27 June 2010

Origins 2010

I drove down to Origins in the morning, picking up my co-pilot on the way. After discovering the parking lot I had mapped to was full, we drove around a bit (in confusion) trying to find another spot and unfortunately picked a garage by the Arena. We have the plan for next time, however, for making use of the loading docks.

Before lunch we wandered the massive vendors hall. I ran into a few people I wanted to say "hi" to but not all (nor even most) of them, unfortunately. I could have used a few more hours to really wander around and look at everything. A lot of interesting stuff...

I stopped by "the bitz guy" (The Game Room) booth and picked up a few small things I had been looking for. Unfortunately, none of the DoW I was looking for.

There was one place that had a ton of cheap books and 50% off old Confrontation metals. I grabbed one box of gunners for which I have been looking, but didn't have enough time to really go through it all.

So I was pretty successful in not spending money. I did, however, find something with which to score points with my fiance. She's a big fan of Michael Parkes and there are a few prints/posters she's been dying to get. At the big art booth, I thought one of the posters at the back of a stack looked familiar...

... I win.


After lunch I met up with the small WAB group organized by Ralph K. It turned out that I was the only one with a civilized army (and their opponent,) everything else being what some of the WAB-list refer to as "bog wallowers." I almost got suckered in to acting as a Viking general, but ended up coaching a couple of new players through the game using my Romans & Cimbri (Gaul list from HatPW.)

A few interesting twists before the game started. The armies were still packed up from my previous demo games, which use a bit more than 2000 points. So each side had some extra troops. Then we were put on what looked to be the smallest table (about 5' wide) with some really clogging terrain. It was interesting watching the players deal with it.

The game went back and forth for a bit, with the Romans scoring some early advantages. Both players seemed to have a good grasp on the game and tactics, however neither one of them could roll dice to save their life. Quite a few large "buckets o' dice" combats resulted in a single wound or none at all. Everyone enjoyed themselves however, including me, and the game took a dramatic twist at the end when the Roman general couldn't seem to roll anything under a 10 on two successive waves of panic tests.

There were five games going at any given time, with a number of experienced players coaching some of the new players along the way.

It's been quite a few years since I've been to Origins, and the last time I went I didn't get much time to leave the table where I was helping to teach miniatures painting.

The miniatures hall at Origins is HUGE, with plenty of space for twice as many miniatures games. With all of that room, and a large number of people wandering around, several things seemed strange to me, especially given that it was Saturday:

  • Most of the games were small, and while some of them had some pretty interesting tables/boards, most were small games and quite a few were using unpainted figures. This is a big, big contrast to even the smaller HMGS conventions where there are quite a few large games, and even the smallest are usually a beautiful visual spectacle.
  • There didn't seem to be much manufacturer promotion in the gaming area, and even the vendor's hall was missing a lot of "big names." I think Origins is an ideal place to promote your game & figures. I just don't understand why some of the manufacturers/publishers would pass up this great change to make an impression on so many people. So even beyond the "big names" I'm not certain why on a Saturday afternoon I didn't see even the small scale people putting on at least one table worth of demos or participation games with a big visual "wow" factor.

So my plan for next year is to come back for more of the weekend, and try running some games, and maybe even play in a few.

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