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Origins 2009 Post-Con Report - Gaming News & Views - Pair O’ Dice Games

Origins 2009 Post-Con Report

Origins exhibit hall

Last weekend I went with Josh and a couple long-time friends to Columbus, OH for this year’s Origins gaming convention. It was the first big convention for most of us, and I snapped a few pictures to commemorate the event as well as bringing back some thoughts and observations that might be of interest to anyone who considered going but didn’t make it (and possibly to those who did make it as well).

I didn’t really know what to expect, but here’s a quick rundown of what I found:

Origins exhibit hall

  • Lots of games to play, from tournaments to rpg events to game demos given by volunteers and the developers
  • Seminars, from novel-writing to game design and more
  • Miniatures landscapes and battles
  • Retailers and game companies packed into the exhibit hall, no shortage of games (new and old) available for purchase
  • Lots of gamers, of all styles, ages, and types (yet there was enough space that it never felt crowded)

Battletech pods

There were a few other neat things as well, like a dozen Battletech pods and artists’ alley (neither of which I managed to spend time in). Plus Peter Mayhew as the special guest… poor guy, every couple of hours a woman came on the loudspeaker and announced, “…special guest Peter Mayhew… (pause) …Chewbacca!… (pause) …from Star Wars!” as if no one had a clue who he or his character was until she uttered the words Star Wars.

Games to Play

Miniatures terrain with hexes

I’ve heard it said that Origins is the convention to go to if you want to play games. That did seem to be the case; despite the fact that I skipped pretty much all of them, there were plenty of gaming events available for a variety of new (and a few older) games. If you wanted you would be able to game from eight in the morning to past midnight, only on Sunday did things wind down early.

Miniatures tower

My group wound up grabbing a table in the open gaming area and playing a bunch of games we brought with us (or purchased at the convention), due more to the fact that I haven’t seen them in a year or so than lack of worthy events.

Nearby were some excellent miniatures terrian setups, including a town featuring this neat tower. Some of these (meticulously assembled) tables even saw play.

Catalyst Game Labs: Present and Accounted for

Catalyst Game Labs booth

It seemed Catalyst was the big sponsor of the convention, with their logo appearing on every pass, while others (ahem, Wizards and White Wolf) were notably absent (actually Jyhad, or V:tES, had some major tournament action so in a way White Wolf was represented; similarly for Wizards with at least some RPGA D&D events).

Aside from stopping by their booth, I attended their “What’s up with Catalyst Game Labs” seminar, where I learned:

Catalyst Game Labs seminar

  • Eclipse Phase will be at Gen Con (but I will not… and no other Eclipse Phase news was forthcoming unfortunately)
  • Battletech is getting a major art book (another Shadowrun art book will probably appear at some point in the future, but not as part of the 20th anniversary)
  • Shadowrun 20th anniversary has at least one more “surprise” coming, though they wouldn’t give any hints
  • The recent upswing in art quality among Catalyst products is due to them having a dedicated art director (someone commented that their books used to have good graphics, now they have art)
  • Leviathans is an alternate history game of giant airship battles, few details yet but what was mentioned in the seminar seemed promising
  • Catalyst is getting into the casual games market with a diverse lineup, from a rock-paper-scissors Risk-style game called Balance of Power, to a game about logic proofs, to card games such as High School Drama and Paparazzi
  • Plus a little news on Cthulhutech and a bunch of Battletech stuff that I practically tuned out…

d20 Girls Project

D20 Girls banner

While walking through the exhibit hall we noticed one banner that seemed, from a distance, like it was promoting girls in gaming. It turned out rather the other way around, that the d20 Girls were… for hire, girls promoting games I guess. We did spot one working at a retail booth, and one or two in the food court where they appeared to be escorting some attending gamers. Unexpected and peculiar; go figure.

Games, Games, Games

More than anything else, I spent time playing games this weekend. Race for the Galaxy, Dominion, Le Havre, It’s Alive, Big City, Adel Verpflichtet, and Battlestar Galactica all received some play time, with Dominion and Le Havre probably getting the most. Despite skipping most events to play games with my group, I had an absolute ton of fun and I think I’d do it again if the opportunity presented itself.

There was something fantastic about having several days devoted to nothing but playing games with friends and having fun. That’s the kind of thing that just doesn’t come up when I’m home, working during the week and invariably busy on weekends.

Then there was the roadtrip; the four of us managed to turn a lengthy drive into time well spent, between conversation and catching up, and the decision on the way back to design a game in the car, which actually lead to two fledgling game designs that both show some promise.

Thanks to the convention organizers for putting together an environment that made a solid weekend of games possible, and thanks to the Rochester Pair O’ Dice Games crew, it was a blast!

Rochester Pair O' Dice Games crew

If you’re wondering whether to attend a big gaming convention, just consider that going with friends made the decision an easy one for me, and that there are few easier ways to find yourself with an entire weekend plus where you can literally devote all of your waking hours to games!

  1.  

    In response to: “While walking through the exhibit hall we noticed one banner that seemed, from a distance, like it was promoting girls in gaming. It turned out rather the other way around, that the d20 Girls were… for hire, girls promoting games I guess. We did spot one working at a retail booth, and one or two in the food court where they appeared to be escorting some attending gamers. Unexpected and peculiar; go figure.”

    You were right on both accounts, the d20 girls are there to promote both Females in Gaming & are for hire to promote games & events. Please check out the site for more: http://www.d20girls.com

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    Origins 2009 Post-Con Report – Gaming News & Views – Pair O? Dice Games

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    Origins 2009 Post-Con Report – Gaming News & Views – Pair O? Dice Games