The second weekend in June, in Columbus OH, Origins was back again. Closer to normal than last year when it was held in October, but the number of attendees, vendors and games were still down from the before times. (Also, it was a week earlier in June - kind of odd to not have it over Father's day weekend).
Of course the Ohio War Kings were there, running a variety of events. Origins went to a new (how many of these have they gone through now?) scheduling system, Tabletop.events, which I have seen for MUCH smaller conventions (I can't help but wonder if this was the largest convention they had ever done, since it is the 2nd largest in the US after all). Submitting events was fairly easy, and I could see them on-line to make corrections as well (so we didn't end up double scheduling anyone, or inadvertently removing events when we wanted to add new ones). It would be nice if it allowed GM's (not just event organizers) to see their events, but still it wasn't bad.
Once again it was combined with GDex - which from what I can tell, is a small developer video game conference. I actually think that works well (unlike when Gencon tried to add video games), as these aren't huge billion dollar companies whose goal is to steal customers - but tiny little ones that help to complement the games. I even FINALLY got a pre-release copy of Collapsus for my phone - kind of reverse tetris that uses the phones ability to change orientation so you can change the direction the blocks fall in. I tried it several years ago at a small game night at Star City Brewery and found it lots of fun, but have not been able to actually get a copy until now (and it still isn't fully available - but you can check it out here.
Origins also made some changes in the pricing structure for the convention. Instead of buying a badge and then paying for individual events, they raised the cost of the badges and all the 'standard' events were then free. No more generic tokens. I'm still not sure if this was better or worse. We were concerned that we would have more 'no-shows' at our events because people did not have to put any 'skin in the game' as it were - before if they weren't going to show up at least it cost them $2, now there was not cost at all for not using a ticket you reserved.
|The Ohio War Kings gaming area|
|Learn to Play: Kings of War session on Friday|
|Kara Brown and Mark Zielinski start to get set up|
|Final Learn to Play: Armada session on Sunday|
|Learn to Play: Deadzone|
|Learn to Play: Kings of War. Ignore that bald guy.|
|Mark picked the Twilight Kin fleet to try in a Learn to Play: Armada session.|
|Salamanders ready for deployment in Learn to Play: Kings of War|
|Fully packed session of Learn to Play Armada - and that bald guy is inadvertently photo-bombing us again.|
|A Forces of the Abyss warband for Learn To Play: Vanguard|
|Learn to Play Vanguard|
|The best sports game in the entire Galactic Co-Prosperity Sphere - Learn to Play Dreadball.|
So overall it was a very good convention. Keith ran Dreadball and Deadzone (and the good Dr. Jesse actually did a couple of impromptu Deadzone sessions as well), while I ran the Kings of War, Vanguard and Armada sessions.
Because it is all fun and games . . .