This is a post about PAX Prime, which is suddenly upon us.

It's raining in Vancouver. Little rivulets of water are running down the window, as low clouds slowly move across downtown, swallowing up the tops of buildings as they roll by.

I have a late call today. I'm in one scene, and then I'm off until next Monday. Tomorrow morning, I'm going home to get ready for PAX.

I can't believe that PAX is already here. In years past, I've counted down for the entire month of August and most of July, but this year I've been so busy, not only have I not had time to count down to PAX, I haven't even had time to play games. In fact, if it wasn't for Pirates and Carcassonne on my iPad, and the occasional attempt to pull three stars on the last few non-three-starred levels in Mario Kart DS*, I wouldn't have played any video games at all**.

I have this bag of travel dice that I keep in my backpack, you know, just in case… I occasionally take it out and empty them into my hand. I look at them for a moment, the way normal people look through a photo album, and then I roll them a few times, just so I can hear the sound they make as they clatter onto the table. It makes me smile for a moment, before then I sadly put them away again. I haven't played actual boardgames more than once or twice since last PAX, and I haven't played an RPG at all. It's good to be busy, and I'm incredibly grateful for it… but I'm so excited to go to PAX and play games for four days, I can hardly sit still right now.

If you're coming to PAX, this information may be relevant to your interests:

My Schedule: 

Friday 2:30pm -3:30pm in the Pegasus Theatre – THE AWESOME HOUR WITH ME WIL WHEATON

Wil Wheaton first came to PAX in 2007, when he gave the keynote address that your parents won't stop making you listen to in the car. In 2008, he returned for a panel that asked and answered the burning question, "Can Wil Wheaton really be a panel all by himself?" This year, Commodore Wil Wheaton welcomes you aboard the USS AWESOME for 60 minutes of story-telling, lingerie-dodging, mirth-making, myth-making, iconoclasting, and the obligatory burning-questioning … ing.

Saturday 3:30pm-5:30pm in the Main Theatre - Acquisitions, Inc: The Last Will and Testament of James Darkmagic I

Jim Darkmagic receives a magical missive, informing him that his grandfather has died. There's to be a reading of the Last Will and Testament at the family estate. Not long after the family convenes, wackiness ensues.Join Gabe, Tycho, Scott Kurtz and Wil Wheaton as they guide Jim Darkmagic, Binwin Bronzebottom, Omin Dran and Aeofel "Al" Elhromane through an unscripted Dungeons & Dragons adventure before a live audience.


I'm going to have a booth, and I'll be signing stuff and trading shiny gold rocks for nifty things, like the special edition of The Happiest Days of Our Lives, my short collection of gaming essays Games Matter (expanded to include the complete text of my PAX Prime and PAX East keynotes), and an assortment of delightful 8×10 photographs, perfect for framing or folding into origami dicks. I won't have any of the new 3 Wheaton Moon T-shirts, but I will have a few 3 Wheaton Moon posters. I'm not bringing too many, because I don't know if anyone else in the world thinks it's as funny as I do and I don't want to have to haul them back home.

Anne thinks I should bring some of my cheesy 80s pinup posters, so that's going to happen. I'll also make a few of the Compleat Workes Of Mee Wil Wheatone DVDs. I imagine those will go quickly, though, so get there early if you want one.

I'm not going to spend too much time in my booth, though, because I desperately need to make up for the appalling lack of gaming in my life for the last 365ish days. I'll post a schedule when I get there, and probably blather about it on the Twitterbox, too.

Oh!! I hope that you'll bring me dice, so I can continue testing my theory that it's not possible to have too many dice … but that will be in its own post a little later today.

Wow. PAX is in four days. I can't believe it's actually here.

*Seriously, fuck you, Rainbow Road. Fuck you right in the face with a blue shell.

**Until last night, when I finally finished the single player of Portal 2. IN SPAAAAAAAACE.

55 thoughts on “This is a post about PAX Prime, which is suddenly upon us.”

