This is the city. San Antonio, Texas. It was Thursday, January 11. It was cold in San Antonio. We arrived at the house with few supplies. We went out for some Mexican food. We stopped at HEB to gear up. They didn't have ping pong balls. Some gas station attendants didn't know what ping pong balls were. They did know beer pong balls. They didn't sell them. We found some at Target. My name's Woot. I carry a (PAX) badge. Dun da-dun dun.
Back at the house, we drank heavily, played beer pong, and generically had a good time. I don’t remember all of the games we played, but we did play Dixit. You know, the game that I spilled two separate drinks on. Thankfully it was my game. I would say I wasn’t that drunk, but I did spill two drinks… Needless to say, we quickly discovered that we should have bought some paper towels.
Friday morning found some of us regretting how much we drank the night before, but most of us trooping on. Jesse and I drove Michael to PAX and then began our search for some nice cowboy boots for Jesse to compliment his dashing hat. We found ourselves at Lucchese where we were greeted by an overeager salesman. Sadly, the boots Jesse was looking for were too common for such a fine establishment to carry, so we had to return to the house bootless. Upon our return we found that Matt had joined Michael at PAX and Patrick and Drew were still milling around. Jesse and I topped off our coffees and then began the walk to PAX, with the Tower of the Americas guiding our way. The walk really brought me back to the first year of PAX as we passed about 80 restaurant supply stores and saw everyone’s favorite, Alamo Street Eat Bar. We made it to PAX in plenty of time to sign up for the Duck Game tournament starting at noon and we sat down with Matt and Michael to watch them learning Mechs vs Minions, a very complicated looking board game. No, not those minions.
Anyway, before too long, it was time for the Duck Game tournament, so the 3 of us (Michael wasn’t interested and headed to sign up for another game) made our way to the PC LAN area to get situated. We knew it was their first tournament of PAX, but it quickly became obvious that they didn’t know what they were doing. We eventually got seated and everyone frantically practiced Duck Game without a controller as we just had a mouse and keyboard and nobody in the history of Duck Game has every played it without a controller. Eventually, they did bring around some PlayStation controllers for us to use, so we frantically practiced duck Game with those. Much better than the mouse and keyboard, but I would have still preferred an Xbox controller like a normal person. Anyway, I was playing against 3 randoms and got off to a slow start, but I eventually got the hang of the PlayStation controller and staged a late comeback. Still, it was too little too late and I ended up in 2nd place in my group and didn’t move on. I went to leave and found that Jesse and Matt were apparently in the world’s slowest Duck Game group and still going at it. After being removed from the PC LAN area – presumably for cheering too loudly – I watched as victory slipped out of Jesse’s hands in sudden death. Yes, somehow Matt, the Duck Game expert, finished 3rd place in their group. With all of us eliminated, we regrouped with Michael (who also witnessed Jesse’s demise) and headed out for lunch at Schilo’s – a German deli on the Riverwalk.
After filling up on some delicious homemade root beer, reuben sandwiches (or a non-reuben sandwich in the case of Matt), and cheesecake, we made our way back to PAX. Michael split off to join the D&D game he signed on with during the Duck Game tournament, while the rest of us made our way through the expo hall, trying to find everyone’s favorite haberdasher, The Blonde Swan. Sadly, they could not be found. We returned to the tabletop village and played a few more games. Eventually, we were joined by Drew and then a little bit later by Patrick. With all of us at PAX, it was time to split up again as Michael went on to play some more board games while the rest of us made our way to the Tower of the Americas for a little happy hour.
At the Tower, we found that they’d added a new cocktail wheel to their menu and ordered one of those along with some happy hour drinks and appetizers. This one had a Bombay Sapphire base and was infused with ginger, sage, lemon, and blackberries. It was quite good and refreshing. Our appetites wetted, we made our way back to PAX. We wandered around a little bit before leaving to return to the house. Apparently, I was the only one that ate too much at happy hour.
Needless to say, our return trip required a stop at Alamo Street Eat Bar for a quick drink. Drew ordered from an Ethiopian food truck and I immediately regretted ordering that calamari back at the tower. C’est la vie. Alamo Street Eat Bar was everything I remembered and then some. I even saw one of my favorite PAX vendors, Tim Fowers (of Burgle Bros fame).
Refreshed, we continued our journey to the house while Drew returned to PAX to see the Friday night concert. Michael arrived at the house not too long after us (he stayed at PAX until after we left Alamo Street) and some pizzas were ordered to keep us fueled through a night of more board games and drinking. We didn’t stay up nearly as late this night and were better for it Saturday morning.
Saturday morning was filled with anticipation for True Dungeon. The pre-True Dungeon festivities our group participated in were painting miniatures, frantically searching for The Blonde Swan on the expo floor, and, of course, playing board games. When our True Dungeon time finally came around, we regrouped and entered the dungeon to begin our adventure.
I’ll write a full True Dungeon report in the future, but suffice it to say that it was fun, although I think most of us were hoping for a little more. I would definitely do it again, though.
With the conclusion of True Dungeon, we discussed it a bit and then played some more games before making our way to Alamo Street Eat Bar for dinner. Having not gorged myself on cheap appetizers this time, I was able to order from the Ethiopian truck and it was everything I imagined. So good!
Full of Ethiopian food and beer, we returned to the house while Drew went back to PAX for the concerts. More games were played, drinks were drunk, and we played Cards Against Humanity for entirely too long.
Sunday morning came and brought with it the departure of Jesse and Matt, but the rest of us made our way back to PAX. On the final day with smaller crowds we were able to make the most of the Tabletop Indie Showcase. We also stopped at one of my favorite game booths, Fowers Games, where I played their latest release, Hardback, and picked up a copy of both Word Domination and Hardback. We then played a few more games from the tabletop library before saying goodbye to PAX and returning to reality.
As you probably noticed, I seriously glossed over the boardgames. I believe Michael’s planning on doing detailed report of those and he’ll do a much better job writing those up than I ever could. Stay tuned! And, you know, stay tuned for that True Dungeon report. And hopefully reports from others. And, most importantly, the latest CVGC info :-D
*No names have been changed. No one in this story is innocent.