Hi gang, and welcome to today's travelogue and review of my one-day-only visit to Origins Game Fair in Columbus, Ohio. Although I live only one hour north of the con, it's one I seem to miss each year due to some other convention conflict that arises. But this year, nothing was stopping me from zipping down for the day, so I decided to enjoy a day at Origins getting a bit o' gaming under my belt this month. And here are some of the highlights of my whirlwind one-day visit:
- Although the convention center is The Big Building In The Center Of Columbus That's Impossible To Miss, I somehow STILL managed to get a bit lost in a maze of one way streets before I arrived. Damn, I forgot what a pain driving around this town can be. (Former OSU student.)
- Arrived at 7:30 a.m. and walked right up and grabbed my pre-registration badge. The floor was pretty quiet at this time, though there were a few quiet games being played at some of the tables here and there throughout the concourse.
- Other than Gen Con, all of the conventions I've been to in recent years have been smaller regional ones held at hotels or smaller venues. I forgot just how damn big Origins is. It fills every room in the convention center with plenty of spillage into the neighboring hotels. Next year, I must attend for the full five days. There's an embarrassment of gaming riches in my own backyard, for Pete's sake.
- Because I didn't have time to register for gaming events, I bought only one ticket -- to the 9 a.m. Indie Games of Demand room. My thought was that I'd have my choice of different games to play with the purchase of just one ticket. However, when I got to the room, there was a line snaking out the door. Apparently a lot of other folks had the same thought. By the time I got in, the game I wanted to play -- Our Last Best Hope -- was filled. Fiasco? Filled. Dread? Filled. Dungeon and/or Apocalypse World? Filled. The only games NOT filled were a wrestling game and some anime cat-schoolgirl game. So I decided to try back later.
- The concourse was now hopping-busy. I played a little game of watching for convention shirts to cons I'd been to in the past. Saw two Gary Cons, one U-Con, many Gen Cons, and -- believe it or not -- one Gamicon shirt!
- I started seeing people dressed in their Sunday best swarming throughout the convention. These "church folks" were obviously confused about where they were and were they should be going. Turns out that a high school graduation was being held on an upper floor, and many folks just entered the convention center on the wrong floor. It was kind of amusing to watch grandparents and relatives from out of town arrive for Johnny's graduation only to be met by vikings, steampunk inventors, and a handful of slutty pirates.
- Although, post-graduation, these same students came back to get some awesome photos of themselves with their new diplomas with a horde of vikings cheering behind them. That was pretty awesome.
- Met a guy who was breaking out some cards from a small burlap bag at one of the tables. I recognized it as The Quiet Year, a game I've been wanting to try. I introduced myself, and he and I sat down and fumbled through a two-player game. Very fun little map game. He had just bought it from one of the vendors, and he was kind enough to point me toward the last remaining copy. Thanks again Steve!
- Stopped by Games on Demand again. Still full up. Looks like that idea was a bust.
- And every game I checked on throughout the rest of Saturday was full up. Didn't feel like wandering around with generic tix hoping to score a seat in some random game, so it seems like open gaming and stumbling across games (like Quiet Year) is all I can really do today.
- Wandered through the dealer's hall. Massive number of vendors and plenty of shopping to be done. I had my heart set on scoring two games (Penny Press and Hostage Negotiator), but came up empty on those. One board game I *did* want -- Extra Extra by Mayfair Games -- had a $65 price tag. So I passed on it. I did pick up a keen "mad scientist taking over the world" resource game called "What's He Building In There?"
- Board games are EVERYWHERE nowadays, and RPGs and CCGs seem to be taking a backseat to 'em. Every vendor seemed to have stacks upon stacks of boxes of the latest boardgames rather than racks and racks of rulebooks or ultra-rare cards under glass.
- Found the Goodman Games booth manned by Roy Snyder, and he and I jawed about games and what-not for a bit. He told me that there would be an announcement at NTRPG Con today that was pretty big. He was right. (Found out about it upon getting home.) Picked up the newest DCC RPG materials, and scampered off.
- Walked into the HUGE open gaming area next door. A ballroom as large as the vendor's hall was hosting pick-up-and-play games everywhere. The Big Dogs of gaming had their own areas -- Mayfair, AEG, Wizards, Upper Deck, Cryptozoic, etc. I sat down at one table and promptly got trounced at Star Trek Catan. (I wanted to stand up and scream "KHAAAAAN", but was afraid I'd be kicked out.
- Earlier in the day, I poked my head into the auction room to look at the goodies that were up for bids later that afternoon. Saw a very nice copy of Games Workshop's DungeonQuest -- a game I've wanted for quite some time. Hours later I walked into the auction, got a bidder's card, and sat down. Sure enough, the VERY next item was that copy of DungeonQuest. Snagged it for $20. Talk about right place at the right time!
- So as afternoon became early evening, and with my back and feet killing me (no hotel room to crash in to energize for late-night gaming), I called it a day and came home. My biggest downfall was not getting more gaming in, but that's due to not pre-registering for events. Next year, I'll do that, but I hardly consider the day a bust as I had a great time. Played some stuff, bought some stuff, met some friends, made some new ones, and came home energized. Isn't that what these are all about anyway?
- And those who want to know about The Change Your Convention Attendance Challenge and how that worked out, check out the upcoming follow-up post!
And here are pictures taken from around the convention:
Always nice to see the welcome banner at any convention I attend...even if it's just for one day.
I forgot just how big Origins truly is. Both floors of the convention center were occupied by the event.
Registration lines were non-existent when I arrived at 7:30 a.m.
Registration lines snaked throughout the concourse just 2 hours later.
From a distance, this rocketship made out of balloons looked just like a...well...you know...
"Giant" games were being held everywhere. Here, a giant game of Catan is underway.
And here's a giant game of King of Tokyo (or perhaps it's New York...)
Aside from games held in smaller rooms throughout the building, the open gaming area took up a monstrously huge ballroom as big as the vendor's hall. You name it, it was being played in this area.
Some foam-boffer LARP folks were taking on all-comers. This little girl was giving the training knight 40 kinds of hell.
Of course, I always need to stop by the Goodman Games booth to pick up the newest DCC RPG stuff! (And hang out for a few minutes with Roy Snyder -- no relation.)
The Origins auction in full swing. Many good deals were being had by the folks. I snagged a personal grail while I was there.
And my purchases made throughout the day. Yes, that's a quite-well-used Tomb of Horrors on the bottom right purchased from a vendor who was apparently just offloading his well-used gaming materials!