No D&D this week – We’re PAX South bound!

We have to do a rare cancellation of our weekly D&D session this week. But for good reason: most of the Graham Gracker Crew will be headed to San Antonio for PAX South this weekend.

Read about my experience at PAX South 2017!
Read about my experience at PAX South 2016!

It’s become an annual tradition for the last few years, even though we just all saw each other for New Year’s (our other annual tradition). A little annoying that PAX South was moved two weeks up this year to make it even sooner, but we love the expo and hanging out together. Plus it’s a great chance for me to work with a media badge.

So while there won’t be any D&D this week there should be some content forthcoming from our PAX South trip. Stay tuned!

PAX Unplugged to Feature Critical Role and Acquisitions Inc.

It should come as no surprise that the first tabletop-focused PAX convention, PAX Unplugged, will feature live shows of the some of the biggest live streamed D&D groups, including Critical Role, Acquisitions Incorporated, and Dice, Camera, Action!. PAX Unplugged 2017 will take place November 17-19 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia. Here is the full schedule of events.

“The mission of PAX Unplugged is simple,” said Jerry Holkins, co-founder of Penny Arcade and PAX. “We want to recognize the tabletop community that’s grown year over year at our events with a show just for them. It’s going to be pretty amazing first outing, and I can’t wait to attend the show myself.”

The extremely popular Geek & Sundry powered, actor-fueled Critical Role ended their 100+ session campaign earlier this month. In lieu of a live adventure, several members will be hosting a panel called “Critical Role: Talks Machina” on Saturday, November 18. Marisha Ray, Liam O’Brien, Taliesin Jaffe, and DM Matthew Mercer will discuss the entire campaign of Vox Machina, hold a Q&A, and tease their next campaign.

If live D&D shows are more your jam, Dice, Camera, Action! will feature beloved DM and Wizards of the Coast designer Chris Perkins leading his group through Chult as part of their ongoing Tomb of Annihilation storyline. Holly Conrad, Jared Knaubenbaur, Anna Prosser Robinson, and Nathan Sharp will be joined by an unannounced special guest on Friday, November 17.

My personal favorite D&D group, Acquisitions Inc.: The “C” Team will host their very first PAX live play. Like TwitchCon last weekend, Ryan Hartman, Amy Falcone, Kate Welch, Kris Straub, and DM Jerry Holkins will play through a special one-shot session on Sunday, November 19.

And of course it wouldn’t be a PAX show, and especially a tabletop-centric PAX show without the venerable Acquisitions Incorporated team of Penny Arcade’s Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins, and best-selling author Patrick Rothfuss, with DM Chris Perkins.

Over the last year they’ve rotated their player fourth slot after Scott Kurtz’s departure. I’m really excited that they’ll move one of the “C” Team players, Kate Welch’s halfling grandma Rosie Beestinger into the group for their continued adventures in Chult. Acquisitions Inc. will take the stage on Saturday, November 18.

The keynote address for PAX Unplugged 2017 will be delivered by Wizards of the Coast president Chris Cocks.

PAX Unplugged is less than a month away but tickets are still available, including the discounted Three Day pass (though stock is low).

I personally would have loved to attend but the timing is bad, with just a week from Thanksgiving and two months from PAX South. Obviously as someone who enjoys playing and streaming our own D&D adventures, I adore watching other groups, particularly the PA teams and anything with Chris Perkins. I’m looking forward to watching all the streams!

Gaming in the Classroom [Pixelkin]

Gaming concepts like achievements and intrinsic motivation can help inspire students in the classroom to improve their grades and attitudes toward learning.

Read the full article and interview on Pixelkin


We’ve come a long way since the days of Mortal Kombat and Senate hearings on video games. In the last decade gaming has earned mainstream acceptance. Everyone games, whether it’s a teenager gunning down strangers online in Call of Duty, a child playing Minecraft with friends, or a grandparent playing Candy Crush on their phone.

For the most part gaming is still considered a purely leisure activity. That doesn’t mean that we can’t learn from video games and what makes them so successful. Gaming concepts like achievements and intrinsic motivation can help inspire students in the classroom to improve their grades and attitudes toward learning.

During PAX South 2016 I attended a panel by orchestra director and music teacher Ashley Brandin titled, “You Have Died of Dysentery: Meaningful Gaming in Education.”

Read the full article and interview on Pixelkin

The Awesome Indie Games of PAX South [Pixelkin]

A list of 12 of the most exciting indie games I saw and played at PAX South 2016.

Read the full list at

indie games pax south

We’re at a point now where each month has a gaming, comic, or tabletop convention to be excited about. PAX South is now in its second year and has a much bigger focus on indie gaming. Few big publishers have much to show in January. Hopeful indie devs were there to fill the gap. Below is a list of some of the most notable games I saw at PAX South 2016.


Color Thief
Developer: Trouble Impact
Release: Early 2017
In a world of black and white, one chameleon discovers a hidden temple full of color. Our hero can absorb color from any object in the world and apply it anywhere else. Painting water creates a solid surface, while matching colors on a door opens it. Puzzles are forgiving and the non-violent world is kid-friendly.


Dead Star
Developer: Armature Studios
Release: Early 2016
Armature Studios had a neat booth capable of 5v5 matches in their top-down space shooter. The developers described Dead Star as a League of Legends-style MOBA in space. Players can choose between multiple classes and ship designs. Teams will need to work together to secure outposts on the map. The arcade-like gameplay was immediately fast and intuitive. The full game will allow 10v10 matches, leading to some deliciously chaotic space battles.

Read the full list at

PAX South 2016 Mega-Post

I recap all 3 days of PAX South 2016!

pax south 2016 cloud aerithI should start by apologizing for the lateness of this post. My original idea was to update my blog every night with all the crazy festivities of each day of PAX South. Instead we ended up spending all day and evening (minus dinner out) at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in downtown San Antonio. That’s about 9am to midnight. The hotel wi-fi was just not up to snuff for uploading pictures, so I resigned to the occasional twitter updates and pics throughout the weekend.

Then on the way home I caught a whiff of the con crud/PAX pox. Then yesterday was my daughter’s birthday. So yeah, excuses, I got ’em!

But no more! It’s time to break down PAX South 2016, and my personal experience with this unique gaming convention. Continue reading “PAX South 2016 Mega-Post”