Origins Wrap-up

We didn’t go back to Origins on Sunday, instead staying home with Kim’s family and doing a couple games with Kim’s dad and our friend Mark. Wings of War came out again and was enjoyed by all. We also tried Maharaja, which showed promise, but seemed a touch thin with 3; I look forward to trying it again with 4 or 5.

As always, I bought a few games at Origins. Here is the damage:

  • Maharaja – Normally I would have waited, but Rio Grande was requiring a $25 purchase to get a copy of the Puerto Rico expansion, so I bought it.
  • FBI – same as above. Any game in which you play a law enforcement type wantonly locking up innocent suspects has to be good.
  • San Juan expansion – Although not a huge fan of the expansion, it’s nice enough and I’m glad to have a professionally-printed copy. That, and I got Andreas Seyfarth to sign it.
  • ANZAC Attack – The new Lock ‘n Load expansion. Haven’t had a chance to dive into it yet, but I like the new counter style. Whatever happened to names like “Crescendo of Doom”, though? ANZAC Attack? That’s pretty weak.
  • Wings of War – After enjoying my demo with the FFG folks, I had to pick this one up, perhaps because I really didn’t expect to like it. This rates as my “find” of the con, the game I probably wouldn’t have otherwise played, but enjoyed quite a bit.
  • Doom Cubes – One vendor had some Doom Cubes for Dicemaster at $3 a box, so I cleaned them out. I think that was 4 boxes.
  • Victoria Cross – This is a new block game covering the ever-challenging battle at Rorke’s Drift, and is published by Worthington Games, a new company. It qualified as my speculative purchase. It looks short-ish, simple, and people were having fun with it. I look forward to playing it, but it is an unknown.
  • Time Agent – Actually not a new purchase, but Tom Lehmann had donated large quantities of old games to the prize table at The Gathering, and Mark picked up a copy for us. Of all the old TimJim/Prism stuff, this is the one I was most interested in going back to give another shot. If I get one play out of it, that’ll be OK.

Not bad. I was proud of myself, in previous years I would have bought GMT’s new Downtown, which looks rather cool, but the insanely lengthy rulebook drove me away. I was also sorely tempted by MMP’s ASL Starter Kit, which I saw a surprising number of people carrying around, and For King And Country, but I easily resisted even with their convention discount. I also had little trouble resisting buying any old games (Russian Front was the closest call, and it wasn’t really that close), as better deals can be found on eBay. Crazy Egor’s pricing “strategy” is, well, pretty crazy. And I never play those games anyway. I’m still trying to fit in Air Assault on Crete and/or Invasion of Malta sometime, and it doesn’t look likely. I also resisted buying a promotional miniature for Mongoose’s new Babylon 5 space combat miniatures game, or any RPG sourcebooks at all. I also didn’t buy any dice, even though there were some very cool-looking ones.

Hey, being able to resist buying games I am never going to play is a moral victory for me.

Leaving Origins is always slightly sad. While this was not my best Origins ever, compared to going to work every day, it’s a big improvement. I could easily have used another few days of Origins before going home.

Still, all told, there were enough disappointments this year to require some questions be answered before going next year. The two MECCG events are usually the highlights of the con for me, and with one falling through and one being awkward this year, that was a real hit. Fortunately, both should be back next year.

The sad state of affairs in the War Room was expected, but still unfortunate. I think, though, it’s time to put my money where my mouth is. Next year, I promise to run two events. The four choices I’m seriously considering are Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage, Lock ‘n Load, Europe Engulfed, and Wizard Kings. I suspect Europe Engulfed will be too time-consuming given I like other games, so I suspect I’ll be going with a single-elim Hannibal event and a Swiss Lock ‘n Load. Both should be doable in a 6-8 hour slot, with some time discipline. More details will be forthcoming. If you would attend such an event, please let me know and give me some feedback on time slots you’d prefer. If I think of anything else good I might run, maybe I’ll do another poll.

The final disappointment was, of course, the cancellation of the one Amorphous Blob RPG event I had signed up for. This was just bad luck, but the lesson here is to sign up for two.

In the end, we decided we’d be back, most likely, although the final decision will wait to see if I can pull together my events, and also until we get our pre-reg booklets and see what things look like. It’s not as easy as in the old days to just show up, fill your schedule, and have a good time. But on balance, there is a huge amount of good stuff at Origins, and as a gamer it’s hard to miss.

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