Tabletop games have been around seemingly for as long as people could contemplate the term ‘gaming’. The definition has changed throughout time, but the only thing has stayed the same for certain, and that’s unadulterated fun. I personally haven’t played much of any tabletop games other than Magic the Gathering until Sunday. When I walked into the Philadelphia Convention Center, I had no idea what to expect, nor did I think events would unfold as they did. Pax Unplugged is an experience within itself; unlike any other convention I’d ever been to. The overall feeling is excitement and a sense of intimacy in some sense. When looking at the games, the creator, graphic designer, or another key component is standing right in front of you.
I lost count of the times I used the phrase “It’s like Disney World in here!”. Okay, that might’ve been a bit dramatic but for a first-timer, it might’ve been a bit closer to the truth than I’m making it out to be. The first thing that caught my eye was the organization of something that carried of the name of ‘Pax’. In my early 30’s, I grew up directly in the video game era and thought board games were something pulled out when the electricity was down and candlelight was the only option. Pax Unplugged proved me wrong with each and every booth I had the good fortune to stumble across. I found myself lost more in the art styles of each game, rather than the crowds of people around me.
Talking about crowds, there weren’t quite that many, to be honest. It might’ve been because this was only Pax Unplugged’s second year or the organizational layout was spot on, or a little bit of both. There was one thing that seemed to be in my face throughout each row, and that was…dice. Dear god, why were there so many sellers of dice?! It seemed to be everywhere I turned. I was determined not to get drawn into the ‘dice game’ or any games that heavily involved dice. Having the willpower of a mighty hero…I bought two sets…Anyway, I won’t be buying any more!
In closing, my first Pax Unplugged was quite the success in spades. I was extremely impressed with the attentiveness of the enforcers, the kindness of those working their tables, and the presentations I was shown. There aren’t many conventions that would make me ‘proud’ to write about except Pax East but I’d say Pax Unplugged has given it some competition, that’s for sure! I hope to head back next year and find out what exciting things are in store for 2019.
*As a side note, we will be writing articles focusing more on some of the review copies we were blessed enough to acquire to play…I mean study, you know, for…research purposes. Not fun at all, I assure you!*