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Subject: "PAX Unplugged" Tickets Now On Sale! rss

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Jeremy Stoltzfus
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"To that end, I urge you to give the PAX method a chance."

@Matt Morgan - I'm game to give it a chance, I just don't really understand what it is. You say everything isn't pre-scheduled but every (or most) of the events on the schedule say "Registration starts @ 10am".

So how does it work? If I'm in line @ 9am could I just register for every single event? If I'm not in time for registration, I just can't play in any tournaments? I feel like there has to be some more order to it than that - I'm just not seeing what it is.
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Mark B
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rshipley wrote:
So how does this work?

According to the schedule, there are dozens of gaming events throughout the day and most list registration at 10AM (the same time the show opens). Most of these have a small number of seats available. Will they each have their own line?


This is a good question. My post was about lines for live shows and panels. For games, I plan to just go to the open gaming area and either find a "looking for players" cone or check out out a game and put up my own cone.

For the scheduled games, it seems that there will be at least four different places to register: Pax RPG HQ, Classic Carboard, Tabletop Tourney, and Pax Minis HQ. All of these start taking registrations for the day when the show opens at 10, so I imagine that there will be one line at the door to the convention center, and that people in this line will branch off to register at one of these four places or to go to a panel or the free play area or the miniatures painting area or the prototype area. It seems to me that there are enough places for people to go to when Pax opens that there should not be huge lines at any one registration area. I guess they could have problems if everyone that shows up that day is itching to join a specific tournament, or everyone wants to play d&d. I guess that could happen, and I wonder how flexible they are to handle lopsided demand. I guess we'll just wait and see. I think that Matt hit on a key part of this when he said that there are usually three things you'll want to do at any given time, so the crowd gets distributed. Looking at the schedule, I know that for me there are lots of good options most of the time. There is only one game and one panel that I would be super disappointed to miss, so I am planning accordingly. Beyond that, I plan to explore and participate in whichever of the many things that interest me is easiest and most available at the moment.
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Gary Pope
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Off Topic, but does anyone have any plans for the Thursday before?

For the time being I'm considering this event as my plans for the Thursday before the con.
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Carl P (Chazzmo)
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I am most excited about the tournaments, although I’ll have the toughest time on Friday deciding which tournaments to play in. Many of my favorites (Puerto Rico, Power Grid) start at the same times Friday.

A few things about these tournaments that I’m curious about
- Why do some have so few players? I only see one Power Grid tourney all weekend (10am Friday) and it has 18 players max. That seems woefully low and won’t meet demand I would think.
- Do more tournaments tend to “pop up” later in the day? It seems like so many are scheduled early, and then there are very few later on.
- Where can I go to get more detail on specific tourneys, such as format, expansions used, etc? Or is it all pretty much decided on the spot?

Maybe I’m taking all this too seriously and should just show up and let things happen, but I’d love to get a better sense of the environment at the tabletop tourneys.

Thanks!
 
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Matt Morgan
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The tournaments at PAX are all very casual, and almost all are small, two-round single-elimination affairs. Most PAX attendees do not want to lock their entire day schedule into a 4 or 5-round tournament. In many cases, this led to repeating sessions of small tournaments for popular games. I can't say for certain why Power Grid received only one session.

At most PAXes, extra tournaments do pop up based on demand, but less likely here, as we've aimed to use the space to its fullest extend in our pre-show schedule. If a Friday event receives incredible excess demand, don't be surprised if 1 or 2 more get added late in the week, though. (Follow @TT_HQ on Twitter for these sorts of updates).

If you click individual events on the schedule website, it will show format (single-elimination) and player count. For all other details, assume vanilla base game at max player count. On rare occasion, an expansion may be thrown into a Finals match, but the GM would announce this prior to tourney start. If you have questions about a specific tournament, feel free to ask here. I know our tourney director is also in this thread.
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Matt Morgan
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jerdude wrote:
"To that end, I urge you to give the PAX method a chance."

