Posts Tagged ‘PAX East 2014’

PAX East 2014 wrap up and future plans

This past weekend was quite the weekend. It’s been several days and I am finally settling back to some kind of normalcy. It’s funny. I waited so long for PAX East to come around and when it finally came I was so tired after the first day. Now that it’s past, I can’t wait for it again. I really enjoyed being busy, and I am especially happy I left Sunday as open as I could have so I could spend time in the tabletop room.


I have to say, and I am probably sound very biased, but Battleground Games & Hobbies really had a tight crew this year. You should all feel really proud of yourselves and the job you did. I’m sure you left quite the impression among all the PAX East attendees who came by the booth. You even had some StarCraft 2 celebrities stop by! Although, I had to remind Chase of who they were. It’s okay though, I let him take the credit.


Now that the weekend is over it’s time to get back to my writing. If you’re into video games at all, I encourage you to check out my coverage of PAX East. I got to meet with some great people on the industry side of things. I even got to sit down with Mark Purvis, the Brand Director for Magic, and Liz Lamb-Ferro, the Brand Manager for Magic, and talked about the latest edition to the Duels of the Planeswalker series. I couldn’t get any specific Magic 2015 spoilers, but meeting them was still a lot of fun.


The one thing I didn’t get to do that I wanted to accomplish was all the “networking” for Extra-Life. I realized, during a lot of my interviews, that we were all on a strict schedule. However, I was able to get a lot of e-mails through PR companies. So we’ll see if I can get anything done through them.


Now that PAX East is over…


While I didn’t get to play any new board games at PAX East, I did get to play some games I had only played once or twice before. It was good because it reminded me that I really need to purchase copies of these games. The games I played were “Smash Up,” “7 Wonders,” and “Formula D.” If you haven’t played them yet, I highly recommend you do soon.


I did manage to get my hands on at least one game. That game was “Quarriors.” I’m a little late to the game when it comes to “Quarriors,” but it’s better late than never. I am trying to get myself ready for when Marvel Dice Masters eventually comes out. I was also very interested in getting the Lord of the Rings edition as well. However, I need to learn the basics. For all I know, I might hate the game, but I doubt it. I also wanted to get a copy of “Dungeon Roll,” but I was too slow in pulling the trigger when it came to buying it. I just hope Battleground Games & Hobbies will have more copies on hand in the future.


Boston Festival of Indie Games


With PAX East in the bag, I am now looking forward to the Boston Festival of Indie games. For those of you that have no idea what I am talking about, the BostonFIG, is a game festival hosted at MIT. This year will be the third year of the event, and if you haven’t been there before I think you should give it a shot. There is a video game section as well as a board game section.


I was able to check out a little of the video game section and there were many award winning indie developers (many of whom were based in Boston) that were in attendance. Most of my time was spent in the tabletop section that was located on the second floor of the student center. By the end of the day, it was very packed and moving around was a little difficult. For some games, there were lines of people waiting to demo them. Hopefully this year they will find more room for the games. The video game section was held in the athletic center. So they had plenty of room to work with.


This year’s festival dates have not yet been announced, but it should be some time in the fall. Last year it was in September. I’m thinking it should be around then. I’ll update this post when the dates are announced.


*UPDATE: While posting this blog post, I realized they did post the date for the BostonFIG. It will be held on September 13, 2014.


Journey Into Nyx prerelease coming soon


As you can tell by the header, the Journey Into Nyx prerelease is coming soon. Over the past few prereleases, I’ve gotten a little tired of them. I’m not going to lie, I miss having the last booster pack. Don’t get me wrong, the pack that comes with your chosen “path” is a neat idea, but it’s lost its flavor, and now it tastes rather stale. That might just be me though. I would much rather have the randomness of the last pack. I mean, what if, out of the other five packs, you don’t get any help for your chosen path? Now you’re left with a pack for that path and no help. Cue the sad music.


There is still a couple of weeks left before the event. I guess I still have time to decide if I want to go or not.


Will any of you be going to the prerelease? What are you looking forward to from Journey Into Nyx?


About the author


Simeon is an avid gamer who loves to play board games and video games. He graduated college with a degree in Political Science, and now serves the public by writing about games. You can check that out here. Don’t forget to “like” him on Facebook as well. It’ll update you on all of his newest content. Best of all, you can follow Simeon on Twitter (@SimeonCortezano) for some real time hilarity. Thanks for reading!


