Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Origins 2011, Part II


On Saturday, I headed in early for my first event, Freehand Painting for Miniatures with Chris Borer.  Unfortunately Chris had fallen ill the previous night, so I got a refund for my workshop fee and headed to the dealer room for some shopping.

First I went to the Miniature Building Authority booth, and picked up the Sci-Fi Porta Potty and their Car on Blocks

I actually bought their complete set of Sci-Fi Bunkers a couple of years ago, and got the porta potty simply 'cause it's themed to fit with those and amuses me.  The car on blocks was on sale, and I thought it would make a good "general use" piece of terrain.

Next, I went to Tomas the Lapidary's Jewelry and got these cool dice:

One pair is made from bone, and the other from horn.  Tomas had some amazing dice - they make them from gemstones, solid metals, etc, but obviously that can get real expensive.

Next, I stopped by the Battlefoam booth and picked up a P.A.C.K. 216:

While I've been kind of annoyed by Romeo's business practices in the past,  I've been severely tempted by their bags with the tool tray & paint pot load-outs for a while - I do a lot of my modelling & painting when I'm not at home, and have been using a ghetto-tastic method of plastic cases & cardboard boxes thrown in a shopping bag to transport my stuff.  The folks at the Battlefoam booth allowed me to customize the 216 with a tool tray, one GW paint pot tray & one Vallejo paint pot tray, without charging me the extra "customization fee" that is usually charged through their web site, and in fact even gave me a bit of discount off the regular, non-customized price.  As soon as I got home, I loaded up all my stuff:

Overall, I'm really pleased with the bag - my only complaint is that I need it to hold one more tray, and I need that tray to be custom-cut to hold 1/2 Vallejo paint pots, and 1/2 P3 paint pots to hold all the "leftover" pots that I didn't have room for.  I think I'll seriously have to consider buying a P.A.C.K. Plus (which can attach to the 216 with a zipper) with a couple more paint pot trays + a few pluck foam trays at some point in the future.

At this point, my wife told me to make myself scarce for a while: she wanted to do some Christmas Shopping for me!  I got out there double-time and headed out to the concourse to pick up the obligatory t-shirt:

After my wife finished, we dropped our stuff off at the car and headed to the Japanese steak house across the street for a nice dinner:

After a great dinner, we headed back to the Board Room to play some games.  First, we tried Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age:

I had heard good things about this game, but never had a chance to try it.  It took us a couple of turns to get the hang of it, but it was a lot of fun once we got it.  It's a smaller dice version of Through the Ages, and both are civilization-building games that are similar to games like Settlers of Catan, but I think I actually liked this one more.  As with most "eurogames", it had nice-quality wooden pieces.

Nest, we tried Pandemic:

I bought this game a couple of years ago, but had never gotten a chance to play it - it uses a neat premise: you are a team of doctors, scientists, & military personnel, racing to contain & cure the outbreak of diseases around the globe.  It seemed pretty complicated at first, but once we grasped the mechanics it went much more smoothly, and was actually a bit too easy to win with two people.  (I did use the "beginner" set-up, which I won't do next time).  A fun game, but I think it would be better with three or more players.

Another nice perk of buying the Board Room ribbon was that a couple of times a day, the CABS folks would wheel in a big table full of free snacks - chips, candy bars, & fresh fruit.  On Saturday night they also put out another free game with the snacks, a card game called Sturgeon:

We finished the night by playing yet another game from Gut Bustin' Games, Redneck Life:

There is absolutely no strategy to this game - it pretty much follows the format of the board games that all of us played as kids: 1.) roll dice, 2.) move that number of spaces, 3.) follow the actions listed on the square you landed on.  The entire point of the game is the "flavor", but luckily it's pretty hilarious.  You wind up with a spouse invariably named something like "Dottie Mae" or "Billy Jim Bob", your job choices range from "taxidermist" to "ciggy shack attendant", you survive on payday advance vouchers from the check-cashing place, and the winner is the player with the most teeth at the end of the game.  Not exactly a game for strategy buffs, but a funny novelty game that you could bring out when your non-gamer friends come over for an evening.

We wrapped it up a bit early on Saturday and headed home.


On Sunday we got in and headed back to the dealer room - one booth had a lot of clearance games and was also running a "buy one, get one half-off" special.  I picked up Final Days and Genesis:

Final Days looked slightly interesting (I'm a sucker for anything with zombies), but mainly I grabbed it 'cause it came with two bagfuls of metal zombie miniatures for $17.  I grabbed Genesis because it looked like the best thing on the clearance table, was a two-player game, and I wasn't about to waste my "half-off" discount by not buying a second game.

My wife enjoyed playing Redneck Life so much the previous night, she decided to pick up a copy:

She also let me pick out a t-shirt from T-shirt Bordello, with the condition that it gets saved until Christmas - I picked the stormtrooper shirt:

...and she wanted to get me the "Meh" t-shirt:

We also stopped by the Geek Chic booth and chatted with them - we've admired their stuff at conventions in the past, and my wife totally wants us to get an Emissary when we buy a new house:

(Have I mentioned lately that my wife is awesome, and I love her very very much?)  ;-)

After we finished shopping, we decided to head back to the Board Room.  I had been posting to & following the "#Origins2011" tag on Twitter all week, and I noticed posts from GenCon saying that they were at Origins and giving out passes - I noticed this tweet from a little bit earlier:

We were walking back to the Board Room, and I just happened to see a tall gentleman with a Mohawk wearing a green polo shirt walking toward us - I asked him if he was Derek, and he confirmed that he was.  I said, "Any chance that there's any passes left?" and he said, "Yeah, I guess I can do one more today..." I had won a free pass to GenCon!

Sweet!  That will save us $75 in August!

My wife played Munchkin for the first time a couple of years ago and really liked it, so we decided to play in a scheduled game - it was the Munchkin: Impossible variant:

If you've never played any of the Munchkin games before, they're a lot of fun - the mechanics can be bit complicated to grasp at first, but the company tag line of "Kill the Monsters, Steal the Treasure, Stab Your Buddy" sums it up nicely.  I got destroyed (as usual), and my wife pulled out a win!

It was around 3PM at this point, and most of the vendors and gaming groups had started to pack up.  We decided to head towards the food court and ran into lars4life, who had brought the boys for the day and was headed to the kids' room - we talked for a bit until they dragged him off to his fate.  We grabbed a bite and headed out, another Origins in the bag!

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