How many events can you play in at Origins?
Nowhere Man
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I first went to Origins last year and I went for a specific event. I had fun, but that event (the national championships for Wizkid's Mechwarrior game) ate up pretty much all of my time for two solid days. I decided to return once more and I went in with the goal of playing as many different games that I had not played before as possible. I think I did a fairly good job playing 27 different games that I had not played before (and I probably could have squeezed a couple more in through more dealer hall demos).

Since I was going for quantity it does mean that I played a lot of light filler games. My previous experience made me chase down many games and now that I've got this out of my system the next time I go to a major game con I'm going to shoot for playing the deeper games that I've never had a chance to.

If anyone you ran into someone who rudely interupted the game asking to have his picture taken with a disposable camera, that was me.

Finally, the best thing I took from Origins this year is that it convinced me to move up from lurking at the geek to being more active.
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1. Board Game: PitchCar [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:314]
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Wednesday 8pm - After a rocky start with the on-site registration the first game I had a ticket to was Life-Sized Junta which I was interested in to see how the new edition differed from the original. No one showed up to run that so I ran back to the board gaming hall and arrived just in the nick of time to play this.

I had a lot of fun in this and not just because I won. A daring flying leap shot me over a packed track to land two shoves ahead of everyone else but I still nearly lost it until the very last flick where I got knocked the last inch over the finish line.
 
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2. Board Game: Nanofictionary [Average Rating:5.85 Overall Rank:7618]
Nowhere Man
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Wednesday 9pm - Because Looney Labs was invariably playing an hour long game whenever I had a gap before something I wanted to try more I wound up playing a lot of their games.

This wasn't much of a game but it was interesting as a story telling exercise. The game's score mechanism is to have the other players award prizes to the story they like the most and I took first from all the other players for my story of a time traveling Vincent Van Gogh.

At this point not much was happening that I could find so I went to my hotel and returned tomorrow morning...
 
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3. Board Game: Ticket to Ride [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:124] [Average Rating:7.46 Unranked]
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Thursday 8am - Its one of the most popular games here but I had never had a chance to try Ticket to Ride so that's what I jumped on next. I could see the popularity of the game first hand as more people showed up to this event than they had copies of the game for (and I think they had five to start with). I also had a lot of fun despite not quite brining together what I needed and winding up in last by about twenty points.
 
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4. Board Game: Car Wars: The Card Game [Average Rating:5.43 Overall Rank:14191] [Average Rating:5.43 Unranked]
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Thursday 10am - I had signed up for this thinking that it was the miniature game and it was this game when I showed up. It's as bad as the game ratings say it does. I'd like to say it was the worst game I played all weekend but that's not true. I was interested in the tactics of the classic game but it this game is completely random and all you can do is try to gang up on people.
 
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5. Board Game: Arkham Horror [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:237] [Average Rating:7.32 Unranked]
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Thursday 2pm - After browsing the dealer room and shopping a bit for other people I jumped into one of the games I wanted to try. We had a full compliment of players and faced Nyarlathotep. I am a big Lovecraft buff and the game is packed solid with theme without sacrificing game play. Turn one a gate opened, sucking a player through and dumping a Star Spawn of Cthulhu on the board in front of it. I had the big combat guy with the PI and took it out to clear the way for the professor to work on the gate. That was the big theme of our play, we had a big group with a well balanced set of abilities and cooperated well. And on top of that with the first six turns only one other gate opened, the rest of them kept opening on existing gates. I enjoyed the theme a lot but I only wanted to get one cooperative, players-against-the-game title at the show so I wanted to try Shadows Over Camelot before buying.
 
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6. Board Game: Zendo [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:710]
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Thursday 6pm - I was looking around for games to buy as gifts for people and one of them is a puzzle lover. All I could think while I was playing this was it was the perfect game for that person. Of course the Zendo box was out of print so I could not find it in the dealer hall and I was hesitant to just buy the pyramids. We played multiple rounds and I never did get to find out the last rule since I had to run off to my next event.

Thursday 7pm - I'll keep this brief since it wasn't a board game but I next ran off to a “play with a creator” game; Call of Cthulhu with Charlie Krank. I do have a bit to say about the play with a creator games but I'll save that for an appropriate entry.
 
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7. Board Game: The Settlers of the Stone Age [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:1444]
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Friday 8am - Returning to the convention hall I headed to Settlers of the Stone Age. I've played the original Settlers, and the expansions for that, but this was my first full spin off that I tried. I enjoyed it quite a bit but not more than the original Settlers. I ran into difficulty quickly as my big producing tiles in Africa were reduced to desert before any of them payed off severely limiting my production. I had to halt my explorations to build up settlements and other players zoomed past me in both exploring and expanding.
 
