The Penny Arcade Expo Unplugged, otherwise known as PAX Unplugged or even PAXU is the new con targeting board gaming, or the table top gaming world. PAX started in 2005 by the creators of the web comic Penny Arcade. Penny Arcade was created with the simple tenet of the idea, that there is not enough snark in gaming. They hoped to fill that gap.
Now, with the advent of the modern gaming convention, which they helped create withe PAX, they have allowed that snark to blur into real life snark. So, as they have allowed that boil over, they recognized that one of the best attended aspects of the PAX events was board gaming. Imagine that. Board gamers attend conventions.
Now, as the creators have realized what a big draw analog gaming is, they have created PAXU, the acoustic unplugged remix of the PAX conventions. PAXU will take place in Philadelphia, the home of Rocky Balboa (He must be real, he had a statue!). Now, PAXU will fill the pre-Christmas board game convention void in the US. Essen Spiel might be a close second, but it is in Essen, that is like seriously far away. Do you realize how long it would take to drive to Essen? I’m not even getting into the details of how that would function, but seriously, it would be a long time.
BoardGameGeek has not even undertaken to do a Pre-PAXU preview, something they are famous for doing with most major cons. PAXU is just TOO new. No one really knows what to expect from this convention other than Philly Cheesesteak, and lots of it.
The list of exhibitors is a force to be reckoned with. It is large, and in charge.
If you are exhibiting, and not on the list, shoot us a message pr AT MeepleGamers
Known for their Pathfinder compatible gaming systems.
AEG had multiple new releases this convention season: a new expansion for Smash-Up; the Cthulhu themed Lovecraft Letter; Unicornus Knights; Custom Heroes, a new take on their card-crafting series of games; a redesign of the Guildhall base set in the form of Advanced Guildhall Fantasy; and the excellent title of scheming families and negotiation that is Cutthroat Kingdoms. This looks to be another great year for AEG!
9th Level Games is known for Kobolds ate my Baby.
They have made no major announcements since March when they announced Hot 16: A Game of Dope Rhymes. This is likely to be their highlight for 2017, and should be available at the show as they already had a run earlier in the year. Based on their Kickstarter for Bearicades, I am curious whether this will also be available prior to the holiday.
Academy Games, an Ohio company headed by the father/son superduo Uwe/Gunter Eickert will be with some luck, running demos of Agents of Mayhem: Pride of Babylon.
This is a newly licensed board game, set in the Saint’s Row universe, and like the PAXU underlying webcomic, is full of snark. I fully expect this game to be a big hit for Academy Games.
Absent Agents of Mayhem, I would not be surprised if a big announcement is coming from Academy, as they stay quite busy, never resting on their laurels.
Anvil Eight Games is a small publisher. GenCon50 saw the release of their card game Frontline: No Komrades, a light card game of line manipulation as players try to push and shove their komrades to the front of the line. They are also the publishers of the tactical miniatures game Aetherium, where players upload “programs” into a matrix-like battleground to fight for power in a dystopian future.
Albino Dragon is a small publisher. 2016 saw their publication of The Goonies: Adventure Card Game and they recently successfully kickstarted their next project entitled Ink Monsters. MeepleGamers did a preview article for this one and if you have a chance to see it, you should check it out.
APE Games has had a huge 2017, with the likes of Petrichor and MOA on their lists.
The Art and imagery on these titles are incredible. Now we need to see them in action, and get a review copy, so we can get them to table and reviewed. Beautiful!
Arcane Wonders has had some interesting titles in 2017, including Viral, a game that saw a lot of movement at GenCon2017.
Now they are focusing on RWBY and Spoils of War. RWBY at time of writing has more than two times their funding goal, with 5 days left of the campaign. The goal was $250,000 and for that reason, it should in and of itself lead to some success. Time will tell.
Arcknight has hit a niche market for RPG accessories. Some RPG enthusiasts swear by this visualization of their gaming.
I am interested to see what is next, and if they will focus more on existing products, or new IP.
ARES Games hit 2017 like gangbusters. Divinity Derby has been shipped to crowd funders, and they are debuting Hunt for the Ring, Monsters vs. Heroes, a Last Friday expansion, and a new Sail of Glory at Essen. If Hunt for the Ring does as well as they hope, 2018 looks bright for ARES.
As soon as we receive any review copies, we’ll give you the MG insight, and a buy rating.
