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Subject: origins or gencon rss

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paul Schwartz

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Hello folks i have not been to either but can only go to one which should i go to? Origins is a 5 hour drive and Gencon 8 hours any thoughts thanks
 
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Jeff Wood
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My vote: Gen Con. You will experience a large con atmosphere rather than a small-con expanded to fill partially a convention center.
 
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Pam Brozowski

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As someone who has been to both and loves both, I would encourage you to go to both! If that's not possible, then it depends on what you are looking for in a Con.

GenCon is huge and has a ton of different things going on. The vendor hall is massive and packed to the gills. It also seems that more new games, more tournaments, and more celebrities can be found at GenCon. And there are some things that you can only try at GenCon, such as my personal favorite True Dungeon.

Origins is much smaller, but it is still an enjoyable Con. If you are exclusively looking for board gaming I would argue that Origins does this better than GenCon. Also, because it's smaller, the atmosphere feels a bit slower-paced and easy going. It's also slightly cheaper than GenCon.

So it all depends on what you want to do. If you can, try one this year and go to the other next year. Then you'll get to know them both.
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William Chew
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Because its so late in the year I'd recommend Origins over Gen Con. When planning on going to Gen Con I am ready and have commitments from a couple of friends at the end of December. Because to book a room downtown you need to have a badge purchased and be ready immediately when housing goes live in January.

Now you can still do Gen Con commuting in each day, but its nowhere near as enjoyable. I went 2 years back to back. One year driving and the next year staying in the Marriott. It was a night and day difference. I won't go back unless I can stay there, the Westin, Hyatt, Omni, or Crowne now. It was that much of a difference in quality of life and the ability to take advantage of as much gaming as I wanted. And have enough time to sleep properly.

At Origins you can still get a room at an attached or skywalk hotel. It also is easier to get around and game. If you are mainly into board gaming Origins is just as good and better in some areas. The only weakness is lack of new releases. There are some new releases, but a lot of companies hold out for Gen Con. And some big publishers like FFG, Days of Wonder, and Privateer Press don't have booths there. Mayfair, Iello, and Rio Grande are there among others. Although their games are run as events and available in the board room to play.

Pros of Origins
-Cheaper. Badge is a little cheaper. Hotels are available for $138-$150 that are attached versus $200+ a night at Gen Con. Parking is also $10-15 cheaper a day.
-Everything in one building. You can get from game to another game quicker.
-Event registration is easier and more fair IMO.
-You can get a hotel before buying a badge and its much easier to do so.
-Food choices and quality around the convention center is incredible. This is one of the things I hate about Gen Con the most and like about the Columbus convention center the best.
-Less crowded. Origins still has a lot of people. 11,500 last year which is quite a bit. But you don't have to be shoving your way through crowds whenever you go near the Exhibit Hall like at Gen Con.


Pros of Gen Con
-New releases. There are a lot of new releases. Origins has some new releases, but Gen Con is where most are at.
-Exhibit Hall is gigantic and every publisher in the hobby is there.
-More likely to be able to play the new releases as events. I was able to play X-Wing 2 years ago when it was only out at Gen Con
-Beer Garden and more city cooperation. Origins has a beer made for it by Barleys which is just across the street. But Gen Con has their own brew that is available at over a dozen nearby bars. And they have a beer garden.
-True Dungeon. I've never done it, but it looks really cool and is unique to Gen Con.

They both have a board room which I have never used. Origins is a better value if you do it all weekend at $20. Gen Con offers half day passes at $4 and $6. So its a lot more if you are doing it every day. But if you just feel like open gaming one evening out of the trip I am more likely to use Gen Con's model. Although I've heard the Origins library is superior. So they seem equal in that respect.
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Jeremy Fridy
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They used to be really close, but these days it's all Gencon.

Well, not all, the food is still better at Origins.

Gencon has an auction that can not be beat. Origins was comparable many years ago, but then they tried to shut the auction down, and after that year it's never been the same.