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PAX East 2014 – Thank You!

There is simply no question that the hardest the Battleground staff works all year long is the week leading up to and through PAX East weekend. For the show to go off so well, we need everyone giving their all, and this year we were blown away with how much effort our staff and volunteers put in.


I’d like to begin by thanking Chase, without whom our PAX presence (and so much of what Battleground does) just couldn’t happen. Considering the industry we work in, it seems perfectly acceptable for me to quote Star Trek in how I feel about Chase: “[I] feel safer about [his] guesses than most other people’s facts.” His organizational skills, researching ability, and limitless drive are what set the pulse of Battleground.


To the entire staff of Battleground, I give my thanks. For those of you that take the journey with us to the show and manage to remain on your feet all day long and never lose the capacity for a smile, a conversation, or an opportunity to help someone find the perfect game, I am so grateful for your presence and your dedication. To the staff that remains behind to hold down the fort at our Abington and Plainville locations, you also deserve high praise. Your sacrifice of not attending the show in order to put in long hours over the weekend does not go unnoticed!


To the volunteers who give so much effort to help us do what we do at PAX East, I am utterly humbled by your stamina. Before I even needed to open my mouth to ask one of you for help, you were already there. Without your command of the Tabletop Hall, the PAX East gaming convention would be a lesser show. How many people leave with memories of the great time you showed them with nothing more than your love of playing games? We are so proud of how much you give to the people who attend the convention. Teaching games until your voice is hoarse and scoffing at the notion of sleep – you are why we succeed.


And finally, to those who come to spend time with us at our booth and with our demo team, we thank you for your company and support. We are grateful for your friendship and for being a part of our shared enthusiasm for all things gaming.


I can’t believe I’m saying this, as I still haven’t shaken off the exhaustion from the weekend, but I already can’t wait for next year!


Thank you so much!





















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‘Journey Into Nyx’ previews and PAX East 2014 is finally here

It has been one heck of a week for me this week. Not only am I busy writing articles regarding the “Journey Into Nyx” previews, but I am also getting ready for PAX East which is coming up this Friday. I will be staying in the city because it makes things a lot easier for me. With that in mind I will be there Thursday night until Sunday. If any of you will be in the city Thursday night, then let me know so we can meet up. I would love to hang out if I have the time. One more thing, and I may have mentioned it before, but I will probably be at the Westin Hotel next to the BCEC for their second annual pre-PAX East board game night. Last year I met some people who were awesome enough to let me join them for a couple of games of “Dominion.” They were especially nice since they were playing with the expansions, and I, at the time, had not played with them yet.


“Journey Into Nyx” previews


This week began their previews for the third set in the Theros block, “Journey Into Nyx.” As of this posting, we’re on the fourth night and the set is looking like a lot of fun. Some of the biggest things to be announced were a new Ajani planeswalker as well as the Boros and Izzet gods. All three were pretty impressive in their own respects. I am particularly excited about the Izzet god and believe he will be one of the best things to come out of the set. If I’m wrong, then I’m wrong. However, if I’m right, I fully expect all of you to give me the praise I deserve (I’m just kidding).


Whether you like him or not, the new Ajani will be a house in any format he’s played in. The fact that he’s got green in him only makes things worse because now he can be accelerated into play without many drawbacks. I’ve seen some people saying that all three of his abilities are irrelevant to each other. In a way, I guess they are. Still they are all powerful on their own. When your opponent gains 100 life the only reason you’ll be complaining is because you’re not the one gaining the life.


Another card that people seem to be excited about is “Godsend.” It looks really impressive on paper, but I wonder how good it really will be when people begin to play it. It’s ability to exile blockers is pretty cool, but it’s not like it’s a hidden ability. What I mean is that if you block it or are prepared to be blocked by it, you go in knowing that you may lose a creature in the process whether or not it was going to survive the hits. An interesting point is that it’s not an enchantment in addition to its other types. Just something I would point out considering the entire block has been so enchantment oriented.


“Iroas, God of Victory” looks like it will be very annoying to play against. I can’t even imagine the struggles I’ll have when it gets turned “on.” It’s abilities alone are good enough to drive a player crazy. It still have some reservations about it, though. At four mana to cast, will there even be much of a game left when he hits the table? Boros decks are quick to the kill, and seem to make Iroas too slow to play. However, he just looks too good not to play.


