Published on September 11th, 2015 | by Nicole Jekich0
PAX Prime 2015 Recap
Epic PAX Prime with PlaytestNW
PAX Prime is always four days filled to the brim with games. This year tabletop gaming had an even larger presence than previous years and Luke and I were very excited to not only attend the largest gaming convention for fans, but we were also showing Food Truck Frenzy at the playtestNW booth!
We didn’t know what to expect going into PAX this year. Our location was outside of the convention center, which means attendees couldn’t stumble onto our booth on the expo floor. People who found the playtestNW booth on the 3rd floor of the Olive 8 Hotel were attendees who were looking for tabletop games, participating in game tournaments and playing 5th Edition D&D Adventures. What we did experience was non-stop support for the designers and invaluable feedback from playtesters–many of whom stuck around and played multiple games available at the playtestNW booth.
The cold hard facts: hundreds of playtesters stopped by the booth and played unpublished games by local designers non-stop from 10am to 10pm. These playtesters filled out a total of 800 feedback forms over the 4 day convention for 24 different games. These playtesters won over 50 prizes generously donated by Mox Boarding House, Game Designers Clubhouse, Tabletop Co-Op, Uncle’s Games, Blue Highway Games and more. This was an event supported and brought together by a community and we were happy to introduce playtesters and future designers to the playtestNW mission: building better games together.
Evolution of Games Through Playtesting:
Thanks to the immediate feedback from playtesters, many designers were able to make changes based on playtester suggestions, to their game quickly and present a new version to test. We saw many games change over the weekend and some, like Dark Forest, developed many times over until it was a much more balanced and challenging game by the end of PAX Prime. We had 24 games available for playtesters to try out, including a couple walk-up games, No Benefits, Please Stop Eating Us! and Shootout.
Games I Played:
In between hosting the booth and playtesting Food Truck Frenzy, I was able to playtest a handful of games from other local designers. All the games were diverse and had their own engaging elements of play:
The full list of games that were at the playtestNW PAX booth are listed on the Game Designers Clubhouse website.
Other Cool Tabletop at PAX:
We took breaks to visit friends and our FLGS, Gamma Ray Games, at their usual booth on the third floor of the Convention Center. The shopkeeper, Eric, was spreading the good word of indie rpgs and story games:
Tabletop Co-Op, a group of designers from Seattle who recently got back from GenCon, were also on the third floor, inviting gamers to come in and playtest some dexterity games and recently released games. Players saw Titan’s Tactics, Oh My God, There’s An Axe in My Head, Wizard Dodgeball and more.
Another BIG event over PAX weekend was the “Watch the Skies” event by the Megagame Society. This 6 hour game combined elements of board games, LARPing and roleplaying. 50-60 people could participate as different factions and each player had their own objective. The event looked very impressive. There were flags, multiple leather briefcases with manila folders, table-sized maps, and smoking alien tech devices.
This megagame definitely drew a crowd and for 6 hours, players ran around gathering intel, checking tweets, secretly meeting with different factions, etc. It sounded as interesting as it was exhausting. Our author Andrew recently shared his experiences being one of the Control participants on his podcast. We hope to see more of these large scale events in the future and look forward to helping make them better and better each time.
Needless to say, PAX Prime 2015 was awesome! We played a ton of games. We met a lot of passionate people. Thank you to everyone who stopped by and played games with us! We look forward to seeing you at PAX next year!