I say this as someone who lives in Ohio. Origins is nice, but Gencon is worth the higher price.
 
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Noreen
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Freitag wrote:
They used to be really close, but these days it's all Gencon.

Well, not all, the food is still better at Origins.

Gencon has an auction that can not be beat. Origins was comparable many years ago, but then they tried to shut the auction down, and after that year it's never been the same.

I say this as someone who lives in Ohio. Origins is nice, but Gencon is worth the higher price.


Agreed! And I live in Columbus
 
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Chris Funk
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Freitag wrote:
They used to be really close, but these days it's all Gencon.

Well, not all, the food is still better at Origins.

Gencon has an auction that can not be beat. Origins was comparable many years ago, but then they tried to shut the auction down, and after that year it's never been the same.

I say this as someone who lives in Ohio. Origins is nice, but Gencon is worth the higher price.


Well, someone broke in the the auction hall and robbed it a couple years ago. Kind of killed a lot of it.

The Board Room at Origins is great, and if you're into board games, it really can't be beat. If you buy the $20 ribbon, you get a free game, they have raffles for more free games, free snacks, and many publishers and designers have their prototypes out if you want a good early look at new games that may hit. I played Viva Java there about 4 years ago with the designer. Plus, their library is over 1,000 titles including several OOP and rare games. If you plan on going to the Board Room, you may not even have to pack any games and you can just user theirs.

I will also agree that the food is better around Columbus. It's a quick walk into Short North for great original food, during the day the North Market is a great lunch spot, and tons of other good food within walking distance. If you don't try the pizza at Mikey's Late Night Slice, you're missing out.

I do like GenCon because I get to meet great people like Bauza last year, Ignacy from Portal, and a laundry list of other designers. Got to see Walter Koenig and Wil Wheaton. At Origins, not so much.

I would say if you want to relax and play games, go for Origins. If you want to see the newest of the new, bestest of the best, in a high energy environment, then go for GenCon. They're just two entirely different conventions and are increasingly so each year. I do love both of them, regardless.
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paul Schwartz

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thanks for everyone's thoughts
 
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schm0
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FunkyBlue wrote:
The Board Room at Origins is great, and if you're into board games, it really can't be beat. If you buy the $20 ribbon, you get a free game, they have raffles for more free games, free snacks, and many publishers and designers have their prototypes out if you want a good early look at new games that may hit.


What's this about a free game? Do you mean a free game event? Or a free physical board game?
 
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Chris Funk
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schm0 wrote:
FunkyBlue wrote:
The Board Room at Origins is great, and if you're into board games, it really can't be beat. If you buy the $20 ribbon, you get a free game, they have raffles for more free games, free snacks, and many publishers and designers have their prototypes out if you want a good early look at new games that may hit.


What's this about a free game? Do you mean a free game event? Or a free physical board game?


Companies generally donate cases of games to CABS for the Board Room. When you come and sign in, they'll randomly choose a free game for you. To keep and take home.

Results vary depending on who donates which games and in what quantities. Also, the quality of said games vary greatly, but I've gotten some good games from it.
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schm0
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FunkyBlue wrote:
Companies generally donate cases of games to CABS for the Board Room. When you come and sign in, they'll randomly choose a free game for you. To keep and take home.

Results vary depending on who donates which games and in what quantities. Also, the quality of said games vary greatly, but I've gotten some good games from it.


Hmmm, so even if I'm headed down there for one day, would you recommend getting the ribbon?
 
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Chris Funk
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schm0 wrote:
FunkyBlue wrote:
Companies generally donate cases of games to CABS for the Board Room. When you come and sign in, they'll randomly choose a free game for you. To keep and take home.

Results vary depending on who donates which games and in what quantities. Also, the quality of said games vary greatly, but I've gotten some good games from it.


Hmmm, so even if I'm headed down there for one day, would you recommend getting the ribbon?


That depends on a lot of factors. How long you're going to spend at the con that day, what activities do you want to focus on for that one day, etc.