  1. This is important, too. Reprinted from GenCon last year:
    I got the Swine Flu at PAX Prime in 2009, and it was the worst two weeks of my life. When we went to PAX East, all of us (Jerry, Mike, Kurtz, Straub, Paul and Storm, The Professor and Mary Ann) all agreed that we wouldn’t shake hands, give hugs, or engage in human contact with people, to limit the introduction of infection vectors. Most people understood, and we gave each other the old Iron Guard Salute (not the fascist thing, the gaming thing that looks like like “love” in ASL). The result: a few people were cheesed off, but none of us were too upset about that, because none of us got sick. It was the first con I’ve gone to in my whole life where I didn’t get some form of Con Crud, and I’d like to repeat that until we turn out the lights on Planet Earth. So, tl;dr: I’m not going to touch people at the con. I know it seems weird, but I hope you understand why. I’m not trying to be a dick, I’m trying not to get sick. (Edited to add: in comments, a non-zero number of readers seem to have a real problem with this, and people on the rest of the Internets are already giving me a hard time about it in very unkind terms. This makes me really sad; I hoped for a little more empathy and understanding. Not that it should matter, but I have Epstein-Barr, so my immune system isn’t as robust as a normal person’s; it is very easy for me to catch viruses and other nasty things. I’m not going to apologize for not wanting to get sick, especially after two weeks of Swine Flu. If you can’t understand that, it’s your problem, not mine.)

  2. As someone who also came home with Swine Flu from PAX 09, I fully, 100% support & practice (outside of hugs for people I know & only see once a year) your no touching policy. That was an incredibly unpleasant experience that I feel no desire to repeat.

  3. Wil, welcome back to PAX. You were well missed at PAX East this year. I’m trying to learn D&D so I am going to make a point of being in the tabletop area this year.
    I snagged PAX Pox too. Since then, it’s been nothin’ but bumpin’ elbows and Iron Guards.
    Hope you have an awesome time. I know we all will 😀

  4. Wow. What is up with your hair in that pic? Did you even shower? LOL! Oh, the 80’s.
    I will totally come say hi at PAX. I mean, assuming the line doesn’t make me want to barf. This year we’re hoping to avoid too many lines (LOL is that possible??) But I want to bring you dice.
    See you soon, PAX and Wil! :)

  5. YES. THIS. That was the year we brought my toddler to PAX so OF COURSE that was the year everyone contracted the plague.
    Copious amounts of hand sanitizer and visiting the bathrooms to wash hands vigorously saved our butts last year.

  6. It makes complete sense, and you’re right, if people don’t get it that’s their own issue. I’ve only ever done the inaugural PAX East in 2010 but I totally understand it, plus the whole Iron Guard thing is kinda cool in my book. :)

  7. I attended the Star Trek Con in Las Vegas and I had this idea in my mind, about the sharing of germs. I made friends, and shook hands with a few people. I’m lucky that I rarely get sick, but will occasionally come home from a trip with something. I didn’t even try shaking hands with any of the actors I met, but some initiated it. I was happy to just smile, make eye contact and say hello. Had my picture taken with Sir Patrick Stewart and that was the only time those of us waiting were told specifically “no handshakes” etc. Conversely, some, like Mr. Armin Shimerman didn’t have an issue with shaking my hand. I truly understand if someone doesn’t want to. I deal with my mucky, snotty kids all day who will spit their food or gum into my hands and sometimes wipe their tears (or even noses) on my shirt. I wouldn’t want to touch me either. Anyway, speaking of the Trek Convention…I sure wish you had been there.

  8. Oooh. I want to pick up Games Matter and Compleat Workes. :) I’m going to be working a PAX booth this year, so my drop by the other booths time is limited, though. *crosses fingers*
    Also, I will bring you dice. Mmm… dice.
    Also, I have two of those pinups at home. Two. Of different sizes. 14 year old me admits this with no problem.
    Edited because Angie can’t read today.

  9. Any idea where I can get the audio from the 2007 keynote? Every Google result for the mp3 points to dead links.
    Also, I cannot agree more with your sentiments towards Rainbow Road. I’d like to find the guy who programmed that level, coat him with honey & stake him next to an ant hill. Fire ants. Mutant Fire Ants with two heads. That breathe fire.

  10. Thanks for the comment about trying not to get sick. As another person with immune issues I also try not to actually make contact with people and they’re often offended. I had swine flu for 3 weeks a few years back and I don’t want that EVER again. People should wash their hands more often.

