Tuesday, March 15, 2011

PAX East 2011: Day One

Bright and early Friday morning we awoke to make what is now an annualized trip to PAX. The flight out of Richmond was uneventful, save a bit of delayed landing due to a storm front moving into Boston. It was that very same storm that pushed our day one plans indoors. Friday was supposed to be our bean town tour, but because of the rain we ended up at PAX a day early.

Before we made it to nerd Mecca though, we grabbed a bite at Caffe Nuovo for breakfast. I had the seafood omelette (yum) and Crystal had waffles with fresh fruit (burnt). Stomachs full we trudged through the rain to our hotel. It was nice, but it was not Mandarin Oriental nice. It was about a fourth of the cost though, so it all worked out. We dropped off our bags, were back down stairs and on the T to the Boston Convention Center in no time. A venue that felt double or even triple the size of last years spot.

The expo floor reflected that increased size. I immediately felt lost in a sea of blinking lights and nerd stink. There was so much to see and do that we ended up taking a break after seeing half of it to play some board games. We picked up Gloom and it only took us about hour to learn and play it. It's a card game that is one part strategy and two parts dark humor story telling. It is something I'd definitely consider buying in the near future.

Back in the expo hall it was on to touring the rest of the games on offer. We still want a Geek Chic table in our dinning room, but will have to wait till we get a new house. Those things are massive and wicked cool. The lines to play Portal 2 and Star Wars: The Old Republic were epically long, but I wish I could have tried them. Red Faction looks like it will capture everything I loved about the last game in the series minus a sledge hammer. Machine Gun Jetpack made me want an iPad more than the game itself, but it seems cool in it's own right too.

What can best be described as life sized D&D was a highlight of the show floor for us. A party of six, picked characters in the form of laminated simplified character sheets on lanyards. Crystal was a Warlock and took the Cleric. Each party member had two powers to give you an idea of how simple we are talking. We faced off against 6ft tall cardboard cut out monsters (Strahd). Rolling basketball sized rubber dice to see if we would hit. I think every group conquered the encounter, but ours did so with style. I got the killing blow from a flank.

Board game and expo hall'ed out we grabbed some dinner. Pizza and mountain dew for +5 nerd points and then went to sit in line for the Joystiq Podcast. Last year Crystal had never heard the boys from Joystiq, but walked away really enjoying the mix of humor and game talk. This year was more of the same with Bob Ball cruising the crowd in a dinosaur costume the whole evening before revealing himself (giggle) to read an email.

After Joystiq let out we rushed over to the line for the Giant Bombcast. Crystal enjoyed this panel less and ended up playing Sudoku for most of it. I explained after the fact that Giant Bomb is my go to voice for video game opinions. That their podcast is usually funny too, but it can go long and get really into game talk. After the Bombcast panel we hitched a taxi ride back to the hotel. Hitting the bed hard for some much needed sleep.

Up Next: Boston/PAX Day 2, Sam Adams and the trip we didn't take the the Boston Aquarium

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The Wise Man's Fear
Dynasty of Evil
100 Bullets Vol. 07: Samurai
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100 Bullets Vol. 06: Six Feet Under the Gun
100 Bullets Vol. 05: The Counterfifth Detective
100 Bullets Vol. 04: A Foregone Tomorrow
100 Bullets Vol. 03: Hang Up on the Hang Low
100 Bullets Vol. 02: Split Second Chance
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