Posts Tagged ‘Origins Game Fair’

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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Greetings Fellow Star Trek and Roleplaying Game Fans!

 

This is the latest session from our adventures in the Star Trek Adventures RPG (by Modiphius). Whenever you see text in this reddish brown color, that was what was read to the players. I’ve also included Game Mechanic elements so that others can incorporate it into their games if they want to. Any GM notes are in this bright blue color.

Previous Episodes and Sessions:
Previously on Star Trek Adventures (Kage Hoshi Division):

The crew helped the Ocampa recover their stolen generator parts and rescue their people that had been captured. The Ocampa repaid them with plenty of plants for their journey home. The crew was able to convince the Kazon-Ogla to move on to another planet and leave the Ocampa in peace. Will they uphold their end of the deal or give the crew more trouble? The crew must mine for materials on the asteroids around Ocampa, but can they do it safely?

And now, the conclusion…

Episode Two: Find Your Bearings (Part 3 – Conclusion)
ACT THREE: Scene One – On the Rocks

Back on the ship, the crew is arranging one of the empty cargo areas into a temporary aeroponics bay in order to acclimate the new plants to their new environment. The crew’s next assignment is to pilot a shuttle around the asteroids and mine Dilithium and Duranium for the ship’s supplies. It’s not possible for the transporters to beam the material out of the surrounding rock and all attempts have ended in failure. A manned shuttle must be sent into the asteroid field with a crew to mine the material. The mining crew must work quickly to get as much as possible from each asteroid. The asteroids are rotating while in orbit around Ocampa and it’s not safe to mine from the surface while the asteroid is facing this system’s Sun.

Aboard the Mulgrew, the crew is working on arranging one of the empty cargo bays into a temporary aeroponics bay for the plants that the Ocampa gave them. Dirnick is overseeing the team and working on a more permanent solution.

K’orvo is in the situation room discussing the mining operation with M’Kora, Cross, Zynes, and Zylas.

“I still don’t see why I need to be there. If any of that debris smashes into us, we’re dead. There’s no amount of Latinum that can fix being dead.” Doctor Zylas shrugs. He’s wearing a stark white uniform instead of the traditionally flamboyant Ferengi clothing he usually wears.

“Because, Doctor Zylas, when you signed up to be part of this crew, you agreed to follow my rules and do as I ask. I told you that you would also be expected to assist in any away mission I think your expertise would be a valuable asset. I believe that medical personnel will be an asset in this situation. It’s not just about the flying debris. There is a potential radiation threat too. I think you should be there just in case someone is exposed to too much radiation.” M’Kora says as she studies his coat. “What’s with the vintage uniform?”

“Like it? I found the pattern in the replicator. I think it’s from the late 2250’s. I thought it was time for a change of wardrobe.” Zylas smiles a wide smile, revealing his abnormally flat teeth.

“Stop using the replicators for unnecessary things. We need to preserve energy.” M’Kora sighs and turns to K’orvo. “I would like you to stay here and oversee the building of the refinery. Here’s a list of personnel that I’d like you to use for this project. There are some tension issues that I’d like you to keep an eye on. They’re noted next to the names.”

“Aye, Captain. I will round up the selected personnel and begin the work immediately.” K’orvo acknowledges the assignment and leaves the room.

“Now, Lieutenant Zynes, you are in charge of this away team. I want my best pilot chauffeuring our mining crew around.” M’Kora nods at Zynes and his antenna straighten at the compliment.

“Aye, Captain. I won’t keep them out after curfew.” Zynes acknowledges.

“Wait. You said mining crew? I’m a doctor, not a manual laborer!” Zylas exclaims as he jumps up from his chair. “Surely, you meant ‘mining crew and Doctor Zylas’?”

“You are there to assist in the scientific portion. Ensign Cross will do most, if not all, of the plasma cutting.” M’Kora cuts a sharp look toward Zylas, who in turn, squeaks and sits back down. “I have confidence in your scientific abilities. Lieutenant Commander Dirnick and most of the science team is occupied with another project that can’t be put on hold. You are the next most qualified to operate the science equipment.”

“Yes, captain. I understand.” Zylas looks down and says to himself, “Doesn’t mean I like it though.”

“Captain, I would like to attempt to chart the asteroids movements, if it’s possible. That will help us pick the best target to mine and time the rotation as well.” Zynes says, looking at an orbital chart of Ocampa’s moons.

“Good idea, Lieutenant. Take the doctor with you. Ensign Cross, you should get started loading the shuttle.” M’Kora looks around briefly for any objections and when she doesn’t see any, she dismisses the team. “You’re all dismissed. Good luck out there.”

Game Mechanics
~ Task: Chart Hazard (Optional)
~ Difficulty: 3
~ Reason + Conn
~ Ship Assist: Sensors + Conn

Success: Reduce the difficulty to pilot around the asteroids in this zone by two. Navigator can spend two Momentum to extend the navigation to another adjacent zone.

As you chart the area of asteroids, you are able to determine their rotations and trajectories, making it much easier for the pilot to navigate around them.

The space around the asteroids is littered with rocky debris, some pieces large enough that they could do serious damage to the shuttle or crush a humanoid body into goo. Navigating them will take some time, skill, and a little ingenuity.

“Lieutenant, are you sure you can fly us through this mess?” Zylas asks as he stares, shivering, at the shuttle’s small view screen.

“I don’t call him Ace for no reason, Doc.” Cross chimes in from the engineering station behind Zynes. “I suspect he’s the best pilot in all of Starfleet.”

“I’m not the best, but I’m close to it. Don’t worry Doctor Zylas. This is similar to the entry level simulations at the academy. I aced those while blindfolded, on a dare.”

“Well, keep your blindfold packed away for the time being.” Zylas sighs nervously.

Game Mechanics
~ Task: Piloting and Landing
~ Difficulty: 3
~ Daring + Conn, Control + Conn
~ Ship Assist: Engines + Conn

Success: The shuttle lands with a jolt, as the light from this system’s sun is fading over the horizon of the asteroid. The crew that’s mining must get to work immediately and not waste a moment to gather as much material as they can. The Dilithium crystals are fragile and need careful handling while the Duranium has unusually harmful radiation emanating from it. Once the materials are brought up to the surface, they must be put into hazardous material containers and secured on the shuttle. Once the materials are back on the Mulgrew, they can be properly decontaminated and stored.

As the shuttle comes to a landing, there is a sharp jolt, almost knocking Zylas from his seat. “What in the name of the Grand Nagus was that?! Are we blowing up?! Shouldn’t there be a red alert?!”

“Keep your lobes in place. It was just a little turbulence on landing caused by the asteroid’s rotation. Nothing to panic about.” Zynes rolls his eyes at Zylas.

Zylas struggles to put the EV suit helmet on over his ears and Cross snickers a little to himself. Once he’s suited up, he gathers his supplies and pulls out a tricoder. He gives Cross an irritated look and sighs, “Ready, Ensign?”

Cross gives Zylas a very concerned look through his own EV suit’s helmet, “Not really, Doc. But it has to get done and we’re the men for the job!”

“Gross. You’re optimism is sickening. Rule of Acquisition, number… ummm.. something: Don’t be too optimistic. Optimism makes Latinum larger than it appears.” Zylas shakes his head at Cross and watches as Cross struggles and wrestles with the plasma cutter. Zylas winces at Cross and asks him, “Are you sure you can manage?”

