Saturday, July 3, 2010

Origins 2010, Day 4 and 5

The final full day of the convention for me was Saturday. My 9AM event was 'The Clue of Cthulhu' - a riff on the premise of the Clue boardgame, set in the 1920's Lovecraft Mythos. I opted to skip it for a couple of reasons.

I really don't like skipping events, because it wastes money, and could potentially put other folks out - like if the game was cancelled for insufficient players. However, I was exhausted and really wanted the sleep, and I don't care for the Call of Cthulhu system at all. the only thing that had attracted me to the event in the first place was the novel premise. And after Mystery Express, I'd kind of had my itch to sleuth scratched.

So, I slept in, had lunch, went back by the exhibit hall for more spending. I met up with my cousin Anthony and we walked around, looking at stuff and chatting.

My next scheduled event was at 3PM - 5PM - a miniatures painting class focusing on different mediums. Thanks to Origins scheduling snafus, they didn't think they had anyone signed up for it, but were prepared to run it anyway - except I was the only one who showed, and they needed at least three for a break-even. I hung out with the mini-painting folks for fifteen minutes while waiting for other people to show, but ultimately, no dice. They signed off on my event ticket as cancelled.

Now, normally, Origins does refunds in generic tokens of equivalent value that you can use to get in other events. Because this cancellation was late in the schedule and it was an expensive event ($18), there was no way I was going to be able to use that many generic tokens. I asked for, and was given, a cash refund, which was nice. I then moseyed over to the Auction Hall to check on the Black Lotus.

The Origins auction was poorly attended this year, and there were lots of old games going by with no bids or a single bid. Some old Star Trek board games, even, which I thought would be surefire sellers. So I was already a little concerned. A quick check confirmed my fears - the Collectible Card Game section of the auction had come and gone, and my card had gone for the minimum, drawing only one bid from the Troll and Toad buyer. After paying the auction guys their cut, I got $510 for it, which isn't bad, but I could have sold it direct to T&T for $800.

So, note to self : never participate in the Origins auction again, ever.

That kind of bummed me out, but I picked up the cash - at that point, I was walking around with over $1600 in my wallet, which was bulging amusingly. That cheered me up a little. I did one more round in the exhibit hall, and grabbed dinner in time to make it to my final event of the convention 'Learn to Play D&D', an introductory session for 4th Edition D&D. I own the books, but hadn't yet played the game.

There were two other players - one guy with zero roleplaying experience (who took to the whole thing like a duck to water), another guy with a little, and me. The scenario was a simple one, retrieving some stolen goods from a goblin cave, but it served to demonstrate the changed game fairly well. I can't say my opinion of 4E has changed, though. I don't mind changing the rhythm of the game to focus on the encounters, but it still has an artificial feel to the whole exercise that detracts from the immersion. It's a fine medieval fantasy combat simulator. I was gratified that moderate-experience guy asked me some questions about Pathfinder after the session - that encourages me.

After that, it was back to the room for rest and relaxation. The only thing left was Sunday - checking out and heading home. Now, on rare occasions, I'll spot something earlier in the convention that I refrain from buying, but it grows in my mind like a cancer until on Sunday, I must have it. So I'll make a last minute trip to the exhibit hall to pick things up - and sometimes people run extra good bargains then, to avoid having to ship things home.

I skipped out on all that this year, in favor of sleep. They also run events on Sunday, but with checkout time being noon, it's a little tricky for me to play an event on that last day. I was ready to be home, so I just got things squared away and headed off - to indulge in the final Origins tradition, Massey's Pizza. I also stop on the way out of town, see. And in addition to lunch, I buy a few of their 'partial bake' pizzas - and put them in a cooler, and bring them home to my freezer, to enjoy.

So that's my trip in a nutshell. It was good this year, despite some minor disorganization on the part of the organizers. The increased prize emphasis was nice, it adds some value. It seemed like there was a good crowd at the con, and the exhibit hall was fairly well packed. I ended up buying some things I didn't need, thanks to all that money burning a hole in my pocket, but that's life.

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