Scott G

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2011 was my first Origins, and seeing how I live in Ohio, it seems like a "Cannot Miss" event for a newbie gamer. My plan this year was the $5 day pass to take it all in, see what I can see, do was I can do (which I knew would be limited by the day-pass access)... and get my feet wet. My expectation was to take it all in, and understand how this con-works so that I can plan my attendance better for next year.

And... it was an overall positive experience... did a 9am-6pm Friday.. walked the dealer's room, made some purchases, saw some demo's at various booths, walked around the open gaming room, saw LOTS more miniature gaming rather than table-top gaming (maybe side-effect of time of day?), check out two games from the Origins Nominations library to play, and walked through the art show. From what I expected, that's about all I COULD do with the day pass... and it was fun. Worth the time and effort.

But... can someone please help me understand what the next step up would be for next year (assuming the con has the same structure as this year). Lost of terms on their website (Tickets/Badges/Passes/Generics/Ribbons), and it's been said before how poorly designed the website is in providing information.

By far, the most confusing term for me (and other newbies that I've chatted with) is the "ribbons." As stated on the origins website, "all ribbons are $20" and "allows you entry to all events covered by the associated ribbon." But, then under the itemized lists:

Mayfair – Gives free access to the Mayfair Games room..

Wait.. what? $20 for a ribbon gives "free" access to what again?

So, a ribbon allows entry, but not paid entry to events? Now sure how the ribbons interact with the badges. A One Day Badge allows me to "register" for events (something I could not do with my day "pass") and gets me the cool lanyards that many people were wearing. But, then a ribbon is then "permission" into further access to other events?

Broken Down with an example. Pulling random event from event listing:
#4465 : GIANT Pompeii $2 (Mayfair) / 2:00
Mayfair Room E170‐172 ‐‐

I need
+ A Day Badge to Origins proper ($35/$25)
+ A Mayfair Ribbon to be granted access into the Mayfair Room ($20)
+ $2 to sit and play

Other events occur in the "Tabletop Area".. which do not require a ribbon, I'm assuming?

Example
#4452 : Brass $4 / 3:00
Hall D ‐ Eagle ‐ TableTop Area

I need
+ A Day Badge to Origins proper ($35/$25)
+ $4 to sit and play

Also.. ribbons are $20, which are purchased per day? or per badge? that is also not clear.

If i wanted two "one day badges," since I could see a Friday / Saturday trip next year, I would purchase a $25 badge for Friday with a few $20 ribbons so that I can play in the board room and in the "Mayfair Room,".. and another $25 for Saturday, with another set of ribbons for Saturday? Plus I'm still spending almost $2 each time I sit down at an event?

Unless the Mayfair ribbon waives the "per event cost of $2," which means you need to register for 11 Mayfair events to be worth it?

Also, the board room is just "open gaming" with the access to the large CABS game library, yes? So.. day badge but $20 ribbon to be able to walk in to the board room? Here, there are no real scheduled events, and just opening gaming (check out a game, walk to a table, sit and play with no extra cost over the ribbon price).

What I'm really need are some example behaviors to attendees... and which badges/ribbons/passes/events they purchased. I know the extreme examples (low-end is $5 day pass to browse/free open gaming and the high-end is full event / every ribbon / full access to everything). But which items am I looking to purchase for about two days of gaming? And what's the best options?

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Hoyle A
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Here's what I did:
Full pass to the whole thing (I was there tue-sun) ($70 or whatever?)
$20 CABS board room ribbon (only need ONE of each ribbon you choose, not one per day)
$4 merchant of venus event ticket -- this is an old out of print game, which I was pretty sure I would love, with only a few chances to learn it. When I went to the event there were 2 open spots for "generic" ticket owners, but they got bumped out when the proper ticket owners showed up.

I also paid $4 for the Mayfair release party thing, to which I showed up late and was sorry I spent the $4 and VERY glad I didn't spend the $20 on any other ribbon. No offense to Mayfair, but I just didn't give a crap about playing a giant game, and I have no interest in tournaments of any kind. Also I hate fluxx (sorry looney) so I skipped that whole room too.

I had no interest in competing in any tournaments, which the ribbon would be ideal for, either in the mayfair room, the looney room, etc.

Now, if I wanted to do a lot of train gaming (and the associated tournament), I would have sprung for the Puffing Billy ribbon, but wasn't sorry I didn't. If you're into 18xx or crayon rails, you would find your brethren there. But if you just want to play one or two, the CABS library has train games if you want them.

I WAS glad I brought some games of my own to play after the CABS library closed. CABS has tons of games, and I highly recommend that ribbon. I played almost all my board games in the CABS room, and it was packed at times. The open gaming room mostly had demo games.

