PAX East 2020 – I’m headed to my first convention!


I have mixed feelings about attending PAX East. On one hand I’m excited to attend my first convention and on the other I’m slightly nervous about a few things. I’ve been in the hobby long enough to talk fluently in ‘gameese,’ spouting off things like, “hey, baby, that’s a nice tableau you’ve got there.” Yet, for all that game education, I’ve never actually feasted my eyes on expanses of game enthusiasts basking in piles of games.

It’s going to be exciting to see different games with my own eyes. It’s one thing to watch an unboxing or a review about a game and a whole other experience to physically hold the pieces and consider if it draws me in. I know I’m going to be attracted to games with satisfying color pallets, exquisite art, and ‘blinged’ out components. I’ll need to temper that with keeping an eye out for ingenious game mechanics dressed in drab haberdashery.

There won’t be anything toned down in my wardrobe though. I’m excited to be sporting new Meeple Gamers’ hot pink colors. My editor keeps telling me it’s “magenta.” Well, that’s coming from a guy wearing neon green and sporting a mohawk! Judge for yourself PAX East, am I wearing hot pink or magenta? Either way, I’m coming in loud and garish. What nail polish goes with that?

It’s really quite petty but I’m actually concerned about what to wear. Should I layer? Is it going to be hot or cold? Will they have a coat room? Will I have to lug my New England winter survival gear around with me all day? Or, should I run from my car to the convention center in just a t-shirt and jeans? Would I arrive in the form of a popsicle?

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We have had a mild winter but with my luck it will be a blizzard when PAX East starts up. I’m REALLY not looking forward to the commute either. I’ve been fighting Boston traffic for years and it is always a slog to get downtown. And then, there is parking….PARKING! I’m totally not looking forward to that. I guess I’m just kind of a hick because Boston just has way too many people jammed up in it.

Never mind my pedantic dribble about plebian affairs. I prefer to think about the shopping that is going to be available at PAX East! Oh yes, that’s my other hobby. Shopping. Even the word gets me excited. I really don’t know what is going to happen when faced with stacks and stacks of glorious games!

I figure it is going to go one of two ways. Either I’m going to grit my teethe and decide not to buy anything, or lose my mind and buy too much. I’m not sure I can stomach a middle ground. Then, if I buy stuff, do I have to walk around with it everywhere? Hmm, that would be a sure-fire way to limit spending. Or, I could make the epic journey back to my car with all the loot I purchase.

Speaking of travels, I wonder if the global impact of the novel coronavirus pneumonia on travelers will affect attendance at the convention. At the time of this writing there is one student in Boston who has the virus. The next few weeks will be critical in learning more about the virus and if it is still spreading around the world. It has the potential of putting a real damper on public gaming.

You didn’t start reading this for a forecast of gloom and doom. You want to hear about games… glorious games. I want to look at every single one of them at PAX. Ambitiously; I will try.

I’m in a phase of my gaming hobby where my shelf of shame holds more games than I know how to handle. The line where table top games go from being a hobby to being a collection, or worse yet, a hoarding problem is blurred. I’m not sure where the lines start and stop. It isn’t a bad place to be in the hobby, though. It forces me stop and smell the game box a little longer before a purchase. By the way, the stinkiest game I ever played was Star Trek: Conflict. Blech!

As a discerning gamer, who has run out of shelf space, I’m interested in finding smaller shorter games with great replayability. I’m thinking of looking for games like 7 Wonders Duel, or maybe quick fillers like Push. It isn’t just about the space either. It’s about being a soccer mom of 4 kids and holding down a full-time job. Squeezing out enough time and energy each week for a hobby is a serious challenge.

I need to see beautiful easy-to-learn hard-to-master games with awesome components. I’m thinking games like Santorini or Onitama. I’d like an easy set-up. Big games are awesome… I still love them, but I want more quick-fun dazzlers on the stage.

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Having said all that, and now completely contradicting my short-small game desires, I’m really jazzed to see Eclipse: Second Dawn for the Galaxy. I’m working on a review of the 2011 version of Eclipse and want to see how the 2020 version has changed. I’m so flipping excited about the new components. I’ve seen the new minis and think they will make the game even more fun.

Theme-wise I’m interested in all the new space games coming out. I’ve worked in the space field and like some of the realistic information they are putting in games. For that reason, I’m interested in seeing Space Race, Rocketmen, and On Mars.

There are expansions for games I’ve played or own that I’m interested in taking the plunge. The new Wingspan: Oceana looks right up my ally. I don’t even own Wingspan: European Expansion yet. I just want all the birds! I’d also like to try the Everdell expansions. I don’t own the game but have always been drawn to it. Perhaps it will be something I end up getting.

Stay tuned to see what happens at PAX East. Will I end up with more games than I should? Is seeing the games I’m interested in going to change my mind? Will I be attracted to something else shiny and new? Will I have to park two miles away? Will wearing pink boots be a fashion faux pas? Time will tell.


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