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Subject: Publishers at and not at Origins.... rss

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Jeremy Carlson
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Just making some observations on some Publishers that were, and were not at Origins this year.

Wizards....I am actually glad they did not show up again. It seemed like Origins was a lot more about board gaming this year than in previous years, so I was happy on this.

Wizkids....don't really care if they are there or not, they usually just take up a lot of space.

Blasphemy....anyone actually play this game? Looks terrible, but the name fits with what you are trying to do. For those that missed this one, you apparently try to be the first one to get Jesus nailed to the cross. Problems? It looks like its a roll and move, then draw a card...Talisman style, only I didn't see anything about combat (which I highly doubt there is any, being a Christian game. Oh ya....AND ITS $99!!! $90 at the con...woohoo. Conclusion: next year - he gone.

Days of Wonder - This one came as a surprise...why the hell did they not come? Huge disappointment for me. I had Battlelore questions, and I might have bought more of their product if they had been present. I would have assumed that they do fairly well at Origins. They seemed to have kicked butt last year. If anyone knows, and I'm sure someone here does, what was the deal with their disappearing act?

Random observations:
Way less booths of T-shirt vendors, jewelry (though there was some), and sticker sellers. This was good. To me, these guys clutter the place up.

Other questions on other publishers

Was Cafe Press there? Didn't see them, though they shared a booth last year.

What is the deal with the RPG accessories? I'm talking about those coins on the back right wall, for like $60. Or the cards that have images of items from D&D games....why are these so damn popular?

Z-man games - Sold out of Duel in the Dark....is this game doing well? I hope so, cause I like this company a lot. And after just looking, it seems that he is really pimping the expansions for this game.

Last but not least:
Did anyone buy a shower?
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J C Lawrence
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hughthehand wrote:
Blasphemy....anyone actually play this game? Looks terrible, but the name fits with what you are trying to do. For those that missed this one, you apparently try to be the first one to get Jesus nailed to the cross. Problems? It looks like its a roll and move, then draw a card...Talisman style, only I didn't see anything about combat (which I highly doubt there is any, being a Christian game. Oh ya....AND ITS $99!!! $90 at the con...woohoo. Conclusion: next year - he gone.


They've been running for a few years now. They may not fold so quickly. The theme is also a little different. There are multiple candidate Jesuses and their goal is to get their preferred choice of victim nailed rather than someone else's. It is a competition to get the guy you want crucified.
 
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Dave Chalker
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hughthehand wrote:

Last but not least:
Did anyone buy a shower?


From the guy in a bear costume? Yeah, that seemed a bit odd.

I'm not surprised at all that there were more booths selling RPG accessories: new edition of D&D, more opportunities to cash in. (I know I spent a fair amount on them.)

It did seem like boardgames had a smaller presence this year, though it was nice that Z-Man, R&R, and Rio Grande seemed to have bigger overall footprints.
 
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Jeremy Carlson
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Ok, that makes it a little more funny, but still the game looked terrible.
 
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Michael Pennisi
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hughthehand wrote:
Ok, that makes it a little more funny, but still the game looked terrible.


I agree the game did indeed look terrrible but I read through the cards and they were hilarious.
 
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Hugh G. Rection
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hughthehand wrote:
Blasphemy....anyone actually play this game? Looks terrible, but the name fits with what you are trying to do. .... Oh ya....AND ITS $99!!! $90 at the con...woohoo. Conclusion: next year - he gone.


For that price, it had better come with a wooden cross, three spikes, and a hammer. (Jesus not included; some assembly required)


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John Bohrer
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hughthehand wrote:
why the hell did they not come?


Origins management has sucked harder and harder every year since Andon quit running it a few years ago. The incompetence is largely hidden from the gamers, but even the gamers can see the tip of the iceberg: they can no longer produce a printed pre-reg book with events, they don't even know what a boardgame is. (tabletops?)

Better and cheaper for gamers to go to CABCon in Columbus or do it right: attend WBC or Essen.

The same is true for boardgame firms. Origins may make sense for Bathfitters or Belle & Blades or Crazy Egor, but not for publishers. The paid exhibit area has shrunk to less than half what it was 4 years ago. Given the same mismanagement, it will shrink further.

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Victor Aldridge
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I imagine the lack of a printed (and mailed) pre-reg book was more a cost-saving factor.

Speaking as one of the GMs in the "Tabletops" area, grouping a number of games into that heading allows for a broader section. (How many of you actually found the "Traditional Games" section?) On top of that, many games now are crossing genres, so it's difficult to isolate a game as a "Board Game" or a "Tabletop Game" or a "Card Game".

