The Reflectioning – Addendum


Yes, it’s true, I didn’t get all there was in my head out in my previous post, so here are a few things that didn’t make it the first time around.

* I was clearly oblivious because as can be seen on Kotaku, there was a great deal of great cosplay going on. Lesson learned: Take more damn pictures. 

* It wasn’t until the third day that the idea occurred to me that it would be fun to do a giveaway to help promote the blog.  I picked up a copy of Cards Against Humanity and announced on Twitter that the first person at PAX to find me on the floor and utter the passphrase would win it.  I went home with am extra copy of CAH.  Because the timeframe between the thought, the announcement, and window of opportnity was so brief, I dont even know if anyone saw the tweet. Lesson learned: These things really need to be planned in advance.

* I packed plenty of clothes but in trying to go for a signature look I only brought one hoodie. This was…a poor decision. Lesson learned: One hoodie is never enough. (That’s actually true for life in general)

* One of the great things about the hotel I was staying at was the hot tub.  There is nothing better after 8-12 hours on your feet than sitting in a hot tub.   This is of course if you didn’t forget to pack your bathing suit.  Lesson leanred: The lesson here is actually twofold. First, start a packing list for your next trip during your current trip so you won’t forget what you forgot.  Second, always pack a bathing suit.  Just do it.

* You are going to need to get around the city at some point.  This will require cash in most cases: Lesson learned: This is more of a rule of thumb rather than a lesson leanred, but always have some cash to tip your drivers.  It’s the right thing to do.

Well, the train is pulling into the station so it’s time for me to go.  Thanks for tuning in. 


The Reflectioning


Good morning!  With 18-24 inches of snow currently starting to blanket the Central Kingdom where my burrow is located, I find myself with enough time to sit down and quietly reflect on my time at PAX East.  I had planned on doing a post-mortum after each day but, best laid plans and all that jazz.

PAX was, as it has come to always be, packed.  There were demos and tournaments and vendors aplenty.  And panels and players and PCs galore.  There were streamers and dreamers and…you get what I’m saying.  It’s big.  It’s hard to really describe the event in a way that encompases its vast scale.  It’s not a stretch to say that as you are walking out on the third day something will catch your eye and you’ll say to yourself you wish you had more time to check it out.

PAXEAST2017-EXPO floor

The main expo floor at PAX East 2017

I’m always amazed at how well behaved the crowds are.  Last time I checked attendence was around 70,000.  That was a couple years back so that number might be higher.  Even with that many people in one space, everyone still manages to not be a dick.  Sure, you’ll get bumped and inadvertadly poked but I’ve yet to see an altercation or heated exchange in the four years that I’ve attended.  I think that speaks volumes about the type of people this expo attracts.

There didn’t seem to be as much cosplay this year as I’ve seen in years past.  That isn’t to say that there weren’t some impressive cosplayers out there, just not in the numbers present in past years.  I’m not sure if it was because of the extreme cold or perhaps I was just oblivious to my surroundings.  I do have to imagine it can get difficult navigating the expo floor with some of the more elaborate props and outfits.  I hold anyone with the confidence and the drive to cosplay in high regard.  That reminds me, I haven’t watched Face Off in a while…

PAX Cosplay

Aemiliaaaaaa and Thatchcosplay have left the Vault

This being the fourth year attending, I was familiar with most of the trappings of PAX and how things worked.  This let me spend some time doing something I don’t normally give myself enough opportunity to do, and that’s putting aside stranger danger and branching out and making new connections.  I was really fortunate to have dinner and hang out with a great crew of streamers from all over, including some folks from the Great White North.  A debt of gratitude to Falloutgurl4, Ember, Kelsey, MDee14, Carter, dclickner10, NagataLockII, DrooYoo, and Riggs for making this PAX a particularly memorable one.  Meeting them only reinforced the fact that it is really a community out there, and a solid one at that.  Do them a solid and check them out.

