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PAX Unplugged 2019: Day 1 Impressions

Having started in 2017, PAX Unplugged is the first PAX convention to center entirely around tabletop gaming. This year, we have the privilege of being flies on the wall at the Philadelphia Convention Center (AKA press).

Lines for registration were long at the start of the day, according to some fellow con-goers. We arrived around noon, however, so we had no issues getting in and getting registered quickly.

Everyone was very helpful and knowledgeable from the second we walked in. Lena at registration welcomed us warmly to our first PAX Unplugged, let us know what the Enforcer uniform looked like should we need to find someone, and directed us on where to go.

The Philadelphia Convention Center is huge and can be difficult to navigate, which got a little overwhelming at times. Thankfully, the convention set up “World Maps” throughout the buildings to let you know where you are so you can get around easier.

We met several new people and saw some familiar faces. We had the pleasure of speaking with Tanya from I Need Diverse Games, Jeff from Tabletop Gaymers, and the wonderful folks at Take This, a charity devoted to mental health in gaming.

We saw interesting board and card games from Magpie Games, Origami Whale Games, and Atlas Games. I am particularly excited for The Shivers, a new pop-up horror game coming to Kickstarter early next year.

We perused amazing gamer equipment providers, such as Level Up Dice, Wyrmwood Gaming, Elderwood Academy, and Norse Foundry, and really wished we had more in our bank accounts so we could buy ALL THE THINGS.

I was happy to make it to a couple of panels. The first was World Building for Lazy Dungeon Masters, which focused on different ways you could build a campaign without preparing every single detail before Session Zero. This included borrowing from existing stories and asking players for their input.

We also made it to the Girls’ Game Shelf live show, where they played a game called Were Word. This is like Werewolf and Mafia, but you have to guess a special word in order to save yourself from the werewolf. It was hilarious and looks like a lot of fun. This panel also included AnnaMaria, who is a former writer for Real Women of Gaming!

We had an action-packed first day at PAX Unplugged, and I honestly loved all of it! Now, on to day two!

How to Fight Nazis

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Gamers love killing Nazis in games like Wolfenstein and Call of Duty, but most of us never thought we’d wind up fighting them for real.  In a recent facebook post, a friend of mine wrote: “I grew up with Nazis being two dimensional movie and video game villains, goddamn it, and that’s where we were supposed to leave them.  But 2016 wants to try and tell me we have to listen to folks who literally cite Nazi propaganda and terminology in their hateful, stupid rhetoric? No thank you.”  No thank you is right.  But what can we do about it?  How do we fight back? Punching them in the head seems to be in vogue right now, but, let’s face it,  that’s not for everyone.  The skills we honed in years of first-person shooters don’t really translate.

So what do we do? We get really active and organized on the local level to reform our electoral system. Call your state-level legislators. Take over the media. Write to editors. Self-publish articles, and propagate the work of journalists who speak the truth at a time when truth is in such short supply.  But, most importantly, we must vigorously work to create a culture in which hatred cannot take hold.   This is something everyone can do, regardless of age, ability, or nationality, and if we all work together, even the smallest actions can have a tremendous effect.

There are several ways we can go about creating a hate-free culture.  I’m going to focus on three: be visible, connect, and don’t compromise.

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