What follows are my Top Ten favorite things about PAX East 2015, in no particular order.
Unpub, the unpublished games network, decided that they wanted to enjoy our snowscape and journeyed back for another PAX, coming on the heels of their own convention in Baltimore. They’re crazy like that.
Unpub is a great resource, providing a communal space for upcoming game designs to find an audience, either by playtesting their game or demoing it for potential fans and Kickstarter backers. The Unpub tables were regularly stocked with both attendees and a stream of local designers. Run by Darrel Louder and Chris Kirkman (of Dice Hate Me Games), this once again was a wonderful area for people to come and test out new stuff that may otherwise be missed among the hordes of game tables in the free play area (an issue demoed games often run into). The sheer number of projects that came through this space was a reason I often found myself back there, like a port in a gaming sea.
That said, scouting out which games were being displayed at any given time almost became a game unto itself. Due to scheduling restrictions of both myself and the various designers, there was no logistical way I could play everything coming through this creative revolving door, although I certainly saw my share. Some games weren’t quite yet finished, while others were or are actively running crowdfunding campaigns. I sampled a handful of the many interesting games during my time there, including Cards: The Attackening, and Find It & Bind It.
Cards: The Attackening is a wacky card game with 8-bit artwork that doesn’t take itself incredibly seriously and insists that you don’t either. In this 2-5 player free-for-all, each player has a trio of heroes (called Attackeners), though you only have one out at a time. Although it bears some similarities in name to a certain other card game, this game is self-contained and playable right out of the box. So you can save that wheelbarrow of cash. Or you can bring it over here.
On your turn, you put cards out that will buff your Attackener, and then you unleash some wanton destruction on other players. When your hero’s health drops to zero, the attacking player collects them as a trophy – they probably have a trophy case and everything. Do this enough times, and you win. Cards: The Attackening has the hallmarks of being a game almost satirical in nature; a love letter to geekdom on the one hand and a sendup of popular gaming on the other. However, it was surprisingly simple to grasp and was irreverent while still being engaging. Cards had a limited run on Kickstarter in the fall that they’re just starting to release now, but if you missed out, they’re planning to do a second KS this fall for another print run.
The other game I tried was Find It & Bind It. This game, partially inspired by the show Charmed (no, really), is about you controlling a pair of witches who are trying to locate the Book of Shadows from among nine tiles and “bind it” to you to win. This is done by getting both of your pieces on the correct tile hiding the Book before everyone else.
It is a straightforward light deduction game, with the change-up that players have a hand of cards that can routinely rearrange those nine tiles. So, it can be random and swingy at times in terms of who wins, but it plays quickly and is quite accessible for both hobby gamers and casual gamers alike. Especially those who are good at three-card Monte.
In a similar vein, I did get a look at Oh My Gods, another a light deduction game about trying to track down which god stole Zeus’s lightning bolt. The jerks. I didn’t get a chance to play it myself, but it often had a full table of players, so I’m assuming that’s a good sign.
Bottom of the 9th
As great as Unpub is as a destination for other publishers, it was Chris and Darrel’s latest Dice Hate Me game that was one of my personal highlights of the convention. Bottom of the 9th is a two player game about, as the name implies, simulating the bottom of the 9th inning in a baseball games. In it, one player takes on the role of the batters who are trying to score just one run to win the game. The other player controls the pitchers, who need just three outs. Unlike actual baseball, this one ends in all of about 20ish minutes.
The basic mechanic is simple. First, the pitcher determines what kind of pitch they’ll throw. Then, the batter guesses what pitch they threw. Then, you compare the results. Generally, the more right the batter is, the more favorable it is to them, and the more wrong they are, the more it favors the pitcher. You earn bonuses depending on how right you are, and those are determined by each player having a handful of player roster cards that provide extra abilities. These abilities in turn make it easier to generate hits, balls, and strikes as desired.
Bottom of the 9th is a marvelous representation of the psychological component that goes into every at-bat in baseball but wonderfully distilled down into half of one inning. You don’t have to know (or even like) baseball to play this game, and yet the game is elegantly simple while still being tense the whole way though. I can’t speak to whether the theme will resonate with you or not, but I can at least say it’s a pretty solid game.
For a game that was, quite literally, conjured up at a breakfast during PAX East 2014, Bottom of the 9th has come together very quickly; it’s on Kickstarter now. I’ll step up to the plate and vouch for this game’s worth, even if during my demo my opponent was partially psychic and my knuckleball failed me pretty badly. Wakefield would be proud.