Out of everything that has been spoiled so far, the lands have me excited the most. Having the UR and BG temples make those color combinations that much more playable. I feel their introduction will help round the Standard format nicely.


With all the excitement over these first few previews, I can only imagine what the rest of the set will be like. We still have yet to see what the other gods will be like. Many think that the BG god will be the best out of them all. You know what they say some times, “You have to save the best for last.” With how the two gods previewed look, this god might be out of this world.


PAX East schedule


My PAX East is pretty busy this year. I am pretty booked on Friday and Saturday. I purposefully left Sunday as wide open as I could with one meeting I couldn’t help. That meeting is with Ubisoft. They’re a pretty big video game company, so it’s something I couldn’t quite ignore. For those of you who are interested, here is a quick rundown of who I’ll be meeting with this weekend:


Friday –


Saturday –


Sunday –


The biggest thing for me this weekend has to be the Wizards of the Coast panel. I’m going to do my very best to liveblog from it. So if you follow me on, that’s where I’ll be writing about the panel. Hopefully we’ll get more information regarding “Journey Into Nyx” as well as some of the upcoming sets like “Magic 2015” and “Conspiracy.”


On Friday and Saturday, the exhibition halls close at 6 PM, but the table top area stays open until midnight. You will most likely find me there when the exhibition halls close. Just look for the Battleground Games & Hobbies booth.


Well that’s all for this week. If you’re going to PAX East this year and you see me, then make sure you say hi. Also, let me know what you think of the previews so far from “Journey Into Nyx.” What’s your favorite card so far? Also, what are you most excited to see at PAX East this year? Thanks for reading!


About the author


Simeon is an avid gamer who loves to play board games and video games. He graduated college with a degree in Political Science, and now serves the public by writing about games. You can check that out here. Don’t forget to “like” him on Facebook as well. It’ll update you on all of his newest content. Best of all, you can follow Simeon on Twitter (@SimeonCortezano) for some real time hilarity. Thanks for reading!


Donate to the Extra-Life fundraiser!




Join the Battleground Games & Hobbies community forums!

Please don’t forget to check us out on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @battleground_gh!


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From couch to cash: Trying to redefine the gamer stereotype

Before I begin, let me assure you that this week’s post is not about PAX East. However, it is influenced by it. In fact, I had recently come across an article in the Boston Herald regarding the upcoming convention. The title of the article was, “‘Nerd is the word: PAX ’14 is sold out.'” It covered what the convention meant to Boston in an economic sense and how it was such a great opportunity for development companies in the area.


I had no issues with the article. Actually, I thought it was good and informative. I did, however, have a problem with one of the comments from a reader. A user, who went by the name “AlfredNobel,” made the comment, “Must be a great event if it motivated all these people to get up off the couch.” Part of me was really bothered by this comment.


I’m going to give this person a slight benefit of doubt and assume that they also did not know (aside from many things) that the convention does not just cover video games. It’s a celebration of gaming, in general, and many aspects of it as well as other nerd related topics. One of which is tabletop gaming. This refers back to his “couch” comment; as in “couch potato,” which is an old reference for people who were lazy and, stereotypically, played a lot of video games back in the day.


(Did I really have to explain that term?)



This comment bothered me because in 2013, gamers raised well over $10 million dollars for charity. This includes, but not was  limited to the “Child’s Play Charity” which raised $7.6 million dollars for children’s hospitals across the United States and the “Extra-Life” fundraiser which raised $4 million dollars for various Children’s Miracle Network hospitals across the United States as well.


That was just two organizations. Over on Twitch.Tv, I came across numerous streams for other charities. In a span of 24 hours, one raised over $30,000 dollars split among three different human rights organizations. Just recently, “Awesome Games Done Quick 2014” raised over $1 million dollars for the Prevent Cancer foundation.


These people deserve a round of applause.


I really wanted to reply to the comment left by “AlfredNobel.” However, something stopped me. If I were to reply, I would have said everything I’ve said here and probably more. That’s partly why I stopped from replying. I also stopped because I wanted to do something more than just speak my feelings. I wanted to take action.


I want to be more involved in charity events through gaming. Now, this could be done by any means; by helping promote the event, donating money, or even participating and raising money myself.


