Quickie report from Origins

Due to a number of schedule constraints, including but not limited to my upcoming trip to Hamburg for the Kinderspiel des Jahres award ceremony, I was only able to spend a single day in Columbus this year… Here is a quick recap of my 6 hours at the show.  Just to see if I could do it, all of the pics are taken from my smartwatch (because I forgot my own camera and my smartphone camera lens has a big crack in it), and most of the text has been dictated into it.  My first smartwatch blog piece!



The view of the convention center from Vine St.  This was the site of many near-accidents as this street has suddenly become a one-way street, and people were constantly turning the wrong way down the street.


First stop, the Media Room to get my badge.  The organization of the fair improves each year.  Kudos to GAMA for continuing to improve on this.


Not much swag this year. Actually, nothing at all.


Per my usual pattern, I head to the dealer hall and start going down the aisles – from left (100) to right (whatever-hundred).  The first big booth I see is the Bezier Games booth.  Both SubDivision and Castles of Mad King Ludwig were here to be played – Subdivision to hopefully debut at GenCon and Castles at Essen


Warning: objects in blog may appear taller (and smarter) than in real life.


Here, fellow OG writers Luke Hedgren (on left, game designer) and Dan Blum (blurry right, gamer) enjoy Subdivision.  This picture definitely shows the inability of the watch camera to take pictures of anything that moves even slightly.


Alien Uprising was getting a fair amount of attention at Mr. B games


After about three shows of promising to have a finished version of the game, ARES appeared to have some full copies of Sails of Glory available for both play and purchase.  While I’m not entirely sure it’s my sort of game, plenty of people were excited for the mini ships (and the game that goes with them)


Quicksilver from Split Second games.  I had not yet tried this, and they were gracious enough to give me an opportunity to play it. Look for a review later this summer.  They also were exhibiting Paradox, a new sci-fi themed game that will hit Kickstarter this summer.


There are all sorts of independent booths at Origins.  Here, they are selling custom LEGO man figures… and the bargain rate of $10/each?!


My obligatory annual picture of the area where they paint miniatures – posted each year to prove that they are still there and proof that I did in fact make it all the way to the back of the exhibit hall to take said picture.


R&R Games – friend of the blog – currently selling two current games designed by OGers.  Plunder, by Jonathan Franklin, was actually moving copies in Columbus – this news flash included for his benefit


NewHaven was also there, Mr. Leet.   I have no idea about sales on this one.  While at R&R, I did speak with the big cheese, Frank D.  He has said that Spike, a new networking game by Stephen Glenn will be ready later this year.  I was able to play a late-prototype version of Spike at the Gathering of Friends, and this title will definitely be high on my anticipated list for GenCon/Essen.


Origins 2014 is the show of the reprint.  Here is Jolly Roger’s reboot of Kremlin.  I think I still have my dusty old AH copy, though I honestly can’t remember the last time that I played it.

20140612_115915 Also at Jolly Roger – Family Vacation, a fun little family game by Phillip du Barry, a game designer who is somewhat local to me.  He brought a near final prototype version over last year, and we had a good time with it.  I look forward to my first chance to play this one now that it’s published.


Mercury Games was there with a few new games in prototype form – though nothing new to buy…  Here is Walled City by Daryl Andrews – Daryl and I had a bit of time to play games together at the Gathering, and I wish him the best with his new game!



The full Mercury games schedule for 2014.  Note the reprint of Polis.


There always seem to be more independent games at Origins than GenCon.  Due to my limited time there, I didn’t have much time to investigate all of the new games, but this one seemed interesting enough to take a picture of.


Queen continues to keep up their aggressive release schedule.  This is a prototype cover for their new version of Escape, this time with a zombie twist…


Greed was there to be looked at, but not played nor purchased.  Queen wants their KS backers to be the first to receive the game – and this is a decision that I applaud.  Eventhough it means that I am not able to get a copy at the show, I do think that the gamers that supported this with their wallets should get the first crack at the games.  Bravo to Queen for this.  Also present, but somehow not pictured, is the Fresco Big Box which has about 216* expansions for Fresco as well as the base game.  (* the actual number of expansions in the box may be somewhat exaggerated by yours truly)


Right next to Queen was Gryphon Games – here is one of their new abstract games.  I was told that it should be ready by late summer/Essen…


Keeping on the reprint trend – a new smaller version of Fantastiqa.  Gryphon also has a new smaller version of Pastiche in the works.


Z-man was there with a bunch of new games.  First up is Enigma – a very cool puzzle game that I was introduced to two or three years ago at Essen.  At that time, the designer (Touko T., the same guy who did Eclipse and Walnut Grove) gave me a copy to review – it had only been published in Finland at that time.  Z-Man has the English rights, and their new version looks pretty good!  They also had a new version of Chinatown, the classic negotiation game.


A larger than life version of Settlers.  This was over in the “playing hall” – a new setup allowed publishers to sell in this room as well.  While in some ways this was neat, it did make it harder to find people as companies had to staff two locations now.


Larger than Life King of Tokyo!  (Not pictured in the blog, Larger than Life Tsuro was also here to be played)


Some of the new releases at AEG.  Istanbul was getting lots of notice given its Kennerspiel nomination.  Pagoda is an interesting looking 2p game.  Valley of the Kings and Sail to India are the two new entries in the AEG small box line.  I really like the idea of this line as they pack a lot of game into a tiny package.  (Sail to India also continues the reprint theme)


While most of the Asmodee stuff is set up for GenCon release, they did have copies of Sultaniya here.  I can’t wait to give this one a try…  Asmodee says that they are going to continue their new-in-2013 idea of having a small gathering for the press at GenCon where I should get a better look at all the new releases both for GenCon and for Essen.  And, with any luck, I’ll remember my camera so I can take better pictures.

Time to get back to watching the World Cup and packing for Germany!

Until your next appointment,

The Gaming Doctor





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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2 Responses to Quickie report from Origins

  1. Alan How says:

    thanks for the speedy overview Dale

  2. Yay! You saw my game The Walled City. Did you get to play it? Very excited to see it at Origins. Although that is the prototype I made with my co-designer Stephen Sauer. New Art/Components look amazing – all done by Josh Cappel. Can you tell Im excited about my first game to reach the world?!

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