“Sure can, Doc. You just operate that whats-it and tell me where to point and shoot.” Cross says as he continues to struggle with the bulky, rifle looking piece of equipment. “And I’ve never heard that Rule of Acquisition before. Are you sure it’s…”

“Don’t question me on the Rules of Acquisition! I’m a Ferengi! Now, let’s go!” Zylas waddles up behind Cross into a decompression area.

Zylas and Cross approach the rear of the shuttle and a force field buzzes to life behind them. The two look at the timer displays on the inside of their helmets one last time before decompressing the rear section and opening the rear hatch. Zylas and Cross step out onto the rocky surface of the asteroid. The light from the crews’ SIMs beacons cut through the darkness, revealing the treacherous surface before them.

“Be careful out there. I’ll leave the hatch open. Your timers should be synced to the shuttle’s timer, so keep a close eye on your time.” Zynes says as the two make their way across the asteroid’s surface.

Game Mechanics
~ Extended Timed Task: Mining
~ Time Intervals: 10
~ Time per Task:
2

~ Work Track: 8
~ Magnitude: 3
~ Resistance: 2
~ Base Difficulty: 2
~ Daring + Engineering, Fitness + Engineering
~ Player Assist: Any Applicable Pairing with Explanation

Success/Fail: An alert sounds on the crews’ suits and in the shuttle, letting them know that they need to secure the gathered materials before the sun’s harmful rays peak over the asteroid’s edge.

Succeeding on this task means that the crew gathers a large amount of material. Failure means they gather a minimal amount and they need to try a different asteroid. The crew needs one successful attempt to acquire enough materials for the ship’s stores.

Game Mechanics
~ Task: Securing the Spoils
~ Difficulty: 2
~ Control + Science, Daring + Engineering
~ Player Assist: Any Applicable Pairing with Explanation

“Here’s a deposit that’s close to the surface, Ensign.” Zylas points to a spot on the ground where a small, shiny crystal form is peaking through the surface. “Looks like a much larger deposit of Dilithium than the last one. I’ll try to find more Duranium and then we should have enough for this trip.”

“Aye, Doc. Now all I need to do is adjust this nobby thing here so it doesn’t damage the crystals and…” Cross continues to talk to himself as Zylas moves off towards what appears to be a large Duranium deposit.

“I can’t believe there isn’t a single thing worth even a slip of Latinum on this blasted asteroid, besides Dilithium and Duranium. But I can’t make off with any of that. Someone will definitely find out.” Zylas grumbles to himself as he continues to scan the surface for other valuable materials. Zylas engages the two-way comm with Cross and asks, “Have you finished mining that Dilithium yet? I found a Duranium deposit.”

“Sure have, Doc! I’m on my way to you.” Cross answers back. “We should probably start securing the materials we’ve extracted. Our timer is running low and we want to be sure we get this load back on time, wouldn’t you agree, Doc?”

“I’ll start on that while you finish mining this deposit.” Zylas says as he bounces away from Cross.

A short time later, an alert sounds on both of the crew’s suits and Zynes calls to the two over their comms, “You two okay out there? I can put on a suit and help if you need me.”

“We’re just fine, Lieutenant. We’ve almost finished gathering all the mined materials. We should be back at the shuttle in plenty of time.” Zylas responds. And just as Zylas predicted, the two are back aboard the shuttle with a large haul of materials.

“We make a pretty good team. I think we should come back out after we drop off this load and get more.” Zynes says, with a twinkle and a look of pride in his eyes.

“Speak for yourself, Lieutenant. This was way more manual labor than I’m used to.” Zylas complains as he takes his seat on the shuttle.

“Ignore his grumbling, Ace. Doc’s just sour because he didn’t find any trinkets to swipe and sell later.” Zylas cuts Cross an angry look and snorts. “See there? He didn’t deny it! I knew that’s why you kept sneaking off.”

The two snicker at Zylas as the shuttle returns to the Mulgrew to dock and unload.

As soon as the shuttle docks, the ship is rocked with phaser fire and a Red Alert has been issued.

Upon arrival to the bridge, the senior staff relieves the temporary staff. The captain hails the attacking Kazon ship and a grizzled looking Kazon answers the hail. “Captain, I am Captain Zendurk of the Kazon-Nistrim, and we are here to destroy you for your part in the murder of Maje Culluh.”

The crew can attempt to use Culluh as a bargaining chip.

“Culluh is not dead. He is in our brig.” K’orvo steps up to the viewscreen and addresses Zendurk. “His ship was exploding and we transported around 50 of his crew over to our ship, to safety. They acted out in hostility so we detained them. If you want Culluh and his crew, we can make arrangements.”

“Federation tricks! The Maje’s ship is destroyed and bodies were detected. You will pay for the murder of Maje Culluh!” Zendurk yells.

“I do not perpetrate deception! I am an honorable warrior and I do not participate in such dishonorable acts! Your Maje is safe aboard our ship.” K’orvo fires back at Zendurk.

“You are weak, hiding behind your Federation technology. You would not be able to achieve victory in face-to-face combat against a Kazon. That’s why you blew up Maje Culluh’s ship! You took advantage of his lack of technologically advanced weapons, like a coward!” Zendurk yells at the view screen with drops of spit flying from his mouth as he hurls insults at K’orvo.

“Meet me face-to-face and you will see just how much of a coward I am, you dishonorable…” K’orvo begins to defend himself but M’Kora cuts him off.

“Commander, stand down. We need to handle this in a diplomatic fashion.” M’Kora looks at K’orvo and sees the frustration in his face.

“Fine! You deal with this petaQ then! I am going to my quarters.” K’orvo storms off the bridge, punching the wall near the turbo lift as his exits.

Game Mechanics
~ Task: Talking the Kazon Down
~ Difficulty: 2
~ Presence + Command, Reason + Command
~ Opposed Task: Insight + Command (15)
~ Maximum Attempts: 2

* GM Note* If the crew decides to send Culluh over to the Kazon ship, the fire fight will be instantly avoided.

Success: The Kazon have agreed to take Culluh and his crew off your hands. And because they were not mistreated, the Kazon have decided to take Cabrok and his subordinates off Ocampa and relocate them, whether they want to go or not.

“Computer, site to site transport – Maje Culluh from the brig to the bridge, immediately!” M’Kora calls the orders out to the computer and there is a twinkling and sparkling of energy to the left of her. Culluh materializes with a look of shock and surprise on his face. “Culluh, one of your ships is here, threatening to destroy us to avenge your death. Will you explain to them that you and most of your crew are very much alive?”

Culluh looks at the viewscreen and sees Captain Zendurk. Culluh smiles and says, “Zendurk, good to see the face of a subordinate I can trust. This ship rescued my crew from our ship before it exploded. And even though they’ve treated us all… well, I would very much like to get back to a Kazon ship.”

“How do I know you’re not some kind of Federation illusion?” Zendurk retorts.

“Zendurk, if you don’t get me and my crew safely off this ship, I will personally skin you alive and keep it as a trophy.” Culluh growls at Zendurk as he glares at him.

“Imagine if we had such a wonderful working relationship aboard the Mulgrew… I’m a bit jealous.” Dirnick says with a smirk, looking at Lorne. Lorne just sighs and continues to monitor the security reports coming in to his station.

“Culluh, we can transport you and your crew to Zendurk’s ship immediately. Lieutenant Lorne, prep our guests for transport. Ensign Cross, please go straight to the transporter room and prep the transporters for mass transport, at least ten at a time.” M’Kora orders and the officers acknowledge and immediately make their way to their assignments.

“Maje Culluh, we will greet you when you arrive. Apologies for the suspicions.” Zendurk bows and the viewscreen returns to a view of the Kazon ship floating in orbit around Ocampa.

