Howdy Gamers! Another year of PAX Unplugged came and went, and while I’m terribly sad that it’s over, I’m once again super glad that I went. It was a lot of fun in a great community of dedicated and generally happy-go-lucky gamers! It is such an inviting and welcoming place to be for a weekend. I was able to let go of a lot of stress and have a really great time with my fiance, and it was great to be able to do that and not have to worry about work , life, and anything other than board games. We just played games, cruised the vendor hall, bought a TON of stuff, and I also went on a mini scavenger hunt for an owlbear and that was pretty dang exciting as well.
I’ve got a handful of pros and cons I wanted to mention from this convention experience as my recap as well as, of course, a bunch of fun photos from mostly the games I was playing. Please enjoy! And hopefully I’ll see you next year at PAXU! 🙂
*Quick reminder that this is based off of my own personal PAXU experience. I’m not speaking for anyone else or saying that your opinions based on what you experienced are wrong. Just saying that this is how I felt after my 3 days there. Just wanted to be clear on that right off the bat 🙂
- Overall a great experience – people were friendly, things went smoothly
- The tabletop library line was efficient and fast. I never had to wait more than 5 minutes to return or rent a game
- The library also had a huge selection which was great because I got to play a lot of games I’ve been dying to try! Also felt the selection was better than last year
- The vendor hall was a lot larger and everything seemed to be spaced very well. Generally it was pretty easy to get through.
- The freeplay tables were also spaced out nicely; plenty of room to go through the aisles of tables and find seats
- For the size of this convention I thought everything was well organized, and ran smoothly
- Enforcers were friendly and helpful!
- The environment felt inviting and friendly as a whole which is 100% what I always want to see in a gaming convention
- The metal detectors were kind of annoying. They slowed everything down getting in and weren’t really effective (i.e. they barely opened my bags and didn’t check any exterior pockets – what was the point?). I understand that was the convention center and not PAX, but it was an unfortunate thing to deal with all weekend especially when leaving for meals and then returning
- I thought the Queue Room lines could be labeled when lining people up for events/panels, just because I had to ask a few times what was being queued just to verify I didn’t get in the wrong line
- For the Pin Trading Event, which I’ve done both years now, they squished a lot of people into a small area for no reason (there was plenty of space to use) and then just let too many people at the table at once, creating chaos. Just let a certain number of people go at once in a single line so they can check out every piece of the table and no one has to push and show between people. It’s a struggle for us small fries.
- Leaf Me Alone – Played in the UnPub Room with designer Jeff Johnston. I’ve seen it at a few conventions now and love it every time. Someone needs to publish this so I can finally own a copy!
- My Little Scythe – I wanted to play it because it was cute and I immediately loved it!
- The Quest for El Dorado – Had been on my want to play for a while and did not disappoint. Plays pretty quickly but is a blast the whole way through.
- Kerala – I love elephants so had been wanting to play this and it was another awesome game. On my want to get list now!
- Onitama – I’m not big on abstract strategy games, but had been wanting to try this. I didn’t hate it, but it was very stressful for me because I felt like I always had to think 4 moves ahead. Not something I need to play again most likely.
- Spinderella – A light and cute kid’s game. I love the spiders and how they move around, but it’s just a little too light for my taste.
- Fire in the Library – I magically did really well which helped me like it more, but overall not my favorite. It’s too long for what it is and since it’s pretty much all luck, it drags on if you’re not doing well and can be frustrating.
- Kung Fu Zoo – Okay if you’re into dexterity games that involve some light flicking. I was bloody awful at it so I found it rather frustrating.
- Mangrovia – A really nice worker placement game also now on my want list.
- Moonquake Escape: Final Countdown – Another from Jeff Johnston’s table in the UnPub room. I love Moonquake Escape and this card based version was a fun take on the original that I would love to see come to fruition soon!
- Root – I wanted to like this so badly because it has awesome pieces and I heard such good things. Unfortunately, it did not seem to work at 2 for me. It felt clunky and convoluted and we didn’t have a good time. It seemed from the rules that it would work better at the full 4, so maybe that’s what it needed. But since we play everything at 2 players 99% of the time, we took a pass on adding this to the collection.
- Powergrid – I thought I was going to hate it, but it was pretty good! It took a lot of thought and planning but challenged me in all the right ways!
- Everdell – I was so excited to play this and wanted to love it because it looked so amazing. And I did play… and I DID LOVE IT! Bought it the next day so I could have a collector’s edition. It is beautiful and I thought it played well. It gives you a lot of options and you just have to try and balance your actions to get the most out of them.
- Fairy Tale – Simple drafting and set collection game, so nothing fancy, but still better than 7 Wonders haha
- Cafe Fatale – Super simple dice rolling and area control game. Good for kids but not so much for me, I got bored.
- Heart of Crown – A cool deck builder with different mechanics that I haven’t seen in other DBs. My fiance loved it and bought it the same day!
- Bargain Quest – Dry and kind of boring drafting game…not even sure how to define it.
- Dino Party – Another dexterity game that is cute and fun but so hard if you’re me haha
- I Would Fight The Dragon – A super cute and quick bluffing game and probably the first I’ve ever been good at
- Azul – Another one I had been dying to try and was glad to finally get to. The rules confused me a bit which made starting the game hard, but once we reread and clarified I enjoyed it quite a bit. But do have to say I’m not sure it deserves all the hype it gets, just some.