The “Extra-Life” Challenge


Last year, Battleground Games & Hobbies held a charity event for the “Child’s Play Charity.” It was a lot of fun. The store gave out a lot that day for those participating, and, at the end of the day, I felt really great. However, I think it could have been better. This is by no means the fault of the store. I, personally, would have loved to have just seen more people there.


Now there are plenty of reasons why the turnout wasn’t as great as I wanted it to be. First of all, it coincided with a “Magic: The Gathering” tournament. Not everyone plays the game, and that doesn’t help. If I remember correctly, there was also another large tournament that day. So the store also had some competition to deal with.


Up to now, I’ve done a lot of talking, so here is how I would envision an event done this year. Ideally, if I could, I would do more than one, but I understand that there is a lot of logistics that go into these kind of things.


First of all, I would try have it in the summer. We live in New England, and weather is a big concern. The summer is a perfect time to have an event like this. Not only are the days longer, but there is no snow to complain over. The next thing would be that the event would have to cover all kinds of games. I’m talking about having another TableTop Day. This is a day where we can pick up a board game and just play. Don’t worry you miniatures player, there will be a place for you too.


Even better, what if we were to hold a 24-hour marathon of gaming. Now, I know, it seems a little crazy, but hear me out. I mentioned the charity “Extra-Life” earlier in the post. Now, let me explain what they do. Actually, I’ll have the site explain things, since they do a better job of it than I do:


“Extra Life began in 2008 as a way of honoring a young lady named Victoria Enmon. Tori’s battle against acute lymphoblastic leukemia inspired the Sarcastic Gamer Community in a way that is difficult to describe. Members sent in video games and bought gifts to keep Tori’s spirits up despite numerous hospital stays and three bouts with the deadly disease.


Tragically, we lost Tori to cancer in January 2008. Later that year, I asked my partners at Sarcastic Gamer if they would be interested in Extra Life, a 24-hour video game marathon to raise money for the hospital that treated and fought beside Tori. In 2008 and 2009 Extra Life raised a combined $302,000, 100 percent of which went directly to help kids like Tori at my local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital (Texas Children’s Hospital).”




Overtime, the charity has evolved from video games to gaming in general. This includes tabletop games!


The “Extra-Life 2014” charity event is scheduled to happen on October 25 of this year. That is plenty of time to get the ball rolling; plenty of time to Tweet, to Facebook post, to e-mail your boss, tell your mom, dad, grandmother, grandfather, sister, brother, cousin, aunt, and uncle.


So what do you say? If I were to get things started, would you be interested in participating? Would you be able to game for 24-hours straight?


Okay, don’t worry if you can’t. The site, its founders, and other know how hard it is to game for 24-hours. Some people, last year, played for 12-hours one day and another 12-hours the next.


In the end, it all comes down to one thing, and “Extra-Life” and I seem to have the same mindset about it: The performance on the day of the event is not what is important, but the hard work leading up to it.


Let’s make “AlfredNobel” and others like him really think about what they’re going to say the next time they comment on another gamer related article. We’re not just a bunch of bums who sit on the couch all day. We’re more than that.


About the author


Simeon is an avid gamer who loves to play board games and video games. He graduated college with a degree in Political Science, and now serves the public by writing about games. You can check that out here. Don’t forget to “like” him on Facebook as well. It’ll update you on all of his newest content. Best of all, you can follow Simeon on Twitter (@SimeonCortezano) for some real time hilarity. Thanks for reading!


Join the Battleground Games & Hobbies community forums!

Please don’t forget to check us out on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @battleground_gh!


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A countdown to PAX East 2014 – 56 days, 19 hours, 14 minutes, and 03 seconds


Pax East logo resize


It’s the final countdown…


Can you believe that PAX East 2014 is less than 60-days away?


I’m really looking forward to it this year. Once again I’ll be doing media coverage. Even though it’s only a freelance gig, I have to consider myself extremely lucky to be given such an opportunity. Last year, I was able to cover and gain insight on some of the biggest games to come out. Some of these games included: “Saints Row IV,” “The Elder Scrolls Online,” and “Diablo III” for the console. It’s funny. As I think back on things, I remember when they announced “Hearthstone.” Needless to say, I was initially unimpressed with the game. As it turns out, I was very wrong.


While it was really great that I got the chance to cover some of these high profile games, one thing I missed out on was the tabletop gaming side of PAX East. This year, I’m looking to find the right balance between video games and tabletop games.