Consider, how would you categorize Settlers of Catan? Carcassonne? Wiz-War? Conquest of the Starlords? Now...can you expect every one else would also categorize it the same way? By grouping these and many other games into the more general "Tabletops" label, more people are apt to find the types of events they want.


Victor Aldridge
Origins Poker Manager
(who isn't happy Poker was hidden in "Traditionals" instead of "Special Events" like it used to be)

 
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Jim Dietz
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Hugh is right--having less of the non-gaming vendors is quite all right.
There is always a finite amount of money at a game con. By focusing on games--the money is then spent on games and directly related game products. Getting rid of the chainmail thong companies, etc HELPS game companies.

Does it make for a smaller exhibit hall? Sure--and that makes it easier to see all the GAME companies. It makes it easier to play demos, etc. It meant that I got to pick up E.T.I. and Conflict of Heroes--games that may have been missed in previous years sorting through booths that weren't game related.

* *
As a disclaimer, I know Hugh. In most instances, we have VERY different opinions on games, etc--but definitely not on this subject.
 
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Alan Reeve
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John Bohrer wrote:
hughthehand wrote:
why the hell did they not come?


Origins management has sucked harder and harder every year since Andon quit running it a few years ago. The incompetence is largely hidden from the gamers, but even the gamers can see the tip of the iceberg: they can no longer produce a printed pre-reg book with events, they don't even know what a boardgame is. (tabletops?)

Better and cheaper for gamers to go to CABCon in Columbus or do it right: attend WBC or Essen.

The same is true for boardgame firms. Origins may make sense for Bathfitters or Belle & Blades or Crazy Egor, but not for publishers. The paid exhibit area has shrunk to less than half what it was 4 years ago. Given the same mismanagement, it will shrink further.



I know nothing about this so I don't agree or disagree so I'd be curious of examples of what management is doing that qualifies as mismanagement vs. what used to be done. There's no question that the exhibit hall was smaller this year than last and having not attended I can't compare to 4 years ago. Can you share or point me somewhere with details if this has been hashed over before? (And I ask that because you might have info that you can't share which I would certainly respect).
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John Bohrer
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adreeve wrote:
John Bohrer wrote:
hughthehand wrote:
why the hell did they not come?
Origins management has sucked harder and harder every year since Andon quit running it a few years ago.
I know nothing about this so I don't agree or disagree so I'd be curious of examples of what management is doing that qualifies as mismanagement vs. what used to be done. There's no question that the exhibit hall was smaller this year than last and having not attended I can't compare to 4 years ago. Can you share or point me somewhere with details if this has been hashed over before? (And I ask that because you might have info that you can't share which I would certainly respect).
I could supply you with a full analysis with recommendations, Alan, but I don't provide consulting work for free. It is a long list of short-sighted idiocy that just gets longer every year.
Perhaps one of the other publishers that exhibited at Origins for 10 years and gave up on them has the free time. There are more of those publishers every year.
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whistler
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John Bohrer wrote:
I could supply you with a full analysis with recommendations, Alan, but I don't provide consulting work for free.


?????
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Jim Dietz
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If you want to take a pissy tone--great. You can call my observations opinions--great. But Origins was created to show off game companies and to promote the play of games. Chainmail thongs, shower stalls, etc do not promote the play of games. Thus, it's a good thing they aren't in the hall.

People come to a convention with a set budget. Less flotsam/jetsam vendors means more money for game companies. It means booths are easier to see. There was no rush in trying to see everything in a short period of time, so customers could spend time at all of the booths. With no 'big companies'[tm] (which is insulting to companies like Rio or Mayfair in a way), attendees spend more time with small companies--and thus more cash to the little guys of the world.

On another issue--people mention Origins' administration and issues. They make mistakes--everyone does. But they've also improved the Teacher Education program, helped CABS' Boardgame Room prosper, and have made it easier for vendors to demo games throughout the hall.
I suspect where the problem comes is that the administration is not granting special privileges to 'big companies' [tm] and treating all vendors equally. That was not the case 5-6 years ago.




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George Sauer III
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Quote:
People come to a convention with a set budget


I blew that early on ... I figured since it looks like I will not be attending the WBC - I could blow some of that budget on Origins ...

-----------------------------------------------------

As for the BOARD and WAR ROOM - We have nothing but praise for Origins/GAMA. What we proposed and what we are doing breaks all the rules for conventions of these types (GenCon, KublaCon ... etc...) We break all the rules that went before us. We are glad that GAMA/Origins as allowed us to succeed or fail with our vision. Thus far it has been successful. We thank them for allowing us to "break the rules" and we thank the vendors and gamers that do come to Origins for their support!
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Jeremy Carlson
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John, I don't get the consulting bit....we are just looking for some specifics. Regular attendees are not going to see what you are talking about. From my perspective, I thought this year, while smaller, was better than the one 2 years ago.

