It was a chilly morning in Philly. Parking was hard to find. As we pulled into the unfamiliar parking lot, we saw a grown man putting on armor from the trunk of his car.
Yes, we were indeed in the right place.
This man was a cosplayer going to PAX Unplugged, an event hosted by the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
We were here on business; a work trip for our team of KatapultLabs volunteers and employees.
Normally, work trips include demonstrating our telecommunications software for utility and communication companies, but this trip was different.
Our team of “Game Gurus” (masters of board games and teachers of our craft) was interested in attending PAX to discover new games and cultivate knowledge to bring back to our GameNights in Dillsburg.
These tickets were also the top prize for our competitive board game league, Table of Champions. Our mid-season champion, Sean, won two passes to accompany the Game Gurus to this event.
As we entered the convention center, long lines had already formed for panels and celebrities of the tabletop gaming world. We took an escalator to the 2nd level to reach the main hall. Security checked our passes loudly saying, “FLIP! FLIP!” if the pass was facing backwards.
Walking through the row of doors, we were instantly overwhelmed.
To our right were multiple rows of vendors, booths, playable King of Tokyo pieces scaled up to be as big as a human, familiar board game companies, unknown board game companies, Kickstarter, Twitch–everyone was there.
The feeling of being overwhelmed stayed with us for the rest of the day. It felt as though I was missing something exciting, that there wasn’t enough time to see and take in everything PAX had to offer.
The sheer amount of creativity and art was incredible.
The amount of hours these people poured into their projects was inspiring. Ideas were ballooning in my head after having my imagination ignited from everything I was seeing.
The art, THE ART! I couldn’t believe how beautiful some of these games (and the worlds created to support them) were.
The other half of the main hall, to the left, were tables upon tables upon tables of people playing board games. Old board games, new board games, just purchased board games, RPG board games, card games, party games, hardcore games, prototype games (games that are in development), everything.
The tables were always full, from start till end of the main hall, 10AM – 6PM. I’ve never seen anything like that.
We had an awesome time at PAX Unplugged. The ideas, creativity, and art were truly inspiring. If you love card and board games, I think a trip to PAX Unplugged should be on your bucket list!
Never stop creating.
-Game Guru Andrew