We didn’t have a panel presence this year, but we were happy to see that there was a decent amount of tabletop-related panels that found a steady audience. The way PAX does it, generally the theater closest to the tabletop section is allocated for us, and 2015 didn’t disappoint. There was no less than five different panels about designing, playtesting, and / or getting your game produced.
I got to attend a couple, and each of them were interesting in their own way, with advice from indie designers up through professional industry veterans. Moreover, I was pleased that these panels had people wanting to actually go and listen to them in not insignificant numbers. It’s a little ironic, admittedly, to be happy about seeing lines for a panel, but in this case it’s better than seeing rows of empty seats.
At the same time, I was also justifiably relieved that all of my effort to attend the annual Magic: the Gathering panel by Wizards of the Coast this year was vindicated. Their annual Magic panel the previous two years wasn’t worth sitting through, let alone the hourish wait in line beforehand, as they had mostly regurgitated info that had already been announced. This year they touted all sorts of new information, from how they are handling planeswalkers in the final core set (Magic Origins), to reprints for Modern Masters (for those tourney folks who care), to spoilers from the latest set, and finally, to the announcement of Battle for Zendikar, the fall set. It was a lot of reveals, and the hassle was justified. This time.
The Greater Than Games Tournament Arena
Greater Than Games has skyrocketed in the tabletop world over the last few years, in no small part due to how successful Sentinels of the Multiverse has become both in the card game and now digital environments.
They seem to be doing lots of things right, including being approachable, open, and having good product. They continued that last year with the release of Sentinel Tactics, a tactical hex game set in the same universe, and have been on a roll this year with the merger of Dice Hate Me Games and the pending Kickstarter later this year of Spirit Island, a highlight of last year’s convention.
Yet for all that, the thing of theirs that caught my attention at PAX most was their high quality production booth in the tabletop area. The type of equipment seen wasn’t all that uncommon in parts of the expo hall for video game play, but out in the lower-tech world of tabletop, it certainly stood out, complete with a Geek Chic table and Wyrmwood dice trays. Greater Than Games was hosting their first of two qualifiers for a 3v3 Sentinel Tactics championship, the winners of which won a cash prize and tickets to Gen Con for the finals later this year. The layout was simply top notch, and I found myself asking all sorts of technical questions to the crew for, well, reasons to be talked about later. It was like watching those TV shows about professional poker, except this one had people named Tachyon and Baron Blade. So, you know, more interesting.
The Indie Megabooth
One of the trends continuing upwards this year is an increasing tabletop presence on the expo floor, which proves to be simultaneously one of my favorite things about this year’s PAX and one of my top frustrations at the same. Previous years have always seen a handful of more established companies set up a presence on the expo floor such as Mayfair Games, Stoneblade Entertainment, and Privateer Press, but there was more tabletop representation in 2015 than any expo previously. In addition to Mayfair and Stoneblade, companies like Star Realms, Greater Than Games, and Game Salute also set up shop on the expo floor (with Star Realms and Greater Than Games actually having a booth in both the video game and tabletop sections). In addition, no less than five other smaller card game booths were scattered around some of the outer booths, and that every single one of them regularly had people scoping out their stuff was definitely an appealing thing.
However, the Indie Megabooth gets a lot of credit for being front and center. Paid for in part by the Cards Against Humanity folks, the Indie Megabooth commanded prime real estate to show off their indie game wares. While they’ve been doing this since 2012, the Megabooth has certainly lived up to its title this year, showcasing 79 different games. These are the types of games that without the help of collectively pooling together would barely have gotten exhibition space buried in some corner, if at all. And while that number is down slightly from last year, the fact that they were right in the thick of everything is certainly worth mentioning. That floor space couldn’t have been cheap.
What added to the Megabooth’s appeal in 2015, though, was that the number of tabletop games involved rose from around four in 2014 to about a dozen this time, and I had a chance to check a number of these worthwhile products out. These included:
- Project A.E.G.I.S, by Zephyr Workshop: This is a game about combining robots together and fighting with them on a tactical battlefield. It’s now several years in development, though it feels longer because we’ve continually run into this energetic crew at seemingly every local convention since they first started showing it off. Case in point: they are repeat exhibitor to the Megabooth, splitting their time between the floor and the tabletop demo areas. We’re pretty positive on the game, though. The good news is that we hopefully won’t have to wait too much longer: they have signed with a publisher (though we can’t say which yet), and they’re hoping for a late 2015 or very early 2016 Kickstarter. Finally.
