PAX West is go!

Friday, September 2, 2016

We are all four of us here at PAX. I write this from the ferry as we make our way to the city. I will be sending updates on Twitter throughout the day and will add a summary of each day to this post. Here we go!

Friday, September 2nd
The first day of PAX always goes by so quickly. We had a productive day, and saw a lot of really interesting things. We met up with the folks from Hob, who showed us how far the game has come since last year. The world they are creating is really intricate and mysterious. The kind of place I'd be happy to get lost in for a while.

One of the quirkier games we saw was a very early version of Meta Arcade, a mobile platform that aims to deliver a solo roleplaying experience to players. It is currently licensing the modules from the old RPG, Tunnels and Trolls, a solo RPG series from the 70's that functions like a choose your own adventure book with dice rolls. I died twice; once at the hands of a Balrog and once by drowning in beer. Yep, I said beer.

Tomorrow we do it all over again, so stay tuned to the site and keep watching my Twitter feed @melechgidon for more updates as they happen.

Saturday, September 3rd

Today was a day for space games. I began my day with Lightspeed Frontier, a sandbox shipbuilding game currently finishing up a Kickstarter campaign. While still very early in development, there is already a ton of things to do in their universe. There is really no limit to what you can build, so long as you can find the parts. You can buy parts but it is much more fun to raid them from the other ships you blow up. Lightspeed Frontier is a ton of fun and if it sounds like something you'd like to play, I recommend supporting their Kickstarter.

Next on the list was Objects in Space. Also a sandbox type game, Objects in Space blends elements of privateer with the feel of a 1970's vision of the future. Unlike so many space games that feature either 3rd person views or ships with huge windows, Objects in Space doesn't really let you look at the space around you. You have to rely on your instruments and intuition to make a living.

Objects in Space has a claustrophobic realism to it that makes the experience more immersive than you might expect. In order to fire at an incoming enemy, I had to ready my torpedoes by selecting the tube they were in and spinning them up. When they were ready, I flipped open the cover and pressed the firing button. All I heard was the clunk on the warhead being launched from the ship. Eventually, I was hit by one of my opponent's missiles and lost my nav panel, rendering me blind. I was able to repair it but by that time, the pirates had picked all of the cargo off of my ship.

The last thing we saw was one of the more surreal experiences I've had at PAX. We were ushered into a vault below the ACT theater. Upon entering, we found two tables with a few cards and tokens arranged around what looked like some sort of divination ritual. A man came to the table and offered to teach us how to play. That man was Chris Funk, of the Decemberists. He then told us we were playing Illimat, a new game from Keith Baker, the creator of Gloom and the Ebberon world for D&D.

The gameplay itself was easy to learn and felt like the kind of game you might find in a dusty attic. There is an old world charm and mysterious nature to the gameplay that is hard to describe. While Illimat is not available yet, look for a Kickstarter in October.