2017 PAX Unplugged Top Ten

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PAX Unplugged is a new animal. No one really knew what to expect.  There were a few fantastic releases, that would give any GenCon or Essen fanboy pause. 

We spent the bulk of the convention talking to publishers, rather than gaming (though we did get to see a few fun ideas, and/or releases, or first looks that may have released at Essen or soft released at other cons.)

We met with many of our fellow content creators, including Sam Healey who was incredibly accommodating, and gave us some good insights to better serve you, our MeepleGamers.  Below, we have listed the ten top games we have seen the first time, that are exciting to us, in alphabetical order.  The only game we have ranked, is our BEST IN SHOW, which will be listed within the game preview here. 

[siteorigin_widget class=”LSOW_Accordion_Widget”]<\/p>\nJosh – Fog of Love was released at Essen, with the idea that couples should have a real board game, about \"real\" relationships, and that it should be fun. The art is beautiful the box is super high quality, and the method of turning \"choose your own adventure\" type storytelling into a two person game is engaging. Fog of Love was just picked up by WalMart, and perhaps other outlets. It will be a title you see again and again. I am interested in it’s trajectory in the hobby market.<\/p>","panel_content_selected_editor":"tmce"},{"title":"Hope City (Dux Nova)","panel_content":"\"\"<\/p>\nJosh – Hope City was a KickStarter funded game. The idea of having a co-op game where the characters \"break bad\" is fascinating. The meeples are fun, and the game idea is very interesting. It deserves a second look. It has already been played, and a review will be soon to follow.<\/p>","panel_content_selected_editor":"tmce"},{"title":"Masters’ Trials: Wrath of Magmaroth (Alderac Entertainment Group)","panel_content":"\"\"<\/p>\nJosh – If you enjoy Dice City, you might enjoy a coop Dice City, where you are facing off with Magmaroth, a denizen of evil. \u00a0This is a standalone \"expansion\" in the Dice City vein of gameplay. \u00a0There is nothing here to dislike, if you enjoy dice city, so long as you enjoy co-op.<\/p>","panel_content_selected_editor":"tmce"},{"title":"Pioneers (Queen Games)","panel_content":"\"\"<\/p>\nJosh – Do you remember the movie with John Candy, Wagon’s East? This is not that movie. \u00a0Pioneers is moving west, to find your riches, and force the other players to pay you for the privilege of using your wagon or road. I like the idea of the game. \u00a0I am also a fan of almost all things western based. Let’s see how it washes in the review.<\/p>","panel_content_selected_editor":"tmce"},{"title":"Planet of the Apes (IDW Games)","panel_content":"\"\"<\/p>\nKevin – My excitement for Planet of the Apes has grew steadily with each new detail. \u00a0I love this franchise, with the sole exception of the Tim Burton and Marky Mark fiasco. \u00a0Yes, even the TV series carries my approval. \u00a0So when I first saw this at Origins this year, I was thrilled. \u00a0When I realized that Richard Launius, designer of my favorite game (Arkham Horror), was the designer I could not wait to get my hands on it. \u00a0The game sees one to four players overcoming challenges as they progress through the classic film and, uniquely, they take on different aspects of Taylor’s personality rather than different characters. \u00a0I am thrilled to dive into this game!<\/p>","panel_content_selected_editor":"html"},{"title":"Superhot (Grey Fox Games)","panel_content":"\"\"<\/p>\nKevin – Superhot is based on the unique first-person shooter of same name in which time only progresses when you move. \u00a0Grey Fox Games call it a micro deck-builder in which you activate items and abilities to tackle various threats. \u00a0the more cards you use, the more time progresses and the more obstacles you will face. \u00a0Superhot excels as a solitaire game, but game modes are included to play with up to three players. \u00a0They have really managed to capture the feel and pacing of the property.<\/p>","panel_content_selected_editor":"html"},{"title":"The Chameleon (Big Potato Games)","panel_content":"\"\"<\/p>\nKevin – The Chameleon from Big Potato Games was easily one of the biggest hits of the convention. \u00a0The booth was always crowded and I saw lots of people with copies at the gaming tables. \u00a0The game itself is a fast-playing round of deduction as players give one-word clues to a secret word, but one of the players is the chameleon and does not actually know the word. \u00a0The goal is to assess which player has no idea what the keyword is which requires careful word choice from the people who do know the correct keyword. \u00a0It’s tense, it’s fun, and it takes just a few minutes per round. \u00a0The Chameleon from Big Potato Games is our runner-up for Game of the Show.<\/p>","panel_content_selected_editor":"html"},{"title":"Untold: Adventures Await (Creativity Hub)","panel_content":"\"\"<\/p>\nKevin – Untold is a storytelling game powered by Rory’s Story Cubes as players work to create five-scene episodic adventures. \u00a0The game comes with one set of cubes and bunch of tiles for randomizing the scenes. \u00a0It is for one to four players and is a great entry point for collaborative storytelling with younger players. \u00a0There are even rules for creating multiple story arcs where players can grow their characters and expand the world they have created akin to a very light, streamlined role-playing game. \u00a0Additionally because the game uses Rory’s Story Cubes, there are already a large number of additional dice packs to expand your options. \u00a0Just pick any nine Story Cubes and start playing. \u00a0With the current rate of growth in the hobby, it is wonderful to see projects like this that are geared around accessibility.