M’Kora turns to Culluh and with a friendly tone, says, “Culluh, before you leave, there is a favor I would ask of you.”

“Well, since you kept your word and didn’t kill us all, I might try to do this favor for you. What’s the favor?” Culluh looks suspiciously at M’Kora.

“I would like for you to remove the Kazon-Ogla from Ocampa. I’m certain that is within your power.” M’Kora eyes Culluh.

Culluh lets out a long sigh and says, “I can do this. The Ogla and Nistrim are not allies. They will resist, but they’re much weaker than the Nistrim. I will tell them that the Federation asked us to collect them and take them to one of their ships.”

“Thank you. We will have ships entering this space very soon. It would be best if you collect them and leave quickly. The Federation sees the Kazon as a hostile entity and will likely meet you with aggressive caution.” M’Kora says, waiting to see if Culluh questions the validity of her claims.

“We want no war with the Federation. But we will find stronger technology and return to do battle with your Federation.” Culluh says as a team of security officers arrives and instructs Culluh to come with them.

ACT THREE: Scene Two – Single File, You Will Comply

There are Kazon being escorted to the transporter room in groups of ten by the ship’s security officers. The Kazon are very disgruntled and aren’t afraid to let everyone know. Even as they’re being transported to their sister ship, they show no appreciation or gratitude to the crew. Several of the Kazon attempt to start a fight with the security officers, but they are quickly subdued and carried to the transporter room.

Game Mechanics
~ Task: Transport the 50 Kazon
~ Difficulty: 2
~ Control + Engineering
~ Ship Assist: Sensors + Engineering
~ Must be done five times, 10 Kazon each transport.

“Step right up, folks!” Cross calls out to the Kazon as they enter the transporter room. Lorne is escorting groups with several of his security team.

While the Kazon are being transported off the ship, some of the other crew members are beginning work on the refinery for the Duranium. The crew is manually transporting the stored goods from one cargo bay to another and replicating materials for the refining machines when the senior staff arrives to assist in the construction of the equipment.

K’orvo has made his way back to his quarters and is resting his eyes for a moment. Zylas has returned to Sick Bay to check on some of the crew that were injured when the Mulgrew was thrown into the Delta Quadrant. Zynes is manning the helm and Dirnick has made his way to the cargo bay, in K’orvo’s place, where the refinery equipment is being put together and calibrated.

Dirnick looks over the equipment carefully and then calls to Cross over the comm. “Dirnick to Ensign Cross, I require your assistance in cargo bay three.”

“On my way, Lieutenant Commander.” Cross calls back and then looks to Lorne. “Could you take over for me here, Lieutenant?”

“It would be my pleasure.” Lorne looks sternly at the group being escorted into the transporter room. It doesn’t take Lorne much longer to transport the remaining Kazon off the ship and the Kazon ship warps away without any sign of appreciation or hostility.

A few moments after Cross leaves the transporter room, the doors to cargo bay three slide open and Cross comes hopping in. “I’m here, sir.”

“Excellent timing, Ensign. We need your expertise in engineering to help us finish constructing this refining equipment.” Dirnick points to a pile of primitive looking machinery.

“No problem! I’ll get right to it!” Cross immediately gets to work, pulling up large pieces of machinery with cogs and wires hanging from it, and then assembling them with ease.

Game Mechanics
~ Extended Task: Build Duranium Refinery
~ Work Track: 8
~ Magnitude: 2
~ Base Difficulty: 2
~ Reason + Engineering
~ Player Assist: Any Applicable Pairing with Explanation

“All done, sir!” Cross stands over the refinery equipment, looking at it with a sense of pride.

“Well done, Ensign. Now let’s begin cleaning up this Duranium.” Dirnick nods approvingly at Cross and then begins selecting his refining team.

The crew is about to begin scrubbing the abnormal radiation from the Duranium when a proximity alert sounds and a red alert is issued. There are hundreds of voices, speaking in unison, coming across the ship’s communications system. It says, “We are the Borg. Lower your shields and surrender your ship. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile.”

K’orvo sits straight up in his bed, sweat pouring down his face, and he begins to shake at the sound of the Borg hail. Zylas is screaming and running around sickbay looking for valuables to grab.

The rest of the senior staff drops everything and rushes to the bridge. A red alert and call to battle stations goes out. Lorne and Zynes are already on the bridge when Dirnick and Cross enter through the turbo lift.

“Status report, Lieutenant Lorne.” M’Kora calls across the bridge.

The Kazon ship has already warped away and there is a Borg Sphere pulling the ship with a powerful tractor beam. The viewscreen has a sickly green glow from the light of the tractor beam and there is another alert sounding across the ship. The computer’s voice comes over the ship’s comm, “Intruder alert on decks 19, 20, and 24.” The ship has been pulled into the Borg sphere and is being boarded.

“The Kazon are long gone, and there is a Borg Sphere dropping out of warp directly ahead.” Lorne looks at his captain with a sense of dread on his face.

“Computer, open a ship-wide channel. Alright folks, this is it. We are alone and the Borg are here to assimilate us. We will most likely not make it out of this, but do not go down without a fight! That’s an order! Defend the ship and the crew to the last individual!” M’Kora reaches for her phaser and D’k tahg to ready herself for battle. The other bridge members put their phasers within reach and continue their attempts at fortifying the ship’s defenses.

“Intruder alert on decks 19, 20, and 24.” There is a pit in the stomach of every crew member aboard the Mulgrew when the computer alerts the crew of the intruders.

K’orvo is sitting in his darkened quarters on his bed with his disruptor trained on the door. He’s shaking and his breathing is erratic. Memories of assimilation and the reversal are flooding back to him as he waits for the door to his quarters to open.

Zylas bolts for the entrance to sickbay and then turns down the corridor towards the escape pods, screaming the entire time. His arms are so full of equipment, medicine, and other items that some items are falling to the ground as he runs. He doesn’t seem to notice the loss of any item until he drops a bar of Latinum. Only then does he grow silent and pause to retrieve it. Once he tucks it safely back into his pocket, he resumes screaming and continues his sprint towards the escape pods.

There is a sickening green glow as almost a dozen Borg drones beam onto the bridge. The crew immediately engage the drones with phasers set to rotating pulses. The Mulgrew jerks suddenly and Zynes looks to his console for answers.

“Captain, they’ve got a tractor beam on us! We’re being pulled into their ship!” Zynes calls to M’Kora.

“Someone try to break that beam! Try a feedback pulse!” M’Kora calls out as she blocks an attempted grapple from one of the drones.

Cross is approached by a drone who tries to inject him with assimilation tubules. Cross screams in a really high pitched tone and flails his hands at the drone. The unnatural response startles the drone for a brief moment but the drone decides to attempt to incapacitate Cross instead. The drone punches Cross, who squeaks at the pain, but Cross holds his ground at the console.

“Boss, I can’t stop the beam, but I can do this!” Cross activates a command on his console and every Borg on the bridge begins to twinkle and disappear in a flash of transporter light.

“Where are they, Ensign!?” M’Kora turns to Cross in anger, suspecting he beamed them somewhere else on the ship.

Cross points to the viewscreen and says, “There, boss.”

The viewscreen activates and there are almost a dozen frozen Borg drones floating in space, just outside the ship’s hull. There is a look of shock and surprise on the faces of the other bridge crew, but M’Kora steps up to Cross and places an approving hand on his shoulder.

“Good work, Ensign. Now, let’s take back our ship!” M’Kora says and the rest of the bridge crew rally to her call.

