Wednesday, September 8

The bus ride to Pomona was tense. I was on my own hoping to meet my contact I'd never even seen at the last stop which was in a car park in the middle of nowhere. To make things worse the bus driver had never driven the route before and was trying to ask me for directions, then complaining that I should remember when we inevitably became lost. Unfortunately I figured out where we were long before she did but of course she wouldn't listen and ended up driving halfway back to the depot before radioing them for assistance. She was Latino, but when my contact Andy turned out to be of Mexican descent I described her with more of an Asian slant. 'Damn Asians' he remarked, as I apologised for being late.

Zack and Andy reminded me of a Hispanic version of Gabe and Tycho. Zack with his boundless energy and hilariously forward attitude and Andy with his calculating reserved demeanor and biting wit. I immediately took to them both. Later in the night I met Nick, a fellow Australian. But he was from Sydney and had a penchant for the theatric, so it took a little longer to warm to him. We went to a supermarket and bought enough junkfood to satisfy all of PAX and prepared ourselves for the train the next morning.

The PAX train was certainly worth the effort as the two days really flew by. I learnt to play a heap of new board and card games. And why not? We were literally a captive audience. I managed to garner my first win in an M11 booster draft (no doubt in part to my practice with Chris and Luke) after gesturing to my first pack and announcing that it contained a Baneslayer Angel (which it did) that I would ride to victory (which I did). Another highlight was attempting to play a game of Diplomacy which to my complete surprise really is fun once you start actually playing. The rumors that swirl about the game and it's intimidating rulebook are enough to scare away all but the most hardcore board gamers (who instead whisper about it with mystical awe) but the thrill of Diplomatic success and betrayal are worth the effort. I could see it being played like a murder mystery night where everyone dresses as a country's ambassador. I learnt a couple of excellent card games too, and I would have bought them today if they had been in stock. Citadels is a very fun game for about six players. You must try to predict other players choice of character each round while building your kingdom. Dominion is also very cool, each player builds a deck that they constantly play cards from to improve. But Citadel is widely known and Dominion has won multiple awards so there's few surprises there. I also heard of Arkham Horror's excellence but have yet to play it.

It was so easy to sit down, introduce yourself and just play games. Even the food was okay. The only downside was trying to sleep in a chair when you knew you could be gaming. This feeling only increased at PAX.

Playing Rockband on a moving train is trippy.

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