I was annoyed then about all the t-shirt vendors and what Jim called flotsam. This year, I would disagree with the person above who said board games had a lesser presence...I actually thought they had a better one. It seemed like more booths were selling board games this time.

I would also agree with Jim on the finding games easier thing. 2 years ago, I probably would not have found Blasphemy because of where it was, and if I did, I would have completely ignored it. This year, because of it being a little smaller and more game oriented, I actually stopped and asked about it.

Then there are other little things that were good: Board room kicked butt this year and last; they opened up the sides of the dealer hall so you could get to the other 2 ssections; the game auction thing was right out front - and I actually went to it this time, cause it is usually in a part of the convention I never walk to; the past 3 years they are actually watching for exclusivity on selling games - 5 years ago, no one put their foot down on that; Security...not sure how i feel about that, but it shows they are paying attention to the convention, cause they were checking badges just to get into the building.

So, from an average attendee's point of view, who has gone for the past 10 years, I would say the management is doing fairly well. I would really like to know where they are screwing up though from a curiosity point of view.
 
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Peter Hansell
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We (TableStar Games) were at Origins and we had a really great show. There was a definite lack of large publishers. As a small publisher it seems better for us if there is no Wizkid and Wizards of the Coast. These large companies suck in all the consumers and make it harder to notice the little guys.

I was struck by how separated all the groups of gamers were. There did not seem to be much intermixing of interest groups. I like shows where I see all the different food groups nicely mixed. I think the exposure helps people cross over from one gaming interest to another. It has definately been true for me as I travelled from RPGs (1980s), to CCGs (mid 1990's) to minis and now to boardgames.

Finally the origins management. I have only been exhibiting for 3 years but as the larger companies leave more of the perks and attention goes to us small guys. I find that the show staff has been consistantly friendly, helpful and on the spot when I need them.
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Jim Dietz
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George--you guys in CABS did a great job.
I had had a glitch with badges and you guys bent over backwards to help out with the situation (you specifically).

Indeed, when we were up there in the evening, a couple of staff members recommended games to us based on our numbers of players, etc and were right-on both times we asked.

Tablestar is right--without the big boys demanding attention, some of the ideas by little companies get heard as well...

* *
Hugh--bad news: The Canadians won't be around for Werewolf again until 2010.
 
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Joe F.
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I wish I knew why Days of Wonder wasn't at Origins, was looking forward to seeing them. Since they weren't there I didn't pick up the Memoir '44 campaign bag (I was on the fence about getting it and since they weren't there, I passed) as well as another copy of Memoir '44, and if they would've had the Shadows over Camelot expansion. But since they weren't there, I spent my money else where.

Also missing (which I wanted to see) were Asmodee (Dungeon Twister and Mr. Jack) as well as Triking. All three of those companies were there and I had planned on buying games from them, since they weren't, the money was spend elsewhere.

GenCon is too late in the summer for me to attend, being a teacher the school year starts then.
 
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Mark Taraba
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native_son wrote:
John Bohrer wrote:
I could supply you with a full analysis with recommendations, Alan, but I don't provide consulting work for free.


?????


My thoughts exactly. If that statement was from someone besides John Bohrer, then I might feel a need to respond and explain...
 
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John Bohrer
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Sorry, guys, I don't have the time to relate their multitude of issues, I have to get the P100 US Essen Sets ready...

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/31047/item/648552#item...

Ask one of the other folks that exhibited at Origins for years and gave up on the new management, OK? I am too busy.

 
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Sean Brown
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Just off the top of my head, you had FRED, Valley Games, Stratamax, GMT. MMP, FFG (whose booth effort made the shower vendor seem a worthier attendee), Mayfair, Rio, Playroom Entertainment, the Fluxx folks, the people with Redneck Life and Trailerpark Wars, the Alan Moon Surfer game booth, Z-Man, Your Move Games, the guys with Key Largo and some crazy Ice game I kept hearing people say good things about, the guy with Kali, and a couple other small indie boardgame-type companies were in the hall. I'd say it's one of the better turnouts for boardgame and boardgame-like companies of any con I've attended in a very long time. I don't miss the overblown Wizards booth, the overblown Decipher booth, or the overblown WizKids booth, but I recognize their draw and hope they reconsider.
I've boycotted GenCon since they left Milwaukee (went 5 times, once as an exhibitor), primarily 'cause I have less than zero reasons to ever set foot in Indiana (though at least it's not Nebraska...). But now that I see they can't even give money to a charity that was received expressly to give to said charity, who is the worst run con again? I'm curious who is going to bail out GenCon in bankruptcy court, because if someone doesn't offer, all those companies you missed at Origins are going to be coming back begging for a spot. The sum owed to creditors is not an inconsequential amount, and the creditors who are suing aren't exactly small time either (/wave Mr Lucas). There are a lot of things Origins could do better, but unlike GenCon and a few others, I at least notice Origins is willing to try to do things differently to make things better. I enjoyed my experience, and I will likely return in the next couple years, if not next year.
 
