PAX Unplugged is always a great time. Ever since we announced Frosthaven there back in 2019, it has always felt like a must-go convention for me. More than any other convention, it feels like the great confluence of business and fun.
During the day, there is a booth to run and events to execute, and once the show ends for the day, there are always great social events and game playing, often accompanied by ridiculously good food.
So what all did PAXU hold for us this year? Let’s start with the booth. I always have a great time hanging out in the booth, just getting the time to hang out with fans and talk about their experiences with our games. The most awkward thing someone can do in the booth is just assume I don’t want to talk to them or get embarrassed about asking me a question or taking up my time. I am there because I want to talk to you!
Please, ask me your obscure questions, complain about how much you hated a specific scenario, or show me pictures of your Cragheart tattoo! I love it all. And I’m never going to offer to sign something, because I don’t want to presume, but I will happily sign (almost) anything if asked, or pose for pictures if that’s your thing.
We didn’t have anything new to sell this year, so there’s nothing remarkable to talk about there, but we were demoing Buttons & Bugs, and that table was absolutely hopping. There were three stations where anybody could sit down for an unscheduled 10-15 demo of the first scenario, and I cannot remember ever looking over there and not seeing the table full. Designer Nikki Valens ran the demos for a large part of the convention, so I’m sure that was a large part of the draw as well!
And then there are the events! In previous years, we’ve made some pretty big announcements, like Frosthaven and the RPG, but we announced so many things leading up to the crowdfunding campaign earlier this year, we decided to not make any more big announcements and just do another live play of the Gloomhaven RPG. We got together the same crew as our Penny Arcade live play during the crowdfunding campaign, and did our best to continue these weird characters’ stories. I am not being hyperbolic when I say that the game we played at PAXU this year was the most fun I have ever had role playing. There were so many ridiculous moments where I just could not stop laughing. If you haven’t watched it yet, I would highly recommend doing so. There’s an airship heist, many questionable decisions, and just 2 hours of pure nonsense.
And then, after hours, there is always even more fun to be had. Cephalofair Games sponsored the Backerkit party at the axe-throwing venue, Kick Axe, which is a good time every year. Even though I am terrible at throwing axes, I still want to go back next year.
But look, a convention can’t really be good unless I get some time to sit down and play games (preferably Gaia Project or Lost Ruins of Arnak). Luckily, the first couple nights I was able to do so (though by Saturday night, all I wanted to do was go back to my hotel room and sleep - a clear indicator that I am getting old). There’s great gaming space in the convention halls, but I like to head across the street to a hotel lobby and game there. Though I will shake my fist in anger at Jeff, who beat me at both Gaia Project and Age of Innovation by, like, 3 points each time. Still good times.
I feel really lucky to have met and got to hang out with so many cool, amazing people over the course of the convention. We even had a Cephalofair team dinner Saturday night, which was a wonderful opportunity to have everyone in the same place to celebrate everything we have accomplished and will accomplish in the next year. I left Philadelphia on Sunday feeling really good about the time I spent there and the direction the company is headed. What a great way to end the year!
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