Grabbing demos at PAX Unplugged - that is to say, learning complicated new things - is pretty much all I wanna do. Some of the trendlines in the industry are really going my way, and there's a lot of evidence for that. I meant to discuss it with Eric Lang when we were opening the show, but we didn't get around to it because he's too interesting. I'd been stressing out about that Keynote/Storytime for a couple weeks, which is kind of my thing, so I wanted to meet up with him before the show real quick to see if we'd be able to fill a stage together and then we talked for almost two hours with no pauses. So, it seemed like we were gonna be okay. But then I freaked out again and filled my phone with questions just in case there was ever a pause for more than two seconds. Then, when we did the talk, we didn't discuss any of the things we talked about the previous night or any of the shit I wrote in my phone. I worried and worried about it, and it was fine. Better than fine! But I forgot to fuckin' ask him about the boardgame he made with Rob "Legacy" Daviau called Cthulhu: Death May Die. I guess I have his mail.
Something else I forgot to talk with him about, and I really wish I had, is this phenomenon where once a wargame gets small enough, skirmishy enough, it becomes a boardgame. It's like a state change kind of thing. I like both of those things, a lot, and so the period of time we're enduring now is a garden of delights - Funkoverse is legitimately engaging, occupying this interesting zone, and it offers novel profundities like the fact that Batman and Blanche Devereaux from the fucking Golden Girls are an unstoppable team. It's possible that this kind of IP blend could lead to some dangerous moments, but I trust you to navigate them where we failed.
Dust rests somewhere in there too, but more toward the wargame side a bit in terms of scale and crunch. I ended up grabbing a few, you know, quite a few, like, maybe all the Dust stuff, dieselpunk Weird War II shit, and I thought that I would be learning something complex because it sure looks like it's a wargame, but it plays on a highly legible grid which boils away the vast majority of rules questions about terrain and line of sight. I won my second game by hiding a mortar team in a concrete bunker while two mechs peered menacingly through the windows on both sides. At one point Kiko attacked me with ninja schoolgirls - I mean, naval cadets - in an assault that involved him rolling twenty four dice at once. He had a mech with a railgun, and when you look on the card for how much damage the railgun does, it just shows a big skull. I've never laughed so much playing a wargame in my life. I'd read the alternate rules they have for playing on open terrain in a more traditional configuration, but it's like… we could do that, or, with the abstraction that the grid offers, play two or three games in the same amount of time. I already have the other kind of game - I'm currently playing, and crafting, three. I would have said I didn't have time for another one, and if it were typical of the form, I'd be right.
The final round of the Omegathon was Weapons and Warriors, by which I mean this incredible time capsule of a game:
It's literally Travis' old box from when he was a kid, a dexterity game he used to play with his brother, and some of these pieces are not what I would call "a hundred percent" because they were, themselves, in pieces. Strong glues were required to get it ready for the event. In the end, Sariel deployed her forest-borne Wood Magicks to deliver explosive cinematic thrills using only a handful of marbles, and I have no doubt we'll be seeing runner-up SurgeonUFO on that stage again next year.