PAX East for D&D Players: What Should I Play?

Last week, we posted about Wizards of the Coast schedule for D&D events at PAX East. Aside from gaming sessions there are also a few panels that might interest players from veteran to novice. If this is your first time at PAX, here’s a little more of a breakdown about what to expect at the various events so you can have the best experience possible.

Learn to Play:

This is for new players, and is perfect if you’ve never played D&D before, or have played one of the older editions but want to learn 4e. The two hours aren’t just spent learning to read character sheets and stuff. It is actually a two hour intro adventure that will give you exposure to all things D&D. It is fun and informative.

If you’re concerned about how D&D Next is going to affect what you learn, don’t be. First off, D&D Next isn’t being released tomorrow and secondly, because it is still D&D and is seeking to be an edition neutral version of the game, the things you learn and the experience will still be relevant.

If you’re a super experienced gamer, you could sign up for one of these sessions, but you’re probably better off in the normal delves or the DM’s challenge.

(Editor’s Note: Tom will be DMing some Learn to Play games this year. As we get closer to PAX we’ll post his schedule and how you can find him in case you want to learn D&D from one of CnC’s own.)

Convention Delves:

There will be plenty of opportunities for regular gamers to play D&D, at one of the convention delves. These are 2-4 hour affairs and give you a chance to sit down at a table, make some new friends, and go questing. The delves offer some nice challenge and there are often some swag rewards if you are able to complete certain tasks within the delve. You can sign up for these as often as you want, but my advice is sign up early since by Saturday and Sunday most of the spots will be filled.

DM’s Challenge:

This is one of the unique events that shouldn’t be missed. Each year a scenario is released (this time related to the Elemental Chaos) and all amateur DMs are welcome to come up with their own mini-adventure. They supply the story, characters, challenges, encounters and even the physical setups. Gamers come and play at a table, then rate the experience. The top DMs get prizes.

This event is for anyone, but skews a bit toward the more experienced. If you play D&D, you should not miss this event. Be sure to sign up early, because space is limited based on the number of DMs that will be running games. If you want more info, check out the interview we did last year with the winner, Matt Brenner. 

D&D Next Playtest:

Wizards will be hosting a play test on Friday night of D&D Next. You’ll get a chance to try out some of the new mechanics and see what is in store for the next edition of D&D. Simple as that. This is only being offered for Friday evening. Can’t say anything other than DO NOT miss this. Oh yea, you’ll have to sign an NDA, so no blabbing about it afterward. Worth it.

D&D Boardgame Open Play:

I get asked a lot whether the D&D board games are worth playing. The answer is yes, but with a bit of a caveat. Games like Castle Ravenloft are not really representative of what D&D is all about. In fact, I’ve found that because of some of the mechanics the games use, too much knowledge of actual D&D can be a bit of a hindrance, until you get used to the difference. That being said, they are a lot of fun and great if you have a few hours between panels that you want to kill.

Another benefit is that these games are kind of expensive, take up space and require a bunch of players to be great. Sometimes at your local gaming club or just with friends it can be hard to get one of these games going. At PAX, you can play without having to worry about any of that stuff. Win, win.