Post PAX untotal recall:
I didn’t have the full PAX experience in many ways because I volunteered to help run things at the brand new Games on Demand presence in the tabletop hall. Maybe wandered into the expo hall a total of 1 hour, didn’t play anything.
I spent most of my time (actually almost all of it) in the tabletop hall, which was INSANE this year. Last year I recalled on Saturday night sitting at a table at 8pm in a huge, lonely, empty cold hangar with nothing to do. This year, the tabletop hall was bursting with visitors from 11am until well past midnight, if not even later. Most of hundreds of tables were full from noon until well past 10pm both late nights!
The tabletop room was completely reorganized for the better. Traffic flow was greatly improved, and the room was divided into several distinct areas (WoT, indie stuff, retailers, Magick, open gaming, board game library, information) that sucked in the attendees and kept them there.
There was far less cosplay this year, or at least from what I saw. Heard there was a competing Anime convention in town going on that probably poached a lot of them. Looks like some of the A-game ME cosplayers were back, but mostly missed them too.
Missed the Fitocracy panel/meetup, sad face. Missed out on the Bioware/ME panel…probably would have got in the room if I had got in line 6 hours earlier. No idea how it went. This year’s PAX was a sea of N7 hoodies. Bioware had a nifty room for general fandom, got a Dragon Age nightgown (XXL T-shirt) for free.
Kickstarter had a really cool “arcade” room dedicated to indie gaming projects! Looked like fun!
The classic arcade was back, awesome as always.
Working at GoD, talked a lot to gamers who never played a tabletop RPG. Probably talked to over 100+ people a day. Lots of folks looking for something outside of the D&D experience visited us. A few had no interest in playing anything but loved that we were offering “weird” games and friendly GMs willing to run them. And GoD was definitely in demand! We were overwhelmed and a little overworked. Lots of designers GMed their games, which was great.
I was too tired to go to party much at night and walking a mile or so each day to find non-gross veggie-friendly food (that area around the convention center is a food desert), helped that I brought snacks. The shuttles to the hotels were overloaded, so most of the time we walked 35 minutes to the hotel and back in the freezing Boston spring weather. Can’t say we didn’t get exercise at a gaming convention this time around.
Next year I look forward to helping out GoD, and we’ll do things differently. This crowd is very different from other tabletop conventions in that they don’t have a lot of time (2 hour games are ideal), and many have never played tabletop RPGs, but are hungry for the weirdness that are indie games.
Secret bonus highlight: Sunday afternoon, watching voiceless Jared GM via typing on a laptop a Parsley game (projected onto a huge screen) to a room full of players. Bringing the text adventure back to the live RPG that’s a sim of an 80’s text adventure.