Well, it only took me until Thursday to feel fully recovered from Origins. I guess that’s not bad for 2 1/2 days of work. This was my first Origins, and the biggest convention I have been to, so far. What an experience. I really want to thank everyone who stopped by to check out and play New Bedford.
Unlike last year, I had no plane trouble and arrived when expected. In fact, I was prepared for a long wait to get in, but walked right up to the pre-registration line with 5 people in front of me, and had my badge within a few minutes. I spent most of my time in the vendor hall. It was bigger than I expected, but the DHMG booth had great placement right up front behind the Stronghold Games booth, I only saw about 5-10% of the hall, but that’s fine, since I didn’t plan to buy many games (Since I had no room to pack them). But for as big as the vendor hall was, I was wholly unprepared for the size of the gaming area. Because I only entered the main hall after 6pm, most of the demo and tournament areas were closed down for the night, but I can imagine how much energy there must be there during the day.
Here are some of my highlights from Origins.
I got to meet a ton of great people while showing off New Bedford. There were people who had been looking forward to playing since the first Kickstarter, and people who didn’t know anything about it, and all the games were honestly fun for me to play. After playing I-don’t-know-how-many games of New Bedford, I’m still amazed by how each game can play so differently. I played less aggressively than I would with people I’m familiar with, but I was playing to win every game, and proudly lost most of them. One game was probably the closest I had ever played, with all three players tied at 22 points, and only differing by 1 whale caught (the first tie breaker) with the same amount of money left.
I met and hung out with the Greater Than Games crew during the day at the booth of the weekend. This was my first chance to meet them since DHMG and GTG merged, and I can see why it was such a great move. It was like meeting up with friends I already knew. Chris, Craig, and Jennifer are exactly the people I would choose to work with. Everyone really knew their job, and the whole group was working together like a well-oiled machine. Jennifer is doing graphic design and art direction for New Bedford, and we had a chance to talk about it for a little. I’m really excited for the direction it’s headed.
The Unpub area in open gaming was great. As per usual, I didn’t get to play all the games or talk to all the people I wanted to. Particularly, I wanted to play Fleet Wharfside from Matt Riddle and Ben Pinchback, because I’m a big fan of their designs. I also brought along Helvetia to play with Ben, because he is also a Matthias Cramer fan, but we didn’t get to play. So maybe at GenCon. [Wait, GenCon? Yeah, I’ll get back to that.]
I had a number of games that I wanted to preview at Origins before buying, but I didn’t get a chance to check out many demos. I only saw La Granja briefly, but it looks more complicated on the table than I expected. I was hoping to try Flip City and Orléans, but saw neither. I did see a game of Tides of Time in action, The cards were larger than expected, but the game was simpler than expected. Still, it looks like a good 2-player take on drafting, that I’ll be on the lookout for. I played a new game called Flip Hue, which seemed a bit random but was fun once Darrell explained the rules correctly after the first game. Late night after we were kicked out of the gaming hall, I played my first game of the Resistance. I realized the good side was going to lose after the third round, but blamed it on the wrong person. Oops. And I played a game called Why First, in which you earn points for being in second place each round, and win by being in second place overall. Pure fun, pure mayhem. I ended up winning? I watched an absolutely ridiculous game of Colt Express on Saturday night, and while the gameplay itself wasn’t all that interesting, it’s all about the stories you make up while playing .
In the Unpub area, I got to play a light card game called Battle Grounds, from Stark Raving Games. It’s a more strategic take on Rack-O, with fantastic art. I played a couple of games of Dead Man’s Chest, a very light but fun party game from Eagle-Gryphon, with a sort of hidden dice rolling, blind bidding, bluffing game. And I finally got to play Milkman from the amazing Josh Mills, which I had missed at Unpub 5. All I can really say is that it’s absolutely fantastic. I did sneak in a game of One Card Wonder late Saturday. I got some notes to think on, but for now, I’m just working on balancing it.
I will have One Card Wonder at The Games Keep in West Chester this Saturday (tomorrow, June 13th) as part of an Unpub Mini from 1-8pm. I’ll have New Bedford with me, too, looking for a 5-player game if there’s time. And I’m headed to GenCon, July 31-August 2nd
Finally, some lessons I learned. Noon on Friday is a decent time to arrive to avoid lines. When leaving, the airport is only 10 minutes away, and it was very easy to go through security. I didn’t need all the time I budgeted for that. Almost everyone is super nice in Columbus, even when they’re giving you bad news. I do much better on 2 beers and 6 hours of sleep than I do on 3 beers and 5 hours of sleep. I need a few minutes of quiet time in the day, which are very hard to find sometimes.
I think I need a shorter way to demo New Bedford. Gil Hova made some recommendations drawn from his experiences that I like. I need a shorter overview first instead of launching into the whole spiel all at once. While most people were interested in playing a whole game, I think it will be more helpful to have some pre-set scenarios and play a few rounds. I should probably sit out more games so I can aid first time players better, plus it is more inviting to have a few people standing around the game watching than to have a table already full and in the middle of the action.
Overall, I loved attending Origins. It was big, but I still got to hang out with the people I like for the basically whole weekend. I can see why it’s considered an intimate big convention. I’d definitely like to attend again next year. Thanks again to everyone I played games, and especially everyone who stopped by the Dice Hate Me Games Booth. To all the friends I see only at events, it was too short, as always. I’ll hope to see everyone at Origins next year.