The elephant in the room, Asmodee NA, controls a large portion of the entire industry.
FFG has just announced digital remakes of some of their hits. 2018 could be the year Asmodee went digital. With an unparalleled back catalog, I’d suggest checking out some of the older titles now, as their move towards digital could be a sign of the times for this company made famous in the analog cardboard world.
Atlas Games, of Gloom fame has had a relatively quiet 2017.
They are now shipping Witches of the Revolution, a cooperative deck-building game. With so few coop games out yearly, this is a title to watch.
B&B Games Studio is a relative newcomer, with their first time being published in 2016. The game that was officially released at GenCon, BetaBotz has been floating around for a while, and we were able to Beta test it prior to it’s release.
If the game has been improved from that initial viewing, it could have made an interesting title. It certainly had the backing of it’s creator and their friends from Columbus and Seattle.
Boba Geek Games has one self-published game, Robit Riddle. It’s own site calls it an award winning game, but I could not locate which award it has received.
Bananagrams has made their name on their tile game of the same name. They have been growing though. This year brought with it, the fantastic Cobra Paw game. Now they have released Truth Bombs.
It was a soft European release, and has been a hard release in the US. It is already available here, but will see light the first time that I know of at PAXU. I have slowly become a fan of almost all of Bananagrams titles, and their staff are always first rate. Their pairing with Big Potato games just seems apt.
Bezier Games has been teasing the American audience for almost a year with the Palaces of Mad King Ludwig. It still shows as a pre-order on their site, but we are hoping for a soft release for the holidays.
Whistle Stop has done fantastic for them, and everyone I know that has played it loves it. Here’s hoping Bezier games shows some love to MeepleGamers so we can get some reviews out to the readers.
Black Oak games has made their entrance with a game called Knot Dice. I cannot tell you anything about the title, other than it looks pretty.
BFE is a media group that does books, apps, digizines, and a plethora of other items.
They are not an unplugged exhibitor, which begs the question of why they will be exhibiting at PAXU.
Will they be announcing a new board game in their IP sphere…? Or is this just peddling Board Game Bento the service? I prefer to hope it is an announcement.
BHE has a game by the name of Collectors and Capers. Beyond this, I know very little of BHE. Maybe PAXU will change that.
Brain Games has brought out Ice Cool, over a year ago, and it is still going strong. Great dexterity game. It is so great, it won the Kinderspiel de Jahres.
They also brought out a trio of children’s games, with Woohoo! among them. These were part of a giveaway we just ran, and people are excited to play these games with their kids. Let’s see what 2018 brings.
Breaking Games has had many successes, some would say Poop.
I’m interested to see Sparkle Kitty, and if they can break the mold of being less than exciting for “serious” gamers. The advert stating it is super cutesy, will certainly draw some looks.
Brotherwise Games is the publisher behind Boss Monster, a throwback to simpler 8-bit digital times.
2017 has brought Unearth, a game that looks as good as it plays. It has been in soft-release at conventions since the summer season. 2018 and PAXU should be interesting for BWG.
Button Shy Games is making a name for themselves in wallet size games. I personally Kickstarted Ahead in the Clouds.
I personally am not a fan of the packaging they have chosen to utilize, but I can see the draw. It can be stuffed into a jacket that is worn a few times a year, and always close at hand.
Calliope Games is famous for Tsuro, and well they should be. It sits on my top shelf, so far, perpetually.
2017 brought Dicey Peaks. It was the year of the mountain and the Yeti, a succesful KS game.
Campaign Coins is a niche within a niche market. They make fantasy coins for games. Lots of them. Though they are very pretty. If I was the sort of person that would attend a board gaming unplugged convention, this might be just the sort of thing I would buy… Oh wait…
Capstone has quickly became a fan favorite. It helps that Clay the owner is just so darn personable. WildCatters was a soft release at Essen, expected to also be in stock at PAXU. Will let you know what we think after we get our dirty little mitts on it!
We also have never had much time with The Climbers, a Capstone re-release. Their games generally get a lot of pre-Con excitement. They all look fantastic.
Cardamajigs is a Custom Magic the Gathering company that has Mats, Tokens and other accessories.
Fantastic game tables from the furniture capital of the world Carolina. they’re the cats meow!
