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Origins Overview

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Origins Overview
On a whole, the trip was great, but it didn’t start off that way. I was in line at 7a.m. on the first day of the show with only one person in front of me and yet it took more than 1hr and 45 minutes for me to get my badge and boardroom ribbon.
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Look at the photo! That’s how empty the place was at 7a.m. There is no reason I should have had to have wasted soooooo much time. They didn’t know how to sell an Educators pass. Then they couldn’t find ribbons for the pass and then they realized that there were no physical ribbons for it. Then they discovered that there were no free events or seminars for educators nor was there an educators room, both of which were advertised online and in the program. It was an utter mess.

Once I finally escaped registration, I bought tickets to two events. I was then severely annoyed to discover that no one showed up to run either event. So by 10a.m. I had basically wasted my whole morning. There was no reason for that to happen. I may not have ever attended a gaming convention but I’ve attended and worked more than 50 comic book conventions so I do have something to compare the Origins experience to and the bottom line is that Origins is poorly ran.
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Aside from my run in with registration the layout and functionality of the halls didn’t really work. Apparently this year they moved open gaming and demoing from the Exibitor’s Hall to Hall B. The result was that with the exception of Saturday evening, half of Hall B was completely empty. Which makes sense. Why would an Exhibitor pay extra for extra demo space in a separate room? The only companies I saw that made good uses of it were Iello and Mayfair, other board game vendors simply left their extra demoing area empty.

I know it sounds like I’m hating on Origins and I am, but I’m not. The convention as a whole was amazing and I wouldn’t change a thing. My problem is that those in charge didn’t really seem to know what they were doing. If this was the show’s first few years I would understand but since it’s been around for so long there’s no excuse. So what I quickly learned Wednesday is that to enjoy Origins you had to break out of the mold of events and schedules and simply make the show what you want it to be. I was lucky in that regard because I was surrounded by so many amazing people. There was constantly someone cool to hangout and game with.
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The convention had two hotspots for boardgames. The Exhibitor’s Hall, which was fantastic (In the pic above you can see the Dice Hate Me booth from the Exhibitor’s Hall). It was the room most simular to a comic book convention. It was filled with tons and tons of booths and in each one a publisher/vendor was selling cool stuff. The only real difference from a comic-con was that 90% of the booths also had an area set-up for demoing.
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So as a potential customer you could walk over to a booth and say, “Hey, I’ve been dying to try XXX.” A person would then sit down with you, teach you, and you’d get to play. For example, in the pic above the guy in the hat is demoing a game to guy in the orange shirt. Im not sure what game it is, but just about every booth had a similar set-up. There was always something new to play and durring the day it was THE PLACE to be.
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At night, once the Exhibitor’s Hall closed, everyone went to the Boardroom. The room, ran by CABS, the Columbus Area Boardgaming Society, was basically a game library stocked with thousands of games. You showed up, laid down your license and could checkout any games they had in stock. Durring the evening the room was simply alive and filled with sooooo many exhibitors and designers. On top of that you never knew if you were going to end up playing the current hot game, an old classic you’ve never heard of, or a super cool prototype that just sold to a publisher. It was fantastic and the best part of the whole convention.
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In terms of what was hot and what was not I know that Z-Man Game’s Bruges sold out in the first day as did their game Augustus. I played both and will have a write-up soon. However the big name of the convention was Iello. They are best known for publishing King of Tokyo and were offering a promo Space Penguin character to anyone who could win a tournament. I saw the Penguin, it looked neat, but other than that it was over my head. I didn’t really get what the big deal was. Yet EVERYONE and their mother wanted one. Holy crap it seemed to be the most coveted item of the whole convention.
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Of course no convention is complete without Storm Troopers. I also saw a Deadpool, but I can’t remember ever going to convention and not seeing a Deadpool so I didn’t bother taking a pic of him.

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One thing I found neat was that Origins isn’t just board games. There are a lot of card games, minatures, RPG’s and LARPing. In fact the whole half of Hall B was nothing but miniatures. There were tables of little towns all set-up, space ships, and aviation simulators.
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These old dudes were so cool. I’m not 100% sure what they were doing but it looked like some sort of submarine battle. They each had these clipboard filled with stats and were taking turns moving their submarines across the table. Every now and then they would argue about depth and speed and that’s when the laser ruler would get busted out!
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There were so many vendors who sold cool dice. The shot above is from the big dice bin which you could pick through or use a pitcher to fill a bag. However there wer a lot of custom dice place too. For example, I picked up some six sided dice that had 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 3, and I even found some really neat three sided dice!
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Of all the games I wanted to play, Pixel Lincoln was at the top of the list. So it was heart breaking to find out that not only was it not being sold it also wasn’t being demoed. They did have a copy of it in the Boardroom but even though I checked multiple times a day for it, it was always checked out. Lucky for me, Darrell picked up his copy (because he backed it on Kickstarter) and I should get to play it in the next few weeks.
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I of course should’ve known that the convention was going to be crazy when even our room key was advertising games.
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I also liked how the stairs had posters on them that could be read when you stood at the right angle.
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This is from our hotel room looking down at the convention center. The convention center was pretty darn big. According to my pedometer it was just over half a mile to go from our room to the Boardroom. Once you factor in multiple trips a day, as well as moving between halls, the convention ended being a lot of good exercises.
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One of the many neat things I got to see was the only production copy of the expansion for Lords of Waterdeep. I met two of the designers and got to checkout the components.
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I also got to see the prototype copies of Compounded that are going out soon to its high tiered backers. We are obviously big fans of the game in my house and I can’t wait to get my own copy.
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On Saturday night, Darrell ended up demoing the game to three separate groups of people. He was like a mad scientist running from table to table and answering any questions that needed to be answered. The best was that at one of the tables were two teenage boys. Their mothered called and asked how much longer they were going to be and the son said, “We are at Phosphorus and need to get to Bromine.” The mom was so excited that she directly went to the Dice Hate Me booth and asked how she could pre-ordered the game.
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There were a lot of neat finds, but with the Dice Hate Me Crew the winner was this wierd paper-craft pirate game who’s rules seem to be simular to the X-wing minatures game. All the guys except for myself and TC pooled a bunch of money together to get a huge discount on the discontinued game. They then did a blind draft pool and had an epic pirate battle in the middle of the hotel bar. It was pretty crazy.
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The other random find from the group was a game called MLB Showdown 2000 and MLB Showdown 2001. It was so stupid looking and yet as soon as I saw Darrell and Shawn play I was like, “oh I want that!” It was as basic of a game as you could guess. There was a baseball field player-mat, a 20 sided die and baseball cards. They then simulated a real baseball game and it looked like soooo much fun. I’m really jealous that I didn’t get a copy.
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Where as King of Tokyo, Augustus, & even Bruges were hot games that everyone talked about, it was Ogre that was mentioned in hushed almost revered tones. The box was flipping HUGE and rumor has it that it weighs over twenty pounds! I didn’t play it nor did I try to lift it but it was a beast of a game.

Up Next: I’ll start doing individual posts on my favorite games from the convention.