Conventions are great and I don't get to go to nearly enough of them. My wallet is very happy about this, but I still making it to PAX and make my wallet cry for mercy every time. For a few years it was a matter of building up my collection of board games and getting cards for games like Magic or the World of Warcraft game when it was a thing. Now its mostly directed towards RPGs. Well, I still get board games. Today I want to take a look at this year's PAX East and what I managed to get out of it.
The Learning Curve
I am ALWAYS on the hunt for panels that will inform me not just on great new RPGs to play or indies games I should try, but also on how to GM better or move forward making this more of a career. This year, however, I was a little disappointed, though not because I missed a day. Mostly, there was a lot more panels on streaming of video game development. This shouldn't really come as a surprise, but it still kind of sucks. It is a lot easier getting to Boston for me than it will be to get to Philly for the PAX Unplugged. Budget is also a bit of a problem. Still, I may try to make it if I can figure out how.
Something that I always do is buy board games at PAX. Mostly, it is an excuse to do so, but there are always games I have my eye on or haven't discovered yet. This year I walked of with three games and, despite their expensive nature, they seem to be great choices. First is Mega Man, which I have wanted for what is essentially forever. We haven't played it yet but the figures and game look great. I mean...it's Mega Man. The other two games were Evolution, which I have been eyeing for years, and Mysterium.
Evolution is a very good game. It is competitive and the way it works each game will feature slightly different strategies no matter what. Not only that but the pieces and rules are pretty straightforward, which is great because it means not setting up forever and explaining it is quick. Mysterium is very similar, though it has more pieces. Set up time shouldn't be bad at all now that we've had a chance to play. This one is a cooperative game where one player does something different than the others. There is a round limit and only one way to win. This is a really fun game and if you are looking for a different style coop, this is it! Both games have a nice ~60 minute play time which is perfect too.
Dice, Books, And Stuff
It is tradition that I boost my dice collection while at PAX. Generally I find dice I really like, sets for specific games, or a themed set for a certain purpose. For example my dice from last year that I got specifically for the Curse of Strahd. This year I picked up Paizo's goblin dice and the Mummy's Mask (I think?) adventure path set. How can you beat those!? I also grabbed a 4E monster book because, for cheap money, I can't not add that to my collection. Aside from those I picked up a fun, if older system, lair/encounter book for a future giveaway as well as some pieces to utilize for the board game we're working on.
New RPGs And Decisiveness
Last year I bought three games and the Untamed Scribe picked up one. We have managed to play two of those. While the intent would be to play all of them before I get even more, I just don't have that kind of control when PAX is such a good excuse to buy hard copies of certain games. Instead, I decided to focus on getting games, not just for our one-shots, but that the player's would look forward to playing as well.
To start I grabbed two new Powered by the Apocalypse games. We all loved Monster of the Week and I see this system as one people will love using to try a new world / setting. It is also a great game to run quicker adventures through, so that will help me in my one-shot designing. In order to spice up our table I grabbed Masks and Epyllion. Masks is the supers game that is designed to feel like Young Justice or Teen Titans. I think it will be the perfect way to get supers to the table with a group that loves the fantasy focus. Epyllion is a fantasy setting, but it is one that is a lot different from the usual. In it players get to be dragons! How can you go wrong there? Of course Magpie Games is becoming a favorite publisher of mine, despite the games not having been played yet. Determined to get all of them in ASAP though.
The other direction I wanted to go was things that were pretty much guaranteed to be over in one session / night. These are fairly hard to find, but I did re-discover Microscope and discovered Downfall. Both are games that aren't anywhere near traditional and they should both be playable within one night. The great thing about these is that the serve another purpose: world-building. Both of these are universe/world builders and I cannot wait to sit down and create with my group. Finally I picked up Ryuutama because it is hard to find and it was there in hardcover. I am in love with the idea of this game and hope to fit it in sooner than later.
Using It All
With all this new stuff, there should be even more for me to write about and there will be. First though, we have to play it all. Then I can get some reviews out and you guys can have some Untamed Dice to listen to. I will likely review the board games as well because, while not RPGs, they are table top games! Of course I must mention that things will continue to be slow in March, but a new website overhaul and a lot of podcast episodes are coming. Leaps are being taken and we aren't really sure how to fly yet....