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Thread: Origins Report

  1. #1
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    A lot of folks from Birthright.net have been asking me how Origins was, so I'll let you know here :)

    I went to Origins as an exhibitor, not as a normal con-goer, so keep that in mind as you read my comments... I experienced the con slightly differently than most attendees.

    First, Origins strikes me a lot like a "mini Gen Con". There are a lot of similarities between the two cons, no doubt arising from the same company putting both on for so many years.

    There was an Anime room, sponsored by A2Press, who are now producing the Teenagers From Outer Space RPG. The Anime Room was running some quality programming, if mostly "old stuff" and had some posters to give away. The room was well organized and had friendly staff on hand.

    Origins also had the "War College" running this year. For those who don't know, "War College" is a group of seminars by Defense Industry professionals, Military Science brainiacs, History buffs, and actual Soldiers/Intelligence Community (mostly retired) who have come to tell us what War is all about. I attended a seminar on Roman Legions during the time of Caesar... it was very mind-expanding, I felt like I learned something when I left. These guys certainly know their stuff! I was very tempted to attend a seminar on state-sponsored terrorism, but alas, I was too busy.

    Origins has a vast miniatures area. In fact, only about a half to a third of the area set aside for miniature battles or board games was being used. (another side effect of being a "mini Gen Con) However, what was being used was used well... there was a very large game of Star Fleet Battles going on (I believe it was an elimination tournament) and I saw an exciting setup for the new edition of Car Wars. This edition uses matchbox cars modeled with weapons, and there was a large city block complete with on/off ramps and overpass to play on!

    I asked my friend Dave Mattingly to take pictures of the next area to prove that it existed... in over 10 years of attending conventions, I never saw anything like it: A 12" GI JOE wargame! There were 12" GI JOE american dolls, 12" Nazis, a huge tank and tank destroyer, to-scale jeeps and shermans, and the players had to-scale buildings, balconies, and even a haystack to fight in and around! Astounding!!

    Games Workshop showed off a few new miniatures at the mini room, allowing no pictures to be taken. They had a strangely subdued presence (more on this later).

    I didn't see any Birthright games going on (although, admittedly, I haven't yet gone through the program book with a fine-toothed comb) which is a pity, but there were plenty of people buying Birthright products in the dealer's room! I spent a lot of time in the dealer's room... I was working at the Citizen Games booth, hawking our new Sidewinder Wild West d20 book, of which I wrote some. (blatant plug) The Dealer's room was satisfyingly large, about 2/3 the size of a normal Gen Con dealer's room. A lot of companies were represented, but I noticed a distinct lack of the following: Video & movie dealers, Comic book dealers, and Armor dealers. There were a few t-shirt vendors, a few swords & axes dealers, and a few miniatures dealers, but by far Origins was dominated by Mage Knight and "Book" RPG's. (That isn't necessarily a bad thing) If I had to pick an impressive setup, I'd have to say White Wolf did great and so did Guardians of Order, with the new Silver Age Sentinels game. No one booth really stood out as being "awesome" like so many do at Gen Con, though. WoTC had a very subdued presence at Origins... they had a large demo area, but no actual booth selling product. Very curious...
    Steve Long's HERO 5th edition booth looked great! Nice background, friendly staff.


    There were a few "booth babes", but nothing to really write home about. Attractive women, all, but you see more and more scantily clad ones at Gen Con. (My apologies to all female readers out there, but this is the plain and honest truth)

    I won't go into detail about the Origins awards except to say that Games Workshop got robbed... the miniatures awards were swept by Mage Knight stuff.

    I also attended the game auction. Imagine all the old games of yesteryear and stack them up on about fifty large steel shelving units, and you'll have an idea what it was like. It was a silent auction, with the attendees issued numbered cards lifted in response to bids called out by the guy at the front of the room. A lot of rare and old games were sold, some for some impressive, and in some cases ridiculous, prices. It was a good time to pick up some computer games cheap, though.

    The games at the con were interesting. Of course, I wasn't able to attend many. Let me single one out for notice however: Rod Currie's "SuperSquad America" game was simply awesome. I have had some bad experiences with convention gaming, but Rod's games were a HELL of a lot of fun. I urge you to try SuperSquad America if you are at all interested in the HERO system or Superheroic roleplaying.

    I was dissapointed to see so few people in costume. There were an assortment of "midevial wear" costumes, some cloaks, even some bearded men in Sailor Moon outfits (ugh) but nothing I would really want pictures of. There was one guy in a nice stormtrooper armor outfit, but that's about all.