Borg Drone (Minor NPC) – Core Book, pg 322

The crew does everything they can to repel the boarders, fighting them off the best they can. The fight does not end without casualties on both sides. The ship has been pulled into the Borg Sphere by the Sphere’s tractor beam. The fight isn’t over before the ship is rocked by explosions coming from inside the sphere, all around the ship. Lights and panels begin to flicker and dim. Emergency lighting is on but the ship’s internal atmosphere feels off. The air feels lighter and each step takes less effort. Sweat beads off your forehead but doesn’t drop to the floor; it instead floats away from you towards the wall. Everything is starting to feel like it’s moving in slow motion, when the ship is jostled once more and gravity returns to normal.

On the bridge, there is a hail coming in, but it’s audio only. You can hear the voice of a woman calling the ship, but there’s a lot of distortion. You can barely make out what she’s saying and all you can hear is, “This is *static* Janeway. Can you hear me? *static* Please respond.”

Roll Credits!
  • Travis – Lieutenant Zynes/Lieutenant Commander Dirnick
  • Wednesday – Doctor Zylas/Commander K’orvo
  • North – Ensign Cross/Lieutenant Lorne
  • Kat (Dice Dice Kitty) – Captain M’Kora

“These are the voyages of the starship Mulgrew. We go where other Federation starships cannot. We blaze a path in the stars for fellow explorers. We don’t just boldly go, we go boldly and silently into the black.”     ~ M’Kora

Qapla’!

Next Time:
Episode Three: – (TBD)

GM Notes

I added some increased complication ranges to some of the tasks in this after their last session. I did not add it to the base adventure though because I feel like it’s a situational thing that relates specifically to my players. It definitely added some pressure and the fear of potential failure. It scared them enough to spend their Momentum more often, and while they didn’t fail, they did create some complications and generate threat for me to use later.

Show Your Support!

I haven’t heard one way or the other if Modiphius is planning to attend Origins Game Fair this year (2019). Modiphius has something special in the 2D20 system and I think it needs proper representation at Origins. I know they were at GenCon, but many of us can’t go to a convention that size or that expensive. For me, it’s more about the size than the cost. I want to put this out on all channels – Show Modiphius you love their games! Ask them to attend Origins so they know it’s not just me poking at them about it. Even if you’re not planning to attend Origins (which you should), go ahead and let them know what it means to you as a fan and customer, to see them with representation at multiple US conventions!

You can find them here:
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Website
YouTube

Don’t forget to follow Origins as well!
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Website
YouTube (GAMA)

Thanks, as always for reading my ramblings and also for your support. Tune in next time, for the beginning of episode three.

Greetings Fellow Gamers!

 

I know it’s only January right now, and Origins Game Fair isn’t until June – but if you’re planning a full week trip to Origins, you should probably start thinking about it now. I get asked a lot of questions about Origins and how to get ready for it. I want to share planning methods and tips for the convention that Mr. DDK and I have. We may not be the most seasoned when it comes to Origins (been a few times), but we’ve traveled a lot and we’ve definitely learned a lot!

Most of this article is written for travelers that are driving or taking other modes of ground transportation. I don’t have much advice for anyone flying because I’m not familiar with flying protocols.

October – November 2018

Hotel blocks and badge registration opened in October and November, respectively. We don’t usually book hotel rooms or buy badges that early. A lot of people do though. If you’ve got the money to spend, we would definitely recommend getting a room from one of the Hotel Blocks listed on Origins’ site – especially the connected hotels or one super close. By now, most of them are already booked. If you want to get a room at one of the connected hotels, you would have to be ready to book the moment the blocks open up. The hotel block registration for Origins 2019 opened on October 15, 2018. If you’re planning for next year (2020), be watching for the block announcement on their Facebook page or in their newsletter.

January – April
Hotel

These are the months when we scout hotels and decide which one to book. I’m not the best at stalking about the internet for the absolute cheapest rooms, so we probably end up paying more for a room than the expert scouts. There are tons of websites out there that can teach you how to take advantage of the discounts and sales and find the cheapest possible room.

When we look for a room, we try to find one within a mile of the convention center. The address for the Greater Columbus Convention Center is:

400 N High Street
Columbus, OH 43215

If the room is within a mile, that means we won’t have to drive and pay parking fees, and it’ll be roughly a 20-25 minute walk. Parking fees aren’t terrible for one day, but once you’re paying them for five days or more, it becomes a huge chunk of what could have been spending money.

We like rooms with a refrigerator so we have a place to keep food or drinks. We also try to get a microwave in the room or in the lobby, at the very least. We like to try to get a room with two beds or one bed with a pull out couch, just in case we have folks that decide to go with us.

Once we know what we want in a room, I will usually browse Kayak for rooms that have a free cancellation policy and a pay at the hotel feature. Once I’ve found a room that we like, I’ll book it, but I’ll keep looking at rooms all the way up to the last day that I can cancel my booking. I do that in case I find a room that’s cheaper, closer, or better than the one I booked. In all the years we’ve traveled, we have never cancelled one room for another, but it doesn’t hurt to keep looking. If we can save a few hundred dollars on a room, then why not? If the room is cheaper by less than a hundred dollars, I won’t bother cancelling our current room.

Badge Registration

Badge Registration for 2019 opened in November of 2018. We don’t typically buy badges until March, just because that’s when we have extra income. Work in your badge purchase when it best suits your finances. But don’t wait too late to register! Early bird prices have a cut off date and if you miss it, you’ll have to pay more for your badge.

There are a variety of different types of badges that grant you access to the convention for one day or all five days. We always go for the full show badges, but you should get the one that suits your plans.

May

This is the month that purchasing opens for Ribbons, Event Tickets, and Generic Tokens for the various happenings at Origins Game Fair.

Ribbons

I’ve never purchased a Ribbon at Origins, but I’m seriously considering it this year. You can find the info for Ribbons at the bottom of the Registration page. Ribbons have a super sticky part across the front top of the ribbon. When you get your Ribbon, you stick it to the back of your badge, so the front of the Ribbon hangs just below your badge. I’ve seen folks with a stack of Ribbons, stretching almost all the way to the floor. Some Ribbons are earned by accomplishing various tasks, like turning in a coupon and getting your free spin on a prize wheel. Wearing the Ribbon shows you’ve done it, almost like a badge of honor.

I’ve heard lots of great things about Origins After Dark and the Board Room and that they are worth buying. I’m looking at getting the Upper Deck Ribbon because they make the VS System 2PCG: The Alien Battles and I love Alien. I wanted to learn to play it last year, but it was extremely difficult to get in without a ticket or ribbon – and I couldn’t schedule it easily last year either.

Event Tickets

Event Tickets are special tickets that you can purchase which guarantee you entry to a particular event at a specific time. You can buy tickets for practically anything at various times. You can download the 2018 Event Grid (last year’s) from the current event page, here. That’ll give you an example of the events. Last year, I bought a Giant King of Tokyo ticket and Star Trek Five Year Mission event ticket. Buying tickets in advance for events that you know you’ll want to play is a great idea. Doing it early will guarantee that you save yourself a seat! I plan on purchasing Giant King of Tokyo and some painting sessions this year. If there’s another Five Year Mission game, I’ll be getting in on that too! Mr. DDK loaded up on Dungeons and Dragons gaming sessions with Baldman Games.

We’re always careful not to buy too many tickets in advance. I’m not good at micro managing and you almost have to be to manage a stack of event tickets. We’re also careful when buying tickets for game sessions that are too close in time to each other. Origins is huge and if we buy an event ticket for an event that starts right after one ends, it’s not likely we’ll make it on time and lose our seat. Mr. DDK didn’t have to worry about running between events last year because all of his were in the same room, just at a different table.

