My Origins Game Fair Experience – 2019

Posted: July 23, 2019 in Board Games, Community, Convention
Tags: , , , , ,

Greetings Fellow Gamers!

 

Origins Game Fair is the highlight of my con-going experience each year and this year was no different. I go to several conventions of all types, and nothing has come close to topping Origins, yet. I have more fun, feel safer, and meet more folks that are like myself at Origins. I want to tell you a little about my experience this year (2019); the good and the bad.

You can find my video about my experience, here. The video is a very brief version of this article.

Shaka, When the Walls Fell

I always find it best to get the bad stuff out of the way first. Now, this bad stuff doesn’t reflect on Origins specifically, but I wouldn’t have encountered these situations if I hadn’t been at Origins. That’s the only reason I’m including them in my overall experience.

The Hotel

The first bad thing involves the hotel we stayed at. There were things left out of our reservation that shouldn’t have been, which cost us extra money. The girl that checked us in was rude beyond belief – rolling her eyes and getting snarky about my questions. I actually lost my temper with her. Also, the elevators were either broken or terrifying to ride in. There was a lot more that went wrong, but I don’t want to drag out all the little things that don’t matter now. Tamara checked us out of our room, and she was the most pleasant lady I have ever met. She apologized for the girl that checked us in, and she should not have felt she needed to apologize for someone else’s behavior. I’ve already notified DoubleTree Suites of my grievances, but I will never stay at that location again.

The Tournament

The second and last bad experience was when I played in the Transformers TCG Invitational qualifier on Friday morning. Out of over 30 players, I was the only chick playing – not an issue for me. It becomes an issue when I’m treated differently. I tried to speak to several of the other players and was brushed off or flat out ignored. Nobody said it was because I was a chick – but the tones and attitude towards me were very different than the ones used towards the other players who were all male.

During the event, the organizers would make various announcements, which is perfectly fine. But, I have a noise sensory issue and their speaker was turned up very loud and pointed into the play area. My anxiety from being in close proximity to people that I was sure didn’t like me, paired with my sensory trouble, made me drop after my third round match. The only positive experience I had during the three rounds I played, was with Cameron and a gentleman playing in the match next to us. Thank you, to both of you, for treating me like I was fellow TF TCG player.

Cameron is a fellow content creator and does content for the Transformers TCG – HERE.

The only thing I would have done differently in this situation, is I would have approached the organizers about the speaker, and also made them aware of how I felt about the players excluding me. While they can’t force other players to be inclusive, they might have been able to adjust the speaker volume. It’s not their fault because they didn’t know about my sensory trouble.

Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra

Bad stuff aside – time for all the amazingly, wonderful good stuff! One of the reasons that I love Origins so much, is for the overall inclusiveness. You can be a person of any gender identity, fandom, gaming community, etc, and not feel left out. (That Transformers event I mentioned above is a TCG/CCG – not a board game.) I come to Origins for the board games and to play those games with fellow attendees. The tabletop/board game community is warm and welcoming. I couldn’t walk by a table in the open gaming areas without folks looking up and smiling, or waving me over to see if I wanted to play. Folks playing games in the hallways would invite strangers to help them learn a new game they’d just purchased or to play an old favorite with them. This convention is where you go to meet fellow gamers, play games, and have a good time!

I had one experience in particular with a group of Star Trek FASA players who were eager to teach me the game. Those gentlemen were very nice and entertained all the questions I had, as well as made conversation about topics outside of FASA. I also had a blast playing Star Trek Ascendancy with a group of folks that I’d never met before. It was super fun scheming with the gentleman next to me against his two buddies across the table.

I played in the Star Trek Attack Wing Nationals tournament on Saturday and I had the best competitive gaming experience I’ve ever had! I did an article and video specifically for that experience! You can find the article, HERE, and a link to the video is in the article. I can’t say enough good things about the STAW community. I feel like these folks embody everything that Star Trek represents. I didn’t feel out of place and certainly didn’t feel like folks were singling me out for any reason. I was a Star Trek Attack Wing player, just like everyone else and if felt amazing. If you’re looking for a great competitive Star Trek game with a great community, then this is where you need to be looking. If you want a single box, self contained Star Trek game that’s amazing, Gale Force Nine has you covered with Star Trek Ascendancy.

