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Origins 2017 Recap

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The Professor
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BGDRs!

We had a great time at Origins 2017 ~ as a designer and developer, it was wonderful to speak to the folks who make the games that adorned so many tables and we had a chance to sit down and enjoy them.

For me, here's the breakdown:

Best Abstract: LYNGK RIO GRANDE GAMES
This one surprised me...not because of the game's depth, but my daughter wanted to learn the rules and proceeded to beat me three out of five games. If you've enjoyed any of the other titles from this collection of games (which now sits at seven different titles), check this one out.

Best Competitive Game: Orient Express RIO GRANDE GAMES
This one was a dark horse contender for me. I'm not a fan at all of train games, most notably Ticket to Ride, but this one plays quickly at a 4-player count and provides a deep, rich experience. Turns are very fast, the set-collection will appeal to some players, while the ability to focus on either Regional or Passenger Lines crossing all manner European cities will provide 90 min of fun!

Best Thematic Game: Near and Far Red Raven Games
Ryan is absolutely wonderful and I've enjoyed his work for quite some time, dating back to his first Kickstarter, City of Iron, which remains in my daughter's Top 10. While I thoroughly enjoy Above and Below, I personally feel as though he took it up a few notches with his latest title.

Best Military Game: 878 Vikings Academy Games
I'm tied to this one as one of Uwe's "go-to" guys for composition and editing, so it's tough for me to remain wholly objective. But, having seen all of the components this weekend and playing a full game, I' m very excited about this one hitting the Game Table in the next month or so.

Best 2-player: Cave vs. Cave Mayfair Games
I sat down with a mix of reticence and indifference, as I cannot abide Caverna, as it's a game far too long for its own good and well beyond the point that any gamer receives any true fun from it. But, the designer has truly mastered the art of streamlining while maintaining the best essence of the game. If you, like me, don't care for Caverna, give this title a try...and if you don't mind endlessly feeding your poor dwarves stones, then you have to give Cave vs. Cave a play as you will find it an absolute joy.

Best Game for my young nieces: Barenpark Mayfair Games
What a treat! Far and away more attractive, appealing, and satisfying than other Tetris-cum-board games, like Patchwork and others. This one is adorably, plays in a crisp 30 min, and is a great game for younger folks to develop or even hone their spatial abilities.

Between my daughter and I, we played nearly two dozen titles, comprising more than 30 games over the course of her first (and my second) Origins Experience.

Cheers,
Joe

let-off studios
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Origins

Thanks for the write-up, Professor! It's much appreciated.

One of these days I'll make my way out there and maybe we'll cross paths.

The Odd Fox
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Thanks!

I really enjoyed your write up as well! I'm always interested to hear about the new games coming out as well as opinions about them! I'm extremely excited about Near and Far, as Ryan is one of my all time favorite game designers as well.

Thanks for taking the time to share!

The Professor
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Thanks for reading!

@let-off studios: My pleasure! So, where's home? Do you have any local conventions in your area?

@The Odd Fox: Absolutely! Yes, I thoroughly enjoy City of Iron and now, whenever friends in our Gaming Group bring either Above and Below or Near and Far, it's a "win" for the night around the Gaming Table.

Cheers,
Joe

lewpuls
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Diminished

Prof, I stopped going to Origins years ago because it seemed to have "diminished", many publishers didn't go, etc. Do you think it's recovered from, say, 2009?

spaff
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Origins after party

This was my first Origins. It's crazy how much there is to do. I can't imagine GenCon since half those games you mentioned I didn't even see!

I spent a good chunk of my time hanging out with other designers though, so playing published board games wasn't high on my list.

I spent most of Friday and Saturday with Joe Ellis from Plaid Hat who is the lead developer on the upcoming Crystal Clans. Got to play a few (non-plaid hat) games with him and chat about the mechanics.

I hung out with Alan Gerding of Tuesday Knight Games Saturday night and playtested a couple of their new party game prototypes.