Catalyst Game Labs out of good Ol Canada, features, Battle tech, Shadow run, and Board games. Catalyst also provides a place for noobs and Vets alike to pick up new products and use a forum. Couldn’t have explained it any better than that Boom!
John Wick Presents will be at the Show. John Wick is one of the great names in RPG’s. He’s been active in the gaming community, writing for such companies as AEG, White Wolf, and Steve Jackson Games. His Play Dirty series, recently featured on GM Tips with Satine Phoenix, of articles has been collected into a 15th anniversary collection and recently joined by part 2. His company is currently producing the Wicked Fantasy line and the second edition of 7th seas. A new Kickstarter for 7th Seas, Khitai, bringing a more far East flair to the game of swashbuckler adventures has just finished a successful Kickstarter.
Long time publisher, Paizo, will be at the show. They are sure to include their popular Pathfinder and new Starfinder games in their library.
Playmore Games will be at the show. With the spectacular success of their Indiegogo Campaign to fund the Diced app that will create a series of video tutorials to replace the rule books of several games. The app is due out August 2018 and may be at the show in demo form.
The Creativity Hub, makers of Rory’s Story Cubes, will be on hand showing off their latest games, Blank and Untold: Adventures Await.
The Fifth World will on hand at Pax. The Fifth World is an RPG set four hundred years after civilization and has a focus on family and exploration.
The Indie Bazaar is a collection of independent game designers who work to share booth space and support one another. No word on which designers will be at the show.
Online gaming retailer TheWarStore.com will be attending the show.
ThunderGryph Games will be on hand. With a second printing of their game Overseer and the addition of Dead Man’s Doubloons, their most recent Kickstarter they should have some very interesting games to show off at the event.
From just across the river, Local game store will be present. The family friendly store featuring multiple game nights and groups.
Portland based Towgether Studios will be on hand. publisher of smaller more intimate games Twogether Studios has published Pheonix: Dawn Command and Illimat. It’s possible they will also have Action Cats a game whose Successful Kickstarter seems to be on track to deliver in the next month or so.
Underbite Games will be on hand. They will most likely be showing off their PC/Steam game Super Dungeon Tactics which was developed in conjunction with Soda Pop Miniatures.
USAopoly will be at the show most likely featuring new games the Thing, Code Names Disney and Marvel, Monopoly Team Fortress 2, and possibly Munchkin Rick and Morty
Best known for Star Realms and Hero Realms, White Wizard Games will be on hand. With the Star Realms Frontiers Kickstarter just finishing to great success and their newest one, Sorcerer, just launching they will likely have demos of both games on hand to bring in new and old fans.
White Wolf Games, creators of the World of Darkness, will be on hand. It’s most likely that they will be previewing their new 5th edition of the game Vampire the Masquerade that’s due to be released early next year. They will be running several play tests of the new edition over the weekend.
Wild East games, a small games publisher, will be present. They will most likely be featuring some of their games such as Ill Tempered Tikis, Pie Rats, and Lightning Dice.
Gaming juggernaut Wizards of the Coast will be on hand most likely showcasing their newest Dungeons & Dragons setting, The Tomb of Annihilation. In addition they will most likely have showing of Betrayal at Baulder’s gate, and the newest Magic the Gathering set, Ixalan.
WizKids games, most well know for their Heroclix system. They will most likely be there with their newest releases Witching Hour, Maze of Death Miniatures for Pathfinder, Empires, and the newly announced Dark.Net due out next February.
Wolff is a smaller game studio. They will probably be showing the recently released Guards of Atlantis. They may also be featuring their newest successful Kickstarter Warpgate.
Wyrd Games is a miniatures gaming studio most well known for Malifaux a alternate history Lovecraft in the old west style game. They will probably have some of their more recent releases for it available, including the Jury and the Grootslang. Additionally they may have demos of their newest Kickstarter, the Other Side, a miniatures game focusing on large scale engagements that is a companion to Malifaux.
Wyrmwood is a retailer specializing in artisan wooden gaming accessories such as dice towers, card boxes, and an array of custom products.
Yanaguana Games is a small publisher with quick thematic games. Their recent Kickstarter for Re-Chord, a guitar themed card game, was cancelled, they may have it at the show to build support for a second try.
Zafty Games is a company making small easy to pick up games. They might be there with Death Wish as it was just released to stores. They may also have Pixel Glory to show off it’s latest expansion, Light & Shadow, since it was successfully Kickstarted in March.