  11. I can sympathize with being so busy you haven’t had time to game. Between work, girlfriend, and the theatre I volunteer at I haven’t been to a D&D session since January, and all the session I was able to make in 2010 I can count on one hand.
    I think I’ll get a pouch of dice to carry with me. I like that…

  12. This will be my first PAX and i’m very excited! I get to show off the game we’ve been working on, Choplifter HD, a remake of the old Choplifter game. Hopefully i’ll have some time to walk around and see everything PAX has to offer.

  13. Yeah, I'll work out a schedule later in the week. I'll post it at the booth, on my blog, and probably mention it on the Twitters.

  14. And when he thinks he's going to escape from the ants, FUCKING BOWSER KNOCKS HIM OFF THE DAMN ROAD TWO SECONDS FROM THE FINISH LINE.

  15. On getting sick: I hear ya. After several years of work-from-home I started working in an office building and was sick for months with a series of colds. My defense now is liberal application of hand sanitizer (the kind with shea-beads to prevent the drying effect), Golden Seal / Echinacea, and Zinc. Doesn’t -always- work, but it made a difference!
    On dice: Tell us a dice story! What dice are in your travel bag? Are they your original set or an accumulation? All dice have stories. (Or am I asking for something you’ve already written?) Have Dice Will Travel! <<< Now there’s a show slogan just asking for Geek-makeover (geekover?).

  16. I’m not going to be anywhere near PAX, but same rules for Dragon*Con? I’ll need to make sure to pick up some dice. Actually, I should get some for myself too. I’ve never owned any. I know it’s shocking and very ungeek-like of me.
    I fully understand the no touching and not wanting to get sick thing. I work around college students and they are just as snotty (in the literal sense) as a pack of toddlers. I’m a hand sanitizing fiend at work.
    Last year at D*C, I managed not to get sick through liberal use of hand sanitizer, frequent hand washing, and travel packs of wet wipes and Lysol wipes. The plan is the same for this year because I AM NOT GETTING CON CRUD AGAIN DAMNIT.
    Which probably just jinxed me into getting it again.

  17. Rockin’ – will wave hi or salute if we see ya!
    Any particular games you are looking to play? If you haven’t tried it yet, Fiasco is a GREAT short RPG/storytelling game. Choose Your Own Cohen Bro’s Movie!
    I’m bringing my “Fiasco kit” and I’m gonna try to get as many games in as possible and see if I can top my favorite character ever, Trust-Fund Bubba (gunned down by the police in a case of mistaken identity at the end of the game).

  18. Can’t wait for PAX. (Living in Seattle it’s only a 5 mile bike ride for me. Woot.)
    I did everything I could to avoid con crud last year and it still happened. On the other side of the table, so to speak, as a fan I try to avoid shaking celeb hands as I assume a thousand unwashed hands have been shaken before me. I’m not a germ freak, but it’s kinda gross if you think about it.
    Stay healthy, Wil.

  19. mmmm, dice. i didn’t realize how much i miss my dice. i’m not even sure where they are right now, other than buried in the closet in a different box than the 1st ed DM guide. they have been languishing unused since 1995. :(( and sadly, i will probably never be anywhere near where you are to bring you dice. i know you’d give them a good home where they could be used and loved and romp with other dice. now i has a sad. no worries, though. i will go listen to christian kane’s cd and all will be good.
    i totally understand the no touching thing. you might want to bring some hand sanitizer, you know, for the dice.

  20. So Wil,
    1.) We’ve all waited patiently until you finished Portal 2 so as not to ruin the game for you. Enjoy the next few days of Cave Johnson/Lemon MEME goodness.
    2.) The programmers responsible for Rainbow Road must be found and brought to justice for their twisted, sadistic crimes. Who wants to start a commission?
    3.) Was trying to form a corrolary of Wheaton’s Law from your request to not be touched at conventions. But then I imagined that “Don’t Be a Dick and Touch Wil Wheaton” might be misconstrued. Hmmm. “Don’t Be a Dick OR Touch Wil Wheaton”? There. Much better.

