I went to origins this weekend so I thought I would put up a recap of my weekend. I was only able to go for Friday & Saturday and I brought a number of games in hopes of meeting up with local gamers as well as gamers I knew from online. After arriving and registering I checked out the demo room. Most demo's weren't that interesting, but I did play a full game of Sultaniya and was surprised how much it felt like Alhambra while adding its own twists.
The only online gamer I managed to connect with was +Jon Gilmour
, on Friday night. He was in the open gaming area demoing his Dead of Winter game. It was a theme I really didn't care for, but having said that I did watch for a bit and it seemed to be a solid coop game and plaid hat found someone to do some nice art for it.
Since Jon was busy I went over to some other gamers (random gamers) I seen in the open gaming area and offered to play some games with them. We got in a game of Dungeon Fighter and Escape before they had to leave. in order to entice some more of the passing gamers in I laid out Concordia and decided to go through a few practice rounds.
It was at this point Two Rooms and a Boom showed up to run their party game right next to where I was hoping to draw more people in and basically turned it into party central. On the one hand I did get a pretty good idea of how their game worked, but on the other hand it wasn't drawing the right kind of crowd for a Euro game. One fellow named Wally did express interest, but said he wanted to meet up and play the next day.
After a little over an hour of the dry spell I decided to pack it up and as I was doing so my buddy Jake, who was coming to the con later in the eve, called me and let me know he had arrived. We had rooms at the crown Plaza and they had themed their bar on a Munchkin Tavern theme so I headed over there to join him.
Once I arrived and got some tasty Orc down my gullet (see the picture of the menu) we started in on a few drinks and played a couple games of the Red Dragon Inn. Next up we pulled out Concept and had a couple join us to play that one in a team fashion. Concept was almost a party game and we had lots of fun with it. The couple left and we pulled out Splendor and got in a game of that which I just won by the skin of my teeth. Jake is a good player and he almost had me.
The next day after Jake registered, the line took about an hour for him to get through on Saturday, and we hit the trade floor. I quickly found Rococo, which I have been looking for with little success, and purchased it. Eagle games was nice enough to hand me the Fancy Dress promo along with my purchase. I tried to get Istanbul, but AEG had already sold out of all the stock they had brought to the Con. Lastly I made a point to pick up Lords of Vegas and the new UP expansion.
Jake is more the RPG/Miniatures guy in our gaming friendship and I am more the board game guy, though there is a bit of crossover there. We checked out tons of cool games and played full games of too many of them to mention. The one I feel I must mention is Star Realms. I had heard good things about it, but hadn't actually gone looking for it with any excitement. One play in I had changed my mind and it was one of my purchases for the day. I also bought the 13th Age, Hillfolk, and Ashen Stars RPG's as well as a number gifts for my wife.
Jake decided to invest in the new Battletech miniatures game and I assured him that if he assembled, painted, and built the terrain, etc, I would play them with him, but he would have to teach me. He seemed fine with that concept and happily laid out the coin.
Jake had to leave around 5pm and I tried to meet up with Wally to play some games with him and his family. We had set an agreed upon time and place, but I must have missed him, because I never saw him.
I used my board game room pass to go to the board game area set up by CABS and tried to get a few games going. Everyone wanted to play Splendor so I got in a number of plays of that. In the middle of one of my last plays a guy called Gary came up and requested to play Acquire if we could get more players.
As everyone knows I love Acquire, so this was hardly a hard decision. Gary claimed he was, "A world class Acquire player." I responded that I didn't think I was that good, but that I was pretty decent. Eventually a third player named Bill joined us. He was an older fellow who was a bit reserved and was introverted enough that he rarely looked directly at either of us, but he clearly WANTED to play Acquire. I don't think 3 player Acquire is ideal, however. it can still shape up to be a good game so I agreed to go ahead and play with just the three of us. I tend to play with hidden stocks, but both of them wanted to play with open information (i.e. the amounts of stock and money you have are information the other players can request at any time.) While this is not my preferred method I readily agreed to this commonly accepted variant.
The game progressed nicely, but the first signs of trouble was when Gary begin to both throw away good opportunities and also whine about his bad position. He also began to harangue both me and Bill about we should each do things to 'help' him out of his bad position if either of us wanted to win. At some point he clearly decided Bill was wildly winning and as his decisions grew worse and worse, his whining turned to outright yelling, mainly at me.
Oddly enough something positive happened then. I caused a merger on the board and a guy from CABS walked up with a board game called Tahiti in his hand and said, "Who made the last merger?" I identified myself as having done so and he gave me the game, wished me well, and walked off. This seemed to upset Gary even more as he claimed had been playing games the last two days there in hopes of winning something and he couldn't believe I won it so, in his words, easily.
As Gary's behavior degenerated me and Bill both tried to reason with him and even offered him a wee bit of advice on how to fix his game. It was only a wee bit though, because even that bit frustrated him beyond belief. We quit offering help when it became clear he had passed the point of no return both in game and in attitude. One turn away from the game ending he stacked up a number of tiles on top of each other, claimed these were his next few tile plays, and rage quit. Ironically enough the game ended the very next turn. Even more ironically, I won by a nice margin.
Me and Bill put the game away and discussed his actions while we did so. In retrospect because of Gary's obvious mistakes, despite his claims of skill at Acquire, me and Bill had focused on each others weak points, generally leaving Gary alone because he was, bluntly, not an in game threat. We both concluded the situation he found himself in was of his own making and that the reason he grew so frustrated was that he clearly didn't understand Acquire at all...and he was unlucky enough to come up against two players that really knew the game. I may have won, but had things gone even at bit differently Bill could have won.
This last game sort of encapsulated my Origins experience this year. My plans did not wholly work out as I wished, and some things did go badly awry, however, I managed to win the game, a free game, and a friend all the same time. Like this game I cannot say every experience at the Con was a good one, but I had so much fun that even the few minor annoyances placed on the other side of the scale were still not nearly enough to outweigh the good experiences I had. Overall Origins was pretty fun and with luck not only will I go next year, but I'll get to see more friends as well.