If you're going to only be there for a few hours and want to play a little and see the exhibit hall, I might hold on the ribbon. If you're planning on being there early before the hall opens and plan on being there late after it closes and want to play games, then you might consider it. If you want to play a lot and spend less time in the halls, then it may not be a bad investment.

Honestly, the free game is worth at least $15 by itself, but I have a hard time justifying the cost for only one day, especially when there is a huge open gaming area so close to it. However, if you want to play game and don't want to pack it in a bag to travel, it's nice to check out a copy and play it (and there's a good chance it's there).
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schm0
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FunkyBlue wrote:

If you're going to only be there for a few hours and want to play a little and see the exhibit hall, I might hold on the ribbon. If you're planning on being there early before the hall opens and plan on being there late after it closes and want to play games, then you might consider it. If you want to play a lot and spend less time in the halls, then it may not be a bad investment.


My goal is to drive down (~3.5 hours) early in the morning and be at the doors at 9 AM. It's my first convention so I will probably be doing a lot of browsing/taking pics/looking into events until lunch. I would like to have access to games, since I won't be bringing any of my own, but if there is an open gaming area with plenty of people looking for singles to join (I'll be there on Saturday) then I don't see it being too much of a problem.

Then again, the prospect of a free game for only $20 is tempting. Sure, the game might stink, but that's what math trades are for.

My main concern is what I will be spending my time on... I have no idea how long things might take, what I will want to do, etc. There are no events listed online and I have no idea what that will entail other than signing up for individual scheduled games. Being on a one-day time frame will certainly limit my interest in something so rigid (i.e. gotta be in room X from 1-3, etc.)

I do plan on sticking around for After Dark until at least 9, if there's something fun to do there (everything I've read is a bit vague.)

Quote:
However, if you want to play game and don't want to pack it in a bag to travel, it's nice to check out a copy and play it (and there's a good chance it's there).


I'm assuming I can buy a ticket to the gaming area for less than the cost of the ribbon on the day of the convention, no?
 
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Chris Funk
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The open gaming area is all part of the badge, as is the Board Room. If you're doing the Sunday armbands, I believe the open gaming area is available, but the Board Room will not be (nor will ticketed events).

If it's your first convention like this, I would plan on spending a chunk of your time in the exhibit hall, as you have planned. You might find you spend a little more time in there than expected.

I would avoid any ticketed events unless there is a game you absolutely want to play and plan for it ahead of time. I recommend some generic tokens. They're normally $2 each, or so, and you can cash in any tokens you don't use before you leave. They're great for walking around and looking at something and hopping into an empty seat when you hit something interesting.

As you get accustomed to the con, you will probably be far more comfortable with scheduled events and the flow of the convention (works for GC, too).

Keep an eye out for the event listing spreadsheet and ponder through and see if there are any must-attend games and then keep another list of ones you might want to look at.
 
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schm0
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See, now I'm more confused.

If I buy a board game room ribbon, that will give me unlimited access to free events in that area as well as a free board game and access to other free raffles, etc.

If I show up without a board game room ribbon, I can just purchase day-long access to the board game room at the convention, no?

 
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Chris Funk
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No, the Board Room is a thing unto itself, really. It's a special room run by the Columbus Area Boardgame Society (CABS). They're a local group with a huge game library and they bring a sizeable portion in.

The Board Room ribbon gives you access to the space, their library, snacks, a free game, and participation in any free game drawings they may have.

Origins also provides an open gaming area where anyone is free to sit down and play a game.

I've found the Board Room to be the most efficient space to play a game because 1) people go there to specifically play games. I would guess moreso than the open gaming area. and 2) The Orange Cones. Cabs has worked out a system of cones that signify you are looking for players. So, if you're wanting people to play your game, get a cone and wait. If you're looking to play a game, look for a bright orange cone and see what they're wanting to play.