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8. Board Game: 10 Days in the USA [Average Rating:6.46 Overall Rank:1790]
Nowhere Man
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Friday 10am - I had played 10 Days in Africa quite a bit but not 10 Days in the USA. A teacher who I showed Africa to (and predominantly borrowed my copy) asked that I pick up a few copies of this. I saw that Alan Moon was playing the game as a special event and I had to do that. As it turned out I was the only person who signed up for the event.

Those play with a creator games are great and I didn't see many people signing up for them except for the biggest names (Richard Garfield playing Robo Rally, for example, was a packed table) for the biggest games. It's a great opportunity to chat with these game creators and a lot of fun. Take advantage of them if you go to Origins next year.

Oh, and Mr. Moon beat me since I couldn't get a state west of the Rockies.
 
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9. Board Game: Go [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:120]
 
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Friday 11am - I've been trying to learn to play for some time but no one I know is willing to play with me. I've tried to play online but I wanted more face to face interaction. Someone from the American Go Association in the dealer hall sat down with me for about half an hour helping fill in my badly spaced knowledge from trying to pick up a bit online. I recognize that not every booth in the dealer hall can have someone take this much time to demo a game for someone (which is what this was, in essence) but it goes a long way toward selling a game and getting a new player excited about it.

Friday 12pm - Again, I'll be brief since it isn't a board game but I joined in the National Security Decision Making game. I was the military liaison for the communist party in China and the point of this game is to play out political situations. Unfortunately I wasn't exactly sure what to do with my role which was already marginal and by the time I started to understand what could be done I was completely cut out of everything. I probably would have liked it with a larger role and if I had been more assertive and understood the scope of what I could do I might have been in a better position but I didn't enjoy myself with this.
 
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10. Board Game: Shadows over Camelot [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:317]
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Friday 4pm - After that there's nothing I'm interested in for a little while and I return to complete my shopping for gifts in the dealer hall when I come across them setting up play for this at the Days of Wonder booth with the big diorama board with no one standing in front of one knight. Since this was one of the other big games I wanted to play I dashed into that last open slot and managed to join in. It was a fun, close game though I think it could have easily gone the other way with a more aggressive traitor. Given the setup and how quickly the game plays I decided that it was more likely for me to play this than Arkham Horror and I decided to buy Shadows Over Camelot.
 
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11. Board Game: Clay-O-Rama [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:5715]
Nowhere Man
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Friday 6pm - A twelve player game of Clay-O-Rama was next and I created a a four legged beast with claws and one eye. It played a bit more slowly than I would have liked with this many players and the brawls that were going on made me hang back and toss in occasionally. I wound up winning the game, but it felt hollow since I didn't actually do much fighting.
 
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12. Board Game: Doom: The Boardgame [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:806]
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Friday 8pm - Another game that I really wanted to try before I purchased it and this was the game that I played that suffered the most from a poor explanation of the rules. From all reports Doom is a tough enough game on its own and the person explaining the game to us stated that the monster player could place as many monster cards as he wanted a turn rather than just one. We had a huge monster placed in the first hallway and we never could move anywhere. I quickly gave up on fighting through and tried to make a run for it but that didn't work either. A later event helped straighten this out for me but I wouldn't have considered playing it again after this game.
 
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13. Board Game: Werewolf [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:1164]
Nowhere Man
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Friday 10pm - My first game of Werewolf and of course I was picked as the wolf. I hope I did my lupine brethren proud when late in that game a player started insisting that the seer reveal themselves and I jumped in on it singling out two normal players as the only ones I had information on. The real seer started pushing back at that point and and I got her lynched. There were a lot of great moments (completely blowing the werewolf identification in the next game, a Resevoir Dogs style voting at the end of the third) and playing face to face in those large groups was well worth doing.
 
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14. Board Game: Clans [Average Rating:6.56 Overall Rank:1136]
Nowhere Man
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Saturday 8am - This was an interesting game but I couldn't see myself playing it very often. It made a pleasant diversion but the fact that I have very little to say about it speaks to its quality.
 
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15. Board Game: Chrononauts [Average Rating:6.22 Overall Rank:1944] [Average Rating:6.22 Unranked]
Nowhere Man
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Saturday 9am - This was an alright game but the intriguing concept of manipulating the time line was undercut by the fact that the game didn't really seem to focus on that. The game was won in only four turns by the person who was teaching the game.
 