\u00a0<\/p>","panel_content_selected_editor":"html"},{"title":"Weave (Monocle Society)","panel_content":"\"\"<\/p>\nKevin – Weave by Monocle Society is an amazing new storytelling game with app integration from designers Kyle Kinkade and Brianna Johnson. \u00a0Kyle has a long history of app and mobile game design while Brianna has been a designer and creative director for physical design and Apple and worked as part of the team at Goldieblox. \u00a0I first heard of Weave at Gen Con 50. \u00a0The game features two decks of tarot sized cards with fantastic artistic design and a handful of proprietary dice for resolving challenges. \u00a0The app features multiple playsets and everything is designed to get players into the game quickly and with as a few barriers as possible. \u00a0However, enterprising GMs will be able to stretch Weave to incredible limits. \u00a0I spoke with Kyle at length at PAX Unplugged about Weave’s potential in the future ranging from community made playsets to licensed content. \u00a0There has been huge buzz around Weave throughout the 2017 convention season and the launch at PAXU appeared to be a smashing success. \u00a0I cannot wait to explore Weave further with my own group and to see how it continues to develop. \u00a0Weave from Monocle Society is our Game of the Show for PAX Unplugged!<\/p>","panel_content_selected_editor":"html"},{"title":"PAX Unplugged ","panel_content":"\"\"<\/p>\nKevin – The final entry on our list is the convention itself. \u00a0Sure, there were some growing pains like a shortage of exhibitor badges and scheduling the same weekend as both BGG Con and the Philadelphia half and full marathons, but these paled in comparison to the positives surrounding the inaugural PAX Unplugged. \u00a0The convention center is a massive space and there is plenty of room for future growth. \u00a0Its location in the heart of downtown means there are plenty of great options for food, but you don’t actually have to go far as the Reading Terminal Market has plenty of options if you can beat the crowds. \u00a0There was an enormous gaming space with tons of tables. \u00a0There was a lending library and a first-look library chock full of the hotness from Essen. \u00a0All of this gaming was facilitated and mediated by the wonderful PAX enforcers, a knowledgeable volunteer staff handling all sorts of things around the convention. \u00a0Some straw polling indicated that the bulk of the convention attendees were at their first convention of any kind. \u00a0I think there is a lot of potential for growth with PAXU and the con is only a few small tweaks away from becoming a can’t miss event. \u00a0<\/p>","panel_content_selected_editor":"tmce"},{"title":"Honorable Mentions","panel_content":"Agents of Mayhem (Academy Games\/Apollo Games)
Kevin – Academy Games is well known for their historical games, just look at this year’s Origins release of 1754 Conquest and their Gen Con hit 878 Vikings. \u00a0Agents of Mayhem will be the first game under their new Apollo Games label for future non-historical games in sci-fi and fantasy settings. \u00a0While at PAX Unplugged, I was able to get a hands-on look at the prototype of their upcoming Kickstarter project Agents of Mayhem, a licensed miniature skirmish game set in the Saint’s Row universe. \u00a0The game features 3-dimensional terrain that is fully destructible and an innovative resource management system for activating units resulting in essentially one continuous turn. \u00a0I was really excited by what I saw and cannot wait to see more. \u00a0<\/p>\nBeasts of Balance – Competitive Mode (Sensible Object)
Josh – I kickstarted this, and am excited to see how it all comes out. Since competitive mode is not yet available, we didn’t feel we could award a higher spot on our list, but we both think the execution is flawless, and that the game if it continues to expand, and come with new rule sets, determined by the tablet, should have a lot of staying power. This would have been a contender for Best in Show for me, had the competitive mode, been available for the mass market.\u00a0<\/p>\nBeneath Nexus (Silverclutch Games)
Kevin – Beneath Nexus is an asymmetrical dungeon crawl card game. \u00a0They successfully Kickstarted the game last year and released earlier in 2017. \u00a0The rules are simple and streamlined, but with enough options for good strategic variance and replayability. \u00a0The art is fantastic and just jumps off the cards. \u00a0Beneath Nexus is the first game from Silverclutch Games and I am excited to see their future offerings.<\/p>\nBlank (Creativity Hub)
Josh – A game about making games, that actually seems to have addressed the idea that no one starts off as a good game designer. PAXU was a stellar show for Creativity Hub between Untold and Blank. I am looking forward to spending some time with this to see if it plays as well as I can imagine it playing in my head.<\/p>\nZendo (Looney Labs)
Josh – I am just a fan of Abstracts. Truly. If an abstract can make something a bit different, it intrigues me. Zendo was originally a title that was part of Pyramid Arcade, and now available as a standalone. If pyramids alone could make a game great, this would hands down be the Best in Show. As it stands, it is an engaging title, that I have played with my 5 year old, and my brother. A full review will follow.<\/p>","panel_content_selected_editor":"tmce"}],"_sow_form_id":"5a1473dcb3740","_sow_form_timestamp":"1512070271100","toggle":false},"args":{"before_widget":"