If this is your first time at Origins, only buy a few event tickets so you can get a feel for the flow and ebb at Origins. Event tickets are usually available at Origins too, not just in advance. Some events sell out rather quickly, like the D&D events. Last year, Mr. DDK bought D&D event tickets in advance for what he could, and then picked up generic tokens when we got there. Sometimes, folks don’t make it to a scheduled event that they purchased a ticket for, or the event has extra spots open up. If that happens, folks with generic tokens have a chance to get in on that event. That’s not always the case though, so if you’re specifically looking at the D&D events, I would suggest buying them as soon as possible.

Generic Tokens

Generics are tokens that are similar in appearance to small plastic poker chips. They’re decorated with the Origins logo and each is worth $2.00 towards the entry into an event that accepts generics. Most events that I inquired about last year accepted generics, so long as all the ticket holders were seated first. If you don’t use all your generic tokens, you can turn them in by a specific day and time for a refund. It’s good to have several generics on hand, and I recommend picking them up before you start exploring the convention.

June – Leading Up To Origins

Origins month! Now it’s time to get ready for the trip!

Preventing Con Crud

Con crud is catch-all name for the germs that folks get when they spend a lot of time at a convention and don’t take care of themselves before, during, and after the convention. I should really be taking a daily vitamin all year long, but I typically start taking a daily vitamin around the first of June. Taking a daily vitamin is a good way to boost the immune system and help prevent the onset of con crud.

We also buy several travel sized bottles of hand sanitizer. We like the ones that attach to the outside of a bag so we have quick and easy access to them. We like to keep healthy snacks and plenty of water on us while at the convention. Eating well also helps to prevent the crud.

Washing your hands often while at the convention is probably the best prevention practice, which I talk about more below.

Demo/Purchase Wish Lists

It’s around this time that I start checking up on the companies that are attending and what products they may be bringing. This helps me make a list of games that I want to demo and games I want to purchase. When I make a list of games that I want to purchase, I usually keep it short. This leaves room for the possible addition of something I didn’t realize was going to be available, or in the event I demo something that I really want to buy afterwards.

My list of games to demo is usually pretty long. I like to experience as much as I can and meet as many folks as I can! I recommend making a demo list that’s larger than your purchase list. I don’t like having a large purchase wish list because then I feel like I need to go buy those things on my list and I’ll put off buying something else that’s not on the list.

I usually don’t plan on buying anything until after I’ve had a chance to demo a lot of the games on my demo list, unless it’s a game that looks like it might sell out. I would definitely recommend prioritizing the games on your lists in case some of them are hot sellers.

Buy Supplies and Make A Checklist

I always start my travel checklist around the first of June too. Making a checklist helps prevent me from forgetting anything. My travel checklists are detailed all the way down to which t-shirts I’m taking for each day. I know that might sound silly to some, but being organized helps keep my stress levels to a minimum. I write down everything, even if it seems like something obvious – like a phone charger.

Making a travel list also helps me see what I need to buy for the trip. For example, if I write shampoo down on the list, it’s not completely practical to take an entire bottle of shampoo. Buying travel sized toiletries will help save a little bit of luggage room. Saving a little room everywhere you can means you have more room to bring more things home. Do you realize how many sets of RPG dice you can fit in the space difference between the size of a normal bottle of shampoo and a travel size bottle?

Travel Food and Vehicle Prep

Chocolate, super sweet candy, and sodas are not good travel snacks. I would recommend beef jerky, trail mix, crackers, peanuts, and water or some other beverage like lemonade or Gatorade. I don’t bring anything that will melt or go bad in a hot vehicle. We make the trip by car and it takes us the better part of eight hours to get to Columbus, Ohio from Dyersburg, Tennessee. Having wholesome snacks also helps keep the number of stops to a minimum. It also helps to have good snacks for the hotel room too, so I always make sure to pack plenty of snacks.

We also make sure our vehicle has had its regular maintenance like an oil change and a tire inspection. We also check to be sure we’ve got a spare tire, jumper cables, plenty of gas in the tank, a map, and a GPS. I will sometimes check our route ahead of time and see where the long stretches are between gas stations and make a note to check the tank before reaching those points. Jumper cables should be in your vehicle at all times, regardless of the vehicle’s age. Spare tires are also important and we like to make sure we’ve got some funds set aside in case we need to buy another tire on the trip. Folks sometimes laugh at me for having an atlas in the car, but there could be times where you lose signal on your GPS or phone and you need to know where to go. It doesn’t hurt to be prepared.

Weather Forecast

June is warm, but heads up – the convention halls can get chilly! We bring a light coat or a light weight long sleeved shirt with us to the convention.

We keep an eye on what the weather is supposed to be doing for the entire duration of the convention. We plan to walk to and from the convention, so we’ll need to know if rain is in the forecast. It didn’t rain at all while we were there last year, at least not when we were going to and from the convention. We took an Uber back and forth between the hotel and the convention last year. We also pay close attention to what the weather forecast is for the road trip.

Plotting the Course

We always check the suggested routes for which one appeals to us the most. Sometimes, we prefer the more scenic routes, and other times we prefer traveling through more populated areas. We cross check them with the weather and then select the one we think is best.

June – Convention Time!
Road Trip Time!

When departure day arrives, we make sure everything on our checklist is checked off and we put our selected route into the GPS app, and we head out! Depending on which day we leave, usually determines what time we leave. If we leave on Tuesday, we leave later in the morning, putting our arrival around dinner time. If we leave on Wednesday, we leave as early as possible (usually 7:00 or 8:00 am) which puts our arrival around 3:00 or 4:00 pm.

Pit-Stops and Safety

We stop as few times as possible, because that not only saves time, but also saves us a little on gas.

When we stop for a meal, we make sure it’s not super greasy fast food. Eating healthier on the road helps us stay alert on the trip. I know this all sounds cheesy, no pun intended there, but it’s the honest truth! I used to eat nothing but Cheetos and drink Mountain Dew while traveling and since I changed my diet, I’ve noticed a world of difference. When we stop for a meal, we make it worthwhile.

We also check the area around our potential stop for red flags. We never stop at a location that looks like it belongs in a horror movie – because I don’t want to be in a real-life horror movie scenario. We make sure the places we stop are well lit and clean on the outside. If there are storage buildings or trees close by, we don’t ever park near them. If there are a lot of folks hanging around outside a place, regardless of how they look, we will pass it by. We also look at the buildings in the area around where we’re thinking of stopping. If the area looks run down and unkempt, even if the place we’re wanting stop at looks okay, we will pass it up. It doesn’t take much effort to stay safe, just some common sense.

We also lock our vehicle at every stop, even if we’re only running in for a second, and we never leave the vehicle running. That’s just asking for someone to steal it. We like to cover our luggage with a solid colored sheet of cloth too, so anyone peering in won’t see what’s in the back of the vehicle. We hide anything that looks valuable, either under the seats or under the cloth in the back of the vehicle. And we also clean the change out of the cup holders. You would be surprised what folks will break into a car for.

Arrival!

When we arrive in Columbus, we like to check into our hotel room first if possible, just to be sure everything is in order. We haven’t really had any issues during an Origins trip (yet), but we’ve had issues with hotels in the past.

If we arrive on Tuesday, we usually take that time to relax and look over the website, making notes or changing wish lists. There isn’t much to do on Tuesday, besides visit the comic store and meet up with friends in the food court.

