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June 30, 2008 / jadettman

Back from Origins

Britt and I got back from Origins last night around 8:45pm after spending the majority of the day driving. The convention was good as we got to spend three days doing little else but playing games, meeting new people, and hanging out with friends that we don’t get to see much anymore.

We drove out Wednesday with James, one of the guys from Rockford that we currently game with. The trip was uneventful but filled with the usual construction and accident delays that I’ve come to expect when traveling by car in the summer. We left around 7am and checked into our hotel at approximately 6:30pm on Wednesday, so a little over ten hours on the road. After we arrived we went to dinner at BD’s Mongolian Barbeque with two of our friends from Ithaca, Amy and Zach.

The Mongolian Barbeque was new to all of us but turned out to be pretty tasty, which isn’t surprising since the whole point of the place is that you’re picking out your own food to be prepared, salad bar style. It was an interesting experience, and the food was good, but I felt it was a little expensive for what we got.

For the convention this year, Britt and I got Board Room passes and I decided to play in the Powergrid and Puerto Rico tournaments. For those unfamiliar, the Board Room is a big open gaming area run by the Columbus Area Boardgamer Society. They’ve got a huge library of games that folks can check out and play all weekend. A Board Room pass costs $16 but is totally worth it. We got four new games from their boardgame give-away and won two more from the Saturday raffle. That on top of the weekend of boardgame play: awesome!

Thursday, and Friday I played a lot of Powergrid and Puerto Rico in the tournaments. As expected with convention play, my opponents were generally pretty skilled and games were mostly friendly. I got into the semi-finals for both games and then discovered that the semi-final matches were being held at the same time on Saturday night. Not cool! I ended up playing in the Puerto Rico semi-final and coming in third, mostly due to seating issues. (I noticed a lot of seating issues with Puerto Rico during Origins. Something I’ll have to think about further.) Sunday morning, I played in the Puerto Rico finals because one of the second place semi-finalists couldn’t make it. It was a close match all around but I ended up coming in second place.

Friday, we visited the North Market for the first time. North Market is a big indoor shopping area with a variety of food vendors selling at a reasonable prices and only a couple blocks from the convention center. When going to Origins in the future, that is definitely the place to get a great warm meal. Also: ice cream!

The Origins dealer’s room seemed a little sparse this year, especially without White Wolf or Wizards of the Coast in attendance. I walked through a couple times and, though there were several shiny tidbits of interest, there just wasn’t much I was interested in buying. Our boardgaming at home has been so sparse for the last year that it just didn’t seem worthwhile to get a lot of new games (though I’ll probably pick up Thurn & Taxis in the future). Sad.

I did not get into a 4E D&D game at the convention, due entirely to my slacking and absent-mindedness. I think that’s my only real passing regret from the con. Someday it’ll happen, someday.

Overall, I’d say that Britt and I had another great Origins trip. James seemed to have a good time too, of which I’m glad as it was the first gaming convention he’s ever been to. From the sound of it, he’ll be going again next year. I know we will be.

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