PAX South, a descendant of the original Penny Arcade Expo (or PAX, for short) is in its third year. By all accounts, both San Antonio’s convention center people and the PAX group are very happy with the attendance so far. PAX is known as a giant celebration of gamer culture, and PAX South continues that theme, although this version does have an emphasis on table top gaming.
The Alamo City is set to become the center of the southwestern board gaming universe once again, at least for three days in February. Are you heading to Pax South 2017 in San Antonio? Want to know what Pax South has to offer from a table top perspective at this year’s convention?
You’re in luck.
Some of the Krewe of Board Game Gumbo will be in attendance, so we wanted to know what publishers will be there, too, and what they will bring to the demo table. For a complete listing of all things tabletop and board gaming at Pax South 2017, we found this excellent blog entry from Matt Morgan, the Tabletop Deputy Manager for Pax South.
But you want more than just a listing of game companies, right? Here’s what we found out so far about the potential bits and boards that we may see at Pax South.
Note that the exhibitors will be in two places this year — either in the Tabletop area or in the Main Exhibit Hall (which closes at 6P each day). Also note that I will try to update the blog as I get more info.
The Can’t Misses:
1. Indie Boards & Cards (Tabletop area).
Indie Boards & Cards will be making its first appearance at Pax South after traveling all the way from Indiana, the home of GEN CON. IB&C will definitely have Kodama and Coup available for demoing (I know, because I will be demoing those two games on Friday and Saturday until 4:00 PM).
Kodama is a card laying, collection type card game designed by Daniel Solis with some interesting hidden objectives. It has beautiful art, and plays quickly through three seasons.
Coup should not need any introduction. Millions of players have battled wits in this amazing micro game hidden role experience. Can you be the last person standing after outwitting your friends? Can you bluff your way to victory?
Indie Boards & Cards will also have other games available in the booth. Expect to see fan favorites, Flashpoint Fire Rescue (a cooperative game about fighting fires) and The Resistance (a hidden role / traitor type game), but also look for Aeon’s End and Ninja Camp.
We got a chance to bring Aeon’s End to the table recently; it is a great new cooperative style game by Kevin Riley that incorporates deck building elements, but has asymmetric powers for the different players and is really tough. It has great artwork and good card combination play — definitely one to ogle at the booth.
There is a chance that Delve, the latest project Indie Boards & Cards has on Kickstarter, will be demoed at the convention, too, which should excite game players just based on pedigree. The game is designed by Pete Shirey and Richard Launius. Launius, of course, is the legendary designer of Arkham Horror, Defenders of the Realm, Elder Sign, Run Fight or Die! and many, many more.
Delve is a tile laying game with a twist. Players play adventurers exploring the dungeons of Skull Cavern. Each turn, players place dungeon tiles and explore in search of loot. Each room will have different encounters depending upon the number of “delvers” in the room. I would love to get a demo of this game myself.
2. Red Raven Games (Booth 10011).
Ryan Laukat’s team has been on a roll. From the recent releases of Islebound and Above and Below to the giant Kickstarter that was Near and Far, Red Raven Games has created a lot of noise in 2016. Can they follow it up in 2017? Come by booth 10011, as rumor has it that the team will be demoing the latest production copies of Near and Far.
3. Tim Fowers Games (Tabletop area).
Rumor has it that Tim Fowers, the designer of such well regarded titles as Burgle Bros., Paperback, and Wok Star, will be present at a booth in the tabletop area demoing a new game. Could it be Fugitive? Come by the booth and find out — and if we find out sooner than that, we will update the blog. Heck, just the chance to visit with Tim about Wok Star, one of my grail games, would be a thrill.
4. Gut Shot Games (Tabletop area).
Gut Shot Games, a design studio based in Washington State, appears set to demo its 2017 release H.E.A.D. Hunters, a card driven miniatures game designed by designed by Ben Cichoski and Danny Mandel. The game has been hitting the convention circuit, most recently at OrcaCon, and is getting some good buzz. More info on the game can be found here.
Update: Sean from Thing 12 Games let us know that they will be demoing their new game, Dice of Crowns, in the Gut Shot Games booth. The game was successfully funded last year on Kickstarter and is billed as a “fast paced blend of luck and strategy”, so if that sounds like your kind of game, make sure you make a pass and get a demo.
5. Level 99 Games (booth 10425).
Those game-making gurus from New Mexico, will be there this year. I expect that they will be demoing the latest Mega Man Pixel Tactics games based on their blog, but Millenium Blades still has some buzz going for it. Will the Set Rotation expansion be on display? Let’s find out.