I also got to play Nemo Rising (WizKids) with the game’s designer, Andrew Parks. I’ve never played a full game with the designer of the game. It was truly like a dream come true! Ben (the Star Trek Attack Wing judge) was also playing with us and another gentleman. Mr. Parks is one of the creators and designers for STAW. I’ve been a fan of his work for years and I will never forget playing Nemo Rising!

I want to highlight several experiences with some designers and publishers.

Gale Force Nine

Find them online: HERE

I always have a great experience when I visit GF9 and I’m certain they’re tired of seeing my face! I usually hang around their booth for a few hours each day. But I can’t help it! Their games are great and I love watching folks play them! And Mr. Mullins is so nice and he’s such a great teacher as well. I always see him at Origins and my trip is not complete until I spend some time talking to him. The other staff and volunteers at GF9’s booth are all great folks! They will do what they can to help you and if they can’t, they will be sure you find the right person to talk to. They will try always try to hook you up with all the right products for your gaming needs.

I have an unboxing video up for the Star Trek: Ascendancy Borg Expansion that I picked up at Origins this year. You can find it on my YouTube: HERE.

Ares Games

Find them online: HERE

Ares is another wonderful company that’s definitely customer driven. Their volunteers and staff are knowledgeable and very helpful. Mr. Jim Long is a wonderful man who will talk to you about all aspects of gaming. Ms. Olivia Long is a charming young lady that will go above and beyond to help customers. This year there was a HUGE Battlestar Galactica game that wrapped around two sides of Ares’ booth area. It was an incredible sight to see! Actually, you can see clips of that very event in this VIDEO at about 2:25. I also obtained a copy of Master of the Galaxy, thanks to Ms. Olivia Long, and you can find the unboxing for it, HERE. I will have my component and game play review up soon, so be on the look out for it! Just like GF9, I feel like a trip to Origins is not complete until I make my way to Ares Games.

Fireside Games

Find them online: HERE

Fireside is another company that’s near and dear to my heart. The DeWitts publish and design amazing games that are engaging and fun. They’re truly awesome folks and I always enjoy stopping by their booth at Origins. They’re usually super busy, so I don’t get to sit and chat long. I demoed Here, Kitty, Kitty! this year. It’s a semi-light game that’s lots of fun! There is strategy to the game, but the game play is very easy to explain and pick up. It’s also got lots of cute little kitties in it! While I was visiting Fireside, I picked up My First Castle Panic. Mini DDK was super excited when she saw her new board game and she was able to learn the game play after a full game. I highly recommend that anyone with children around the ages of 3-5 check out this game. I love visiting Fireside at Origins because I always find something I need to buy!

You can see a review for My First Castle Panic, HERE. I even have a special guest reviewer join me – Mini DDK!

White Wizard Games

Find them online: HERE

I met lots of folks from White Wizard this year at Origins. The staff and volunteers really do go out of their way to help, if they can. In years past, it’s been impossible for me to get a demo for Star Realms because of how busy they are and my schedule in previous years. This year, they had a booth in one of the game halls, which are open on Wednesday (and they may have last year too, but I don’t remember). My friend and I were able to catch a few of the staff and volunteers early on Wednesday and they gave us a demo for Star Realms. After the demo, they showed us the product and gave us the best advice as to which products to start with. These folks would even wave when I was walking by the booth during the week, which tells me that they care enough to remember and acknowledge folks. The folks at White Wizard remind me a lot of the folks from Gale Force Nine and I look forward to seeing them again! I also look forward to playing Star Realms at Origins in the future!

Obscure Reference Games

Find them online: HERE

These folks are definitely awesome and I love stopping by the booth! When you walk up to them, they treat you like a really good friend that they haven’t seen in a year. This bunch is enthusiastic when it comes to showing off ORG products. I convinced my friends to demo Overlords of Infamy, which gave me a chance to play a little too. I love this game and will even pitch it to folks while standing there at their booth. I haven’t been able to get a copy, until this year. I’ve desperately wanted this game since Origins 2018 and now my order is in! I went with the updated version that’s not released yet. I even picked up a Waffles pin! Waffles is definitely the best Overlord!

Other Companies

A lot of the other companies, like the big-big companies, were all too busy to chat unless you scheduled an interview ahead of time. I’m a spontaneous person at conventions because scheduling is way too stressful. But those folks usually have enough coverage as it is. I want to shine a light on some of the other companies and developers that deserve just as much attention!