- Mahou Shojo, by Deer-Fox Games: If you’ve ever wanted to face off against another player in a quick game involving magical gems and sparkles, this is for you. Mahou Shojo is a card game steeped in the anime genre that bears its name (think Sailor Moon), where seemingly normal girls have magical powers, and you’re trying to steal enough gems from your opponent so they can’t transform. This isn’t my type of game by any means, but my niece would love it. Moreover, I appreciated that in a giant expo hall dominated by games about guns, robots, explosions, more guns, more explosions, retro 8-bit sidescrollers, and heavy high fantasy-laden combat, that this offered a distinctly different feeling and theme. So much so that it almost seemed out of place, a fact which is both all the more reassuring that it was present, but also another topic for another time. It’s on Kickstarter now.
- Mech Deck: I didn’t get to play a game of this myself due to time constrains, but I watched enough of it to know that it will find an audience when it comes to market later this year. Mech Deck is a light combat skirmish free-for-all involving mech pilots. If you know mechs, you know the premise: damage your opponent’s limbs enough that they fall off, and if you remove enough of them (or can destroy the chest piece), they are eliminated. Be the last mech standing to win. The two things that make this game so interesting compared to its competitors, however, are that the player pieces will (hopefully) have modular limbs that actually come off, and that you can get the flavor of a mech fighting game without needing to pull out your old BattleMech charts. In a sense, Mech Deck is elegant in its simplicity while still being fun. Keep an eye out for it.
Pleasant Dreams, by Aerjen Games: Don’t trust your dreams, kids. In this two-player game about navigating your way through an evening’s sleep, players have to avoid waking up as their dreams take a steadily darker turn. It’s a simple game with great artwork and another unique theme. We’ve written about it before, but plenty of people were checking it out for the first time. As was evidenced by the fact that you could never get a seat for it. But hey, you can use your own chair now. The game is finished and for sale.
- RESISTOR_, by Cardboard Fortress: We actually saw this game at PAX East 2014, but this time they’ve moved from the Unpub booth to the Megabooth. Resistor is a two-player game where each person is a supercomputer trying to corrupt one another’s CPU. This is done by having a series of cards between the two CPUs, and each turn you alter the pathways between them. If you can get a completed path to the other side, the other side takes damage. If you do it enough times, you win. It’s on Kickstarter currently, and we’ll have more to say on it very soon in a separate preview.
- The Shadow Over Westminster, by CounterClockwork Games: I had heard about this game before since it ran a successful Kickstarter and was a Tabletop Deathmatch finalist, so I was glad to finally check it out. If the name itself doesn’t give it away, this is a game about dark foreboding things about to happen to your fair city. This co-op’s premise is pretty straightforward, being that there is a great catastrophe about to befall upon the world, and you must work together as a team of investigators, moving to different parts of the city, to figure out what that catastrophe is…and then stop it. The game has a distinctly gothic horror vibe to it without necessarily being Lovecraftian (although Cthulhu and friends is one of the 16 possibilities), which I highly appreciate. Plus, the game’s miniatures are being done by the same people who did the Mice & Mystics mice. I’ll be watching for it when it debuts in a few months. Hmmm…perhaps that shadow is mine? Bwa ha ha!
Pitch Games (Sort Of)
Social and party games at PAX aren’t exactly a rarity. This is the type of environment where stuff like Cards Against Humanity thrives. This really isn’t a surprise: games like these are incredibly accessible in larger groups, they can be learned easily, and they’re good with people who don’t have a lot of time to spare. Cards took the Apples to Apples idea and brought it into an entirely new demographic, the results of which speak for themselves at this point. So, naturally, similar games are trying to grab that same market audience.
What made it interesting this year is that aside from a handful of CAH clones, there was at least three different improvisational “pitch” games on display. These are the types of games that you have to justify your card choice or come up with an explanation as to why you chose one card over another, adding in a bit more room for creative expression than simply choosing the card you think will win depending on who the judge is. The three we came across of note were Superfight!, Skiptrace, and Bad Medicine.
