PAX South 2018 was our first PAX event ever, but we were super glad we went! We had no idea what to expect as far as the tabletop presence, excepting for a few designers and publishers who told us they’d be there exhibiting.
We were surprised by the amount of board game and card game exhibitors, and the massive positive response from the PAX South audience.
Live vicariously through us as we bring you highlights, news and what’s up and coming for many of the tabletop designers and publishers who attended. Even if you attended PAX South for a day or three, there was so much to see and do, you might’ve missed some of this great stuff!
Warning: image-heavy adventure ahead!
Tabletop Indie Showcase
Every year PAX South features what they consider to be the best indie tabletop games and gives them a free exhibitor booth at the event. This area was packed all three days – we didn’t even get in to play any of the games at the convention (granted, we had many interviews we had to do also).
Skulk Hollow: Pencil First Games, the creators of some of my favorite card games like Herbaceous and Sunset Over Water, featured this 2 player tactical combat game, where one player plays as the giant and the other as a band of foxes, each trying to eliminate the other. We were lucky enough to chat with Pencil First Games (Producer) Eduardo Baraf along with Keith Matejka – designer of Skulk Hollow (their latest game coming out) and the ever popular Roll Player.
Sagrada: This is a dice set collection/display game that has gotten a lot of great feedback from the community. We didn’t get a chance to play this yet, but it is definitely on my list to check out soon! You can purchase Sagrada on Amazon.
Drawing Dead: We got a chance to chat with John Fiorillo, founder of Gold Baby Games and creator of the creepy card game, Drawing Dead. Look for the interview soon!
Mountaineers: With the unique 3D board set up in Mountaineers by Massif Games, you’d think the objective is to get to the top of the mountain, but this game is actually about the journey, not the destination. Check out our interview with creator Corey Wright above!
Larklamp System: Another very unique mechanic, this game platform uses a lantern and cutout sheets to create the game board. Each sheet is movable and flipable, creating endless combinations of light and shadow. The team at Lumo Amuzo already has two games built with the lantern platform, with more coming out soon.
CodeWorld: The CodeWorld prototype by Dreamstruck Games was on display and capturing the eye of many a passerby. We like how the characters can scale the “walls” of the code and even jump in the air to perform attacks. We’ll be watching for this one on Kickstarter.
Innovative Highlights: Pushing the Definitions of Board Games and Card Games
These are some highlighted games we saw using interesting mechanics, format and/or technology to take tabletop gaming to the next level.
Photo from Lightseekers
Lightseekers: What started as an rpg app game evolved to include smart action figures and now a complete card game. In addition to being a competitive card game suitable for tournaments in the style of Magic the Gathering or Yu-Gi-Oh, the cards themselves can be scanned to your game account and give you extra abilities and options in the game! This is what we’re looking forward to as technology and tabletop intermix together. Check out our interview with Lightseekers‘ Willie Wilkov coming soon.
Secret Unknown Stuff: Escape from Dulce: Well-constructed prototypes of Escape from Dulce, by Sentient Cow Games, drew many an eye to the exhibit. The three levels of board game play is a unique draw, not to mention, the preface “Secret Unknown Stuff” gets my curiosity going. Watch out for the Kickstarter and our review arriving February 28th!
Master of Wills: Looking at their booth, you’d never guess that Master of Wills is Stormcrest Games’ first board game. The game is a political tug of war, where each player (or team) is trying to entice supporters to their side, which has the effect of drawing and repelling others on the field. The deep strategy inherent in this mechanic singles out Master of Wills. Everything looked crisp, sharp and cohesive, including the game, mat, app and booth. Check out our review of Master of Wills.
Solid Picks at PAX South
These are our tried and true solid designers and publishers we love to work with. We’ve played multiple games from them, and highly recommend checking them out if you haven’t already heard of them.
SolarFlare Games is the master of strategic and compact card games. They’re behind the titles Archmage Origins, the Nightmare Forest games, Lords of Rock and more. We interviewed designer and owner Dave Killingsworth to hear the big news about SolarFlare Games‘ (many) upcoming Kickstarters.
Mayday Games publishes some awesome family-friendly games. We interviewed David Peterson and got the fastest, adrenaline-filled walkthrough of several of MayDay‘s highlighted games, including Coconuts, Macroscope, Garbage Day and Get Bit!
Northstar Games are a well-known publisher. You may have heard of Evolution, or Evolution: The Beginning, which is available at Target (and Amazon sometimes)! We also got to play a bit of Happy Salmon and got an inside look at the new Vegas: Wits and Wagers when we interviewed Nicole Marino – check it out soon!
