PAX 2011!

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PAX PrimeThe Penny Arcade Expo for 2011 has wrapped up, and just like last year, it was a blast. Tens of thousands of game-hungry fans packed into the Seattle Convention Center last weekend for three days of non-stop fun and games—lots and lots of games. While PAX is definitely still very much about video games, the tabletop game presence has continued to grow, taking over more and more space.

Like last year, I attended PAX via my friends at Steve Jackson Games. This year, we had the “corral” under the 2nd floor escalators again, but we also occupied room 201 next door. This is where the SJ staff handled retailing, and where I ran demos.

We flew in Thursday and immediately set up both booths to get ready for the start of the show on Friday.

Room 201
The setup for Room 201
Fireside Table
The demo table for Fireside Games. . . oooh, swag!

The first day of PAX was actually pretty quiet from a board game perspective. This is typically the day that everyone spends in the main exhibit hall, checking out all the newest releases from the major video game publishers, so things don’t really pick up in tabletop until the afternoon. Once the crowd did start showing up, though, we filled the corral. I took a brief walk through the exhibit hall which was as amazing as ever. It’s always fun to see what the big publishers will do with their booths, especially when they try to outdo each other. Firefall was a huge sponsor at the show, and their stuff was everywhere. They even had a giant statue right outside the hall. I didn’t get to see much of the Colonial Marines game, but they had a great actor outside their booth posing with a really nice Smart gun replica. And I’m a huge sucker for the Alien franchise.

The show became something of a blur for me as I tried to take in the show and make sure everyone got to have a shot at Bloodsuckers, Bears!, and Castle Panic. The sheer amount of people at the show is truly impressive, but it does mean the lines can be rather ridiculous . . . even for the escalator.

More than a few people come to PAX.
Here's a shot of the same corner in downtown Seattle. On the left, in the morning before PAX and on the right, just after the exhibit hall closes.

Many demos were run over the 3 days of the convention, including a great game of Bloodsuckers on Sunday that came down to the very last possible draw. The undead were victorious in that one . . . Then it was time to pack up the booths and head out. The Steve Jackson Games crew headed back to Austin on Monday, while I stayed on to begin our “Post a-PAX-alypse” Tour of local game stores. Overall, it was another great show in a beautiful city, and we met a ton of great new people we can call our fans. We’re already making plans for next year.

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