I didn't do any RPGs/LARPS except for one "quick play" rpg for 1 hour at a cost of 1 $2 generic ticket (token). For these, you would definitely want to register for the event (no ribbon) to get a seat in the games you want to play.
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Doug Faust
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I haven't been to Origins in a couple of years, but I'm pretty sure how it works is that a ribbon allows you to participate in events without having to pay the associated event fee. So instead of buying event tickets (or using generics) for the Mayfair events, you could buy the ribbon. Obviously, you should only do this if it makes sense given the number of Mayfair events you have planned. Likewise, you could utilize the board room for a certain number of minutes with a generic (or at least you could when I was there), or you could buy a ribbon for unrestricted access.

In any case, you need the full Origins badge to buy any sort of event tickets or ribbons, but I think you got that part.
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Steven Still
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Hi Scott,

You were on the right track.

What you should do is:

Buy a full pass for the entire fair (you know you want to).
Buy a ribbon for the CABS board game room. I assure you, it is FULL of people playing 100's of board games at the same time. If there were not tons of people there you may have been in the wrong room, or there at 4:00am.

Maybe pick up a couple of generic tokens if there is something cool you want to try, like playing a game with the author or something.

Other than that, that's about it.

Good luck next year.

Steve

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Ethan McKinney
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If you haven't already, this seems like a good message to pass on to the Origins folks. It's easy for people who are intimately familiar with something to forget that their descriptions are completely opaque to newcomers!
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Lucas Magrum
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Unfortunately, I was not able to go this year. However, 4 others in my group went and here's what they did:

They each got:
1-day badge for Saturday ($35)
Board Room Ribbon ($20)
1 "day pass" for Sunday ($5)

They could have gotten the day pass for $10 (for 2 days) instead. So for $60/person, here's what they got for the extra $50:

Access to the CABS library for gaming (a great commodity, actual value is debateable.
Each person gets a free board game (for Board Room Ribbon):
- Priests of Ra ($20-25)
- Chicago Express Expansion ($16-20)
- Skyline 3000 ($30-35)
- Mousquetaires du Roy ($30-35)

Raffle tickets are passed out throughout and there are a lot of raffle prizes. Our group only got 1, but still nice:
- Defenders of the Realm ($50-60)


Total Cost for 4 people - $240 ($200 more than 2 day passes)
Value in free games - $146-$175

From a purely monetary standpoint, it might be better to just get day-passes if you are going just for a day or weekend. If you are going for longer than that, I would recommend the full badge and the Board Room ribbon. Our group has decided to purchase (and more importantly NOT purchase) many games as a result of trying them first with the CABS library which is why its such a good value at $20.

To me, the $20 price tag for the Board Room Ribbon means a free game of equal or greater value and saving much more on bad games I may otherwise have purchased. That said, I don't see the value in any other ribbon offered. We are not war gamers or train gamers and the offerings of the Mayfair and Looney rooms do not sound like they offer enough value to warrant an additional $20/person.

I have never entered an event at Origins since quitting CCG play. No tournaments. No other events. I don't feel the need to enter events when there is so many games to play that are available through CABS and so much to see in the exhibit hall and other open areas. This also saves us money on event tickets.

In short:
Get a Full Badge
Get a Board Room ribbon
Ignore other ribbons
Enter events as you see fit.


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Bill Gallagher
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scottieGGGG wrote:
Broken Down with an example. Pulling random event from event listing:
#4465 : GIANT Pompeii $2 (Mayfair) / 2:00
Mayfair Room E170‐172 ‐‐

I need
+ A Day Badge to Origins proper ($35/$25)
+ A Mayfair Ribbon to be granted access into the Mayfair Room ($20)
+ $2 to sit and play

Unless the Mayfair ribbon waives the "per event cost of $2," which means you need to register for 11 Mayfair events to be worth it?

Also, the board room is just "open gaming" with the access to the large CABS game library, yes? So.. day badge but $20 ribbon to be able to walk in to the board room? Here, there are no real scheduled events, and just opening gaming (check out a game, walk to a table, sit and play with no extra cost over the ribbon price).


The Mayfair ribbon does waive the event cost for anything in that area.

The ribbon is good for the entire length of the convention.

