Five Things You Need to do at PAX East


Editor’s Note: This week as The Married Gamers head to PAX East 2013, our attending staff will present their personal list of tips, tricks, and likes/dislikes about PAX East each day. We begin today with Zachary Snell.

So somewhere in the range of eighty thousand of us are going to converge on Boston for a host of nerdity this weekend. That’s gonna be awesome. As this is my eighth PAX, I thought I’d offer some tips.

1. Go meet some folks in Tabletop:

Every PAX a whole host of volunteers get together to put together donated board games, arrange a checkout system, and manage the whole pile of madness that results from thousands of nerds descending on board games. It’s great, mostly because board games are often kind of crazy expensive (I’m looking at you, beloved copy of Arkham Horror). This even works out great if you’re going solo. Don’t know many people at PAX? Do one of these things:

A: Check out a game, find a spot, then just look at the rules. Within five or ten minutes you will draw a few people who want to play.

B: Wander around the freeplay tabletop area and look for a game that has an odd number of people, or less than six. Ask to join.

I have had amazing experiences going into tabletop with no further plan than this. And it’s all thanks to the enforcers and the pile of really awesome people who somehow trust tens of thousands of complete strangers to not ruin their board games (seriously, leave those dudes a thank you note).

2. Play a Dungeon Delve or a D&D Encounter

This is a harder recommendation because these things fill up fast, but it’s still a cool experience. PAX is probably the single best time to play some D&D, because you can find a few thousand people who are either into or interested in the game. If you want to learn it’s a great opportunity, and if playing D&D at home is hard it’s a good time to try things out and maybe meet a group to play with on Wizards always makes a strong appearance at PAX, and literally everything you might ever need to play a game is on sale. I’m going to be dragging TMG owners, Chris and Kelly Brown, through at least one game, and I’d say you should try the same.

3. Eat Something New

You know what the saddest thing is to me at every PAX? It’s seeing a franchise restaurant like Cheescake Factory (I know that’s PAX Prime, but bear with me) with a line out the door when I can go into a dozen different local places and find something amazing with no wait. Especially when Yelp, Urbanspoon, and a whole pile of other stuff exist on the phone. You’re in Boston for PAX East, and Boston is friggin’ awesome. Go eat something amazing at a little local place that’s highly regarded. get some seafood, because you’re in Boston, dammit.

4. Go Play Some Indie Games

Yeah, I know, Ubisoft and Activision and a whole bunch of big new developers with new or newish games are at PAX East. All of whom will show you pretty much the same stuff you can see on Youtube. I get that big triple-A games are awesome, but so are the indie titles. PAX East in particular has kind of become indie Mecca, and there’s no reason you shouldn’t be taking advantage of that. Go check out the Indie Megabooth (I can’t say that in my head without sounding like a monster truck announcer). Look at Tinmangames, whose owner of which is coming in from freaking Australia to talk to us about why nonlinear game books are awesome. Go look at Subaltern Games, and their crazy economy simulation game. Not only are the lines less absurd for these games, but you’ll often get a chance to talk to someone much more heavily involved with the game’s creation.

5. Come say hi!

I’m going to be running around doing all of these things, talking to folks, streetpassing like a crazy person, and giving out the prologue to my book. I love meeting folks and talking about video games and assorted nonsense. The Married Gamers crowd is going to be hosting a live podcast on Saturday at 11:30 AM, and we want people to come eat our food and win a megaton of free stuff!

PAX East is gonna be rad. Come enjoy it with us. And bring your 3DS. I need like 250 puzzle pieces and at least four hats.

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Author: Zach Snell View all posts by
Hi there. If you're reading this you've probably read some material of mine. If you want more go here and read my stories about a guy who punches wizards.

One Comment on "Five Things You Need to do at PAX East"

  1. Marcia Webb March 18, 2013 at 5:55 pm - Reply

    The TinManGames people are wonderful. I also agree that the Indie games people are the best to talk to. If you want to see people that are insanely excited to be there, talk to them. There is always that one person who quit their job to chase their dream of putting out games and their passion is electrifying.

    I’ve never tried the tabletop games because I’m afraid of getting made fun of for being old and inexperienced at them, but I think I will check them out this year.

    Good tip, especially the food :)

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