@Matt Morgan - I'm game to give it a chance, I just don't really understand what it is. You say everything isn't pre-scheduled but every (or most) of the events on the schedule say "Registration starts @ 10am".

So how does it work? If I'm in line @ 9am could I just register for every single event? If I'm not in time for registration, I just can't play in any tournaments? I feel like there has to be some more order to it than that - I'm just not seeing what it is.
When you get to the front of any registration line, you will be able to register for all of the day's events for that area of the con.

As others have pointed out, these are not tournaments with incredibly high player caps, so they will fill, and there is no perfect system for distributing registration slots where demand exceeds capacity. The system chosen here is first-come, first-served at the day's registration time.

As for me saying everything isn't pre-scheduled, allow me to clarify. Gaming events on the schedule are indeed, by their very nature, scheduled with pre-reg. What I meant to say was that there is a wealth of content at the show that is *not* on the schedule, or is on the schedule with no pre-reg. The Expo Hall, the Tabletop Library, our Essen area, our Learn & Play area, UnPub playtesting, the amazing panel schedule, etc. There is a lot of fun to be had here.
 
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Matt Morgan
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Suffice to say, folks, there is going to be a PAX Registration FAQ generated from a lot of the discussion here, and on other forums. Expect something at least a week prior to the event, with plenty of time to digest and ensure you're prepared to have the best PAX day(s) you can.
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-=::) Dante (::=-
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What is the "Learn & Play" area? Is there a lis of which games will be featured there?
 
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Matt Morgan
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NuMystic wrote:
What is the "Learn & Play" area? Is there a lis of which games will be featured there?
The full schedule is here (this was obtained by clicking the "filter schedule" button and selecting Learn & Play. Personally, the schedule is so broad I find it preferable to view only when sorting by one category at a time).

Learn & Play is game night in a can. Learn 2 to 3 games in a 2-3hr session, and get to play them all in full. It's 10 tables, each with a full copy of each game being taught. The sessions are hosted by some great folks (Rodney from Watch it Played, Mandi from Dice Tower, Quinns and Matt from SU&SD, etc.) along with a team of PAX Enforcers to help any groups that fall behind. It's a crazy experiment and we hope it will be a unique and fun experience for all involved.

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-=::) Dante (::=-
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Thanks for the link. If I'd any clue at all that the overwhelming focus virtually across the board was going to be catering to nothing but feather light games, party games and older classics outside of the library itself I probably would not have booked this on blind faith.

I know there will be plenty of new meatier games in the library and that we can organize games ourself here via geek list, but we can easily do that ourselves in NYC via meetup, for any game imaginable, literally every single night of the week.

We'll make the absolutely most of it and I'm sure we'll still have a ton of fun now that we know to thoroughly readjust our expectations.

That said, you guys seriously need to up your game when it comes to contemporary mid-weight to heavyweight titles or the two dozen plus attendees I know personally will not likely be returning for the sophomore year.

I get that you're catering the broadest possible audience with the scheduled events but the actual game focus isn't reflecting the spread of even mainstream hot selling top rated mid-weight titles of the last couple of years that can be found at big box chain stores like Target at B&N at this point.

If the equivalent thing was done with video games at the regular Pax there would be an uproar.

Just some serious food for thought going forward.


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Jeremy Stoltzfus
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Are you looking at the same schedule I am?

Game of Thrones, Twilight Imperium, Scythe, Blood Rage, Champions of Midgard, Food Chain Magnate... these are far from feather weights!
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Mark B
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Feather light games? Really? When me and my friends saw the schedule we thought it was a good mix of heavy games (Twilight Imperium, Food Chain Magnate, Twilight Struggle, Terra Mystica, Through the Ages) contemporary mid-weight (Terraforming Mars, Clank!, Scythe, The Godfather, Evolution), and some gateway games to get people into the hobby.
I am especially impressed with the mid-weight events that offer more than just playing these deep and involved games, which I can do with my friends at home. I like that I can also have unique experiences like Ingacy Trzewiczek personally showing off Alien Artifacts, Shut Up and Sit Down leading a room full of people playing Inis, and Rodney Smith teaching a group to play The Godfather: Corleone's Empire followed by the opportunity to play a full game.

