My Experience at PAX Prime

Being at Home Amongst a Sea of Games

March 17, 2014 Leave your thoughts
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So Many Systems!
So Many Systems!

Months of anticipation finally culminated in me going to PAX Prime. I arrived fairly early in the morning with Patrick and Andrew (and my prototypes in tow). While Andrew left to start his day of reporting, Patrick and I went inside the convention center to head to our first session.

Hello There Ziggs. You're Looking Quite Explosive.
Hello There Ziggs. You're Looking Quite Explosive.

The first session was about developing communities. Having spent a great deal of time developing communities online, the talk was fairly interesting to me. That said, it also wasn’t what Patrick and I were expecting.

We consequently headed out to explore PAX some more.

Being around so many likeminded people was amazing. Getting to see, firsthand, so many recognizable brands and companies, in person, was equally as great. In particular, I was drawn to the developers at the Indie Megabooth. There, I found myself inspired by the fervor of these developers about their games and their eagerness to received feedback.

Almost as quickly as the day had began, the conference was wrapping up for the day. I never quite found the right time or place to pull out my prototypes. Sights like this also became common:

Deflated...
Deflated...

Andrew met up with us to grab dinner together before we all headed to the first Starbucks to pick up some gifts for back home. Exhausted, we all eventually got back to our place of residence and fell asleep.

Pansage Waving at the Camera
Pansage Waving at the Camera

The next day, Patrick and I covered more of the ground we didn’t have the time to cover previously–this included the top floor of the convention center (which was largely dedicated to League of Legends), a large portion of the main expo, and the 2nd level tabletop section. Along the way, Patrick painted a miniature, we connected more with friends we had made the previous day, saw life-sized board games being played, and met this guy:

Iota from Tearaway
Iota from Tearaway
Life-size Tsuro
Life-size Tsuro

Still no playtesting of my prototypes though. The feeling of being around so many hardcore gamers with a wide swath of expectations was too much for me still to just test out my games.

As day turned to night, we were all able to reunite again for some final conference activities. We passed up the Sunday Night Concert in order to explore some more. In doing so, we found a new building with a gaggle of Magic: The Gathering players, another floor filled with PC gamers, and played different games that we were able to checkout from an extensive board game library (definitely one of the best things at PAX).

So Many Gamers!
So Many Gamers!
Playing One of the Games we Checked Out
Playing One of the Games we Checked Out

It was after finishing a few games and only with a few hours left that I finally found the courage to playtest my games. I pulled them out of my backpack, explained the rules, and we started playing. There were a lot of no’s admittedly from Andrew–I’m glad he said so though.

The games were a bit complicated.

The first two games were okay. The final one was quite fun to play though.

(By now, you probably realize this “quite fun” game is Hackronyms.)

While playing, I found two guys–two friends–Patrick and Andrew, who (to this day) are still some of my biggest proponents for developing the game. It was also then that I decided to pursue developing Hackronyms more.

I left our play session with a smile, knowing that I had created something that elicited genuine laughs and emotion.

And just like that, the long weekend and the conference was over for us.

On the Way Back Home
On the Way Back Home

In total, the conference was unlike anything I had ever been to. The fact that it was game-centric, made it very relevant, not only to what I’ve done in the mobile space, but to my interest in tabletop. Moreover, because everyone generally has an interest in games, it’s much easier to network–no doubt there’s some game that both parties are familiar with, regardless of the medium.

About tabletop development and this journey you’ve read through, in retrospect, there were so many people who I’m sure would want to playtest something new and provide constructive feedback along the way.

I just needed to ask.

Took a long while to figure that out, but I’m glad I did.

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