PAX Australia 2013 – Day 3

Posted by Matthew on July 21st, 2013

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Here comes the final day of PAX Australia. But first, what I got up to last night.

I went and checked out a documentary on board games, called Going Cardboard: A Board Game Documentary. It featured interviews with a number of board and card game designers mainly from USA, UK and Germany. They talked about the history of the game industry using key games as examples, and explored in what way they effected the popularity and focus of subsequent releases.  Also featured in the documentary was the world’s largest game expo, Essen in Germany. If you ever get a chance to see this film, and are interested in how board games are made, then I highly recommend it.

Today started out quite smooth. The first tram I intended to catch to the Showgrounds was full to capacity. But patiently waiting for five minutes yielded another, far less packed, tram. I even got to sit down on the way too or from PAX for the first time in three days. True luxury.

Day 3 is pretty lean in the parenting and hobbyist related panels, so I decided to expand a little on what I was attending.

The first panel today was Is there such a thing as a fake geek? and featured panellists Jessica Citizen, Yasemin Arslan, Jimmy Reilly and Skaidris Gunsmith. It was a slightly unfocussed chat that gradually seemed to find its feet as the conversation progressed. While interesting to hear their various experiences and thoughts, the main problem was that what a ‘fake geek’ is was never defined. This meant that the panellists diverged on subject and point quite a bit, and then desperately tried to pull their points together into a coherent message. The panellists themsevles were good, funny and thoughtful, but the lack of initial focus of the subject made the whole endeavour suffer.

The writing for tabletop RPGs queue

The Writing for tabletop roleplaying games queue

Next panel was Writing for tabletop roleplaying games, an immensely popular panel that saw an almost full queue at least 45 minutes before it started. Not that that is surprising, as the panellists were popular RPG writers Mark Morrison, Matt Goodall and Patrick O’Duffy. They talked about the key factors in designing a module, such as where to start, creating a scenario, making characters, games as stories and writing for the players. Using their own games and modules as examples they took the attendees through how to apply creativity and originality while still operating within the games mechanics and established world. Learning the process behind how content is created, and the various authors thoughts on what does and does not work, were quite fascinating.

Coupled with a nice walk through the Big Top and Expo Hall this was a nice, subdued way to finish off my PAX Australia experience.

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