PAX East Recap: Ascension News, New Games, and Serious Exhaustion.

After three long days, another PAX East has come to a close. We’re recovering, slowly… very, very slowly.

Here are some of the highlights we had from our three days of non-stop gaming.

Ascension: Rise of Vigil debuted at PAX East and the newest expansion is very interesting, especially the energy mechanic. After a handful of games, Tom and I are still debating whether or not it’s unbalanced, but one thing is true: energy denial is a ruthless way to win – which explains why Tom placed 3rd in the Rise of Vigil prerelease! [Tom’s Note: Jesse is a bit annoyed that I beat him heads up.]

In preparation for the Bones Kickstarter arriving on my doorstep at any moment, I jumped into the Reaper Free Painting area which resulted in me making a vampire who about halfway through I realized was just Poison Ivy in a cape. The Bones minis really benefit from either washing or a coat of primer. Still, it was fun to take a load off my feet and talk to some very polite Canadians about D&D, Magic and gaming.

My friend Sean and I tried our hands at 2-Headed Giant Minimaster and lost horribly after trying to build the best two decks we could out of two packs of Gatecrash and two packs of Return to Ravnica – our Dimir/Golgari/Simic deck and Boros/Izzet/Azorious decks got crushed. But I later found out on Reddit that they went on to beat everyone, so I felt a little better.

Speaking of Magic, I sat in on the Magic: the Gathering panel. I found it to be a huge letdown compared to last year’s spoiler-filled extravaganza. Without any current members of R&D at the panel, it just felt lackluster but did include a handful of spoilers. Dragon’s Maze is looking to be a set of Ravnica guilds crossed with Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and the Hunger Games. Also the next block has officially been named: Theros, Born of the Gods and Journey into Nyx – it is looking to be Grecco-Roman themed.

We got a chance to chat with Justin Gary at Stone Blade Entertainment about the new Ascension set, where he also mentioned some vague references to blocks four, five, six and seven. SolForge now has four new decks in the app and will be coming to PC soon. Speaking of decks, we have some SolForge codes to give away later this week!

Other games we checked out included the sequel to Forbidden IslandForbidden Desert. This new version is very interesting and takes some great influences from classic games like Ravensburger Labyrinth tile shifting and has exceptional production values. Tom fell in love with Miskatonic School for Girls which takes Lovecraftian creatures and forces them into the uncomfortable spot of being teachers at a boarding school in Arkham. The game is an interesting take on deck building since you regularly add cards to both your deck and your opponents!

The rest of PAX was spent waiting in lines, playing D&D, punching dinosaurs as The Hulk in Marvel Heroes, eating big turkey legs, watching cosplayers mingle and in general be exhausted beyond belief. If you missed it, don’t worry – a bunch of the expo was streamed on TwitchTV including the concerts!