The Best Game at PAX Unplugged 2019 (Board Game PAX) was a video game, and it's called At the Races
Developer: MeetMax Games
Publisher: MeetMax Games
It sounds unbelievable. And I didn't expect many video games to be at the show outside of tabletop games in video game form. But on Friday night, I accidently wandered into the most remote corner of the building and heard lots of people cheering and screaming like they were watching the last game of the World Cup in a small bar.
The game is called At the Races, and board game fans may recognize the lead designer Rikki Tahta of Coup and The Chameleon fame. At the Races a Jackbox-style game where everyone bets on (and influences), horse races. No one owns any of the horses - instead, players can form teams of 8, which work together to either bid on horses, train horses to improve the odds of a horse winning, or sabotage horses to worsen the odds. Once the race begins, no bets or influencing can be done.
That's it. That's the entire game.
It's genius in its simplicity, and even better with a room full of people shouting at these 3D-rendered horses.
One super engaging part of the game is that the betting and influencing is done in real time during the prep phase, so everyone's choices will impact everyone else and you need to be very strategic about when you're placing your bets. And in the last 30 seconds, things get absolutely crazy as the entire group is scrambling to make their last bets and trainings/sabotages count.
The game is currently unavailable, and honestly, I'm not sure where you'll be able to play it with a big group (which seems essential). But it was absolutely the best and most fun game I played all weekend. I was engrossed from the first minute, so much so that I forgot to take any photos of this unforgettable night.
God bless At the Races.
P.S. If you're you're actually looking for the best Board Games from PAX Unplugged, I'll make a writeup at some point, but the two best games were Rob Daviau's ShipShape (by Rob Daviau), and Caylus 1303 (by William Attia)
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