There are some that call Origins the “Pepsi” of conventions; that is, if you have to choose between it and GenCon, there’s an obvious winner. I would have to disagree. For me, comparing Origins to GenCon is like comparing cola to root beer: they may be similar in some aspects, but they’re very different and enjoyable in others.
Dungeons & Dragons
I was disappointed to see that the Ultimate Dungeon Delve, which I had ADORED in 2009, had not returned to Origins this year. It was such a great event and seemed well-attended, but from what Dave & I have found out from Wizards, there are other organized play events in the works. I’m hoping they are equally if not more fun than the Ultimate Delve.
We did play in the D&D Classic delve, in which our party was a group of monsters. Sadly, we did not get to fight adventurers. Just other monsters. Despite this, the adventure was very fun – and very brutal! We nearly ended with a TPK. My poor harpy didn’t stand a chance!
My advice to Wizards for future “you’re a monster” adventures:
- Let us fight adventurers! Half the fun of playing a monster is beating up on humanoids.
- Using a monster stat block as a character sheet is hard. (Especially for the new guy at our table, poor dude!) I’d love to see the monsters done up more like “real” characters. It doesn’t have to be the glossy full color pregens, but having it a bit more organized and easy to read would be great.
- Have minis for the players to borrow. Since iconic monsters are being used, most of which are common/uncommon creatures, it would be awesome to actually be able to BE a harpy, rather than a pink token.
I’d love to see Wizards of the Coast have more of a presence at Origins, even if it’s a smaller booth than the mini-village that is their booth at GenCon.
Geek Dating Events – Yeah, Not So Much
I had been chatting with Origins via email about doing geek dating events, including:
- A seminar about online dating tips & tricks
- One-on-one Dating Doctor clinic
- Board gaming mixer for singles
Unfortunately, the woman who was my main point of contact quit her job, dropping lots of balls in the process. One of those balls – my events.
No seminar. No Dating Doctor.
The mixer was listed in the preview book – hooray! But it was not on the schedule or available as an event you could sign up for – boo! The Executive Director personally apologized to me for the mix-up and hopes that next year all my events can be scheduled and properly promoted.
I did have board games and sat in the ballroom where the mixer was supposed to be for an hour. Only one person showed up for the event, so here’s a shout-out to the beautiful, talented, and single Natsu of the d20 Girls. (Check out her Etsy store for cute, geeky earrings and jewelry, ladies!)
Looney Labs Big Experiment
On the floor of the convention center’s main hallway were giant colorful daisy stickers. If you followed them in one direction, they lead to the Looney Labs booth in the exhibit hall. If you followed them in the other direction, they lead to a huge reason why you should attend Origins – The Big Experiment.
The Looney Labs Big Experiment has been going on at Origins for over a decade and gets bigger and better every year. You can’t miss the brightly colored signs and rainbow tie-dyed tablecloths – it’s unabashedly hippie, but also the most fun place to be at the con.
The Big Experiment is where you can play any of the games in the Looney Labs collection, including playtesting games that have yet to be released. This year, lucky Origins-goers playtested Back to the Future: The Card Game and Pirate Fluxx. You can also play icehouse games (you know, the ones with the pyramids!) using giant icehouse pieces and overgrown dice.
Another fun activity during the Big Experiment is Andy vs. Everybody, a tournament of sorts in which game designer Andy Looney plays in dozens of games with his fans simultaneously. This year, his record was pretty dismal. 3-25. Ouch.
My bragging moment of the Big Experiment: I played in the Martian Hold-Em poker tournament and stayed in the game way longer than Dave (who is a seasoned poker player). Sadly, pocket Kings lost to a guy with an Ace and a 2. Oh well! For my first time playing poker at a table with actual human beings, it was not bad at all!
The d20 Girls Project
As I mentioned before, I had the pleasure of hanging out with one of the d20 Girls, Natsu. I wish I had snapped a picture of her on Saturday, when she wore her Princess Peach dress with a combat vest and warpaint. Tactical Peach, she called it. She was tired of getting kidnapped and was taking matters into her own hands!
I’ve also been chatting quite a bit with Jack Stewart, who runs the d20 Girls Project, specifically about their new quarterly magazine, which premiered at Origins 2010.
One thing that impressed me about the magazine was that the articles and pictorials in it are 100% planned and executed by the girls themselves. While Jack is involved in the process, he prefers to stay hands-off and let the girls shine.
The articles in the magazine are also written by geek girls, on a variety of topics relevant to the geek community. My popular article, 10 Reasons To Date A Geek Girl was reprinted in the inaugural issue. I will continue to have articles in the d20 Girls Magazine related to geek dating.
The next issue of the d20 Girls Magazine is coming out in the Fall. If you’re a geek girl who would like to get involved as a d20 girl, writer, photographer, or in some other capacity, check out their website for more details.
Hooray for Con Season!
Also, hooray for my mono being completely kicked to the curb by Origins. I was able to walk around the con, socialize, game, and eat copious amounts of Jeni’s Ice Cream and other North Market goodies without being completely exhausted.
Despite the snafu with the geek dating events, I really enjoyed myself at Origins 2010 and can’t wait to run ALL of my events there in 2011.
For now, see you at GenCon!