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My review of Origins Game Fair 2011

2011 July 29

I think it’s been too long since Origins, so I want to share my thoughts on the convention before I forgot what happened.

Origins is my first real con that I have been to and I’m glad I went. I had an excellent time and I’ll tell you why.

Origins is almost a week of gaming, from board games, CCG’s, LARP’s RPG’s and more. The reason I went is for the board games. I did not go to Origins for the steam punk costumes. I must admit though, that I did get some laughs at some of the costumes – which is always welcome!

Thursday:

I drove with my friend Mike and his brother Greg and we met up with my friend, Tim and his brother, Andy. Tim and Andy were already there on Thursday evening, and I left Thursday after work. I knew I was going to have a good time, laugh wise, when Tim texted me saying he just walked by someone dressed like an elf. I for one, have never been around people in costumes in the nerd world.

We finally arrived in Columbus, which I must admit is a nice looking city. Most of the buildings I saw were fairly new looking – I thought any major city in Ohio was going to be smaller, like Buffalo ( 20 mins from me). We found the hotel easily but not the parking ramp, and the parking was a bit expensive.

When we arrived, the clerk at the desk was wearing some rip off of a clerks shirt and there were people all around us playing board games…in the hotel lobby – sweet! We did arrive about 11:30 at night and managed to put our stuff away and walk around the convention. There was people scattered throughout in small groups but there wasn’t much going on. It was too late for me to get my badge but that was OK, we ended up playing Thunderstone in the cafeteria. The hotel that we stayed at, that was attached to the convention center was really nice. The rooms and hotel itself had a modern decor and the convention center is huge. Be prepared to a lot of walking back and forth. I would definitely recommend staying in the Hyatt ( that’s the hotel we stayed at!).

Friday/Saturday:

We regrouped in the morning and went downstairs towards the board room. I wanted to go down there first because I was told that they were giving out free games! I received a copy of Asteroyds. I’m so glad I didn’t receive a copy of Black Friday or The Heavens of Olympus, because I already have those games. I hear they were giving out a reprint and renaming of Ra? Glad I didn’t get that one either. Also very glad I didn’t get a copy of the expansion to Chicago Express because I had every intention of trading that game – which I did.

After that we walked to the dealer hall. The dealer hall is where I spent a lot of time. When you first walk in, you are just slammed in the face with sensory overload from all the people and colors in the booths. One of my first stops was the Mayday booth. I know it took forever for their last green CCG sized sleeves to come in so I wanted to secure as many as I needed. I also spent a lot of time at the Alderac booth, talking with their employees and getting a demo of Nightfall, which I now have.

I had a chance to talk with Tom Vasel and check out the dice tower booth, which was a pleasure. I didn’t realize Tom was so tall!

It was just so exciting being at my first con, and getting an opportunity to talk directly with people from the publishing companies from the companies we love.

After time in the dealer hall, we spent some time playing games in the board room. they had a good system of just taking your drivers license for rental of a game. I was uneasy about it at first though, the thought of giving away my license. We did get a chance to play Star Trek Expeditions that day – I must say, I wasn’t impressed. It seemed to easy and just trivial and agreeing or disagreeing on calculating skill checks.

On Saturday we pretty much did the same thing as Friday, playing games and walking around the dealer room.

I did have a chance to check out the North Market, which everyone talks about, but it wasn’t for me, it was mostly health/green type foods…I want a thick juicy burger. So we found a pub across the street from the convention – which was very good. Unfortunately, I forget the name!

While Tim and Andy spent most of the nights in the werewolf room, I was in the Origins after dark area playing games or up in the hotel room playing Caylus. We all bought a ribbon for Werewolf with the intention of playing but only Andy and Tim did. They’ve played before, I have not, and after I saw people playing, I really wasn’t interested. People are WAAAY too into this game. I recall when getting my badge Friday morning the girl that checked us in got really excited that I had a badge and never played. She commented, “FRESH MEAT” – I’m going to eat you!…okaaayyy…I noticed I ended up standing behind my friends by the time she finished. Thats just one case of “nerd-dom” at Origins…that’s the thing here, people here are gamers. A lot of people were dressed in blacks and dark colors and or were dressed in steam punk costumes…not my thing.

I enjoy nerd things but I don’t act or dress the part. Sometimes it was a bit awkward being around some of these costumes. For instance, I walked past one kid/guy, talking to a publisher and the kid was wearing this plastic/metal looking black facemask. Dude, your talking with someone, just take it off.

Anyways, I wanted to mention that I also took in a board game design seminar with Lew Pulsipher. I appreciate the fact that they have board game seminars as that’s what my dream is, to be a board game designer (on the side of course :-).

Paying MRSP:

The games at these cons by the publishers directly is always MSRP…some booths charge less for games towards the end of the con. But I wanted to walk away with at least one game. So I bought Lords of Vegas! I’ve played it twice now and it’s great. I’m glad I got it. Mayfair’s booth was HUGE. So many people were playing Settlers. I did not however. I enjoy Settlers but I’m not a huge fan. I also bought a starter set for World of Warcraft: TCG. they were selling them for $10 with a coupon and an extra pack of cards, sounded reasonable.

Anyways, I had a great time at the convention. Got to talk 1 on 1 with publishers, and played lots of games! I would recommend checking out this con. I think though next year, I plan on going to GenCon…but I have heard that I won’t be able to get as much 1 on 1 here…but it’ll be my first time so I plan on going.


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