I know the ribbon is $20, but the free game offsets it and if you're in there long enough, the candy bars, bottles of water and pop, and other snacks offset the rest. And it really shines if you make it for the whole weekend.

If you're still unsure, once you get checked in, run down there and survey the Board Room and get a feel. Ask questions. If you like it, you can always go up and get a ribbon later.
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schm0
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FunkyBlue wrote:
I know the ribbon is $20, but the free game offsets it and if you're in there long enough, the candy bars, bottles of water and pop, and other snacks offset the rest. And it really shines if you make it for the whole weekend.

If you're still unsure, once you get checked in, run down there and survey the Board Room and get a feel. Ask questions. If you like it, you can always go up and get a ribbon later.


This clears it all up for me! Thank you!

I will most likely purchase the ribbon in advance, and as you say the free game and snacks offset the price of admission. Very helpful!
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brant G
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The half-joking aphorism has always been "Go to Origins to play, go to GenCon to shop."

While that's not necessarily accurate in all cases, it's not a bad rule of thumb.

You'll have a lot more CCG/CMG events at GenCon, and generally more boardgaming/ wargaming at Origins.

RPGs are probably a wash, but if you're only going for 1-2 days, you're probably avoiding 4-6 hour RPG events anyway.

It is a shame that the Origins auction's been hamstrung by new Ohio state laws, though
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Dave Christian
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Just to set where I'm coming from, this year will be my 11th straight Origins. During that time we've gone to Gen Con twice.

Obviously I love Origins. IMO, Columbus just crushes Indianapolis as a convention destination. The food is so much better in Columbus. (With that being said, Indy has Scotty's and The Ram, both of which are great.) And I just love the gaming environment at Origins so much more than Gen Con.

But, with that being said, I would say you should go to Gen Con as your first big convention. The vendor room is spectacular. And there are 3 things that I think make Gen Con unique. (1) True Dungeon. How much fun you have will depend on your group (and our group was terrible, so we didn't have a very good experience), but it's something you should try. (2) Hickman's Killer Breakfast - Tracy Hickman has a "show" that brings people up to DM a game. Funny. (3) The WOTC RPG room. I'm not a big RPG guy, but the huge presence of Wizards is pretty great.

Origins has one thing that is a game-changer for me and it's already been mentioned - The Smithees. I think this is the most fun "event" I've ever participated in at a con and we do it every year. As long as Origins has the Smithees, we will be at Origins.

But you can't go wrong with either con.

Plan ahead, leave plenty of time for the vendor hall, and get out and see what the town (whichever you choose) has to offer.
 
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bayonetbrant wrote:
The half-joking aphorism has always been "Go to Origins to play, go to GenCon to shop."

While that's not necessarily accurate in all cases, it's not a bad rule of thumb.

You'll have a lot more CCG/CMG events at GenCon, and generally more boardgaming/ wargaming at Origins.


Its not a good rule of thumb. Gen Con has thousands more board/card gaming events than Origins. It also has a similarly sized open board gaming area, and vastly more board games being played in the dealers hall.

Gen Con has more of everything than Origins, but that doesn't somehow make Origins more "play" focused. How does having more shopping options nullify the massive amount of gaming that happens at the convention? If I remember correctly, there are well over 10,000 gaming events at GC and around 4,000 for Origins. Open gaming is available at both, and there is far more dealers hall gaming available at GC.

If you go to GC, you will see an entire convention center and 5 or 6 hotels full of people playing games. How is that not a focus on playing games?

Here is an example of one of many different rooms devoted just to playing games:



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William Chew
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Because its much easier to get into events at Origins. You have 4-5 times as many people at Gen Con going for 2.5x as many events. Despite Gen Con having so many more events the different games available are almost as diverse. The only thing I haven't been able to play at Origins that I was able to play at Gen Con are games releasing at Gen Con.

