ORIGINS: Report From the Floor Part 1 (of 4)
by Kyle Baker
Hello again, Comic Relaters! It's been a while I know- life has a funny way of sidetracking you from what's really important. It's that time of year again, and I've been dispatched to the far reaches of central Ohio to cover the ORIGINS game fair. Let me start at square one: ORIGINS is a gaming convention held in Columbus, Ohio owned by GAMA (Game Manufacturers Association). The event is basically thousands of people getting together from Wednesday to Sunday and playing every conceivable type of game. They have an entire convention hall just for miniatures games, a wing of rooms for collectible card games, and dozens of rooms devoted to my personal favorite, the role playing game. The show even has LARPs and an area for tabletop games (board games).
This year, ORIGINS was from May 30th to June 3rd, and given my previous experiences last year I felt more prepared to fully enjoy the convention. This year, however, I've learned the value of online pre-registration for games. You see, the way gaming at ORIGINS works is that you need to buy a ticket to a game, or show up to a game with an empty seat and buy your way in using tokens. The tickets are available online prior to the show, or at the event registration area in the convention hall. What I discovered this year is that ORIGINS is growing in attendees at a faster rate than its games.
The task of scheduling out your week of games can be daunting all at once, and it's compounded by waiting in the line at registration only to be told that your choices had all been filled before the first person set foot in the convention hall. My advice is if you cannot or did not pre-register, and find yourself in my situation then come up with a list of fall back choices. Some time slots were almost completely booked. For example, the Thursday 8am-12pm slot was so booked that I brought a list of 12 events that all seemed fun, and in turn each was full already. So if nothing else, take that as a cautionary tale...
PRE-REGISTER before the show!
Booked games mean two things: that ORIGINS has a high attendance rate each year and is a successful con, and that it NEEDS more game masters out there to volunteer, so - you reading this - if you run a weekly/monthly game or just want to give it your best try, volunteering as a game master has benefits: vouchers, comped badges, etc - I'll get more in depth about how/why you can help out in future ORIGINS in another days article.
All was not lost for me, though. After four hours in the registration lines, (mind you, I was diving back in after each failed batch of choices) I had gotten in to a miniatures game. "LEGO Silent Death: Star Wars Vs Galactica". I had to pick that game for the sheer insanity that name conjures up - and I was not disappointed. The game master had a collection of Lego ships and a salvaged hex grid from an old Babylon 5 board game. With them he added the Silent Death rule set for space combat, and pitted 12 people in a free-for-all dogfight between Tie Fighters, Cylon Raiders, and Colonial Vipers. The fighting was fun, the rules were easy to understand, and everyone had a blast.
It's what makes ORIGINS a great convention; you get to meet people from across the country who share the same passions for games. I met a man from Canada who has been to the last eight ORIGINS, and he comes here specifically for the board games room. That is a special room where developers donate copies of popular/new games and allows people to play them at their leisure over the entire convention. His rationale was why bother paying a few dollars here and there, when he could pay for a single admission to the tabletop room and spend the entire convention playing games with anyone else in the tabletop room. I also met a couple from Tennessee who had come to ORIGNS for the last four years. Their games of choice were miniatures games, and they had a full schedule in that hall.
Well, it's off to another day of the convention. On today's schedule - Pathfinder RPG.
Kyle Baker is a multi-faceted nerd with interests in table top, dice and miniture based gaming, comics, movies and other areas of pop culture. He has been an active gamer for more tha 12 years and runs weekly RPGs with his friends via the internet and from his home. He is married to avid cosplayer, gamer and Comic Relady Kelsey Benoit.
blog comments powered by Disqus