If we arrive on Wednesday, then we go directly to the convention center upon arrival in Columbus. Origins opens the on-site registration and badge pick up on Wednesday, as well as the gaming halls. The Exhibit Hall (Vendor Hall) is not typically open on Wednesday. We will oftentimes sit in the food court and browse the Origins event book and coupon book you get at registration.

Origins Game Fair

Everyone goes to Origins not only for gaming but to socialize with fellow gamers, the creators of their favorite games, and the companies that produce games. Origins is a very relaxed experience for how many folks attend. You wouldn’t think of 18,000 folks milling around as a relaxed experience, except the folks organizing this convention know what they’re doing. The GAMA organization does a wonderful job of it every year.

Quiet Time

This is an important topic for me and many other gamers as well. If you don’t already know this about me, you may be surprised to learn that I have some pretty severe anxiety issues. I don’t want to go into too much detail, but I have panic attacks when strangers get too close to me. If I feel safe and comfortable, my anxiety isn’t an issue. A convention like Origins feels like home to me and I feel safe, so my anxiety isn’t an issue here.

I like how they have the convention set up. It never feels cramped in the gaming halls since the doors to them stay open most of the time. The only major ‘rush’ is when the Exhibit Hall first opens everyday. But once those folks filter in and disperse, which is actually quite fast, the Exhibit Hall doesn’t feel cramped either. The more popular booths will always have a crowd, but even those crowds are easy to maneuver while in the booth. The later in the day it is, the less crowded the booths are.

If you start to feel overwhelmed, there are lots of quiet areas all over the convention center to sit in. Most of the areas aren’t even designated as quiet spots, but they work great for folks like me that need a few minutes to rest. The Origins volunteers are helpful and understanding for anyone in need and can guide you to a quiet area or direct you to someone that can help.

Charging Stations

Last year, I thought I’d have to sit in the floor by an outlet in order to charge my video camera and my phone, but I didn’t! The Greater Columbus Convention Center has charging stations all over the place! They’re at tables, in the food court at a charging bar, in lounge areas, practically everywhere. It’s a convenience that I greatly thank them for.

Wednesday – At Origins

Unless they change something, Wednesday is the day we’ll be picking up our badges. The gaming halls are usually open and some events could be up and running. Wednesday is the day we use to scout out the locations for events we purchased tickets for and to visit the comic store, Heroes and Games, in the convention center. The staff at this store is always so nice and helpful and it’s a must visit place while at the convention.

We also look around the food court and see if there’s anything on the menus that we just have to try and make a note of it for later. There are a lot of great options for breakfast and lunch. The food court is spacious and bright, but they have dimmer areas too if you prefer it, and it’s a great place to sit with friends to get away from the bustle of the convention.

We try to hit the food court last so we can grab lunch and look over our booklets. When you register and get your badge, you also get a couple of Origins booklets, plus a coupon book. We’ll sit and go through the coupon book and select the coupons we’re most interested in and also browse the convention map and the event booklet for anything we might have missed.

If it’s not too late by the time we’re done with that, we’ll make our way back to the gaming halls to see if any of the booths are open and get in some early demos. If not, we’ll find some folks to play some games with!

Thursday to Sunday – At Origins

Thursday is probably the biggest day since that’s the first day the Exhibit Hall is open. Folks are trying to get in for the early show deals and trying to get any freebies they might have from the coupon book. Events are in full swing and folks are bustling around with bags full of games. The excitement is almost palpable in the air. There are vendors offering demos, supply vendors displaying their goods, artists and writers talking about their works, and folks from all walks of life coming together to enjoy the atmosphere and join in the excitement of playing old favorites and newly discovered favorites alike.

These four days are all similar in that we’re participating in various events, browsing products, and having fun! Sunday is the only day that’s different for us because that’s the day we check out of our hotel room and head home after we’re done at Origins. Many folks stay the night and leave on Monday, but we’re usually ready to head home by Sunday. It’s a whirlwind of excitement and fun for us everyday and the experience is well worth the trip!

Origins Game Fair Tips
3-2-1 Health and Hygiene Rule

I’m sure many of you have heard of the convention hygiene rule in one form or another. I’ve always heard it called the 3-2-1 Rule, but in recent years I’ve seen variations pop up. It’s basically this:

  • 3 – Get at least three hours of sleep each night of the convention.
  • 2 – Eat two proper meals each day of the convention.
  • 1 – Take at least one shower each day of the convention.

Sleep – Some variations say you need five or six hours of sleep each night of the convention. Every person is different. Some of us can function just fine off of three hours of sleep. Others need eight hours, or more. I’m somewhere around a six hour person and if I don’t get enough rest, I look terrible and I’m very grumpy. Don’t sacrifice sleep for more game time because you might regret it as the convention continues on.

Eat – Everyone needs at least two proper meals everyday of the convention. Mr. DDK and I get our three meals in, plus snacks. I love gaming, but I love food too. I won’t sacrifice food for more gaming. There is a time and place for each one and when it’s time to eat, then I go eat! Pretzels or other con-foods are not a substitute for a meal. There is an entire food court in the convention center with a variety of reasonably priced food and drink. Eating regular and proper meals is important for energy levels too. If you’re not eating properly, you are not on top of your game!

Shower – This is not just a courtesy for those around you, it’s a health thing too. You’re going to be in and around all kinds of folks. Some of those folks might have a germ or two and not know it, or they could have germs and not care. If you get those germs on your clothes, you’re transporting them around and spreading them. You need to shower every day to get those germs off. Don’t contribute to the spread of con crud, shower it off.

As a side note to go along with showering – do not shower in aftershave, cologne, or perfume – use soap and water, please. Use scented things in moderation. We’re not really in tight quarters in the gaming halls, but there are lots of people with sensory issues and a strong scent could trigger a negative response. Only in recent years, as my anxiety has worsened, have I learned just how debilitating a sensory problem can be. My sensory issue is texture and sound related, but I totally understand what folks go through when their sensory issue is triggered. Be kind to those around you and don’t drown yourself in scented things.

Clothes

Bring enough sets of clothes that you can wear different clothes everyday – pants included. If you can’t do this, or just don’t want to, have your clothes laundered. Wearing the same pair of pants for two days could contribute to the spread of con crud. I have a set of clothes for every day of the convention, plus backups. When we get back to the hotel, I toss my dirty clothes in their own bag so they don’t potentially contaminate my clean clothes. And that’s usually the first thing I do after we unload the car from the trip – I wash the clothes! Just because you’re not at the convention anymore doesn’t mean you didn’t bring the crud home with you.

Wash Your Hands

It’s very important that you wash your hands regularly, not just after using the facilities. And hand sanitizer is great if you can’t make it to the restroom right away, but it’s not a substitute for washing your hands. I make frequent trips to the restroom to wash my hands, especially after handling demo products or shaking hands with folks. Germs spread rapidly at conventions and the best way to stifle them is wash your hands and use sanitizer.

Cart or Bag?

Should you tote your purchases around in a shopping bag, a rolling basket or cart, a wheeled suitcase, or by some other method? Well, only you can answer that question! Last year, I used a wheeled suitcase and I’m leaning that way again. I wanted a wired basket or wheeled tote, like the ones shown below, but after lugging that suitcase around last year I think the basket might be too much of a hassle.

rolling carts

The suitcase worked fine and it was fully enclosed. While I feel safe at Origins, I am not that trusting that I would leave my belongings out in the open. The major benefit the baskets have over the suitcase is that they’re collapsible and the extra suitcase isn’t. The baskets are also larger, which could be good or bad depending on the situation.