    The guests were nice, but they were placed all the way to the back of the exhibit hall!! How is anyone supposed to go meet these celebrities with them stuck behind all the retailers?? Argh. I rode the elevator with Kenny Baker, chatted with Bill Blair, and saw Marjorie Monahan and the guy who plays "Marcus" up close. A model named Nutopia was nice to talk to, but finding Andy Chambers was a chore! I asked where to find his Q&A session (mentioned in the program book) and the information booth told me, incredibly, that for "security reasons", the schedules of guests were not available! I guess I'm supposed to read someone's mind to find out where and when I can attend a seminar.

    Remember the comments about Games Workshop's official presence above? Well, Andy Chambers was the guest of honor. For GW, Andy Chambers is a big man, a head honcho. Why oh why wasn't there a GW booth? They have a big van, the battle wagon, that they could've scheduled, or at the very least they could've had a small presence in the dealer's room. There was nada. Even Sabretooth, the company that does GW's card games, were only in their booth for 3 out of the 4 days. I was very dissapointed.

    Most people at the con seemed to enjoy themselves. I heard it mentioned that this year's Origins was the biggest ever, with the most attendence since the beginning. Retailers were overall slightly pleased... I didn't hear much complaining, but there was a lot of talk about "at least this year was better than last year", the 2001 Origins being well known as a money sink for retailers.

    As far as Rumors go... I didn't hear a peep about ted turner until I got home. Personally, I think ted turner buying D&D is about as possible as GURPS: South Park, but all we can do is wait and see.

    That's my Origins report. Thanks for reading, and keep the dream of Birthright alive!
    -Sincerely,
    Ross

  2. #2
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    At 06:06 AM 7/10/2002 +0200, Ellendael Nightstalker wrote:

    >There were a few "booth babes", but nothing to really write home about.
    >Attractive women, all, but you see more and more scantily clad ones at Gen
    >Con. (My apologies to all female readers out there, but this is the plain
    >and honest truth)

    OK, it`s been about fifteen years since I attended a con, so I just have
    few questions: There are scantily clad girls at RPG cons now?!?!? Why has
    no one had the goodness to mention this before now?!? Why doesn`t it say
    "bikini girls" on the <much cursing> brochure?!?

    People. Scantily clad women should always feature prominently in any
    description of an event. Mention that FIRST, for cryin` out loud! If Gary
    Gygax and Skip Williams got into a huge fist fight in the middle of the
    "Why I`m So Smart Seminar" and Skip tore that scraggly goatee right off
    Gygax`s face tell us about it AFTER you describe the bikini girls!

    Gary

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  3. #3
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    LOL! Gary, make sure you check out Gen Con this year if you can...

    Clyde Caldwell nearly always brings a mostly-naked model for one of his newest paintings to stand at his booth.
    -Sincerely,
    Ross

  4. #4
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    On Wed, 10 Jul 2002, Gary wrote:
    > OK, it`s been about fifteen years since I attended a con, so I just have
    > few questions: There are scantily clad girls at RPG cons now?!?!? Why has
    > no one had the goodness to mention this before now?!? Why doesn`t it say
    > "bikini girls" on the <much cursing> brochure?!?
    >
    > People. Scantily clad women should always feature prominently in any
    > description of an event. Mention that FIRST, for cryin` out loud! If Gary
    > Gygax and Skip Williams got into a huge fist fight in the middle of the
    > "Why I`m So Smart Seminar" and Skip tore that scraggly goatee right off
    > Gygax`s face tell us about it AFTER you describe the bikini girls!

    Gary, I hate to break it to you, but if it`s been fifteen years SINCE you
    attended a con, you`re obviously much too advanced to really appreciate
    the bikini girls anyway.
    --
    Communication is possible only between equals.
    Daniel McSorley- mcsorley@cis.ohio-state.edu

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  5. #5
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    At 02:40 PM 7/10/2002 -0400, Daniel McSorley wrote:

    >Gary, I hate to break it to you, but if it`s been fifteen years SINCE you
    >attended a con, you`re obviously much too advanced to really appreciate
    >the bikini girls anyway.

    Clearly not, if all you whipper snappers have been attending for the past
    fifteen years and none of you took enough notice of the girls to mention it
    until now.... Youth is wasted on the young.

    Gary

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