Photo Report from Origins 2011

I’ve just returned home from a whirlwind tour of the 2011 edition of Origins in Columbus, Ohio.  There were a fair number of new games there, and a lot of sneak peeks at games coming in the future!  I thought I’d do something a bit different this year, so I’ll present my trip in a photo essay…  When I get more time, I’ll try to write up a more traditional report – but I thought that I’d be able to give you taste of Origins 2011 sooner by posting the pictures with some longer than usual captions.

One of the cool things about Origins is that they offer a One-Day pass for the exhibit hall. The cost is affordable, and it is a great way to come up and experience the fair for a day. The line was well organized, and this picture shows the line as long as I ever found it (maybe 25 people deep). Kudos to GAMA for organizing registration efficiently and for offering the one-day pass.

Walter Hunt showing off Rails of New England in the Rio Grande Room. RGG was still a sponsor of Origins, but this year, the Rio Grande Room was sequestered away from the crowds on the second floor of the convention center. While RGG still provided free drinks and snacks, it seemed like the room was somewhat quieter than last year. Not sure if this was due to the location or not...

A view of the board games hall at an extremely early hour... Not too crowded yet, but the tables would fill up by lunchtime each day

Colby Dauch (in the plaid hat) playing Summoner Wars, made by Plaid Hat Games

The Nieblings in the Elfinwerks booth. If you look closely, you can see that their logo has changed somewhat (now has gear shapes in the background) - in anticipation of their Essen 2011 release, 011. This will be a steampunk themed, semi-cooperative game -- and happens to be the only game I know of that is tied into a musical album... by Swedish symphonic metal band Therion

Elfinwerks was also promoting Mage Wars, a release scheduled for 2012. Despite the fact that it's still a year away, Mage Wars was one of the big sponsors of the show - printed on every name badge! The game is described as a "a customizable card-driven tactical board game of dueling mages".

Indie Boards and Cards were there with a new game, "911 to the Rescue!", which is a cooperative game where the players take on the role of firefighters trying to save victims from a burning building

Wizkids was there with 2 games new to me... Star Trek Expeditions is a cooperative game authored by Dr. Reiner Knizia. Sadly, I didn't get in a demo of this one...

Uwe Eickert (Right) showing off Strike of the Eagle, the new release from Academy Games

The newly released expansion to Jet Set which has a few new boards that provide players with a few new cities to link to and from

Mayfair ran it's usual Catan Championships - this year they had spiffy tables to play on

The Z-man booth was always busy this year... I didn't get a copy of the Ares Project because all of the copies (all 50) were sold out early on... And in other news, Zev mentioned that Z-Man Games had been bought out by Filosofia, a Canadian game publisher. From the gamer's perspective, not much should change as Zev is still the "head" of Z-man, and Z-man will still exist as a label. All games in the pipeline are still moving forward as planned.... Good luck to Zev and Sophie with the new venture!

At the Asmodee booth, Quebec was on display, a game made by Le Scorpion Masque and slated for Essen 2011 Release

Here is a picture of the prototype board for Quebec. There are some elements of area control in the game as well as a mechanic where you score more points by enticing people to play on your buildings (and take advantage of certain special abilities offered there).

Small Box Games had Irondale - a really neat tile laying game which uses cards as the tiles. Players are trying to build the city of Irondale with the different buildings (depicted on the cards). Many of the buildings have special abilities that affect how the cards can be placed or how they score. I've played it once with the designer, and it looks like it'll get a lot of play in my group at home.

One of the most anticipated games of Origins (for me, at least) was Quarriors from Wizkids. This game, designed by Mike Elliott and Eric Lang, is a "Deck-building" game that uses dice instead of cards. Shown on the bag in the foreground is a player's starting "deck" of 12 dice. The game itself includes 130 dice!

A view of the tableau in Quarriors. Each of the cards has a set of dice that correspond to it. The special abilities of the die faces are explained on the card. There should be a lot of replayability in the game as each color die has three different cards that could go with it -- so there are a heck of a lot of different combinations of dice and abilities available to play with...

Worthington Games was at the show, and they are trying to move into the family game arena. Their new game, Trains, Planes and Automobiles, is the first release in their new "bluesquare" label.

Of course, Worthington Games still had new games more in their traditional wargame line - Boots on the Ground

Thanks again to GAMA for running a great show... See you in 2012!

About Dale Yu

Dale Yu is the Editor of the Opinionated Gamers. He can occasionally be found working as a volunteer administrator for BoardGameGeek, and he previously wrote for BoardGame News.
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7 Responses to Photo Report from Origins 2011

  1. Pete says:

    What…no pic of you, Valerie, and I? Phsaw…

    Great report, mate!

  2. Thanks for the picture, Dale – that table was busy almost non-stop, and there were five games in the Train Gamers (Puffing Billy) tournament at Origins. We’ll be at GenCon too.

  3. Doug says:

    Great article, thanks Dale.

  4. Jeff Kayati says:

    Actually it was The Ares Project that sold out on Thursday. 50+ copies were flown in just for Origins. Ascending Empires did sell out, but not until Sunday, and we sold a lot more than 50.

  5. Dale Yu says:

    @Jeff- thanks for catching my error. I will fix it above!


  6. Ken Hill says:

    The Rio Grande Room was quiet for about 6 hours on Thursday and it proceeded to get busier every hour after that. I think people just had to figure out where we were. GAMA took a count of attendees who visited the room and the final number surprised me. I won’t say what it was (not sure if it is public information) but it was easily double what i thought it would be (and I thought I was shooting high!)

  7. John Weldy says:

    Thanks for the memories, Dale, I always forget to take pix.

    I saw you & Valerie once in the main board game demo area. You looked busy, so I figured I’d say hi later. I had no idea that would be the only time I’d see you all weekend! :(

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