PAX Unplugged – Day 1 recap/thoughts

That was a wild weekend and it went by way too fast! I could have easily spent another day in the Expo hall, looking for games to demo.

Me, Bright-eyed and geeking out, right before I hit the road for Philly!

Anyway – what did I do on Day 1?

Honestly, I have to check my notes because the sensory overload of it all made me forget everything moment to moment!

The first game I happened upon was “Over Under Ostrich” a frantic card flipping card matching game. You had to draw card with pictures of Ostriches with random hair cuts and colors, but you couldn’t just pick up the card, you had to slide it to the edge of the table, flip it and catch the card before you could play it on the table, trying to be the first to collect all the Ostriches. You might also get a razor, which let you cancel out another player’s Ostrich. It was definitely a game I could see kids playing outside at a picnic, cards flying through the air, lots of giggling.

I was lucky enough to sit in on a demo of “Atlanta”, a game by designer Mondo Davis, who I somehow ended up following on TikTok awhile back. He does great videos about board game design, with advice and general behind the scenes stories.

I found a demo for One Deck Galaxy, a game I almost backed on KS but when it was fully funded in moments, I figured I could wait for retail. I have One Deck Dungeon on my phone and I’m awful at it but that’s never stopped me from wanting to play a sequel before!

One Deck Galaxy isn’t just a reskin though! It’s very different when it comes to how you use your dice and powers. It can be solo or co-op and I lucked out and got a random passerby to join me at the table. We may have doomed the galaxy but we had fun!

And that is one of my favorite things about PAX and especially the tabletop zone. Unlike video games, which tend to be solo experiences even when playing with people, board games are social creations. For most games, you need another person. And conventions and giant spaces, full of people ready to play. So many times, I sat down and was quickly joined by other gamers. It was also easy for me to sit at a table when I noticed someone learning a game alone.

Everyone wants to play. We were there to play. The sign out from says “Welcome Home” and I always feel emotional when I see it. It is such a joyous feeling to know everyone is there to play. As adults, we rarely get to just play all day.

But at PAX, you could walk among the booths and spot a random person learning to play Dice Miner and casually slide in next to them and before you know it, you’re laughing and rolling dice together.

Or you could walk down the hall and see someone from the Czech games crew waving the box cover of Lost Ruins of Arnak around and they lure you into a room where you are immediately welcomed to a table.

But maybe my favorite moment of the day was randomly wandering the convention center and stumbling upon the Games on Demand table and finally getting to play Fall of Magic – a storytelling rpg with a beautiful scroll as the centerpiece. 4 other people joined me on the journey across a land losing its magic and those 2 hours flew by as we all told our story together. I might write up a single post about this game. It’s that good and I need it!

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