It's an embarrassment of riches for me, and I consider myself a mid-weight gamer.

My only concern is how the registration works. Like others, I like to know if I have a spot or not, but many of the things I want to do overlap, so if some fill up, it's probably not a big deal for me. I look forward to reading the FAQ when it comes out.
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-=::) Dante (::=-
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You can always cherry pick exceptions but what I’m pointing out are deficits in the overall spread when you lay all the events out side by side. Plus the majority of the titles folks are countering with above are two or more years old.

I’m not by any means a die hard cult of the new person but if the Pax East, West, and South didn’t feature nearly ALL of the very hottest video game titles of the last 12 months and many of the most anticipated forthcoming ones people would lose their minds.

Even if I put aside my own heavier game bias and just highlight the mainstream hits what I’m most struck by is the stunning lack of the biggest new titles featured in events.

The most anticipated games of Essen or even GenCon which is already many months past, Spiel des Jahres winners? Jogos do Anos? IGA? Friese’s latest? Uwe’s? Most are nowhere to be found.

The buzziest titles of the last 18 months, Arkham Horror LCG? A Feast for Odin? Santorini? Anachrony? Yokohama? Dead of Winter the Long Night? Century Spice Road? Lisboa? Imhotep? Ethnos? Spirit Island? Vast? Dice Forge?

Even many of the highest rated HUGE IP games of the last 18 months like Star Wars Rebellion, Imperial Assault, Star Trek Frontiers, Star Trek Ascendancy, Harry Potter Hogwart Battles, nada

Days of Wonder is one of the most important publishers in the industry. Ticket to Ride Rails and Sails? Yamatai? Quadropolis? Not one of their latest titles is anywhere to be found.

Splendor and Codenames are two of the heavily played games in the entire hobby in the last few years. Splendor has a brand new expansion and Codenames has a new 2p version, both already on store shelves but you’d never guess that looking at the Pax Unplugged site.

Great Western Trail just racked up an armload of awards and nominations around the world and it’s nowhere to be found even though it’s widely distributed and has a domestic publishing partner.

Mechs vs Minions practically crashed the internet and is ironically published by one of the biggest companies in video games so Pax folks are certainly no strangers to it. Nowhere to be found.

When tickets went on sale without any actual content on offer there was a lot of hyperbole spun out touting how Pax Unplugged was aiming to surpass and outdo all the other major tabletop cons but GenCon, BGG Con, Origins and even many smaller regional conventions showcase the the very latest and greatest along side classics and older titles, and cater to the middle and heavyweight gamers way more along with gateway and lighter ones than this lineup reflects.

Again, I’m not in any way suggesting we won’t find plenty to do and enjoy.

I just returned from a regional con this weekend and without exception this is what I heard from every single person I spoke to about Pax Unplugged. (and plenty were talking about it) I can't even count how many said they would not have registered if this schedule had been up from the start.

It's awesome if this doesn't match your personal experience but it's still very important for the organizers to hear about.

I’m not saying all of this to simply bitch and complain, I’m offering sincere constructive criticism so that they can hopefully improve in these areas going forward.
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Matt Morgan
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Great Western Trail is out of print
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Gary Pope
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Just to throw this out there, I believe 2017 Essen games will also make an appearance (Actually I believe was the wrong choice of words, I know). Also you should look towards the exhibitors making an appearance, odds are they will be handing the Pax people games to add to their libraries or they will have demos/stations at their booths.
 
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Kevin C.
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Quote:
It's awesome if this doesn't match your personal experience but it's still very important for the organizers to hear about.


Yes and no.

You aren't going to please everyone in the hobby, but I think PAX is trying to be as accommodating as possible.

I go to the WBC every year for serious competition. This is meant to be a lark, I think.

There is enough of an offering of heavier games, to my mind, and a ton of light and medium weight games. (Codenames, Splendor and Ethnos are on the schedule, by the way.)

