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Subject: ORIGINS - questions from a potential new attendee rss

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Pete Lane
United States
Golden Valley
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I am a veteran of Convention going, but the wife and I have been wanting to give Origins a shot as it seems more focused towards board gamers than Gen Con and Dragon Con and seems a lot mellower (which is a plus as we don't have the energy we used to). We like the "huge" trade show environment and all... but we were drawn to the idea of the "Board Room" and all the open gaming that seems to happen. So, some questions:

1 - You need to purchase a Con pass and a separate Board Room pass. What comes with the Board Room pass besides access to the library?

2 - Is there a point to purchasing tickets to other events if you can basically check the game out of the library and play it if you have the Board Room pass?

3 - I see day passes were only $3 a piece this year... Why bother purchasing a full pass for 50-70$ when the day passes are so reasonable?

4 - Do you need a special pass for CCG events, or are they normal ticketed events?

5 - Any good dealers room deals on new releases this year?

6 - Are there a lot of costumed people and overly "enthusiastic" folks that you would find at GenCon and DragonCon? (we're not fans)

7 - As far as the energy level, GenCon being a "8" and political rallies being a "10," what are we looking at here?

8 - Any other good mellower cons that focus mostly on Board Games? We do Con of the North here in Saint Paul, but we miss the large dealers room and feel it lacks variety in events, but love the lack of hyper teenagers in Naruto outfits.
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Tom Hancock
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Charleston
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1- This year you got free drinks, one free rio grande game just for showing up (well worth the $16 dollar board room pass) and entered into a raffle for various other free games.

2- In my opinion no. Some would rather sign up for specific events to ensure availability and opponents, or prize support if it is a tournament type of thing.

3- I think that is a typo, they were $35.

4- Don't know, my guess would be NO

5- New releases typically get sold at MSRP, they sell out anyway. The whole point is getting the new release before everyone else. Z-Man would be stupid to sell his brand new Tales of the Arabian Nights for half price when he could sell it out in an hour at full price. Might be different for smaller publishers though. There are tons of good deals on older games and ding and dent type stuff.

6- There are a few but Origins cannot hold a candle to Gencon in this regard. I saw maybe 2 people in full costume and only one or two vendors that were really hard selling people.

7- I don't know what you mean by energy level. If you mean how crowded it is and how excited the people are, I'd say you might rate Origins a 5 or 6 based on your examples? It is more laid back than Gencon, and not as crowded. I was there on a Saturday only so I'm sure the weekday folks might rate it lower than a 5.

8- There are tons of smaller local cons with a boardgame focus. Check out charcon.org, a big boardgame following there. Tons of other smaller cons have a boardgame focus, but none have the size of Origins dealer hall and game library.
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Lynda Shea
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The WBC (World Boardgame Championships) in Lancaster, PA is coming up at the beginning of August. While it is tournament-driven, you can certainly show up to any boardgame event at the time listed just to play. There is also a wide spectrum of games being played as well as open gaming. The attendance is in excess of 1500 and his held over the course of a week. You pay one registration price depending on the number of days you want to attend and then show up to play whatever interests you - no event tickets needed. No RPGs, no costumed characters (though there are some designated t-shirt days), and it never feels overly crowded...very comfortable and family-oriented with events for juniors and teens too. Also, worth mentioning, is that they have a nice dealers room too with many of the major publishers in attendance as well as some independent dealers.

My family enjoys attending and I know many other friends look forward to going each year. For more info, checkout www.boardgamers.org

Lynda meeple

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Jeff Wolfe
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Columbus
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stagger lee wrote:
3 - I see day passes were only $3 a piece this year... Why bother purchasing a full pass for 50-70$ when the day passes are so reasonable?


The $3 passes don't let you purchase ribbons or enter events. They basically just get you into the Exhibit Hall and the Art Show. Regular badges were $35 a day or $70 for the weekend (less if you registered in advance).
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Michael Erb
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The $3 wrist badge was a nice way for me to get several friends to come this year, at least one of which said she intends to buy a full pass next year just to be able to buy a boardgame room ribbon.

ME
 
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Ben Lott
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Mason
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I didn't go this year, but this was my experience last year (and I understand that not much changed this year:
stagger lee wrote:
1 - You need to purchase a Con pass and a separate Board Room pass. What comes with the Board Room pass besides access to the library?

