The final day of PAX East. The strange day where you can’t wait to get home but you don’t want it to end. Also the day right after the clocks jumped forward as part of the grand conspiracy to annoy the everloving crap out of everyone on the planet.
We began the day with the panel “When I Grow Up: It’s Never Too Late to Try Something Crazy”.
|I really don’t feel right about laughing at a man who has brain damage, but that was his goal.|
Sean Baptiste underwent a dozen surgeries for a brain tumor that was eventually called inoperable. The surgeries (or the tumor) left him with damage that impaired his ability to remember things. So he decided to go into stand-up comedy. No, really. Sean spoke a bit about his condition, then screened an episode of a video series detailing his journey. It was painful, illuminating, and humorous.
What I found crazy? The guy can remember his material, but then forgets PERFORMING it. The brain is a funny thing.
We had many more panels we wanted to attend, but after three days of sleep deprivation, exhaustion, and junk food, I was just too footsore, glassy-eyed, and mentally inept to put the hours into proper use. What I really wanted was a place to rest. There are benches scattered around the convention hall, about one bench for every two thousand people. To keep people from knifing each other over places to sit, the benches are slabs of depleted uranium that afforded no hope of comfort or rest. Sitting on them is so painful that your leg pain seems tame by comparison, which is sort of like resting them.
We wound up walking the show floor again.
Wizards of the Coast had a really cool booth that looked like a castle. A castle make of plastic and filled with expensive merchandise. Above is my princess, although she didn’t need rescuing.
Finally I gave up and wobbled to the food court, where the Loading Ready Run folks were playing Magic: The Gathering. Also, there were chairs. Sweet, sweet unoccupied chairs. I had to kill very few people to acquire one, which was a nice change of pace.
|OH MY GOSH! JOLLY RANCHERS! WOOOO! Oh yeah. Graham and Paul were here too.|
My spectating enjoyment was slightly diminished by the fact that I had no flaming idea what in the name of Gary Gygax was going on. Graham did his best to explain the rules while he played. It was like learning how to set the clock on your VCR from a guy who is in the middle of defusing a bomb.
The crew actually made this handy instructional video after Pax Prime last year:
As far as I was able to tell, the game works like this:
1) Before starting, make sure you have the following equipment: A pair of twenty sided dice, some sort of chips or markers, an iPhone, and about $5,000 worth of cards. A table and a couple of chairs would be nice if you have any money left over.
2) Your opponent may have arranged his deck in a way that will make his cards useful. To thwart this, cut his deck, just once, more or less in the middle. Note that if he’s a total jackass he might do the same to you.
3) Draw several cards, look at them, say “mulligan”, and then discard them and draw some more. There is a provision in the rules that allows you to play with the first set of cards you draw, but nobody ever does this.
4) When it’s your turn, take a random number of your cards and put them on the table sideways so that neither player can read them.
5) The players take turns putting cards on the table. When putting a card into play, the owner should tell a story about how the card was acquired, a previous game in which the card was used, or how much they paid for it. The longer the story or the higher the cost, the more damage they deal to the opponent.
6) Sometimes you will need to place markers on cards. These should be edible. Other people will come along periodically and devour these markers, knocking the cards around in the process. This protects you from having to know or understand what positions the cards are supposed to be in.
7) Eventually the player who spent the least money on cards will lose all their hit points, thus winning the game. It’s generally considered sportsmanlike to pretend the other person won, though, because it’s not nice to laugh at poor people.
|Kathleen De Vere is using her famed Angry Kitties deck.|
We wrapped it up and said goodbye.
My gaming buddies Bogan & Eric left that night. It’s a ten to twelve hour drive to get home, depending on traffic. I guess they got in around 6am. Heather and I were planning on trying the same thing, but on Saturday night we came to our senses, remembered we were no longer in our twenties, and booked another night at the hotel.
Thanks to everyone who hit the donate button. Aside from keeping my book project rolling, your generosity basically funded this trip.
CORRECTION: Kathleen’s deck was NOT Angry Kitties. That deck was auctioned off. This is some other feline-based deck of abuse and humiliation. Surprise your friends!
Here is a 13 part series where I talk about programming games, programming languages, and programming problems.
MMO Population Problems
Computers keep getting more powerful. So why do the population caps for massively multiplayer games stay about the same?
Diablo III Retrospective
We were so upset by the server problems and real money auction that we overlooked just how terrible everything else is.
The Gameplay is the Story
Some advice to game developers on how to stop ruining good stories with bad cutscenes.
What did web browsers look like 20 years ago, and what kind of crazy features did they have?