Tabletop Gaming at PAX AUS

I’ve noticed a few discussions on social media in the last week or two regarding tabletop gaming at PAX Australia.  The deliberation appears to be whether or not one should attend the event if their focus is purely on the tabletop aspect of gaming with little to no interest in the video game side of things.

In short, let me answer this question for you with a resounding – “Yes! You should go.  Yes! It will definitely be worth it.”

When I first pulled into the tabletop gaming area at PAX AUS last year my first reaction was ‘Whoah’.  Being a part of the media team, we were allowed entry into the venue an hour before the public.  What I saw was enough tables to host a Magic: The Gathering Grand Prix (not including all the side events).  The play area was huge as you can see for yourself –

A few hours later and it looked like this –

Across the hall I spied every conceivable tabletop game taking place.  Role-playing, miniature war games, board games and of course card games.  A gamers delight, pick your poison, it was all here to be had at this gaming bazaar.

“But Toby!” I hear you say “I can play games at my local gaming store or at home without the entry fee.”  Sure, you could,  but the advantage here is the smorgasbord on offer.  Now is the time to be testing out and sampling all those other games you’ve been meaning to play but not had a chance.  Not to mention all of the games on display or available that you’ve never even heard of.

Retailers will be present, their stalls creaking with the weight of all the stock they’ve brought with them, often with reduced pricing.  Clever shoppers know to wait until late Sunday as the stores are packing up to snap up the big bargains, although you run the risk of that game you’ve been eyeing off being completely sold out.

Game developers and publishers will be on site, with all manner of shiny new toys to be tried, tested and sometimes bought.  Sit down with the people who are actually making games, roll some dice, move some meeples and give direct feedback.  Keep an eye out for Rule & Make (who will have their official Terminator 2 board game T2029 with them), Good Games Publishing and of course our friends at the Tabletop Game Designers of Australia group (make sure you pick up one of their showbags, they are absolutely stuffed full of goodies).

While Hasbro / Wizards of the Coast won’t be in attendance this year (rumour has it they will be hosting their own Hascon in Australia soon) there will be plenty of Magic: The Gathering action still taking place.  Good Games will be hosting the final bracket of their Magic Championship Finals.  Watch the best battle it out for a flight to a Grand Prix event anywhere in the world and a bunch of cash prizes.

Speaking of cash prizes, the team at Games Lab will be the major sponsor of the board game area at PAX this year with their game Final War.  They will be hosting a grand melee tournament with a whopping $50,000 prize pool!  First place will be walking away with a staggering $20,000.  Our very own Harrison has been following and playing the game for some time now and has created a few articles covering this Australian made TCG.  He’s also hoping to participate in this event himself.

Having said all this, the best reason you might want to attend is the swathe of new friends you will make.  My time at PAX last year found everyone very accommodating.  Walking through the tables I had countless offers from people asking me to have a seat and join them.  You could easily get lost in a role-playing game for an afternoon (and evening), learn the rules for and play a brand new miniature war game (goodbye budget) or simply move from table to table testing out all manner of board games (new and old).  By the end of it all you’ll have met a bunch of friendly, like minded people.

I’m ultra keen to be heading back to PAX Australia myself this year, and while my duties for Pixel Pop Network require me to spend a lot of time in the video game half of PAX I know I’ll spend every spare moment I have in the tabletop gaming area.

So yes, you should definitely go.  Tickets are still available, at least grab yourself a day pass, you won’t regret it.

The schedule for PAX Australia 2017 has now been made available.  You can now see a list of all the events and panels, many of them to do with tabletop gaming.  Grab your diary and start planning –

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