You are correct about the Board Room ribbon.
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john guthrie
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agreed. i had the mayfair ribbon and did not have to pay extra for the games there. same for puffing billy.
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Kevin Schmidt
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Saint Marys
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Yuglooc wrote:
scottieGGGG wrote:
Broken Down with an example. Pulling random event from event listing:
#4465 : GIANT Pompeii $2 (Mayfair) / 2:00
Mayfair Room E170‐172 ‐‐

I need
+ A Day Badge to Origins proper ($35/$25)
+ A Mayfair Ribbon to be granted access into the Mayfair Room ($20)
+ $2 to sit and play

Unless the Mayfair ribbon waives the "per event cost of $2," which means you need to register for 11 Mayfair events to be worth it?

Also, the board room is just "open gaming" with the access to the large CABS game library, yes? So.. day badge but $20 ribbon to be able to walk in to the board room? Here, there are no real scheduled events, and just opening gaming (check out a game, walk to a table, sit and play with no extra cost over the ribbon price).


The Mayfair ribbon does waive the event cost for anything in that area.

The ribbon is good for the entire length of the convention.

You are correct about the Board Room ribbon.


The only other benefits to the "Mayfair Ribbon" would be a second priority in participating in events and some snacks/drinks in the evening.

For every game event listed/played in the Mayfair room, each game has a maximum number of players. First dibs goes to event-goers that purchased ticket events for that game at that specific time (usually $2 or $4). Second priority for remaining seats was given to event-goers sporting a "Mayfair" ribbon. Last were the folks (like me and my kids) that brought in generic tokens to pay our way.

With that said, we never had trouble getting into a game Mayfair was running and never came close to spending $60 in generics (except at the Mechwarrior pods out in the hall).

If you want to be certain to have a specific game at a specified time (like a Settlers tournament qualifier), by all means grab a ticket. If not, wing it with the generics (and a board room pass).

I love train games but the math just doesn't work on their $20 ribbon as well; I played two train games for $4 in generics.
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Rich Radgoski
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Having just done origins this year, I have some strong opinions here.

I funded myself, 2 teens, and my teacher wife who doesn't play much.

I bought full badges for myself and the boys and three ribbons (two hot badges and 1 Mayfair ).

I. Took one of each and my son took the other HOT badge (minis) I only used each of my badges once each...no extra tokens required. For me,I play so many things it doesn't pay for me to have these badges. Lesson learned. What upsets me is that my son was in the minis hall all con and GMs made him pay (or accepted his tokens without telling him otherwise) that he didn't have to pay more. (game spaces were never an issue). If you are going to use the badges make sure the GMs understand them. I bet I lost 20 more dollars before discovering he was using tokens when he didn't need to.

While I am on origins I am very disappointed in several things

1 no shuttle service to outlying hotels. ( forced us to move closer into a worse hotel to avoid taxi charges).

2 they ran out of generic tokens on Friday at one point

3 significant drop in numbers

4 very few heavy hitter vendors.

5 terrible swag bag.

6 I was blocked from entering the board room because of no ribbon...and couldn't go in to look around to make a decision to buy one. (I paid what???70 bucks and there is somewhere I can't go??

Add the above to the date shift and I think it'll begs con from now on...

(been to origins 5 times...)
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brant G
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Just to add to the ribbon discussion, the War College ribbon allowed free access to about 30-odd lectures (mix of historical/current military) and another 6 team games where players are working together through a military event.

If you're into the topics - admittedly they are military-focused - then it's a good value. If you just wanted to sit in on a random lecture, or play one of the team games, they're generally $2-4 and have enough seats that you could walk in and pay with generics instead of having a reserved ticket.

I buy a board room ribbon every year, even if I'm not able to play much in the board room, if only to support CABS (I was a member when I lived in Columbus) and show some support for boardgaming.
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brant G
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Arkobla Conn wrote:
1 no shuttle service to outlying hotels. ( forced us to move closer into a worse hotel to avoid taxi charges).

I've heard a LOT of people gripe about this. I stay at Casa del Mom, so it's not an issue for me, but I end up sucking up a LOT of parking costs.

Arkobla Conn wrote:
2 they ran out of generic tokens on Friday at one point

Wow. I hadn't heard that - that's crazy.

Arkobla Conn wrote:
3 significant drop in numbers

I noticed this too. I thought they'd bottomed out in '09 and started recovering last year. Maybe not.

Arkobla Conn wrote:
4 very few heavy hitter vendors.

This has been going on for years. In '05, there were a LOT of big booths: WizKids, FFG, Paizo, and more all had BIG booths. Now, you're even missing two of the bigger wargame companies (GMT / Avalanche) as well as the other big guys like FFG. It would be nice for WotC to come back some time, but they've got GenCon and aren't likely coming back any time.

Arkobla Conn wrote:
5 terrible swag bag.

Maybe they're over-correcting after last year's pretty good one. My son is still playing with those A&A minis.
They've been up and down over the years, but this year seems to have been one of the worst.

