Pax East 2023 is done, and it was a showcase of new tabletop and video games. While it has still not reached pre-pandemic levels, the show is getting there. There were hundreds of games on display, and gaming related merch to see, it is still a worthwhile convention to attend if you can.
One of the first things that I saw was a new convention game called Worn Wanderers. It is a combination of collectable pins and one on one battling. The thought behind the game is if you are standing in line and see someone else that is wearing the pins, you challenge them to a battle. Each pin has 3 attack and defense cards attached, so you start at the top, attack an enemy pin and work your way through them. If you defeat all 3 levels of an enemy, you are awarded the loot they were carrying (1 to 3). First to 6 loot wins. The cards are made of a thick plastic and swivel and lock into a new position when used. This makes it easier to see what the new levels are and makes sure the game doesn’t reset when you are moving. This game is meant for conventions, but can also be played at game nights.
Next on the list is by far the best mobile game that I saw, ORNA. ORNA is a GPS / RPG game that will bring you back to the early days of RPGs. This sprite driven RPG uses the GPS in your phone, much like Pokemon Go, to transform the world around you into a monster filled kingdom. As you explore you will fight stronger monsters and level up your character through multiple classes. Unlike Pokemon Go, the monster spawns are pretty random, so you can find them almost anywhere there is a phone signal. There are also dungeons to explore, various shops to buy goods, NPCs to grant quests, and businesses to upgrade your gear. The best part of the game is that it is FREE. There are no ads, no play to win schemes, and nothing you can’t easily find just by playing the game. You can buy new sprites for your character or keys to dungeons, but you will earn enough just by playing. Not only does the game do with you wherever you have your phone, but it changes.
The world is divided into smaller areas that you can explore and even claim as your own. To claim a property you either defeat the current owner, or just grab it if it is unclaimed. Owning the properties will grant you resources either daily or monthly. There are daily jobs, quests, and even in game events, so there is always something to do. When you gather enough resources you can even build your origin town. Here you can place an inn, blacksmith, alchemist and more. Keep it hidden, or allow other players to avail themselves of the services.
There is even a version of the game that you can play on PC if you are not interested in the GPS portion.
Botany Manor is a puzzle-exploration game that should be released later this year. You play as a retired botanist that must solve plant related puzzles. The demo that I played allowed you to solve the 1st two puzzles in the game. You will have to search for clues and items in order to grow different types of plants. The demo was fairly short, but what is shown is breathtaking. The design of the manor is a stunning mix of nature and human architecture. Beyond the crisp graphics, the soundtrack truly shines. Even though I was playing on the convention floor, with thousands of people around me, the music was so relaxing. This is a game that I would recommend playing with headphones, just so you can be immersed in the melody.