Thursday , May 23 2024

PAX East 2024: Cookie Brigade, Many Worlds Tavern and Lethal Shadows

The extraordinary thing about PAX East is how many varied experiences you can stumble upon while wandering the conference halls. Around one corner there is the Voodoo Ranger beer lounge, around another the Jackbox stage, and around another hall the AFK lounge.

Within the expo hall there are also some very cool surprises, whether it be food trucks, the PAX arena stage, geek jewelry counters or some other fun surprises. Places like Many Worlds Tavern, the Cookie Brigade and Lethal Shadows all add to the wonder and enjoyment of exploring PAX East.

Formed in 2007 with a couple of volunteers wandering around the halls of PAX giving out homemade cookies for donations, the Cookie Brigade has continually grown over the years. To date they have raised over $1,000,000 for the Child’s Play charity and have grown into a large charity organization that visits every PAX across the globe.

The concept was simple. People like cookies, people like helping others – how about combining the two? For the first many years the growing groups of volunteers would wander the conference, linger around long lines and generally make people happy with their cookies and good deeds.

Conference center rules and COVID caused some adjustments. First the cookies had to be pre-packaged, and then they needed to be at a stationary booth. The amazing folks at Cookie Brigade took this in stride, made some great partnerships for snacks, and used the booth to auction goods as well as sell their tasty wares for charity.

They are now a beloved PAX institution, even coming out with official Pinny Arcade pins each year with proceeds going back to Child’s Play. This year at PAX East was their first time with a booth on the expo hall floor, right near tabletop, and it was a smashing success.

For the first time I can remember, they ran out of cookies, with a complete sellout early Sunday with the last cookies being auctioned for a high price. It has been amazing to watch this grassroots organization grow and I cannot wait to visit them again at next year’s PAX East for yummy cookies helping a good cause.

Many Worlds Tavern

Literally my favorite booth at PAX East was the Many Worlds Tavern. There you could find coffee, tea, gaming accessories and some of the nicest people you will ever meet. An oasis in the middle of the busy show floor, it offered coffee and tea samples and encouraged people to come back often to try different flavors, which I did – often.

Set up by a group of friends who had a love of gaming and coffee, Many Worlds Tavern wants to be the leading provider of coffee and tea for game nights, board game cafes, and adventuring parties everywhere. One of the really cool things about their business model is that a portion of every bag sold goes to amazing gaming-related nonprofits.

This is a company that takes coffees and teas seriously. They source the beans from free trade suppliers across the world and roast it themselves in Houston, Texas.

The goal of serving gaming groups also led them to make some outstanding products, like t-shirts, mugs and instant coffee sachets, in partnership with Swift. Their outreach in going to conventions and sponsoring content creators is bringing them into the mindspace of caffeine-fueled gamers.

Their booth was full constantly, with people chatting with the team, sampling the drinks and of course buying a large supply of merch and coffee. I had my eyes on Homely House but never came by when they had brewed that type so I decided to just buy it.

Thankfully I had chatted with the team so much they insisted on brewing that flavor and I was able to try a sample. It tasted divine and I headed home with a bag of those beans. Many Worlds Tavern is a small business, so please check them out and order some delicious coffee.

Lethal Shadows

For anyone who has run roleplaying campaigns it is undeniable that miniatures make a huge difference when creating an immersive experience. I had a chance to stop by and chat with the master designers at Lethal Shadows and came away incredibly impressed.

Started by two people with a desire to find better miniatures for their gaming sessions, it all began with custom 3D-printed figures. When they showed them at a few gaming stores everyone wanted to get their own, so they started making small batches for friends and nearby stores.

Word of mouth led to high demand for their reference-quality miniatures and they partnered with a number of stores and started a storefront to sell to anyone interested. Turns out many people were – the quality of the miniatures and environments was so high that Amazon connected with them because people kept searching for Lethal Shadows on the site.

With a core principle of making miniatures of exceptionally high quality and at a price regular fans could afford, they have created an amazing business model. Attending conventions like PAX East adds a great deal of word-of-mouth to their brand and they had a massive and impressive booth with hundreds of miniatures and accessories for sale.

I perused the storefront and was incredibly impressed with the quality and variety of their products. What was even more impressive was founder Patrick Rami’s passion for his products and dedication to keeping the brand consistent.

I shopped around for some minis for my son and and was able to find some that really matched characters we played in various campaigns and for a very good price for the quality of the figures. Lethal Shadows has also just launched a line of paints and tools to make customization of the figures much easier and remain as high-quality as can be.

About Michael Prince

A longtime video game fan starting from simple games on the Atari 2600 to newer titles on a bleeding edge PC I play everything I can get my hands on.

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