The Penny Arcade Expo is huge. Over the course of three days, 30,000+ geeks fill a building so large it could double as an aircraft hangar, with one sole pursuit: to enjoy the video game expo hall, concerts, tournaments, panels, lectures, and workshops. Yet even if you tried, you couldn't experience every facet of PAX in one weekend.
What about the tabletop gaming scene, though? Surely, one man could experience all of the board, card, miniatures, and role-playing games that PAX East has to offer. Not so fast. As it turns out, hobby gamers have been thriving in the halls of PAX, and the tabletop presence has expanded beyond previous years' highs.
According to head Tabletop department manager Father Fletch, tabletop represents "a section that offers a lot to do, for a longer period of time, than any other part of the show." Fletch went on to describe the increased scope of PAX Tabletop's play space, stating "we had some 400+ tables (rounds and rectangles) of playable space, some of it offering structured play in the form of game demos, others as tournaments, and yet others as free play areas." Add in a slew of new exhibitors and retailers, and conquering PAX Tabletop becomes a weekend task of its own.
A single photo cannot hope to show all of the space dedicated to tabletop gaming at PAX East, but this does the best job at showing off the freeplay areas.
One man can do it all, but not without some assistance. I enlisted the help of attendees, vendors, and enforces alike to get the answer to a simple question: what were the hot tabletop games of PAX East 2012? I've merged their pool of answers with my own impressions in a patented unscientific manner to present to you, readers, the definitive PAX tabletop experience.