Arkobla Conn wrote:
6 I was blocked from entering the board room because of no ribbon...and couldn't go in to look around to make a decision to buy one. (I paid what???70 bucks and there is somewhere I can't go??

It used to be you could even sit and play w/o one, and when the staff went around and handed out raffle tickets, they also checked for ribbons and if you didn't have one, you ante'd up some generics. Not sure when that changed.
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Dan Edelen
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Arkobla Conn wrote:

5 terrible swag bag.


Agreed. This was my fourth Origins in a row, and this year's bag was the nadir.
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Scott G

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I will say my biggest surprise from my first Origins was perhaps related to :
Arkobla Conn wrote:

4 very few heavy hitter vendors.


I understood Origins to be "one of bigger cons" in board gaming, and with a "Dealers Room," I really expected more... i guess.. in my face. So, big name games would be hard to avoid.... heavy promotion of heavy hitters.

I expected to see lots of SdJ nominees getting "promoted" to me. I expected to see Dominion's latest, Cornucopia, pushed on me.. I expected to see lots of 7 Wonders and their news Leaders getting promoted to me. Even Dixit, the most recent SdJ winner, and their first Origins since winning... was hardly noticed... in my opinion. I wanted to check out Airlines Europe and do some comparisons to Jet Set. I found Jet Set, had an "ok" demo by someone that really that familiar with the rules, but never came across Airlines. Isn't AE a big release this year?

Plus, most of the games I did "discover" through demos, turned out to be rather old. (Lifeboats, Tower of Mystery, duck! duck! Go!, Cambria) sure, they are new to me, since I'm a rookie gamer, but really? That's your stock of demos for the 2011 Origins?

I can understand that maybe Origins is not here to just promote latest and greatest SdJ noms/winners. Ok.. then what about company's promoting the Origin nominees. At least there's a tie in with the fair itself. Was there any talk of Fresco on the dealer's floor? Did Out of the Box have running demo of 10 Days in America? At least I saw one table demoing Nuns on the Run, in the Mayfair bullpen.

About the only aspect of "promotion" that meant my expectations was Mayfair. Huge booth and lots to offer, but they are the main sponsor.... so. that kinda fit. But even their area was quite crowded and no one seem very eager to get me to try out their games.

Also, Stronghold games and Moosetache Games fit my expectations perfectly. Approachable, chatting, knew their games, willing to answer questions, solid demos.

My expectation of the dealer room was that of a car show. Each brand brings their latest and greatest and promotes to you why you should buy from them. They reach out to passer-bys and engage in conversation.... asking what kinda games you like.. you should try this... hot demos of cool games.... "What a free promo? Then come try our demo!"

Instead, it was more like a science fair. Dealers sitting around, waiting for someone to stop by and ask "And.. What's your project, Billy?" Often, it was the same erupting volcano model from three years ago.

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Ryan Full
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Many of the booths had volunteers or employees who ought to maybe peruse a marketing book at some point. I had several booths where the folks didn't greet me or acknowledge that I was standing there at all. I had a couple booths that had people who were downright rude about answering questions (things as simple as Do you have game ____? or Do you offer an educator's discount?). I happily paid a couple bucks more per game to buy from the polite retailers. Our group referred to one booth as "that booth with the *jerks" after being treated very poorly.

Little things like actual charisma make a big difference.







*We actually used a word other than jerks but jerks seemed more polite.
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Trent Hamm
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scottieGGGG wrote:

My expectation of the dealer room was that of a car show. Each brand brings their latest and greatest and promotes to you why you should buy from them. They reach out to passer-bys and engage in conversation.... asking what kinda games you like.. you should try this... hot demos of cool games.... "What a free promo? Then come try our demo!"


If you want this, go to Gencon. This pretty accurately describes the dealer room there except that a lot of the time, there are so many people demoing games that they don't have time to snag people to drag them in.
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Mark C
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trenttsd wrote:
scottieGGGG wrote:

My expectation of the dealer room was that of a car show. Each brand brings their latest and greatest and promotes to you why you should buy from them. They reach out to passer-bys and engage in conversation.... asking what kinda games you like.. you should try this... hot demos of cool games.... "What a free promo? Then come try our demo!"


If you want this, go to Gencon. This pretty accurately describes the dealer room there except that a lot of the time, there are so many people demoing games that they don't have time to snag people to drag them in.


Gen Con is another beast entirely. Hotels, parking, everything is more expensive. It's bigger and has more spectacle: and frankly, for board gamers, it's not better. However, the dealer hall is just as you say.
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