I’ve been doing this media thing for, roughly, a year now. PAX East 2013 was my first time covering a convention. I literally threw myself into the fire as far as a learning curve goes. In the fall, I covered the Boston Festival of Indie Games. When I initially signed up to cover the festival I didn’t think much of it. In fact, I was rather hesitant, thinking it wasn’t going to be anything close to what PAX East was, and that I shouldn’t waste my time with it. I was wrong about that too. I seem to be wrong about a lot of things.


The Boston Festival of Indie Games (also known as the “BFIG”) taught me a lot, I think. In 2013, that was the second year for the festival. They had to run a Kickstarter campaign earlier in the year to cover some of the festival’s expenses because they had outgrown their original base of operations. They had gone from the classrooms of M.I.T. to taking over the athletic center and student center of campus. Based on what I saw, I’m sure they’re looking to move to somewhere bigger next year.


The festival was a huge success. There was a ton of people, and it caught me off guard. I think it caught me off guard because I seemed to take the festival for granted. I didn’t realize how much people were so into independent games and developers. The best part of the festival was that it covered video games and tabletop games. It was essentially a mini PAX East.


At PAX East, last year, remember, I said I was able to cover some of the higher profiled games that year. Well, it should also be mentioned that by working with these big named studios  I also had to work with some serious PR people. Now, for someone like me, who was new to the industry, those people are scary. I had only been doing the journalism thing since December of 2012.


(I know I’m jumping around a bit, but I’ll get to my point soon.)


Back to the BFIG. Basically, when it was all said and done, I walked away from the festival with a greater sense of confidence in what I do as a journalist. I realized that these folks want to talk to me as much as I want to talk to them. Media outlets are a great opportunity for them to get the word out about their product to a larger audience, and, even though I am not as well established as some out there, that any help counts.


All this brings us to PAX East 2014. I’m hoping to bring this new found confidence and better my PAX East experience. I didn’t have a full schedule of meetings with many companies. It was partly because I didn’t want to have a full schedule and partly because I didn’t get contacted by many companies I wanted to talk to. This year it will be different. I’m looking to make a fuller schedule and open up to companies even if they’re not working on a triple “A” title. In fact, a couple of the best places to be at PAX is the Indie Megabooth and the Indie Showcase which highlights some of the best independent games to be showcased at PAX East for that year.


I also want to cover more tabletop games this year. I spent a lot of my downtime in the tabletop gaming area instead.


This area had it all. There was a section to paint miniatures and learn how to pain miniatures. You could rent one of the many board games donated by attendees and play with your friends. There was a huge area to play “Magic: The Gathering” and there were tables slotted for official “Dungeons & Dragons” campaigns held by Wizards of the Coast employees. There were also tons of vendors.


I, of course, could be found by the Battleground Games & Hobbies booth. They will be there again this year; hopefully, bigger and better than last year. I joke with them every year saying that they should aim to be a bigger booth each year with the eventual goal of looking like one of the video game exhibits like Wizards of the Coast or “Wildstar” had last year. Maybe they should just get a mech suit that people can jump in and take photos of.


dead at pax east 2011

Who’s coming to the party?


According to the forums, there are only a few confirmed exhibitors as of right now. As the event draws near, we’ll have a better idea as to who will be there. With all this in mind, what are you looking forward to at PAX East 2014? Is there anything you hope will be there? Let me know.


One thing I’m looking forward to are the Stephen Riley master-class game demos. “Zombiecide” anyone?


I’ll be there all weekend long, and I was also able to snag a stay in Boston during the convention. So if anyone wants to meet up the night before. I’m available. People in the forums are planning the second annual board game night the Thursday night before the event. I plan on being there for a bit. Maybe we can play a game or two.


That’s it for now. If you’ve got a comment or question, then leave something below in the comment section. If you like what you’re reading then don’t forget to like me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.


About the author


Simeon is an avid gamer who loves to play board games and video games. He graduated college with a degree in Political Science, and now serves the public by writing about games. You can check that out here. Don’t forget to “like” him on Facebook as well. It’ll update you on all of his newest content. Best of all, you can follow Simeon on Twitter (@SimeonCortezano) for some real time hilarity. Thanks for reading!


Join the Battleground Games & Hobbies community forums!

Please don’t forget to check us out on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @battleground_gh!

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