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How to PAX? First Timer questions
So it has become abundantly apparent over the past few weeks that PAX Unplugged will be different in format and approach from many of the formats currently established at our gaming conventions. This is fine, as Unplugged is clearly going to be its own thing (i.e. it's a PAX show about board, card and role-playing games, as opposed to a board game convention by PAX, if you get the distinction). My only issue, however, is that having no PAX experience upon which to draw, a lot of the information coming from the PAX Unplugged site, twitter feeds and so forth all seem to assume/expect a certain degree of PAX knowledge that many of I and my friends simply do not have. I'd like to think this is more an issue of oversight than insular community.
In that spirit, I'm trying to ascertain what may be basic questions, but ones for which I haven't found obvious answers (arguably because I'm just looking in the wrong locations for them).
1. I have the App. It is quite impressive. I like that it lets me set up a schedule.
2. How does PAX open? That is, what's the process for attending the convention? Do I just show up and stand on a line until the doors open? My wife and I are pre-registered. Do we have to wait on a specific line to enter?
3. I know you need to register (and pray) that you can get into an event. Is this done at one location? Tournaments will likely be impossible to get into (and it seems odd to me that a convention of 23-30,000 people has a bunch of tournaments for...8 to 24 people. The two things I most want to attend are panels in (iirc) the main theater. Do I need to register for these or are those just 'show up and the main theater and hope that some seats are there'?
4. How will the freeplay tables work? Huge swaths of the Philly Area gaming community are going and looking to play games...are tables requested/assigned?
5. How does the LFG/LFM area work?
I'm hoping these are all basic and obvious questions. I'm pretty excited for PAX Unplugged, but I wish there wasn't this huge ball of uncertainty hanging over the whole thing. I understand this sort of 'media blackout' until a couple of weeks prior to the con is normal for PAXes (though I'm not sure it's great for new attendees). There is a lot of crossover between the video game and board game communities, but I feel like PAX doesn't really have a grip on the differences, yet. I'm hoping I'm just over-thinking it and everything is going to be great.