Monday, 24 November 2014
Tuesday, 11 November 2014
PAXAus is kinda big deal here now. I'm not a computer game guy and I didn't go last year but after last week I will be going next year. I don't want to play the "poor Australia" card but there are times when I feel like I live a very long way from the center of all things that are cool. PAX changes that. Even if only for a weekend. That's very special.
So, my day. I went on the Saturday. After a bit of an issue with my ticket I had a quick spin around the main hall. Lots of big stands and flashy company run demos here. Nothing really grabed me here but, as I said, I'm not into electronic gaming. I like all the pretty pictures and all but have any desire to spend time on them. I was confused and bemused by League Of Legends and World Of Tanks and their eSports stands and hype. The line to get into the Cards Against Humanity was just about the longest in the whole place. Weird. Sounds like a cool game but it was impossibly popular for what it is.
After my quick I caught a panel on producing miniatures. It was interesting to see some representation the local "industry" but strange to see people that I'd had contact with over the years up on stage. There was nobody from any major or international company.
After the panel I caught up with a couple of friends and it was game time! We played:
•Magic The Gathering. A very impressive and well run stand. These guys know how to promote their game. The fellow that ran us through a game asked if we'd played before and I said "not since 1995". He gave me a deer caught in the headlights stare and said "that was the year after I was born". With a grin I then asked if it had changed much since then. He just gave me a look like his head was about to explode. It did not. I lost this game.
•D&D. The new edition. Another big stand and with LARP but not very busy. There were more people nearby playing first edition and AD&D. We won this game. It was ok. The thing about RPG is not the rules but the campaigns and the skill of the GM. Very nice books though.
•X-wing. This is a much hyped game. I thought that it was a bit meh. It may have been the person taking me through the game but nothing really grabbed me with this one. There was no sparkle for me. Maybe a few more games would help. I lost.
•Dust. Very nicely painted Germans v Soviets. Again nothing grabbed me with this game either. Playing on a gridded mat felt like too much of a restriction. Maybe Dust:Tactics would be better. The mechs and gorillas with powerfists were cool. I lost.
After a good morning and afternoon of gaming it was time for a late lunch. We popped over the road from the convention centre and had some very nice burgers and beers at the Merrywell.
Back on the games floor next was;
•SAGA. Now this is a game I've been interested in since it came out. So interested that I already had the rules and a Norman warband. I sat this game out while the others slugged it out but I was still impressed. It's just such an elegant system with so much tactical depth and pure nail-biting fun. Dean and his Anglo-Danes won this game.
The great thing about PAX is that it's about playing games, not buying or being sold stuff. About half the space was given over to free gaming with hundreds of games machines set up ready just to play.
There is also a big area for tabletop games and a library of board games.
•Cave Troll.We borrowed it from the library. It was just a little region control game that was like a cross between Risk and Descent. It was fun. It was simple. It was a draw!
•Krosmaster Arena was the last game we played. It was late in the day and confusing. Very confusing. It was beautifully presented with special three-up 3D printed and hand painted game peices. I won. I think.
There was a few other things that I would have loved to have played. A great looking All Quiet On The Martian Front game and a re-creation of the attack on La Haye Sainte at Waterloo using the Song Of Drums And Shakos rules. I'm sad I missed that last one; it seemed to be a blast.
All in all it was a great day and I'll be back next year. There is talk of the Mire boys running a table (we spent half the day muttering about how we could do a better job) or maybe just some Inq28 on the Saturday night. Anybody interested?
Oh, and this is a direct result of PAX. Four points of Normans cleaned and ready for undercoat.