Also Saturday night we playtested two hidden roles games by a new designer -Lindsey Rode (I believe she actually has a game signed called Bayou Bash)- and it was enlightening to hear the Tuesday Knight people weigh in and give some advice.

I got to eat a few lunches and dinners with Emerson Matsuuchi (Volt, Spectre ops, Century: Spice Road, Dead of Winter companion app) and playtest one of his new prototypes. And also take a tequila shot with him. And he and Joe Ellis playtested one of my buddy's games we've been prototyping together and gave us a lot of confirmation.

This was the first time I really experienced the board game community outside of the digital space. And it's way different, and way better than I anticipated.

If this is any answer, lewpuls, Origins seemed like a vibrant convention to me. I'm not sure the viability of pitching games to publishers as I didn't try and do that. But the place was crowded and if my experience is any indication "diminished" does not seem to be accurate.

The Professor
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It has definitely recovered

Dr. P.,

Now, bear in mind Origins remains that gamers "con" when compared to GenCon, but there were more than four dozen publishers, including Wizards of the Coast, Rio Grande Games, iello, Mayfair Games, CMON, Paizo, bezier games, Stronghold Games, and Academy Games, just to name a few. The reps were quite approachable by my estimation. I have a great relationship with the President of Academy Games for whom I did a significant amount of editing/reviewing/proofreading for 878 Vikings, and will work on other projects for them in the future. While I have no interest in attending GenCon as a gamer, there's a very good chance, my daughter and I may volunteer next year for Rio Grande Games, as they're in need of extroverts to teach the games and moreover, young women like my daughter who love to engage.

Cheers,
Joe

The Professor
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Great time!

Spaff,

It seems as though you had a wonderful experience, as well, and completely different from ours. That's what makes, in my opinion, Origins such a wonderful event. I met-up with podcast friends of mine from both The Brawlin' Brothers and Blue Peg, Pink Peg; successfully completed an "Escape Room" with my daughter and some new gaming friends; and had a chance to meet some Backers across several KS projects we've run these past 18 months. It was a blast! Next on the agenda is NovaCon, Northern VA's 1st Board and Card Game Convention in July, WashingCon in Sep, BGG Con (possibly) in Dallas, TX; and PAX Unplugged in Philly scheduled for Nov.

Cheers,
Joe

let-off studios
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Bawlmer, Hon

The Professor wrote:
@let-off studios: My pleasure! So, where's home? Do you have any local conventions in your area?
I'm in the middle East coast of the US: Baltimore. In the early Spring/late Winter we have Unpub here, and a little later in the year is WashingCon at the nation's capitol.

I have fellow designer comrades who head out to GenCon and Origins nearly every year. I just need to prioritize the effort to make it happen for myself sometime soon.

The Professor
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Hope to see you at WashingCon

I'm located in South Riding, VA, about 35 miles west of Washington D.C., so I, too, shall attend that event. Also, have you heard of NovaCon, happening at the end of July? It's Northern VA's first board and card game convention?

lewpuls
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NovaCon same time as WBC

I see NovaCon is same time as WBC. That's a non-starter for me.

Also, when I see "Comics and Games" anywhere, I get suspicious that games will be small potatoes.

questccg
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I'll let you know!

lewpuls wrote:
...Also, when I see "Comics and Games" anywhere, I get suspicious that games will be small potatoes.

Not true... In Montreal the next "Comic Con" is featuring an entire HALL for TableTop Gaming. Designers (including myself) will be conducting demos of their game(s), people can drop by and watch other people playing and see if they like the games being played. Others get lucky and can actually play some of the games there too.

From my understanding, in return for a FREE 3 day pass ($65), they (the organizers) would like a complimentary copy of the game for their library of games people can play at no cost!

Although the FOCUS is on Comics... it sounds like this year will be GOOD for TableTop games considering there will be a dedicated hall to games!!!

I'll post an update after the Comic Con (7-9 July 2017) and tell you guys how the event went...

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