Well, I’ve returned from Origins in Columbus, Ohio and unloaded a couple bags of books, board games, and dice. A few days of gaming and seeing what’s on the horizon in the gaming business was a wonderful way to spend a vacation and recharge some batteries. We also got to have some great food over at the North Market across the street from the Convention Center, seriously Yum! Our first adventure began when trying to get out of the parking garage on Vine Street, about a block and a half from the convention center. Dehydrated from the rigorous 2-hour drive from Marietta, we exited the car and immediately became disoriented. Had we not ran across 3/4 of the Play Better Podcast crew, we may have never made it out of the garage.
This year there was a huge presence from Wizards of the Coast with the Dungeons & Dragons Open — an entire ballroom and more dedicated to Adventurer’s League play where scenarios are provided and ran for hundreds of gamers over the convention where they can play through linked stories and complete a story arc, or just pop in and play a game or two over the course of the 5 days. Events were live-streamed on twitch.tv/dnd for Friday and Saturday, and showed an introduction to D&D at Origins. It also featured the debut of Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate, a horror-themed board game available for order in October that lets you explore a city’s alleys and catacombs as you work with your fellow players to survive the terrors ahead.
One place we did some shopping and chatting at was the Goodman Games booth where such titles as the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG game and line of gaming modules was for sale; along with some of their leather bound editions, boxed sets, special limited editions and fiction books. On hand was a complete and oversized edition of Metamorphosis Alpha, one of the first sci-fi role-playing games out there. So cool, but nearly a hundred bucks! Too rich for my blood! I did get a couple game books and autographs from Brett and Allyson Brooks, authors and artists who also happen to be running the Kickstarter fulfillment of Mutant Crawl Classics which just released on PDF this week, thanks for the heads up Brett!
As for gaming, I got some words of wisdom and FATE Core tips from game designer and gamer PK Sullivan when I met him and got an autograph. We chatted about a setting he designed, a podcast he had recently been on discussing FATE, and ways to use it best for campaign play and for one-shot games. Great guy, very concise and he was able to cover a lot of information in a short period of time. He was on a podcast recently called Pandas Talking Games (episode 59), and it so happens I got to meet and talk to one of the hosts from that show which earned me a pin and panda tiara from her. Thank you Senda!
Another of my personal favorites was manning the Pelgrane Press booth, Kenneth Hite who signed my Night’s Black Agents book, a spy thriller meets vampires game steeped in mystery, intrigue, and horror. He’s written several stories and games dealing with the Cthulhu Mythos (remember my article on Delta Green?). Well for such a big pile of work based mostly on inhuman horror and helpless fear, he’s a really pleasant fellow and has a healthy appreciation for Bánh mì! I was able to get some pointers on running games with tension and horror as a focal point and found out he’s currently lead designer on the 5th edition of Vampire: The Masquerade, a game some of you may have heard of.
As far as playing goes, there were plenty of Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder games to be had. Many games were seen, but not played by me. My personal favorite was Delve, a board game I got to demo and buy on Saturday, then the folks there added in an expansion deck of cards and a free additional game to boot! We also picked up a copy of Zombie Dice, a couple of the expansions for it and a game called Santa’s Bag, which we played both Sunday afternoon. All in all, it was a fun-filled and joyous end to the week. We will definitely be planning next year’s trip a little earlier and more thoroughly!