Pax East Wrap-up

PAX East 2011 has come and gone and based on the numbers, it was the biggest and best PAX yet. Over the next few days we’ll have full articles discussing some of our favorite moments, people, and products that we checked out during the show; but for now here’s a rundown of the highlights:

Met up with Cameron McNary, playwright, and author of Of Dice and Men the play about Dungeons and Dragons that stole the show at last year’s PAX Prime. The e-book for Of Dice and Men is now available and is definitely worth your time and money. The e-book site actually lets you read a sample for free, so there’s no reason not to click that link and check it out. Cameron was nice enough to update us on the status of future productions. The play will be debuting in a production by the Impact Theatre in Berkeley California later this summer. The theatre has yet to officially unveil its summer schedule. He also hopes to have a production in Washington D.C. sometime in the future. Also he didn’t exactly rule out one day bringing a full production of the play to PAX East provided that proper financing (among other things) could be found. Here’s to hoping that occurs sooner rather than later, Of Dice and Men is brilliant. If you still aren’t convinced, check out our recap of the stage reading from PAX East 2010.

Played Wrath of Ashardalon, the second D&D board game put out by Wizards of the Coast, a “sequel” of sorts to last year’s Castle Ravenloft game. The mechanics are very similar with a few new additions (like doors), characters, monsters (this game is chock full of bears, I’m serious), and scenarios. Luckily, the two games are compatible with each other so you may feel free to mix and match the monsters, traps, characters and encounters are you see fit.

Zombie Munckin! The newest module of the popular card game by Steve Jackson games made its debut at PAX East, with demos being run by the company (including by the man himself, Steve Jackson) as well as a small stock of them for purchase. The game itself will be out in stores by the end of the week or month depending on which game store owner we talked to. Castles and Cooks was able to snag a copy and we’ll have a full review of the game soon, along with a few other games that we picked up at the show.

Of all the things to do at PAX East, throwing a massive D20 and playing “live action D&D” might be the most entertaining. We successfully defeated both Count Choculathe vampire lord Stroud and the dragon Ashardalon. What does one get for such an enormous feat? Shiny buttons of course!

Tom successfully DM’d several sessions of “Learn to Play” D&D during the convention, and aside from having a great time and hopefully converting some new players to the game, he has one question. Why does everyone ask if skeletons are “undead”? An answer to that is hopefully forthcoming.

Lord of the Rings: War in the North “action rpg” might be a sleeper hit this year. One of the games that didn’t have a massive line all weekend. Definitely reminiscent of the old “Two Towers” game for the Xbox, but with more refined controls and a much deeper rpg feature set.

Red Faction: Armageddon, due out in May, is shaping up as a wonderful successor to the smash hit (pun intended) Red Faction: Guerrila.  During a brief play test with the wrecking crew mode, we got to play around with some of the new weapons including the plasma cannon that is like the energizer bunny of rocket launchers. The projectiles will blast straight through anything and keeps going until it hits something which isn’t destructible. Given how that defines about 90% of the world in the game, you can do a whole heck of a lot of damage with just one shot.