Superfight! originally started as a Kickstarter but has since gone on to be reprinted with several expansions. The game has a simple “who would win” premise, where players come up with ridiculous card combinations and then argue their position to the current player who chooses a winner. I didn’t play this one, and while the premise in theory isn’t bad, it looks so visually similar to Cards Against Humanity that I can’t feel that it wasn’t a deliberate decision. Yet their main argument for purchasing it is how different it is from CAH. I’m seeing mixed messages there.
Skiptrace by contrast was actually more colorful, both physically and flavorfully. This was another game from the Indie Megabooth and a current Season 2 Tabletop Deathmatch entrant, and it attempts to add its own twist to the idea of the pitch. In it, each player is a bounty hunter who takes turn being the boss who hands out jobs. Then, a series of cards are doled out that detail the confines of circumstances you’re in for the round, creating a huge array of odd and amusing circumstances that you have to explain your way through.
These include the normal people, places, and things, as well as personality trait cards. Yet a fun twist, Skiptrace can award the winner of the round the contract on one hand while rewarding other players one of the trait cards played if it better suited their answer, and those also are worth points. These improv style games aren’t always easy, so it’s nice to see a way of rewarding effort to those besides who had the initial best answer.
The final of these was Bad Medicine, which is currently on Kickstarter. In this one, players all work for the pharmaceutical industry, and they’re trying to get their drugs to market. Every card in the game has three parts: a portion of a name, a method of treatment, and a side effect. At the beginning of a round, there is one card with a current side effect that all players have to treat. Everyone is then given six cards to create your pitch. Three of the cards are used to make up the name of the drug, another two are used in the pitch to describe how you are going to use those two treatments to cure the current problem, and the third is the new side effect the patient would endure. Everyone votes on their favorite, and the winner’s side effect becomes the new problem to treat in the next round. It’s a neat little satire of the industry, but I have to admit the name Bad Medicine always causes me to think of the Bon Jovi song. Now, hopefully it will for you too. Because I’m a terrible person.
I’m also pretty terrible at these games. Hence the “Sort Of” qualifier.
Watch the Skies
Let’s face it: gamers – especially those attending conventions – are not exactly known for their couture. We like our t-shirts and backpacks, and when viewed from afar, much of the masses look like a greyish brownish blackish blob. It’s part of the reason why even halfway decent cosplayers are easy to spot at these conventions – they stand out from the crowd.
The same thing happened when I was walking through the tabletop area and saw half a dozen people on tables with open briefcases. Solid, classic, traditional black briefcases. Each of these people were examining papers and items both in the suitcase and on material strewn all over the table around them. I thought it might have just been a really eccentric family gathering at first, but what I found out was that I had wandered right through Watch the Skies, an X-COM style megagame in action.
In a nutshell, a megagame is a tabletop game, but much, much bigger. And with a lot more people. The number of participants will vary from game to game, but it’s usually well over a dozen at a minimum. It’s sort of what you’d get if you wanted all of the large scale interaction of a LARP while still having the structure of a traditional RPG. It’s an uncommon hybridization, and I hadn’t ever seen one before personally. But it was pretty cool to watch the dedication and level of investment that went into organizing it, all within one section of a tabletop area within a convention. My hat is off to them for attempting it. I hope they stopped those aliens!
Similarly to what UnPub and GameCrafter does for prototype games, AdMagic does for smaller board and card game releases. It’s crazy to think that this company only a few years ago primarily focused on making customized playing cards, but now has shifted its focus so heavily to the eager industry of game production. Both parties are all the better off for it.
While it’s true they are responsible for both the manufacture of incredibly popular Cards Against Humanity and the insanely popular Kickstarter Exploding Kittens, the majority of what these folks do impacts far more of the smaller-scale production games who may otherwise be priced out of making their product. They upgraded from a couple folding tables to a whole series of podium-style demo tables this year, with a host of games from 49 to What the Food?! to the newly released wooden tile game, Pack the Pack. AdMagic in a sense is an ideal example that tabletop gaming has been on a hell of an upswing these last few years.
Like a swift-moving tide, there’s a strong continual push in the hobby to focus predominantly on the newest hit game or the next star designer (particularly in Reviewerland), but I also enjoy a sense of underlying stability. As do (unsurprisingly) many within the larger gaming community. It actually takes work to stay appraised of the latest wares, and one of the ways people mitigate that is to look towards game or company titles that they’re already familiar with. Ergo, it’s helpful for consumers to see returning companies like Gamewright and Catalyst Game Labs show up, even if they may not be touting some brand new title. It helps gamers have a foundation among an ever-evolving environment. People may not know the newest Mayfair title, but likely know who Mayfair is.