Rio Grande paid for drinks, gave out free games (that are more expensive than the ribbon, and offered more that you could win in a raffle. There was a Wits & Wagers gameshow event that took place in the board room. As you mention there is the massive game library available to play (and many publishers who have their new games at the show will donate a copy or two to CABS so that you can try them before you buy.) Then there's the atmosphere. I mean you can walk in at almost any time of the day or night and find multiple gamers just waiting to join in a game. You don't have to set up a group ahead of time or anything. Just grab a game and hold up the box, and players will find their way to you.

stagger lee wrote:
2 - Is there a point to purchasing tickets to other events if you can basically check the game out of the library and play it if you have the Board Room pass?

I, personally, saw no purpose in scheduling games when you can play almost any game at almost any time.

stagger lee wrote:
3 - I see day passes were only $3 a piece this year... Why bother purchasing a full pass for 50-70$ when the day passes are so reasonable?

$3 was just for the exhibitor hall. To participate in other activities, including the board room, you have to pay at least $35 bucks.

stagger lee wrote:
4 - Do you need a special pass for CCG events, or are they normal ticketed events?

I'm no CCGer so I'm not sure. I don't think you need a special pass though, I think it's included in your ticket price.

stagger lee wrote:
5 - Any good dealers room deals on new releases this year?

As I said I wasn't there this year, but last year I felt that the prices were a little steep on new games. I actually only bought 2 games because I was confident that I could pick up other games I wanted cheaper at a later date. But I'm not a must-be-the-first-to-try-that-new-game kind of guy.

stagger lee wrote:
6 - Are there a lot of costumed people and overly "enthusiastic" folks that you would find at GenCon and DragonCon? (we're not fans)

I saw only a couple in costumes and they weren't very over-the-top. Most of the overly "enthusiastic" folks were down in the area that was set aside for role-playing and LARPs.

stagger lee wrote:
7 - As far as the energy level, GenCon being a "8" and political rallies being a "10," what are we looking at here?

It depends on the day and time of day. In the early morning, especially on the weekdays, it could be as low as a 3. But once the afternoon and weekend crowds hit it can get up around a 6.

stagger lee wrote:
8 - Any other good mellower cons that focus mostly on Board Games? We do Con of the North here in Saint Paul, but we miss the large dealers room and feel it lacks variety in events, but love the lack of hyper teenagers in Naruto outfits.

BGG Con?
 
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Adam Tucker
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Warren
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Mostly agree, just wanted to add for one of your questions:

stagger lee wrote:
2 - Is there a point to purchasing tickets to other events if you can basically check the game out of the library and play it if you have the Board Room pass?


In addition to trying to ensure availability (since there are a couple of titles unavailable in the CABS library, some smaller designers schedule demos of games they're trying to get picked up, and some of the more popular games will often be completely checked out), and ensure the proper number of players, I can think of a couple of other reasons for purchasing tickets to events:

Some companies run promotional deals for playing their events:
Mayfair pretty much always does this, certain events yield certain ribbons (puffing billy events: ore, Phalanx & Amigo events: wood & grain {in some order}, Mayfair events: clay, demos at Mayfair booth in vendor hall: sheep), collect all five base ribbons and you get (a Knight of Catan ribbon, a free Settlers of Catan accessory, and more importantly) a coupon for 50% off one Mayfair game (they also had a further offer this year to eventually get map for Settlers of Catan not available in any other way).
This year FRED (aka Eagle Games/Gryphon Games) was also handing out a signed card for participating in one of their events; 3 collected cards could be turned in for $10 off a purchase at the FRED booth, and 5 collected cards could be turned in for $20 off a purchase at the FRED booth. Winning one of their events would yield an additional different card worth 2 of the other cards.