Another problem I have with playing games at Gen Con is Gen Con's event registration system is feast or famine. One year I got into every event I wanted due to a queue number of 150ish. The next year I'm in the thousands and get nothing. Luckily I was able to find some late additions, but that only got me 1 game a day instead of the usual 3-4. I haven't had an issue getting into the vast majority of events I want to with Origins since they went to online registration.

You can play a lot of games at Gen Con if you are lucky. Otherwise its about the shopping and the "experience".

Zaphod wrote:
bayonetbrant wrote:
The half-joking aphorism has always been "Go to Origins to play, go to GenCon to shop."

While that's not necessarily accurate in all cases, it's not a bad rule of thumb.

You'll have a lot more CCG/CMG events at GenCon, and generally more boardgaming/ wargaming at Origins.


Its not a good rule of thumb. Gen Con has thousands more board/card gaming events than Origins. It also has a similarly sized open board gaming area, and vastly more board games being played in the dealers hall.

Gen Con has more of everything than Origins, but that doesn't somehow make Origins more "play" focused. How does having more shopping options nullify the massive amount of gaming that happens at the convention? If I remember correctly, there are well over 10,000 gaming events at GC and around 4,000 for Origins. Open gaming is available at both, and there is far more dealers hall gaming available at GC.

If you go to GC, you will see an entire convention center and 5 or 6 hotels full of people playing games. How is that not a focus on playing games?

Here is an example of one of many different rooms devoted just to playing games:



 
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Phillip Millman
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For me Origins has a better mix of RPG/Board games at a cheaper price. I will probably go to Gen Con in a few years but I'm not a fan of huge crowds and I like that everything is in one building.

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MonkeyKnifeFight wrote:


Another problem I have with playing games at Gen Con is Gen Con's event registration system is feast or famine. One year I got into every event I wanted due to a queue number of 150ish. The next year I'm in the thousands and get nothing. Luckily I was able to find some late additions, but that only got me 1 game a day instead of the usual 3-4. I haven't had an issue getting into the vast majority of events I want to with Origins since they went to online registration.



I'm certainly not denying the fact that GC is MUCH more crowded and there is more competition for events, but that certainly does not make GC a less "play" oriented convention. Playing games is the focus of the convention, and it has always been that way. I've been going to both Origins and GC on and off for 14 years, and this argument has NEVER made any sense.
 
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John Pettit
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Gen Con does offer more games, but the ratio, in my opinion, of games to gamers is really bad compared to Origins. There are fewer people, thus fewer games available at Origins, but the process to get into events has always been smooth, clean and never a hit or miss like GC is *every single year*. There is no consistency with GC's event registration. One year you'll get every event, the next you will get jack squat.

I think the original rule of thumb "Go to GC to shop, go to Origins to play" is still accurate because it really applies to the core of the two conventions.

Gen Con is famous for its dealer's room and its new releases and big announcements (Numenera was released for Gen Con, so was Pathfinder, not at Origins). Origins doesn't have the huge dealer's room, but you are able to get into games MUCH MUCH easier.

I want to just play games. Period. Gen Con is not the best choice for that because I never can guarantee myself in RPGs year after year. With Origins, I can definitely book a full convention of RPGs consistently year after year.
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JPArtwork wrote:


I think the original rule of thumb "Go to GC to shop, go to Origins to play" is still accurate because it really applies to the core of the two conventions.


Gen Con is famous for its dealer's room and its new releases and big announcements (Numenera was released for Gen Con, so was Pathfinder, not at Origins). Origins doesn't have the huge dealer's room, but you are able to get into games MUCH MUCH easier.

I want to just play games. Period. Gen Con is not the best choice for that because I never can guarantee myself in RPGs year after year. With Origins, I can definitely book a full convention of RPGs consistently year after year.


That is really where the statement comes from. Personally I'm not so concerned about everyone else playing tons of games which is obviously happening at Gen Con. I'm more concerned about myself getting to play the games I want to play and as much as them as I want. I agree its much easier to do at Origins which is why I go there every year. Gen Con I have fun at as well when I get into games, but that doesn't always happen.
 
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