If not, you can still check out Witch Hunt, their version of the big group Mafia / Werewolf style social deduction games, which promises that the sniped characters can still play and influence the outcome.
6. NorthStar Games
UPDATE: Bruce Voge with NorthStar Games confirmed that Evolution: The Beginning and, of course, Happy Salmon, are scheduled to be demoed at Pax. By all accounts, the Target edition of The Beginning is selling well, and of course, Happy Salmon is inescapable at any game night. He also confirmed that Evolution: Climate, the 2016 release that BGG describes as a “standalone game that introduces Climate into the Evolution game system” will also be there for demo, as well as digital implementations of Evolution.
7. Greater Than Games / Dice Hate Me Games
UPDATE: We have confirmed with Craig from Greater Than Games / Dice Hate Me that the publisher will be at the con with some new games to check out. We have confirmed that they will be demoing Fate of the Elder Gods, the new Cthulu based adventure card/dice game for 1-4 players designed by Richard Launius, Darrell Louder, and Chris Kirman. It successfully funded back in July of last year on Kickstarter, so I am anxious to see how it turned out.
Dice Hate Me is the publisher of one of my top Euro games from 2016, New Bedford, and it will be at the con for demo and purchase. New Bedford is a smaller box worker placement game with some unique innovations, interesting theme, amazing artwork, and great production. New Bedford is very thematic and easy to teach and plays in roughly an hour. This is a great way to introduce the “Euro” concept to your friends, but has plenty of meat on it for any serious gamer. (Note, the coins in the picture are from SeaFall not New Bedford, but everything else comes standard!)
Plus, we expect some of the games from the “Meta” games line to be there, as well. I will definitely pass by the booth, because Mike Fitzgerald said on a recent podcast interview with the Dukes of Dice that there was a rumored new expansion for BoT9 that could include stadiums, and let you know what I find out.
The Big Guns:
And of course, there will be some big hitters at the convention.
Steve Jackson Games will be there in the tabletop area. According to their blog, the team will be demoing the new Bill & Ted’s Excellent Board Game. There will be lots of Munchkin demos, including the latest releases, as well as sneak peaks of Ghosts Love Candy, an expected 2017 release. You can also try out the licensed Batman The Animated Series Dice Game, another entry in the hit Zombie Dice series, but this time in a partnership with Crypotzoic Games.
And Fantasy Flight Games is expected to be there in one of the larger booths on the tabletop area floor. Fantasy Flight is usually pretty tightlipped about what it will bring to a game con, but it would be a safe bet to think that there will be some games themed with Star Wars or Arkham Horror in the mix. I fully expect to see some demos of the new Star Wars Destiny Dice as well as Arkham Horror LCG at the con.
In fact, according to Matt’s blog, many of the other design studios and companies in the Asmodee line up will be there. Expect to see demos from Z-Man Games and Plaid Hat Games, too, although no word yet on what they will be offering.
Companies to visit, with no other info posted yet:
There’s a whole host of other board game publishers that you will want to check out, but we have not yet found out exactly what they will offer at the con:
- Tasty Minstrel Games is always a favorite stop for convention goers. I kickstarted their update of Colosseum, and I hope to get some news on its progress. (Lance has been giving us some excellent updates as it progresses along). If they have a copy of The Oracle at Delphi by Stefan Feld, make sure you walk with a purpose directly to the booth. The “Feld that’s not a Feld but is definitely a Feld” (according to Jason Dinger) is a must-play.
Other areas of interest:
Last but not least, at this year’s con, gamers can expect a few surprises. True Dungeon will be there, and for those not in the know, it is the massive hit program at GenCon where gamers roll through a series of rooms and engage in the inhabitants either through puzzle or through D&D style combat. From what we have read, True Dungeon will be demoing bite sized versions of the big experience, and that is probably a must see for anyone interested in live action D&D.
There will also be some interesting vendors who supply great components for the board game fan. Check out The Broken Token for all of your board gaming storage needs, and the hand-crafted dice trays and accessories from Wyrmwood Gaming is definitely worth a look.
Plus, the board game section has put together a ton of great board game panels. One of the highlights for any gamer should be a visit by Mike Selinker, the head guy at Lone Shark Games, who created Paizo’s Pathfinder: Adventure Card Games. Check him out on Saturday at 7:00PM at the Bobcat Theater. Between the stories of Gary Gygax, will there be any chance he discusses an update on the Apocrypha Adventure Card Game?
That wraps up our look at the upcoming Pax South 2017 convention. If you have news to share, or questions about the demos, contact me at @boardgamegumbo.
Until next time, Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!