Saturday started out difficult, but it turned out really well – I played games, met new friends, and was a PANELIST AT PAX EAST!!!
Why my day started out so badly: I am diabetic and I have been on the wrong medication (for me) for some time, so while they are gradually titrating the new meds up to the correct level, I basically feel completely flat-battery, like having the ‘flu – including aches and pains. After two back-to-back conventions with a lot of travel and way more people-ing than I have done in months, I was already struggling. I also have asthma – this is why I am really, really careful about my covid safety measures – so when some people on my floor decided to smoke/vape inside the building for half the night, it was a major problem for me. The door to my room showed light all the way around, there was no seal, and so I not only heard everything in the hall outside, I got the smoke/vapour (with a strong pot smell) that came into my room and basically gave me asthma all night. I barely slept, which meant Saturday morning was a non-starter for me.
At around 10.30am, I managed to drag myself down to the mailroom to collect the replacement power cable George sent me for my laptop, as I had left the other one plugged in at home (oops), then I grabbed myself some breakfast from the convenience store (which also had the pastries from the bakery, but without the line, haha!) and came upstairs again to eat and have a Vocalzone tea for my throat. Unfortunately, the bad sleep also meant a bit of a migraine, so I decided to just let myself rest for a bit longer.
Around 2pm, I made myself a migraine lunch of Magical Mexican Coke and snacks, then I got dressed and headed over to the convention centre, hoping the Coke would get me through the rest of the day. Coke with cane sugar seems to have a “fending off” effect on migraines if I am lucky – the correct dose of caffeine plus sugar, I think – and it worked this time. I don’t usually use caffeine or sugar, so it works when I use it medicinally. Generally, I drink water and decaf tea.
After exploring a bit more, I headed back to Unpub and played Endless by Keegan Franck, with his dad supervising. This is a really cool game, I hope that Keegan keeps working on it – I would happily buy a copy, I think it’s got just the right amount of challenge and cleverness for the weight of the game. And Keegan did an amazing job explaining it, too! He clearly plays it a lot, but he isn’t used to people who play like I do – I happily sacrificed some pieces to get what I want, and he wasn’t accustomed to that kind of almost reckless play. He nearly beat me, but I got him and he conceded, which was actually a lot harder than it sounds – this kid is going to be a real contender if he keeps designing – Endless is already better than many published games I have played, designed by adults!
The next game with a spot for a player at the table was Fields of Primm, designed by Austin Pejovich and illustrated by Matt Novitsky. This definitely wasn’t the kind of game I would usually play, and that was a good thing! I expect there are a lot of Easter Eggs in it for people who are familiar with the genre, but I was able to just play and enjoy the experience. I don’t generally play any kind of combat games, but this was a lot of fun. I don’t think I did the best job of using the different elements on my first play, but it feels like something where you can get more skilled and win more easily as you progress, so that’s always something I like to see – it shouldn’t be possible for a new player to beat an experienced player too easily. There’s enough luck involved, though, that you do have a chance. It’s like a kind of rock-paper-scissors-meets-mech-battles vibe, and I liked it!
Next, I finally spotted a gap at the table to play Starry Night Sky, so I went over and asked to play.
Emma’s husband was kind enough to teach me, and he taught me so well that I was then able to teach the next group – who also put me onto the awesome PAX jacket they were wearing.
After the game, I realised that I was hungry, and I made it to the empanada truck just before they closed the whole exhibitor zone – mine was part of the last orders for the day!
As I walked back across the walkway from the food court, I encountered a frog, who gave my a quest, to recite a poem. My mind went completely blank, then I suddenly remembered John Anderson my Jo by Robbie Burns, so that’s what I gave to the frog, who gave me a small token in return. That was a very enjoyable interaction, and somehow felt like the most PAX thing that happened to me all weekend.
At that point, it was time to go and find the room where I was going to participate in my first ever panel. Yup, I was a PAX EAST PANELIST!
Before you get too excited, it wasn’t a panel where everyone sits at a table and talks, it was a fun and silly game where we were trying to identify who was the hidden traitor (in the style of Among Us, with permission), hence it being called “Amongst Ourselves”, but it was absolutely a panel, and my name was up there on the screen with everyone else! here, I met and worked with the lovely Liz Roche, and we quickly established an alliance that led to us winning the whole game. Hooray!
After all the excitement of the day and the nerves about being a panelist, I was ready to head back to my room and pack, ready to check out in the morning. Luckily, the Coke wore off and didn’t keep me awake, and I had a better sleep, too.