As many of you know, this last weekend I spent in lovely downtown Columbus Ohio at Origins Game Fair, (while a pride festival was also going on, making for interesting people watching, but I digress). This was my first year at Origins, and I must say it was rather fantastic. For the uninitiated, Origins is a convention that focuses on games of all varieties; board games, card games, minis, RPS, LARPS, etc. The only game type without heavy representation is video-games, but mainly because those have their own specialized conventions.
Think of Origins as a smaller version of GenCon. That is not at all a slight. I love GenCon, and will be attending again this year. However for many people the size of the Indianapolis convention center, the scarcity of hotel availability, and the frenetic pace of 40k+ attendees makes GenCon more than a little intimidating, if not outright exhausting. If you fall into this group, Origins is definitely for you. It’s less crowded and generally less expensive, but it retains everything a great gaming con needs. All of your favorite games are there, as well as new favorites to explore and discover.
Running parallel to the gaming events is a writer’s track of programing we call The Library. But if you think a smaller con meant a smaller selection of writers to meet and learn from, you would be wrong. Such industry luminaries as Michael A Stackpole, Timothy Zahn, Aaron Rosenburg, and Aaron Allison attended and gave many hours of presentations and panels. Along with them, many other up and coming writers, and good friends of mine, were there to share the experiences of professionals coming through the ranks in this rapidly evolving publishing environment. People like Kelly Swails, (who did a fine job of wrangling the rest of us), Dylan Birtolo, Maxwell Alexander Drake, Jennifer Brozek, Sarah Hans, Don Bingle, R.T. Kaelin, Gregory Wilson, Bradley Beaulieu, and myself of course, were there shouting great information to anyone who would listen. The audiences were generally small, giving everyone a chance to get their questions asked and answered in a far more intimate setting than is usually available at panels like these.
For me, it was a great first year. Not only did Timothy Zahn ask me to sign something, (almost had a fanboy moment there) but there was enough traffic through the author’s area that we managed to sell out the convention of copies of Sidekicks! as well as quite a few copies of Eighth Day Genesis, which was up for an Origins award, but lost out to BattleTech, the bastards, (oh, I wrote for BattleTech, right…) I can’t wait to do it all over again.