"You're not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on." – Dean Martin

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PAX Aus 2017 Highlights

So another year and another PAX Aus has gone. Here are some of my thoughts from it compared to previous years. For context I went to the first PAX Aus and have only missed one year as it clashed with a wedding.

Crowds- the crowds were incredibly big. Every booth and display had crowds in it. It was nearly impossible to find any space in the tabletop area or freeplay areas.

Food- the food in the venue was incredibly expensive. And it was horribly (even by event standards). It was $12 for a chicken burger which was just a bread roll and a peice of schnitzel.

Big Companies- Big displays seem to have the lion share of the display. Indie games and freeplay areas seem to have been squashed down for AAA releases, which only added to the crowd problem.

Panels- Welll SJW panels were in full display here.  I don’t mind a panel about women in gaming or the like, but when half  the panels were about these topics I just skipped them.

People- the people were awesome.  Some enforcers (volunteers) should never be given roles again (a bit power mad), but most of them were awesome and helpful. Definitely the people continue to be a saving grace.

So that was another PAX. It was not overly impressive this year so I may actually choose to miss it next year.


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With the nearly-awful looking Justice League just around the corner, I thought I would look back at the first ensemble film and see the little moments of genius that made it so good.

NO-ONE EVER WAITS: You go through the movie and can pay attention to the characters, you will notice people hardly ever wait. When people are walking around or walking into the shot, they are having conversations. In the action scenes, people are constantly moving around and flowing from one to the other.

FLOW OF SCENES: This seems like primary school stuff. When I was taught to write stories, I was taught the last line in a paragraph or section should link with the first line of the next section. Here, there are nearly seamless transitions at the beginning of the movie between scenes until the momentum is built up.

ABBREVIATED INTRODUCTIONS: The character introductions are done quickly and efficiently. Allot of times people talk about the world building done before the movie. However, even if you didn’t watch many previous movies, the movie efficiently and respectfully brings people up to speed on characters, relative powers, etc. while still making sure each scene contributes to the overall story.

SUBTEXT: There is a subtext in the middle of the movie where the good guys (SHIELD) want to use weapons of terror to fight terror. However, Nick Fury wants a team of heroes (the Avengers) to succeed so they don’t have to do this. It is almost like they are talking directly to the audience of which do we want to succeed- dark, gritty, gray “heroes” or bright, inspiring heroes.

TIME TO BREATHE: Despite an efficient plot, there were plenty of times the story was allowed to breathe. Things such as Coulson talking to Captain America, Banner and Stark interacting or characters contemplating things (even in the middle of the battle for New York). Every scene had a purpose, including the scenes to let the audience calm down and preventing us becoming numb to seeing how cool these heroes sharing the same screen are.

These are some of the little things I noticed that helped make Avengers stand out. There are also allot of big things they got right (the heroes treated the villains like threats, great action, good prior world-building, etc.) but these are more the unsung heroes and perhaps some of these they didn’t quite nail in Age of Ultron as well.

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The following thing I find infuriating in the rulesbooks for board games:

Multiple Gameplay Walkthroughs- Having more than 1 gameplay runthrough, with the rules split between them, makes it extremely hard to look-up rules. It also confuses people as they are trying to go through the rules to learn the game. Have all the rules in one spot in a logical order. See Portal Games for the worst examples.

Missing Significant Rules- If something is in the game, it should be defined in the rulebook. This is a problem with Kickstarters, with terms defined (oftentimes not intuitively) on cards that are just missing from the rulebook. See Endure the Stars (1st Edition).

No Player Aids or Rules Only on Summary- The summary should give you the rules that have been explained in depth elsewhere. If your game has 11 different actions (with effects that aren’t indicated anywhere) and an action only fully defined on a summary, you need a decent player aid and blind test. See In The Name of Odin.

Wall of Text- This is self-explanatory. Things should be set out with headings, examples, etc. Having just a wall of text to try to find rules and definitions is a nightmare. See Ravens of Thrh-Sahari.