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16. Board Game: Monsters Menace America [Average Rating:5.96 Overall Rank:3224]
Nowhere Man
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Saturday 10am - There was an event to play for the board game and this was another game that I was interested in trying. I got there and found one other player so I lured in a third player by chipping in for his ticket so everyone would have an opportunity to win the game. It was a cute game but I think it would have benefited from some better production values. The person I payed for the entrance beat me out for the game because I couldn't roll a five or six on six dice.
 
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17. Board Game: Vs. System [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:2150] [Average Rating:6.77 Unranked]
Nowhere Man
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Saturday 1pm - I wanted to play a bit of everything and this was what I had intended as the only trading card game to play. I went to a beginner's event and I didn't really like it that much. The game suffered from the typical problems of collectible card game design; certain cards had obvious advantages over others as part of driving collectors. The mechanics also suffered from making things overly complicated, another problem that CCG's almost always have.
 
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18. Board Game: Burn in Hell [Average Rating:4.48 Overall Rank:15245]
Nowhere Man
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Saturday 4pm - This takes the prize as the worst game I played at Origins. The game is about set building but the scoring is needlessly complicated (you total scores and then double them before applying other factors; since everything is always doubled anyway why not leave it at the base number?). Considderable downtime because there are so many ways to make a set that people tend to stall trying to figure out the best move. Talking with the players at the table about the historical figures on the cards was more interesting than the game itself.
 
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19. Board Game: Zombies!!! [Average Rating:5.85 Overall Rank:4468] [Average Rating:5.85 Unranked]
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Saturday 6pm - What if you went to a tournament and no one showed up to run it? There were three of us there for this game which I had been curious about considering the popularity. I won the game but there are more interesting games featuring a handful of players dealing with a hoard of zombies and I'm not going to go out of my way to play this.
 
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20. Board Game: RoboRally [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:336]
Nowhere Man
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Saturday 8pm - I wanted to play the new version but it wasn't available at the show. I never had a chance to play the original. Now I know why this game is in such demand. Its a brilliant design and I want to play it again. I completely lost the game due to the manuevering but I want to play more. I'm definitely getting the new edition when it comes out.
 
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21. Board Game: Tikal [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:217]
Nowhere Man
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Sunday 8am - Until I played this game I couldn't understand why it was so infamous for the analysis paralysis. We avoided it for the most part (with everyone apologizing any time a turn took more than a minute), but it could have been much worse particularly with certain players. It's a great game but it could go out of control quickly.
 
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22. Board Game: Creatures & Cultists [Average Rating:5.07 Overall Rank:14991]
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Sunday 10am - The sign indicating this game had been moved had fallen on the floor but I eventually found the right place and got to try out this infamous game. It was interesting but a bit slow and what was marked as a full game in the program was just a quick demo where we didn't even play a full turn. I'd like to give it a try with a smaller crowd.
 
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23. Board Game: Anachronism [Average Rating:5.98 Overall Rank:5196]
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Sunday 11am - After the abbreviated game I went back the dealer hall to wait for my next event and I sat down to demo this game. I didn't see how this could be interesting from the descriptions but the demo was a full game. A tactical combat game that features just characters beating on each other is a tough thing to make interesting and I think that they succeeded. Since they gave you enough to try the game out just for demoing the game I spent a few more dollars to try out a couple more historical figures.

Full Metal Alchemist (not in the database yet):
Sunday 11:30am - A few booths over had a group demoing this game and it was the exact opposite of what I wanted in a demo. The demonstrator was worn down after a weekend of showing the game, the demo was muddled and confusing, and I didn't see anything in the demo that made me think the game would even be worth picking up after it failed and the collectible aspects no longer were around. It was a flash back to the mid-90's when people thought they could slap anything on cardboard and print money.

Sunday 12pm - I was signed up to play Colossal Arena but no one showed up to run or play so I didn't have anything to do. Across from me four people showed up to play Doom but they didn't have anyone to teach them the game. Since I played it the other night I helped them get started and found out how poorly the game I played a few nights ago had been taught to us. Now I want to try Doom again with the right rules.
 
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24. Board Game: Killer Bunnies and the Quest for the Magic Carrot [Average Rating:5.49 Overall Rank:15067] [Average Rating:5.49 Unranked]
Nowhere Man
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Sunday 1pm - My last game of Origins and I didn't care for it. The mechanic of not knowing the winning condition until the end is way too random for my liking; the fact that you can play better than everyone and still lose is not a good thing for a game. I liked the playing cards in sequence thing but that end game just ruins it for me.
 
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