Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Origins 2010, Day 1

The drive to Columbus takes me about three and a half hours, so I like to bring along some CDs. This year, I also had a good bit more to haul with me, thanks to the pending sale of my Magic cards, so I actually had tied a couple of things up in the bed of my truck. Lifting 22,000 trading cards isn't easy, but I finally managed to get it up there.

I actually made the trip nonstop this year, and got into Gahanna (a suburb of Columbus) right at lunchtime, to indulge int he first of my Origins rituals - Massey's Pizza. See, it's a local Columbus-area pizza chain that I consider to be the best pizza on Earth. so I always grab lunch there on the way in.

From there it was on to the hotel - the Hyatt Regency, which actually adjoins the convention center. I got checked in, had my stuff taken up to the room, and went down to the registration area for the con.

Now, Origins was a little off its game this year, in terms of organization. They just implemented a new registration system, and some of the shakedown chaos of that spilled over into the lines, which were long. (and somewhat understaffed.) Still, I got my badge and tickets and freebies bag, and headed towards my first event - Quackery, the Game of Medieval Medicine, running from 2PM-4PM. Another player and I waited at the Board Games HQ for the Gamemaster to show, but I suspect he or she was running late - the event ultimately had to be cancelled.

That didn't bother me too much - I usually end up with at least one cancelled event at any given Origins, and the free time would allow me to meet up with friend Andrew, arriving from the airport, so as to let him into our room and get him his key. We caught up a bit, then grabbed some food - lamenting the fact that the exhibit hall doesn't open until Thursday - and then headed down to pick up his registration material and to see if I could drop off my Black Lotus at the Auction area.

He got through the pre-registration line a little quicker than I had, thanks to some additional people staffing the booth, and we checked in at the auction ballroom - they were now accepting items for intake, but there was a line. My next event was at 6, and Andrew's was at 7 - so when the time starting getting close, he offered to wait in line for me to drop off the card and I headed to my 6PM-7PM event, Flat Acting. That, too, was cancelled - insufficient players. I got my event ticket signed so I could exchange it and I headed back to the auction room and took my place in line.

I finally got the card registered right at 7PM, which left me zero minutes to dash across the length of the convention center to my 7PM-9PM event, Betrayal at House on the Hill. Now, this is a board game that I have played before and I just love it, so I'd taken opportunity to play it again at the convention. The Gamemaster running it was actually the same woman who'd run it last year, when I'd first played it. I did get there before things got started, fortunately.

Betrayal at House on the Hill is a board game where a group is exploring a haunted house - as they explore more of the house, 'Omens' are revealed. With each Omen revealed, the player makes a Haunt roll - and if the Haunt roll is less than or equal to the number of Omens revealed thus far, the Haunt begins. The Haunt can be one of more than fifty different scenarios depending on which Omen and which Room trigger the Haunt. Typically, it also involves one of the players becoming the 'Traitor' and beginning to work against the others.

I love, love, love this game. It's got a lot of the appeal of Arkham Horror, but it's not quite as harsh or as micromanagement oriented.

We narrowly defeated the Traitor, thanks to my timely application of the last can of paint to defile the unholy basement pentagram. Since I'd won the day, the other players voted I should have the event prize.

That's something that was a bit different this year - Origins was pushing for almost every event to have prize support. If you 'won' an event (or were voted the winner, in case of cooperative games) you'd get a slip to take to one of the HQs - there, you'd roll a die and on a 15 or greater, get your pick of a stack of games. Roll under a 15, and you'd get a freebie pack of dice as a consolation prize. For Betrayal, I got the pack of dice.

After that, it was back to the room to rest up - my Thursday schedule would run from 8AM to Midnight, nonstop.

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