Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Lessons Learned For PAX

While I had a fantastic time, there are a few things I need to think about in terms of handling differently.
  • I envy the hair. Fred's very blue hair made him easily identifiable and findable, and had I not been paired with him, I suspect it would have been much harder to hook up with people. Being an overweight guy with a beard and glasses is not quite the camouflage it is at Gencon, but it's still not much of a distinction. Worth putting some thought into a readily identifiable flag of some sort.
  • I need a lighter kit. My Leverage kit (only ran once because I had no juice beyond that) was way too heavy and large, demanding a backpack. Inconvenient, but addressable with better planning.
  • Bags are ubiquitous. I'd been a little worried that carrying a bag would be inconvenient, but about three-quarters of show goers either had their own bag or were carrying one they'd picked up on the expo floor. So, no problem with that. Just need one well suited to the con. Cross-body vertical bags seem the best compromise, and I must give a nod to Logan Bonner's enviably awesome bag in this regard.
  • The lines are long, and you need to bring something along with that expectation. A portable game system (like a DS) is probably a good choice, but line-friendly games (like Zombie Dice) can work just as well or maybe better.
  • If you see something on the expo floor on the first day and think "maybe" then assume it will not be there when you get back. Make your purchase or make your peace.
  • This was not a cheap con to attend. Hotel and food were both non-trivial expenses, made a bit worse by the fact that the area very clearly had no idea what it was in for. However, the con was right by a T stop (Boston's metro) and things don't start in the morning until 10:00, which suggests that this would not be a hard con to attend remotely, probably saving a few bucks.
  • I need to figure out how to pack sandwiches. Lunch was the meal of doom, since it generally meant choosing options inside the convention center, which ranged from "Overpriced and ok" to "Disturbing" to "Carnie Food". Breakfast and dinner were fine, but lunch needs a plan.


  1. Rob,

    Good lessons. On the kit -- I'm a huge convert to having everything in PDF form and on my iPad. Want a quick game of Fiasco or Old School Hack? I got 'em with me. Also makes a great line entertainment toy, with dozens of great boardgames loaded up.

    On the food thing: a tupperware container works wonders.

  2. I forget what's in your Leverage kit. Why is it so heavy? It can't be all the Post-Its.

  3. Honestly, you can combine "lighter kit" and "bring a bag" into one item: a well-designed backpack can drastically increase your carrying capacity and drastically reduce the perceived weight on your shoulders. If you think you can get down to a few pounds of stuff, by all means get a shoulder bag or satchel (or one of those awesome-but-uber-nerdy leg holsters). But speaking from experience, I'd much prefer to carry 10 pounds of underloaded backpack than 5 pounds in a satchel.

    As for purchases: buy it when you see it OR buy it when the price is right. Sometimes you can land good deals on unsold items on Sunday afternoon, when dealers begin doing the calculus of "What will it cost to ship this item back?" It doesn't always work, but when it does it's a real treat.

    Food at BCEC was awful, and incredibly overpriced. The downside to having such an amazing venue is that it's in the middle of nowhere. :\

  4. Every day I noticed that no one was doing any of the typical "dick moves" of events like this- no bag searches, prohibition on outside food or (worse) water, etc.

    And yet, did I ever pack a lunch? No. No, I did not. In fact, I even forgot to bring a water bottle two out of three days. So, I have no one to blame but myself for overspending and bad eating during the day, esp. at lunch.

  5. Next year, to stand out, just Don't Wear A Shirt!

    Like I said on Story Games, you look great in
    just body oil and bandanas around your biceps:




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