I had the fortune to attend Pax east this year. Now that I’ve had a week to absorb the experience, and deal with our largest local Gaming, Anime, and Fandom con, (AKA UBCon) I wanted to write about the experience I had as a table top gamer at a predominantly video game fan convention.
I love Pax East. Of all the conventions I attend it is the most different for me. There are video game companies set up in the Boston Convention Center with massive booths and displays showing off all kinds of incredible games. Some of them have life sized statues and others have vehicles they got inside the convention center as part of their displays. There were even a few paid actors dressed up as characters from the games to help promote them. It’s was an intense weekend with fifty thousand attendees all there to experience the things they love. I was there for Wizards of the Coast to help DM D&D games for anyone who wanted to play. I ran my fair share including a play test for the forthcoming D&D Next and participated in the DM Challenge competition. I came in fourth. I wasn’t pleased but that just means I’ll have to get back there next year and win. For you gamer’s out there the DM challenge this year was to bring your best seventh level adventure around the theme of the elemental chaos. You bring everything; the characters, the adventure, and all the skill you have. You run the game for a table of five to six people you’re randomly given for four hours and then they score you on several categories such as presentation, story, skill as a DM, characters relevance to the story, ect. The winner is the person with the highest score. This year is was Melissa Lewis-Gentry. I got to chat with her for a moment afterwards and Melissa was very gracious in her victory. She was a little busy so I didn’t get to hear what her adventure was about but I am looking forward to competing against her next year.
As much fun as I had with the DM challenge and the D&D Next play test (I can’t talk about it. I signed an NDA.) I think the best part of Pax is playing with the people who aren’t RPG table top gamer’s. You get a lot of people like that at Pax. The crowd is more into video games. I enjoy this situation because the players don’t come to the table with a lot of preconceived notions. If they do they aren’t very solid and I blow them up in the first twenty minutes. I feel like it’s a chance to show off the hobby to people on the edges of our type of game, bring new players to the fold, and give back a little to the hobby which has given me so much. Les Foster, one of the marshals for organizing the tables, said it best:
I like Pax because of the all the happy gamers who are here. I’ve been able to look around and see parents playing D&D with their kids and friends having a great time together. Marshaling is work but it’s worth it to be in this atmosphere. Seeing these people who don’t normally play D&D with smiles on their faces hanging out and having fun together makes Pax for me.
Like I said, Les couldn’t of said it better and I agree with him. That’s all I got for now. Talk to you soon and keep gaming.
Chris “The Light” Sniezak