Reflections on our tabletop experience at PAX Aus

In the early days of AVCon I remember the wonder of sitting down and playing games with strangers. Finding people that loved the same games, finding a worthy contender to battle with. In my involvement with AVCon over the last few years I’ve tried to remember and recreate this feeling.

However as video games have gotten bigger and better, the novelty of attending a con or a LAN to play with others has worn off. More games now facilitate online play with our friends – and we can do it any time of day, any day of the week we please. It feels as though over time that there are less people “Looking for Group”s to game with at AVCon. The magic of finding strangers to play with has faded – it’s no longer something that we can’t get from the comfort of our own living rooms.

But PAX recaptured that magic for me – in its tabletop section.

As our video games have migrated to incorporate online play, board games have quietly remained in our homes. Sure, there have been some great online interpretations and implementations of games, but the interface is entirely different. So it was in the tabletop section at PAX that I was able to revisit the experiences of wonder and joy I’d had at my early AVCons.

We spent most of our free time in the tabletop section over the PAX weekend and it was wonderful. The huge library of games aside, there was great thought put into the various “looking for players” signs that people could grab to attract other interested players. And everyone in the tabletop section was interested in sharing their favourite games with other attendees.

My brief visit to the Mike and Jerry Q&A also addressed the huge board games presence at PAX – board games are games! When an audience member asked Mike and Jerry what the defining game was for them that got them hooked on videogames was, Jerry answered with, “chess”. Board games undeniably belong at an eventlike PAX and I can only wish that one day we can begin to reintroduce(*) them to AVCon.

Anyway, board games at PAX were a stand-out feature, but I also had great fun being an Enforcer. I think CFP might have been my “welcome home” moment – working in that section felt so comfortable and right. I loved my fellow enforcers and I loved our area managers.

Another highlight was being able to play lots of Tetris DS! Over the weekend I took some Tetris challenges and gave out some of the surplus UG tokens that I’d converted into pins. I even managed to trade some of the pins away for some neat stuff, including at least one official Pinny Arcade pin and a nifty Mario coin. I very much enjoyed some of the 4v1 Tetris I played with my fellow enforcers 🙂

Thanks to PAX for providing such an awesome experience. There’s no question about whether we’ll be back next year – we’re counting down the days already. Just give us a date!


* Early AVCon events featured roleplaying and board games including the Doom board game. In recent times we’ve dipped our toes into the TCG/CCG scene.