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Fred W. Manzo
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The BOARD and WAR ROOM was packed and overflowed all the way to the escalator, but CABS did a fine job in running them anyway. I like their set up much better than last year. Also, the Saturday night free raffle seemed to be bigger than last years. I have a friend who registered on Wednesday night and couldn't even get a war room ribbon. He had to walk around Origins with his receipt pinned to his Origins badge. All in all, there seemed to be more people than last year but fewer exhibitors. The exhibitor's hall was only 3/4 full of the smaller exhibitors and even so had plenty of table and chair spaces. As there was more than enough to do, I wasn't too concerned with the decrease in the number of exhibitors but I realize its not a good sign for the convention in the long run.
 
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Jeremy Carlson
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Jim: Sucks...Vincent told me that on Friday night. Totally sucks. Love those crazy Canadians. And you have had a booth there for the past 10 years (at least, cause we have to figure that out every damn year), management: what is better and what is worse?

Sith Lord: I'm with ya...Days of Wonder not there was a bummer...I probably would have bought more of their stuff. I picked up the TtR Card game from Toad & Troll, but I would have bought it from DoW instead.

Sean: My only beef with them was demos. Don't expect me to buy an $80 game (Starcraft) if you are not going to show it. At least give a copy to the Board room. Oh, and not having WoW: Famous Aces sucks...just in my group alone that would have sold 3 copies.
 
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Jim Dietz
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Jeremy--

I think the big change has been that the rules are enforced on everyone equally across the board--and I suspect that didn't sit well with some companies. I remember back 7-8 years ago and companies were just doing what they wanted and taking advantage of the situation--ranging from selling in the non-exhibitor areas to illegal booth displays and in one case, one of the bigger companies taking a room that was supposed to be used by a couple smaller companies and saying 'tough noogies'--with management refusing to back up the small people assigned to that room.

There were good changes this year--including massages being available, GMs getting tokens usable everywhere downtown and in the exhibitor hall, special demo areas available for exhibitors, more advanced publicity for the Boardgame Room (which lived up to the hype tenfold), and enforcement of exclusivity rules within the hall (something that has been lacking in the past).

Indeed, the system for determining the Origins Awards is getting better too. It's still able to be rigged/vote-stuffed (witness the Loony Labs win), but there are now better criteria for getting to finalist status and I suspect that Will Niebling will be working to prevent the vote-rigging...GAMA IS aware of it.

I enjoyed Origins immensely this year--as a business and as a gamer. I was able to pick up a few really cool games (Conflict of Heroes, E.T.I., Hill 231) that would've been overlooked wandering through the dreck that has been in the hall the past few years.
--And for reference, the hall now is back to (roughly) the number of vendors it had 8-9 years ago when the southern third wasn't vendors but was open gaming tables instead. Quality and quantity are not synonyms.
 
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This was posted on ADB's forums by Steve Cole (who I know doesn't come here himself...).

By Steve Cole (Stevecole) on Tuesday, July 01, 2008 - 10:30 am:
Quote:
Quick report. Formal one to follow.

Very good show. We made almost $7K and consider $5.5K to be a great show.

Dealer Hall smaller, fewer booths, more tables. Concern by some that the show may be dying (this is misplaced concern).

Rumors of much higher booth costs next year.

No carpet in aisleways was a shock. Saved GAMA $17K which they spent on advertising which just didn't bring in many people who wouldn't have come anyway. That's my opinion anyway.

GAMA was efficient, helpful, courteous. We got what we needed every time we asked for it.

Except that I kept asking for Antony Gallela to stop by my booth so I could personally thank him for a great show, and he never did.

Only really bad note: When packing up, the convention center refused to let anyone use the carts to load out, saying "GAMA didn't pay us enough for you to use the carts". This meant it took is 30 extra minutes to take the stuff to the car. Annoying, forgiveable, and hopefully, correctable next year.


In a further post he mentions:
Quote:
There was, apparently, a lot of "behind the sceens" arguing between GAMA, the decorator, and the convention center. GAMA was cutting costs and people used to the free flow of money were getting cranky. The convention center made GAMA make us take down our signs because GAMA wouldn't pay for something they normally buy. I always go shake the hand of the head decorator and he was notably unhappy, frosty, and abrupt, insisting that he wasn't angry with me, but with GAMA and with the smaller dealer area.
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