Oh, by the way, whoever was ultimately responsible for the Rocket League tourney on Saturday, please get your shit together for next year.  It ultimately worked out in the end for team I was rooting for, but seriously, shit, together, get it.

In the end, the biggest take-away for me was not the swag, but some realizations and lots to think about.  It’s hard to put into words which isn’t very helpful as this is a blog and words are, you know, necessary.  And stuff.  I’ll spare you the introspective bullshit but it’s along the lines of who, why, how, and where in the hell is that smell coming from (PAX can be hard on the intestinal tract).  Long story short, the experience will help me become a better blogger, and in the end a better person.  Blah blah blah.

Ok, so, games.  That’s probably why you’re reading this in the first place.  There were plenty to be had.  I skipped the AAA titles because standing in lines  with durations longer than an hour just did not appeal to me.  I’ve forgotten which game it was for but after deciding to bite the bullet I got into a line and the booth guy informed me that it was a two hour wait.  Nopity nope nope nope.

Here were some of the games I did check out.

Foxhole.  It’s a persistent war MMO and it struck me as an interesting take on the genre.  The demo I played was small in scale but it gave a good taste for the game.  You should, you know, download it and give it a whirl.  Currently in development.

Lightspeed Frontier.  Space combat with Legos.  Sort of.  Just take a look.  Out now in Early Access on Steam.

Space Wars. Tactical turn based MMO.  Didn’t get a chance to demo it, but it looked nice.  Currently in beta.

Dark Horizons. Mechs.  Is there anything else to say?  Out now in Early Access on Steam.

Auto Age Standoff. Sort of like Interstate ’76.  Sort of.  Kind of. In development for release this year.

Deliver Us The Moon The demo for this was very brief.  It’s a good looking game though.  It seems to be a single player exploring abandoned moon bases.  Currently in development.

Phantom Brigade. Another mech game, this one being turn-based.  It looked pretty slick.  Had a couple minutes with the demo and might pick it up. Currently in development.

And that is going to wrap it up for this post.  As always, thanks for stopping by.  Help a newbie out by leaving your questions and comments.




Just a Quick Blurb


Hello once again. This going to be a super quick post, working on something a little more substantial regarding my PAX experience, but I wanted to take a minute to thank everyone who has found their way to the blog and followed.   I met some great people over the weekend and for me, that is what this is all about.

So once again, thank you from the bottom of my heart. If you need a little more marmot in your life, there is always the Facebook page and my twitter feed.


PAX: Day Zero Post Mortem


The day before the day of PAX has passed and I find myself in my hotel room, trying to get a second cup of coffee in my gullet and get my self on some sort of footing for the day.  The fact that I’m typing this the morning after should give you some indication as to how the night before went.

My day started early enough.  Normally I get up between 4AM and 4:30 AM to get ready for work.  Given the opportunity to sleep in, my body decided to get up at about 3:50.  I only live an hour away from the convention venue so I decided my best course of action would be to take the most difficult route, utilizing three different modes of transit (Train, 2 subways, and a shuttlebus).  On the train I sat across from a very talkative gentleman who proceeded to speak to me about business and how to make money in nonprofits.  The train ride was approximately an hour and twenty minutes.  He spoke for an hour and twenty-one.

When I arrived at the place where the hotel shuttle is supposed to do pick ups, I attempted to call the hotel to let them know to send a driver around.  The only issue was that the hotel’s phone number was not working.  At all.  I figured if I waited long enough that a shuttle would eventually come by and I was correct.  He just didn’t stop to pick anyone up.  The shuttle did eventually make a second pass but not before I attempted calling the hotel an additional 8 times, even going so far as to contact the national headquarters of the hotel to see if they could connect me directly.  That effort ended unsatisfactorily.

I did finally make it to the hotel.  Passing through the lobby, familiar to me due to my having stayed here for last year’s Pax, I passed by the pool/Jacuzzi room.  I smiled at prospect of being able to take a quick dip.  I frowned when I realized that I had forgotten my bathing suit.