There are plenty of folks that make purchases and carry their goodies using shopping bags, which works fine for them. But if you’re planning on making lots of purchases and you can’t easily make a drop off in your hotel room or car, then you might want to think about a cart or suitcase. Just be sure to keep your possessions out of aisles so folks don’t trip over them.

Conclusion

Origins Game Fair is lots of fun and a great experience. There is so much to do and there’s something for everyone who loves gaming. There are diverse gaming experiences for all kinds of folks, from board games and role playing games to live action role playing and video gaming. It’s an event that I recommend everyone try to attend at least one time, even if it’s just for one day. It’s an affordable convention in a beautiful venue and it’s located in a wonderful city.

I hope that sharing my planning steps and convention tips helps folks plan their trip according to their needs. If you’re attending Origins in 2019, I’ll hopefully see you there!

Feel free to share your tips in the comments!
Thanks for reading!

Board out, game on!

Greetings Fellow Dice Fans!

 

What a week it’s been! We left home on Wednesday and traveled to Columbus, Ohio for Origins Game Fair. WizKids hosted the US National Championship there on Thursday alongside a World Championship Qualifier, a World Championship Qualifier on Friday, and then the World Championship on Saturday. For folks like me, this was super cool and I was totally okay with Nationals and Worlds being a day apart at the same location. This meant that if I didn’t do well in Nationals, I could try a qualifier or just enjoy all that Origins had to offer. If I did qualify in Nationals, I’d have Friday to look around, then play Worlds on Saturday.

As luck would have it, I did not qualify for Worlds through Nationals. I did not play in any qualifier events because my rolls during Nationals were awful, and I know how my luck runs. I don’t what folks to think I’m downplaying my opponent’s wins  – they were all great pilots and even if I would have had decent rolls, I think the result would have still been the same.

National Championship

The National Championship had 36 total players which gave us 6 rounds. We played best of one, 30 minute rounds, 3 turns.

Round One – Robert D.

Round 1 - Robert D

Apologies for the glare on Professor X.

One of my biggest fears was facing a mirror match against another Nova. Robert was using a variant of the Bolt Ring team and when I saw my first turn rolls, I knew I was in serious trouble. Robert got great rolls and he knew exactly what to buy and when to buy it. It didn’t take him long to defeat me and he played his team like it was second nature to him. Even though the match was over quickly, it was still fun to play and watch his team function so well.

Record after Round One: 0-1-0

Round Two – Travis H.

Round 2 - Travis H

When I saw my opponent’s name, I got excited! I’ve seen Travis H. in the Facebook groups and have even had discussions with him in the groups. There was a point where I was calling him and my husband Travis by numbers, Travis 1 and Travis 2. He was an absolute pleasure to play against and fun to talk to. He is also an amazing pilot, but his dice didn’t want him to have his Lantern Ring until late in the game. I almost had a glimmer of hope during our match – I thought I might get some worthwhile damage in, but it wasn’t meant to be.

Travis said that he hadn’t seen anyone roll consistently as bad as I had and I told him that was how I normally roll, which is absolutely true. But we still had a fun match and I hope that all his less desirable rolls were during our match. Travis finished 7th in Nationals and went on to the World Championship on Saturday. I’m not sure what place he finished in during Worlds, but if I confirm, I’ll add it in here.

Congratulations to Travis on all his great finishes and hopefully we’ll get to play again in the future!

Record after Round Two: 0-2-0

Round Three – Almir (Al) T.

Round 3 - Almir T

Apologies again for the glare on Human Paladin.

When we set up against each other, I absolutely didn’t think I’d win this match. But I felt so bad playing this match out. I didn’t have the best rolls and Almir’s rolls were much worse. He couldn’t get his dice to cooperate with him at all. Almir is another great pilot that did everything right with what he was given. You can tell when someone knows what they’re doing, even with bad rolls. I wish his dice had rolled better for him, but it happens.

I truly hope for a rematch one day with Almir and both of our dice better be nice to us and let us play a great game without all the poor rolls. It was a pleasure to meet Almir!

Record after Round Three: 1-2-0

Round Four – Thomas S.

Round 4 - Thomas S

Talk about an interesting team! I was super happy to see another Nova out there. I like the addition of Miri, but when I tried to use her, she just gummed up my bag. Miri is not for me, but she worked great for Thomas! This was an amazing game! Thomas and I had the most fun I had all day. Event though we were playing in a major event, we were cutting up and having a great time.

This game was well played on both sides and neither of us felt like we were at a serious disadvantage. Those are the types of games that I love and it literally came down to who rolled what they needed. It was an exhilarating match! I needed my Lantern Ring to roll for me and it didn’t. On Thomas’s next turn, he just need one die to roll for him, and it did. It was literally anyone’s game on one of those two turns.

Congratulations to Thomas on his 10th place finish! Way to represent Nova!

Record after Round Four: 1-3-0

I knew at this point that I would not make the cutoff for the World Championship qualifications, but I do not drop from tournaments unless I absolutely have to. I played out all six of my rounds.

Round Five – Doug T.

Round 5 - Doug T

Well, here I was, back to my pitiful rolls. I don’t like having such poor rolls because I feel like my opponents deserve a great match and bad rolls deny them that. I did the best I could, but I couldn’t get any momentum going against Oracle, Iron Fist, and Ronin. And that Constantine is a proxy with super cool art, and he had the official Constantine, Hellblazer sleeved under the proxy. I love the proxy cards and thought about using my Blue-Eyes White Dragon proxy. Mask Ring teams are very powerful and I was shown once again just how effective they can be.

Doug was a great pilot with an interesting team. He placed higher than I did in the final standings.

Record after Round Five: 1-4-0

Round Six – Dustin “Duck” T.

Round 6 - Dustin 'Duck'

I had loads of fun with Thomas earlier in the day, but Duck had me rolling with laughter! Duck was an absolute pleasure to play against! Here was another Nova player too, but he had a character that almost beat the pants off of me. I got lucky when Duck didn’t roll his Scarecrow several times, but the one time he did roll Scarecrow, he took my Nova and hit me in the face with him. I’ve never had that particular Scarecrow used against me before so it was a surprise.

Our match was one of my favorites just because of how much fun we had while playing. We took it seriously, but not too seriously because it was our last round, and we were at the bottom table anyway.

Record after Round Six: 2-4-0
Final Standing: 27th place

Final Thoughts

My final thoughts on my Nationals experience are simple – I got a weird stroke of luck at the WKO2 but my poor luck still holds. Just because you know how to build and play a team, doesn’t always mean the dice will roll the way you need them to. Consistently bad rolls are my life! I would probably do better with a team of miscellaneous characters with different energy types than a cohesive team that has purpose.

I still had loads of fun with everyone at Nationals, even though I didn’t place well. I got to meet many of the folks I idolize from TRP and the PDC. And I also have to say that I’m blown away by the number of Dice Masters players that know who I am because of this blog. I can’t express the gratitude I feel towards all of you from all over the world that read my articles. I met some super cool folks from Mexico that did some trading with me. David, Marcelo, Abraham, and the nice gentleman from their group that was translating for them (I’m so sorry! I can’t remember your name!). I’m so glad you all made it up to play and that I had the pleasure of meeting you all.

I enjoyed meeting all the new folks and playing against folks I’ve never played against before. I got to see folks I know which made this event even more awesome! Everyone is so super cool in the community and I couldn’t have hoped for a better experience. I went to play Dice Masters – winning didn’t matter. I feel like I walked away a winner anyway because of all the new friends I made, all the friends I got to see again, and especially all the love I was shown by everyone. There isn’t a gaming community out there that’s like ours.

