Anyone here attend PAX Unplugged? If so, was it worth it? How does it compare to Gen Con?
There is a decent chance I won't be able to make Gen Con 2018 due to a work trip and I'm looking to attend another Con. I've also thought about Origins or Game Hole Con.
I did. It was a nice con but nowhere near the scale of Gen Con.
Alec Usticke, Fans of Gen Con Facebook Group
Would you go again? Was there enough to do? Was it crowded? A lot of demos? Pickup games? Good dealer hall?
After going to Gen Con for so long I don't know what else could come close to the overall awesome experience.
I will be going again, but I mostly play pickup games with friends. The exhibit hall was decent with many vendors demoing their games (but, like all of the con, it was on a way smaller scale than Gen Con). There were plenty of attendees, but the crowds were manageable.
Gen Con is a better convention in nearly every way, but I enjoyed PAX Unplugged for what it was.
And Philly is a great city with lots of nearby food options.
Alec Usticke, Fans of Gen Con Facebook Group
I went. I enjoyed it. Food options were better (though Gencon would utterly overwhelm Philly). There were a number of companies that weren't at Gencon, which was cool. The other thing I liked was that open play seemed better. I found it easier to find open pickup games, which I don't do well at Gencon (whether this is because I don't know where to look or because it's not as well done at Gencon, I don't know.)
I might go again next year, depending on money and time.
I went as well. I didn't enjoy it that much, and was surprised to hear how much love it was getting - must just be me, I guess. I prefer Indy over Philly, and the con itself was absolutely no match for Gen Con or Origins. I'll pass next year.
It was their first year, so I do think it will improve.
What was the facility like?
I heard it was one giant room, with half of it filled by exhibitors, and the other half available for open gaming.
Were there any scheduled events?
The facility was like any convention center. There were a few different rooms, but the bulk of it was in one large hall, including the exhibit hall and open gaming.
You can view the scheduled events on their web site. There was no pre-registration though.
I worked for a exhibitor and was in the dealerhall almost all con. My honest impressions was this is a pax? Couldn't and still can't see the hype. If you're an local, it was worth the trip for the dealerhall but otherwise this con was a bust. If you want events then far better around.
Event registration was horrible and seriously makes (I'm not kidding) Origins/Gama look sane and competent. Daily queue and paper tickets every morning.
Venue was dated and odd, but to be fair my 1st time in the venue, on the other hand the complete lack of decent maps was well withing the realm of Pax to fix/do. Mobile app maps were useless as in the hall names/#'s completely failed to match visible signage on the building's halls itself.
The low level enforcers were some of the best con staff i've ever met or interacted with, yet some of the higher tiers believe their own mythos so much that it was hard and (I admit unable to hold back on Sun) the public mocking they deserved.
My overall impressions as a exhibitor booth monkey and talking to others is that no one wanted to be left out in case this thing blows up and becomes the US Essen or next Gencon. Just everyone kept expecting more and a common thread was this was it? Even to the point of little to no signage or sign that this con was even going on.
As an attendee that drove 9+ hours, i'll tell you there are far better options for gaming. Game Hole Con is same time frame and 10+ hours opposite direction for me vs Philly, yet i can tell you which one is already booked in my calendar for vacation days and it isn't Pax...
Hope that puts a few things in perspective for those of us in the midwest trying to decide which con is the right con for us. That's ultimately a question that is unique to each one of us with varying answers.
FWIW, I often enjoy local conventions as much as or more than Gen Con. Gen Con's size provides for different experiences, some of which you're not going to see at most smaller cons, but those aren't automatically better.
It helps that local cons are an order of magnitude or two cheaper and you can walk back to your room in single-digit minutes. :)
I had wondered how it went as well. When I heard that the events were not ticketed (at least for D&D), merely show up, wait in line, and play, I was skeptical. I had to work that weekend so was unable to attend.
It's interesting to read different perspectives, I'm also looking at going to PAX Unplugged this year - and also looking at Metatopia, though not too sure I'd be able to go to both.
I will be going to PAX Unplugged for the first time this year. It sounds like it will be a very different experience than Gen Con, which is good. Gen Con is more or less an immersive experience for me and I don't do much in Indianapolis besides the con (and eat!). From what I've been hearing it seems that PAX Unplugged is small enough where I can get out and do some sight seeing/exploring in addition to gaming. It should be a fun weekend!
Was PAX Unplugged any different in 2018? I have heard conflicting reports, though the general consensus amongst my buddies who attend both was that it felt a little less chaotic (in a good way) this past year compared to the first time.
I went in 2017 and not in 2018, both because I left the East Coast and because it really was just nothing special. Still glad I went to the inaugural edition, but I have no idea why anyone would prefer standing in line over having tickets (or prefer a convention with no communication about logistics until basically the last minute over one where every part of the year you are hearing important updates about things). But brand loyalty is a hell of a drug...