March 26, 2011: New Blood
Going over the after-action feedback from PAX East, one comment jumped out repeatedly. Day after day, our tables of Munchkin Zombies were filled with gamers who had never played Munchkin of any variety.
This is a good thing. Here is a group of self-identified gamers -- you don't really fork over $55 for a PAX pass unless you love games -- who had never experienced the insanity of a Munchkin game. Many stood up just long enough to go buy a copy - and came right back to get SJ to sign it and then play some more.
We weren't alone. The other hobby game publishers who ran demos, also saw a significant percentage of their time being spent with "tabletop virgins." And that's exciting.
Digital games can convert non-gamers to gamers. You've seen it: one minute your grandmother is amazed at this new cordless phone with a tiny little TV screen, and the next she's kicking your butt on Angry Birds. This makes events like PAX -- well-attended by people who consider themselves "gamers" but who have never picked up a dodecahedron -- very, very valuable for hobby games publishers. Nowhere else can we interact with gamers who are unaware of tabletop games, at least in these numbers.
As Phil said in his personal blog, realizing the power of PAX doesn't diminish the value of other conventions like Origins or GenCon. That's where we connect with our foundation: our hardcore fans.
That said, if you're a tabletop game publisher, and you're looking for new gamers, PAX is the place you need to be.
-- Paul Chapman
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