Origins Game Fair 2017

Origins Game Fair 2017

Having gone to Adepticon for the first time this year, I thought it might be fun to hit up Origins since it’s fairly close to home and another big convention in the area.  Kyle and I decided to go for one day, Saturday, since neither of us would have to take any vacation time.  Kyle hadn’t been to Origins for quite a few years, so this would be a fun experience for both of us.  Neither of us were planning on playing anything or doing any events, but just hanging out and seeing what the convention has to offer.

We arrived a little early with enough time to get some really good parking, get our badges, and check out the gaming area before the exhibit hall opened.  I really enjoy checking out games that I don’t even play just for the look of the models and terrain they use.  Pretty much all the games look beautiful on the table and it’s also interesting to see the players interact with each other.  Once the hall opened up, we headed inside to make  a quick pass over all the exhibits.  Lots of exhibitors were doing specials, as you’d expect, and there were plenty of new games to play test.

Lately we’ve been discussing getting into a skirmish type game with a campaign, specifically Shadow War Armageddon.  At the Privateer Press booth, they had a first look at their new skirmish game, Company of Iron.  The models are normal Warmachine/Hordes models focusing more on infantry-type models and light warjacks/warbeasts.  The nice part is it doesn’t all depend on a caster to survive the whole fight as in the full game.  We didn’t get a look at the rules but the description on the back of the box sounds appealing for our skirmish game itch.

It only took about an hour or so to go through the whole exhibit hall quickly, so we switched over to the gaming hall.  Turns out there were a handful of vendors out there selling stuff as well.  Gale Force 9 had a big, big mat for their Firefly game, which my wife is a big fan.  They also had several expansion and upgrade packs for Firefly.  Fantasy Flight was running some smaller X-Wing games and demos with some Destiny stuff scheduled for the afternoon.  Kyle tried his hardest to talk me into the Destiny stuff. 😉  Back in the exhibit hall, we checked out some of the booths in a little more depth than our original first pass.  We did a demo for Guild Ball, another game we’ve been considering lately.  The gameplay is pretty fast-paced and the teams synergize well.  I enjoyed how with a little coordination, it’s not too terribly hard to get a goal and if one of your team members gets enough damage to “die”, they just come back on the next round.  I enjoyed the demo but don’t feel anywhere near comfortable enough after having played it to say if it’s a good game or not.  It’s fairly complicated but the figure cards do well with providing the relevant information.  I’m sure going over the rules a time or two will clear things up quite a bit, though.  The models look fantastic and there are a lot of choices for teams.

Later on we watched a demo of a tic-tac-toe variation that is still in Kickstarter.  It takes the basics of the game and makes it a little more interactive.  Instead of just placing your X or O on the board, your oppenent gets a chance to guess where you’re going.  If they guess right, you lose your turn.  So it pays off to be unpredictable.  The Kickstarter was funded long ago and went into Stretch Goals within 24 hours.  I went ahead of funded it to get a copy of the game plus all the extras.  Here’s a link to the Pocket Ops Kickstarter.

Later on we found an area where they were playing Wings of Glory.  I had seen this game before online but thought it was out of production.  At one point, FFG had aquired it and used it as the basis for X-Wing and then never really did much with Wings of Glory.  So Ares Games was able to get it back and began distributing it once again.  I picked up the starter box for World War 2.  The models are very cool looking WW2 era fighter planes with a handful of bombers including the iconic B17 Flying Fortress.  Gameplay is similar to X-Wing in how the bases and models look, but instead of a maneuver dial, players have a deck of cards to determine where the planes go.  Also instead of dice, planes are automatically hit by each other if they are in the firing arc and at the correct range.  But instead of doing standard damage each time, tokens are drawn at random and placed face-down on the plane’s card.  Only the pilot knows if it’s a 0, a 1, a 2, etc and only after there’s enough damage to destroy the airplane are the damage tokens revealed.  No more green dice to worry about. 🙂

All in all, it was a very fun day.  We spent about 11 hours at the event and 8 hours driving.  That made for a very long day and some sore feet but I would definitely go again.  I’m not sure if I would go for more than one day unless I was planning on playing in one of the events.  Conventions like this are great for seeing products and games that you wouldn’t normally take a second (or even first) look at or even know about.  Seeing games ranging from old ship of the line ships battling it out to full blown space battles.  We saw a 6mm game system where they’re literally just selling the rules and letting you build your own miniatures and design your own units.  From foam swords/shields to leather coats and outfits.  Funny T-shirts and fancy boxes to store your dice.  Scenary and terrain from do-it-yourself to professionally produced.  Origins was a fun convention to go to.  More general interest than Adepticon yet small enough you can see it all in a single day.