Once I got settled in I had a couple of hours to kill so I crashed on the couch.

Finally I headed out to dinner.  This proved to make the preceding events of the day worth it.   I met up with Falloutgirl and her crew and finally was able to place faces to the names and voices I’ve been seeing and hearing on Twitch for well over a year.  After dinner a few of us split off in search of a bar that served spiced rum because for some reason, the restaurant/bar we had dinner at was unable to provide said beverage.

The remaining few hours consisted of a couple of drinks that were strong enough to strip paint off a car and discussion about Twitch, it’s community and what its like to build up your following.  I mostly listened.  Good stuff.

That brings us to now, slightly hungover and in desperate need of a shower.  Also, the first cup of coffee, in conjunction with the second cup of coffee, are exerting their influence on my internals.

And so begins PAX: The First Day


Bored? Games!


Hey hey, it’s your friendly neighborhood ground mammal and I’m back with another long overdue and exceedingly brief blog post.

In my last post I mentioned that I had been on a bit of a boardgame/tabletop kick.  Well, once I get an idea stuck in my head it tends to place a stranglehold on my moderation reflex and drives me to…well, a compulsion to pursue the idea.  This is both good and bad.  It is good in the sense that the sudden, unrelenting immersion helps me get up to speed on the general concepts (European tabletop, collectable card games, dice games, etc in the case of games) but the bad comes in with the desire to possess all the things.  This of course can quickly lead to financial ruin.

Now, my compulsion might not be quite as ruinous as it might be with one who truly has no impulse control and starts to irrationally hoard things, but it does tend to lead to the purchase of items that don’t necessarily make a lot of sense given that I don’t have a wide group of friends close by to play with and I’m not independently wealthy.  Tabletop gaming can get very expensive very quickly.  It isn’t unusual for a popular game to go for $60-$70, and much higher if a game is out of print or has a short print run (I’m looking at you Fantasy Flight).  In some cases the expansions can go for as much as the base game.  But I digress.

Anyway, the interest was sparked when several weeks (months???) ago I was hanging out with a friend of mine and we were looking for something to kill some time that he, his wife, his son and myself could do.  My friend pulled out a nicely worn copy of HeroQuest (I think that’s what it was called) and ran us through a quick dungeon crawl.  It was fun and I dare say it rekindled memories of late nights in the student lounge playing Risk, pounding Mountain Dew and shouting “Roll again! Kamchatka is mine you sonovabitch!”.  Mind you, the game at my friends house was not as intense, but I think you can see where I’m going with this.

Queue my most recent foray into the realm of tabletop gaming.  Within a few weeks I amassed a small collection of games that either looked interesting or I had heard about while traipsing across the interwebs.  I tried to be descerning in my purchases, checking to see that there was a single-player option so that my investments didn’t have to sit on a shelf until I could get a proper group together to play.  Then restraint sort of went out the door.   Wrath of Ashardalon found its way to me.  Then Epic Tiny Galaxies, One Deck Dungeon, showed up.  Fantasy Flight stopped licensing Warhammer so I thought I should get Forbidden Stars before they sold out (I got burned hard on that purchase).  Assault of the Giants got good reviews and they had a special edition with…painted minatures!  And on and on, and on.  The straw that is probably going to break the camel’s back is GKR: Heavy Hitters, a Weta Workshop kickstarter that looks absolutely epic and which is probably going to cost as much to ship as it is to purchase the game itself.

And then there is X-Wing Miniatures

So yes, I have a problem.  Most of these games are most likely going to end up on shelves supporting dense carpets of dust.  But on the plus side, if I ever happen to get snowed in with 2-5 friends, there will be plenty to do.  And who knows, one of these days I might even work up the courage to seek out new and interesting people to game with.

My name is Stu, and I’m a compulsive game purchaser.  It’s been five days since my last purchase…

Stu out.