Monday, July 9, 2007

Origins 2007

Had a great time at Origins this past week. Living in Columbus, has its advantages - one being I didn't need to stay in a hotel in order to attend Origins; I could just take a 20 minute bus ride and be at the convention center.

This was my tenth year and my daughter's fourth (as a player, not just taking her through the vendors' hall). As always, we had a good time.

Registration was very smooth. Since we could come down on Wednesday afternoon we didn't have to wait in line. Of course, being a teacher (homeschool) I was able to use the teachers' line which was empty. The staff was very friendly and helpful, even going to the preregistered line to retrieve my daughter's pass so I wouldn't need to stand in line twice. The bag of goodies wasn't as full as in years past, but that isn't the fault of Origins but a sign of the times as companies cut back on promos in order to save money. Since it was the 4th of July, we didn't stay to play any games because of family commitments, but it was nice to see so many events running on Wednesday. If the convention is going to pay for the facilities they might as well be used.

Thursday morning my daughter and I caught an early bus so we could get to the Three Dragon Ante tournament. We both really enjoy that game. Unfortunately, the neither the judge nor any other players arrived - a problem with a 9:00am game on the Thursday. We had no problem turning in our ticket for generic coins, though. We then went up to Looney Labs Big Experiment room to visit with friends and play some open games. We were able to spend some time teaching Aquarius to some new players. Then it was down to the vender's hall. We usually try to go on Thursday, in order to avoid the crowds and catch the dealers when they are fresh. The hall was less full then in the past and also missing many of the big companies. Out of the Box, Paizo, Zman, Privateer, Day of Wonder, GMT,were there, but many others had only a token display in a booth with a group of other companies (like Fantasy Flight/Atlas/Steve Jackson/DorkStorm Press) or just a case display like WizKids. I realize it is expensive to come to a convention and that GenCon is larger, but 10 - 12 thousand gamers at Origins is not a small number. These are hard core gamers, the people that spend lots of money on games, run game clubs, and teach others games. And there is only about a 25% overlap between the two conventions, so here are 8000 potential customers they are missing. The dealers I talked to said that attendance seemed to be down, but sales were up - so less people but we were buying more. I know I was. So thanks to the companies that came.

We had a good time trying out new games and discovering ones we hadn't known about. The Out of the Box booth is always alot of fun - we purchased the new 10 Days in Asia to go with the rest of the series we own. Picked up a pack of the 10th anniversary Fluxx expansion cards from Looney Labs. Found a copy of Hollywood Blockbuster which I had been looking for from Troll and Toad. Snapped up Duel in the Dark from Zman Games (thanks for bringing that to the show - its nice to have a company release a new product at Origins instead of GenCon). Bought a lot of Gamers Aid products at Paizo (cool things that we don't need but are really fun to have for D&D); and had a good time playing Stonehenge (a future purchase) and the Kobold dungeon (my daughter had a winning key). Plus lots of little things from other vendors.

Friday started with a game of the Great Chili Cookoff (bad players and a ref who didn't know his game hurt). Then a really fun game of Battlestations by Gorilla Games. I purchased it last year, but didn't have a chance to play it - glad I did. Now I need to get some of the expansions.

Finished the day with a viewing of the Gamers: Dorkness Rising. Definitely the highlight of the con. We've loved the Gamers but this is a 100x better. Excellent production value and a lot of fun, and funny! We've been anxiously waiting for the release of the DVD, but I'm glad we got to see it first on a large screen with an audience of fellow gamers. My daughter's mouth hurt afterwards from laughing so much. Now Dead Gentlemen Prod. needs to find a distributor and get it out on DVD.

Saturday morning my daughter had a seminar on Designing Adventures. Not really very good. She got some ideas, but the presenter was not up to the task. The seminar idea is a good one in theory, but the ones we've been to in the past all have the same problem - the presenters may be professional game designers, but they aren't speakers. No outline, no visual aids, no handouts. Someone sitting on the table at the front of the room and just talking vaguely about the subject in general is not a good seminar - even a free one. After that we had a game of Heroscape and finished up the day with a session of Cleopatra.

Of course there where the meeting of friends (both old and new), playing of demo games , and one of our favorite Origin pastimes - people watching.

We'll be back next year.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Another Day at the Library

Here I am again, sitting in the main library, waiting on my daughter. Today should be the last day she will be volunteering for a while which is a good thing.

For a change of pace I brought a paper model to cut out. Thought I would see how that would work. It actually went fairly well since all I did was cut out the parts. Now I have some other options of things to do while I'm here.

Of course I won't be able to glue it up until I get home, but cutting is actually the most time consuming part, so it's good to get it done.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Bored in Columbus

I'm trying to get the hang of this blogging thing.
Today I'm sitting in the Columbus Main Library. My daughter is a teen volunteer here so I get to spend a lot of time hanging out. We're taking a break from the more formal part of her education for the next few weeks until her new text books come. This down time is giving her a chance to work at the library every day - it will make up for the time we will be away later in the summer.
I've finally taken the time to bring the laptop with me and try out the wireless system the library has. It gives me something else to do besides reading magazines and checking out way too many books. Though I should have brought the adapter - looks like power could be a problem.
This past year has seen me with a lot of down time. Since we've moved into our little apartment from our home in the country I don't have much to do. In years past a good part of my day was spent teaching my daughter, but she has grown so much that she doesn't need me like she used to. A good thing from a teacher's perspective (she's learning on her own and using the tools I've taught her in the past), but boring if you are used to working with her. Combine that with the fact that I live in a 3 room apartment after living in a cabin in the woods with all the work that entails (mowing, chopping wood, upkeep, etc) and I am slowly going nuts. Even my love of cooking for the family has faded - it's hard to really cook with only about one square foot of counter space and a oven that sets off the smoke alarm if you heat it beyond 300 degrees.
Not to say that I haven't been busy. Running my daughter around Columbus, painting minis, paper models, and reading keep me from going totally crazy. But when you do things all the time that you used to do for fun it changes the fun level. I need more meaningful activities. Luckily we still have our home in Wooster so I am able to escape from here on the occasional weekend. It will be great when this Columbus experience it over.
Enough ranting for one day.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Tomb Kings

One of the things I enjoy doing with my time is painting minis. I have varied interests - science fiction, historical, pulp, fantasy... If it looks like fun I'll paint it.

I recently finished a Tomb King army for Warhammer Fantasy Battles. And while I'll probably never get to use it in a game I did have fun building and painting it. So here are some photos:

This is my King. I've modified the regular Tomb King by changing his leg so that he can stand on the extra head of a bone giant. The base is a monster base which game me more room to play with . He usually ranks up with the Tomb Guard.
Here is the Bone Giant. Alot of fun to paint and assemble. I modified his arms a little to give him a slightly different pose.

More images of this army are here.

Well I've finally started a blog. It's something I have been planning to do for some time but just haven't taken the time to do. Now I just need to start posting.