Day 2 at Origins began very much like day one with a light breakfast at Cup O’ Joe. The anti-corporation part of me was happy to see that the new Starbucks across the street had only a couple of customers while a steady stream of people was coming through Cup O’ Joe.
Besides the fact that I got into the exhibit hall a little late, I didn’t play many games. Why? Because I was volunteering for Days of Wonder today (and for the next two days as well). I did however show some nice young people how to play Ticket to Ride and Battlelore. I also learned how to play Coliseum while teaching it to a group of three. I have to say that Coliseum looks like a pretty good game. In fact Christy played it and said she really enjoyed it. Nevertheless I just can’t help feeling a bit annoyed about the theme. This game could have been easily been converted into a game about putting on shows in modern arenas with events like rock concerts, football games, truck pulls, etc … instead of gladiators and plays. I know I’m the minority when it comes to this but I refuse to stop griping about the mostly bland themes in euro-games.
Afterwards Christy and I headed to the North Market but we didn’t buy lunch. Instead we bought a bunch of stuff for dinner and planned to eat it later.
We then returned to the Board Room to play Ubongo and Wicked Witches Way with the Moore’s. The Moore’s had just played Ubongo for the first time today and they bought it immediately. If you like puzzle-solving games and/or Tetris you really should try Ubongo. It’s a silly name for a fun, quick game. Wicked Witches way is a lot more fun with more people and it’s a good filler/drinking game. The only problem with it is that people have to huddle around a box of dice so you have to play on a small table.
After this Sarah left and J, Christy, and I played Owner’s Choice which is a new stock game from Z-man. It’s hard to describe exactly how this game plays but it’s fast, easy to explain, and casual gamers might think it’s just Monopoly. Of course it isn’t but it is a light game that has a stock purchasing/selling element. I think that people who enjoy games like Union Pacific would like this game.
J also left to join his family for dinner. Christy and I stayed behind to enjoy the dinner we had bought. It consisted of fresh bread, various cheeses, fruit, and a few chocolates with Pinot Noir while we played Factory Fun. Yes I know, this meal was a little “high brow’ for a game convention and we got a few odd looks but that’s what my wife wanted and honestly I’ll take this meal every time over a greasy burger. While we were eating I saw Tom Vasel and some other folks podcasting but I was on the other side of the room and I’m not podcast-worthy anyway so I kept eating. It looks like there should be two or three podcasts about Origins coming out in the next few weeks from various people.
It was nice to see a lot of somewhat older games being played like Power Grid, Acquire, and Elfenland. There still are some folks in the “Cult of the New” for whom a game like Notre Dame is already old news and they are looking for the opportunity to get “credit” for discovering the next big thing but most people there just enjoy playing anything. I admit that for a long time I was interested in playing new stuff all of the time but now I find that if I can play a game with people who already know the rules that a) the game is more enjoyable because no one gripes about not being told something and B) the game is much faster so I can play more. Those are both pretty positive aspects to playing older games more often I think. Sure I still like to try new stuff, I’m just pickier about what I choose.
Anyway, back to games. I thought my next game would be Age of Empires III since I sat down with a group of 4 and taught two of them the rules but then two more of their friends sat down and I won’t play that game with six – it’s too long and too chaotic. Meanwhile Christy played Jenseits von Theben again. She really likes that game. The next game I actually played was Notre Dame with Bob Theriault, Jim Aland, Brian Tolloty, and Christy. This was the first game for everyone except me and I think I didn’t mangle to rules too badly except that I did misinterpret a few of the noble cards. I consulted the rules and corrected any problems before anyone actually hired one. Rats were a big problem in this game as twice we were hit with rat totals over 7. I eventually gave up on controlling the rats and just tried to earn a ton of prestige points to overcome the penalties. That strategy almost worked as I came in second. Everyone had a good time playing and the game ended without any animosity.
I few of my friends from Chicago stopped by and I got to play Age of Empires 3 with Mike and Jerimy. I had been lugging that box around since Wednesday so I was glad I finally got to play. While we were playing on a table in a foyer (not the war or board rooms) this guy, a complete stranger with a war room ribbon on, sits down at the table with us without saying a word. After about 10 minutes he gets up, goes over to the other side of the table and starts leafing through the rule book still without saying anything. Then he leaves. “What the hell is that?!” we all said after he left. Shouldn’t he have said something or introduced himself since he was the stranger butting in on our game and handling the components? Just when you start thinking all gamers are pretty decent you run into an oddball.
Anyway by this time it was pretty late so I headed back to the room.
You’ll notice that there are no pictures. Yep. That’s right. I’m having a battery problem right now and by that I mean all of my batteries are dead and I forgot the charger. I’m going to try to get some batteries today and take at least a few pictures.
Again, thanks for reading.
Tomorrow's post might be a little delayed since I'm heading out at noon and I plan on being up late so you might not see anything until Monday.
Just when you start thinking all gamers are pretty decent you run into an oddball.
Yeah, I always end up with at least one story like that after every con.
This year it was the soiled and spastic 5 year old who started digging through all of our Descent components with his grubby little hands. His father wasn't much help, looking like he had some serious developmental disorders himself.
We also had a crazy RPG kid of the classic, no-real-life-social skill variety, who followed us around for 20 minutes after our Warhammer FRPG game was cancelled.
Still, it's hard to beat last year's freak.
An over-sugared 10 year old who sneezed right in my friend Brian's face while he was examining our session of War of the Ring. The kid's father, who was asking me questions about gameplay, witnessed this and said nothing to either his child or to Brian.
I was in Christy's game of Jenseits in the Boardroom and got to meet Mike as well. It's good to put a face to a name, sorry that I didn't get a chance to play another with the Pennisi's. Christy was a fun opponent and, based on a two minute conversation, Mike seemed like he'd be fun as well.
I am impressed that you could eat anything during Factory Fun, let alone bread (love the stuff from North Market) and cheese with wine. I'd be too afraid of a wine spill due to the real time nature of the game.