Even if it’s just, “they’re the Catan people, right?”
- Asmadi Games showing of Adorable Pandaring, a short card game about pandas with ridiculously cute panda art, as well as occasionally letting people peek at the upcoming newspaper game Penny Press.
- Fun To 11 Games had the latest Castle Dice expansion out. While it’s not technically new to PAX, it was new to me. Which sort of illustrates my point.
- Game Salute was on hand to showcase their stuff, though it did seem to have less variety of those titles than in previous years. But they did at least have the latest Alien Frontiers expansion, Outer Belt, on hand, along with several of the smaller expansions.
- Greenbrier Games was demoing their upcoming resource management mech game Heavy Steam, as well as the latest small expansion to Ninja Dice that adds some new dice abilities to the fight which changes up how the game works slightly.
- Stoneblade Entertainment launched their latest Ascension expansion, Dawn of Champions, that shakes up how the game works a bit by adding the idea of hero cards and hero powers. I’ll be curious to see how that changes things.
- The crew from the co-op survival game Unknown were back to demo again while their game awaits production. Yet another PAX game coming full circle. Well, almost.
This was another game that was technically in the UnPub, but it too deserved its own mention as well. This game was hands-down the biggest hit with our group of any game played at PAX, as it combines the right mix of flavor, mechanics, timing, and game tension together in a way that left a marked impact on people. Burgle Bros, which is on Kickstarter now, is a caper game. It’s basically Forbidden Island meets the show Leverage (or Ocean’s 11; take your pick).
In Burgle Bros, players are a team of thieves who are trying to find and crack open a safe on each of a building’s three floors, then get to the roof to escape, all without getting caught by the security guards who roam about. Each floor is gridded, and players have to explore these rooms to find the safe, avoid traps, and stay out of the guard’s path as he makes his rounds. Similar to Forbidden Island, you have four actions to move into or peek into rooms, activate abilities on certain rooms, and hopefully open the safe in as short a time as possible. At the end of each player’s turn, the guard on their floor will move according to a deck of cards that get revealed. Only when he arrives at a destination – or an alarm is tripped – does he change course.
The game alone is very concise and playable as it currently exists, but we’d by lying if we didn’t find the coolest part of the demo to be the 3-D component the designer was using. The normal game will have each floor spaced out on the table, and that works perfectly fine. However, the prototype shown allowed for the floors to be stacked vertically, giving the game yet another degree of intrigue and entertainment value to it. While it currently isn’t planned to add such a 3-D model for the campaign, we were insistent that he should, even if just as an add-on. And you should too.
That Being Said…
For all of these things mentioned that made all of the traffic gridlock, expensive food, and lack of sleep worth it to me, PAX is still far from perfect. Overall, I enjoyed myself, even if we as tabletop gamers aren’t the primary focus of the convention. However, it certainly seemed like a bump up in interest from even PAX 2014.
And yet while there are a decent amount of designers, publishers, and industry folks that come to inhabit our tabletop segment of the expo, I find myself once again having a hard time trying to encourage people from outside of the region to make the trek.
I don’t regret attending PAX, but I completely understand the rationale why so many in our hobby forgo making the trip; in many ways it really isn’t worth the hassle. At least for the tabletop part of it. Most of us have the luxury of numerous other regional and national conventions to choose to attend instead.
Honestly, I can’t really blame them, especially after this year. Outside of the insular bubble of tabletop, which people I spoke with felt was the one area of real positive growth this year, PAX 2015 felt very lackluster. No one wants to hear that about a marquee convention, and they will need to address four key areas if they hope to entice people in the region back who become more and more disillusioned each year with the progression of the convention (or lack thereof). These are:
- They need to address the ticket problem. PAX East is pointless if you can’t actually go, and that’s becoming a bigger and bigger problem, even for local attendees. Not only have ticket prices increased year-over-year, but they have become practically impossible for people who don’t have a desk job or the day off to get access to them. You essentially have to be signed on the moment they go on sale. For 2015, 3-day passes sold out in 12 minutes. Saturday passes sold out in less than 2 hours. The problem is…PAX doesn’t really care. Their attitude is that it since the expo always sells out, it merely means the demand is higher than the supply, so why should they micromanage who gets them?
