Due to the pressures of life, I was only able to commit one day to Origins this year but I had a great time. I didn’t spend a lot of time playing games but instead spent the time in the exhibit hall talking to people and looking at the current state of the gaming community.
I arrived at the Columbus Convention Center about 10:15 on Friday June 25th. I had intended to arrive a bit earlier but on my way downtown, while waiting at a light, my position in line allowed for a front row seat for a relatively horrific two-car accident that left the two drivers unhurt but shaken and lots of debris, fluid, air bags, glass, and pretty much the front half of one car in the roadway.
It’s been a few years since I’ve been to Origins but I must say that they’ve remained consistent in their level of confusion. I think they would do well to hire somebody to organize the visual aspects of the event or fire the person they’ve been using. Don’t even get me started about the web site. Yes, it was better this year than last but it stands as a testament to confusion. I’d wanted a single $5 Exhibit Hall Day Pass and arrived to see several lines at “booths” clearly marked Registration as well as a single long line at what appeared a coat check booth with an Origins Logo projected onto the wall above and numerous paper signs taped over the opening; all of the them drooped over occluding the text describing the purpose for the line. I could hear many around me asking what line they were supposed to be in.
On close inspection the droopy paper signs, printed one large block word per sheet of paper read something like “Exhibit”, “Pass”, “And”, “?”, “Event”, “Regist”, “ration”. Even if I could read the “?” sign I still might not understand that the “One Day Pass”, as stated on the web site, was the same as the item described as the “Exhibit Pass”. Luckily, my hunch was right and after paying my $5 and getting a paper wrist-band I was on my way through the doors and into the melee of the Exhibit Hall.
Front and center in the hall were the Mayfair, Rio Grande Games, and Queen booths. Mayfair’s booth was clearly marked and gigantic. The play tables were filled throughout the entire day.
Somewhat tucked around the back but still clearly visible was the RGG booth which sported a small but functional area for purchasing games and a dozen or so tables for playing games. They had copies of Assyria, Egizia, Macao, Albion, etc. for playing but I was only lucky enough to slip in on the first 2/3 of a game of Assyria. I checked back regularly but was never able to find an open spot.
15 minutes before the closing of the hall, I was able to get a shortened demo of Albion. Seemed like a relatively simple game of putting crap on a board to gain stuff with a bit of schadenfreude thrown in to dice it up. The demo “docent” kept stressing that he thought the game was mis-themed (a space theme would have worked better) and that the game was relatively deterministic 4 or 5 turns from the end.
On the other side of the Mayfair booth was the Queen Games booth which, in my opinion, was not well marked. I’d received an email about finding time to meet Rajive Gupta, the CEO and boy is he a hard man to track down. I hovered around the booth off and on for over an hour but finally caught him when he stood still for once and was able to have a nice chat. I’d love to get my hands on a copies of Fresco and Samarkand: Routes to Riches for review.
Near the back of the Queen booth was a manufacturer that specialized in fancy gaming tables. The one shown above was listed at some 20k USD so I’m sure they sold out of all 1000 copies they brought 🙂 They did however have a pretty neat coffee table that made my woodworking juices start flowing a bit. If I only had more hours in my day to play.
I snuck down to the CABS Board Room and although I didn’t have a ribbon, George let me sneak in for a few shots and for a shot of the stack of over 100 copies of Wallenstein that Queen donated.
Given all the give aways and the free food that Rio Grande Games was giving away I wish I’d could have spent more time and been able to focus on the Board Room. Unfortunately I wanted to check out the miniatures.
I’m not a miniature player but my middle school summers were almost completely taken up by camping out in a friend’s rec-room where we build plaster of paris mountains and glued on grass and trees for a realistic setting for his trains. You can do a lot with 2 4×8 sheets of plywood, let me tell you. The miniature hall brings back lots of memories and I can appreciate the work that goes into building those dioramas. I did get to see a bit of the Gettysburg Soldier battle that took place in the evening and talk to the guy that was running the game. Very cool stuff.
All in all, my short trip to Origins was a great one. I managed to get in games of Drive, Hansa Teutonica, and Ra The Dice Game spread out from North Market to the Beer Haus and didn’t make it home until after midnight. Now I’m itching for CABS’ own Buckeye Game Fest later this year…