Thrifty Nerd’s PAX East 2012 Strategy Guide


In slightly more than a week gamers from around the world will descend on Boston to check out the latest wares being shown by gaming companies large and small. While many of us are old pros at attending events such as this, we thought it would be helpful to gather all the information you may need to help you ensure your time in Beantown is unforgettable … for all the right reasons. 

The first step to having a great weekend is ensuring you pack all of the essentials. The folks over on the PAX forums have an extensive list of items broken down into three degrees of importance. Speaking from personal experience, a few things outside of the obvious include packing extra socks, having plenty snacks and having an external charging device. The ability to slide on a fresh pair of socks can make you feel like a new person, especially as the weekend wears on.

Once your bags are packed, take a few moments to download a few apps and a map to help you navigate the show and city. Not only does PAX have an official set of apps for the show to help you locate your favorite vendor or panel location, but the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center also has an app available on multiple platforms that will help you find the bathrooms, ATMs and other amenities within the venue.

Now that you’re properly prepared and in Boston, it’s time to talk transportation. Even if you drove, you may find yourself in no condition to drive after a long night of friendly conversation at one of Boston’s many local pubs. To help aid in this, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has a variety of apps depending on your smart device or transportation needs. The public transit system is a great cost saving alternative to take cabs from the airport or around the city. The PAX organizers also setup a shuttle to pickup attendees from many of the local hotels.

Once you’re settled into your hotel room there’s no reason to just sit there and countdown the hours until the show doors open Friday at 10 a.m. There are a string of events, tweetups and parties throughout the week, starting Thursday night.

The Brattle Theater is showing Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, followed by a Rockband battle of the bands competition. Tickets are required for this event and it sold out days in advance last year, so you may want to get yours ASAP if you plan to attend. If rocking the stage isn’t exactly your scene, the PAX forums has a growing list of events throughout the event. Be sure to check to make sure you meet any age restrictions for the venue before heading out.

Once the show starts all your hard planning will fly right out the window as your brain is overwhelmed with the awesomeness that is PAX. Be sure to jot down any panels or events that you really, really want to see and arrive well in advance to ensure a spot. The PAX Lines Twitter account is a great resource for those that are trying to cram in as much of PAX in a single visit as possible. The PAX Twitter account is also a great for announcements and changes during the event.

One last piece of advice: try and leave as much free space as you can in your luggage. PAX is full of vendors handing out swag by the handfuls as well as tons of discounted hardware and software. If all else fails, you can ship your extra stuff bag at the onsite FedEx store.

The biggest thing to know upfront is that there is no way you will ever see everything that PAX or Boston has to offer. With that bit of knowledge, just have as much fun as possible and plan to attend next year.

The Thrifty Nerd team will be there for the duration, so be sure to follow the @ThriftyNerd account if you want to see what we are covering and where we are hanging out in the city. See everyone in a week!


  1. We just finished developing this floor game for people who are attending this year, it’s a ton of fun to play and all you need is a print out. Would love for people to give it a try and give us some feedback!

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