantage in that he's been to PAX several times and at a different location. A lot of PAX South attendees are new to the whole convention thing. (I'm a local, and big cons only started coming here in the past 5 years or so.) One way I start a conversation is to ask if this is their first PAX. If it is, that right there opens up lots of avenues to talk about what they might want to see, comparing it to prior years, comparing it to East/Prime/etc--that sort of thing.

    A few years back, I took my shy nephew to Prime for his first PAX. I kid you not, we stepped into our very first line in the expo hall and the guy in front of us turns around with a big smile and says, "Hi! What kind of games do you like?" Put my nephew right at ease. Kind of sums up my PAX experience.

    Another thing to consider is that South is still very light on programming and big industry names. It started to morph into the tabletop PAX, but then Unplugged was announced and stole its thunder. So few people are attending specifically to see their favorite company or creator/celeb. That means people are attending to be around other game nerds and just experience the event. Which means the crowds are more inclined to be friendly and sociable.

    Have a great PAX! :D

  • KrathoonKrathoon Registered User regular
    I would try getting into a party. I tend to regret not doing that when I go solo.

    Always bring your 3DS to get that Streetpass goodness.

  • Gantz_irlGantz_irl Registered User new member
    Hey there everyone,

    I recently had my friend who was going to come have a emergency and he cant make it so I jumped on here and saw this post. If anyone going solo wants to meet up I would be down, I was kind of scared that this situation might happen so I would appreciate all the info from others who have gone solo in the past and anyone who would like to come and hangout this weekend!

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