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Ya know, the last time I did one of these I was coming off a high that was so unbelievable I still had not even felt the full extent of it. Pax Unplugged 2019 was a weekend that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I honestly doubt I’ll ever be so fortunate to feel that same high again that I obtained after winning the Energon Invitational. So, what now?
Pax Unplugged 2021 was a much different animal of an event. Unlike the previous I had absolutely no goals for the event other than catching up with friends I hadn’t been able to see in years. If you're a gamer, and you enjoy going to Conventions, you generally have events planned out or games you know you want to demo etc. Well, I didn’t have any of those plans. And that’s a very weird feeling to be very honest. But here is what I loved about the weekend. For the first time in years I was able to sit across from Jon Palmer and Cameron Ehteshami and play a game that we all loved. A game that we all have done our best to keep going with, and enjoying as part of a fairly large community of players. And just hearing Palmer ask me “ can I see your scrap” just lit me up like a Christmas tree! I do very much miss playing transformers live at events, but the webcam era of the game has truly given us so much to be thankful for. Meeting players from all over the world has just been an absolute blast. I was able to play the game Live at the Convention and come Sunday morning I found myself in a game with Frank who's well across the pond haha. So I absolutely am grateful for everything the webcams have given us. But man the rush of playing the game Live was truly magical.
As I got to the convention with my dear friend Bryan on Friday afternoon, I walked into the hall and toward near where the tournament area was in 2019. I Honestly got chills just from being in the room again. Being crowned champion of the Energon Invitational still holds so much weight to me, it created this feeling of a love for this game that I can not separate myself from. People always ask “ why are you still doing this” it’s simple it truly is, when I won the Energon Invitational I felt it necessary that I carry this game to wherever it needed to be. What I mean by that is, this game is loved by so many, and I was now in to position to be the “ face” of the game moving forward. I’ve always felt the pressure of doing everything I could for the game. So when Covid hit, I jumped to start the webcam era. When the game was canceled I sat in a miller's ale hour for 10 Hours with Scott Landis next to me and Vince on the phone as we ran through what needed to be done for the game to live on. For 18 months I’ve run events, designed cards, tested cards, tested formats, and all along still ran a YT channel. I truly believe that Sunday in 2019 if I don’t win that event, I'm not sure where I would be today. So when I walked up to that space I absolutely got a bit choked up. My life changed that day, and it changed so much that I’ve done more for TransformersTCG than I have for every other game I've ever played combined.
The day on Friday was honest a bit quick, played 4-5 games with Palmer, met the arbitrary Hero Crew finally, walked the Expo hall, and then went home to have dinner with the wife and Bryan. Saturday started much earlier. It was my wife’s first convention. I was eager to see if she would enjoy it, I still made time to play games with Cameron that morning, we got to chat with An old friend from the area which is always so nice to do. We then walked to the expo hall, went to a gaming panel and then settled down as we approached our big dinner reservation at Fogo De Chão. The dinner was magnificent, but the company was the reason to be there at all. Sitting with a group of my friends for the first time in 2 years eating and laughing and just enjoying the night, that’s what I’ll remember most about this year's Pax unplugged. Honestly, that’s all I needed from his years Pax unplugged. That little reminder if we still have the ability to laugh and enjoy our nights with the friends we love, and those small windows of catching up with players of the past is just incredible.
I absolutely plan to go to more events in 2022, I think as a group we will do our best to even hold an event at some, as we get closer we will do what we can to try and make all of that possible of course. This past weekend was a great reminder of what I love about conventions, and the ability to see friends from far and wide. It truly was great to spend any amount of time with faces I hadn’t seen in just so very long. Relationships that I had built all year in 2019 at different conventions and locally with players in the tri-state area, to be able to sit and chat with them and catch-up was just refreshing. I'm so happy for them and glad they found ways to get through the pandemic as I have.
Transformers TCG carried me through some very tough times in the heart of the pandemic. I’m so grateful for the community we have, it’s brought so much joy to me in times of need. But the friendships I’ve gained through this game are also so incredible. Cameron and I have shared time together at every convention in 2019 and then I made a work trip to Cincinnati, we had chili and even got to go to an LGS and play games and I was able to meet his community. Those moments were priceless. But even in the Webcam era, I’ve gotten so close with so many. Players I barely had spoken to at events from all over the country, Christian, Wyatt, Micah, Drew, Jempty, and the list goes on and on. But playing this game for the past 20 months or so in the webcam era has been incredible, it helped rekindle friendships as well with Ziggy. We now look forward to our streams and the time we get to spend playing, talking, testing, and designing for the game. Pax Unplugged 2021 reminded me for a moment of why I do all that I do, that feeling of excitement when you run into an old face, the thrill of live play, and of course the moments of bliss being with your loved ones and sharing a meal. Pax Unplugged 2019 will forever be hard to top, but Pax unplugged 2021, was a nice cap to end this year.
I wanted to wish everyone a happy holiday, and a happy new year! The Alpha Trion Protocols have started working on ATP-6 for anyone that was In person we had cards live at Pax Unplugged testing them. A Blaster Stratagem and a new cassette, and a new type of Stratagem called “Mission Stratagem”. All in all it was a great weekend, and I very much look forward to the next opportunity to see old faces again :-)
Until next time….
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