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 there! PAXU 2022 was held at the beginning of December, as always in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. 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!
Day 1 Part 1 Link – https://gatecrashers.fan/2023/01/05/pax-unplugged-day-1-part-1/
Day 1 Part 2 Link – https://gatecrashers.fan/2023/01/31/pax-unplugged-day-1-part-2/
We lost Dan. The con was too much for him. But we gained some real Dandies! The rest of Jimmy and my D&D gaming group, our in-game party the Dandies, showed up for Saturday. Hook (arriving after the World Game match), Lex, and Nick, who are all PAXU vets arrived and waited in line like chumps while Jimmy and I headed to the media room again to drop off coats and such. Well maybe I was the chump as I had to walk in the rain. First up, we are back at the Roxley and The Op booth to show Lex and Nick both Radlands and Dice Throne. I still didn’t get a chance to play Radlands, but Jimmy and I sat down and had a blast with Dice Throne, each playing a Season 2 character. Really looking forward to playing more of these.
CATastrophe: A Game of 9 Lives may have been the highlight of Day 2. It had Jimmy and I giggling the entire time. We played a few rounds, howled at the Power Cat cards and Jimmy immediately went to pick up a copy. We hope our daughters have as much fun with this as we did!
Update: They did! Here is a link to Jimmy’s review:
Being an NBA fan, Basket Boss by BoardGameTables.com (now Allplay) was a game I was excited to get a look at. As the manager of a team across six seasons, you will be signing players and advisors in your quest to cement your basketball legacy. Managers bid for players to sign for their team. Players produce stars that help give a score each round and year to year increase or decrease in their productivity. Advisors give teams special powers each season. Sign Ivan Allerson for that early year production or LaBrawn Games for his mid-years domination.
Next were two quick party games that had our group cheering and laughing at their fun silliness. Nacho Pile is a push your luck game where you pull different numbered chips out of a bag and try to hold on to them long enough to put them on your plate. If you draw a numbered chip that someone else has in front of them, you take their chips. If you draw the same numbered chip twice, you bust, and all your chips go back into the bag. If you manage to hold onto any chips when it’s your next turn, those chips move to your plate and can’t be stolen. The last chip in the bag determines the win condition.
Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza is just chaos. You are flipping cards while saying the title in order as you flip. If your word (Cat) is the same as the card you flip (Cat) everyone slaps the pile and the last hand slapped takes the pile. The first player with no cards wins! The gorilla, narwhal, and groundhog cards add a wrinkle to the game as you now have respective hand motions needed to be done before slapping the deck.
After the show floor closed down for the night we moved into Free Play with library rentals. The line looked long, but moved surprisingly fast and there were so many games to choose from. Some quick hits of the games we played. For Sales, a quick and phenomenal auction game. Colt Express, is a fun train robbery game using hand management and action programming. Sagrada, draft dice to build stained glass windows with color and number placement restrictions.
One of the best things about PAX Unplugged is the people. In all the years I have been attending, I have yet to have an unfriendly or rude encounter. After my group left for the night, I found myself wandering the hall just taking in the sites of open gaming and browsing the open vendors. I happened across the Crokinole tables and sat at one table by myself and just started flicking. A few boards down I hear someone call out, “Hey, you want to play?” Two guys stopped their game and took the time to teach me how to play. The tabletop community really is an inviting group. Oh, and the game is phenomenal. I could’ve played the rest of the night.
Reading Terminal Market was again the option for lunch, and it was a madhouse. Nick and I opt for gyros with Old Bay fries from Olympia Gyro. The delicious Greek sandwich was good size and they were not stingy with the tzatziki sauce. Add some baklava and you can’t go wrong!
Day two was so much fun and so many games were played. Day three is our final day but come back to see what else the con had to offer!