Origins! June 7, 2015 16:55
I am back from Origins and totally rested!
Ok, not totally. As anyone who has been to a convention knows, they are amazing, but do take a lot out of you. I was only there for one day, so I really hit the ground running trying to do everything I wanted to do, both as a gamer fanboy and for Digression 3D.
I arrived with my buddy Dave, met up with Dave’s friend Devin, got our badges and wandered the various halls. I was drawn to the miniatures area because, while I don’t actively play many miniature games anymore, I LOVE looking at the terrain layouts and painted models people bring. Some of those gamers can paint figures amazingly well. I am always in awe of what is going on there. There were especially cool Star Wars Miniatures Hoth and Endor tables (which may have been happening on Saturday. It all blurs together in my mind).
Later in the evening, I got my first bit of gaming in. Devin introduced Dave and me to Valeria: Card Kingdoms. He backed it on Kickstarter and created a very nice print and play version while final production is happening. It is a nice filler game, not too brain taxing, but with enough interesting decisions that I wasn’t bored. I was left wanting to play a second game, but after getting up at 4am with a teething toddler, 11:30 seemed very late.
I started by hitting the exhibit hall and trying to get a layout of what was new and cool. I love demoing games that aren’t on my radar already. Generally if an indie publisher shouts at me, I will be gladly sitting down at a table and taking in his or her spiel. At Origins, those games generally failed to impress. However, the very first demo of the morning really excited me.
The game in question is Battle Merchants, in which you play arms dealers funding a war between various fantasy races. At its core it is an economic game, but there seemed to be lots of opportunity to block your opponent’s strategies (a must in my group) and a bunch of meaningful decision points during your turn. At the end of the demo (one season out of four), I wanted to keep playing to see if my strategy was going to bear fruit. To me, that is the sign of a great game.
Since it was at the beginning of the day, I didn’t purchase my own copy since I hadn’t seen everything yet and I had a bag filled with dice cases to show off. I had planned to get back and get a copy, but as often happens, the day slipped away. The designer, Gil Hova (a very nice dude as well as a good designer), let me know that the expansion will be coming out this week sometime. I will definitely be ordering both after that happens.
Around lunch time, I got in a game of Navia Dratp with Nate, a fellow ND enthusiast. I love that game, but don’t have any friends around me who are interested in learning, so when Nate and I cross paths at conventions, we try to get in a game or two. That is one game I really wish would get picked up, cleaned up, and re-themed by a big company who can show it some love. The Duke is similar in a lot of ways, but just doesn’t quite attain the intricacy of Navia.
In the afternoon, I played in a DC Dice Masters Rainbow Draft, both because Dice Masters is awesome and because I wanted to show off my dice cases to people. It was a single elimination game and I got paired up with Dave, who regularly destroys me in Dice Masters. The tournament was no different as he took me apart with Green Arrow, knocking me out of the tournament. Of course, Dave went on to win it, so I am happy about that. It also gave me a chance to get in some fun games with the people around me and talk to people about 3D printing and Digression 3D. I ended up giving out a bunch of business cards and a few cases to people who were kind enough to play a game or two with me.
I was disappointed that there was no big X-Wing Miniatures tournament going on. I would have liked to give a mini-card box to a rebel player and an imperial player along with some business cards (in rebel red and imperial black, of course!). To me, they are perfect for holding your damage deck and upgrade cards, but I am only very casually into that game. I would get absolutely destroyed at a tournament with my wave 1 and 2 “fleet”. Hopefully I can find someone at Gencon to swag. My understanding is that is where the big tournaments are happening.
If I may indulge in one more story before I go:
There were two guys playing in the rainbow draft who were clearly friends. During the second round, one was knocked out and one had the bye. I ended up playing the bye player, Ryan, as his buddy wandered around the con. I asked Ryan if they had travelled to the convention together. He responded that no, they had just met the first day, started chatting and ended up hanging out during the con.
THAT is the reason I love cons so much. There are so many awesome people to meet who share your interests that it is easy to make friends that last more than just those few days.
The day was fantastic. There was much fun to be had and much gaming to be done. It has really whetted my appetite for Gencon this summer. Thanks to all the people I met at Origins who made it such a great place to visit!