I don't really want this to be another "heavy play games convention." I think regional conventions, like the WBC, Euroquest or Prezcon do that sort of thing already.

The focus isn't really on the tournaments...that's just "more" stuff to do while taking in the hype side of the hobby.

If you are curious or interested in that kind of thing, this will be fun, but I don't think it is really about playing games in a formal setting as much as just being there.

At least, that is what I am thinking. I've got "serious" conventions I go to in which the games being offered for play are the draw. The draw here is just hype and people...and things like being taught Sushi Go by Rodney Smith or running into Tom on the way to the can.

I'm actually quite impressed with the selection, though. Colt Express to Terra Mystica is a pretty good spread, I think.

Since this is the first one like this (unplugged), they are probably trying to be as general as possible in the selection of games.

I don't really think there are "deficits" in the spread. It's probably like some people already said above...this might not be the convention to go to if you really want to play games in a formal setting.

Sounds odd, I know, but who goes to GenCon to really play in the tournaments? It's the whole deal and atmosphere with tournaments being a part that make that convention what it is.

I think Unplugged is going for the same thing. (Which is fine by me because I've already got the WBC for actual game playing.)

Kevin
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-=::) Dante (::=-
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gundabad wrote:
Great Western Trail is out of print


And? Copies were still available at below MSRP as recently as last month. Didn't stop Congress of Gamers from running a tournament for it just 10 days ago.

All the other major cons go to extra lengths to make sure hot new award winners and exceptionally hot titles are well represented especially when they're hard to come by. (as they often are following a big win or runaway success following release)

Robinson Crusoe and Terra Mystica were featured games at every single Origins, GenCon, and BGG Con in the 24 months following their release when they were regularly out of stock for 6-12 months at a time between printings.

Being able to play red hot new games at a con while supply catches up with demand is a feature not a flaw.

natsean wrote:
Codenames, Splendor and Ethnos are on the schedule, by the way.


I was highlighting the absence of the brand new Cities of Splendor and Codenames Duet. Didn't spot Ethos. Thanks!
 
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-=::) Dante (::=-
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Popesta wrote:
Just to throw this out there, I believe 2017 Essen games will also make an appearance (Actually I believe was the wrong choice of words, I know). Also you should look towards the exhibitors making an appearance, odds are they will be handing the Pax people games to add to their libraries or they will have demos/stations at their booths.


Will most definitely be taking full advantage of demos at publisher booths.

I'm well aware that scheduled gaming is not the focus of Pax Unplugged and likely never will be since Matt has clearly expressed his feelings on that subject.

That said they are doing a fair bit and I'm just highlighting that the list of organized game events announced happens to be very weak on exceptionally hot new mid weight to heavy titles compared to every single other major tabletop con.

It's 100% fine if Pax Unplugged never adjusts the focus because many of you are simply delighted with the offerings, but given just how many people I heard echoing disappointment at the schedule this past weekend at ConnCon it was definitely something that needed to be shared.

Some had even cleared the dates in anticipation but waited for the schedule to be posted and said they're now very "glad they did" since they won't be making the trip.

That three day tickets were "low" when the schedule was posted 4 days ago, and still haven't sold out now that everyone can see what they're getting means that these folks were certainly not entire alone in that feeling, no matter how many of us who already bought blind are perfectly content.

I won't clutter up the thread any further with additional debate as what they choose to do, or not do, in response to some feeling that way is entirely up to them.
 
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Gary Pope
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NuMystic wrote:
That said they are doing a fair bit and I'm just highlighting that the list of organized game events announced happens to be very weak on exceptionally hot new mid weight to heavy titles compared to every single other major tabletop con.


I think the thing that was missed from my post was that many other cons don't really announce events based off of games outside of tournaments and stuff they can run on their own. Gencon for example doesn't have a bunch of events that they run themselves. But instead need the publishers to run their own events. Matt has posted in the past that they are more than willing to run events if Publishers reach out to them and provide them the resources that they need. This was mentioned back when people were trying to figure out how Pax volunteers were going to run all events, rather than publishers running their own individual events.