Another reason would be to have someone else (who presumably knows the game quite well, or at least as well as most anyone else) teach the game to you. Some people learn games better when taught the rules, and some games' rule books make it much easier to learn this way (Reef Encounter, Neuland), some games are big/long enough and complex enough that it could well be easier to learn this way (Arkham Horror, Android), and sometimes it's just helpful to have someone around who knows the rules and can help remember some of the more rarely encountered or tougher to remember rules (especially for the aforementioned types of games).
Unfortunately some of the groups running games don't always do a good job explaining games or just hand over the games and say "here grab a table over there and go play" (Mayfair - too few people for the amount of games they're running: on Sunday the game of Toledo was almost over before they even came over and asked for our tickets, but when they do teach they generally do a serviceable to very good job; make sure you let the Puffing Billy people know if you sign up for a Puffing Billy event that you don't the game and you're there to learn - then they're excellent; GameBase7 - most frequent comment heard at Origins: "don't sign up for a game with GameBase7"), or do a poor job with the rules of the game they're trying to teach (GameBase7 - this year they stated that you only had to cast spells once during an end fight with the Ancient One in Arkham Horror; last year after "teaching" Arkham, none of the players knew what the Sky was, and (likely due to incorrect instructions) found it really easy to beat up the Ancient One in a 7-player game, plus Descent was taught with 5 heroes (the game is designed to have at most 4) and without using Conquest (a bit like playing Agricola without having to worry about feeding your family members - this might help introduce you to the mechanics of the game, but will give you no sense of how the game actually plays or much of an idea if you will enjoy how the game actually plays - It really, really does not help that these guys wear Fantasy Flight Demo team shirts - though mostly it doesn't help Fantasy Flight).
However, most of the demo-ers are excellent, such as the designers showing prototypes, FRED this past year (I don't remember them running events outside the demo hall the year before), or at least very good, such as Jolly Roger Games (though they were running Small World this year and may have been slightly overwhelmed in terms of amount of interest), and Steve Jackson Games (admittedly I have very little experience with them, but didn't have a problem or ever heard of problems with them). I haven't had any experience with Rogue Judges myself, but have heard some excellent things about learning games at their events.

It is possible you'll just be able get in on pickup games in the Board Room, where someone else can teach you (and whoever else is new to the game) how to play, but more than likely you will have to learn some of the games with the others who join you. This adds considerably to the length of the games, but in general tends to allow for more total games played than scheduled events (other than really, really long games).
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Scot Palenshus
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Columbus
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For a smaller con that focuses entirely on board gaming, check out Buckeye Game Fest. It is run by CABS, the same group that runs the Board Room at Origins. There isn't a big dealer hall and very few scheduled events. The same library that is available in the Board Room will be there. It is only $25.00 for the entire weekend and each person that comes will recieve a free game, compliments of Rio Grande. You can get more information and the registration form here:

http://www.buckeyeboardgamers.org/buckeyegamefest.htm


-Scot
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Kevin Rutherford
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spalenshus wrote:
For a smaller con that focuses entirely on board gaming, check out Buckeye Game Fest. It is run by CABS, the same group that runs the Board Room at Origins. There isn't a big dealer hall and very few scheduled events. The same library that is available in the Board Room will be there. It is only $25.00 for the entire weekend and each person that comes will recieve a free game, compliments of Rio Grande. You can get more information and the registration form here:

http://www.buckeyeboardgamers.org/buckeyegamefest.htm


-Scot


Since Origins is a whole year away, here is a great way to experience The Board Room. Buckeye Game Fest is best described as the Origins Board Room without Origins. BGF has their own game auction and has an online game dealer onsite where you can buy most of the new and popular games at online discounted prices.

I've attended the last two years and will be there this year as well. If my wife told me that I could only attend one convention I'd attended BGF over Origins just because it is so much more laid back and I still get what I like about Origins: The Board Room.
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Pete Lane
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Golden Valley
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Thanks guys, this one may do the trick for my wife and I as we like to travel in October for our anniversary, We also love waterparks! Not to mention free games! How exactly does that work, first come first serve, or "you get what we give?"
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Kevin Rutherford
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I don't know how they will distribute the games for BGF this year (Scot will know). Last year was our pick on "first come, first serve". At Origins they used a computer to randomly pick one for you. Here is a list of the games that they gave away at Origins. The list should be the same for BGF:

Notre Dame
The Three Commandments
Ming Dynasty
Key Harvest
Oregon
Yspahan
Galloping Pigs
Louis XIV
Palazzo
Duckling Dancin'
Hacienda
Augsburg 1520
If Wishes were Fishes
Tally Ho!
Amyitis
Ponte del Diavolo

As you can see that these games are all topnoch and, if you get a game you don't want or already have I'm sure you won't have a problem trading with someone for something you'd like. That's what I did at Origins.

Anyway, I'm happy you are considering attending. This one good way to get a taste of Origins before next June.
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Scot Palenshus
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The game given will be randomly selected using the same system as at ORIGINS. A database on a laptop will randomly select which game you get. 14 of the 16 games that Kevin listed will be in the system to be given away. Ducklin' Dancing and Galloping Pigs will likely not be part of the random give away as was the case at ORIGINS.

If you do decide to come, let me know and I will be sure to look for you. Hope to see you there!

-Scot
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