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PAX Unplugged Day 1 Part 1

PAX Unplugged is a three-day convention focusing on tabletop gaming. Board games, card games, role-playing games, and all the surrounding peripherals can be found. PAXU 2022 was held at the beginning of December in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, as it always is. The folks at Penny Arcade first came to Philly in 2017 and apart from 2020 (you know why) have been back every year. I attended one day each of the first three years as a fan, but in 2022, I made a glorious return, and this time as a three-day media guest!

View from the Media Room

So, what is there to do at PAX? Well, first and foremost and most obviously, GAMES! There is an entire floor just for vendors to demo, promote and sell their newest games. There are rooms where games under construction can be played, and you can give your feedback directly to the developer. The convention provides their own gaming library where games can be rented out and played all day and well into the night. RPGs aplenty, panels discussing all elements of game design, teaching how to play certain games and even how to tackle the tough issues you may be running into in your design, game night or roleplaying. It also doesn’t hurt that right across the street is the Reading Terminal Market so you can find all kinds of delicious meals and treats! 

My Two Dans (as Jimmy calls us) and Jimmy

Day 1, Part 1

Day one started bright and early as Jimmy, GateCrasher contributor, and I headed to New Jersey to pick up Dan, GateCrasher co-founder. Dan has no experience with modern board games and tells us to lead the way. Jimmy has more gaming time logged than Dan but is also a PAXU newb. He has a game plan for today and a few interviews, his specialty, lined up. My mind is racing with everything I want to get done, everything I want to buy and play. As we arrived, I was surprised at how fast we moved through the vaccine line and badge pick-up. We received a media bag containing Flourish, a card drafting garden-themed game, a set of Rogue dice (Jimmy plays a rogue), and a quick start guide to Leder Game’s Root RPG.  We made our way to the media room to secure a locker to drop off and investigate the contents. 

D&D Ancient Red Dragon miniature and Marvel: Age of Heroes

We waited in a smaller side entrance line (lucky us) for entry into the Expo Hall and our first appointment was with Emily at the WizKids booth. I was super excited for her to show us Marvel: Age of Heroes and I even got a demo, but that wasn’t until Sunday. Dan and I played a demo game of Marvel: Damage Control. We scoured the rubble (cards) looking for different technology and artifacts and used them to recruit heroes for abilities and points! The setup of the rubble and how to reveal and obtain those cards was a cool twist to deck building. HeroClix, Dice Masters and D&D Onslaught (wish I had time to check these out) were also on display. 

Marvel: Damage Control

Next up was Roxley and The Op booth where Radlands and Dice Throne had a huge presence. Dan and Jimmy sat to play Radlands, a two-player card game with a theme reminiscent of Mad Max that has its players battling each other, trying to defeat the other’s bases. Water is used as currency to play characters to defend, attack, heal, etc. Dan was blown away with the game, both the art and the packaging. He immediately picked up a copy. 

Radlands Playmat included with the Super Deluxe edition

Dan and I then got to play Marvel Dice Throne with Dan, Spider-Man (Miles) vs Scarlet Witch. Two players square off against one another and roll dice to perform attacks against their opponent. Each hero plays differently and has a deck of cards to assist them in their battle. Another big hit!  

Dice Throne Game Designer and Artist Manny Trembley teaching us

Spider-Man’s Dice Throne player board

Also on display was Roxley’s newest game, Skyrise. Successfully funded on Kickstarter, Skyrise is an area majority auction game. You are bidding to fill a sky city with your buildings and scoring points in the process. Asymmetrical abilities also come into play based on the character you are playing. The board and components look great on this one.

Skyrise – Pre-order on Backerkit

The hunger began to set in, and we decided to make our way over to Reading Terminal Market. Lines were going to be crazy, so instead of just trying to find a small one we just went with what sounded the best and that was Ma Lessie’s Chicken and Waffles. For $15 bucks I got half a Belgian waffle, two massive legs, one thigh and collard greens with smoked turkey. It was delicious and enough for two meals. Two huge thumbs up. 

Lunch at Ma Lessie’s Chicken & Waffles

Day one was a long one so far and there is still more! Stay tuned for PAX Unplugged Day 1 Part2.  

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