The tabletop community, while growing, is still fairly small, and the southern California board games conventions hold true to that representation. So I was super excited to hear about Arizona Game Fair for the first time this year when Michael of Unfiltered Gamer was invited to speak.
In only their second year of putting on the event, the folks at Arizona Game Fair did a great job creating compelling programming and providing a space for people in the Southwest community to meet and play games! The fair took place at the Mesa Convention Center just outside of Phoenix, AZ last weekend. Here are a few of the highlights from the four-day event, and what you can except if you’re looking to attend or get involved next year.
Featured Guest: Paul Dean, Shut Up & Sit Down
The highlight of Friday night was getting to be involved in Edward’s (Heavy Cardboard) interview of the featured guest, Paul Dean, from Shut Up & Sit Down, a prolific writer and reviewer in the board games community.
Posing with Paul Dean of Shut Up & Sit Down
So, You Want to be a Board Game Reviewer?
The guest list for this panel was great and hit on many different niches in the tabletop community.
Board game reviewers at Arizona Game Fair
Meeple Lady – Reviewer with a blog and a podcast, Hooked on Geek.
Heavy Cardboard – Edward from Heavy Cardboard reviews the heavier side of tabletop games via video and podcasts.
Gloryhoundd – Gloryhoundd is one of the leading podcast reviewers.
GameBoyGeek – A very prolific board game reviewer with hi energy!
Boardgame Corner – Board game reviewer for the Dice Tower specializing in Kickstarter previews.
Unfiltered Gamer – Newer on the scene, Michael Wright is a Kickstarter and indie board game reviewer.
Games, Games and More Games
The library of games had a great selection! While I did not get a chance to play the much-coveted and snatched-up-in-three-seconds Sagrada, there were quite a few other great titles that caught my eye as well.
We met Nancy from Set games and she shared a ton of round games, which are mini versions of their games that are travel friendly! I am in love with Set and we can’t wait to share a review on this later. It is a visual puzzle game where you collect sets based on number, shape and color.
One of the game designers that stood out was the young designer from Yolo Monkey Studios – he had published two games and was selling them at the con. Talk about a young entrepreneur!
Gobico shared a few of their snazzy and concise card games – including Kuzushi and 18 Card Sushi. I think Jeremy from Gobico went easy on me because I won by one point in Kuzushi, the abstract strategy game. I liked that Kuzushi was much more accessible than traditional games in this genre.
We also got to play a quick round of Click Click Boom! by Thing 12 Games, they also created Dice of Crowns, which we’ve reviewed. It’s a Russian roulette bluffing party game in which you’re attempting to stay alive and make your opponents go boom. The character art is super cute – there’s a nice surprise when your character is eliminated. Look out for a review from Unfiltered Gamer soon!
If you’re like us, and you spent most of the day chatting and going to sessions, you can still get some quality gaming time in the after hours event at The Oak Room, a local restaurant a very short walk from the convention center. We stayed up until about 1 am both nights playing party games like Growl and Sparkle*Kitty as well as a very intense few hours with The Thing. The Thing was awesome – we were still hyped up talking about the intricacies of our game even as we’re walking back to the hotel for the night. If you like intense traitor-style games like Dead of Winter and Dark Moon, you’ll love The Thing.
Looking forward to next year. Save the date for March 29-31 at the Mesa Convention Center for next year’s event!