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Post Con Thoughts

kc2dptkc2dpt Registered User regular
We had a great time. In this case "we" is me, my wife, my 10 yr old, and my 6 yr old. We only did Sunday as this was my youngest's first con and I wasn't sure how it would go.

First, you couldn't throw a d20 without hitting an enforcer. They were EVERYWHERE! And they were all, every one we met, helpful and friendly. This removed a lot of stress as we didn't feel as lost or helpless as we might have otherwise. At one point me and one kid split off to go to an event and the plan was for the other two to join us in a short while. Oops! We forgot to say where we were going or how to get there. No problem, the nearest enforcer knew exactly. This was my first PAX and I read so much from the PA guys about how amazing the enforcers are and it is not hyperbole.

The venue was appropriately sized. It felt like there was plenty to do and see and tons of people to play with, but without feeling crowded or oppressive. I love GenCon but there's so many people in that space you can't move quickly when you need to and sometimes you can't even move slowly.

The app... let's just say I never figured it out. The schedule seemed to work fine. The messaging system worked sporadically. I never got replies to any of my posts. I never figured out how "connections" work or what "checked-in" means. Having the map in there was nice.

I've been going to GenCon for years and the one thing I don't get there I always wanted is random pick-up games with strangers. And the lending library prices at GenCon are a real turn-off. The open play area at PAX was a dream come true for me. Big library of games. Hundreds of people looking for other people to play with. Free. I could easily spend 75% of a whole weekend in this section, with the remaining time split between shopping and eating. PAX Unplugged, in my own words, is a board game night that lasts for 3 straight days and has thousands of people. That is definitely something I want in my life. :D

So I don't know what the other days were like, but Sunday was definitely kid friendly. Lots of dealers had kid-friends games for them to demo. We bought two and made notes on many more for future purchases. We missed the 10am kids games event (it was full), but an enforcer alerted me to the 3pm one and both kids had a great time.

One of the things I love about GenCon is feeling that comfort of being amongst "my people". Somehow it was even moreso at PAX. Looking around at thousands of people and thinking, "These are all boardgamers!" was electrifying.

As a final data point... I've been going to GenCon for 14 years and I've never made a friend there. I made a friend at PAX. That's noteworthy.


  • nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    my thoughts:

    Compared to Pax East the number of people was very sparse. Getting into demos and walking around were much more accessible(only game i saw a big wait to try was Fallout)

    The App kind of stank. The coupons were not very good and were a pain to find

    One thing that surprised me was the lack of misc swag. There was no swag bag. There was like one t-shirt stand. Pretty much it was 100% board games and accessories for board games.

    Tons of freeplay space. finding a place was never a problem( at PAX East you pretty much have to stake out a table for the day if you want one)

    Overall very fun but a few first year kinks.

  • SchmulkiSchmulki Registered User regular
    Things which could be improved on, on those kinds of fronts:

    The map needed some kind of reference points. If you're on one floor of the map and needed to go to the other, since the convention center is a very strange layout, you can't tell what is above what. Easy enough to fix.

    Everyone I talked to who tried to show up early enough to prereg for something was disappointed with the experience. Combining lining up to get in the con with lining up to sign up for something in one big open area just wasn't working very well. I know the idea of prereg being at the day of the event is so people don't show up to the con and find out everything is already booked, but....well, that's what happened anyway. For the big stuff, if you showed up at 8:30 AM, the morning of the event, a lot of things were already filled with a huge list of alts already taken. Prereg should be handled before the con starts. If you want to make it fair and not have it be "first-come, first-serve," a lotto system can be used, but that really should all be off-loaded from the poor Enforcers just trying to have lines make sense.

    There's the Expo floor filled with people trying to demo games/talk to people to make purchases, then the open gaming area next to it filled with people trying to talk to each other while playing games....then a large stage next to that which seemingly randomly started having a TON of noise and bass coming from it, making for a tough time for the first 2 crowds. I don't know what was going on over there sometimes, but that needs to be moved to another room or at least airwalled off to help with sound.

    At PAX East, there's usually big banners hanging way up high with numbers to help people identify which isle they're in. Those weren't there at Unplugged. The numbers on the columns were useful, but those banners just made finding each other so much easier.

    The digital swag bag was a bit disappointing. I think that would make more sense for the other cons which are more video game-focused, since having a digital code to see a video/try a demo/other stuff like that makes sense. Tabletop stuff makes sense to have tactile cards, dice, chits, etc.

    That's more or less it. All pretty minor and fixable things. Overall, a great start to what I hope will continue to be a yearly tradition :)

  • zerzhulzerzhul Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited November 2017
    This is terrific feedback! So that we don't end up with a ton of feedback threads, I am going to close this one.

    Please post your feedback here:


    zerzhul on
This discussion has been closed.