This was my fourth time attending Origins Game Fair in Columbus, Ohio but sadly, all of my impressions is based on Thursday and Sunday only due to prior commitments. The convention runs from Wednesday to Sunday. Wednesday is an event only day and Sunday is a shortened final day closing at 4PM while every other day has events running starting at 8am and past midnight and the Expo Hall runs from 10am – 6pm.
Upon arriving, I was greeted by GAMA staff and while I waited to get checked in for my press badge, they happily informed me that pre-registration was up 50% this year. Over my two days, this bump in attendance was not noticeable in comparison to past years, but the convention was definitely more spread out through the entire convention center and attached hotels. I started off my day by buying 20 dollars worth of generic tokens which are used to play in an event that isn’t full. It is great to always have some generics in your pocket in case you see something interesting you would like to take part in outside of the Expo Hall. Some of the giant booths such as Fantasy Flight were missing, surely waiting for GenCon, but there was still a large list of titles to be unveiled, or sold for the first time over the weekend.
Most demos are shortened versions of the game, and even with rule explanations, will still take at least 30 minutes per demo. Some full game demos will take up to 90 minutes so you must choose wisely on what you will play each day if you want to get into all the events that interest you. The first thing I did made a quick lap around the expo hall and figure out the few things I wanted to try out for sure during the day. Luckily, I am a huge fan of deck building games such as Star Realms, Ascension, and Epic which don’t take very long to demo. I tried to play in three events after the expo hall closed with no luck. This was the first time I have ever seen a majority of events having trouble to meet the minimum number of entrants to run. This was disappointing and left me and a few others I was with frustrated. All I could do was hope for the best when I came back on Sunday.
My Sunday started out with an early morning demo with some good friends over at Angry Duck Games. After having a chance to playtest their first game Student Bodies years ago, I was pumped up to try out their new game Petri Wars that is currently on Kickstarter. After that was done, the expo hall was open and I tried out a quick demo of Bring Out Yer Dead and The Spoils TCG. I ended off the weekend buying a couple of games, winning Bring Out Yer Dead in a win-a-box event and won a round robin event for Star Realms to get an exclusive playmat. I will post my opinions of a few games I played over the next week and then move on to some E3 coverage. Stay tuned and don’t forget to put down that mouse or controller long enough to get some face to face play with some amazing tabletop games!
I want to note, that being able to play in events, you must purchase a badge for that day or the entire weekend. The family fun pass on Sunday admits access to the Expo Hall only. A one day badge is 20, weekend badge(5 days) is 65 and, the family fun pass admits 2 adults and up to four children for only 15 dollars.