  21. I like to both greet and wave farewell to people with a Vulcan salute. It’s good for getting some double takes.
    I completely understand why anyone at a convention wouldn’t want to shake 10,000 hands. Though I’m as guilty as anyone of unthinkingly shoving my hand out to for a shake. I’m really trying to stick to the Vulcan salute.

  22. I had planned on going around licking doorknobs throughout PAX, but a virologist explained that was only likely to make ME sick, so I guess I’ll just extend my good wishes instead.
    I had ordered some nifty dice from for you, but alas, they are delayed and you will have to live with whatever I can scrounge.

  23. Looking forward to seeing you again this year! I was the awesome one last year who thought to bring an 8×10 of you and Felicia Day from the painting. Got Felicia to do the other signature at ECCC :)
    Gonna make sure to pick up some dice for you!

  24. Great to see you’re heading back to PAXland.
    I understand your concern with disease and all that. I’d also recommend not getting TOO close to people when talking to them as well. Honestly, I like how the Asians do it. When I’d visited my father’s family in Japan a long time ago, I’d asked why some people were running around with masks on.
    Alternately, you could just invest in a bottle or two of hand sanitizer and just remember NOT to touch your face/eyes. I’m allergic to just about everything and I live in a house with cats (and now, it seems a couple dogs…long story). I’m so used to keeping track of whether my hands are “contaminated” and ensuring I don’t touch my face…otherwise, I’ll be sick for a couple days.
    Oh, and I lucked out with PAX ’09. No PAX Pox…just remembered not to touch anything vital until I washed my hands. lol.
    Dice: I honestly should do the same thing (carrying dice around). I keep Zombie Dice in my main work satchel. That counts right? If you’re around and the line isn’t too long, I’d be more than happy to offer up some dice…especially since I’ll be adding to my vast collection yet again with a visit to Chessex. It’s a tradition for me now…no need for all the dice I have but I…can’t…resist…

  25. As always, welcome back to Seattle and PAX! I’ll be a PAX widow this year, but fear not! My mom (Leslie McKenzie) and I have talked about your welcome basket for your hotel room in copious details, and we hope you like pistachios.
    Also, thanks again for being in EUREKA! I shall refrain from whinging about season 5 being its last season. Just so glad you’re apart of it.
    And finally, the family and I have caught up through season 4 of THE GUILD, and man! Did your scenes look too damn fun to film. Seriously, how much awesome was that?
    Much respect and appreciation, Jaz

  26. Speaking strictly as someone who makes their living off of keeping nerds clean: No one should attend ANY convention without a $1.99 travel sized bottle of HAND SANITIZER.
    That being said, I did indeed keep my hands lathered during GenCon 2011, and still got a disgusting case of ConCrud. “No-touchy” rule is A-okay in my book! Stay healthy!

  27. Some people over here on the other side of the pond have coined the term “Conthrax” which I consider rather apt.
    I also had to giggle at the last episode of the Guild when Brent Spiner used hand sanitiser after shaking a fan’s hand. :)
    Mentioning the Guild, will we be seeing Fawkes this season?
    Oh, I was wearing your How We Roll t-shirt at a local gaming con (RPGs and boardgames) and a non-zero number of people asked me where I got it. I was sad to tell them that it had been a one-off (but secretly I said “Ha Ha!” and pointed at them).
    Have fun at PAX, I wish it wasn’t on the wrong side of the world.

  28. Anyone who doesn’t understand your totally valid reason for not wanting to touch strangers is probably the same kind of person who would go to a Con sick, cough on their hand/in the air and get a bunch of people sick.
    So ignore any naysayers and remember not to touch your face!

  29. Hey, would you be willing to do an elbow bump?
    PS: As a teacher, we used to shake every student’s hand everyday until the number of staff getting sick increased – now we elbow bump.

  30. I don’t suppose there will be some kind of live video feed for your panels? I’ve never been to a con, but I’d like to pretend. That and I have a strange, voyeuristic love for watching people play DnD. No idea why. #noob
    (Also, I think it’s weird that strangers hug you. Who comes up and hugs a stranger? Men who wear trench coats to the park in summer. I am creeped out on your behalf.)

