Sunday, June 26, 2011

Origins 2011

I really need to start remembering to bring my camera...

So normally I volunteer at the Auction all weekend at Origins - this gets me a free hotel and badge so that I can spend less time working at Gen Con - I try to only pay for my hotel room at either convention, not both. In this way, I can actually attend both. Also - I would spend a lot of time at the auction anyway, so it is a perfect combination.

With the hotels just being cheaper in Columbus compared to Indy, I decided flip flop this year, working full time at Gen Con. So - I had a bit more time than normal to play a bit at Origins this year.

I arrived in the afternoon and went straight to work for almost 9 hours at the Silent Auction. I did pick up a game I had been trying to find for many years. Maybe the recent reprint of the game made the owner finally give it up, but I now have a copy of Airlines, the predecessor to my all time favorite board game Union Pacific. I also picked up a second copy of Terra Nova for very cheap, and some cool oriental miniatures - some cool monk looking guys with the big hats, and some Lo Pan (Big Trouble in Little China) looking dudes as well.

I hate silent auctions. If you don't know, bidders write down their bids on a piece of paper. The end of a silent auction is the worst - because people can become really jerky as they try to nickle and dime an item instead of just writing down what they are willing to pay and scaring off most other bidders. The end went better than I thought as we hounded people for the last hour to keep moving  in a continuous line through the hall not allowing anyone to try to hang out at a specific item.

After sorting and handling payouts for the auction, I finally limped home to my hotel at about 1230 am. With little options on the food front at the exit where my hotel was located, I ate some chips and M&M's for a late snack before settling down for a scant few hours sleep.

The live auction for Origins this year was scheduled for 9-4pm. What makes the auction a bit different at Origins is the state law that an auction must have a licensed auctioneer. At Gen Con, many of the volunteers also auction items, so we can switch off and run two microphones pretty much non-stop for 12-14 hours a day.

We had a new auction company this year, and they did much better than some others in the past. They commented that our auction (Katie and Soren) was run better than any auction they had experienced, which was nice to hear. I told them that they should see us when we have our computers and bar code scanners. This year, we had to do everything with paper, which made everything a bit more time consuming.

I provided color commentary for family game, euro games, and miniatures. I won a few auctions as well...a copy of the Ticket to Ride 1910 Expansion, Thurn and Taxis (the main game and one expansion), a very cheap copy of Connect 4 for the kids, and an obscure game called Vox Populi that I had never heard of, but no one was bidding on.

As only a 16 hour volunteer, was able to skip away just a few minutes before 6pm, so I was able to find and talk to Ken St. Andre, the creator of Tunnels and Trolls. He offered to run a game for me if I could wrangle up a few other players, but since most of my friends are board gamers, and not role players, I figured that I would not be able to take him up on his offer.

So I called up my buddy Ed, met him in the CABs (Columbus Area Boardgamers) Board Room, and received my free game (with purchase of a Board Room ribbon) - Feudo. Myself, Ed and John then played Airlines Europe, Dominion, and Cartagena. Airlines Europe was a great game - building on what makes Union Pacific so good and adding a few tweaks and changes to the mechanics. Dominion was OK - way too much work for me as it plays a bit too much like a CCG for my liking. I own and love Cartagena 2. Playing Cartagena just reinforced what I read in a review about it - the second version really improves on some of the game mechanics. Pretty much the same game, but different mechanics, of which I prefer the second over the first.

I headed back to my hotel around 11pm and decided to eat at a Waffle House that was located on the same exit where my hotel was. That could be an entire other Blog topic...maybe for another day.

I made it to the hotel alive and well (I guess you could be asking whether it was the food or other considerations that could have endangered my life)...and watched some TV and drifted off to sleep.

This was to be a light day - all we had to do at the auction was give back unsold items and distribute winnings to our sellers. I did not have to work until 1pm, so I went to the exhibit hall as it opened and once again, talked with Ken St Andre at the Flying Buffalo booth. I bought the T&T Delver's Pack and a few solo adventures (Tavern by the Sea and Deep Delving) from Ken. He signed my box cover for my Delver's Pack and he asked me if I was able to find a few people for him to run a game for. I told him I would do my best, but I was unable to track down Katie and Soren, whom are the only other RPGers that knew was at Origins. Rick Loomis from Flying Buffalo gave Ken some heat for throwing in a copied adventure for free (Khara Khang's Random Rainbow Maze), but Ken defended himself by telling Rick I had spent $48 and I should get something for free. I also grabbed the T&T Free RPG Day books from 2011 and 2008. Good Times!

I then stopped by Ironwind Miniatures (formerly Ral Partha) and picked up some loose miniatures for the kids to paint, and then swung by the Paint and Take and spent about an hour painting a miniature. I walked around a little more, browsing and telling myself repeatedly that I don't need this or that, and eventually headed back for my last shift at the auction.

I again met up with Ed and he accompanied me to lunch. We saw a huge security detail set up near the Hyatt (before the Food Court) where a bunch of morons in suits (or Democrats) were gathering to host our wonderful VP Joe Biden. He must have been there to help support the fight against SB5 as plenty of empty headed idiots were standing around with clipboards trying to get people to sign petitions. Every car was being stopped as they entered the garage for a security checkpoint with bomb finding dogs - so glad it was a Saturday so the extra security was more than likely being paid for at time and half or double time. Government at its finest - wasting people's time and spending tax payer's money. I had to mention this...I could throw in more details regarding the things I was saying...but I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings.

We returned to the Board Room and played a game of Kingsburg, which I actually kind of liked. John showed up and we played a game of Cargo Noir, which is just not that good and the biggest disappointment of the weekend. It is a 'beer and pretzels' type game that has way too much decision making and nothing for the other players to do as the active player performs his turn.

With that - I had decided to hit the road back to Toledo. I resisted all those evil voices in my head as I walked past even more brainless idiots in suits on my way back to my car. Even Brainless Joe and his walking dead could not ruin my weekend, but that may be an insult to zombies everywhere.

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