Direwolf/Renegade Game Studios, the creators of fan favorites Clank and now Clank in Outer Space as well as family-favorites Lanterns and Lotus. Direwolf brought the digital side to PAX South with app versions of both Lanterns and Lotus. I look forward to writing a review just about Lanterns and how it compares to the board game!
Studio Woe was in attendance, sharing their card game, Gruff: The Tactical Card Game of Mutated Monster Goats, as well as the expansion, Gruff: Clash of the Battle Goats. We interviewed designer Brent Critchfield to get the low-down on what’s next for Studio Woe.
Level 99 Games series and games include titles such as Pixel Tactics (here’s our review of Mega Man Pixel Tactics in the series), Argent: The Consortium, and Millennium Blades. Check out our interview with Brad Talton. Next up, we’re excited to try Noir Automata from Level 99 Games!
Mind Bottling Games‘ and Roxley‘s action-packed battle game, Dice Throne, was featured at PAX South’s Indie Showcase last year and then funded on Kickstarter. We got to chat with Manny Trembly and learn and play through the game; I just gotta say, the Moon Elf rocks!
Yanaguana Games must’ve been celebrating at their booth; their Kickstarter campaign for Re-chord, had already funded on the first day. Well done, good sirs. Check out our review of Re-chord, and there’s still time to back the campaign! Next up, we’re playing a sleek and small card game from Yanaguana Games, Stir Fry Eighteen.
Indie Board & Cards showcased a solid lineup of games, including The Resistance, Avalon, Kodama, Coup and more. Check out Indie Board & Cards.
Games We Can’t Wait to Try from PAX South
These games caught our interest and we can’t wait to try out the games and give our opinions!
We were excited to finally get our hands on Evil Genius Death Ray and the expansion pack by Vile Genius Games. We interviewed Mark Sierens where he shared a prototype of his upcoming Kickstarter game, Loot & Shoot.
Photo from Zafty
Quick and Dirty, described as an offensively fun party game. This game could replace Cards Against Humanity, especially as a drinking game that doesn’t require as many cards. Check out Quick and Dirty on Amazon or their website.
Although we had not heard of Fable’s End before, that’s part of the excitement of going to these cons, right? Described as a unique and competitive customizable card game for two or more players, we look forward to trying it out.
Dragon Dice and Daemon Dice by SFR, Inc. In Dragon Dice, the dice are the playing pieces of your army, terrains and dragons. Play as a specific fantasy race to seize control of the battlefield.
Upcoming Kickstarters You Don’t Want to Miss
Loot & Shoot – January 30th.
Dice Throne Season 2 – February 14th.
Secret Unknown Stuff: Escape from Dulce – February 28th.
Fable’s End – possibly February.
CodeWorld – Spring 2018
Skulk Hallow by Pencil First Games – 2018.
Churrascaria from Absurdist Productions, coming soon to Kickstarter.
Other Stuff of Interest at PAX South
There was too much content for even the two of us to cover everything at PAX South, but here are a couple of other exhibitors of interest!
Greater Than Games: We haven’t fully played any of the games from Greater Than Games yet, but we did manage to get an interview with their social media manager, who shared all about their latest game, Fate of the Elder Gods.
Breaking Games: They had a solid display of games from many designers, but we didn’t get a chance to interview anyone from Breaking Games. Better luck next time! In the meantime, check out my review of Sparkle*Kitty by designer Manny Vega.
Carolina Game Tables: If only we had an actual dining room or dining area, we would definitely invest in one of these luxe but affordable tables from Carolina Game Tables. Since they double as your regular nice dining table just by adding the tabletop on, you’re really getting two tables for the price of one (that’s my pitch to the hubby).
Wrymwood: These artisans shared their beautiful boxes, created to highlight the natural beauty of the wood and fit your dice. Wrymwood also had unique magnetic dice towers that disassembled for easy travel.
Illimat is described as an interesting evolution of a classic card game. And it looks stunning. We hope to get a chance to play Illimat one day.
Fowers Games: You may have heard of Word Domination or Paperback, and Fowers Games is accepting pre-orders for the prequel Hardback, as well as the Paperback Expansion, Now Boarding and Wok Star, 3rd Edition.
Thank you for reliving the journey of PAX South with us! Did you go? Did we miss any great news or games? Leave a comment below!
Some games were provided to Unfiltered Gamer for review. Our reviews are our honest opinions of the games. We were not compensated for attending PAX South or writing this blog post.