World Championship

I didn’t pay much attention to the Worlds event (shame on me, but there was so much to do at Origins!), except for checking up on everyone to see how they were doing.

I know there are some topics going around in the Facebook groups that were also discussed by us players at Origins, and I really don’t want to get into those at this time. The only one that I will touch on is the first player advantage. This topic cause heated discussions and I wish folks would take a step back and review what they’re going to say before they put it on the internet. There is definitely an advantage to going first and WizKids had noticed this. I’ve heard that they are working on test playing different fixes, so give them some time and let them figure out what they need to do for the health of the game and the community.

Origins Game Fair

Origins Badge

I’ve been to several conventions but Origins was the first Game Fair I’ve ever been to. It’s not like your normal convention. There were a few folks dressed in cosplay but what I saw more than anything were games – games everywhere! Almost every booth had tables set up for demos or mini tournaments.

WizKids had their own booth with loads of table space for Attack Wing, Heroclix, and Dice Masters events. They also had a display case with special preview items. I took a few pictures and tried to get the best ones I could. I uploaded a lot to my Instagram and Facebook page as well.

Click on the pictures to get a better look!

World's Qualifier Friday

Don’t let the giant Pikachu fool you – this is definitely Dice Masters. This was the World’s Qualifier on Friday. Thursday’s World’s Qualifier had 63 folks and Friday had 73 folks competing. Travis played on Friday, and dropped with a record of 3-3-0. He would have played his last round, but he dropped to help me because I had a really bad pain in my lower back and in my stomach. A nice young lady named Leslie hunted down the first aid folks for me, and luckily, it turned out that I just needed to sit for a bit. I had been on my feet all day, walking around, and I just over did it. You can’t do that after you have surgery! Thanks again to Leslie for looking out for a fellow player. That’s another example of how awesome are community is, and I apologize if I misspelled your name.

I added loads of pictures on my Facebook Page from the WizKids Fan Appreciation Event and even though I was sitting on the floor in the front row, my pics are not that good. Check out my Facebook if you’d like to see the pictures I got. I don’t want to put them in my article because they’re really poor pictures. The biggest thing I was interested in was news on rotation and we did get confirmation that there will be rotation sometime in the future, but they couldn’t tell us what sets or when it would happen. That’s a little more info than what we had before.

WizKids gave out prizes with trivia questions, which was super awesome, but they took it a step further. They did a raffle, giving out an uncut sheet of Age of Ultron for Dice Masters and a factory set of one of the new Clix sets to a Clix player. WizKids goes above and beyond to show their appreciation to all of us players. Thank you WizKids for hosting this event and doing everything you could to accommodate all the folks that wanted to be in it.

WK Fan Appreciation Event

I want to show a fellow player’s awesome playmat, but I forgot to ask if I could put his name in my article. He had it made, but the creator is not currently taking orders. If either of them sees this article and doesn’t mind  having their names and affiliation be added, I’ll add it. But this mat is super cool! I’m not sure what the exact material it’s made of is, but it has magnets on the card sleeves, and foam between two pieces that hold the dice in place. He folds up the whole playmat to about the size of a notebook and everything is held in place. He unfolds it where ever he sits down to play and the whole team is set up and ready to go!

Playmat inside

I want to move on to some of the supplies I spotted at Origins. I managed to find a large supply of Turn One Gaming Supplies playmats over at Troll and Toad’s booth.

T1 Mats at Troll and Toad

While we were scouting the dealer’s hall, we found loads of dice towers, but the one dealer that stood out was Wyrmwood Gaming. They have the coolest dice towers that are magnetized and collapse into a neat box. They would be perfect for Dice Masters, Dungeons and Dragons, Zombie Dice, Chupacabra, or any other dice related game! The quality of these dice towers is well worth the money you would spend on one. We got to see these up close and the quality is out of this world! A nice gentleman demonstrated how they collapse and fit perfectly into the tray that you can get with them. I will be looking into getting one myself at some point in the future, because I play a ton of dice games!

The Hickory Dice Tower is probably my favorite. There are custom options too like text or a picture. I could get any dice tower with my logo on it. I would seriously recommend that you check this place out. You will get a dice tower that is unique, high quality, and easy to assemble and disassemble for storage or travel. You can also find Wyrmwood on Facebook.

Hickory Dice Tower from Wyrmwood

Other Happenings at Origins Game Fair

There was so much more than Dice Masters and Dice Masters accessories there! I’m a board gamer too, so this game fair was awesome for me! I mentioned already that almost every booth had tables for demos and tournaments, everything from Ticket to Ride and Catan to VS and TCGs like Magic and Spoils. I had two solid days to look around and I did not see everything. I looked at as much as I could in the gaming hall and the dealer’s room. I demoed several games and got to play in a giant King of Tokyo event. Everyone that played got a special pack of promo cards for King of Tokyo!

I got to visit iello Game‘s booth and we bought the bundle special, so we got King of New York and the new printing of King of Tokyo that has the Space Penguin and Cyber Kitty in it. If you bought the bundle, you got some cool King of New York promo cards too.

iello bundle

I got to demo this super fun game called Betabotz by Zagar games. You can find them on Kickstarter and on Twitter. I desperately want to see this game get going. If I had the money, I would totally fund the rest of their Kickstarter. This game is a ‘take-that’ bidding game that also inspires some cooperative work among players. You build up your robot by bidding on components and winning them. You have code cards that you keep secret in your hand that can help or hurt other players when you play them. You go on ‘missions’ and earn more bits (currency). The player with the most victory points is declared the winner. There are several ways to earn victory points as well. If you like Munchkin or use Munchkin as a gateway game, check this game out. It’s got some similar bartering and take that mechanics, but Betabotz inspires more co-op and it’s way more fun! There isn’t much time left in the Kickstarter, but they’ve said that they will relaunch if they don’t reach their goal this time.

We picked up Dead Last, the social collusion game for 6 – 12 players by Smirk and DaggerTiny Epic Galaxies by Gamelyn Games, Sheriff of Nottingham promo cards, Lanterns: Harvest Festival promo cards, Red Dragon Inn promo card, an awesome set of dice and a bag from Q Workshop, a special Origins 2016 D6 from Crystal Caste, and a cute Origins 2016 Mayfair Games Pin (I love Star Trek Catan!).

Game Loot

There is a TCG called The Spoils, that’s been around for ten years, and I have never heard of it! I had a ton of fun learning to play it and we even did a draft for it on our last day at Origins. I used to play and judge for Magic: the Gathering, many years ago, and as popular and well known as MtG is, I prefer Spoils much more! If you want to play something similar to MtG, but different and interesting, check out The Spoils! We got some cool goodies from them as well. I love the Micromajig tokens!

There were numerous artists there as well, and my favorite artist had a booth, but was unable to attend in person. Ed Beard Jr. is an amazing fantasy artist that’s done so much art for Magic: The Gathering. Another artist that I really like is doing the art for Betabotz, Tina Bongorno, and I even got her to sign a promo Betabotz card!

I wish I had been able to see and do everything, but there is just too much for one single person to do at Origins in two days. We wanted to do some of the RPG events like Pathfinder or D&D, but we didn’t even make it over that way. There were war games, deck building games, miniature painting, RPGs, loads of board games, living card games, TCG/CCGs, supplies, and so much more at Origins. If you ever have the opportunity to go to Origins Game Fair, I would say take that opportunity – it was so worth the trip!

I had so much fun playing in the Dice Masters National Championship and I would go again, just to try the qualifiers and experience Origins again!

Roll on, Dice Masters!