I featured lots of sci-fi games from the following companies in one of my Origins videos: HERE. Most of these companies make other games as well, not just sci-fi ones. Be sure to check the their pages for information about their games! You can find links in the company names below.

Fight in a Box

I met several of these folks at Origins and they were great! Processing has become a regularly played game in our group. They have several games that play fast and would make great filler games. Be sure to check those out – especially Hedgehog Hop – because it looks so cute!

Deep Water Games

This was a delightfully enthusiastic bunch of folks and rightfully so. They have a small library that consist of beautifully rendered games with interesting mechanics. Be sure to check them out.

Sentient Cow Games

This group of folks are awesome and lots of fun to talk to! Escape from Dulce looks like a blast and they have more games planned for their Secret Unknown Stuff line! I hope to get a copy of Escape from Dulce at some point. A sci-fi dungeon crawl game is exactly what I need!

25th Century Games

25th Century has a variety of games that would appeal to different folks. Space Explorers is the game that drew me in to their booth. I like games that look unique and have interesting mechanics. Be sure to check out their other games!

Weird Giraffe Games

Weird Giraffe has a few different games of various genres and mechanics. Fire in the Library seems to be getting some hype in several gaming groups, but Stellar Leap is what caught my eye. A lot of their games show they have a solo mode for one player, which is a big draw for me as well.

Czech Games Edition

Everyone has at least heard of Codenames. I love Galaxy Trucker and I saw Pulsar 2849 and had to mention it. The CGE demo area was always packed full of folks and the volunteers and staff were great!

Seajay Games

The gentleman from Seajay was very excited and enthusiastic about Galactic Era, which is a very large game that looks like an amazing game. I didn’t get a chance to sit for a demo, but the game can’t be too complicated because I saw a young group of players engaging in a demo. I look forward to checking this game out in depth whenever I can get a copy.

Keymaster Games

Keymaster wasn’t at Origins. Their games were being represented by a third party. Their games look great and the representatives were helpful and polite.

Origins Staff and Volunteers

I have never met a more dedicated and wonderful group of convention folks than the ones who make Origins possible. I had a few hiccups at registration, but it was corrected quickly and everything was super smooth afterwards. Every large convention will have hiccups somewhere and I’d rather they happen with me than someone else. If you have a question or need, these folks will go out of their way to find the answer.

If it weren’t for the folks of GAMA/Origins – we wouldn’t have such a great place to see all these games and spend time with wonderful people. I know GenCon is a thing – but people like me can’t go to GenCon. I would have a panic attack if I walked into that convention. Origins is absolutely perfect for me.

Greater Columbus Convention Center

I absolutely love this venue. I have never been to a venue that’s so accommodating or has such a great layout. There is a lot of space and because of that, there can be 20,000 people there and it not feel crowded. I think Origins has a great home here and I hope they continue to choose this venue for Origins Game Fair.

There are lots of things to love about this venue and two of my favorite things are Heroes and Games, which is my favorite place in Columbus for comics and collectibles; and the restaurant area (food court) of the convention center. The food court has a wide variety of eateries and pleasant area to sit with your friends and enjoy your meal.

The convention center also has loads of charging areas as well as comfortable seating with and without tables. We often get our lunch and then make our way to a table to play a game while we eat and relax. Then we’re back off to Origins for more exploring!

Sokath, His Eyes Opened

Sometimes, folks will let one negative thing affect an entire experience. I am not like that. Once we got checked in at the hotel, it was done and I moved on. I wasn’t angry or upset over it after we were in the room. I didn’t forget what happened – but I also didn’t dwell on it. Same for the negative tournament experience. I wasn’t dwelling on it the next morning, but because of it, I almost opted out of a different competitive event to prevent being exposed to a similar experience. Sometimes, you have to take that risk and I’m so happy that I did!

As for all the good things – there are far more positive, happy, and exciting things that happened at Origins. There are too many to list in a single article. I could talk to folks for hours about all the wonderful things at Origins. It’s such a great gaming convention that feels like it’s truly focused on gaming and the gaming community – in all the right ways! If you’ve never been, it’s more than worth it to go.

Thanks for reading!
Feel free to share your experiences!

Board out, game on!

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