But if you look at the list of publishers you'll see some key publishers missing like GMT, Splotters, Mind Clash, etc. It really could be as simple as heavy publishers are not going to the convention.
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I appreciate NuMystic's explanation, and, though I have a different view, I better understand the concern.

I think the lack of preregistration and how the schedule works can give the wrong impression, and I think that most of the games that NuMystic will be there is force. Of course, this is speculation, due to, again, the lack of preregistration and the way the schedule works.

At PAX's video game shows, none of the hot new video games show up in the schedule, which focuses on panels and tournaments. People just take it on faith that those games will be on the demo floor. Looking at Unplugged, we have an extensive list of publishers, so think we can expect a similar deal.

Also, Pax has always featured free events after you buy your badge. By comparison, I spend anywhere from $60 - $150 extra on Origins events, but I am guaranteed a seat and I know the events are running. I'm not sure that I want to do that for Pax.

Because we can't preregister and the schedule does not give us the stuff happening on the demo-floor, there are still a lot of questions marks. I think that the new games will be there but I could be wrong.

I guess it all comes down to what you're looking for. I've attended Origins for the past three years and loved it. Each year, I have preregistered for fewer games and each year I have had an even better time. I now only schedule one or two things and spend the rest of the time exploring, and find that I stumble on to some great things and have more fun. I think that Pax Unplugged lends itself perfectly to this kind of con experience, but I understand that it might not be for everyone.


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Matt Morgan
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I also want to echo that this shouldn't be a pile-on, and that all of the viewpoints presented here are valid. People took a chance on Unplugged without knowing just what kind of convention it would be, and for that, I thank them. Feedback is 100% desired, but with the convention 1 month away, not much is going to change for 2017.

Later in November, attendees who purchased badges will receive a post-con survey. Don't brush it off, as those actually do drive a great deal of change within the PAX shows from year to year. I'll also start up a feedback thread here to let the core board gaming community discuss what went well, what didn't, and what folks would like to see in 2018 and beyond.

Now back to 2017, it's time to look more closely at one part of PAX with plenty of new releases: the First Look area. This list is about 75% finalized, with some tentative selections we hope to pick up in Essen, but this is also an invitation for community feedback. If the games you want to see aren't here, throw them in the comments of this GeekList.

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Stefan Lopuszanski
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gundabad wrote:
I also want to echo that this shouldn't be a pile-on, and that all of the viewpoints presented here are valid. People took a chance on Unplugged without knowing just what kind of convention it would be, and for that, I thank them. Feedback is 100% desired, but with the convention 1 month away, not much is going to change for 2017.

Later in November, attendees who purchased badges will receive a post-con survey. Don't brush it off, as those actually do drive a great deal of change within the PAX shows from year to year. I'll also start up a feedback thread here to let the core board gaming community discuss what went well, what didn't, and what folks would like to see in 2018 and beyond.

Now back to 2017, it's time to look more closely at one part of PAX with plenty of new releases: the First Look area. This list is about 75% finalized, with some tentative selections we hope to pick up in Essen, but this is also an invitation for community feedback. If the games you want to see aren't here, throw them in the comments of this GeekList.



I do wish there was a refund option for those who didn't realize what type of convention they were getting until now. It seems like PAX in general have a very poor refund policy.
 
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Kevin C.
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Quote:
I do wish there was a refund option for those who didn't realize what type of convention they were getting until now. It seems like PAX in general have a very poor refund policy.


Everyone has their own specific circumstances, of course, but to me this seems a bit extreme.

It's a big boardgame convention pretty much in your backyard. Go for a few days and just have fun.

I'm not sure what people were really looking for from a PAX style event. They are well known in the video game field and the notion that somehow this would be akin to the WBC or a convention for "serious" competitive gaming just seems off to me.

So, I would say, if you are only into competitive serious gaming, this isn't for you. But I think if you like boardgames and this relatively local, it's going to have something you find appealing. Vendors, demos, panels, & open gaming seems like it would appeal to a wide group of people even just somewhat into boardgaming.

