Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Origins 2014 Recap!

...so the wife I have returned from one of our favorite cons, Origins Game Fair!  Here's the recap:


We lost a day this year due to some family coming in to town on short notice, so we got started on Thursday.  I headed in early for a Justice Society of America RPG - the GM, Doug Kern, did a fantastic job running the game, and all of his games throughout the con had a continuous story, which was a neat idea.  Unfortunately being effective in this game meant knowing a lot about the Golden Age JSA, which isn't really my strong point.  Still, it was extremely well-structured and a lot of fun.

After my game, I headed to our regular base of operations at Origins: the Board Room.  For a flat fee of $20, you can get access to the Board Room - the Columbus Area Boardgame Society brings their massive game library to the con, and you can check out games for free all week long.  It's really a killer deal, plus it gives our group a central base of operations/meeting point for the duration of the convention.  As Funderhammer's kids were in attendance Thursday, kid-friendly fare was the order of the day, so we started off with Fill The Barn:

This was a fairly easy-to-learn card-drafting game with a cute theme, but a good bit of planning & strategy came into play - I'd recommend it to someone looking for a kid-friendly board game.  I came in dead last, of course.

After Fill The Barn, Funderhammer took the kids to play the BattleTech pods, and we played an old favorite, Zombie Fluxx:

...if you've never played the Fluxx games, I highly recommend them - they're super easy to learn, easy to teach to your non-gamer friends & family, and cheap enough to pick up as an afterthought.  They all basically play the same and come in different flavors like Original, Zombie, Eco, and Monty Python.

After the game I made a lap of the dealer hall and stopped by the Z-Man Games booth - I primarily wanted to pick up some card packs I needed (which they didn't have, I had to go home and order them online), as well as a the most recent Pandemic expansion, In the Lab:

After wandering around and grabbing a bite to eat, we headed home for the night.


We headed in fairly early on Friday.  We wasted a lot of time BS'ing in the Board Room, and by the time our group started to set up for a game, I had to leave for a seminar, Intro to Marker Techniques.  In the past year or so I've been playing around with doing some sketching, and have primarily been using technical pens & Prismacolor markers, but I didn't really feel like I was using them to any great effect - I saw this class taught by Heather V. Kreiter and thought it could be just the ticket.  Heather is extremely talented, and I was blown away by what she's able to achieve using art markers - I would have sworn her work was done with brush/acrylics, or even an airbrush, if I hadn't seen her do it in person.  She also tipped me off about a great site to get markers on the cheap.

After a quick bite for lunch I headed to my next seminar, Podcasting.  There's no shortage of gaming podcasts out there, but I'd be lying if I said the thought of making my own hadn't crossed my mind - to get a better idea of what's involved, I went to a seminar hosted by Gregory A. Wilson of the Speculate! science fiction podcast.  This seminar was full of great information - everything from formats, how to interview effectively, editing, software & hardware, etc.  Podcasting, like a lot of other things, is easy to do, but hard to do well.  I don't see a podcast in the near future, but it gave me a lot to think about.

While I was in the podcasting seminar, my wife texted me - I had won a game!  See, in the past, CABS was able to give a complimentary game to everyone who bought a Board Room pass - but this was entirely dependent on donations from publishers.  This year, every time you checked a game out of the library, they would give you a raffle ticket.  A couple times a day they would draw raffle tickets, tape them to copies of a new game, and place them on the table - if you had the matching ticket, you won!  I won a copy of Tahiti from Minion Games:

When I got back to the Board Room, our group was wrapping up the first play.  Overall it got pretty good reviews - it appears to be a tile placement/farming mechanic similar to Settlers of Catan or Agricola, but simplified.  It sounds like this could be another good one to have around to induct non-gamer friends.

After Tahiti, our group played a game we had really liked from the previous year, Wasabi! from Z-Man Games:

Wasabi! is a tile-laying game, with a unique theme: you're collecting ingredients and trying to make sushi rolls.  It sounds silly, but it actually involves quite a bit of strategy and can get tense at times.  I would have bought this if it had been available in the Dealer Room, but it appears to be out of print at the moment.

Next: Part II!

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