  31. My husband and I are celebrating our 12th wedding anniversary by going to PAX-it’s our first time!! I. CAN’T. WAIT. We’re SO hoping to be able to go to your panel on Friday! Super excited that you’re doing a booth and we will be purchasing your book (assuming there are any left by the time we find our way there) I’m a little nervous about the whole “Con Crud” thing. I have RA and take immune suppressing meds so I’m ultra paranoid about touching people I don’t know. Kinda scary what you can pick up from large groups of random people. Even so my sweetie and I can’t wait to spend a weekend geeking out together so we’ll just risk it. Hope to catch your panel, but even if we don’t I just know this will be the best anniversary celebration yet! Quick question…any chance you’ll have any of the tee shirts you designed at your booth?

  32. It’s either Gibson, Sterling or Stephenson (Snow Crash maybe), who talks about the death of the handshake and the sordid pathology of the terrible things that have happened as a result in whichever alternate universe I’m trying to refer to.
    The handshake actually arose from when “nobles” (ahem) from opposing sides would meet to parley on the battlefield and discuss possible terms. To be assured of safety, at a signal, each noble would reach out and clasp the palms of their weapons hands (the “right” hand) in order to prevent their opponent from wielding a large blade. So you see it’s really not a very friendly thing to do at all.
    Problems did persist however, as a free hand remained, and why it is sometimes considered a sign of deeper friendship to shake not only with the right palms clasped, but to reach out and grasp the forearm with the left. Otherwise the left hand, sometimes referred to as the “dexter sinister”, could hold a smaller blade which could be used to “stab someone in the back” or cut their throat. Eventually it became quite fashionable, if not indeed necessary, to wear a strip of leather or scaled cloth elaborately knotted close to the jugular artery.
    Today we call them “neckties”.

  33. If those on the internet don’t understand…that’s why they are on the internet and not AT Pax. Everyone at PAX understands the Iron Guard.
    I hope we’ll be able to pass you by to pass off some dice and obtain a few of those books that I don’t yet own. (I have a Wil Wheaton Section in my home Library).
    I’m looking forward to trying to participate in the Settlers of Catan tournament (If I can manage with a 3 month old baby in tow). Hope you have the best weekend of Gaming ever to make up for lost time this year!
    If you’ve never played Betrayal at House on the Hill I highly recommend it.

  34. I’m extremely excited that you’ll have a booth at PAX this year. Last year, whilst roaming the streets of Seattle, I walked right past you and the guys you were with, and froze as soon as I realized it was you (which was immediately). I’m hoping that doesn’t happen again, and I look forward to meeting you and hearing your stories at your panel. I’ll be sure to bring you an awesome die. :)

  35. echoing the ZOMG. Please tweet @theguild when this comes out, I will seriously retweet that sh*t. Choplifter FTW, in that old school, my house has a TRS-80 but the neighbor has an Apple II and CHOPLIFTER kinda FTW.

  36. Unfortunately I can’t attend PAX this year, what with being all the way down in Australia, but I honestly cannot wait for when the D&D session gets uploaded to Youtube by Wizards of the Coast for us all to enjoy. Can’t wait to see what happens this time!
    The adventures of Acquisitions Incorporated are amazing to listen to and watch. You guys actually inspired me to start learning more about D&D and I’m pleased to say that I’ll be enjoying my 2nd ever proper campaign session this coming weekend with some good friends. The first time we played we all had an absolute blast, laughed our arses off and now we can’t wait to get back together.
    Thanks so much for bringing D&D out into the light again with all of your combined nerd-cred and showing us what an awesome time you can have with it.
    Hope you enjoy playing Aeofel again, but for the love of god try and stay out of acid pits this time!
    (Or at least wear a red shirt if you do)

  37. You blessed my dice at the Phoenix Comicon a few years back and I’m proud to say that not only did those dice later that day go on to get my team first place in the D&D 4th edition dungeon crawl event out of all days of that con, but also they’ve been rolling well in my DM efforts much to the chagrin of my PCs. 😛 So thanks for the extra geek power Wil!! Have fun at PAX.
    Also, your footnotes in your recent blog posts are hilarious and great easter eggness. Keep it up!!

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