A few weeks back, I attended PAX Aust in Melbourne. It was my first time. And it was brilliant.
It was also my first time attending anything as an official writer (under the guise of GeekMom), so it wasn’t just a schmooze and cruise affair either. There was serious gaming to be had!
My original ‘official review’ is a three-parter, over at GeekMom. But I’m going to share a few highlights here as well (with a little overlapping in the storytelling). Starting with tabletop games. Why?
Because I’m Evil Genius Mum. Just go with it.
For the PAX noobs, it is easy to mistake the event as being just video games. The exhibition hall is two-thirds video games, and the noise alone makes it feel much more.
It is, however, divided into some fairly clear sections. In fact, the Tabletop area has a completely different layout and vibes to the rest of the expo hall. Where the video games area is divided up into individual stalls and gaming areas, Tabletop is a huge bunch of tables attached to a “game library” with a few stalls around it for some general discussion and sales.
The first game I played was Tavern Fame, and ultimately my favourite game of the entire event. So good, I even bought it.
Seriously, I loved this game.
Aimed at 2-8 players, you are almighty adventurers, sitting around a table at the local tavern and talking about your latest monster kills. The goal is to bolster your ego with as many “fans/patrons” as possible, and the first to 10 wins. With each turn, you draw a monster card and start with the storytelling: “Did I tell you about the time I killed two Vampires?” Then each of the players can take it in turn with their own story of how they killed three, nay four Vampires.
Eventually, someone is called to prove it… and this is where the dice hate me. If you roll the right number, you gain more fans/patrons. Roll the wrong number and everyone realises the numpty you are.
Even though the game is set in a tavern with drinking and lying as the themes, the game itself is really very spawnling friendly. We have played it a few times since my return home, and the spawnlings get quite a kick out of the story-telling element. My recent favourite was Nefarious telling his story after Sinister’s ‘failed attempt’:
Did I tell you the time I killed three vampires? Well, I was sitting down, watching Sinister have the snot beaten out of him by four witches, when I laughed so loud to catch the attention of three vampires…
The artwork is very clever, comical in nature, with a very medieval D&D feel. Funny story about the drink tokens: They are bright blue little cubes. While I was playing with the game developers, they told me how most people suggested making the drink tokens brown and white, like ale in a tavern. However, the guys made them blue because one of their friends is color-blind and the blue tokens made it easier to see. I had never thought of that myself. Nice touch.
There were a couple of other games that caught my eye as well. One was called Poseidon’s Kingdom.
I didn’t get to play this one (not enough time) so there is no review. But the design was really eye-catching and very tempting. I mean, look! It has a tidal wave!! Ultimate destruction in a tabletop!!
You also have to love a game that has the following disclaimer in its instructions:
Game Salute and the Lamont Brothers take no responsibility for any injury caused by the poor quality of punning you may encounter in these rules. If injury occurs, please see advice from a qualified sturgeon.
Another game that piqued my interest was The Princess Bride: A Battle of Wits.
Now, I love The Princess Bride, and I do enjoy a good bluffing game – but I need to admit that it took me a little while to get into this one. I think it would be far more fun around a table of fellow-geeks who were in love with the movie as well. The table I was playing with was a little bland. Not a single Sicilian amongst them.
If you want to read more about my adventures at PAX Aust, head over to GeekMom for the reviews. I will be adding some more stuff over the next couple of weeks; some interesting discussion from the panels, and some interesting news from developers.
Sidenote: Yes, I did attend PAX Aust as ‘media’. No, they did not give me any bribes or other enticements. No, I did not receive any of the above games for free. Yes, I had to buy my own chocolate while in Melbourne.
THAT, my dear minions -That last point is a travesty that will be remedied before the next big event.