GSG at PAX Unplugged 2023

Now that the chaos of convention prep, travel, and companionship has wound down, we’re finally taking a breath and revisiting our time at PAX UNPLUGGED 2023. It was a whirlwind of a weekend, but here are a few highlights.

DAY 0.5Pre-Con

Our PAX adventure started a few days before the actual event. James and Maria chose to take our time and drove the 13 hours from Cincinnati to Philadelphia over two days. We chose to pick up our badges on Thursday afternoon, and considering the wildly long lines to pick up badges the next day, we made the right call.

The rest of the night was spent socializing with friends we hadn’t seen in a few years, such as Huntsmen’s Hydra, WafflesMapleSyrup, and more, and then joining in on a massive battle of Magic: The Gathering. A great and relaxing start to the weekend.

DAY 1Friday

This year Maria had the honor to be a special guest at Pax U this year as a panelist on “The Asexual Bard: Representation Beyond Tropes.” The panel was early Friday afternoon and had a full house! They were incredibly touched by the conversations and questions that people in the audience had for us, and they’re looking forward to having an even bigger turnout next year.

James stopped by a panel featuring voice actor and internet entertainer, ProZD, in which he and the other panelists were challenged to create a board game using only audience suggestions. The game rules roughly involved bees, unions, and maybe bears. What was cool about the panel was that this is a game that is going to be developed into a fully functional game over the next year or so. Exciting!

Maria looking frightened between a minotaur CriticalBard and a gorgon GabeJamesGames.

During a brief walk through the Expo Hall, Maria encountered some mythical beasts (GabeJamesGames and CriticalBard in disguise) wandering from the Ravensburg booth. Thankfully, they were kind enough to pose for a picture and Maria was able to escape before being turned to stone.

Friday night was time for an annual game night for Maria and friends: another rendition of “10 Candles,” a zero-prep tragic horror roleplaying game played by the light of ten candles. It was amazing, definitely tragic, and led to a night full of deep and meaningful conversation.

Go check out “10 Candles” for yourself! –

DAY 2Saturday

Saturday was full of wandering the Expo Hall. With so many vendors and booths, it was a feat to traverse the entire floor, but James and Maria put a dent in it.

There were so many fantastic booths and creators that we stopped at, but we miraculously only purchased a few things: Maria picked up a gorgeous set of metal dice from Norse Foundry, and after they both did some playtesting, James picked up the deluxe edition of “Kinfire Chronicles: Night’s Fall.

Look forward to a full review of the board game coming soon!

Look out! Starforged terrain coming soon!

We also stopped by the Dwarven Forge booth and checked out the preview of their Starforged sci-fi terrain pieces, and the picture Maria took won them a $100 gift card! Huzzah!

The Starforged campaign will be live on Gamefound March 2024!

While on the Expo Floor, we had the wonderful opportunity to chat with Clint and Jodi Black from Pinnacle Studios, the studio that brings us the Savage Worlds TTRPG. We were able to tell them about our new sci-fi Savage Worlds setting, HELBINE, talk to them about the TTRPG industry, ask questions, and at the end of it all we left with loads of fantastic advice and resources from two amazing people. To Clint and Jodi: thank you very much for all your time!

DAY 3Sunday

Sunday found us exhausted and ready to go home, but not before one final day of convention-ing. After a late start and more wandering on the Expo Floor, James ran a few pop-up playtests of one of our upcoming games. We’re still ironing out some final details, so make sure you’re signed up for our newsletter to hear details as soon as we share them!

While secret playtests were happening, Maria went to the TTRPG Live Play stage to watch the first-ever live show of “Desiquest,” an epic, culturally authentic Dungeons & Dragons actual-play show with an all-Desi cast.

This live session was very much not D&D.

The cast of Desiquest and GabeJamesGames on stage.

Desiquest GM Jasmine Bhullar lead cast members Anjali Bhimani, Omar Najam, Sandeep Parikh, and guest player GabeJamesGames through a quirky and hilarious one-shot hack of MORK BORG, Mice Borg. As all the characters find themselves transformed into mice, chaos ensues.

The final duo of events for PAX was more Magic: The Gathering for James, and the very first in-person game of a DIE ttrpg for Maria and their home group.

And that’s a wrap on PAX U 2023! While we had many wonderful interactions over the weekend, the best one was with our cats when we got home.

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