And those of us that are used to plexiglass and counter-clippers can let our hair down for a weekend, surely, and experience other aspects of gaming.

I guess this kind of surprise is surprising to me. We research the heck of the latest game, but we didn't know PAX was a hype-fest with aspirations to GenCon?

Plus, I'm just not seeing the deficits in the schedule some of you are. There are a bunch of "heavy" offerings on that schedule. Maybe not the specific game you were looking for, but enough to satisfy someone coming just to play something heavy in-between panels and demos.

Again, if you just registered for this for heavy games, it might have been a mistake, but even the WBC has 11:00 pm nonsense to take the edge off the heavy stuff. At PAX, you can play Terra Mystica, Through the Ages and Twilight Struggle for heavy stuff, then go to Friday Night Frenzy and see how the other half lives.

I guess I'm just really not seeing the reason for a refund based on taste or what isn't good about this and I spend nine days and $1,000+ every summer to play serious stuff day and night out in Seven Springs.

This just sounds like a blast to me. As I said, if you are just a little into boardgames, there is something at this con for you. If you are super-into boardgames, there is finally something like GenCon here on the East Coast for us.

How did the schedule sour people? For a big hyped convention like this, it seems they covered all the bases.

Kevin
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natsean wrote:
Quote:
I do wish there was a refund option for those who didn't realize what type of convention they were getting until now. It seems like PAX in general have a very poor refund policy.


Everyone has their own specific circumstances, of course, but to me this seems a bit extreme.

It's a big boardgame convention pretty much in your backyard. Go for a few days and just have fun.

I'm not sure what people were really looking for from a PAX style event. They are well known in the video game field and the notion that somehow this would be akin to the WBC or a convention for "serious" competitive gaming just seems off to me.

So, I would say, if you are only into competitive serious gaming, this isn't for you. But I think if you like boardgames and this relatively local, it's going to have something you find appealing. Vendors, demos, panels, & open gaming seems like it would appeal to a wide group of people even just somewhat into boardgaming.

And those of us that are used to plexiglass and counter-clippers can let our hair down for a weekend, surely, and experience other aspects of gaming.

I guess this kind of surprise is surprising to me. We research the heck of the latest game, but we didn't know PAX was a hype-fest with aspirations to GenCon?

Plus, I'm just not seeing the deficits in the schedule some of you are. There are a bunch of "heavy" offerings on that schedule. Maybe not the specific game you were looking for, but enough to satisfy someone coming just to play something heavy in-between panels and demos.

Again, if you just registered for this for heavy games, it might have been a mistake, but even the WBC has 11:00 pm nonsense to take the edge off the heavy stuff. At PAX, you can play Terra Mystica, Through the Ages and Twilight Struggle for heavy stuff, then go to Friday Night Frenzy and see how the other half lives.

I guess I'm just really not seeing the reason for a refund based on taste or what isn't good about this and I spend nine days and $1,000+ every summer to play serious stuff day and night out in Seven Springs.

This just sounds like a blast to me. As I said, if you are just a little into boardgames, there is something at this con for you. If you are super-into boardgames, there is finally something like GenCon here on the East Coast for us.

How did the schedule sour people? For a big hyped convention like this, it seems they covered all the bases.

Kevin


Yeah, I have some questions about the event registration system but I'm thrilled that I finally have a convention just a couple hours away! I would hate for people to get the impression that this is going to be a disaster or something.

I have a feeling that even people who don't sign up for a single scheduled event won't be left without fun things to do. Looking forward to it!
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natsean wrote:
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I do wish there was a refund option for those who didn't realize what type of convention they were getting until now. It seems like PAX in general have a very poor refund policy.


Everyone has their own specific circumstances, of course, but to me this seems a bit extreme.


I wasn't talking about that specific instance only. I was merely commenting on refunds in general. I purchased 4 tickets because I didn't know if my friends were going to be buying any or how fast they might sell out. Didn't see there was no refunds. Now I have 2 or 3 tickets extra since they all purchased tickets as well. Just sour on the whole thing with PAX and refunds in general.
 
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