That attitude is helpful if you have to get time off work first or want to take your family. But it’s not a matter of scale. Gen Con, for instance, only has about 20k or so fewer attendees, and yet as of the date of posting, you can still get 4-day passes to it two months after going on sale. Why? Because PAX tickets are de facto transferable (though discouraged), and many are grabbed by scalpers and resold or gobbled up by people who ultimately don’t need all of them, only adding to the problem. One solution is to tie them to a person’s name and make them non-transferable, but we’re open to hearing other ideas. Because at this rate, tickets for PAX East will be unsustainable in a very short period of time.
- They need to address the line problems. PAX has over 70,000 people come through its doors over its three day lifespan, so there is no way you are going to eliminate lines entirely. But it’s become almost laughable that the only thing you don’t have a line for at some point is the exit. Game demo lines are one thing, sure, but to be fair, a number of exhibitors have wisened up to having shorter demo times as to move people through quicker. It’s not ideal, but it helps.
However, when it takes an hour to queue for a sandwich, or the bathroom, or it becomes necessary to show up an hour early for even the most innocuous of panels, it’s clear that crowd management is an issue. I feel that PAX is trying to some degree with this, for example, by adding food trucks and making it easier to access side streets for alternate food vendors, but it needs to go further. Hopefully the BCEC expansion will alleviate this in time, but that will take years. Not even tabletop is immune to this problem: when it would take me more time to check a game out of the game library than it would be to play it, that’s unacceptable. At least that’s an easy fix: get those people some more help. Waiting 40 minutes to check out a game is completely unnecessary.
- They need to address the panel problem. People surprisingly like panels at PAX, but the underlying issue for them is that with only a half dozen or so theaters to utilize, it becomes difficult to get into all of the ones you’d like to. In some respects this isn’t the fault of PAX but of the BCEC itself: it’s not designed to house that many concurrent topics at once. If there were a way to open this up to have a higher volume and bigger diversity of panel topics though, it would slightly alleviate some of the people milling about while simultaneously increase the ability to bring in voices in gaming that otherwise might not be able to be heard. One suggestion that’s been floated is to spill smaller panels over into nearby hotels that can accommodate them. Seems an easy enough thing to try. If they want PAX to grow, they need to ensure that it isn’t just the domain of the same voices over and over.
- They need to address the exhibitor problem. It isn’t cheap to rent space on the expo floor at PAX, but they have to ensure that it isn’t so expensive as to be prohibitive to getting companiese to go. One of the notable things about PAX East 2015 was that there were some big name video game company absences this year (such as Riot, Bethesda, Ubisoft, and others). Some were probably issues of new releases, while others could have been issues of cost or…other things. I mean, Harmonix announced Rock Band 4 the day before the convention but had nothing to really show for it at the convention, which is a missed opportunity if there ever was one. That sort of thing.
In any case, there was a noticeable gap of AAA video game companies at PAX in 2015 that they’re going to need to address for 2016. They’re doing right by the indie gaming crowed from what I see, but I’m not a video game expert by any stretch. All I do know is in many attendees were underwhelmed with the lack of attention-grabbing titles on display this year. Admittedly, you’ll always get some of that. But this year they seemed to actually mean it.
Attending PAX is like a geek marathon. It’s long and tiring, it requires patience and endurance, and you need a shower afterwards. Traditionally, the payoff has been generally more positive than negative, but this was the first year where it was more neutral than anything. And that’s problematic. I don’t regret attending PAX East 2015 by any means, as I got to experience far more good things than bad, and then I got to share them with you. Still, we’ll see how 2016 goes. Until then, goodbye PAX. See you next winter, when we’ll forget by then how temperamental you can really be, and we’ll be lining up to do it all over again.
Photo Credits: Pax Logos by PAX Site; Friends by NBC; Picard by Wikimedia; Unpub logo by Unpub; Find It & Bind It by Cray Cray Games; Hipster Gandalf by Wanton Walrus Productions; Bottom of the 9th and Sentinel Tactics table by Dice Hate Me Games; Sarkhan by Wizards of the Coast; Pleasant Dreams by Aerjen Games; Skiptrace card by Skiptrace; Bad Medicine cover by Formal Ferret Games; AdMagic logo by AdMagic; Panda card by Asmadi Games; Burgle Bros. cover by Tim Fowers.