PAX East: Goals Checklist

I had a few goals for PAX East. Nothing major, but I had a mental checklist of stuff I wanted to do. I didn't want to hold myself to much more than one scheduled event per day, and a major part of congoing is meeting people.

In the spirit of geekiness, I decided to score myself on how well I met my goals at PAX East this year.

Seriously, don't you
consider this art?
Getting Books Signed: 100%
I brought exactly two game books for signatures, and I took care of both. I nabbed Jeremy Keller on Saturday and he signed my Kickstarter copy of Technoir for me. And I had to leave Fred Hicks alone for a few minutes with Don't Rest Your Head, but I have now witnessed how to sign a book with creativity and intent. I may have brought something for Steve Jackson to sign had he been in attendance this year. Other than that, I'm totally satisfied with how the fanboy portion of my con went.

View from the panel stage.
Speaking at the Panel: 100%
I had to limit myself to only 100% here, since this experience kicked ass. We had 7 people on stage, most of whom had never met in person before. We had a few points where we talked over each other, but by and large we took turns and continually added to everyone else's comments. I think the audience got a great deal of useful advice and information, and I met some very cool people both on and off stage. I'm already planning pitches for panels next year.

Playing Games: 80%
I didn't play as much as I wanted to play. Part of that came from leaving so early. I wanted to break out Car Wars: The Card Game and I never ended up doing that, so I docked myself some points there. I did play a game that I had never heard of before (Cards Against Humanity) and a game that I wanted to try out (Lords of Waterdeep), so a few bonus points there. I didn't win, but winning isn't the point. Playing with friends old and new is.

Lords of Waterdeep.
Brent's game of OD&D entertained the heck out of me. The first encounter against 5 stirges ended in a TPK. We couldn't roll to save our lives. With the second party we owned the rest of the dungeon. Looting the fallen bodies of the first party helped, as did the assistance of Trapfinder, our hireling. And rolling a cask of oil down the stairs and lighting up the huge spider below totally made the game for me. Win.

Meeting People and Networking: 90%
I had a few people to catch up with, including the Gamer Assembly folk and several people I've met on Google Plus. I missed exactly 2 people out of a list of roughly 20, so there's the rationale for the score. I had no expectations of handing out piles of business cards, as I tend to want deeper communication than the speed dating of traditional networking events. But I am thrilled to have put a few cards in the hands of independent game designers. We'll see if anything tangible comes of those contacts in the months to come.

Everyone pictured has
a love of gaming in common.
Hanging With Friends: 100%
Here's where PAX scored big. With all the kids and work and day-to-day responsibilities of life, we need a weekend to tell the world exactly where to go. I've got the best friends on the planet. We stayed up talking until 2AM while the cutthroat game of Dominion unraveled at the table behind us. Being invited into games when you've never met before, or only met once or twice, can't be beat. I felt a sense of instant belonging. I could have stayed in the Tabletop area all weekend, drifting from table to table and just making new friends who all share the strong desire to play games. Just hanging out at PAX brings out the magic in the community.

PAX East kicks it. Hard. I made some friends, shook hands with some potential business contacts, played some games, experienced new things, talked until my throat was raw, had some books signed, and left with the sadness that endings always cause. It was huge and loud and tiring, but I always felt at home.

I can't wait for next year.

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